|A worker at a production chain of VNK International Polybags Joint Stock Company, northern Ninh Bình Province. — VNA/VNS Photo Danh Lam
HÀ NỘI – Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc yesterday urged Government members to focus on increasing the gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate, which he said stood at a low rate of 5.1 per cent in the first quarter of the year.
The country has targeted GDP growth of 6.7 per cent this year.
The slowdown was blamed on poor performance of oil exploitation and manufacturing, Phúc said while addressing the regular Government meeting.
While the agricultural and service sectors grew well, the industry and construction sectors suffered low growth, he added.
The Government leader also noted that the disbursement of public investment capital was slow; reaching only 12.4 per cent of forecasts while the figure for the same period last year was 16 per cent.
He also mentioned sluggish State-owned enterprises equitisation, traffic accidents, as well as large-scale fire and explosions, urging drastic measures to tackle these issues.
At the meeting, the PM said the world situation was difficult to forecast. Protectionism was on the rise in many countries, which may affect Việt Nam’s exports, he said, adding that both direct and indirect foreign investment into the country would also be affected.
The United States Federal Reserve’s plan to increase its interest rate by many times from now through the year’s end and next year may cause the US dollar to appreciate, putting pressure on the country’s inflation and on the exchange rate and the Vietnamese đồng, he said.
In that context, PM Phúc pointed to the need for to make thorough and flexible response to trade and monetary policies and to watch global developments to devise timely measures.
Among key measures were restructuring, particularly the commercial banking system and improving the capacity of the economy in technology and management, he said.
He also asked for measures to mobilise social investment capital to help increase growth.
Top 10 socio-economic indicators
PM Phúc mentioned his top ten most impressive socio-economic indicators in the first quarter of the year:
• stable macro-economy;
• 0.9 per cent growth rate of Consumer Price Index in March (in comparison with 0.99 per cent in the same period last year);
• high credit growth pace (2.81 per cent against 1.54 per cent in 2016);
• exports estimated at over US$ 43.7 billion, a year-on-year surge of 12.8 per cent;
• increasing agricultural and service sectors;
• rapid growth of foreign visitors with over 3.2 million, up 29 per cent;
• strong Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflow with US$7.71 billion; and $3.62 billion FDI disbursement ;
• higher budget collection, meeting 23.4 per cent of forecast, up 13.5 per cent against the same period last year;
• more than 26,500 newly-founded enterprises, up 11.4 per cent in number and 45.8 per cent in value;
• Nikkei Việt Nam Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index rose to a 22-month high of 54.6 in March from 54.2 in February, higher than ASEAN’s average rate of 50.9.
The business environment also improved as 51 out of 63 cities and provinces entered the “good” management group in the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Provincial Competitiveness Index, the PM added.
In the afternoon, the Government members discussed the socio-economic situation of March and the first quarter of this year.
PM Phúc pointed out two issues that the country’s economy need to overcome in the coming time, namely slow GDP growth and pressure from exchange rates and interest rates.
He urged each sector to have its own growth scenario, particularly the mineral exploitation, construction and mechanic manufacturing sectors.
PM Phúc asked for continued efforts to speed up administrative and institutional reform to reduce complaints about business and investment procedures.
It was also essential to create more favourable conditions for businesses to get access to loans, speed up credit restructuring and handling of bad debt to promote credit growth and reduce interest rates to encourage production and business activities of enterprises, he said.
He called for measures to develop the real estate market, effectively deal with social issues and fight corruption.
On the occasion, the PM decided to open the second Business Forum to listen to and deal with businesses’ recommendations.
Later the same day, participants listened to reports on the fourth industrial revolution by Minister of Science and Technology Chu Ngọc Anh and experts and researchers from the Việt Nam Software and IT Services Association.
Cabinet members gave their feedback on the National Assembly’s draft resolutions regarding notary public offices and adjustment of employers’ deposits into unemployment insurance funds. - VNS