|Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung (Photo: Vietnam News Agency)|
The year of 2009 is over. It witnessed many complicated issues in the world and domestic economies, causing huge difficulties for business and production and people's lives. However, under the leadership of the Party and Government's management, the country still maintained its economic growth, stabilized the macro-economy and ensured social security.
In a New Year’s article summing up the developments of 2009 and outlining tasks for 2010, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung stressed the great significance of 2010 as it will be the last year of the Five-Year Plan for Socio-economic Development from 2006 under the Resolution of the 11th National Party Congress.
2010 will also be the year of the 11th National Party Congress, the celebration for the 1,000th anniversary of Thang Long-Ha Noi and many international events held in Vietnam.
Therefore, the successful implementation of the Socio-economic Development Plan for 2010 and the completion of the five-year plan would facilitate the implementation of the Socio-economic Development Strategy for the 2011-20 period.
In 2008 and 2009, the Vietnamese people and country had to cope with, and overcome difficulties and challenges due to the unexpected fluctuations of the world economy, making the domestic economy's inner shortcomings severer and limiting the country's choice of responsive and development policies.
Starting with the inflation
Prices of foodstuff, oil and gas and most imported commodities increased sharply, pushing up local prices. Besides, the monetary and fiscal policies were loosened for the first time in years; foreign investments into the stock market rose strongly; and total debit balance also highly increased. The combined influence of these factors made the country's consumer price index to increase to a double digit, higher than those of other regional countries.
In this situation, the Government focused its priority on the target of curbing inflation, stabilizing the macro-economy, ensuring social security and maintaining a suitable growth rate with eight groups of comprehensive measures.
Since September 2008, the financial crisis and economic recession that emerged from the US has spread to other countries, exerting a severe impact on other economies including our own. Worst effected were the export sector, investment capital sources, turnover from tourism and overseas remittances which hindered growth and threatened macro-economic stabilization and social security.
Having recognized the potentially severe impacts of the crisis, in the fourth quarter of 2008 the Government switched its priorities from curbing inflation to preventing economic recession and attached much importance to macro-economic stabilization and social security.
The Government promptly adopted economic stimulus policies and carried out an interest rate-subsidized regime suitable for the economic situation in order to promote production and business, maintain jobs and secure growth
As a result, since the middle of 2008, inflation has been curbed and decreased to 6.52 per cent in 2009. Last year, while the world economy experienced negative growth, Vietnam was one of the few countries which had a positive growth rate, reaching 5.32 per cent.
The Consultative Group meeting in December brought the country commitments of assistance worth a record $8 billion, which showed the international communities' high appreciation of the Party and State's renovation policies, leadership and socio-economic development management.
After two years of difficulties and challenges, we have learnt from valuable lessons and experiences: (1) To develop sustainably, we have to stabilize the macro-economy, ensure social security and create favorable conditions for business development; (2) Mobilize all resources for investment and expand markets; (3) Closely follow the developments and performance of markets and adjust targets and solutions accordingly; (4) Ensure defense and security and boost foreign affairs activities; (5) Maintain a high consensus throughout society on targets and solutions.
The targets for this 2010 year are to continue stabilizing the macro-economy, attain an economic growth rate higher than last year's figure and prevent the return of inflation.
To achieve these targets, the Government focused on five groups of tasks and solutions as follows:
First, macro-economic stabilization must be improved and economic balances must be ensured.
Macro-economic stabilization is a prerequisite for business and production development, social stability and sustainable growth.
The State's regulatory role must be promoted, especially in a developing country like ours. The State's intervention in the market was in order to regulate the market economy by applying set targets without distorting the market relationship and ensuring macro-economic stability.
Secondly, all efforts must be concentrated to boost investment, develop production and business, and restructure the economy.
Agriculture plays a significant role in alleviating hunger and reducing poverty, stabilizing the society, ensuring food security and fostering exports. Agricultural staples have not been affected much by the financial crisis and global economic downturn, while most influencing on the local price levels. Therefore, efficiency of agricultural production must be heightened to serve local and export demand and improve farmers' living. Prevention works must be completed to minimize damages caused by climate change, floods, drought and disease.
Developing value-added industrial products is the centre of economic restructuring and modernisation and industrialisation process. Decline in production and consumption during the crisis shows us the competitiveness of, and demand for different products in each market. From that point of view, enterprises and localities must have suitable production plans for this year.
In this 2010 year, the State will continue increasing investment to stimulate growth, encouraging all economic sectors to invest in infrastructure and production. It is urgent to speed up the construction progress and put projects into operation to increase the investment efficiency. Thus, capital allocation for project completion this year must be carried out promptly and strictly.
The country's economic development is now stepping into a new phase in which economic relations have become increasingly diversified and complicated while cooperative ties have been widened and deepened which has led to an increase in the demand for services. Thus, financial, information, consultative, tourism, trade, transport and logistical services must be improved.
To boost export and reduce trade deficit, we must tap new markets, especially potential ones in Eastern Europe, Western Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America.
Administrative procedures must be streamlined, especially those related to economic integration, investment, customs declaration and tax payment. This will help reduce costs and increase the competitiveness of enterprises. The Government will focus it's assistance on the agricultural and rural sector and complete a credit guarantee regime to help small and medium-sized enterprises to get easier access to resources.
Thirdly, the Government will focus on solving pressing social problems.
In the past years, the Party, State and the political system have made every effort to successfully implement their tasks of hunger eradication, poverty reduction and ensuring a social welfare system.
However, these results have yet to become stable because the number of people falling into poverty remains high and some solutions to pressing social problems have been delayed. These shortcomings have curbed the country's achievements.
People feel the socio-economic achievements through their lives and the social environment they face everyday. People are asking the Party and Government to make more socio-economic changes.
It is impossible to solve pressing social problems in the short-term but it is necessary to progress through quick and effective implementation of the poverty reduction program in the 62 poorest districts, coupled with the prevention of relapsing into poverty in other areas. Other areas that need improving are the quality of healthcare services and ensuring food safety and hygiene; improving the quality of education and training, especially at colleges, universities and vocational training schools; combating and preventing corruption and social evils and reducing traffic jams and floods.
Fourthly, it is necessary for the government and relevant authorities to raise their guiding competence and realize their policies and development goals.
The results of implementing their tasks and realizing their policies show the strength and competence of the authorities and political system.
Action goes with words
The Party and State management agencies from grassroots to central levels, especially the leaders, need time to solve problems in their localities.
Guiding the implementation of policies will turn the polices into sources to develop socio-economy and make the polices more practical and suitable to people's demands.
Via this, new solutions and initiatives will be born at all levels and agencies.
Fifthly, popularization of the policies will create more consensus in the political system and people, from knowledge to reality.
It is necessary to popularize and clarify all information in the Party and State's policies.
Sharing information is for the sake of the country and people and we must eradicate incorrect information.
The world economy has experienced complicated developments. It is necessary to keep up with these and react with suitable policies to take advantage of chances as well as find solutions to emerging problems. The country needs to make every effort to reach a higher economic growth rate and solve social problems.
It is necessary for the Party, Government and relevant agencies to give guidance and take responsibility to overcome difficulties and accomplish socio-economic targets related to the tasks of ensuring national defense and security, foreign affairs, protecting the national's sovereignty and raising Vietnam’s worldwide status. This will be good preparation for Party meetings at all levels towards the eleventh National Party Congress and big events in the year of 2010.