Slow disbursement for science projects makes MOF impatient

Slow disbursement for science projects makes MOF impatient

"The Ministry of Finance (MOF) feels uneasy when science projects do not use up the money allocated to them,” said Nguyen Truong Giang, a senior official of the ministry.

Giang said that despite the scanty state budget, the science and technology sector always has the budget equal to 0.5-0.6 percent of GDP for development. In 2006-2011, the sector, considered the most important one in the national economy, was allocated the budget of 57,032 billion dong.

Nguyen Thi Minh, deputy minister of Finance, said the specialised sector can enjoy a very flexible finance policy with flexible mechanisms applied to ensure that money can be addressed to the most important and urgent projects.

"The financial mechanism applied for the sector has always been very open,” Minh said.

"Money always comes quickly, while scientific researchers do not have to wait. They are also not required to list all the expenditure items and show all necessary bills in order to get money from the treasury,” she added.

However, scientific research projects still cannot enjoy the preferential flexible policy, and do not use up all the money allocated to them. By the end of 2011, MOF had noted that 870 billion dong had not been disbursed because it was impossible to define the accurate duties, expenditure items and the scientific research works.

For the same reason, the disbursement for science and technology development by October 2012 has also been going slowly with 260 billion dong undisbursed. Of this amount, 215 billion dong was planned to go scientific units and the remaining 45 billion dong was reserved for the Ministry of Science and Technology.

"MOF has sent a dispatch to the Ministry of Science and Technology and relevant ministries and branches, urging them to carry out the approved scientific research works, so that the State Treasury can make disbursement on schedule,” Giang said.

"If we don’t receive replies from the ministries in some more days, we will have to… send more dispatches to remind them,” he added.

"Unlike the other sectors, in science and technology, money always waits to be disbursed to carry out science projects, not science projects wait for money to be implemented,” Giang repeated the words spoken by deputy minister of Finance Nguyen Thi Minh at the National Assembly’s session in late September.

MOF has not only expressed its concern that the science and technology sector cannot use the capital resource in the most effective way, but also pointed out that it’s very difficult to attract the investment from the society on science projects.

In other countries, when the state spends every 10 dong on science and technology development, it would attract 30 dong worth of investment from the society. Meanwhile, the ratio is 10 dong and 3 dong in Vietnam.

Therefore, Giang has urged to apply the policies which allow to diversify the capital resources for science and technology development.

Currently, the state encourages enterprises to pay more attention to the technology development by allowing enterprises to put 10 percent of pre-tax profit for their science and technology development fund.

However, as minister of Science and Technology Nguyen Quan said, most enterprises have not set up such funds yet. Some of the enterprises said they do not know how they should use the money. Others said their revenue is modest- just 200-300 million dong a year, which is not big enough to feed the funds.