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Vietnamese Gov’t sets up 6 task forces to accelerate public investment
Hai Yen 15:13, 2021/11/23
Nearly VND200 trillion ($8.8 billion) out of a total VND461.3 trillion ($20.2 billion) remain unspent, requiring huge efforts for the Government to fully disburse the amount in the last two months of the year.

The Government has set up six task forces specialized in addressing concerns and accelerating the disbursement progress of public investment in 2021.

 Public investment remains a key solution to boost growth. Photo: Hoang Ha

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh signed off the decision on November 22, appointing the deputy prime ministers Pham Binh Minh, Le Minh Khai, Le Van Thanh and Vu Duc Dam, Minister of Finance Ho Duc Phoc, and Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung heads of these six task forces.

Under the plan, these task forces would supervise and address bottlenecks in public investment at ministries, ministerial-level agencies, and provinces/cities having the disbursement rate below 60% as of October; or of projects being implemented this year and those subject to public financing in 2022.

The Government expected task forces to analyze difficulties in the implementation process of public projects, especially those financed by the ODA or preferential loans from international donors.

During this process, they also look at the responsibilities of leaders at ministries and localities for their respective low disbursement rates.

A report would later be submitted to Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh on solutions to boost public investments in the coming years.

The Ministry of Planning and Investment issued a report in late September that revealed four ministries and 11 localities with a disbursement rate of over 60%. Meanwhile, 76 out of 114 ministries/agencies/localities recorded a below-average rate of 47%, or in some cases at 0%.

Nine ministries/agencies have returned over VND8 trillion (US$352 million) in ODA funds as they fail to carry out their respective projects as scheduled.

As of October, the disbursement rate of public investment stood at nearly 56% of the plan, 11% lower than the rate recorded last year. This resulted in nearly VND200 trillion ($8.8 billion) out of a total VND461.3 trillion ($20.2 billion)  unspent, requiring huge efforts to fully disburse the amount in the last two months of the year.

Prime Minister Chinh sent out a directive in late October urging localities to speed up public investment, while leaders at each agency and locality are fully responsible for their disbursement performances.

Public investment - Key solution to boost growth

Economist Tran Hoang Ngan noted the Covid-19 pandemic caused severe impacts on the Vietnamese economy, resulting in low GDP growth of 2.9% in 2020 and an estimated 3% in 2021.

“In this regard, public investment remains a key driving force to boost growth and further attract social investment into infrastructure development,” Ngan said.

Sharing the view, the Director of the General Statistics Office Nguyen Thi Huong said the public investment would directly impact the economic performance in the fourth quarter of 2021.

“In case the VND200 trillion ($8.8 billion) are fully disbursed in the remaining months, the GDP growth would expand by an addition of 0.53 percentage points,” Huong said.

Looking back in the past, Economist Hoang Van Cuong said public investment has always been seen as a driver for growth during economic crises.

“Public investment not only supports growth and infrastructure development but also creates jobs and increases people’s income,” he noted.

Cuong warned for provinces/cities that have a disbursement rate of less than 20%, are missing opportunities for growth not only this year but in the future as well.

As of mid-October, Hanoi’s disbursed amount stood at VND15.7 trillion ($670 million), or 37.8% of the Government target. The city aims to push for a disbursement rate of over 95% by year-end to lay the foundation for economic growth of 4.5-5%.

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