Cabinet meeting: GDP growth rate projected at 7% in 2016

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung suggested Cabinet members raise the national GDP growth rate target from 6.7 to 7% in 2016.

Cabinet meeting: GDP growth rate projected at 7% in 2016

Addressing a regular Government meeting in Hanoi on February 29, the PM highlighted the GDP growth rate of 6.68% as the most noted achievement last year.

The figure represents the highest increase since 2008, even higher than the number reported to the National Assembly (about 6.5%) and the set target of 6.2%.

Regarding the country’s socio-economic development in the first two months of this year, the leader said the nine-day Lunar New Year (Tet) holiday has not affected sectors’ performances.

However, he said, investment procedures remained inconsistent and complicated. He urged agencies and localities to pay more attention to administrative reform in order to create an optimal environment for investors while making the best use of trade agreements Vietnam has signed to bring in more investment.

Stressing US$22 billion in official development assistance (ODA) committed by donors, PM Nguyen Tan Dung called for greater efforts to speed up ODA disbursements and maximise loans to spur socio-economic development.

The Cabinet members showed their concern over saline intrusion in the Mekong Delta and drought in the central and Central Highlands regions.

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Cao Duc Phat reported that due to the impacts of El Nino in 2015, the south central and Central Highlands regions struggled with high temperatures and water shortages that affected 40,000 hectares of rice, 122,000 hectares of other crops and the daily lives of tens of thousands of local households.

Meanwhile, in the Mekong Delta, saltwater has intruded upstream 50-90km into the mainland, which is expected to affect up to 340,000 hectares of rice in the region, he said.

After hearing the report, PM Nguyen Tan Dung requested the involvement of ministries, agencies, localities and the entire political system in combatting the natural disaster.

The top priority is to ensure water for daily activities and production of locals, he said.

The leader asked the Ministry of Health to take countermeasures against diseases in the dry season and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to coordinate with localities in preventing salinisation in the Mekong Delta.

He urged thorough preparations for a report on national socio-economic development and a working report of the Government over the past five years, which will be submitted to the Party Central Committee and the National Assembly in March.

The meeting heard that in 2015, budget revenues hit nearly VND997 trillion (US$44.9 billion), up 9.4% compared with the previously estimated figure. Budget deficit was estimated at 6.1% of GDP.

Twelve out of 14 targets set by the NA were fulfilled or surpassed. The two exceptions were the rate of forest coverage and export growth rate.

The first two months of this year saw the outstanding performance of the service sector, with an increased number of international tourists, improved purchasing power and higher credit growth.

Also in the morning session, Sen. Lieut. Gen. To Lam, Deputy Minister of Public Security, presented the NA Standing Committee’s draft resolution on the continued application of the Ordinance on Management and Use of Weapons, Explosives and Supporting Tools until a law is formed.