Cost overruns found in Hanoi’s major projects

VietNamNet Bridge – The Government Inspectorate (GI) has released findings of egregious wrongdoing in the implementation of a number of BT (Build-Transfer) and BOT (Build-Operate-Transfer) infrastructure and environmental projects in Ha Noi City. A view of the extension of Le Van Luong Street in the urban district of Thanh Xuan, southwest of Ha Noi. — Photo: VNA/VNS The GI recommended holding Ha Noi authorities accountable for the faults. The GI said all BT projects were behind schedule and had entailed significant cost overruns. It said contractors were “not sufficiently capable of mobilising capital” and also blamed a “failure to disburse budget in accordance with set schedule.” Seven BT projects caused massive loss – the construction of the Yen So wastewater treatment plant, the Le Van Luong Road extension, the southern main road of Ha Tay, a street connecting Le Duc Tho and the new urban area Xuan Phuong, a road surrounding the Chu Van An memorial site, and the Ha Noi–Hung Yen interprovincial road. Regarding the main southern road of Ha Tay, nearly all parties involved – the People’s Committee, Department of Finance, Department of Transport, and the investor – were found to be at fault and violating the BT contract terms. The GI also reported that the investor has misappropriated large amounts of State budget. The state-owned Civil Engineering Construction Corporation No.5 (CIENCO5) – responsible for the project – was asked to “immediately” pay back VND1.428 trillion ($62.8 million) to the State budget - VND902 billion in interest expenses…... [read more]

In his article “Renewing the working style” published in October 1947, President Ho Chi Minh wrote “Individualism is a kind of bacteria, which leads to dangerous diseases”. According to author, these diseases include rapacity, laziness, arrogance, greed for fame, indiscipline and small-mindedness. To realise the goal of “a rich people, a strong country and an equitable, democratic and civilised society”, the fight against individualism must be given top priority in society in the past or at present. Naturally, individualism is the enemy of the genuine interest of human beings and this kind of interest is closely linked to the common interest of the entire nation. Fighting individualism means fighting diseases that arise. But how can we uncover the diseases once they lie in nature of several ranking officials in society?To fight individualism, we first fight rapacity, and to do this, we must use honest people. Honesty and rapacity are like water and fire. To remedy the “disease”, we need a powerful State agency (here is the Government Inspectorate), which is required to comprise honest people. But in fact, the agency has several greedy figures like deputy heads Luong Cao Khai, Duong Van Luc and Bui Xuan Bay, who were found to be involved in bribery scandals. Ironically, these ranking officials were authorised to inspect other greedy people. When inspecting projects undertaken by the Vietnam Oil and Gas Corporation, these powerful officials took bribes from corrupt people and legalised their violations. With a helping hand from these officials and several other…... [read more]

In the Government Office’s document No 997 issued on February 27, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung affirmed that it is not necessary to apply the urgent measures proposed by the State Bank of Vietnam to control the foreign exchange of indirect foreign investment at a meeting held on February 12 by the National Financial and Monetary Policy Advisory Council. However, Mr Dung asked the Ministry of Finance, the State Securities Commission, the State Bank of Vietnam, the Ministry of Public Security and the Government Inspectorate to launch supervisory activities aimed at ensuring organisations and individuals’ adherence to State regulations. In addition, he highlighted the importance of strictly handling law breakers, including withdrawing licenses and banning units or individuals from participating in the securities market. Mr Dung requested the Ministry of Finance, the State Securities Commission and relevant agencies to rapidly issue documents on guiding the implementation of the Securities Law, the Foreign Exchange Ordinance and other related documents. The National Financial and Monetary Policy Advisory Council should propose to the Government effective measures to ensure the securities market will develop rapidly and sustainably while avoiding socio-economic instability. In fact, the development of the Vietnamese securities market is positive in two aspects: First, Vietnam has diversified forms of attracting foreign direct investment (FDI), official development assistance (ODA) funding and inflows of indirect investment capital. Second, attracting capital through the securities market is an important channel as all countries which want to develop have to expand this channel. The development of the…... [read more]

However, in the face of new opportunities as well as difficulties and challenges, the new Government will have to work harder and manage well to promote the process of national industrialisation and modernisation. The new Government with five Deputy Prime Ministers and 22 cabinet members led by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung – one of inheritance from the previous government - can afford to meet the requirements for national renewal and international integration. In the context of the country’s drastic changes, cabinet members will go to extreme lengths to create favourable conditions for people and enterprises, to mobilise all resources aimed at achieving the set targets for high economic growth rate, progress in social equality, poverty reduction, cultural and educational development, healthcare, environmental protection and improvement while at the same time maintaining national defence and security, social and political stability with the aim of raising Vietnam’s international role and position. In regard to the responsibility of the new Government, NA deputy from central highland Dak Nong province, Luong Phan Cu said, “We will not be on the right track to guarantee sustainable development if we fail to keep economic development going along with social development. Therefore, the new Government should pay due attention to solving social issues such as poverty reduction, epidemics, food hygiene and safety in which the State and Government play an important role in management activities that cannot be done by the people.” Vietnam’s tremendous achievements recorded during the national Doi Moi (Renewal) process in recent years,…... [read more]

On the fringes of the seminar, Government Chief Inspector Tran Van Truyen told the media that the fight against corruption will bring about better results only after high ranking officials show a high sense of responsibility towards their work. “Administrative reform is considered the key to implementing corruption prevention measures effectively,” said Mr Truyen. “Once administrative procedures are clear and transparent to businesses and people, they will make an important contribution to cleaning up corruption.” Mathieu Salomon, an anti-corruption advisor to the Swedish Embassy in Hanoi, emphasised the importance of recruiting qualified staff which, he said, will have a direct impact on the anti-corruption fight in Vietnam. Meanwhile, Jairo Acuna Alfaro, an advisor on administrative reform and corruption prevention to the United Nations Development Programme in Vietnam, insisted that Vietnam adopt a more pragmatic approach to reforming public affairs and consider the current state of its economic development as well as the capacity of its human resources. He called for improving the efficiency of administration performance and public services in the future. At the seminar, international specialists shared the view that if State agencies fail to recruit qualified staff, most of them will not be able to work in a professional manner. As a result, this will hinder the Government’s efforts to push through administrative reform and combat corruption. The fight goes on According to Chief Inspector Truyen, inspectors have uncovered many cases of wrong use and management of land and misappropriation of State property in different forms. PhD Do…... [read more]

The Government Inspectorate is preparing for the 10th anti-corruption dialogue with a focus on reviewing the results of the anti-corruption campaign in certain fields of activity. The Party and State have issued a number of legal documents on anti-corruption, including the anti-corruption ordinance and law. The government has also set up a Steering Committee on Anti-Corruption. According to a Government report on anti-corruption in 2011, the National Assembly has adopted 20 laws and resolutions related to anti-corruption. The Government has issued 300 decrees and resolutions while central agencies and local authorities have disseminated thousands of circulars and guidelines. However, the report said, the detection and handling of corruption cases has appeared to be just the tip of the iceberg, far from meeting people’s expectations. This is attributed to the lack of synchronous and strict measures taken by the anti-corruption agencies. A recent study conducted by the National Political Publishing House showed many government officials and employees had low salaries but lived a luxury life and only five percent of the so-called corruption cases, detected mostly by people and mass media, were confirmed and strictly dealt with. Associate Professor Phan Xuan Son from the Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics and Public Administration emphasized the importance of strong political determination to fight corruption from the upper echelons of power to the lowest. He said there must be strong political commitment to take action in an open manner that can be seen by the public. And it must be associated with…... [read more]

The Government Inspectorate and the World Bank co-organized the contest, which has been held annually since 2003. This year’s competition has attracted 152 entries, of which 44 were selected for the final round. The event aims to encourage innovative initiatives that help increase accountability and transparency in the operations of public offices, the effectiveness of public services and the public involvement in policymaking and local development. Addressing the opening ceremony, Deputy Head of the Government Inspectorate Mai Quoc Binh said the contest offers a good chance for people to contribute to the development of their community while helping them recognize their role in the fight against corruption. Martin Rama, acting Director of World Bank Vietnam, said the Innovation Day contests have focused on topics that require team spirit and good knowledge to put forth feasible solutions.... [read more]

Of the total, the inspectors proposed that the State recover VND7 trillion for its budget, hand down administrative sanctions on those who misused VND235 billion, and assign relevant agencies to deal with the remaining more than VND17.9 trillion. They also proposed that the State take back more than 1,700 ha of the misused land. According to the inspectors in 2009 State agencies dealt with 64,000 denunciations and petitions lodged by citizens. As a result, over 2,000 people were fully vindicated and 74 cases involved 114 people were transferred to investigative agencies to decide on their criminal responsibilities. In the year, the anti-corruption campaign yielded important gains and saw positive changes, the Government Inspectorate said, attributing those to the strengthening of institutional tools and regulations, wide-scale education of laws and implementation of preventive measures, and due punishments given to offenders. The agency worked with relevant ministries and central agencies on a national strategy for combating and preventing corruption until 2020 and aided the Government in works relating to the fight. However, it admitted that much remains to be done in preventing corruption especially in the declaration of assets by State civil servants and leaders. This year, Government inspectors will focus on examining State agencies’ accountability, settling denunciations regarding corruption and intensifying inspection and surveillance over anti-corruption work undertaken by ministries, sectors and localities.... [read more]

The messages were from the leaders of the Ministry of Education and Training, the Ministry of Public Health, the Government Inspectorate, the Communist Review and other leaders from Hanoi, Hung Yen, Hai Duong, and Phu Tho. They highlighted VOV’s achievements and efforts to cooperate closely with other media agencies and localities in recent years. They expressed hopes that VOV will improve the quality of its programmes to meet public demands. ** On June 21, Minister and Chairman of the Government Office Nguyen Xuan Phuc granted certificates of merit to 12 press agencies for their contributions to the “administrative reform” project, one of which is the “Government with people” on the VOV’s News and Current Affairs Channel (VOV1). ** The same day, the Central Highland Steering Committee also paid a visit to VOV’s representative office in the region. The committee’s deputy head Tran Viet Hung praised VOV staff’s effort to disseminate the Party and State’s policies, especially through its radio programmes broadcast in six ethnic languages. ** VOV’s representative office in the Mekong Delta region also received baskets of flowers and congratulations from the High Command of Military Zone 9, the Ca Mau Provincial Committee of the Communist Party, and several other agencies. Representatives from many agencies and businesses expressed their delight at the development of VOV in recent years. They confirmed that VOV deserves to be the Party’s and State’s leading communication agency.... [read more]

Speaking at a press briefing on the threshold of the ninth Anti-Corruption Dialogue in Hanoi on May 24, Ambassador Herrstrom spoke highly of the dialogue’s theme, “Corruption in the Mining Industry in Vietnam,” saying the issue will have a negative impact on the country’s sustainable development and trust in its business environment. The diplomat congratulated the Vietnamese government on organising the biannual dialogue, which systematically mentions and regularly updates the issue of corruption within the framework of dialogue with domestic and foreign partners. He also urged Vietnam to create conditions for individuals and organisations to join anti-corruption efforts. He said he expected the dialogue, scheduled for May 25, to touch upon measures to implement the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) in Vietnam as a tool to combine the efforts of the government, society, media and private sector in the battle against corruption in the mining industry. The dialogue will be jointly held by the Government Inspectorate, the Office of the National Steering Committee on Corruption Prevention and the Swedish Embassy. EITI is being implemented in 35 countries, including those with abundant natural resources contributing 25 percent or more to their respective GDP. In Vietnam, mining is one of the fastest developing industries which contributes greatly to the State budget. Vietnam ranks seventh in Asia-Pacific and third in Southeast Asia in crude oil production.... [read more]

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