PCI obstructing ODA for Vietnam is momentary

Published: 05/12/2008 05:00



VietNamNet Bridge – Asserting that Vietnam is urgently tackling the PCI case, Vietnamese Ambassador to Japan Nguyen Phu Binh said he hoped that this case would not deter Japan from granting ODA to Vietnam, and that if this did happen, it would only be temporary.

VietNamNet Bridge – Asserting that Vietnam is urgently tackling the PCI case, Vietnamese Ambassador to Japan Nguyen Phu Binh said he hoped that this case would not deter Japan from granting ODA to Vietnam, and that if this did happen, it would only be temporary.

Binh said that during a meeting nearly one month ago, the Japanese government’s representative said that Japan would not stop its ODA projects in Vietnam, but it would reconsider new pledges.

Meanwhile, the Japanese Ambassador to Vietnam stated at the CG Meeting on Thursday in Hanoi: “It was most regrettable that there was a bribery case by a Japanese firm in connection with a Japanese loan assistance project in Vietnam. Following the grave incident, the two governments set up a joint committee to discuss concrete measures to be taken to prevent corruption related to Japan’s ODA for Vietnam. Until effective and meaningful measures against corruption are worked out through this joint committee, it will be difficult to regain the support of the Japanese public for further assistance for Vietnam, and we are unable to pledge new yen loans”.

Japan is the largest provider of ODA for Vietnam with US$1.2 billion per year. Will the current cases related to Japanese ODA like PMU18, the Can Tho bridge collapse and PCI corruption case affect Japan’s ODA commitments to Vietnam?

Japan has confirmed that Vietnam fundamentally uses ODA in an effective way. There are some cases causing obstacles, including PMU18, which had connection to ODA, but was not an ODA corruption case.

Vietnamese police investigated and the Japanese side also verified that Japanese ODA was not used corruptly, but was rather effectively used. Actually, Japan didn’t give money to Vietnam but the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) held the money. When Vietnam completes a project and the work is checked and taken over, Japan pays out. But the PMU18 scandal struck public opinion.

The Can Tho bridge collapse is an incident. Thanks to the goodwill of both sides, the case was handled. That work is under construction now. The two governments and peoples took interest in this case and considered it a great lesson.

Recently, some officials of Japan’s PCI company declared that they bribed some Vietnamese officials. When the Japanese media reported this case, we reported it to the government.

Japan is looking at the way we handle this case. However, the cooperation between the two sides in the case must go through the diplomatic channel, with certain legal procedures. The legal procedures have been completed and Japan has handed over the case records to Vietnam. Last month, HCM City authorities suspended the official whose name was declared by PCI’s officials. That move was highly praised by Japan.

This case is still under investigation. In meetings with Japanese officials, Vietnamese leaders expressed their resolution in dealing with the PCI case because it is not only related to Japan but also transparency in Vietnam’s investment environment and Vietnam’s international relations. The case will surely not last long. I believe that Vietnam would soon have a conclusion about it.

How will the PCI case impact Japan’s ODA grants for Vietnam?

The Japanese public was anxious about this case. Japan’s legal environment is clear: when the case occurred, they didn’t put pressure on Vietnam; the Japanese government realised there were problems in its legal framework so it asked for the case to be resolved quickly.

While the Japanese public or tax payers asked for the case to be clarified, so the Vietnamese public did the same. Because ODA is loans, not free money. Even non-refundable aid must be used effectively in a transparent method, let alone loans. Our responsibility is to not lose the capital.

Japan agreed with Vietnam’s point of view and they hope the two sides can combine to solve the case.

What do you think about Japan’s ODA for Vietnam in 2009, with the impacts of the PCI case?

A case like PCI is a specific one and I believe and hope that it won’t affect Japan’s ODA grants for Vietnam. I hope this case doesn’t hinder the ODA process, or if it does, it will only do so temporarily because ODA benefits both countries.

After many years of having positive outlooks on Vietnam’s investment environment, this year for the first time Japan released quite negative comments. What are the biggest worries of Japan about Vietnam’s business environment?

There are two big concerns: inflation and illegal strikes. For illegal strikes, Japan has asked Vietnam to strictly deal with illegal strikes under Vietnamese law.

Noted by Phuong Loan

Update from: http://english.vietnamnet.vn//interviews/2008/12/817134/

Provide by Vietnam Travel

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