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Hanoi, HCMC want to return VND7.5 trillion from ODA allocation plan

By Hoang Thang

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HCMC – Hanoi and HCMC have proposed reducing the planned allocation of official development assistance (ODA) loans to the two cities by VND4.5 trillion and VND2.92 trillion, respectively, heard a teleconference on capital disbursement over the past nine months on October 7

At the teleconference, Vo Huu Hien, deputy head of the Department of Debt Management and External Finance under the Ministry of Finance, attributed the proposal to the heavy impact of the Covid pandemic, which has delayed work on many ODA-funded projects.

Besides, Hien also explained that these projects might lag behind schedule due to some hindrances to site clearance, resettlement, bidding and signing, or might be in the process of adjusting investment plans, capital or disbursement deadline.

Another reason was because of the weak capital plans, leading to cancellations of estimates for these projects.

Addressing the event, a representative of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development said that most construction sites in many provinces and cities nationwide had shut down, while foreign experts could not enter the country due to the pandemic.

“The ministry had earlier sent a dispatch to the provincial and municipal governments asking them to allow construction workers to apply the stay-at-work model, but few provinces did it,” said the representative.

Hanoi City always faces site clearance hindrances when it develops public investment projects, said Ha Minh Hai, vice chairman of Hanoi City, adding that the pandemic and a price hike in construction materials have also affected the progress of the projects.

Pham Thi Hong Ha, director of the HCMC Department of Finance, said that the pandemic has taken a heavy toll on production and business activities in the city and delayed projects and capital disbursement.

Apart from this, other existing problems include complicated procedures of ODA capital management and complex procedures of adjusting investment plans and extending projects.

Speaking at the teleconference, Truong Hung Long, head of the Department of Debt Management and External Finance, said that the departments’ and ministries’ disbursement of public capital for ODA-funded projects had reached VND3.16 trillion as of October 6, meeting a mere 19% of the target.

The figure was twice higher than the disbursed capital seen in June when the Ministry of Finance held a conference, but remained much lower than that of the same period of 2019 and 2020.

The Ministry of Finance has received nine requests from other ministries and departments to reduce capital allocations worth a total of VND8.05 trillion, accounting for 44% of the prime minister’s capital allocation plan.

Many localities, including Lao Cai, Bac Ninh, Hai Duong, Thai Binh, Ha Nam, Nam Dinh and Kon Tum, have yet to disburse the 2021 capital, while the capital disbursement of Son La, Quang Ninh and Phu Yen has reached 1% of their targets.

Hanoi City has disbursed over VND1.3 trillion, meeting 17.4% of the target, while HCMC’s disbursement has reached some 12.5% of the target.

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