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$493 million takes the wrong road to Vietnam expressway builder

By Phuong Dong   May 26, 2019 | 12:43 am PT
$493 million takes the wrong road to Vietnam expressway builder
Da Nang-Quang Ngai Expressway is the first expressway in central Vietnam. Photo by VnExpress/Dac Thanh
The state auditing agency has called for the retrieval of $493 million wrongly allocated to the Vietnam Expressway Corporation.

In its general audit report on 2017, the State Audit Office said that the wrongful capital allocation, VND11.5 trillion, was made by the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI). 

The ministry allocated VND5.34 trillion ($229 million) in capital planning to four expressway projects by the state-run Vietnam Expressway Corporation (VEC), the country's biggest expressway builder, in contravention of the resolution of the Party's Central Committee and the National Assembly.

Specifically, the MPI wrongfully allocated VND2.6 trillion to the Da Nang-Quang Ngai Expressway project, VND498 billion to the HCMC-Long Thanh-Dau Giay Expressway project, VND133 billion to the Noi Bai-Lao Cai Expressway project and VND2.11 trillion to the Ben Luc-Long Thanh Expressway project.

Last year, it also allocated another VND2.36 trillion in capital to VEC to invest in expressway projects, the report said.

The state auditors have therefore requested that the government instruct the MPI to resolve the issue of converting four VEC projects from borrowing state capital to direct investments by the state, and to retrieve the $493 million it had allocated to the four projects between 2016 and 2018.

In the report, the State Audit Office lists a series of violations in capital planning committed by ministries and local governments.

Most of the violations involved failure to produce a detailed allocation list from the beginning of the year, failure to submit to the corresponding people's councils the lists and amounts of capital allocated to each project that uses the central budget, ODA funds or preferential loans from foreign donors.

Typical examples of the violations were those committed by the MPI, which failed to prioritize capital planning for completed projects and projects that need to repay advances or loans. The ministry also allocated capital for new projects inappropriately, the report noted.

Regarding the ministry's medium-term public investment plan for the period 2016-2020, the allocation of capital from the state budget to 21 target programs only reached 53.6 percent of the plan with a shortage of over VND130 trillion ($5.57 billion), putting pressure on the budget for the next period.

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