The National Assembly on Wednesday discussed socioeconomic targets for 2009, with many delegates calling for changes that reflected the situation on the ground.
Planning and Investment Minister Vo Hong Phuc speaks at the NA meeting
“If we can keep to our economic growth target next year, it will be a success,” said Vo Hong Phuc, Minister of Planning and Investment. “However, the growth may be lower than our expectations, since the disbursement of foreign investment will slow down and exports will be affected,” he warned.
“Recently, the government set the growth target at 7 percent, but we are considering a lower one at 6.5 percent, which will be referred to the NA for consideration. Once the proposed target is approved, we will make some adjustments to relevant policies,” he said.
The minister responded to some delegates’ concerns about the possibility of deflation, saying that it is only when the Consumer Price Index (CPI) experiences a decline for three or four consecutive months, can it said to be deflation.
Faced with the global economic recession, many countries have adjusted their targets for development and taken strong measures to save their economy, said Vu Van Ninh, Finance Minister.
“Similarly, our government has ordered ministries and industries to assess impacts of the recession on the country’s economy in order to seek solutions for development,” he said.
“If the solutions we take are rational and are favored by the public, I believe that our country will not face an economic crisis,” the minister commented.
“World oil prices are fluctuating rapidly, with the disparity some times being US$5-10 USD/barrel. So we will submit to the NA a modification of oil and petrol prices in the budget estimate for 2009,” he said.
Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan, Minister of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs, said that the government should adopt specific policies to improve the living conditions of people living in remote and disadvantageous areas in the country.
Current policies have yet to be concretized for each region, which have different characteristics, she explained.
The country now has 61 communes with more than 50 percent of their population living below the poverty line, so proper policies should be adopted soon to ensure their basic minimum living conditions, she said.