HÀ NỘI — The National Assembly (NA) this morning approved the Resolution on Socio-economic Development Plan for the year 2020, targeting 6.8 per cent GDP growth and improvements to national competitiveness.
A total of 430 legislators took part in the vote during the ongoing 8th session of the 14th NA tenure, with 426 in favour of the resolution, or 88.2 per cent approval, with two against and two abstaining.
Vũ Hồng Thanh, Chair of NA Committee of Economic Affairs, said that many have called for revisions of targeted GDP growth to “upwards of 6.8 per cent” or “within 6.7 to 6.8 per cent” in the resolution but the NA Standing Committee, the top body in the Vietnamese parliament, didn’t agree.
The 6.8 per cent GDP growth is a reasonable increase, ensuring harmonious relations between the need for economic growth and inflation control, Thanh said.
The resolution’s main goals are to maintain the stability of macroeconomic foundations, keeping inflation under control, raising productivity, efficiency, resilience, and competitiveness of the economy, while at the same time improving institutions and creating a fair and open business and investment environment.
The legislative body also noted that the Government and agencies must prioritise resources towards climate-resilient programmes and preventing the worst of climate change and natural disasters, to which Việt Nam is among the world’s most vulnerable countries.
The resolution wanted the increase of the Consumer Price Index to be below 4 per cent.
According to the resolution, exports are set to grow by 7 per cent in 2020 but the economy will still experience a trade deficit, with export value growth trailing behind import value growth by about 3 per cent.
The figure was previously questioned by several NA members as Việt Nam for the last four years (2016-19) has enjoyed a trade surplus.
Minister of Industry and Trade Trần Tuấn Anh said the caution was due to unpredictable headwinds in the global economy in 2020, with more trade disputes between countries and the rise of protectionism – some countries are ready to violate the covenant of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to protect domestic production.
Tuấn Anh also said that due to the ongoing US-China trade war and the upcoming ratification of the EU-Việt Nam Free Trade Agreement, there will likely be an influx of foreign investors and foreign investment into Việt Nam, leading to higher imports of machinery, equipment and materials.
The ministry estimated that import growth in 2020 will be around 8-10 per cent, while the export growth will reach 6-7 per cent, meaning that the difference will be about 3 per cent, tipped towards imports.
NA also asked for expedited implementation of national key infrastructure projects, including the North-South expressway, the Long Thành international airport in southern Việt Nam, and other major projects aimed at boosting regional connectivity.
In terms of society, according to the resolution, development capital is to be 33-34 per cent of GDP, the rate of poor households – delineated by the multidimensional poverty approach – to fall by 1-1.5 per cent (and 4 per cent in mountainous households).
The rate of labourers that have undergone training will reach 65 per cent, with the rate of trained labourers who have obtained degrees and qualification certifications reaching 25 per cent.
The State-sponsored health insurance’s coverage is expected to reach 90.7 per cent of the population, with the number of hospital beds per 10,000 residents reaching 28 (up one compared to 2019’s objective).
Tying in with the resolution’s target of reaching forest coverage of 42 per cent, the Government is also told to expend all efforts to maintain the existing natural forest area and improve management of the environment.
The rate of industrial zones outfitted with wastewater treatment systems must reach 90 per cent, according to the resolution.
Regarding foreign affairs, the Resolution also listed objectives such as performing the duties that come with the chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council when Việt Nam holds these two positions next year.
The resolution also stressed the upholding of territorial sovereignty and maintenance of peace and stability as a foundation for economic development.
Prevention of natural disasters law
Also on Monday, the NA heard the report on the draft amended law on prevention of natural disasters and the Law on Dykes.
Presenting the draft amended law, Chair of NA Science, Technology and Environment Committee Phan Xuân Dũng approved of the new regulation which would form an anti-disaster task force at the commune level, with the core being the local militia and other organisations, in order to timely carry out necessary actions right in their neighbourhoods in case of natural disasters.
However, the committee asked that the Government must clarify the role of this new task force and reconcile these new duties with their existing duties stated in the Law on National Defence.
The Government was also asked to make clear who has the authority to mobilise these task forces as well as the support policies for the task forces’ members.
According to the report, State budget has only been able to cover only 20 per cent of the economic losses caused by natural disasters in localities.
Therefore, many local governments have started to engage private sector in the construction of costly projects like land reclamation or dykes. However, there is a lack of detailed policies to encourage investments into this field as well as mechanisms to exploit these projects and reinvest into anti-natural disaster projects. — VNS