Nhat Tan Bridge in Hanoi, built with Japanese ODA (Source: VNA)
Japan’s official development assistance (ODA), which mainly went to large-scale infrastructure projects, has stimulated Vietnam’s socio-economic development in a sustainable manner.

Nguyen Xuan Tien, deputy head of the Foreign Economic Relations Department under the Ministry of Planning and Investment, made the comment during a recent interview granted to the Vietnam News Agency.

The official cited the inauguration earlier this year of Noi Bai International Airport’s Terminal T2, Vo Nguyen Giap Street and Nhat Tan Bridge that connect Hanoi with the airport to support his views.

ODA loans have helped Vietnam fight poverty, cope with climate change, improve economic management and competitiveness, develop human resources and speed up institutional reform, Tien said.

The Vietnamese Government has acknowledged the capital source’s contributions to the country’s fulfillment of strategic targets and socio-economic development plans.

Japan has provided Vietnam with an annual average sum of 200 billion JPY (2 billion USD), accounting for over 30 percent of the total ODA loans internationally committed, the official noted.

According to him, although Japan has cut the development assistance to many countries due to its prolonged economic difficulties, the country still prioritised Vietnam with the amount increasing each year.

Tien informed that during a visit to Japan by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung last July, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged to consider an ODA provision worth 300 billion JPY (3 billion USD) to Vietnam in the 2015 fiscal year which is to end on March 31, 2016, focusing on transport, energy and urban infrastructure development.

This reflects an active move made by the Japanese Government to meet Vietnam’s development demands, he commented.

He, however, pointed to the sluggishness in disbursing provided ODA. In the first half of this year, total disbursed sum was 38 percent lower than the same period last year, mostly due to bottlenecks in institutions, legal procedures and regulations.

Adjustments during the project progress, late and inadequate allocations of corresponding capital, and slow land clearance also hindered the process.

Given this, the Government has instructed ODA management agencies and other insiders to partner with providers to closely monitor projects in the black list while organising regular meetings to assess project progress.-VNA