Vietnam legislators ask auditors to inspect monopoly groups

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Vietnamese legislators have suggested that state auditors investigate monopoly groups in the fuel and electricity sectors next year, saying there is increased public interest in the operations of these companies.

Dinh Tien Dung, chief of the State Audit of Vietnam, said last week that his office will look into 29 state-owned enterprises and commercial banks in 2013, particularly to see whether their activities outside main business areas have been effective.

The findings will allow auditors to come up with suggestions for the restructuring of state companies, he said.

The National Assembly's Finance and Budget Committee said while it supports the plan, it insists that state auditors check out "some groups with emerging issues that the public is following closely" such as oil and gas group PetroVietnam, state utility Electricity of Vietnam and fuel distributor Petrolimex.

Many other legislators have agreed with the panel's proposal.

A State Audit official told news website VnExpress that PetroVietnam and Electricity of Vietnam had already been selected for financial investigation next year. State auditors, however, planned to skip Petrolimex since it has just been inspected.

Economists and consumers alike have been calling for more transparency from Electricity of Vietnam and Petrolimex, which often complain about huge losses and demand price increases.

The government last week ordered PetroVietnam to concentrate on its core oil and gas businesses and pull back from non-core activities.

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