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Official Gazette

Friday, June 9, 2023

NA discusses use of resources for COVID-19, corruption scandals

Updated: 08:00’ - 12/04/2023
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The use of resources for COVID-19 prevention and control, especially reports on corruption-plagued repatriation flights and Viet A Company’s COVID-19 test kits scandals, dominated discussions of the National Assembly (NA) Standing Committee on April 11.
The meeting was the second day of the 22nd session of the 15th NA Standing Committee under the chair of NA Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue.
Chairman of the NA Social Committee and deputy head of the supervision team Nguyen Thuy Anh reported that, under Resolution 30/2021/QH15 issued by the National Assembly, approximately VND 613 trillion (USD 26.1 trillion) had been allocated for COVID-19 pandemic prevention and control in the 2020-22 period.
Of that, about VND 435.5 trillion had been used for tax exemptions, tax reductions, and support for affected businesses and individuals.
The resolution also includes over VND 47.2 billion to support affected employees.
As of December 31, 2022, the total resources mobilized for COVID-19 prevention and control amounted to over VND 36 trillion, of which VND 189 trillion came from the State budget and VND 47 trillion was raised from various sources of aid (primarily vaccines). 
The COVID-19 vaccine fundraised over VND 15.1 trillion, and nearly 160 million vaccine doses were received from aid and sponsorship sources. Of that, the governments of other countries provided nearly 150 million doses worth about VND 24 trillion.
The report highlighted that by 2022, the grassroots health network had developed nationwide, with health centers established in 100 per cent of districts, medical centers in 99.6 percent of communes, wards, and towns, and doctors working in 92.4 percent of health centers.
Medical staff also worked in 71 per cent of villages and hamlets. Private clinics, family doctor's clinics, and private hospitals equivalent to the district level were also established.
However, the supervision team pointed out several limitations, including difficulties in allocating, managing, paying, and settling resources from the State budget and slow adjustment on the procurement of medical supplies and equipment, causing anxiety and fear of wrongdoings.
Mistakes in purchasing medical equipment and materials to serve the fight against COVID-19 still occurred, with some cases leading to criminal charges.
The organization of the grassroots health system was not stable, she said. The district health center management has not been uniformly implemented across the country, affecting the arrangement and management of human and financial resources.
Based on that, the supervision team proposed the NA issue a supervisory resolution to allow payment and settlement of certain expenses and the establishment of property owned by the whole people related to COVID-19 prevention and control.
This must be completed by December 31, 2023.
At the meeting, NA Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue said it was necessary to evaluate the current situation, identify shortcomings and weaknesses, and determine the reasons.
Hue requested a more specific report on the amount that has not been paid or settled, as well as problems during the supervising process and the political, legal, and practical basis for the supervision team to make the recommendations on the report.
The NA Chairman identified two significant violation cases, including rescue flights and Viet A test kits, and noted that the report did not address them adequately.
He also raised concerns about any surplus or expired vaccines and how to manage and use donations from local sponsors who had contributed billions of dollars to buy vaccines.
Chairman of the NA’s Economic Committee Vu Hong Thanh inquired about the results of the VND 4.6 billion budget allocated for vaccine research.
NA Vice Chairmen Tran Thanh Man and Nguyen Duc Hai agreed that the report needed to assess the two violation cases thoroughly, especially the loopholes that led to the violations.
Man suggested reviewing the funding for the COVID Vaccine Fund and ensuring that the Government and the Ministry of Finance had guided expenditure. He also stressed the need for public and comprehensive reporting on the management and use of the funds.
In conclusion, NA Vice Chairman Nguyen Khac Dinh said that the supervision team needed to coordinate with relevant agencies to complete the report, analyses and clarify the data and situation of the two cases, and propose practical and long-term solutions. 
The report should be submitted to the National Assembly after seeking the opinion of the Standing Committee to ensure its quality, he said.- (VNS/VLLF)

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