Associations, extended arms of ruling communist party – burdens for Vietnam’s society

Even the Vietnamese National Assembly – in theory elected by the people – has been turned into their extended arm by the Communist Party of Vietnam

Vietnam’s state budget deficit and overspending have continuously occurred in recent years. According to the General Statistics Office, in 2020, the state budget deficit was only nearly VND150 trillion ($625 million).

The Government Newspaper reported on December 21 with the title “Ministry of Finance publicly announces state budget estimate for 2024.” The news said that the Ministry of Finance has issued Decision 2715/QD-BTC, on publicly announcing the state budget estimate for 2024.

Accordingly, the state budget estimate for 2024, with total revenue of VND1,701 trillion, total expenditure of VND2,119.4 trillion. In addition to the targets on state budget revenue and expenditure, the National Assembly decided the state budget deficit is VND399.4 trillion, equivalent to 3.6% of GDP, and the total state budget loan is VND690.5 trillion.

According to a recent report by the Institute of Economic and Policy Research, under the School of Economics, Hanoi National University, each year, the state budget has to spend more than VND14 trillion to support associations. But if we fully calculate all costs, such as land, houses, vehicles and other assets, the cost for the entire system of these associations ranges from VND 45.6 trillion to VND68.1 trillion annually. equivalent to 1-1.7% of GDP.

In the context of Vietnam’s current state budget continuously overspending, it not only affects the country’s development investment capital, but also affects social security policies for the people. Therefore, saving money on unnecessary issues must be seriously considered.

Associations that are considered famous include: Vietnam Fatherland Front, Women’s Union, Farmers’ Association, Veterans’ Association, Communist Youth Union, General Confederation of Labor, etc. If we only count the budget, The annual budget spent to support these associations, about more than VND14 trillion, is double the budget for the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Health, and five times higher than the budget for the Ministry of Science and Technology.

Obviously, it is not a small amount of budget capital expenditure. Meanwhile, public opinion finds that the activities of these associations are almost ineffective.

According to data from the Vietnam Union of Science and Technology Organizations in 2020, out of a total of 52,565 associations operating in Vietnam, there are nearly 9,000 subsidized associations, and the number of official payrolls is up to more than 70 thousands of people.

This is a terrible waste of the state budget, used from people’s tax money. This shows that the Communist Party of Vietnam has used taxpayer money to strengthen its apparatus, using associations as the extended arms of the Party.

Dr. Nguyen Quang A – former Director of IDS Institute – a financial expert, commented on state-subsidized associations as follows:

All associations are extended arms of the Communist Party. The amount of money spent from the budget is truly a huge number. It proves the determination of the Communist Party to use taxpayers’ money to strengthen its own apparatus, as well as the apparatuses of its extended agencies, to form an organization that covers all of this society.”

Talking to reporters at on the request to remain anonymous, a former lecturer at Hanoi National University commented on the current issue of budget spending for associations that are too large. He said:

It is true that this number is very large in the context of such high public debt, the Government’s budget spending is very tight, and now we still have to spend such a large amount, it is necessary to review the functions and tasks of the associations more closely, to reduce it. In addition, there are many other wastes that need to be cut.”

Commenting on the associations that are operating with budget money today, public opinion says that, among the state’s organizations, there are many organizations with no name but no reality, created to exploit the state budget and become a burden to society.

There is a paradox in Vietnam, while the state has too many associations and unions that rely on budget money, but civil society organizations that operate effectively and independently on the budget and very useful for the people, they are banned and even eliminated by the Communist government of Vietnam. (Translated)