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Vietnam gov't asked to accelerate ODA use
Publication Date : 31-03-2014
More than US$20.9 billion in Official Development Assistance (ODA) to Vietnam has not yet been disbursed, according to statistics released at a conference held on Saturday by the country's National Steering Committee for ODA and Preferential Loans.
The meeting was chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai, who is also head of the committee. According to the committee, about $8 billion of the funding must be disbursed for projects and programmes scheduled for completion in 2014.
According to the online newspaper VnExpress, the total amount of ODA disbursed in 2013 reached US$5.14 billion, 23 per cent higher than the previous year.
However, many obstacles continue to affect the disbursement of the ODA, including important policy differences on compensation, land clearance and resettlement between Vietnam and its network of donors.
Other difficulties include changes in zoning at the local level and a lack of counter capital due to limited state and provincial budgets.
In light of delays in ODA disbursement, Deputy PM Hai instructed all agencies and ministries to reassess projects that were not meeting specific deadlines.
Deputy Minister of Planning and Invesment Nguyen Chi Dung added to the call, saying ODA management and policies needed to be amended, while legal documents related to construction, investment, bidding and public investment needed to be revised with important additions.
Work is also needed to review the implementation of ODA projects and tackle the shortcomings of complex projects, he said, adding that extra support was needed to help project owners overcome difficulties.
The Ministry of Planning and Investment also called for oversight to ensure technical standards were being met and projects with subcontractors not meeting requirements were being put on hold.
Dung also called for increased coordination between the Committee and the six development banks (Asia Development Bank, World Bank, JICA, Korea Eximbank, KfW-Germany and AFD-France), with a meeting every three months to review the progress of ODA-funded projects and identify those falling behind schedule.
Deputy Minister of Transport Nguyen Ngoc Dong said the biggest obstacle had been land clearance. Because of this reason, the Ministry of Transport had not been able to implement 39 projects with a total investment fund of $17.7 billion, with $15.6 billion coming from ODA.
Japan has disbursed the most assistance with $1.7 billion, followed by the World Bank with $1.35 billion and the ADB with $1.3 billion
The conference was held as Vietnam's officials continue to investigate the possible misuse of Japanese government aid, reported first by Japanese media. According to the report, Japan Transportation Consultants admitted to paying around $780,000 to win a $41 million railway project in Vietnam.