|Leadership: Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong
Viet Nam has seen many positive results as well as challenges in various fields of development and the path to future growth looks bright, Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong tells the Vietnam News Agency in the following interview on the occasion of Tet (Lunar New Year).
We have gone through half of the tenure of the 11th Party Congress and faced numerous difficulties and challenges. Can you talk about the major outcomes after three years of implementing the Party Congress's resolutions?
Looking back over the past three years, we can see that the world situation, in addition to having some advantages, has seen complicated developments. Conflicts in many places and the global financial-monetary crisis and economic recession have had negative impacts on our national construction and defence. In the country, high inflation and public debts have threatened macroeconomic stability. Economic growth has slowed down, production and business activities have faced many difficulties as have the people in their daily lives, and natural disasters and epidemics have caused serious damage.
In this context, the Party and State have made timely adjustments and organised well the implementation of guidelines, policies and measures to bring the national economy out of difficulties. Many positive and on-track results have been achieved. Notably, inflation was controlled, the macro-economy basically stabilised, economic growth rate maintained at a suitable level, and social security guaranteed.
The consumer price index (CPI) dropped from 18.13 per cent in 2011 to over 6 per cent in 2013, the lowest level in 10 years. Economic growth has been maintained at 5.6 per cent per year. We have continued implementing social welfare policies, creating nearly 1.6 million jobs and providing a regular allowance for more than 2.5 million people. The rate of poverty has been reduced further.
Attention has been paid to cultural and sports activities through the "All people unite to build cultural life" movement and the programme to build new-style rural areas.
Political security, social order and safety have been maintained while national defence has been strengthened, and national sovereignty and territorial integrity protected.
Foreign relations work has been stepped up comprehensively and numerous important achievements recorded, contributing to creating a peaceful and stable environment favourable for national construction and defence.
Alongside upgrading and developing bilateral relations with many partner countries in a more intensive and practical manner, Viet Nam has actively and proactively joined important co-operation mechanisms in the region and the world.
For the first time, Viet Nam was elected to the United Nations Human Rights Council, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, and the Board of Governors of the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), showing the country's increasing prestige and position on the international arena.
Despite the world economic downturn, Viet Nam's export turnover has increased 22 per cent per year on average and its trade balance has improved remarkably. Newly registered foreign direct investment (FDI) and capital additions to existing FDI projects has grown every year, accounting for 25 per cent of total social investment. In 2013 alone, registered FDI reached US$22 billion, up 35 per cent against the previous year.
Viet Nam's tourism sector has continued to reap successes, serving 7.5 million foreign visitors and 35 million domestic visitors, recording total earnings of 200 trillion dong (over $9.5 billion), two years ahead of the schedule set in the sector's development strategy.
The Party Central Committee's resolutions and conclusions have been carried out seriously by agencies at all levels. The implementation of the three breakthroughs (in institutions, human resources and infrastructure) in combination with renovation of the growth model and economic restructuring has yielded a number of initial results.
Natural resources management, environmental protection and climate change adaptation have received proper attention.
Meanwhile, the work of strengthening the Party and political system has been done alongside studying and following the moral example of President Ho Chi Minh.
The fight against corruption and wastefulness has been intensified and the practice of thrift promoted. The democratic environment within the Party and in society as a whole has been continuously expanded and promoted.
In particular, with the active participation of and high sense of responsibility shown by the Party, people and armed forces, a new Constitution was approved by an overwhelming majority of deputies to the 13th National Assembly at their sixth session late last year, creating a premise for our nation to confidently and firmly march forward on its selected path towards building the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam into a strong country with wealthy people and a democratic, fair and civilised society.
Lessons learnt and experience gained from noteworthy achievements over the past three years include knowing how to promote the strength of national unity, always taking care of the people and maintaining their trust in the leadership of the Party and the governance of the State. They also include making full use of the nation's internal strengths while taking advantage of foreign resources to successfully carrying out goals and tasks set by the 11th Party Congress.
Many major corruption cases have been brought to court and tried in a strict manner recently, receiving the public's approval and high evaluation. Is this is a more drastic step in the implementation of the resolution on Party building issued at the fourth session of the 11th Party Central Committee (Resolution 4)?
Anti-corruption is a major task and content in the Resolution 4. The Central Steering Committee for Anti-corruption was formed in compliance with a resolution passed at the fifth session of the Party Central Committee. Since its inception nearly one year ago, the anti-corruption committee, under the Political Bureau, has made all-out efforts and achieved some results. The anti-corruption apparatus has been consolidated through the re-establishment of internal affairs committees from central to grassroots levels.
Seven working missions were dispatched to ministries, branches and localities, including central judicial agencies, to inspect the investigation, prosecution and trial of major embezzlement cases that attracted public concern. A number of unsettled corruption cases that drew public interest have been fast-tracked. The steering committee decided to put eight cases and two topics under its direct watch last year to enable closer scrutiny, and will add several cases and topics to the list this year.
However, anti-corruption is a long-term, tough task that requires a synchronous and comprehensive approach, as well as the combination of many methods with prevention as the basic measure even as the fighting is done in a drastic manner.
The best way to prevent corruption from occurring is to have mechanisms in place that will make people not want to engage in it, dare not engage in it and are unable to engage in it. In case it does happen, it is imperative that violations are strictly dealt with under the law. Strict and severe treatment of corruption can also be seen as a positive way to prevent it.
If embezzlement is a stinging furuncle, wastefulness in all forms, whether it is of property, money, natural resources, time or labour, is also a headache. Resolution 4 aims to fight corruption, wastefulness, group interests and the degeneration of Party members, including leaders and managers, among other people. It can be seen that the implementation of Resolution 4 has allowed organisations, officials and Party members to examine themselves and adjust their thoughts and actions. It has also helped prevent their violations.
Through criticism and self-criticism, the Party committees and organisations at all levels as well as each Party official and member have conducted pragmatic activities to correct their shortcomings. At the central level, a range of mechanisms, policies and regulations have been rolled out in order to bring into full play achievements while preventing and limiting negative phenomena. Apart from the planning of selecting high-level officials, refresher courses have been opened for members of the Party Central Committee, and training courses held for potential officials.
Regulations have been issued: on how Party officials and members, especially those holding leading positions, should set examples for others to follow; on votes of confidence for several leadership and management posts; on what Party members are permitted to do; and on the inspection and monitoring of Party officials and members' observance of Party discipline.
Many localities have checked, adjusted and withdrawn licences of delayed projects or those that could not be implemented due to investors' difficulties.
They have also reorganised the State apparatus and reshuffled several officials, while focusing efforts on addressing a number of prolonged petitions and complicated cases of public concern. Many agencies and units have revamped their working styles and tightened the use of public cars and budgets for organising conferences. Expenditure for working trips to localities and other formalities has also been cut.
More meetings with people have been organised to better understand their thoughts and aspirations. Through frank and open talks, officials at central level have been able to understand better the situations of localities and units, learnt useful experiences that can be disseminated as well as difficulties that need to be removed, thus gaining more information and references for policy-making.
Such meaningful and necessary activities have received a warm response from Party officials and members as well as the public.
People hope that Party officials and members will always set good examples, improve themselves, keep in close contact with the public, do their best to serve the people, listen to the people and learn from the people even on the smallest matter.
The market economy and integration process have its negative sides which have impacted the thinking and aspirations of a section of Party officials, members and people. Negative phenomena, corruption and degradation in political thought, morality and lifestyles have harmed the prestige of the Party and State and eroded people's confidence.
In this context, the effective implementation of three urgent issues and four groups of solutions mentioned in Resolution 4 is of vital importance in order to make the Party stronger and purer, worthy of its role as leader of the country.
In the second half of the 11th Party Congress's tenure (2014-15), the country's economy will still be in difficulties. In your opinion, what are the things that should be prioritised in order to fulfill the targets set by the congress?
Over the next two years, heavy responsibilities await, requiring great efforts from the Party, the whole people and army to meet the set targets. The top priority remains to maintain macroeconomic stability, curb inflation, keep an appropriate growth rate and ensure social security.
In the immediate future, it is necessary to remove difficulties and mobilise resources for business and production sectors, creating a driving force and building confidence among the people and enterprises, recovering the pace of growth. At the same time, it is a must that efforts are made to improve the economy's quality, effectiveness and competitiveness on the basis of achieving the three strategic breakthroughs. They should be done in combination with renovating the growth model and restructuring the economy by taking specific and suitable measures to support growth recovery and ensure sustainable development in the coming years.
After eight plenums, the 11th Party Central Committee issued many resolutions and decisions to orient the settlement of key issues for the country's long-term development, including development of science and technology, comprehensive reform of education and training, response to climate change, effective management and use of land, forests and minerals, and building and upgrading of infrastructure, meeting the requirements of the country's industrialisation and modernisation process.
In addition, the Party Central Committee has urged that attention should be paid to dealing with socio-cultural issues, unceasingly improving people's spiritual and material lives and maintaining political security, social order and safety.
The targets and orientation have been set clearly. But to actually create changes in reality, specific steps need to be taken by authorities at all levels and sectors in a manner that suits each locality.
In working trips and meetings with local officials, I have repeatedly stressed that achieving industrialisation does not mean developing industry without planning and at any cost. It is necessary to select priority projects and key industries for investment on the basis of each locality's conditions with a view to maximising the influence of industry on agricultural development.
In the context of the economic downturn, production and business activities facing many difficulties, it is the agricultural sector that has an important role in ensuring social security. Localities with advantages in agro-forestry development should reorganise production to turn out goods on large scale in combination with developing the processing industry, build effective goods models, and produce suitable and high quality products to serve both domestic and overseas markets.
Even localities with high industrialisation and urbanisation rates, such as Binh Duong, Dong Nai and Bac Ninh provinces, should not neglect agriculture. Instead, they have to focus on developing the sector using advanced technology.
In industrial development, it is essential to select high value-added and environmentally-friendly sectors, invest more in support industries to reduce dependence on imports, and focus on growth value and quality to bring practical benefits to the people.
Along side with favourable conditions, there will be difficulties and challenges this year. In this context, we should hold fast to our beliefs and raise high our determination and consensus.
Every action should be aimed at fulfilling the set targets, creating changes in reality.
On the occasion of the Lunar New Year, I would like to extend best wishes to all people and armymen nationwide as well as the overseas Vietnamese community. I wish every Vietnamese family welcomes the traditional festival with new impetus, determination and belief, and together with the whole Party, people, and army, successfully implement the set targets and tasks, helping the country overcome difficulties and continue on its path of sustainable development. — VNS