Parliamentarians worry about public debt, economic growth

National Assembly deputies have expressed their concerns over rising public debt and other economic uncertainties, despite some upbeat data in the first three months of 2015.

A deputy voicing her opinion before the National Assembly
A deputy voicing her opinion before the National Assembly

Deputy Nguyen Duc Kien from Soc Trang province said public debt rose more than threefold during the 2010-2014 period, the highest rate in the country’s history, while economic growth was significantly lower than the previous period.

He emphasised that while every effort was made to increase government revenues, spending on certain areas exceeded the estimate by up to 88%.

Deputy Kien warned that the gap between rich and poor in Vietnam would be increasingly wider than that of other ASEAN countries, and Vietnam is lagging far behind regional countries as he predicted the economy would only grow around 6% in 2016 and 2017.

Deputy Tran Hoang Ngan from Ho Chi Minh City noted that positive economic data in 2014 and the first quarter of 2015 was impressive, but said that growth was not sustainable with the return of a trade deficit.

He also expressed concerns over shrinking contributions of domestic enterprises, both State-owned and private, to Vietnam’s economic output, and an alarming rise in contributions by the foreign sector.

Ngan warned that small and medium-sized enterprises and the agricultural sector are facing serious difficulties with low and unstable output.

Deputy Tran Du Lich, also from Ho Chi Minh City, stated that these problems are not new and have been present for many years, saying that Vietnam is too slow in restructuring the economy and renewing the growth model.