VCN- Prime Minister has issued Decision 779/QD-TTg establishing a COVID-19 Vaccine Fund. Director of the State Budget Department, under the Ministry of Finance, Vu Thanh Hung spoke to Customs News about the fund.
|Director of the State Budget Department Vu Thanh Hung.|
Could you tell us why the COVID-19 Vaccine Fund needs to be established at this time?
Amid the biggest outbreak of Covid-19, Vietnam’s Government will import sufficient Covid-19 vaccines for people. According to the Ministry of Health, Vietnam needs purchase about 150 million doses to vaccinate 75 million people, with a total cost of VND25.2 trillion. This is a huge fund.
Therefore, the Government said that in addition to the State budget, it seeks contributions from private organizations and individuals to import sufficient vaccines.
How does the operation of the fund to meet the vaccine demand in Vietnam and the process of receiving contributions?
The Ministry of Finance has urgently issued regulations on the fund’s operation and has set up a management apparatus.
A fund account will be opened at a commercial bank to receive contributions from organizations and individuals. Businesses can transfer money via commercial banks.
The Prime Minister assigned the Ministry of Finance to work with the Vietnam Fatherland Front and the Ministry of Health to transfer money contributed by firms to the fund.
When will the regulations be issued?
We are urgently completing the regulations. In case of necessity, we will consult the Ministry of Health and the Vietnam Fatherland Front for completion. We expect to issue it in the next week.
Currently, the operation regulations have not yet been issued, organizations and individuals can contribute via the Fatherland Front or the Ministry of Health, then we will work with these agencies to transfer those to the Covid-19 Vaccine Fund.
The remarkable point of the fund is to attract donation sources. What does the Ministry of Finance expect the contribution level to be?
The Covid-19 Vaccine Fund seeks voluntary contributions from organizations and individuals and there is no minimum or maximum contribution. All contributions will be managed in a transparent manner.
In particular, Clause 1, Point 2, Decree 44/2021/ND-CP provides that expenditures for supporting the Vaccine Fund of the businesses shall be included in deductible expenses when determining income subject to corporate income tax.
Which agency will be assigned to administer the fund, and how is the control mechanism to be in line with the law, ensuring transparency, thrift and efficiency?
The Prime Minister assigns the Ministry of Finance to manage the Fund’s financial resources. However, the Ministry of Finance is only in charge of financial management, and relevant agencies will report the time and amount of use to the Prime Minister for a decision. The Ministry of Finance will deduct from the fund to purchase vaccines.
The fund’s revenue will be publicized transparently on the websites of the Ministry of Finance and the State Treasury. In case of necessity, inspection and audit will be conducted. The main purpose of use is to buy vaccines or support domestic vaccine production.
If the local governments have a need to establish local funds, are they allowed or not?
Currently, the Ministry of Health is assigned as the focal point for importing vaccines. I think localities do not need to set up funds. However, local businesses can support local governments.
The Government’s Resolution 21/NQ-CP provides that the localities are also responsible for sharing the burden with the central budget. Local businesses can assist their local governments. They can contribute directly to the local budgets without the fund establishment.
If businesses contribute to the Fund, will their employees be prioritized for vaccination?
The Ministry of Health is the focal point for importing of vaccines. It is also in charge of identifying groups that are prioritized for vaccination.
When we have sufficient vaccine volume, the Ministry of Health will propose to expand these prioritized groups. I think workers in industrial zones should be in the prioritized group.
By Hoai Anh/ Ngoc Loan