Minister of Finance Đinh Tiến Dũng and the leadership of several functional departments received a courtesy call from H.E. Ivo Sieber, the new ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary of Switzerland to Vietnam on August 26 at the Ministry’s headquarters.
Minister of Finance Đinh Tiến Dũng and Swiss Ambassador Ivo Sieber
Minister Đinh Tiến Dũng welcomed Ambassador Sieber who paid a courtesy call to the Ministry of Finance after he assumed his new post. Minister Dũng said, during fifty years of bilateral diplomatic relations, Vietnam has been one of the countries to which Switzerland have given priority in official development assistance (ODA) for environment protection, human resource development, urban development, poverty reduction and rural development, among others.
‘ODA projects provided by the Swiss government to Vietnam are assessed as effective and useful. They have contributed to poverty reduction, environment protection and infrastructure development in Vietnam,’ Minister Dũng emphasized.
With regard to trade relations, he said, Switzerland is an important partner of Vietnam. Both sides have been negotiating the Vietnam – EFTA agreement, which is a matter of importance to Vietnam in the time to come. The Ministry of Finance, which is in charge of negotiating on tariffs and financial services, is willing to make the same commitments offered in other signed free trade agreements. The Ministry also expects appropriate commitments and preferential treatments from development partners.
With regard to financial cooperation between the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) and the Ministry of Finance, Minister Dũng highly valued the assistance of the Swiss Government in public financial management reforms over the years, particularly in state budget management, tax administration, capacity building in macroeconomic and financial forecasting for climate change.
Ministry of Finance Đinh Tiến Dũng, Swiss Ambassador Ivo Sieber and other participants in the meeting
Minister Dũng listed out SECO-funded projects, which help to develop the strategy for tax reforms in the 2021 – 2030 period, support public financial management reforms, and do research on financial solutions to cope with climate change and disaster risks. Among them, the Vietnam Public Financial Management Analytical and Advisory Assistance Program (in short, the AAA program) has provided very significant and useful assistance in achieving several major reform objectives in the 2016 – 2020 period, especially in the areas of (i) improved production and supply of high quality fiscal data, (ii) improved budget execution control, (iii) improved linkage between planning and budgeting, and (iv) fiscal stability, fiscal risk identification and management.
In the time to come, Minister Dũng hoped Switzerland will continue its support to Vietnam’s public financial management reforms, with focus on reforms of financial management in public service delivery units, improved public expenditure quality by linking budget allocations with outputs/outcomes, improved fiscal stability through better fiscal risk management and fiscal transparency, and modernization of the public financial management system.
In his response, Ambassador Ivo Sieber emphasized, 2021 is a very important year to Vietnam and Switzerland as the two countries will celebrate 50 years of bilateral diplomatic relations.
He highly valued the sustainable and long-established financial cooperation between SECO and the Ministry of Finance and said that the Swiss Government will continue its support to the Ministry to modernize public financial management.
Participants of the meeting
Ambassador Sieber also mentioned that SECO has cooperated with and provided relatively comprehensive support to the Ministry of Finance in recent years in a wide range of areas, such as modernization of budget management, strengthening of tax administration, public debt management, and development of capital markets and financial markets (including bond markets and insurance markets). These development programs have brought about useful and effective changes.
SECO will continue its support for decentralization of budget management in the time to come. Pilots are currently underway in Cần Thơ and Đà Nẵng cities to improve the local capacity and tools to decentralize public financial management at the city/provincial level, including public financial management, public debt management and other related areas. The pilots are expected to help the Ministry of Finance to improve budget management at all levels.
‘We are currently developing our 2021 – 2024 cooperation strategy. The Swiss Government will still give priority to Vietnam in official development assistance, particularly in finance. SECO will continue giving priority to the modernization of public financial management,’ Ambassador Ivo Sieber emphasized.