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Jul 01, 2020 / 19:40

Vietnam moves for greater budget transparency

There is a long road to go for government agencies to fully comply with transparency requirement in the Law on State Budget, said an expert.

Vietnam has made improvements to ensure greater transparency at national and ministerial budget management, according to Ngo Minh Huong, director of the Center for Development and Integration (CDI).

 An overview of the conference. Photo: Hai Yen. 

Specifically, Vietnam’s budget transparency score in the Open Budget Survey 2019 (OBS), the world’s only independent and fact-based research instrument, significantly increased to 38 out of the maximum 100 points, 23 points higher than the previous assessment in 2017.

The score pushed Vietnam’s ranking at 77 out of 117 countries and territories, up 14 places against 2017.

“The government is putting up efforts to realize its commitment to disclosing information regarding the use of state funds, which translates into stronger public participation in the process,” Huong said at a meeting on July 1.

Overall, Vietnam has gained higher scores in three main pillars of OBS 2019, including transparency, public participation and budget oversight, Huong added. In this regard, Vietnam scored 11 out of 100 in public participation and 74 in budget oversight, four and two points higher than in 2017, respectively.

Meanwhile, the average score of the Ministry Open Budget Index (MOBI) 2019 increased by 10.2 points to 21.2 compared to the previous year.

Huong, however, noted 13 state agencies at ministerial level out of 44 under the survey of the MOBI 2019 failed to disclose information regarding budget execution.

The assessment of MOBI is divided into four categories, including category A, being assessed as “full disclosure” and a score in range of 75 – 100, category B or “moderate disclosure” with a score ranging from 50 to 75, category C or “insufficient disclosure”, with a score between 25 – 50, and category D with “low disclosure”, or a score below 25. 

In the MOBI 2019, the State Bank of Vietnam, the country’s central bank, claimed the top spot with 73.17 points, which is under the category of “moderate disclosure”, followed by the national broadcaster Vietnam Television (VTV) with 49.56, or “low disclosure”.

The Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Finance stood at 4th and 5th with 41.82 and 40.63 points, respectively, while the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Information and Communications share the lowest rank with score of 2.44.

Huong stated that 31 state agencies have recorded “above 0 scores” in the 2019 survey, or 70.45% of the total, significantly higher than the number of 17 state agencies in 2018, or 45.95%.

With such a modest result, Huong acknowledged “there is a long road to go for government agencies to fully comply with transparency requirement in the Law on State Budget.”

“Budget transparency would help build trust among citizens and Vietnam’s partners in the government’s efforts in budget management,” Huong added.