Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc discusses price management for key commodities and services in 2020 at a meeting with the Steering Committee on Price Management in Hà Nội. — VGP Photo
HÀ NỘI — Keeping inflation in check was among the top priorities for the Government this year, said Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc at a meeting with the Steering Committee on Price Management in Hà Nội on Wednesday in which Government agencies and officials discussed price management for key commodities and services in 2020.
The PM insisted on the importance of keeping inflation under 4 per cent, an objective set by the National Assembly (NA), saying the country must aim at maintaining growth, employment and social security. Meanwhile, Việt Nam must stay vigilant to prevent a second COVID-19 wave to protect public health.
"People must not go hungry and desperate during this time of the pandemic," he said.
Another top priority was food security, especially against a backdrop of an increasing number of natural disasters such as floods and droughts.
He urged the committee to carefully study measures to strike a balance between growth and inflation for the third and fourth quarters of 2020, emphasising the need to rein in inflation.
"Growth at the expense of high inflation is still a failure," he said.
Việt Nam's CPI for June increased by 0.66 per cent, according to the Ministry of Finance. CPI has been on the decrease from 6.54 per cent to reach 4.19 per cent on average for the first six months of 2020, nearing the NA's 4 per cent target.
The finance ministry and the State Bank of Vietnam presented their forecast in which Việt Nam's CPI for the year 2020 would range from 3.5 to 4.1 per cent. This left some room for the committee to manoeuvre but policymakers said caution is advised as the global economy was likely to stay gloomy in the near future due to the pandemic.
Pork prices, a flashpoint in efforts to keep inflation low, have shown signs of being stabilised as herds across the country started to recover from the African swine fever that devastated domestic pork supply last year. Combined with rising pork imports, both meat and live pigs, the pork price was forecast to stay flat for the time being and likely fall in the fourth quarter. Prices for other commodities such as food and consumer products were also forecast to be stable as domestic supply remained ample.
The PM ordered the Ministry of Industry and Trade to take measures to stabilise prices for petrol, electricity and potable water. Vietnam Electricity (EVN), the country's largest power company, announced earlier in June it would not raise electricity price this year and look into complaints made by customers who had their power bill increased disproportionately.
The committee was told to consider making textbooks and medical services more available and affordable for the people, especially the poor. — VNS