|President Truong Tan Sang
Viet Nam should renovate its growth model and facilitate economic restructuring in order to make the national economy more competitive and achieve rapid growth, says President Truong Tan Sang.
"It should also implement industrialization and modernization initiatives towards sustainable development," he says in an interview with the Vietnam News Agency on the threshold of the traditional Lunar New Year (Tet) festival.
"We should continue updating and perfecting socialist-oriented market economy institutions and focus on human resources development to expeditiously improve the country's position in the world economy," he says.
The President says that "economic growth in recent years has relied heavily on increased investment and intensive use of natural resources. This growth has been characterized by low productivity and quality, negatively impacting sustainable development".
|Official Tet greeting card from President Truong Tan Sang
"The nation's current problems, including comparatively low public investment efficiency, poor infrastructure, unskilled workforce and low and medium-level technology make it difficult for Viet Nam to improve its competitiveness. Therefore it is imperative that the growth model is renewed quickly," the President says.
"Immediate difficulties that Viet Nam faces have to do with the financial and banking sector, including substantial public debt and state budget overspending. Sluggish production and business activities are other problems."
Meanwhile, shortcomings remain in education, science and technology development and state management of central and local agencies, the President says.
"Therefore, the central solution is to improve awareness of agencies at all levels, elevating their determination to tackle all challenges hindering national development."
President Sang says Viet Nam enjoys "numerous advantages, and it has been recognised by the world community as a politically stable country that is generating momentum for economic development".
By late 2015, full trade liberalisation will be realised in the ASEAN bloc, and between ASEAN and China, meaning that a wide range of tariffs will be removed to facilitate free circulation of goods.
By 2018, Viet Nam will have to cut down tariffs under its commitments with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) as well as in free trade agreements (FTAs) that it has joined, Sang says.
He notes that the country has concluded FTA negotiations with the EU, the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, and the Republic of Korea, and is negotiating terms of the Tran-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement.
"These are both opportunities and challenges for Vietnamese producers, and will instigate swift and strong development in the years to come," he affirms.
He reiterates the need for rapid reforms saying "delays would slow economic development down, cause macro-economic instability, and increase social evils and income inequality".
"Beyond social insecurity, failure to reform will erode the people's trust in the Party and State," he says.
In recent years, Viet Nam has taken many measures to detect and punish corruption, and these have produced significant results at both local and central levels, the President says.
"However, this is not enough, because corruption and wastefulness have not been completely eliminated, and more drastic measures, unswerving effort and increased determination are needed to increase the sense of security among the citizens," he adds.
He reiterates "the country's external policy of independence, self-reliance, peace, co-operation and development on the basis of multilateralism, diversification and international integration".
"Viet Nam aims to be a trusted friend, partner and responsible member of the international community, and has received strong support from foreign friends," he says.
"In its past struggles against foreign invaders, Viet Nam had leveraged the strength of its people with assistance from peace and justice-loving communities around the world. Based on the balance of power, many believed Viet Nam could not defeat any hostile force, but the country was victorious.
"The value of that historical lesson can be seen in the present nation-building and safeguarding processes," the President stresses.
"If the strengths of patriotism and national unity are fully utilised in conjunction with international support, and the interests of the nation and its people are given top priority, Viet Nam can overcome any challenge," he says.
On the occasion of Tet, the President conveys his best New Year wishes to all Vietnamese residing within and outside the country.
He expresses his hope that this year, each family and each enterprise will surmount all difficulties and achieve significant progress; that every organisation and official in the political system at all levels will work collectively and exert utmost effort to develop the country, enhance living standards, and maintain national sovereignty and independence. — VNA