In the first quarter of 2019, Vietnam recorded positive economic achievements despite a range of difficulties both in and outside the country, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said at a Government cabinet meeting in Hanoi yesterday.
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc speaks at a Government cabinet meeting in Hanoi.— VNA/VNS Photo Thong Nhat
The country’s GDP growth was estimated at 6.79 percent, while the macroeconomy was stablised and foreign currency reserves were on the rise.
The inflow of foreign investment increased by nearly 31 percent, with US$4.12 billion disbursed, and total revenue from retail sales and services rose 12 percent, he added.
During the reviewed period, Vietnam’s exports continued to expand amidst the global economic slowdown, helping the country to enjoy a trade plus of $536 million in the first three months of 2019, PM Phuc said.
The government leader highlighted the promising outcome of budget collection, reaching almost 27 percent of the annual target, and the establishment of new businesses, with more than 28,400 enterprises set up during the period, along with a low unemployment rate.
Although the global economy was predicted to slow this year, international organisations still had a positive outlook for Vietnam, he said, citing growth forecasts from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the World Bank (WB) of 6.8 percent and 6.6 percent, higher than the predicted average growth of 6 percent in Asia-Pacific.
Apart from challenges caused by the global economic slowdown, Vietnam would have to face pressure in attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) as China’s Foreign Investment Law was set to help raise the country’s competitiveness, he warned.
The PM asked ministries and localities to take measures to step up foreign investment attraction, thus creating resources for national economic development.
At the meeting, PM Phuc also mentioned African swine fever which has been reported in 23 cities and provinces nationwide, along with climate change and drought in the Central Highlands and the Southwestern regions, affecting domestic production.
He urged ministries, agencies and sectors to uphold their responsibility and overcome these challenges to fulfill their yearly targets, saying the greatest efforts should be made to ensure economic growth targets were met and to address social issues, especially in culture and education.
The government leader underlined the need to handle bottlenecks hindering the country’s economic growth, especially the low disbursement of public investment.
Given the disbursement of capital sourced from the state budget dropping 30 percent year-on-year, PM Phuc asked the Minister of Planning and Investment and other ministries and agencies to clarify the problem and accelerate disbursement in April.
Mentioning the credit growth rate of only 2.38 percent as compared with the yearly target of about 14 percent, the PM asked the State Bank of Vietnam to employ measures to support production.
In terms of environmental protection, he asked the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and localities to work harder to encourage the public to reduce the use of plastic products, helping to handle plastic waste, especially along the country’s coastline.
Regarding the recently-announced provincial competitiveness index, the PM asked localities to pay more attention to transparency, personnel training, corporate support and administrative reforms in land, tax and customs.
Cabinet members also discussed some reports, including those regarding administrative reforms in the first three months of 2019, and the Government’s programme on law and ordinance building, among others.
Prime Minister Phuc on the same day asked ministries and sectors to quickly address recent social issues of public concern such as school violence and superstitious activities.
He cited the case of school violence in Hung Yen Province in which a female student was brutally attacked by other students, with another one capturing the scene and uploading the video online. Phuc also mentioned the case of Ba Vang Pagoda in Quang Ninh Province, where tens of thousands of worshippers paid up to thousands of dollars each to have their “bad karma” removed.
“Is this alarming? What are the responsibilities of the education ministry and localities when it comes to school violence?” Phúc said.
“Ministries and authorities need to address this issue so it does not lead to public outcry. Stronger solutions are needed,” he said.
The PM said while economic development was of great importance, it was also necessary for authorities to focus more on social problems.— VNS