Saturday, October 22 2016


Viet Nam must cultivate its competitive edge to thrive

Update: January, 26/2016 - 09:33
Khanh Hoa bird nest processing factory in Cam Ranh City has advanced technology and improved productivity and product quality. Viet Nam should continue its development and improve its labour productivity to remain among the middle income countries, Bui Quang Vinh, Minister of Planning and Investment, said. — VNA/VNS Photo Vu Sinh

In his address at the 12th National Party Congress, Bui Quang Vinh, Minister of Planning and Investment, stressed the need for Viet Nam to speed up its institutional reform toward a prosperous, creative, equal and democratic nation. Below are some excerpts from his speech.

Since 1986, Viet Nam's per capita income has increased four times while the percentage of poor households has dropped from 50 per cent to 5 per cent. These achievements were the successes of the country's on-going renewal process and no one could negate them. However, our country has remained a poor country if we compare it with our neighbouring countries having the same conditions as us.

Not many people know that in 1820, Viet Nam's population and economic scale were bigger than that of the Philippines and Myanmar combined, or 150 per cent that of Thailand and almost equal to the world average per capita. But, regrettably speaking, our per capita now is less than a fifth of the world average and just equal to about a third of Thailand.

Our renewal process has been going on 30 years. It is high time for us to elevate our renewal process to a higher plane. In 1970, Viet Nam started to enter the golden population structure. But normally the golden population structure lasts about 50 years. That means we'll have only 10 years more to make the best use of the highest productivity of these people.

In addition, the advantages that we have enjoyed in the last 30 years, including the high growth rate in investment, cheap labour force and abundant resources have gradually phased out.

Viet Nam's economy has integrated deeper and deeper internationally. That means we have accepted fierce competition. It has become a matter of survival or death, we have to improve our competitive edge. We should continue our development and improve our labour productivity to remain among the middle income countries.

In the last five years, economic reforms have achieved certain successes but the reform in the political system seemed to lag behind. That was a key factor preventing our renewal process to achieve its objectives.

The most successful achievement that Viet Nam has gained in the last 30 years was the switch from a centrally planned economy to a market economy. Such a change has become the driving force for the nation to advance. But over the last 30 years, the organisational structure and activity modality of the Party, State and mass organisations have remained almost the same. As a result, they have become a hurdle for the country to move forward. That's why, it has become urgent for Viet Nam to reform its political system in tandem of its economic reform.

The party is the nation's supreme leader. So the party should be pro-active in implementing the National Party's Congress Resolution, ie., to resolutely reform the organisational structure and organisational functions of the Party, Government and political organisations to make their activities more efficient and closer to life.

There are three main columns in the country's institutionally economic reform.

First, economic prosperity must go hand in hand with environmental sustainability.

Viet Nam mt achieve a high and stainable economic growth rate in the next 20 years with an average income per capita growth of 7 per cent per year – or equal to 8 per cent GDP growth per year. In other words, by 2035, Viet Nam should strive to achieve a per capita income of USVND335,325,000 to VND402,390,000.

Second, all people are equal.

In a market economy, fierce competition will make the gap between the rich and the poor wider. So is the accessibility of basic social welfare. That's why, it is important to have policies in place to ensure the equality in development and opportunity to access basic social welfare for all people, particularly disadvantaged and vulnerable groups of people, including ethnic minorities, disabled people and the poor.

And finally, strengthen the capacity and accountability of the government.

The current sluggishness and poor environment for the development of the private sector are the result of the government's weak management.

Viet Nam's legal framework has created a certain space for its citizens to participate in the process of state governance. However, in reality there remains a gap between theory and practice of the people's rights in the state governance. — VNS

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