31st Sea Games - Vietnam 2021 Covid-19 Pandemic
Oct 07, 2021 / 17:04

ODA disbursement hits 19% of target in Jan-Sep

The Covid-19 pandemic has significantly impacted the construction progress of public projects across the country.

Despite the strong efforts from government agencies, the disbursement rate of ODA (official development assistance) projects in the first nine months of 2021 stood at 19.03% of the plan.

 An overpass at the intersection of Nguyen Van Huyen and Hoang Quoc Viet street in Hanoi. Photo: Thanh Hai

Director of the Department of Debt Management and External Finance under the Ministry of Finance (MoF) Truong Hung Long said at an online conference held today [October 7].

According to Long, seven ministries and ministerial-level agencies reported a 0% disbursement rate, while nine others requested to return their entire allocated funds of VND8 trillion ($352.3 million), or 44.08% of total ODA funds this year.

“Such an amount may be transferred to agencies or localities in need of capital, or return to the central budget if no request arises,” Long said, while acknowledging it is unlikely to realize the goal of disbursing over 95% of the ODA funds this year.

Vice Director of the Department of Debt Management and External Finance Vo Huu Hien added this year, the Government allocated a total of VND51.5 trillion ($2.26 billion) in ODA funds, in which VND16.63 trillion ($732.5 million) went to ministries and VND35 trillion ($1.54 billion) to local governments.

Hien pointed out the serious Covid-19 situation in 19 provinces/cities, including major cities of Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, and Danang, which has directly impacted economic activities and the progress of public projects, forcing many to temporarily stop or preventing foreign consultants from entering Vietnam.

Other issues have also contributed to the delay in the construction progress, including the difficulties in site clearance, resettlement of affected households, slow progress in bidding procedures, or adjustment to financing agreement, Hien continued.

Hien called for greater efforts to accelerate the disbursement of ODA funds in areas with a low risk of infection to compensate for the delayed works at locations under lockdown.

The MoF, for its part, would closely cooperate with other agencies in speeding up the disbursement of public funds, including the ODA and preferential loans, Hien stressed.

Hien called for project owners to enhance efficiency in managing ODA projects and report any difficulties to competent authorities for timely address.

“It is essential for project owners to select qualified and capable consultants in project design to avoid potential modification in the execution,” he said.

In a recent meeting in early October, Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh suggested the Vietnamese Government is in process of drafting a new decree in replacement of decree No.56 on ODA management, with a view to both simplify the administrative process and ensure efficiency in the use of ODA.

Hanoi is among the cities that were hit hard by the fourth Covid-19 outbreak. The city, however, still posted a positive disbursed amount of ODA funds at VND3.66 trillion ($161 million) in the first nine months of 2021, or 46.7% of the yearly target and up 7.2% year on year.

The rate was significantly higher than that of the national average and showcased strong efforts from local authorities to speed up economic recovery, with public investment seen as a major solution to boost growth during the pandemic.