Speech at launch of the Project "Strengthening the Capacity of Budget Oversight for People’s Elected Bodies in Vietnam”

15 Apr 2013

Speaker: UNDP Country Director, Ms. Louise Chamberlain
Date      : Monday, 15 April
Event:      Launch of the Project “Strengthening the Capacity of Budget Oversight for People’s Elected Bodies in Vietnam”
Venue:     Ha Noi, Vietnam

Mr. Dinh Van Nha, Vice Chairman of National Assembly Committee for Financial and Budgetary Affairs,
Mr. Danh Út, Vice Chairman of National Assembly Ethnic Council,
Colleagues from provinces, national organizations, UN and donor community,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am very pleased to be with you this afternoon to launch the project “Strengthening the Capacity of Budget Oversight for People’s Elected Bodies in Vietnam” which continues the successful collaboration between the National Assembly and the UN in Viet Nam.

Today’s launch takes place in the context of key breakthrough initiatives of the National Assembly in the past years such as more proactive outreach by parliamentary committees to seek the views of stakeholders on ongoing law revisions, for example on the Land law and the Law on the handling of administrative violations which introduced due process for all forms of administrative detention and thereby contributed to strengthen the rule of law. Recently piloted public hearings by the Committee for Financial and Budgetary Affairs as well as other committees are helping to strengthen the Government’s accountability vis-à-vis the National Assembly and thereby improves accountability.

And thirdly, the ongoing public consultations on the draft amended Constitution is another example of how the National Assembly has strengthened its role and mandate. UNDP is very proud to have supported you in these efforts, and we are committed to support the National Assembly in further strengthening its oversight, representation and legislative functions, including also in this development of a vision and strategy for the Committee on Finance and Budget that now serves as a good model for other parliamentary committees to follow.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
The State budget is in fact a tool to implement the State’s duty to promote and protect human rights of the people living within its territory. It does so by setting public spending priorities, including to those who are most in need of protection. The importance of ensuring due scrutiny and that people’s needs are met to the best of the state’s ability is paramount.

With rapidly growing state budgets, including growing public debt, the National Assembly is facing tremendous capacity challenges in budget scrutiny, decision-making and oversight. This challenge requires the NA to assert its budget oversight function more strongly by being involved from the early stages in budget estimates planning, assessing priorities for resource allocation and systematically analysing the impact of budget decisions on people’s lives.

In the coming two years the National Assembly will also review several important budget reform laws such as the State Budget Law, the Law on Oversight Activities of the National Assembly, the Law on Tax Administration, the Law on Customs, the Law on Public Investment, and the Law on the Oversight Activities of People’s Councils.

The new three-year project is firmly anchored in the priorities of the Government in the area of public finance reform as reflected in the Prime Minister’s Decision No. 450/QD-TTg issued on 18 April 2012, which includes the strengthening of budget oversight of the National Assembly.

The project has three main pillars:

Firstly, the project will support timely and high quality inputs to the CFBA and MPs in reviewing budget proposals and budget scrutiny by providing high quality independent research and data on issues related to new draft laws.  Research products will place emphasis on the potential impact of proposed legislation on various sectors, stakeholders, and communities, thereby increasing the deputies’ capacity to envision potential impacts of their budgetary decisions on all segments of society. 

Secondly, the project will support the Ethnic Council in strengthening its oversight of Government spending in mountainous and ethnic minority areas, and will help the Ethnic Council to review and propose changes in budget allocation priorities in ethnic minority areas. 

Thirdly, given the Provincial People’s Councils (PPCs) increased budget oversight role as a result of further delegation of responsibilities in the upcoming time, the project will support a comprehensive capacity development component to help PPCs assume their new functions. In addition, PPCs will receive support on specific issues such as methods for making revenue estimates, evaluating the impact of investment projects on communities thereby equipping PPCs with skills and knowledge to make smart budget decisions for sustainable local development.

Better informed MPs, efficient National Assembly supporting agencies and sustained efforts by the National Assembly to collect citizens’ views about issues that affect their lives will contribute to achieving more inclusive and equitable growth.
   
In conclusion, I would like to thank the Committee for Finance and Budgetary Affairs of the National Assembly, the project team and UNDP colleagues for their efforts in preparing today’s event, and I look forward to our continued partnership with all project partners and with the National Assembly to continued strengthening of its budget oversight capacity.

Xin Cảm Ơn. Chúc Các Vị Đại Biểu Sức Khỏe và Thành Đạt.