Public associations and unions cost Vietnam $630 million in 2016

By Vo Hai   September 9, 2016 | 04:30 pm GMT+7

These organizations, run on state funding as administrative bodies, inefficient and difficult for the government to control.

Vietnam has spent VND14 trillion ($630 million) on national associations and unions so far this year, but this hasn't guaranteed their effectiveness, Hoang Ngoc Giao, head of Vietnam’s Institute of Policy Research and Law, said at a meeting on September 8.

Giao said that these organizations are run on state funding as administrative bodies, so they are “very inefficient and difficult for the government to control’’.

Research by the institute revealed that the state budget spent on social organizations like the Women's Union, Farmers' Union, Youth Union and Veterans' Union has reached VND1.2 trillion in 2016, double the figure in 2006.

The report also pointed out that expenditure on specific associations like the Red Cross, the Union of Writers and the Vietnam Football Federation haven’t been published since 2010. Only the total figure is made public despite the fact these organizations receive massive financial support.

public-associations-and-unions-cost-vietnam-630-million-in-2016

Hoang Ngoc Giao, head of Vietnam’s Institute of Policy Research and Law. Photo by VnExpress/Vo Hai

To make it worse, the $630million figure does not mention costs for social insurance, health insurance and pension contributions, Giao said.

He added that Vietnam has about 300,000-400,000 associations and unions, many of which operate without government support.

“Our recent studies show that these associations are ‘real’ associations. Their members stick together.”

Luu Binh Nhuong, a member of the Committee on Social Issues, echoed this view, adding that all organizations should be financially independent. He explained that given the rising budget deficit, only organizations appointed to carry out government projects should receive money.

The Law Commission quoted a stipulation from a draft law about associations and unions, saying that “only associations established under the needs of the Communist Party and the Vietnamese government will be granted with operational funding.”

The draft law will be submitted to the National Assembly for comments and approval in October this year.

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