The government of Vietnam is seeking approval from the National Assembly to use more bond proceeds to fund public projects not included in the original priority list submitted to the legislative body.
Legislators have expressed concern about the move, which comes at a time the government is trying to cut public spending.
The Ministry of Planning and Investment on Friday announced a plan to invest VND5.5 trillion of proceeds from government bonds issued in 2012-2015 on irrigation projects, news website VnExpress reported. The spending had been greenlighted by the legislature earlier.
However, in a surprise move, the ministry also asked for approval to use another VND4.47 trillion for five new projects, including two bridges, a university dormitory and an oncology hospital.
Minister of Planning and Investment Bui Quang Vinh said these projects were added because they are urgent and should be funded.
While most members of the National Assembly Standing Committee recognized the importance of the projects, they were concerned about overspending even as the government has announced plans to reduce public expenditure. Some legislators have expressed skepticism over the government's choice of projects, saying there could well be others that were equally, or more important, the VnExpress report said.
Uong Chu Luu, vice chairman of the National Assembly, said capital shortage was a "chronic" problem for Vietnam because of limited financial resources. Therefore, the government should only focus on projects that are at the top of the priority list.
"Some hospitals that are funded by government bonds have not been completed after four or five years. Instead of investing in 20 projects, for example, just pick 10 and complete them as soon as possible," he said.
Vietnam's government originally intended to save VND13 trillion out of VND180 trillion raised from bond issues between 2012 and 2015.
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