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Legislators question threats posed to nation's macroeconomic stability

Update: May, 31/2013 - 09:11
Deputy Nguyen Thi Le Nga from northern Thai Nguyen Province. — VNA/VNS Photos Nguyen Dan

HA NOI (VNS)— National Assembly deputies yesterday called on more concrete measures from the Government to aid growth and struggling businesses amid slowing inflation.

During the live broadcast of the plenary session yesterday, discussing the country's socio-economic progress, deputy Nguyen Cao Son from northern Hoa Binh Province cited statistics that 16,000 businesses had ceased operation in the first four months.

As a result of enterprises unable to access loans and still coping with high-interest rates from non-performing ones, Son, also the chairman of the province's association of small-and-medium enterprises, suggested reducing the borrowing interest rate to 8 per cent and past-due-date loans to below 10 per cent.

Deputy Tran Du Lich from HCM City said the Government must seize the opportunity as inflation has slowed down, which saw consumer prices rise 6.36 per cent in May, slightly down from 6.61 per cent in April.

"In the next two or three years, we must strive to bring back the economic growth level of the golden years (2001-07). If we don't achieve a 7-8 per cent growth rate in a couple of decades, the industrialisation target will be hard to meet," he said.

Lich identified the need to build a medium-term strategy to aid economic growth and maintain the CPI at a level of 6.5-7.0 per cent from now until 2015 and below 5 per cent in the following years.

Deputy Tran Du Lich from HCM City

Viet Nam had targeted credit growth of 12 per cent this year but the State Bank must have better measures to assist businesses, especially those with good outlets but which could not access loans, he said.

Many NA deputies agreed the slow restructuring of banks and state-owned companies had contributed to the risk of macro-economic instability.

Deputy Nguyen Van Canh, from central Binh Dinh Province, said the Government should speed up the withdrawal of capital in non-core businesses in State-owned enterprises.

Huynh Nghia, from central Da Nang City, said the issuance of government bonds would allow important projects such as the extension of National Highway 1A and construction of new hospitals and irrigation projects to stimulate aggregate demand.

Concerns on debt were also at the top of the agenda at yesterday's session. Lawmaker Le Thi Nguyet, from northern Vinh Phuc Province, said the role of the Viet Nam Asset Management Company (VAMC), which was approved by the PM earlier this month, should be clarified.

Nguyen Van Hien from southern Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province and other legislators expressed the need to have coherence in the numbers that indicated the health of the economy.

For example, in the case of non-performing loans, he said, the State Bank put the number at 8.6 per cent at the end of 2012 but the Government's report in the current session put the number at 7.8 per cent.

Minister of Planning and Investment Bui Quang Vinh admitted later that the accuracy of many indicators of the economy were not coherent due to differences in statistics from provincial level, ministries, agencies and the general statistics office.

On the reduced unemployment rate in 2012 (at about 2.01 per cent), labour minister Pham Thi Hai Chuyen said most of the businesses who went bankrupt were small-and-medium sized and drew their labour from rural areas, where laid-off workers returned to work.

Speaking on the restructuring efforts, Vinh said 17 out of 21 state-owned conglomerates already had their restructuring plans approved as of May.

State Bank Governor Nguyen Van Binh said the VAMC would soon start operations and help deal with about VND 40-70 trillion (US$2-3.4 billion) of bad debts.

One member of the public listening to the live broadcast, Le Van Hung, a farmer in Hung Trung commune, Hung Nguyen District of central Nghe An Province, said farmers paid attention to issues that pertained to agriculture and farming, such as ways to boost the markets for agricultural products.

He expressed hope that the Government would better implement solutions to link farmers with businesses and consider that agriculture also involved the participation of scientists, businesses and other stakeholders. — VNS



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