Vietnamese lawmakers slam inordinate waste of resources

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National Assembly deputies on Thursday excorciated the government for wasting the nation's natural resources through lax licensing, and for wasting money, time and energy on thousands of festivals every year.

Representative Le Nhu Tien from the central province of Quang Tri said over 1,500 businesses have been granted licenses for mining projects, more than triple the figure in 2000 when 427 licenses were granted.

This fact, together with thousands of gangs whose illegal mining is almost out of agencies' control, is draining precious natural resources like gold and destroying the environment, Tien said.

Representative Tran Hong Viet from the Mekong Delta province of Hau Giang raised questions about corruption in licensing the projects over the years, saying that the waste of natural resources was obvious, but anti-corruption agencies have never reported it.

Viet urged the government to tighten control of mineral mining projects, forest exploitation and others by cutting off those that are damaging the environment.

Agreeing with Viet and Tien, Nguyen Lan Dung from the central highlands province of Dak Lak said minerals were being exploited without control and then exported raw at very cheap prices.

He warned that without proper solutions, Vietnam will soon import coal together with other minerals.

Also at the sitting, Tien said that the country was wasting a great deal of money, time and energy, conducting 7,966 festival every year on both local and national scales. He noted that this amounted to over 20 festivals a day.

This is not to mention thousands of conferences, meetings, and ceremonies  being held annually nationwide, he said.

It seems that regulations on saving state budget funds, time and labor in the public sector issued in 2005 are being ignored, the deputy said.

Huynh Ngoc Dang from the southern province of Binh Duong, criticized that many of the festivals have become places for people to show off with things like "giant banh chung" (Vietnamese traditional cakes made of sticky rice) or "huge wine bottle".

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