The Power of Accountability: Overcoming the Fear of Responsibility

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Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh speaks during the group discussion at the National Assembly on the afternoon of May 25. Photo: Lam Hien

In the afternoon of May 25, during the group discussion at the National Assembly, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh spoke about the implementation of Resolution 43/2022 on fiscal and monetary policies to support the economic and social recovery and development program, including the 2% interest rate support.

According to Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh, the 2% interest rate support, with a budget of more than VND 40,000 billion, initially reflected our thinking, methodology, and approach of lending and repayment. When providing a loan, we must assess the borrower’s ability to repay before granting the loan. “But we have taken it to another level, requiring an assessment of their potential for recovery,” he said.

The Prime Minister explained that if there is a potential for recovery, it is no longer a matter of lending and repayment but rather a state of investment and development, which requires a long-term perspective. However, limiting the investment and development support to just two years would not allow for a proper evaluation. “Our approach is not quite right and does not match the reality. As a result, no one dares to borrow under this policy,” the Prime Minister said.

The head of the government pointed out that businesses have multiple objectives when taking out loans, such as debt repayment and debt escape, but they are required to assess their potential for recovery. It is challenging to assess immediate recovery within two years, and investments may not show signs of recovery right away.

“It’s safer for me not to borrow. I appreciate your offer, but I choose not to borrow. If I borrow and you assess that I am not capable of recovery, and you take action against me, I will be in trouble. So, I’d rather stay put,” the Prime Minister illustrated with a real-life example, explaining that while we change the state, we do not change the mechanism and policies.

Out of the four main contents of the economic and social recovery and development program, three have been implemented effectively. However, there are aspects of the VND 40,000 billion interest rate support package that have not been well executed.

The Prime Minister acknowledged that while the 2% interest rate support package for businesses may not be fully utilized, the VAT reduction in 2022 and 2023 has amounted to nearly VND 200,000 billion.

He emphasized the importance of looking at the bigger picture to build confidence and appreciate the contributions of the National Assembly delegates in refining the policies.

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh also admitted that there is a prevailing fear of responsibility and avoidance due to institutional obstacles. Therefore, the focus in the upcoming time should be on removing these institutional barriers.

It is worth noting that the accumulated interest rate support of 2% through commercial banks since the beginning of the program amounts to approximately VND 1,218 billion (equivalent to about 3.05% of the total policy scale) for nearly 2,300 customers. This leaves an unused portion of the package totaling VND 38,782 billion.

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