Speech on launching of the project “Strengthening the capacities for budgetary decision and oversight of people’s elected bodies in Viet Nam”

Aug 21, 2009

Speaker:  Ms. Setsuko Yamazaki, UNDP Country Director.
Date:        August 21, 2009
Event:      Launching of the project “Strengthening the capacities for budgetary decision and oversight of people’s elected bodies in Viet Nam”

Mr. Nguyen Duc Kien, Vice Chairman of the National Assembly,
Dr. Phuong Quoc Hien, Chairman of the Committee on Finance and Budget,
Ladies and gentlemen

It is a great pleasure to launch our new project, Strengthening the Capacities for Budgetary Decision and Oversight of People’s Elected Bodies with Dr. Hien with presence of Mr. Kien.  UNDP is privileged to renew our partnership with the Committee on Finance and Budget to support its efforts to promote the reform of public financial management and oversight both at national and local levels, building on the successes and lessons learned from the previous project.

The launching of this project is timely and relevant. The global financial crisis has forced governments across the globe to take fiscal and monetary measures to stimulate production and mitigate the social and economic impacts of the crisis. In Viet Nam, this is not an exception, and at the same time, the Government has been preparing the National Socio-economic Development Strategy for 2011 -2020.

Over the past several months, UNDP has supported policy dialogue on macro economic management and governance issues by inviting prominent scholars and economists.  The latest visitor, Prof. Jomo, UN Assistant Secretary General of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs and a prominent economist for the region stressed the importance to stimulate the economy by investing in the areas where there will be long-lasting impacts on job creation, economic growth, social services and human capital.
Viet Nam’s substantive stimulus injection may be justified due to the severity of the current global downturn. The National Assembly is best positioned to ensure that the stimulus measures seek to contribute to Viet Nam’s vision and long term development prospects, and that they do so in a sustainable and socially inclusive manner. The National Assembly as a forum for high level, transparent, inclusive and participatory policy debate also  has a role to ensure that this money is used in the most effective, efficient and transparent manner possible. 

 In doing so, we should not lose sight of the human dimensions of the crisis. It is of critical importance that the government’s stimulus efforts help strengthen existing social protection programmes, so that the most vulnerable groups – including the elderly, children and disabled people –  and those who have been hit by the crisis receive adequate support and assistance during these difficult times.

Indeed, the recent crisis has made it clear that in addition to responding to short-term challenges, national planning needs to be guided by a long-term vision and strategy.  The National Assembly has a critical role to play in supporting the government to ensure that this is the case in Viet Nam. And in doing this, it is also important that government policies and programmes are responsive to the needs of all the sectors of Vietnamese society – including addressing the effects of climate change on people’s lives.

Looking ahead, we recognize that as Viet Nam achieves middle-income status, the development process and accompanying challenges become more complex, requiring increasingly effective institutions.  Effective systems and processes are needed, and National Assembly members must be equipped with adequate knowledge and skills.   It is our hope that the project we are launching today will accomplish this, further enhancing the National Assembly’s capacities to perform some of its most critical functions: to monitor budgetary allocations, to ensure that spending reflects human-centered national development goals, and to support rigorously informed macro-economic and social policies. 

Let me note that as a close development partner of the National Assembly since the 1990s, UNDP is pleased to be supporting this project.  Of course we are not alone in this endeavor, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank our development partners for their continued commitment to this crucial initiative.

Finally, to those of you who are elected representatives, I am sure I do not need to remind you of your historic responsibility - to the principles of your Constitution and to the well-being of all Vietnamese citizens. By fulfilling your duty, your role will be fully appreciated by future generations.

I congratulate everyone involved in this initiative and it is appropriate to launch the projects with substantive discussions on key issues that we face today.

Thank you.