“We have too many ODA project management boards in localities and at the central level,” said Hoang Viet Khang, head of the Foreign Economic Department under the Ministry of Planning and Investment.
Khang, who chaired the conference on ODA management boards organized by the ministry, the World Bank (WB) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in Hanoi City on Thursday, said that there are up to 500 project management boards for ODA capital provided by the WB and ADB.
The two donors have lent around US$25 billion. With this sum, there have been nearly 10 project management boards in each province. The total figure may soar up to thousands if Japan, which has given around US$25 billion to Vietnam, the United Nations, and 52 bilateral and multilateral donors are included, Khang said.
Too many management boards have led to huge waste. For example, a board has an operation time of five years but directors have been changed five times and finally the project has been cancelled, Khang said.
Nguyen Thi Huong, director of Nha Trang City’s environment hygiene project management board, complained that now that the quality of project staff improved, the project is nearly finished.
Launched in 2007, the project at the time met many difficulties due to unqualified staff with problems being put on the shoulders of consultants.
“We could not fix the shortcomings until 2011, even 2013, but the project will finish in 2014. It is a huge waste of human resources,” Huong said.
Victoria Kwakwa, WB’s country director for Vietnam, said that ODA disbursement does not go smoothly.
“We have central and local management boards. The structure is complicated and has obstructed ODA disbursement,” she said.
A representative of ADB warned that if the nation fails to reorganize the project management board model, it will be hard to improve uses of ODA capital.
“If we do not reconsider the model, it will cause adverse impacts on ODA capital effects. Many management boards have spent all their time on making reports. They are drowning in reports and cannot do anything else,” the representative said.
According to a report of the Ministry of Planning and Investment, between 1993 and 2012, ODA capital disbursement reached nearly US$37.6 billion, or 67% of the total registered ODA capital. During the period, the total registered capital hit US$56 billion, or 72% of the total commitment.