Natural resources management in Vietnam is also facing with many challenges. They include lack of rigid control on quantity of excavated resources, shortage of investments in advanced processing technologies, etc. In some provinces, approval for building factories does not take into account the availability of local natural resources. Many excavation sites cause harmful impacts upon the surrounding land and communities, especially in sand and gravel mining on river beds, estuaries and coastal areas due to lack of regulation. Unlicensed mining and smuggling natural resources across the border are still happening. Violations to environmental regulations are still common due to lack of proper attentions to environmental protection by many companies and government agencies. These issues hinder the economic growth on both provincial and national levels which causes dissatisfaction in the society.
There are many factors that lead to the above situation. One of the main reasons is the weakness in the government control over land usage and natural resources. The collaboration among government agencies is also insufficient and ineffective due to the absence of legal requirements therefore, i.e. in tax collection and unused resources preservation. In some cases, relevant regulations and standards are limited and even conflicting with each others. This causes confusion in the implementation process and delays administrative work. Furthermore, some legal provisions are not updated so that contemporary issues could be addressed effectively. Lack of transparency in administrative processes in managing, issuing mining licenses, lax inspections and weak regulations are also part of the problems in these fields. To respond to these challenges, SAV has taken many inititives to focus its work on these fields.
Increasing thematic audits are conducted over the years in which a specific topic is examined at one time in several relevant ministries, government agencies and provinces. More that ten seperate performance audits are conducted each year to assess the ecomony, efficiency and effectiveness of the State management in these fields. In February 2017, the General Auditor issued Guidelines on auditing the management of urban land usage and on auditing the management of natural resources during the 2014-2016 period. The main focus of the guides is on choosing the right type of audit (financial, compliance or performance or combined), gathering information for audit planning, analysing the economy, effectiveness and efficiency of activities, etc. To this end, training activities and audit engagement by different Specialised Audit Departments and Regional Audit Offices are arranged and co-ordinated in such a way that could support these audits in the most efficient way.
These are important fields that have great impacts on the nation’s economy and are getting increasing attention from the society. By focusing its audits on these topics, SAV tends to join hands with the National Assembly and the Government in dealing with ‘hot’ issues in Vietnam in a timely, efficient and effective way.