To maintain GDP growth of 6 percent in 2012, Vietnam should smooth the way for business to boost industrial production, develop markets, facilitate product sales and reduce inventory.
| Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung chaired a consultation with leading scientists and economic experts |
Leading Vietnamese scientists and economists made these recommendations during a meeting with Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and ministerial leaders in Hanoi on March 25.
They shared the view that the national economy has shown consistent positive signs of recovery in the first quarter of 2012, with the trade deficit falling to a low of just US$250 million, driven by high export earnings of US$24.5 billion (up 27.6 percent).
They noted that the high export growth was achieved in the context of shrinking export markets, especially the US and European Union.
However, Tran Xuan Gia, former Minister of Planning and Investment, and Prof Nguyen Mai, chairman of the Vietnam Association of Foreign Invested Enterprises, said the government should continue to increase trade promotions, boost exports, and prioritise credits for agricultural production, for-export product manufacturing and processing, and small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
Senior economic expert Pham Chi Lan, and Dr Tran Du Lich, a member of the National Advisory Council on Financial and Monetary Policy, proposed that the government pay particular attention to inspections to improve the efficiency of public investments and prevent waste.
They said it is necessary to halt the unplanned development of industrial parks and universities, keep a lid on the property market, and step up the application of modern scientific and technological advances in production to increase the quality, productivity and competitiveness of commodities.
Cao Si Kiem, former Governor of the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV), raised the contentious issue of formulating tax and fee policies, which he said should be carefully considered in order to ease difficulties for businesses, especially SMEs, and help them sustain production and increase tax revenues for the State budget.
Echoing Kiem’s view, Le Duc Thuy, who is also former SBV governor, proposed that the government reduce tax burdens on businesses and consider applying fees to ensure businesses are able to take out bank loans for investment projects.
Thuy also proposed dealing with the liquidity of the bank system and lowering interest rates to favour businesses, by keeping a firm grip on deposit and lending rates offered by commercial banks and strictly handling violations.
Other economic experts and scholars stressed the need to speed up economic and institutional reforms, promptly settle issues that arise from economic restructuring, and practise thrift while increasing investments in agriculture and rural development.
They also made recommendations concerning job generation, employee incomes, industrial development, the purchase of farm produce, and social security and order.
Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung welcomed the proposals, describing them as valuable and practical, and said the government will study these opinions to enhance its performance.
He assured the economists and scholars that the government will direct ministries, agencies and localities to continue with adopted measures to contain inflation, stabilise the macroeconomy, maintain reasonable growth and ensure social welfare.
According to a macro-economic report presented by Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Cao Viet Sinh, the consumer price index (CPI) has been falling since late 2011. The CPI in March 2012 only rose 0.16 percent, a two-year record low. The national economy is estimated to grow at 4 percent in the first quarter of 2012.