Very frugal in recurrent expenditures, Ministry of Finance

VCN - Explaining and clarifying the opinions of National Assembly delegates at the session on issues related to finance, budget, and public investment on the morning of November 2, Minister of Finance Ho Duc Phoc stated that a strong finance must be based on a developed economy.
Control public debt more effectively and safely Control public debt more effectively and safely
Recurrent expenditures via State Treasury strictly controlled Recurrent expenditures via State Treasury strictly controlled
Saving recurrent expenditures, cuts down on unnecessary expenditures Saving recurrent expenditures, cuts down on unnecessary expenditures
Minister of Finance Ho Duc Phuc reports at the National Assembly. Photo: Quochoi.vn
Minister of Finance Ho Duc Phuc reports at the National Assembly. Photo: Quochoi.vn

Implementing expansionary fiscal policy

The Minister of Finance Ho Duc Phoc said that over the past nine months, our country's economy continues to be a bright spot in the not very bright picture of the global economy, macroeconomics is basically stable, inflation, public debt, government debt, foreign debt and budget deficit are controlled and the major economic balances are maintained.

Regarding fiscal policy, the Minister said that the Government has implemented an expansionary fiscal policy. With lower budget deficit, in the past three years, the Ministry of Finance has submitted to the Government and National Assembly to reduce and defer taxes. Accordingly, the reduced and deferred tax amount was about VND 132,400 billion in 2021, VND233,000 billion in 2022 and this amount is expected to be about VND200,000 billion in this year. The Minister emphasized that this is a great effort, so after reducing taxes, how can we have money to continue maintaining the fiscal balance, while allocating VND347,000 billion to support economic recovery according to Resolution 43.

Regarding the budget estimate for 2023, Minister Ho Duc Phoc said that by October 30, 2023, the country collected 85% of the plan of VND1.36 million billion. The Minister said that revenue from land only accounts for nearly 58% of total revenue and revenue from crude oil is still very small, so budget revenue mainly comes from the production and business, especially domestic revenue.

Responding to the opinion of some National Assembly delegates that there is no problem with the law, Minister Ho Duc Phoc said that if the law is improved, our country's growth will be stronger, the economy more sustainable and businesses develop better.

The Minister of Finance said that it is necessary to improve the legal framework on public investment. Photo: Quochoi.vn
The Minister of Finance said that it is necessary to improve the legal framework on public investment. Photo: Quochoi.vn

Speaking to the issue of public investment disbursement, the Minister of Finance said that up to now, only 57% of capital has been disbursed according to the Prime Minister's Decision.

Therefore, according to the Minister, the question is why disbursement is so low while the economy is already thirsty for capital. The Minister said that the reason for the problem may come from the Law on Public Investment. Because if we do not amend the law, we will continue to talk about the problem of slow public investment. For example, if we want to adjust the list of work items or transfer capital from one project to another, we will have to report to the National Assembly... Many investment packages in the key construction works have not yet receive money.

“The Law on Public Investment must be open, must diversify capital sources, balance finances and regulate orders and procedures. In the near future, if the Budget Law is amended, it should include an appropriate separate chapter on recurrent spending and investment. Therefore, legal problems are existing and we need to continue to revising them," said the Minister.

Spending for investment cannot be waste but must be effective

Regarding the 2024 budget estimate, according to the Minister, this is also a great effort of the Government and the National Assembly when the Resolution of the 8th Central Executive Committee proposed an increase of over 5%. There are currently two reduced taxes: the green tax on gasoline and the VAT package from 10% to 8%. Thus, if both of these taxes are included, it will increase by 8.46% compared to the 2023 estimate.

Regarding budget spending, the leader of the Ministry of Finance said that the ministry arranges VND 677,300 billion for capital construction expenditure or public investment, accounting 32% of total budget expenditure, in accordance with the Central policy and arrange enough resource to raise salaries and implement Resolution 27 of the Central Committee on salary reform.

In response to the opinions of some National Assembly delegates on reducing recurrent expenditures, the Minister of Finance stated that it is necessary to reduce investment expenditures which must be implemented economically and effectively. Regarding the recurrent expenditures, some ministries and agencies have few guest meetings and business trips, there are ministries and sectors whose salary and salary allowances alone account for over 66%, there is nothing to save.

"We have been very frugal in recurrent expenditures, mainly serving people, salaries and salary allowances," said Minister Ho Duc Phoc.

Clarifying the opinions of delegates related to the National Target Program, Minister Ho Duc Phoc said that it is necessary to reform the allocation, that is, to allocate to the province so that the province can allocate capital to the districts and regulate that investment spending is determined to only cover technical infrastructure projects; the rest will be put into recurrent spending. The Central Government, ministries and agencies will conduct inspection according to their goals.

Regarding the "hot" issue of tax refund, the Minister said 92% of tax refund application has been processed, there are 14,857 applications left, and 534 applications with VND 9,154 billion are being processed.

“The conditions for tax refund are the enterprises have to present VAT, invoice and money transfer documents; For import-export companies, they must provide contracts, documents and customs declarations. We have verified with foreign tax authorities that if the enterprise does not exist, the contract will be invalid and there will be no tax refund," said the Minister of Finance.

Regarding the proposal on VAT reduction for all industries, according to the Minister, if it is reduced too much, it will put pressure on the budget.

By Huong Diu/Huyen Trang

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