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Vietnam gov’t wins legislature approval for $3bn bond issue

Thursday, November 12, 2015, 10:57 GMT+7

Vietnam’s legislature has given the nod to the government’s bid to issue US$3 billion in sovereign bonds to restructure debts, as lawmakers passed a budget resolution on Wednesday.

The resolution, which sets plans for state budget revenue and spending in 2016, secured passage in a 392-34 vote during a lawmaking National Assembly session in Hanoi.

Only nine out of the 435 lawmakers cast a blank vote.

The Vietnamese government had been seeking legislative approval to raise a total of $3 billion in bonds in 2017 to restructure domestic debts incurred during 2015-16.

The National Assembly yesterday green-lighted the bond issue, but requested that it be carried out from now until the end of next year, instead of 2017, according to the resolution.

Seventy percent of the bonds to be issued require a term of at least five years, the National Assembly said.

Vietnamese lawmakers also approved a five percent increase in the common minimum wage, which will go from the current VND1.15 million ($51) a month to VND1.21 million ($54) a month, starting May 2016.

Vietnam’s budget revenue in 2016 is estimated to reach VND1,019.2 trillion ($45.5 billion), whereas spending is expected to be VND1,273.2 trillion ($56.84 billion), according to the resolution.

A budget deficit is thus projected to be VND254 trillion ($11.34 billion), or 4.95 percent of the country’s gross domestic product.

Vietnam’s GDP was $186.2 billion in 2014, according to World Bank data.

The country is also forecast to post 6.5 percent growth in GDP this year, and targets a rise of 6.7 percent next year, according to the 2016 socio-economic development plan passed by lawmakers on Tuesday.

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