Gov’t determine to curb inflation below 4 percent this year

Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue yesterday stressed the determination of curbing inflation rate below 4 percent as per the target set by the National Assembly and fully exploiting factors to lower service and goods prices.

The Ministry of Health has increased health check and treatment service prices since March (Photo: SGGP)

He was quoted as speaking at a meeting of the National Steering Committee on Price Management to review operations in the first quarter and direct management coordination in the rest nine months.
Mr. Hue required relevant agencies to stabilize exchange rate and deposit as well as loan interest rates and not to increase interest rates to efficiently conduct price management operations this year.
The State Bank of Vietnam should keep core inflation rate of below 1.8 percent instead of 2 percent to create room for public service price changes this year.
The Ministry of Industry and Trade should work with the Ministry of Finance to calculate the impact of petrol price adjustment in domestic market.
They should count the timing of using petrol price subsidization fund especially in the phase of adjusting the price of other commodities. The former one should complete power price management scenario.
The Ministry of Health should base on prices of petrol and other commodities to change health check and treatment fees to ensure the inflation control target.
Deputy PM Vuong Dinh Hue required the Ministry of Transport to tightly control management of air tickets, aviation service and seaport fees; soon change toll levels of BOT (Build-Operate-Transfer) projects which have drawn the balance sheet this year.
According to the ministry’s representative, it is going to report fee cut at 41 toll stations to the Government. The ministry does not agree with the proposal by some airlines to impose floor airfares.
Mr. Hue prompted the Ministry of Health to complete legal framework and put medicine prices out to tenders in May at the ministry and Vietnam Social Insurance Agency. The ministry should be consistent to obtain the target of reducing medicine prices by 10-15 percent in 2017.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has been required to intensify agricultural production, strive for the industry’s growth rate of 2.8 percent to gain supply initiative and keep a close eye on the market of important farm produce such as rice, pork, sugar and salt.
Reports at the meeting show that consumer price index (CPI) increased 4.96 percent in the first quarter compared to the same period last year. The growth rate reduced month by month with 0.46 percent in January, 0.23 percent in February and 0.21 percent in March compared to the previous month.
In March, the Ministry of Health’s increase in health check and treatment fees in 13 provinces and cities contributed 0.38 percent to the CPI hike. Other 14 provinces and cities plan to raise the fees this year.
Deputy Minister of Education and Training Pham Manh Hung said that provincial and municipal people’s councils had passed tuition fee increase by 5 percent in 2017-2028 academic year. The ministry would coordinate with localities to instructing schools not to push up other fees.
Deputy Governor of the State Bank of Vietnam Dao Minh Tu affirmed that the bank is attempting to stabilize deposit and loan rates of commercial banks and curb the core inflation rate at below 2 percent this year.
Deputy Minister of Information and Communications Pham Hong Hai said that 4G service fee will reduce 40-50 percent. The fee will depend on the number of customers.
Meantime, deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Ho Thi Kim Thoa said that petrol prices had been managed in harmony with market signals. In addition, the petrol price subsidization fund now remains VND2 trillion (US$87.94 million). The ministry will calculate parameters to update power price scenario.

By Phan Thao – Translated by Hai Mien

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