Vietnam lawmakers call for improving Bidding Law, oversight of public works

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Legislators have called for improvements to the Bidding Law which allows unqualified contractors to win bids and subsequently hike prices.

Phung Quoc Hien, chairman of the parliamentary Finance and Budget Committee, said many public works have been delayed because they have been won by incapable contractors.

"The bidding process then has no meaning at all," Hien said at a regular meeting of the National Assembly's Standing Committee.

Phan Xuan Dung, chairman of the house's Science and Technology Committee, said many contractors win tenders only because they use outdated technologies and so bid low rates.

The law needs to have specific provisions about the quality of technologies used, he said.

Nguyen Sinh Hung, the house speaker, said he noticed collusion and bribery in bidding and contractors hike prices to "the top range in the world."

Corruption is rife in public construction works, "but few people have been arrested and punished," he said.

The Bidding Law should be fixed since it would play a central role in fighting corruption and wasteful practices, he said.

It should factor in all the risks related to interest and forex rates and economic instability and spell out acceptable price ranges so that no project price can be hiked after the contract is awarded, he said.

He called on the Ministers of Investment and Planning and Construction to suggest amendments to plug the loopholes contractors take advantage of.

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