Vietnam to issue yet another decree, not law, to manage ODA loans

Thanh Nien News

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A section of the ODA-funded Hanoi Urban Railway project. Photo: Ngoc Thang

The Ministry of Planning and Investment is drafting a new decree aimed at helping the government tighten control over official development assistance (ODA) loans, an official said.
Duong Duc Ung, former director of the ministry’s Department of External Economic Affairs and a member of the drafting team, was quoted by the Vietnamese edition of news website Saigon Times as saying the decree is expected to be issued in June.
It will supplant all other decrees on managing ODA loans and guide implementation of the Law on Public Investment that came into effect earlier this year.
Ung said the draft decree had been passed around relevant ministries, agencies and six financial institutions, including the World Bank and Asian Development Bank, for opinions.
While the government will retain full power to oversee ODA-funded projects, as it has for the last two decades since international agencies resumed funding to Vietnam in 1993, the decree is expected to have transparent regulations for better management of ODA.
Ung said the new decree would help reduce squander and corruption in ODA projects.
Since 1993 five different decrees have been issued, but no laws, and experts criticize the low degree of regulation that decrees offer, saying there should be a law to manage ODA.
In the last 22 years more than US$80 billion worth of ODA has been pledged, and Vietnam has received 65 percent of it already.
There have been high-profile corruption scandals involving ODA projects, the most recent being a​slush fund scandal connected with two expressways, one each in the north and south, being built by South Korea’s POSCO E&C.

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