Wastage in public spending blights Vietnam: legislators

TN News

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The office of the Truc Noi commune People's Committee in the northern province of Nam Dinh whose construction was suspended in 2011 / PHOTO COURTESY OF TIEN PHONG

Legislators have urged the government to tackle public-spending waste, saying it is a problem still plaguing many sectors.

Speaking at a meeting on Thursday, Ksor Phuoc, chairman of the parliament's Ethnic Group Council, said though the government reported that state-owned companies saved over VND16 trillion (US$757.35 million) in the first half of the year, large sums of money are still squandered away in many areas. 

He said it is "unacceptable" that in many provinces the administration headquarters looks like palaces.

"Why did we need to build such big offices while our people are still poor?"

Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan, vice chairwoman of the National Assembly, agreed, asking if it was fair to spend extravagant amounts on such buildings when the country and its people are still poor.

Phuoc also called it "strange" that many officials ranked lower than ministers use "very luxurious" cars with government number plates, adding that "the Ministry of Finance needs to be tough to not let wrongdoers escape."

According to a government report released at the meeting, 168 new cars were bought at more than VND219 billion ($10.36 million) by provinces and ministries in the first half.

Huynh Ngoc Son, vice chairman of the National Assembly, said delayed infrastructure projects also cause wastage of taxpayers' money.

For instance, earlier this year the Japanese-owned Tokyu Corporation, a contractor for the Nhat Tan Bridge over the Red River in Hanoi, demanded VND155.9 billion ($7.38 million) in additional payment after the construction was delayed by 27 months.

He also cited the example of a highway connecting Hanoi with the northern province of Lao Cai.

The 245-kilometer road was scheduled to open to traffic this year end, but except for Thai Nguyen Province, where site clearance has been completed over a stretch of 32 kilometers, four other provinces and Hanoi have yet to do so.

"The longer a project is delayed, the more waste it causes," Son said.

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