Vietnam budget deficit cap set at 5.3 pct of GDP

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The National Assembly (NA) has agreed to raise Vietnam's budget deficit ceiling to 5.3 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), or VND224 trillion (US$10.6 billion), for next year, to compensate for loss of revenues this year.

The cap had been fixed at 4.8 percent for this year.

Under a resolution passed by the legislature on Tuesday, the deficit will be spent on public projects and repaying debts.

It has asked the government to tighten financial security and discipline, apply fiscal policy strictly, and save administrative expenses next year. The government should also cut down on its expenditure on conferences, overseas trips, festivals, anniversaries, groundbreaking and launching ceremonies, and cars.

The NA has set budget revenues at VND782.7 trillion ($37 billion) and spending at VND1,000 trillion ($47.4 billion) for next year.

Previously, in a report to the NA, Finance Minister Dinh Tien Dung had said that the deficit for this year is estimated at VND193 trillion ($9.1 billion) this year, or VND32 trillion ($1.5 billion) more than what the NA had approved.

The higher deficit was caused by the lower than expected revenues, Dung said.

The Finance Ministry estimates revenues this year at VND752 trillion ($35.6 billion), 7.8 percent less than originally estimated.

Dividend collection

According to the resolution, the government will collect its 2013 dividend from companies where it is a shareholder, after many years of leaving them with the enterprises themselves so they could increase their capital and make investments.

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At 100-percent state-owned businesses, the government will also collect profits after the businesses keep what is mandated by law for expenses and investment.

A report from the government's Steering Committee for Business Renovation and Development early this year revealed that the state's investment in state-owned enterprises was VND735.29 trillion ($34.73 billion) as of 2012.

The businesses earned revenues of VND1,621 trillion ($76.57 billion) last year, it said, noting that businesses in the oil and gas, electricity, post and telecommunications, and aviation sectors had posted big turnovers.

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