MOBI 2020 rating reduction due to technical problems at the time of the survey, the State Bank spoke up
From the top position of the Ministry Open Budget Index (MOBI) in 2019, the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) unexpectedly dropped 33 places, ranked 34 out of 44 units – ranked in the top 10. agencies with no MOBI 2020 scores (10 these agencies do not have a Budget Public folder and do not make any budget documents public).
On the afternoon of June 17, 2021, at the office of the Center for Development and Integration of CDI Vietnam, the representative of the State Bank of Vietnam had a meeting with the BTAP Budget Transparency Alliance on the results of this survey to clarify the reasons. and find remedial measures for the following years.
Attending the meeting, on the side of the State Bank, there were Mr. Mai The Anh, Head of Administrative Reform Department, Mr. Le Hoang Chinh Quang, Head of Information Management Department, Ms. Do Thi Thu Huong, Deputy Head of Corporate Governance and Application career position and Mr. Nguyen Ngoc Quyet, in charge of the website of the State Bank of Vietnam.
On the BTAP side, there were the participation of Assoc. Prof. Dr. Vu Sy Cuong, public finance expert, research team leader, Dr. Nguyen Duc Thanh, Director of the Center for Economic and Strategic Studies (VESS), Mr. Nguyen Quang Thuong, Deputy Director of the Center for Development and Integration (CDI Vietnam), coordinating organization of the BTAP Budget Transparency Alliance and Mr. Pham Van Long, a member of the MOBI 2020 Research Team.
At the meeting, Mr. Nguyen Quang Thuong said: “The research team determined that the State Bank has fully publicized budget documents as prescribed on its e-commerce portal. However, the research team did NOT have access to these reports at the time of the survey. The documents and reports downloaded by the research team are in .jspx and .xml formats, which are unreadable. The research team had checked several times, on many different devices, but still did not have access to the publicly available documents. According to the MOBI survey’s availability criteria, documents are publicly available when they are easily accessible to the public, without distinction or limitation by technical barriers, so the documents of the SBV are not considered available.”
Talking about this issue, Mr. Mai The Anh affirmed: “In recent years, the State Bank has paid great attention to the implementation of publicity and transparency of the budget. The State Bank has assigned another side to handle and closely coordinate in the process of publicizing budget documents. In fact, SBV units still use publicly available budget data to report to state agencies upon request. Immediately after receiving BTAP’s dispatch to consult on MOBI 2020 results, the relevant units of the State Bank have carefully checked the public documents and are accessible on computers and devices with Internet connection. Obviously, the inability of the research team or the general user to access the public material was due to a technological problem at the time of the survey.”
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Vu Sy Cuong commented: “During the survey process, when receiving the SBV’s comments on the MOBI 2020 scoring results, the research team had a written response to the SBV and provided evidence of the documents that were inaccessible at the time of the survey (April 1, 2021) and at the time when the research team re-checked the results (May 21, 2021). As such, the point here is that the parties need to get to the bottom of the information. Upon receiving feedback from BTAP that the research team still did not have access to the documents at the time of re-examination, the SBV should also continue to check the cause and respond to the research team.”
In addition to technology issues, Dr. Vu Sy Cuong also noted that, in the public data table, the unit needs to record the data as “0” for all estimates that are not assigned, or do not arise during the year. meet the full criteria in the MOBI survey, in accordance with the guidance of Circular 90/2018/TT-BTC and ensure the consistency in calculation and the principle of comparability among years.
Dr. Nguyen Duc Thanh shared: “The research team highly appreciates the seriousness and professionalism of the State Bank in publicizing the budget. In 2019, the SBV had the top MOBI index of all the agencies scored. Unfortunately, in 2020, the research team was unable to open the budget disclosure documents on the website of the SBV, from the beginning of April to the end of May. Therefore, according to the general scoring principle, the MOBI 2020 score of the State Bank is very underrated. This is a very unfortunate thing. Working sessions like these are very useful, helping the parties to re-evaluate their working process. On the BTAP side, it will supplement the working process of the research team: When there is a problem or abnormality, it must be immediately discussed with the unit, to ensure fairness, avoiding the case of full disclosure for the whole year but is unrecognized at time of the survey.”
At the end of the meeting, the parties agreed: The State Bank has fully disclosed the budget documents as prescribed on the portal of the unit. However, with technical problems when accessing public documents at the time of the survey, which were noted by both parties, the SBV’s MOBI 2020 score will remain unchanged. The research team will add explanation of the reasons in the report content so that the public can better understand the results of the State Bank’s budget disclosure.