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Saturday, 23/09/2017 21:27PM
PM chalks out five-point plan for struggling economy

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung Thursday set out a five-point plan to achieve socioeconomic targets approved by the National Assembly (NA) last year.

The full text of the Prime Minister’s statement can be viewed here.

At its year-end session which wrapped up last November, the NA lowered the 2009’s seven percent economic growth rate proposed by the government to 6.5 percent. Plans to limit inflation to below 15 percent this year were also approved by the house.

Vietnam posted economic growth rate of 6.23 percent last year, lower than the original target of 7 percent as well as 2007’s 8.5 percent.

Dung’s economic blueprint, posted on the Government website Thursday, says that by the end of the third quarter last year, the government had succeeded in containing inflation and stabilizing the macro-economy.

The country has shifted its priority from containing soaring inflation to preventing economic recession, Dung said. The fight against slowing economic growth is even harder than that against inflation considering the limited resources of the country as well as the ongoing international financial crisis, Dung said.

In the face of such obstacles, the government identified its main task as “enlisting the whole society in preventing economic recession, sustaining economic growth, and ensuring social welfare policies.”

Under Dung’s five-point plan the government will:

1. Clear roadblocks hindering production and export

Boosting production and export is not only the most fundamental measure but also a key task in the current situation, Dung said.

Supporting measures would target small- and medium enterprises and business households which have created many jobs and have been hit hardest by the economic recession.

Falling exports have hit hard the growth and employment rates. The government will implement specific financial and monetary policies to increase support for this sector.

Many Vietnamese businesses have not paid sufficient attention to the domestic market which has a population of 87 million people with an average annual income of around VND17 million (US$1000), Dung said.

Meanwhile, foreign companies have paid special attention to the [domestic] market after Vietnam opened it to foreign retailers as part of its World Trade Organization (WTO) commitments.

Expanding the local market and increasing domestic production and consumption is an urgent task given the slowdown in exports. It is also vital to developing an independent economy as Vietnam integrates into the international market, Dung said.

2. Mobilize all resources to boost investment and consumption

The government would focus its budget, government bonds, official development assistance and credit capital on investing in infrastructure projects. Further investment would also be pumped into health, education, and social housing projects, Dung said.

The government would also propose to earmark around VND17 trillion to subsidize interest on soft loans, particularly for small- and medium enterprises.

State-owned groups and corporations would be instructed to channel their investment into high-tech and environmentally-friendly projects as well as those which can generate maximum employment.

Relevant ministries and local governments are also tasked with removing hurdles to investment procedures and site clearance in order to expedite project implementation.

Urgent measures should be taken for the sake of long-term needs, Dung stressed.

3. Ensure social welfare and fortify poverty alleviation

The government has increased the basic salaries for workers of state-owned and foreign enterprises. Financial assistance would also be given to victims of natural disasters last year, Dung said, adding measures to help bail out the country’s 61 poorest districts are being implemented.

Social housing policies that will be of benefit to various population segments will also be carried out.

4. Implement efficient financial and monetary policies

Besides preferential interest rates on loans, businesses would also benefit from tax breaks and tax deferment.

The government would also consider preferential bank loans for farmers hit by natural disasters and businesses facing difficulties selling their products.

5. Flexible and timely management

Given the complicated global economic situation, ministries and agencies concerned have been asked to improve their analyses and forecasts and to undertake practical measures based on the situation.

Policies and formalities relating to investment licenses, construction projects, capital allocation and disbursement, site clearance and other regulations on tax, customs, credit guarantees, and interest subsidies must be streamlined, Dung stressed.

He also called for drastic decentralization in many sectors and strict monitoring of programs.

The people must be kept abreast of the socio-economic situations and measures being taken by the government, so that they can oversee their implementation, the Prime Minister said.

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