HCM CITY — HCM City authorities, reviewing the socio-economic performance in the year to date, said greater efforts are required to prevent price rises and volatility caused by the fuel price hikes in August.
|Customers buy goods under the price-stabilisation programme at a local supermarket in HCM City. The city has made efforts to curb price rises after the fuel price hikes this month. — VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Vu
People's Committee Chairman Le Hoang Quan said Government agencies should address problems faced by companies and take measures to boost demand for their products.
He also urged relevant agencies to keep unsafe goods out of the city.
"Relevant authorities must take measures to stop the sale of harmful fruits," he said.
The city enjoyed a trade surplus of nearly US$1.6 billion, with exports amounting to $19.27 billion, up 1.2 per cent compared with the same period last year. Imports rose by 3.7 per cent.
Industrial production was up 4.2 per cent over the same period last year.
The city welcomed 290,000 foreign visitors in August and a total of 2.41 million international visitors in the first eight months, a year-on-year increase of more than 10 per cent.
According to a report released at the meeting by the People's Committee, the city achieved "positive" socio-economic development in the same period.
Measures taken by the authorities to help businesses combat difficulties, like reducing and waiving tax, have proved fruitful, it said.
The VAT payments that were deferred by six months in April and May amounted to VND579 billion (US$27.7 million).
The 30 per cent reduction in corporate income tax in the first and second quarters totalled VND335 billion, while landlords and owners of creches enjoyed tax waivers worth VND8 billion in return for their pledge not to raise rentals and fees this year.
But the report also spoke about the challenges facing socio-economic development, such as the low rate of growth of some sectors, below-target tax collections, low disbursement by foreign investors, and return of inflation (the increase in CPI) in August after two months of price decreases.
The city's consumer price index rose by 0.66 per cent in August, according to the HCM City Statistics Bureau.
The highest increase, of 3.56 per cent, was seen in entertainment, followed by a 2.17 per cent rise in accommodation, electricity, water, and fuel.
Ten goods and services saw rises, one remained unchanged, and one saw a drop.
The three hikes in fuel prices in a single month were the major reason for a 1.17 per cent rise in transport prices.
Similarly, an increase in cooking gas prices caused a 2.17 per cent rise in electricity, water, and fuels.
Nguyen Dinh Cung, deputy head of the National Economic Management Institute, said the 0.66 per cent rise in August was not high, but characterised it as "sudden" after the CPI fell by 0.57 per cent in July.
The sharp rise in fuel prices had little impact on food and foodstuff prices because they were dependent more on crops than fuel, he explained.
The August inflation takes the rise in prices this year to 2.14 per cent. The increase was 4.28 per cent year-on-year. — VNS