A street vendor walks along a Hanoi street (Wall Street Journal)
According to the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI), if the provision for contingent liabilities were taken into account, the country’s public debt should be 66.4% of GDP at the end of 2014, 6.8 percentage points higher than the figure reported by the Finance Ministry.
Such a MPI calculation is not in line with the Law on Public Debt Management, said Finance Deputy Minister Vu Thi Mai, adding that Vietnam’s public debt comprises government debt, government-guaranteed debt and local government debt.
The MoF reported the National Assembly, the country’s supreme legislative body, in May 2015 that the nation’s public debt was 59.6% of GDP in 2014 after having made comparisons with data of creditors, Ms. Mai said. “The real ratio might be a bit lower given the reduction of government guarantees”, she added.
On breaking down the country’s public debt, government debt is equivalent to 47.4% of GDP, government-guaranteed debt 11.3% and local government debt 0.8%, the deputy minister noted. Vietnam’s GDP was calculated at 184 billion USD, according to government data.
In comparison with criteria of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, debts of the State Bank of Vietnam, state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and insurance and social security institutions are not included in the nation’s public debt.