1. Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Vietnam's economy
In 2021, due to the uncertain global economic situation and the fourth outbreak of COVID-19 in many localities in Vietnam, the country is required to impose a series of strong and drastic measures to prevent and control the pandemic in order to realize its first and foremost priority - to protect the health and life of its people. The COVID-19 pandemic has seriously affected the Vietnamese economy, which had been consistency experiencing high growth rate over consecutive years. Vietnam's economic growth in the first 6 months of 2021 reached 5.64%, but decreased to 6.17% in the third quarter. In general, GDP increased by only 1.42% in 9 months, which is the lowest 9-month growth rate since Vietnam first implemented the policy of opening its economy in 1986.
The global economy is currently in a recession due to the impacts of Covid-19 (Source: Internet)
In order to overcome the difficulties caused by the dire impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Vietnam has directed, operated and synchronously implemented numerous immediate and long-term solutions to subdue the challenges and achieve the highest economic recovery. On July 28, 2021, the National Assembly of Vietnam promulgated Resolution No. 30/2021/QH15 to realize the dual goals of protecting the people's health and maintaining socio-economic development, successfully performing the socio-economic development tasks and services, which then would create optimum conditions for the Government to implement economic recovery policies. These policies would allow the Government to propose in orderly and shortened manner before carrying out regulations on COVID-19 pandemic prevention and control, which is different from those of current Legislation. Up to now, the Government of Vietnam has been putting multiple solutions in effect to support both enterprises, cooperatives, business households, and employees, employers; implementing exemption and reduction in a number of taxes, fees and charges to remove difficulties for production and business. With the strategic goal of safely adapting, flexibly and effectively controling the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government continues to review and perfect the issued mechanisms and policies and at the same time, researches, develops and proposes new economic support packages on a large scale and deploys them in many fields with a view to supporting its people and businesses to overcome difficulties, stabilize lives and recover social economic development.
2. The role of the State Audit Office of Vietnam in economic recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic
The State Audit Office of Vietnam (SAV) is an institution founded by the National Assembly, operating independently and abiding exclusively by the Law. The legal status of the SAV is stipulated in the Constitution of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, which states that the SAV’s tasks are to audit the management and use of public finance and public assets. On an annual basis, the SAV builds, plans and conducts hundreds of audit assignments, thereby providing entities using audit information to perform their duties and powers as prescribed by Law. In the context that Vietnam is implementing a lot of important solutions for economic recovery, the SAV has established it focuses on promoting the role of the supreme audit institution on the following major aspects:
First, conduct audits to assess the impact of economic recovery policies.
Since the beginning of the year, the Government of Vietnam has issued 154 Resolutions and 83 decrees, the Prime Minister has issued 31 Decisions and 26 Instructions, and ministries and sectors have issued 253 Circulars to remove “barriers”, setting free the resources for investment, production, business, pandemic prevention and control. The massive volume of legal documents promulgated by state agencies has created an important legal corridor, necessary for the implementation of economic recovery solutions.
The State Audit Office of Vietnam will strengthen the audits to detect shortcomings and limitations in mechanisms and policies, and help the Government and state agencies improve efficiency in economic management and recovery. Through audit activities, the SAV promptly detects policy gaps, inadequacies, “bottlenecks” in the process of reviving the economy or solving conflicts between policies, regimes and the living practices of socio-economic life. The SAV’s recommendations, based on sufficient appropriate evidences, will be an important, practical and relevant basis to assist the Government and functional agencies in considering and perfecting the mechanism and policies for the post-pandemic economic recovery, thereby continuously improving the effectiveness and efficiency of these policies.
Auditors of the SAV performing their duties at Vietcombank of Vietnam (Source: the SAV)
Second, provide information in a timely manner in order to serve the National Assembly, the People's Councils of all levels in monitoring the implementation of economic recovery policies.
Public resources are vulnerable to lost in the process of economic recovery if there is a lack of close supervision by the elected bodies. Therefore, the State Audit Office of Vietnam affirms its role as an important and indispensable tool for the National Assembly and the People's Council to exercise their powers and responsibilities to supervise the management and use of public resources for public service in economic recovery. The SAV will closely follow the program and content of the National Assembly and the People's Council’s supervision procedure to determine the appropriate audited units, thereby providing audit information on the economic recovery programs and policies deployed by the Government for the National Assembly and the People's Council to administer the implementation of the Law; guidelines and policies promulgated by the National Assembly and the People's Council.
Third, through audit activities, the State Audit Office of Vietnam detects frauds and violations from economic recovery policies, whereby proposing the handling of such violations so as to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the management and use of public resources for economic recovery.
Vietnam is focusing its maximum resources on pandemic prevention and control, and economic recovery, which is also the task of utmost importance of the Government of Vietnam in the current period. However, the state and social resources mobilized for pandemic prevention and control and economic recovery must be used in a cost-efficient manner, for the right purposes, for the right people and for the right policies. The State Audit Office of Vietnam will set plans and conduct audits to evaluate the process and results of management and use of public resources for economic development. Violations of the finance-budget Law discovered during the audit will be recommended to be handled promptly to ensure fiscal discipline and contribute to accelerating and sustaining Vietnam’s process of economic recovery.
Fourth, through audit activities, the State Audit Office of Vietnam contributes to the transparency and increased accountability in the management and use of public resources for economic recovery.
Economic support packages deployed by the Government are inherent to the risks of loss and wasteful uses. Through audit activities, the SAV provides information on the results of management and use of the state budget, increasing the accountability of organizations and individuals involved in the management and use of public finance and public properties, simultaneously creating a paramount information channel for competent state agencies and even the social community to participate in monitoring activities of using public resources for economic recovery. As a result, the Government's post-pandemic economic recovery solutions become more transparent; reducing the risk of loss and wasteful use of public resources, and creating high social consensus in implementing economic recovery policies after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fifth, the State Audit Office of Vietnam participates and actively contributes to the process of developing economic recovery policies in accordance with the Law.
Vietnamese Government is drafting and proposing numerous important economic support packages in order to boost the economy. The support packages will have an impact on many aspects of socio-economic life and are related to a lot of the essential macroeconomic variables, such as public debt, inflation, economic growth, budget revenue and expenditure and so on. With its tasks prescribed by Law, the State Audit Office of Vietnam will consult with the agencies of the National Assembly and the Government in considering the state budget estimate, the plan for central budget allocation, the plan for budget allocation of national target programs, national important projects decreed by the National Assembly. The opinions of the SAV will contribute positively in the process of assisting the National Assembly and the Government in having a comprehensive assessment of Vietnam's macroeconomic situation, thereby planning strategic policies for socio-economic development, helping the economy recover from the COVID-19 pandemic sustainably and effectively.