|Oil drilling platforms of PetroVietnam Drilling and Well Service Corporation in Vietnamese territorial waters. In the 11 months to date, industrial production increased, according to figures announced at a cabinet meeting in Hà Nội on Friday. — VNA/VNS Photo Huy Hùng|
HÀ NỘI — Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc underlined the importance of building a resolution on key socio-economic tasks and plans in 2018 at a cabinet meeting in Hà Nội on Friday.
The Government leader said there is only a month left in 2017 and the workload is still very heavy.
The PM requested ministries, departments and localities to follow objectives outlined by the 12th Central Committee of the Communist Party of Việt Nam (CPV), the conclusion of CPV General Secretary Nguyễn Phú Trọng and the National Assembly’s Resolution on socio-economic development in 2018.
He asked cabinet members to consider solutions to prevent corruption and wastefulness along with issues relating to culture, security and national defence.
He also expressed concern over the unsynchronised political system and called for positive changes at the grassroots level.
In November, Việt Nam suffered from devastating natural disasters, including typhoon Damrey that wreaked havoc across nine central localities, especially Khánh Hòa and Phú Yên.
The storm killed 45 people and damaged property, he noted, asking ministries, sectors, organisations and localities to continue to support the disaster’s victims. Meanwhile, the PM pointed out that in November and the first 11 months of this year, the macro-economy remained stable, with inflation controlled and economic balance ensured.
The consumer price index rose 0.13 per cent in November and 3.14 percent in January-November. In the 11 months industrial production increased, with a 17.2 per cent rise recorded in November, while total goods and services revenue increased 10.7 per cent year on year.
Foreign arrivals reached 1.17 million in November, pushing the total figure this year to 11.65 million, up 27.8 percent against the same period last year.
At the same time, foreign investment hit US$19.8 billion, up 52 per cent, along with $33.1 billion of capital to purchase shares in State-owned enterprises, a rise of 23.4 per cent. Notably, exports grew to hit nearly $194 billion, up 21 percent, with the highest rise recorded in agricultural products such as vegetables (43.2 per cent), rubber (38.9 per cent), cashew (23.2 per cent) and seafood (16.2 per cent).
The country enjoyed a $2.8 billion trade surplus, noted PM Phúc.
Total budget collection recorded impressive growth at 14.2 per cent, he added.
The Prime Minister highlighted that 116,000 new enterprises were set up in the 11 months, with the figure likely to hit 120,000 for the year.
Promises to voters should be upheld
During the meeting, PM Phúc urged cabinet members to uphold their promises to the National Assembly and voters and implement the NA’s resolutions.
He warned that ministries, sectors and localities should not feel satisfied with positive socio-economic achievements in the period from January to November and must continue better implementing their tasks, such as addressing the consequences of floods and storms and disbursing public funds.
The PM noted that drastic and comprehensive actions are needed in December 2017 and early 2018 to help storm-ravaged communities.
He stressed the need to intensify the fight against corruption, wastefulness and wrongdoing; focus more on social and cultural development; promote social equality and improve people’s living conditions; protect the environment and adapt to climate change; strengthen national defence and security and enhance the effectiveness of external affairs and international integration.
The PM asked the State Bank of Việt Nam to keep a close watch on the currency, credit, interest and exchange rate market to make timely adjustments.
He noted that the electricity price increase has little influence on the CPI. He requested relevant sectors closely follow prices and the market and ensure sufficient supply of goods and services particularly during the year end month and New Year (Tết) holidays.
PM Phúc requested ministries, sectors and localities to strictly implement the roadmap for divestment at state-owned enterprises, especially at Sabeco, Habeco and other major businesses.
He also asked the Ministry of Public Security to investigate and settle recent cases of child abuse.
Ministers face the press
At a press conference following the meeting yesterday, ministers faced a barrage of questions on the EU’s ‘yellow card’ warning on Vietnamese seafood, the rise in electricity prices, controversies surrounding toll booths and other pressing issues.
Agriculture Minister Vũ Văn Tám said that of the nine demands made by the EU to lift the warning on Vietnamese seafood over illegal and unregulated fishing, there are three that needed more attention.
The first one was ensuring a legal framework and institution in line with international norms. These have been “incorporated as much as possible” into the amended Law on Fisheries newly approved by the National Assembly.
Tám said the agriculture ministry is also doing its best to issue guiding documents and decrees to ease the implementation of the law.
Secondly, on improving the capacity of State management and compliance by the fishermen, Tám said: “This is one of our worst weaknesses and cannot be resolved anytime soon, but the most urgent measures will certainly be carried out.”
Thirdly, steps were being taken to raise further the awareness of the political system, fishermen, and businesses on illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing, he said.
On the sudden increase in electricity prices effective this month, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade, Đỗ Thắng Hải, said that electricity prices or prices of essential goods have “always received special attention from the government” as they have significant influence over macroeconomic aspects like Consumer Price Index (CPI) to microeconomic aspects like input-output costs and people’s livelihoods.
Hải said that since 2015 March, electricity prices had remained constant while production costs had risen considerably, prompting the latest price adjustment.
He said that the 6.08 per cent increase would only pump CPI in 2017 by a marginal 0.08 per cent and in 2018 by 0.1 per cent.
He also said that in order to set up a transparent electricity pricing mechanism, the ministry has established a working group comprising representatives of the Finance and Labour ministries, the National Assembly, the Việt Nam Chamber of Industry and Commerce, as well as reputed international audit organisations.
Answering questions about the ongoing protests against the Cai Lậy toll booth in the southern province of Tiền Giang by drivers unhappy about the high toll fees and inappropriate location of the booth, Transport Deputy Minister Nguyễn Nhật said an August inspection had revealed no faults in this project’s investment.
He also criticised “extreme drivers” who have intentionally sabotaged the traffic and caused severe jams and delays, and said that the Government would try to not let this situation go on for long or be repeated in other BOT projects across the country. — VNS