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Lawmakers: Future ODA loans are still needed for Vietnam

Members of the National Assembly Standing Committee have agreed that future official development assistance (ODA) loans are necessary for Vietnam to meet its development potential, but they emphasised the need to spend these loans more effectively.

On the second day of the NA Standing Committee’s meeting on August 9, full-time lawmakers discussed the special monitoring report on the implementation of state policies and laws on the management and spending of ODA loans from 2011-2016.

According to the monitoring report, 319 agreements were signed in the period 2011-2016 with a total value of 33.64 billion USD VND, 59 percent higher than in the 2006-2010 period.

Members of the NA Standing Committee said that while Vietnam’s policies have been becoming more effective for the management and spending of ODA loans, shortcomings still exist.

Some members raised the question of whether ODA loans had been spent wastefully or ineffectively and whether the spending of ODA loans had met practical needs.

Phan Thanh Binh, Chairman of the NA Committee for Culture, Education, Youth and Children, suggested stronger supervision from the National Assembly and local People’s Councils.

NA committees should seriously and strictly supervise ODA projects within their responsibilities, and the Government needs to clearly identify individuals or agencies in charge of ODA project supervision, Binh said.

Other members of the committee agreed that in the coming time the government would have to strengthen inspections and supervision of ODA projects. They also said that for non-refundable ODA, priorities should be given to sustainable poverty reduction projects including education, institutional development, knowledge and technology transfer.

On the other hand, the NA Standing Committee said ODA loans should be allocated to large-scale projects, such as those in infrastructure development and regional social-economical development.

NA Vice Chairman Phung Quoc Hien said that ODA loans should never be borrowed using the government’s current spending/expenditures.

ODA loans and foreign preferential loans should be calculated to avoid dependence on foreign investors, he added.

The same day, the committee discussed the plan for mid-term public investment of the period 2016-2020 and the non-refundable assistance from Ireland for the Programme 135, which aims to provide assistance for socio-economic development in communes with special difficulties.