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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs     29 October  2011

Innovative public investment called for

More innovation in the Vietnamese government's thinking on public investment has been called for to restructure and increase efficiency of public projects.

Economic experts yesterday agreed that a restructuring of public investment was urgently needed, at a workshop co-organised by the Ministry of Investment and Planning and the United Nations Development Programme in Ha Noi.

Public investment during the last 10 years was labelled inefficient, and had created an imbalanced economy as well as raising risks of macro-economic instability, vice president of the Viet Nam Economics Association Nguyen Quang Thai said.

Nguyen Duc Thanh from the National University of Ha Noi's Centre for Economic and Policy Research said the inefficiency of public investment also resulted in a recent increase of public debt, which was nearly 57 per cent of GDP last year and is estimated to see a 2 per cent increase this year due to rising inflation.

Deputy general secretary of the Viet Nam Economics Association Vu Tuan Anh said each year the Government had spent a third of the state budget on public investment since 2000, which is seen as the highest among countries in the East and Southeast Asia.

The GDP growth rate has remained lower than the investment growth rate, proving that investment has been inefficient, he said.

"Public investment failed to encourage and promote the development of key economic sectors," Anh emphasised, reasoning that no economic breakthrough had been made and the investment structure seemed to remain unchanged during the last 10 years.

The country's Incremental Capital-Output Ratio (ICOR) index during 2000-2007, which was the ratio of additional output to new investment, also revealed that public investment rated the least efficient compared with private and foreign-backed sectors.

He pointed out that State-owned enterprises (SOEs), though occupying up to about 40 percent of the total investment of all enterprises, created only 25 per- cent of the total pre-tax turnover and 19 percent of employment, while losses has also been revealed in some SOEs such as Vinashin.

Haphazard investment and an overestimation of real demand were seen as the root causes for the low efficiency of public investment, according to deputy director of the ministry's Department of Finance and Monetary Affairs Phan Thanh Ha.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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