Vietnam “has no idea” what's happening with public projects: official

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An electricity project in southern Vietnam. Photo credit: Vietnam News Agency An electricity project in southern Vietnam. Photo credit: Vietnam News Agency

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As much as 40 percent of state-funded projects, aren't being supervised by the central government, a senior official admitted during a recent conference in Hanoi.
Nguyen Xuan Tu, head of the investment assessment department at the Ministry of Planning and Investment, said the country has between 34,000 and 38,000 public projects underway in its provinces and cities.
Only around 24,000-26,000 are actually being supervised, Thoi Bao Kinh Te Saigon Online quoted Tu as saying.
The number of unsupervised projects is “very huge” and “very concerning,” Tu said during the October 1 conference his ministry co-hosted with the Australian Embassy in Vietnam.
The meeting was held to assess public investment during the 2015-2020 period.
“The projects use government funds without oversight. The irony is they proceed unharassed although we are supposed to take punitive action in such situations,” the site quoted him as saying.
Tu said there are projects whose funding was dropped for a lack of progress reports, but a ministry audit found that many continue under local authorities’ hands.
He said public investments have proven ineffective because the central government has no idea what they have come to.
“Ministries have no idea, [my] ministry has no idea, and even the Prime Minister [has no idea],” he said. 
Tu said he hopes the Public Investment Law that will take effect next month will change the situation.
A recent report by the State Audit Office of Vietnam indicated that public investments in many localities still lack controls, despite the government's purported desire to tighten its belt amid stagnant economic growth and rising bad debt.
The report said many new nonessential projects have been pushed through.
The report identified 19 non-essential government-funded projects underway in the central province of Quang Binh, as well as 13 in the northern province of Phu To and 6 in nearby Son La.

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