In brief

Due to the spread of COVID-19, the prime minister in Directive No. 11/CT-TTg dated 4 March 2020 identified public investment as a fulcrum for economic growth and, in addition, an increase in public spending with a focus on the greater disbursement of public investment is a key measure to help Vietnam’s economy recover in the post-pandemic period.

The Public Investment Law1 and the Bidding Law2 mainly govern public investment activities in Vietnam. In particular, while the Public Investment Law provides regulations on the procedures and process of approving a public investment project, all public procurement of goods, services and works must follow the provisions of the Bidding Law.


Accelerating standard procedures to mitigate consequences

Under the Public Investment Law,3 a public investment designed to promptly prevent, control and mitigate consequences of disasters or diseases is defined as an “urgent public investment.”

Given the urgency, the contracting authorities, i.e., the ministers, heads of central regulatory authorities and chairs of people’s committees at any level, will have the power to decide and take responsibility for the implementation of urgent public investment projects under their respective jurisdictions.4

As for the approval process, an urgent public investment project is exempted from the procedure of obtaining investment policy approval;5 as such, the contracting authorities will decide on and approve the urgent public investment project following the below procedures:6

  • Assigning the specialized bodies/agencies with the competence to conduct the project survey and prepare the project recommendation report.
  • Assigning the specialized bodies/agencies to carry out the evaluation of the project.
  • Directing the specialized bodies/agencies in point ‘a’ to prepare a complete project recommendation report for submission for approval.

As for the implementation process, all public procurement of goods, services and works must follow the provisions of the Bidding Law, in which the available options are public tender and direct award. For urgent cases that are eligible for direct awards, the public procurements can be applied to the following shortened process:7

  • The contracting authorities will appoint an experienced and capable contractor to execute the procurement project.
  • Within 15 days from the appointment, both parties must complete the direct awarding procedures, including: prepare and send a draft contract to the contractor; negotiate and finalize the contract; submit, approve and publicize the result of the contractor selection; and sign the contract.

Direct awards due to a force majeure-related event

Pursuant to Article 22 of the Bidding Law, direct awards are permitted in the procurements that need to be performed to immediately overcome or handle in a timely manner the consequences of a force majeure event; procurements that need be performed to protect national secrets; procurements that need be carried out immediately to not directly cause damage to the life, health and assets of population communities of geographical areas or to not severely affect adjacent projects; and procurement of purchasing drugs, chemicals, supplies and health equipment to carry out the work of prevention and fighting epidemics in urgent cases.

Notable information

Under Directive No. 11/CT-TTg, the prime minister asked ministries, central agencies and localities to complete the allocation of investment plans using the state budget capital in 2020 and to speed up the implementation and disbursement of public investment capital and official development assistance capital. In particular:

  • The prime minister asked the Ministry of Transport to focus on removing obstacles and to speed up investment and the disbursement of key transport projects and works, especially the My Thuan-Can Tho Expressway, the eastern section of the North-South Expressway, the Long Thanh International Airport and the expanded Tan Son Nhat and Noi Bai Airports.
  • The prime minister requested the Ministry of Industry and Trade to focus on the completion of large-scale industrial projects to boost growth — including Thai Binh 2 Thermal Power Plant, Long Phu I Thermal Power Plant, Song Hau I Thermal Power Plan, gas power projects, renewable energy projects and power transmission systems; speed up the development of the national master plan for power development 2021 to 2030 with a vision toward 2045; resolve or request the competent authorities to resolve difficulties encountered during the implementation; and make sure there is no shortage of power for production and domestic use during 2021 to 2025.
  • The prime minister assigned the Ministry of Planning and Investment to frequently carry out inspections and assessments of implementation during the 2020s public investment plan; promptly give instructions on resolving difficulties to speed up the process of disbursement; ensure that remaining capital of 2019 and 2020 is fully disbursed; and ensure that any delay is dealt with.
  • The prime minister also urged other ministries and local authorities to keep simplifying administrative procedures and business conditions; resolve difficulties and facilitate business operations, especially in terms of land use, investment, construction, credit, tax, customs, etc.; and have a plan to improve the business environment and competitiveness.

Baker McKenzie’s Public Procurement World contains more information about the world’s most important public procurement laws and guidance in light of the global COVID-19 pandemic.


1 Law No. 39/2019/QH14.

2 Law No. 43/2013/QH13.

3 Article 4.14 of the Public Investment Law.

4 Article 42.1 of the Public Investment Law.

5 Article 18.6 of the Public Investment Law.

6 Article 42.2 of the Public Investment Law.

7 Article 56.1 of Decree 63/2014/ND-CP.