The US State Department has released its latest annual Fiscal Transparency Report, which says there has yet to be “significant progress” in transparency about government revenue and debt obligations of the state-owned enterprises in Vietnam.
The latest report released on June 25 is quite similar to the comments made by the US State Department in its annual report last June, which said that Vietnam has not made progress in making public government revenue.
The US State Department annually issues a fiscal transparency report as authorized by the US Congress. This annual report assesses the fiscal transparency of U.S. aid recipient governments, including Vietnam, to help ensure that U.S. taxpayer funds are used appropriately and provide an opportunity for dialogue with governments about the importance of fiscal transparency.
The U.S. State Department assessed the fiscal transparency of 140 governments listed in the 2014 Fiscal Transparency Original Report + Equatorial Guinea, which determines whether these governments meet minimum standards, and also determines what measures governments that do not meet this minimum standard have taken to make significant progress toward meeting the requirements set forth by the United States.
The 2020 report shows that Vietnam is not among the 76/141 countries assessed to meet the minimum standards for fiscal transparency. According to a new assessment released by the US State Department for this year, Vietnam has yet to meet these standards as the Southeast Asian nation has conducted any significant progress.
The minimum requirements for financial transparency under the US global criteria are defined as the public disclosure of national budget documents, including income and expenditures, and contracts and permits. the government on natural resource extraction, including tendering and allocation of concessions, according to a State Department announcement on June 25 when it released its 2021 report.
In its assessment of Vietnam, the US State Department said that the Vietnamese government had “announced the proposed operating and budgetary budgets to the public” but “did not publish the year-end report within a reasonable period of time.”
According to the US State Department, information on debt obligations of state-owned enterprises is not publicly available in Vietnam, and although budget documents are publicly available, including revenues from state-owned natural resources, the government in Hanoi “maintains non-transparent budget accounts.” The ministry said that basic information on natural resource extraction contracts is not made publicly available. This assessment is similar to the comments of the US State Department in last year’s report.
The Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not immediately respond to VOA’s request for comment on the US State Department’s latest assessment of the Vietnamese government’s fiscal transparency.
According to USAID, the US has provided more than $1.8 billion in aid to Vietnam over the past 20 years, of which more than $706 million has been used for medical assistance in the Southeast Asian country.
Vietnam in recent years has made many efforts to make the government budget transparent, in the context of greater participation in international trade agreements. The World Bank assesses that Vietnam has made significant progress since the 1990s in financial transparency. The results of the global survey on the Open Budget Disclosure Index 2019 show that Vietnam’s budget publicity and transparency score has increased sharply compared to previous evaluation periods, up 23 points compared to 2017.
The US Fiscal Transparency Report, authorized by the US Congress, is a tool to identify weaknesses, as well as support, needed changes, making recommendations for Vietnam to improve transparency. fiscal year, which includes the publication of year-end budget statements within a reasonable period and the disclosure of information on the debt obligations of SOEs as well as the disclosure of basic information on the granting of mining rights of natural resources in Vietnam.