As he chaired a regular government meeting on Monday, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung called on the country to overachieve on its GDP growth target for 2016.
But Prime Minister Dung believes the country can do more than that, saying a growth rate of at least seven percent is possible, given the economy’s strong performance last year.
The 6.68 percent growth in 2015 is the highest rate Vietnam has posted since 2010, and is much higher than the official 6.2 percent goal the lawmaking National Assembly had set earlier that year.
“2015 was a tough time for both the domestic and global economies,” the premier said, referring to the slumping price of oil and agriculture produce, which resulted in a US$5.5 billion loss in Vietnam’s export revenue.
“But Vietnam’s GDP still managed to grow by 6.68 percent, which lays a strong foundation for us to overshoot the target again in 2016.”
Labourers work at an assembly of the Singlun Star garment factory outside Hanoi in this August 19, 2014 file photo by Reuters
The premier is also upbeat about higher growth for Vietnam, as the economy has “posted positive signs in almost all aspects in the first two months of this year,” he said.
Vietnam’s consumer price index, the main indicator of inflation, rose 0.42 percent month-on-month in February, whereas the Jan-Feb industrial production index, which indicates the real output of the country's manufacturing, increased 6.6 percent, according to a government report.
Export revenue last month topped $23.7 billion, up 2.9 percent from the same period last year, with Vietnam enjoying a trade surplus of some $865 million in February.
Other positive signs include a 2.4 percent increase in state revenue collection and a 16 percent rise in foreign tourist arrivals in January-February, according to the report.
The government, however, acknowledged that there are also challenges such as the low oil price and complicated financial and monetary policies in some countries, which have greatly affected the import-export activities, trade and foreign exchange rate of Vietnam’s economy.
Prime Minister Dung has therefore requested that all relevant bodies exert total effort to resolve problems and boost growth as per the government’s macro-economic management plan.
The prime minister’s call to achieve a seven percent GDP expansion came after a World Bank report released last week pointed out that Vietnam’s economy needs to expand at such a pace annually in the next two decades to achieve upper-middle-income status.
By growing at least seven percent per year, Vietnam can take its average income level to $7,000 by 2030, compared to $2,052 in 2014, according to the Vietnam 2035 report.