Effective implementation of policies to improve economic competitiveness

Sunday, 2016-02-07 11:24:01
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NDO - Although busy during the year’s end, Chairman of the National Assembly’s Economic Committee Nguyen Van Giau took time out of his schedule to talk with Nhan Dan about the economy from the perspective of an economist.

Q: As a country with competitive advantages in agriculture, our country still faces many challenges: such as the low value of raw agricultural exports, weak branding, and failure to establish a national domain. So are we undermining the role of agriculture for development?

A: It is not entirely true that we have yet to establish a brand for products with the specific characteristics of Vietnam. We are proud of the nation’s five leading products currently topping the world in terms of export value, including: pepper, coffee, rice, rubber and seafood. The quality of rice from An Giang Plant Protection Company, for example, currently ranks third in the world. Some of the corporate brands are now national brands, such as Vinamilk, An Phuoc, Viet Tien, etc. It is unfair to compare them to the famous brands of foreign firms that have been in operation for hundreds of years, as we need to take into account their contexts, markets, natural conditions and creativeness. Vietnam has worthy products, but their global brand value is still limited.

Agriculture, farmers and rural areas have always been a top priority of the Party and State. Our Party has preliminarily reviewed the implementation of Resolution 7 on agriculture, farmers and rural areas, and agreed that the resolution is strategic and innovative, which has been implemented in an extensive manner, mobilizing the whole political system and people. After five years of implementation, agriculture has maintained stable growth and relatively comprehensive development, which creates a solid foundation, making an important contribution to sustained economic growth as well as political and social stability.
The lives of farmers have been significantly improved; poverty rates have decreased rapidly; social security is guaranteed; education, health, and culture continue to be improved; grassroots democracy has been promoted. Building new rural areas has become a vibrant mass movement carried out across the country. The results achieved may not be expected due to many reasons, but it is not fair to say that we do not appreciate the role of agriculture.

Q: One of the issues of people’s interest is the result of the economic restructuring plan to equitize 432 state-owned enterprises (SOEs), but so far, the plan is incomplete. The Economics Committee is supervising the implementation of the Resolution on the economic restructuring, so what are the causes of this delay?

A: For the implementation of SOEs restructuring plan, the National Assembly and the Government have issued a relatively complete legal framework; and the Government, and the Prime Minister has seriously directed its implementation, but results are slow. The reason is that a number of enterprises have been hesitant to implement the plan, some authorities have not pressured SOEs to quicken the process, and some businesses have been equitized, but the percentage of shares held by the State is very large, which has failed to create substantial changes to corporate governance, therefore has not motivated external investors.
But there are also objective reasons. Last year, our country's economy faced numerous difficulties, the stock market volatility has created a negative impact to the equitisation of SOEs. With the current macroeconomic stability and economic growth, to accelerate the equitisation process, the Government needs to take more drastic measures in implementing and completing the legal framework to match with reality. Economic restructuring, and transformation of the growth model are difficult, tasks which cannot be completed overnight. It requires us to regularly review and evaluate the policies, and strengthen monitoring to create a powerful change in the near future.

Q: In the eyes of an economist, what was the most impressive economic achievement of the country after 30 years of reforms and what do we need to do to increasingly integrate into the world?

A: The achievement of 30 years of innovation is a magical and tremendously meaningful milestone of our times. Rising from a poor country, we have become a middle income country. Most important to me is the major balances of the economy. For example, food balance has helped ensure security for the people and contributed to food security in the world; energy is currently sufficient, whilst previously there was a serious lack of energy.
Currently, the guidelines and policies for economic restructuring, and growth model reforms to enhance the economic competitiveness are quite comprehensive and specific. In recent years, to implement the 2013 Constitution, the National Assembly enacted the Investment Law (revised), Business Law (amended) with many breakthroughs to create a favourable investment and business climate to further promote growth. Public administration reforms will also constitute the driving force for economic development. But we have to overcome weaknesses during implementation to better enforce the laws and policies.

Thank you for this interview!