|Workers process faradaic spare parts at Sankoh Viet Nam Co Ltd. Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said improving the nation's business climate and competitive edge was an urgent, essential task. — VNA/VNS Photo Trong Dat
HA NOI (VNS) — Improving the business climate and national competitive edge was an urgent and key task, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung told a monthly government meeting in Ha Noi yesterday.
Ministries, agencies and localities should examine the situation frequently, he said.
Reflecting on the January-February socio-economic performance, he told the meeting that total retail value and agricultural production were on the rise while industrial production and exports-imports experienced slight month-on-month decreases due to the nine-day Lunar New Year holiday.
Positive signals were seen in the attraction of official development assistance, foreign direct investment and tourism.
Social welfare continued to be made available to the poor, ethnic minorities and ex-revolutionaries nationwide.
However, Cabinet members admitted a higher incidence of traffic accidents, especially before and after the holiday. According to the National Traffic Safety Committee, more than 1,500 people died in traffic accidents in the first two months of the year, with 317 deaths recorded during the nine-day Tet holiday alone.
They proposed a number of initiatives to accelerate the pace of equitising State-owned enterprises, rallying domestic and foreign resources for socio-economic infrastructures, as well as revising laws and mechanisms to create a fairer, more transparent business environment.
Several measures suggested targeted the increased adoption of technological advances in production and trading - and the expansion of agro-fishery markets.
The PM conceded that the overhaul of administrative procedures and business climate was happening, but perhaps too slowly, while the rate of traffic accidents and crimes remained high.
Dung also called for festivals that served little use and were full of superstitious practices to be removed. He said that Viet Nam celebrated up to 8,000 festivals annually.
The PM made it clear that the emphasis must be put on clearing any constraints on business, including taxation, land use, customs, social insurance, and access to electricity.
At the same time, he said the macro-economy and exchange rates must be stabilised and lending rates lowered, adding that a crackdown on smuggling and counterfeiting was also necessary.
On economic restructuring, Dung said that underperforming State-owned enterprises, banks and credit institutions continued to undergo shake-ups to ensure that the rate of non-performing loans was brought down to below three per cent this year.
Ministries, agencies and localities were told to align regulations with the socialist-oriented economy on terms that were open, transparent and fair.
Dung said that socialist orientations required a sound use of tools and policies and fair allocation of resources to bring about social and cultural wellbeing to all citizens. For example, the prices of oil and gas, electricity, coal, healthcare and education services should be calculated on a rational basis.
On social issues, he demanded better health care for the public by embracing state-of-the-art medical technologies, addressing hospital overcrowding, and the use of health insurance by the whole population.
The government leader also called for the consolidation of national defence-security capability, social security and order, and faster international integration, including negotiations on free-trade agreements.
Participants also gave feedback on draft laws on fees and hydrometeorology. — VNS