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Lawmakers consider national growth goal

Update: October, 12/2013 - 09:28

Economic growth for the first nine months is estimated at 5.14 per cent; the annual forecast is 5.4 per cent.— Photo giaoduc

HA NOI (VNS)— Some members of the National Assembly Standing Committee suggested yesterday that the economic growth goal for 2014 be set around 5.5 per cent, which would continue the nation's focus on stabilising the macro-economy and maintaining social protection and welfare policies.

Many of the country's 2013 socio-economic targets will likely be met, Chairman of the NA Committee on Finance and Budget Nguyen Van Giau said at the NA Standing Committee meeting, citing a recent assessment report.

Economic growth for the first nine months is estimated at 5.14 per cent; the annual forecast is 5.4 per cent.

The NA report also applauded the Government's efforts to increase minimum wage, apply preferential tax policies, ensure social welfare and boost health insurance coverage to 71.2 per cent of the population by the end of 2013, despite difficulties in collecting the state budget.

"We are still in a difficult period," Giau said. "It should also be noted that other ASEAN economies are recovering faster and that slowing inflation, import and trade deficit are not stable signs of macro-economic recovery."

Average economic growth for 2011-13 is expected to reach 5.6 per cent annually, according to the NA, which would be the slowest level in 13 years.

Presenting the Government report on the country's socio-economy in 2013 and planning for 2014, Minister of Planning and Investment Bui Quang Vinh said the Government acknowledged that there were many obstacles in the path towards progress.

"The expected growth of 5.4 per cent means we would miss our target of 5.5 per cent. We are also seeing problems such as bad credit and businesses' struggle to access funding, a stagnant real estate market and slow agricultural production due to reduced global demand," Vinh noted.

In 2013, state budget collection is projected to fall short by VND21,000 billion ($1 billion), which would affect government investment in socio-economic and infrastructure development, he pointed out.

Vinh said the mindset on government subsidies should be changed; moreover, he added, the Government should clearly identify areas to increase private participation.

The Government report also noted that the signing of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (scheduled for the end of 2013 or the beginning of 2014) would pave the way for Vietnamese businesses to enter the markets of TPP member countries such as Japan and the US.

However, next year also presents the threat of returning high inflation, even though the Government aims to maintain inflation at 7 per cent in 2014, due to the effects of loosened credit policies that aimed to spur production, according to the NA.

The Government hopes that 1.6 million jobs will be created in 2014 and about 87,000 workers will be sent abroad.

These reports are expected to be presented to the NA plenary session later this month.

Today, the NA Standing Committee will discuss the revision of the 1992 Constitution. — VNS

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