The National Steering Committee for ODA and Preferential Loans and the Ministry of Planning and Investment have jointly organised a conference seeking ways to speed up disbursement for ODA- related projects.

According to Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung, the total amount of ODA disbursed in 2013 reached 5.137 billion USD, of which 4.686 billion USD was ODA loans and concessional loans and 451 million USD was non-refundable aid.

Big donors still maintained their high rate of disbursement like Japan with 1.686 billion USD - through JICA and the World Bank (WB) with 1.359 million USD. Particularly, ADB made a breakthrough disbursement in 2013, with 1.3 billion USD, said the Vietnam Business Forum.

Deputy Minister Nguyen Chi Dung said the total amount of ODA set to be distributed in 2014 is some 8 billion USD, much bigger than the value in 2013. Therefore, this will be a big challenge for operators as well as the Government of Vietnam.

He cited that, in 2013, Vietnam expended more than 5.1 billion USD of ODA and preferential loans, up 23 percent over the previous year. Nevertheless, the undisbursed value remained very high. According to statistics, more than 20.9 billion USD of ODA has not yet been disbursed, led by the Ministry of Transport.

Referring to solutions to the challenge, in view of the Ministry of Planning and Investment - a standing member at the National Steering Committee for ODA and Preferential Loans, Deputy Minister Nguyen Chi Dung frankly raised fundamental solutions.

The first is regulatory and institutional solutions. Procedures and processes need to be simplified to facilitate the disbursement and project implementation. Related legal documents like the Law on Construction, the Law on Investment, the Law on Bidding, ODA and preferential loans provisions in the Law on Public Investment need to be revised and supplemented.

The second package of solutions is the harmonised processes and procedures with donors, particularly in land acquisition, resettlement, procurement, financial management and auditing. The next package of solutions related to policy enforcement. The roles of the National Steering Committee for ODA and Preferential Loans need to be enhanced to better settle problems arising from the preparation and implementation of programmes and projects. It is also necessary to build a coordination mechanism among the National Steering Committee for ODA and Preferential Loans and six development banks to better respond to sluggish disbursement and slow-moving projects.

The next group of solutions refers to Vietnam's commitments. We need to strengthen our apparatus capacity as well as the management capacity of project investors and project management units; timely arrange enough counterpart capital; and quickly carry out land compensation, site clearance and resettlement works.

The final group of solutions he proposed concerns supervision and assessment works aimed to deal with emerging problems that hinder the progress of ODA projects.

Speaking to the meeting, Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai reiterated that the wastefulness of this economic resource is unfortunately caused by delayed ODA disbursement. Regarding counterpart funds, he assigned the Ministry of Planning and Investment to submit the capital balancing plan in the spirit of ensuring enough counterpart capital regardless of how difficult it may be. He urged elimination of ineffective projects as they may slow down the overall progress.

He asked ministries and project management units to perform a thorough review of project implementation and adopt transparent, close and responsible working practices.-VNA