The State Audit of Vietnam (SAV) plans to focus on auditing issues of public concern this year such as oil, gas, electricity, coal, land, housing and urban development.

Areas under scrutiny will also include mineral resources, education and training, environment and assessing implementation of National Assembly and Government resolutions, said SAV Chief Auditor Dinh Tien Dung in an interview with the Vietnam News Agency.

Apart from auditing the State budget, finances and State-owned property, SAV had planned to audit 16 special areas this year, up from 11 focus areas during last year, which will include a rapid and sustainable poverty reduction programme for poor districts and land use and management projects, he said.

"SAV will carry out audit activities across a wide range of focus areas in order to provide proper conclusions, recommendations and information in a timely manner for the management activities of the Government, National Assembly and relevant ministries and agencies," Dung said.

In order to effectively carry out audits on issues of public concern, improvements had been made to the quality of auditors and the management capacity of auditing agencies, he added.

SAV planned to continue staff training activities and speeding up measures to supervise audits and improve the professional ethics of auditors.

"Auditing results of SAV will not only have a strong impact on socio-economic development but also serve as an important tool for management agencies to study in order to map out feasible measures for the socio-economic development of the country," Dung said.

He stressed that the legal position, function, tasks and jurisdiction of the State Audit did not allow officials or auditors to abuse their authority to profit and under the current regulations, any violators would face strict punishment or have to take legal responsibility depending on the seriousness of infringement.

"Relevant agencies will regularly inspect activities of auditors and strictly punish any auditor violating professional ethics and cultural behaviours," he said.

In 2011, SAV carried out 152 audits as planned, focusing on issues of public concern such as the Electricity of Vietnam and the management and use of the petrol price stabilisation fund during the 2009-10 period. /.