|Workers check products for export at the Hien Luong Handicraft Company in Phu Xuyen District, Ha Noi. The Government is improving access to finance for businesses in a bid to stabilise the economy and control inflation. — VNA/VNS Photo Trong Dat
HA NOI (VNS) — In order to avoid a potential return to high-inflation and macro-economic instability, some lawmakers suggested the 2014 growth target should drop to a more moderate 5.5 per cent, cutting half a percentage point from the original target of 6 per cent.
The NA plenary session, held to discuss the socio-economic developments of 2013 and economic targets for 2014, was broadcast live yesterday.
The lawmakers applauded the Government's effort in meeting 11 out of 15 socio-economic development targets in 2013, namely achieving results in social welfare policies, decreasing inflation to around 7 per cent and maintaining social security.
However, they stressed that the economy was hiding many potential risks.
Notably, the economic growth in 2013 is expected to close in at 5.4 per cent, lower than the targeted 5.5 per cent. The result will see the 2013 state budget revenue short by VND21 trillion (US$1 billion).
In addition 42,000 businesses closed down in the first nine months of this year.
Average economic growth for the 2011-13 period is expected to reach 5.6 per cent annually, according to the NA; the slowest growth rate in 13 years.
Tran Du Lich, an NA deputy from HCM City, suggested that the focus now should be supporting businesses in accessing loans, as business confidence in market recovery was still low.
"Our financial policy, monetary policy and public policy are like the three unknowns of an equation," Lich said.
"Maintaining their harmony would help control inflation and social stability," he added.
Deputy Pham Quang Khai from southern Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province said he agreed that the level of State budget deficit would be kept at 5.3 per cent in 2013 but the Government must deploy effective resources towards priority projects and should aim to prevent overflow on public spending.
In addition, growth in the agricultural sector was also posing concern, as it was expected to expand by only 2.8 per cent in 2013, dropping from 3.3 per cent 2010.
The figures reflect the major upsets experienced by the nation's farmers and in some cases the loss of their farm land.
"The agriculture sector used to be our pillar for growth but now we're letting farmers suffer losses," said deputy Huynh Ngoc Dang from southern Binh Duong Province.
Nguyen Thanh Hung, a lawmaker from southern Dong Thap Province, said lives of farmers had been heavily affected during the past two years as most of the country's main agricultural products suffered from a shrinking market.
He called on the need to support co-operatives and policies that attract investment into agriculture, shifting from supporting individual farmers to supporting cooperatives and relying less on imported raw materials.
On a different note, Nguyen Ba Thuyen, a lawmaker from Central Highland Lam Dong Province, said that many government officials at the local or state level did not pay adequate attention to social issues that concern residents and stressed that corruption and wasteful public spending were still prevalent.
During yesterday's session, legislators also expressed concerns on restructuring the financial sector and state-owned companies, as well as discussing solutions needed to deal with bad credit.
Some lawmakers suggested issuing more Government bonds and expanding the level of the state budget deficit, which Le Thi Yen, a deputy from northern Phu Tho Province, said would spur the market with increased production and more jobs.
Voters expressed major interest in the session yesterday. Nguyen Minh Toai, director of the Can Tho Department of Industry and Trade, said that in the past three years, farmers in the Mekong Delta were particularly affected by losses in growing rice, calling on the Government to support a shift to growing other crops.
Nguyen Thi Tam, former head of northern Bac Ninh Province's Industry and Trade Department, who now lives in Ha Noi, agreed that increasing public investment would help the economy but the Government must use public spending efficiently.
The NA will continue discussing the same topic in today's morning session. — VNS