The State Audit of Vietnam (SAV) is penning the 2014 audit plan, to be unveiled within the next few weeks. Deputy Auditor General Doan Xuan Tien sat down with Vietnam Investment Review to outline the office’s operational focus next year.

* When will the 2014 audit plan be released?

We have consulted with the National Assembly on this and it is likely that the plan will be announced in the second half of this month.

This year we audited 149 units, of which 29 were businesses and finance-banking organisations. Next year, we are contemplating auditing 161 units, including 44 businesses and banking institutions.

* What will be the major focus of auditing of businesses and banks?

The SAV will focus on appraising the financial situation management and production efficiency of these businesses, as well as their non-core investment efficiency, the restructuring of State-owned corporations and business groups, and commercial banks and credit institutions linked to the reform model striving for higher quality, efficiency, and competitiveness.

During the auditing process we will consult with the National Assembly and the government on restructuring SOEs and the banking system.

We will also assess monetary policy management through the use of diverse tools and measures by the State Bank and the credit activities of commercial banks, focusing on issues of the greatest interests as highlighted by experts and citizens such as bad debts and cross-holdings between banks.

* There are nearly 1,200 State-owned enterprises in Vietnam and only 40 units are slated to be audited each year. How much time does it take to re-audit a business?

Since there are numerous SOEs, we need to prioritise particular groups. We often focus on state corporations and groups which means several have been audited more than once. For other businesses, we try to identify those with financial management or production-business problems, such as the colossal wage hikes at several Ho Chi Minh City public utility companies.

* Will there be anything new added to the auditing process next year against that of previous years?

Auditing is a complicated process that aims to achieve different targets, which makes its scope very large compared to the actual capacity and time able to be spent by an auditing organisation. We also have to use diverse sources to assess the quality of investment projects subject to audit, and the quality of our work is still below expectations.

From 2014, these limitations will be tackled by closer cooperation with Party control units, the Government Inspectorate, and other agencies.

As part of our efforts to concentrate on the SOE sector and controversial fields such as construction investment and public debt, the number of SOEs to be audited next year is planned to increase by 50 per cent against this year, from 29 to 44, but the number of total audits will rise by only 8 per cent.-VNA