Vietnam gov’t firm on GDP target

The Vietnamese government is adamant that it will meet its economic growth target of 6.7 percent for 2017

Men work on the assembly line at a Piaggio scooter and motorcycle factory in Vietnam's northern Vinh Phuc province, outside Hanoi July 11, 2013.

The Vietnamese government is adamant that it will be able to meet an economic growth target of 6.7 percent for this year, despite outlooks suggesting the real rate might be much lower.

After the opening of the third session of the 14th lawmaking National Assembly on Monday, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc convened an urgent meeting with ministry leaders for the afternoon, where he urged them to make greater effort to achieve the GDP goal.

The National Assembly Economic Committee said during the Monday session that Vietnam’s economy may expand at a pace of only 6.3 – 6.5 percent this year, compared to the 6.7 percent goal.

Last year Vietnam also set a 6.7 percent goal, but eventually reported an annual growth rate of 6.21 percent.

Vu Hong Thanh, chairman of the legislature’s Economic Committee, said it was unlikely that Vietnam would be able to meet its target this year.

“Economic growth for the first quarter of the year is only 5.1 percent, meaning the rate for the remaining three quarters must be at least 7 percent for the 6.7 percent goal to be met,” Thanh told lawmakers.

He added that given current development, it would be impossible to achieve a 7 percent quarterly growth rate and that the full-year figure could be between 6.3 percent and 6.5 percent.

Despite the forecast, PM Phuc said later in the afternoon that the government is resolute in meeting its target.

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Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and ministry leaders at the meeting. Photo: VGP

“It is crucial that this year’s economic growth target be met in order to contribute to the average growth target of 6.5 – 7 percent for the period 2016-20 set by the Central Party Committee and the National Assembly,” the premier said.

PM Phuc underlined that 2017’s GDP growth is of great importance, as it impacts multiple other macroeconomic indicators, particularly state budget revenue, spending and public debt.

The head of government subsequently demanded that his deputies, ministers and heads of industry sectors make whatever changes necessary to achieve their own goals and the country’s overall growth target.

Several ministries, including industry and trade, agriculture and rural development, construction, and transport will be required to brief the government throughout the implementation of their growth strategies at monthly cabinet meetings.

The premier also tasked the planning and investment & finance ministries, as well as the State Bank of Vietnam, with finding specific solutions to remove difficulties, boost growth and ensure macroeconomic stability.

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