To realize the GDP growth of 6.7% set by the National Assembly will require stronger measures.
Vietnam faced many difficulties in the first quarter of this year but its socio-economic situation showed some positive signs nonetheless.
The macro economy remained stable, the CPI increased a mere 0.9%, which was less than the same period last year, exports soared almost 13% to more than US$43 billion, and agriculture and services achieved higher growth than last year. Agriculture-forestry-fisheries achieved an annualized growth of 2% and international arrivals grew 29% to over 3.2 million. Generally, GDP growth in the first three months was 5.1%, lower than last year.
Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Dao Quang Thu blamed the slower growth mainly on a decline in mining, oil, and gas. He said over 15 million tons of oil was extracted last year but this year’s plan is for just 12 million tons. In the first quarter, oil extraction fell by 600,000 tons.
Thu said if oil and gas output had reached the same level as last year, economic growth in the first three months would have been 5.95%, higher than the first quarter last year .
“The decline is part of the government’s fundamental solutions to ensure macro-economic development. Major economic balances, particularly in finance and state budget, continue to be secure while inflation has been under control,” Thu explained.
Economic indicators in the first quarter showed slow growth in industry and construction, 3.85% and 4.1% respectively.
At the monthly government meeting for March, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc reiterated the government’s intention to target a GDP growth of 6.7% for the year.
Minister and Chairman of the Government Office Mai Tien Dung mentioned solutions to achieve the goals: “Top priority should be given to stabilizing the macro-economy. But inflation, public debt, and foreign exchange and monetary policies should be given due attention.”
“We need to boost the development of industry, support industry, and high-tech agriculture. The government is keeping a GDP growth target of 6.7% but this should be sustainable growth with a focus on production growth. The mining industry should be promoted and preserved as a national asset rather than trying to achieve a high growth rate at any cost,” Mr. Dung said.
In the first quarter, Vietnam attracted more than US$7.7 billion in foreign investment, up 78%. 26,500 new enterprises were established, an increase in both number of enterprises and amount of registered capital.