In an ongoing discussion, many deputies have asked the Government to explain to the National Assembly the figure of 6.9 per cent budget overspending this year. How do you elaborate on that?
VietNamNet Bridge – Phung Quoc Hien, chairman of the National Assembly Committee for Budget and Finance, spoke to Lao dong (Labour) newspaper about the need to restructure the country’s economy.
In its appraisal report, the Committee for Budget and Finance said that over the past nine months under review, the Government had basically followed the National Assembly resolution on 2009 budget spending.
In the context of the economic down turn, the stimulus package was not originally included in the 2009 budget – a contributor to overspending by the Government. In addition, the Government has spent another VND11,000 billion ($598 million) on poor people and the national programme of social security.
The combination of this unforeseen expenditure has surpassed the previous estimate of the National Assembly so not surprisingly, the Government has to explain itself. If the explanation is accepted, the overspending will be ratified.
In addition the Government has to explain its decision to give bonuses to localities that made sizeable contributions to the State revenue to make sure all is in accordance with the budget law.
We’ve talked quite a lot about the need to restructure our economy. Will you please further elaborate on the concept of economic restructuring?
This is a long story. How should the restructure start, I don’t think it is time to talk about it as it needs further discussion and consideration.
In the past when talking about economic restructuring, we often talked about giving priority to the development of heavy and light industry and then agriculture. But for the time being, it is outdated to select heavy industry as an engine for economic development as our development level is too far behind other countries.
It is time for us to develop products suitable to our climate conditions, natural resources and our developing level.
Many people have suggested that we should focus on agricultural development but I think we should focus on the service industry. That’s why, in my opinion, the three most important factors that should be addressed in economic restructuring are quality, efficiency and competitiveness.
For example if we decide to focus on export, but only export raw materials or natural resources, is the policy right? No I don’t think so, as the natural resources will be exhausted. It is the duty of the Minister of Planning and Investment to conduct research and formulate a plan to submit to the Government for approval.
I’m sure it has a long way to go.
In 2009, the public debt is expected to be equivalent to 40 per cent of the GDP and for 2010, the figure is estimated at about 44 per cent – close to critical. In your opinion, what should we do to cut down the debt?
It is important to understand that the debt is to compensate public spending inside the country. However, with such a big debt in 2009, we should review the Government’s financial and monetary policy. In addition, we have to increase the State budget to match spending, particularly through tax policies and improving the quality of the service sector.
2010 is a year full of challenges and difficulties for the National Assembly, the Government and society as a whole. We need to pool our efforts together to overcome them.
VietNamNet/Viet Nam News
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