The European Delegation to Viet Nam yesterday announced that it had disbursed a total of 29 million euros (US$41million) in grants to support poverty reduction in Viet Nam.
Emmanuel Mersch, the EU's charge d'affaires, said that the disbursement corresponded with the EU Delegation's ongoing support of two development programmes in Viet Nam, both of which ended in 2010. Viet Nam's Socio Economic Development Plan (SEDP) in the period of 2006-10 received 17 million euros while the remaining 12 million euros went to support Programme 135 Phase II (period of 2006-10), which supported the socio-economic development of communes and villages in mountainous and ethnic minority areas.
According to Tran Thuy Dung, an official with the EU's collaboration and development committee who was directly involved with supporting peverty reduction programme 135, the delay of the disbursement was due to the unstable macroeconomy in Viet Nam last year which had not satisfied the EU donor's conditions for the grant. "Results from the International Monetary Fund released in the middle of June however showed that Viet Nam had recently carried out proper policies to stabilise the macroeconomy and efficiently control public finance management," she said.
The Poverty Reduction Support Credit (PRSC) is the general budget support mechanism used by all donors in Viet Nam. Under the PRSC, the EU and other development partners have been working with the Government to improve the content of important policies, particularly in the area of health, education, gender and public finance management, to ensure timely adoption of these policies and to monitor their impact on broader development objectives.
Disbursement of 17 million euros ( around $24.6million) takes account of the clear progress in policy reform made by the Vietnamese authorities in key areas, such as the introduction of internal audit legislation to improve public financial management, the establishment of national standards and a unified licensing system for health care practitioners, providing guiding legislation for the domestic violence law, and introducing a legal framework on consumer protection.
The remaining 12 million euros is the single instalment of the Raising the living standards of ethnic minorities in Vietnam, an agreement signed between the EU and Vietnamese Government in October last year.
Emmanuel Mersch said in the years to 2013, the EU Delegation was planning an additional 150 million euros ($212m) grant support to poverty reduction and the health sector. "However such budget support will only be possible if public financial management modernisation is steadily pursued and a stable macroeconomic environment is maintained," he added. — VNS