Nearly 95 percent of this money is sourced from foreign aid and loans, according to a report released Friday by the Ministry of Planning and Investment.
Over 28 percent of the sum, or VND1.8 trillion, is from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. It had been given VND3.6 trillion this year, but “does not have a need” for half this sum, the report said, citing the ministry.
The agriculture ministry is one of nine government agencies that want to return unused funds, the others including the Ministry of Planning and Investment, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.
Among nine localities that have requested similar returns of unused funds include the cities of Hanoi and Can Tho, and the southern provinces of Binh Duong and Dong Nai.
The requests to return funds follow the Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc repeatedly urging agencies and localities to speed up disbursement of public funding to facilitate rapid economic recovery amid Covid-19 impacts.
He had also said last month that money unused by agencies and localities would be given to others.
Delays in public investment have been a regular feature for years with locals authorities saying that one of the reasons is they have difficulty persuading people to sell their lands for public works.
Phuc said at a meeting Friday that major projects that need faster disbursement include the North-South Expressway, Long Thanh International Airport in the southern province of Dong Nai and the My Thuan – Can Tho Expressway in the Mekong Delta region.
The government will punish agencies and localities that do not complete their disbursement targets, he added.
The planning ministry has received requests for VND13.5 trillion ($580 million) worth of additional funding this year from 38 localities and agencies.
Only half of these localities and agencies have completed plans to use the money they need, while the remaining have about 10 percent left unfinished in their reports.
Disbursement of public funding as of July was VND193 trillion ($8.3 billion), or 41 percent of this year’s target. This figure is estimated to reach 47 percent by the end of this month, the report said.
It noted that 29 agencies and six localities had a disbursement rate of under 35 percent.