Viet Nam’s National Assembly discuses Asian comparative experiences on Budget Oversight
Ha Noi - The National Assembly (NA) held today a workshop to discuss comparative experiences of Viet Nam and four other Asian countries (Thailand, Malaysia, Republic of Korea and Kazakhstan) gained during recent research work and study tours conducted in these countries in order to improve Viet Nam’s budgetary process.
The workshop brought together representatives from the various agencies, legislative and executive, including the Committee for Economic and Budgetary Affairs (CEBA), Office of the National Assembly, Ministry of Finance (MOF), State Audit of Viet Nam (SAV) and of eleven Provincial People’s Councils representing the whole country
The workshop was sponsored by UNDP Headquarter in close collaboration with the CEBA’s project authorities. It aims to help the Assembly and the Councils play a full role in the country's crucial budget decision and oversight and fiscal decentralization process.
Mr. Nguyen Duc Kien, Chairman of CEBA, highlighted the importance of sharing lessons learned and good practices in order to enrich Viet Nam’s knowledge of budgetary process in the region and about the role of people’s elected bodies. He said these activities have contributed to current debates on legal development agenda that has recently seen amendments to the State Budget Law, effective for the 2004 budget. These amendments, in line with the amended 1992 Constitution, have importantly enhanced the role of the National Assembly and the People’s Councils in deciding and overseeing the whole budgetary process, i.e. the formulation, approval, and monitoring of the implementation of the annual budget.
UNDP Resident Representative Jordan Ryan welcomed this increasingly important responsibility of people’s elected bodies, saying their increased participation in the budgetary process encourages more equitable and efficient allocation of public resources among regions. Indeed, the first ever decision on budget allocation the Assembly took during its most recent session end of 2003 was to increase funding to 13 of the poorest provinces in the country. These provinces had been identified by recent UN studies as deep pockets of poverty for which additional targeted assistance was required if Viet Nam is to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in an equitable way.
The allocation of central budget, previously performed by the Standing Committee of the NA, now is undertaken in a transparent manner by the 498 deputies that compose the 11th Legislature for the term 2002-2007. This situation creates the demand for strengthening economic and budgetary oversight capacities of the NA as the highest State institution.
Ryan noted: "People’s elected bodies have a vital role in the move towards a more accountable government, where people have a real say in decisions that affect their lives and can hold officials to account when they don’t live up to their promises."