Covid keeps public spending at below 50 pct of plan

By Anh Minh   September 28, 2021 | 07:39 pm PT
Covid keeps public spending at below 50 pct of plan
An expressway connects the northern provinces of Bac Giang and Lang Son. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy
Public spending will not even reach half the full-year’s target by the end of September as the pandemic delays the progress of most projects.

A report by the Ministry of Finance released Tuesday said only 47.4 percent would be spent, leaving around VND242.75 trillion ($10.67 billion) in the government’s coffers.

Of 114 government bodies and localities, 76 have a spending rate of less than 47 percent, according to the Ministry of Planning and Investment.

This is due to Covid-19, which caused many localities to impose long periods of social distancing, it said.

Projects to be carried out using official development assistance have been especially impacted since they rely on foreign experts and equipment, it added. ODA loans usually come with strings attached in the form of requiring to use expertise and equipment from the countries that give them.

But the ministry said considering some localities and government agencies still maintained to achieve a high disbursement rate, the problem is with management.

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh on Tuesday criticized localities and government bodies with disbursement rates of below 40 percent.

He said the target now is to spend at least 95 percent of the budgeted amount, and this requires much effort from the relevant authorities.

A task force he set up found that of 80 challenges that officials face in disbursing funds, half are due to their misunderstanding of the task, which causes delays.

Some leaders delegate management of the task to incapable people, which means issues that may arise remain unresolved.

Chinh has ordered the simplification of administrative procedures to speed them up and cut costs.

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