State Audit to look into more areas next year

State Audit of Vietnam will expand its scrutiny into other areas next year, including land and natural resources.

state audit to look into more areas next year hinh 0
A toll station on National Highway 1. BOT projects are among the areas State Audit will look into.

State Auditor General Ho Duc Phoc said the agency would inspect land use at Chu Lai Economic Zone in the central province of Quang Nam and forestry plantations in the Central Highlands, and resettlement housing projects in HCM City.

The objective is to find policy flaws and possible violations, Phoc said at a meeting with Vice Chairman of the National Assembly (NA) Phung Quoc Hien in Hanoi on August 23, the Vietnam News Agency reported.

State Audit will examine projects implemented under the build-operate-transfer (BOT) format and financed by official development assistance (ODA) loans. Phoc said the agency will inspect at least five ODA-funded projects marred by cost overruns.

Phoc said State Audit detected irregularities at and proposed solutions to improve management at a number of BOT projects in the first seven months of this year. He added there was a BOT project whose investor had been approved to collect tolls for 24 years but State Audit suggested only 11 years.

The agency proposed the toll collection period be reduced by at least five years for four BOT projects after checking them.

As of August 15, State Audit in collaboration with relevant agencies had launched 161 inspections. It proposed increasing collections of nearly VND1.14 trillion (around US$51 million), spending cuts by over VND2 trillion and dealing with other financial cases worth more than VND4 trillion.

Speaking at the meeting, deputy head of the NA’s Economic Committee Duong Quoc Anh suggested State Audit join forces with relevant agencies to give a complete picture of bad debt in Vietnam.

“Bad debt is a problem for not only the banking sector but also the whole economy,” Anh said.

Hien expressed concern over increasing public debt as it had risen to more than 62% of gross domestic product (GDP) by end-2015 and is projected to peak in 2017-2018. Hien noted debt payments had made up one-fourth of total budget collections.

Hien is also worried about investment inefficiency at many projects, saying that plenty of them have not brought any profit and even run at a loss. Therefore, he underlined the need to publicize auditing results.

Saigon Times

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