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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs    July 5, 2017  

Government’s regular meeting discusses socio-economic situation in H1

Viet Nam saw good socio-economic development indexes in the first six months of 2017, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc affirmed at the Government’s regular meeting on Monday morning.

The online meeting, which included top leaders of the 63 provinces and cities and the steering committees of the Northwestern, Central Highlands and Southwestern regions, reviewed socio-economic, defence, security and diplomatic conditions of the country in the first half of this year. It was expected to put forward measures to fulfill tasks for 2017 assigned by the Party Central Committee and National Assembly, Ph?c stated.

According to him, from January to June, the economy progressed well compared with the same period last year. Specifically, macro economy was stable, while inflation was kept low. Economic growth recovered quickly, from 5.15 per cent in the first quarter to 6.17 per cent in the second quarter.

Viet Nam ranked sixth among the 12 leading countries globally in terms of tourism growth. The number of foreign tourists to the country increased by 30 per cent in the period.

The country’s trade reached nearly US$200 billion, with export turnover up 19 per cent.
Budget collection rose rapidly and measures were taken to ensure collection, especially in major cities and key economic zones.

In addition, foreign direct investment surged in the first half, with total newly-registered and additional capital of $19 billion, up 54.8 per cent. Of the total, $7.7 billion was disbursed.
There were more than 61,000 newly-established businesses, with total capital of nearly VND600 trillion ($26.4 billion).

The PM said health insurance has to date covered 83 per cent of the population. In addition, political and social order and safety was ensured, while diplomatic work had also produced positive results, with several trade and investment deals worth billions of dollars signed, he added.

However, the PM underlined the need to point out issues hindering growth.

He cited bottlenecks in the consumption of livestock, poultry and agricultural products, along with the low growth of industry and construction and sluggishness in the mining industry, especially the oil and gas sector.

Besides this, a number of businesses were either waiting to be dissolved or incurring prolonged losses, he said, stressing high costs, particularly in transportation and logistics.

The leader also commented on slow investment disbursement, which fulfilled just 30 per cent of the target set by the PM and nearly 26 per cent set by the National Assembly for the first half of this year.

A noteworthy problem was the slow equitisation of State-owned enterprises (SOEs) and capital divestment, he said, explaining that only 20 SOEs were equitised and SOE equitisation plans for 51 others were put forth during the period, with VN?11.6 trillion ($510.4 million) out of VN?60 trillion ($2.64 billion) divested.

The PM listed a range of other issues of public concern, related to food hygiene, social insurance, school violence, assault on children and environmental pollution.

Against this background, he emphasised tasks for the latter six months of the year. To complete the yearly growth target of 6.7 per cent, it was essential to keep the pace at 7.42 per cent in the second half, he said, noting that was not going to be an easy task with the monsoon approaching.

However, he said, the target was within reach in the context of the recovery of sectors and other favourable domestic and international conditions.

According to international organisations, Viet Nam’s economy has changed from a status of stability to activeness, as shown by its innovation index jumping 12 places in June, the leader added.

He urged greater efforts and stronger reforms, particularly in production and business management agencies and localities, focusing on key economic zones and major cities and provinces.

In that spirit, the PM asked Cabinet members and localities to propose solutions to ensure growth in each economic sector.

Efforts should be made in decentralization, with more authority given to localities, along with administrative reform, environmental protection, traffic safety and firefighting, he said.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

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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