September 22, 2019 06:57

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Publicity and transparency to enhance the responsibilities of all levels of budget use

20:04 | 20/08/2019

VCN- With efforts from policy improvement to practical implementation, the budget transparency of Vietnam has been increasingly expanded and put in line with international practices.

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The large state budget expenditure unit does not mean that it is good publicity. Photo: Internet

There are still units "not public"

The Ministry of Finance said that in addition to publicising budget data, budget disclosure reports have been made public, from the stage estimates for the assessment of budget implementation and budget settlement. The content has been made increasingly public, making it possible for people to monitor the entire budget process, even after the budget settlement stage is in audit and the implementation of the audit promotion.

For example, from the stage of drafting the budget revenue and expenditure policies; before being promulgated, it will be publicised on the website of ministries, departments and branches for 45 days, taking public comments from related organizations and individuals.This is important in order to create conditions for people to contribute ideas to the Government, ministries and branches, including the Ministry of Finance, from the formulation and promulgation of financial and budgetary policies. Thereby, feedback will be received to improve institutions.

In addition to publicizing the estimates and settlement approved by competent authorities, it is necessary to publicize the state budget implementation to help monitor and supervise the entire budget process.

In terms of form, the system of public criteria is uniformly set between stages to compare and evaluate. In addition, the State Budget Law in 2015 supplemented the state budget regulations overseen by the community and assigned to the Vietnam Fatherland Front at all levels to coordinate with members of the group to supervise the state budget, detecting and preventing acts of violating the financial management regime.

Although the publicity of Vietnam's budget has been increasingly expanded, the above provisions have not been fully implemented.

Recently, the Budget Transparency Alliance (BTAP) has published the results of an assessment related to the Ministry of Finance and the Central Agency's publicity index (MOBI) 2018. Through online surveys, results show that the ministries and central agencies have not fully complied with regulations on publicizing the budget as prescribed. Specifically, there are 37 ministries and central agencies surveyed to achieve "less publicity", no units reach the level of "full disclosure", "relative" and "incomplete." Of the 37 ministries the Central Agency surveyed, twenty units did not disclose any information about the budget, seventeen units have publicized at least one budget document or have a public folder budget. In MOBI ranking 2018, the group of three units with the highest rank in publicity were Vietnam Television, Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union Central Committee and the Ministry of Finance.

Notably, MOBI 2018 ranking results also show the incompatibility between MOBI ranking points 2018 and the estimated allocations of 2019 for the units. Accordingly, some ministries and central agencies belong to the top group in budget expenditure, but they have very low scores of MOBI in 2018 or no points. For example, the Ministry of Transport has the largest total budget expenditure estimate out of 37 units surveyed (in 2019 it was 58.56 trillion VND) while MOBI 2018 ranked only 3.7 points, putting it 13 out of 17 units. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education and Training respectively ranked 4th, 5th and 6th in the ranking for 2019, but there were no budget documents that are publicized on the unit's electronic portal at the time of the survey.

This poses a more urgent need for publicity and transparency in the budget and needs to be implemented more strictly according to regulations.

Negative restrictions

According to Mr. Vo Thanh Hung - Director of the State Budget Department, Ministry of Finance, the Law on State Budget in 2015, which came into effect in 2017, has decentralized the authority to manage and use public assets and budget for ministries,branches and localities, along with strengthening publicity, transparency and accountability. Therefore, financial discipline depends on strict observance of the provisions of the law for ministries, sectors and localities.

At the stage of estimation, the ministries, branches and localities will draw up cost estimates on the basis of their assigned tasks and the system of budget allocation norms, regimes, criteria and spending norms set by competent state agencies. On the basis of the assigned estimates, the ministries, central agencies and localities shall allocate budgets to each unit using the budget, major programs and tasks and take responsibility for organizing the implementation and operating budget estimates. The financial agency of the same level plays a post-inspection role and only comments when the allocation is not in accordance with the objectives, tasks, regimes and policies. Therefore, it is necessary to strengthen the responsibilities of all levels using the budget.

According to the representative of the State Budget Department, to facilitate the monitoring, the State Budget Law and guiding documents have supplemented the regulations on public implementation responsibilities at all levels, agencies and units using the state budget. At the same time, the role of agencies and people in inspection, audit and supervision on the management and use of the budget will limit losses and waste in the budget expenditure. In the guiding Circular detailing of this content, the Ministry of Finance stipulates that the estimating units and organizations supported by the State budget must publicly announce the budget revenue, expenditure estimates and state budget settlement. Thus, the superior management agencies, inspection agencies, organizations and individuals can easily access information on the use of the state budget of the drafting units and organizations allocated by the state budget in order to inspect, monitor and respond to competent authorities when detecting violations. This raises the responsibility of the unit head in financial management, limiting negative use of the budget.

By Hong Van/Bui Diep