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ECONOMYBANKING & FINANCE

Half of Vietnam’s provinces fail to get average score in budget transparency ranking

Updated at Thursday, 13 Jun 2019, 10:41
The Hanoitimes - The report on Provincial Open Budget Index (POBI) was first made public in 2017 to assess the transparency level in the management of provincial budget nationwide.
Less than half of Vietnam's 63 provinces and cities failed to obtain the average score of 50 in the Provincial Open Budget Index (POBI), which measures the transparency level of provincial budget management. 
 
Overview of the conference. Source: Ngoc Thuy.
“However, the average score of 63 provinces and cities in the 2018 index was 51.51, higher than the score of 30.5 recorded in 2017, indicating a significant improvement in terms of transparency,” said Nguyen Duc Thanh, director of Vietnam Institute for Economic and Policy Research (VEPR) at the launch of the POBI 2018 report on June 12. 

For 2018, six provinces/cities fully disclosed information on their respective budgets, scoring 75 points and upward, and none has the score of 0, while there were four provinces with 0 in 2017 and none had a score of 75 or above.

The report, jointly launched by two members of the Budget Transparency, Accountability and Participation (BTAP) Alliance, namely the VEPR and the Center for Development and Integration (CDI), was first made public in 2017 to assess the transparency level in the management of provincial budget nationwide. 

“POBI would help build trust among citizens and Vietnam’s partners for development in budget management in provinces,” Thanh added, saying the index is considered an useful instrument for Vietnam during its reform efforts. 

The assessment of POBI is divided into three categories. Six provinces were included in category A, being assessed with “full disclosure” and score in range of 75 – 100. Category B or “moderate disclosure” includes 27 provinces with score ranging from 50 to 75. Meanwhile, 21 provinces are subject to category C or “insufficient disclosure”, scoring 25 – 50, and nine in category D with “low disclosure”, or score less than 25. 
 
POBI 2018 ranking. Source: POBI report.
POBI 2018 ranking. Source: POBI report.
According to the report, two main pillars of the POBI are the transparency of the provincial budget and the participation of the people in drafting up the budget estimate. 

Following the 2018 ranking, the top six provinces/cities were Vinh Long (90.52 points), Ba Ria – Vung Tau (85.91 points), Da Nang (83.09 points), Vinh Phuc (82.05 points), Quang Nam (76.68 points) and Hau Giang (76.66 points), while northern city Hai Phong stood at the bottom with 5.14 points. 

Vietnam’s two major economic hubs Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City stood in the category C with scores of 49.72 and 48.98, respectively. 
Ngoc Thuy
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