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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs    6 September  2012

Economy is top priority for Vietnam government

HA NOI — The Government's tasks during the last months of 2012 were to continue curbing inflation and stabilising the macro economy, with a target of GDP growth of 5.2 per cent and an inflation rate of about 7 per cent for the whole year.

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung made the statement at the Government's monthly meeting in Ha Noi yesterday, which reviewed its work in August and discussed the country's socio-economic situation in 2012 as well as development plans for 2013.

At the meeting, Cabinet members agreed that the socio-economic situation in August and the first eight months of this year had continued to see positive changes.

Monetary policy had been managed more flexibly, resulting in annual interest rates falling by 4-5 per cent which had helped with inflation, the macro economy and the monetary market, they said, adding that efforts to remove difficulties for production and business activities had gradually proven effective.

However, they also said that the country's socio-economic development still faced many difficulties and challenges in the remaining months of the year, with low export growth and bad debt in the banking system yet to be settled, and the financial and monetary markets suffering from complicated developments.

According to a draft 2013 socio-economic development plan presented by Minister of Planning and Investment Bui Quang Vinh, despite numerous difficulties and challenges, development prospects for next year were better than that in 2012.

This was an important foundation for the country to build and manage the development plan for 2013, an important year for the fulfilment of targets set for the 2011-2015 period, he said.

The overall objective for 2013 was to maintain reasonable growth and continue to stabilise the macro economy, restoring the business community and people's trust in the investment and business environment and the stability of the economy, while ensuring social security and welfare, and improving people's living standards.

The country would expand foreign relations and boost integration to raise its position in the international arena; safeguard independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity; and ensure political security, social order and safety.

The minister put forth two options for 2013 which projected that GDP growth would be between 5.5-6 and 6-6.5 per cent, and consumer price index (CPI) growth would be about 7-8 per cent, lower than or equal to that in 2012.

Concluding the meeting, Dung said that with efforts made by the whole political system and the business community, Viet Nam had controlled inflation, stabilised the macro economy and foreign exchange, increased exports and social investment, balanced the budget, and maintained constant growth.

However, the PM also pointed out the economy's shortcomings and limitations such as the unsound macro economy, low credit growth, difficulties for businesses in accessing capital, and large inventories.

Regarding the 2013 plan, the Government leader asked relevant ministries and agencies to focus on stabilising the macro economy, preventing the recurrence of high inflation and keeping growth at a reasonable rate of around 6 per cent.

Ministries and agencies should continue to speed up economic restructuring with a focus on public investment, State-owned enterprises and the finance-banking sector, while ensuring social security and welfare and maintaining security and defence, Dung said.

He also stressed the need to continue thrift practices, especially in regular spending, while paying attention to measures to mobilise development investment, and placing petrol and coal prices under a market mechanism.

At a press meeting after the cabinet meeting, Minister and Director of the Government Office Vu Duc Dam said the Government would strictly pursue those who conducted illegal activities that damaged the nation's financial and banking systems.

Dam said the PM had given instructions to purify the country's banking systems as it was the "backbone" of the economy.

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It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

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