Govt works towards 2018 economic growth of 6.7%

04:32' PM - Wednesday, 04/04/2018

The Prime Minister has told Government members, ministries and localities to roll up their sleeves to realize this year’s growth target of at least 6.7% while overcoming weaknesses and creating growth momentum for the following years.

Addressing the regular monthly meeting on April 2 to evaluate growth scenarios for 2018, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said good performance was seen in many areas in the first quarter, but there remain numerous challenges.

Robust growth

Quarter one gross domestic product hit a 10-year high of 7.38%. The agro-forestry-fisheries sector grew by 4.05% year-on-year, whereas the industrial and construction sector and the service sector rose by 9.77% and 6.7% respectively.

Total retail sales of goods and services in quarter one picked up 9.9% against the same period a year earlier. If the price factor is excluded, the increase is 8.6%.

Regarding tourism, international arrivals in Vietnam reached 4.2 million in the first quarter, rising 30.9% year on year.

Exports were estimated at US$54.3 billion, a year-on-year rise of 22%, while total investments in the economy also grew 10.4%.

The Prime Minister quoted Japan’s financial newspaper Nikkei as saying that the Nikkei Vietnam Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index in March stood at 51.6. With this, Vietnam is one of the two Southeast Asian countries to have a high reading above 50.

The investment-business environment continued to see improvements in the past quarter. Localities worked hard to gain higher scores in the Provincial Competitiveness Index (PCI).

The stock market grew in scale and market cap. The VN-Index hit a 10-year high with 1,170 points.

Other fields like labor, social security, culture, education and healthcare are also changing for the better. The unemployment rate has fallen to 2.2%.

Challenges ahead

With regard to difficulties, according to the Prime Minister, the establishment of new businesses slowed down, up only 1.2% last quarter. Furthermore, the number of enterprises being in trouble remained high, evident in the number of ones suspending operations and dissolving.

The Prime Minister requested support for business development, particularly innovative ones.

Though the consumer price index (CPI) dropped last month and the CPI increase of quarter one is low, inflation is likely to rise under pressure of increasing fuel and basic commodity prices, wage hike and exchange rate. The Prime Minister told relevant ministries and agencies to take appropriate measures in the coming months to stabilize the macro-economy and control inflation.

The processing-manufacturing sector grew by almost 14% last quarter, but it is hard to maintain such high growth, according to the Prime Minister.

Trade may encounter many difficulties as a result of trade defense measures adopted in some big economies.

The Prime Minister also warned of climate change risks as Vietnam is one of the countries most vulnerable to climate change. He also voiced worries about fire risks at condo buildings, asking relevant ministers to report on current situations, reasons and proposed solutions to ensure safety for residents.

As reported by the Ministry of Planning and Investment, total budget revenue exceeded VND308 trillion as of the end of last month, equivalent to 23.4% of the estimate and up 5.3% year-on-year. Budget spending estimated at VND290 trillion, up 1.7%.

Despite a 2.9% decline in traffic accidents, the number of people killed and injured in traffic accidents picked up 1.7% and 18.2% respectively. On average, 52 traffic accidents happened per day in quarter one.

As for fires and explosions, 1,085 cases were recorded as of March 15, leaving 33 people dead and 66 injured, and causing damages of over VND413 billion. - SGT -

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