Vietnam News Agency (VNA) has selected Vietnam’s 10 most notable events of 2017 as follows:
1. Overcoming difficulties to fulfill all 13 socio-economic criteria
For the first time in years, Vietnam completed and surpassed all 13 socio-economic targets set by the National Assembly. The macro economy was stable, inflation was under control, while the State budget collection and major economic indicators met requirements. Gross domestic product (GDP) expanded by 6.7 percent whilst export revenue exceeded USD 200 billion. The country attracted more than USD 33 billion in foreign direct investment (FDI), welcomed 13 million international tourists and saw over 120,000 new businesses established. Such outcomes created favourable momentum for the country to push ahead with development and implement the Resolution adopted at the 12th Congress of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV).
2. APEC 2017: Promoting regional cooperation, enhancing Vietnam’s position
With the theme “Creating New Dynamism, Fostering a Shared Future”, APEC Vietnam Year 2017 was a comprehensive success in both bilateral and multilateral aspects. Major orientations were mapped out to propel economic cooperation in Asia-Pacific forward and further deepen collaborative relations between Vietnam and other APEC member economies as well as enhance the country’s position in the global arena.
3. Handling many complicated corruption cases
In 2017, several serious, complicated economic and corruption cases were handled, such as the Oceanbank case involving Ha Van Tham and his 50 accomplices and the case of Chau Thi Thu Nga and her nine accomplices occurred at Housing Group, the dismissal of Dinh La Thang from the Politburo, and the suspension of the NA deputy status, legal proceedings against and arrest of Thang, investigating wrongdoings relating to many leaders of the Vietnam Oil and Gas Group, forcing organisations and individuals involved to bear responsibility before the law. Handling high-ranking officials, incumbent or retired, demonstrated there is no “prohibited zone” in the fight against corruption, and affirmed the determination of the whole political system and society to combat corruption and negative phenomena.
4. Promulgating a Resolution defining the crucial role of the private economic sector
On June 3, 2017, General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) Nguyen Phu Trong signed into effect Resolution 10-NQ/TW on developing the private economic sector into an important driving force of the socialist-oriented market economy. On October 3, the Government issued Resolution 98/NQ-CP promulgating the Government’s action programme to implement the Party resolution. Accordingly, the State will remove all barriers and prejudice, create favourable conditions for the private economic sector to develop in a healthy, effective and sustainable manner. Vietnam aims to have at least 1 million firms by 2020, over 1.5 million by 2025, and at least 2 million by 2030. The private economic sector is expected to contribute about 50 percent, 55 percent and 60-65 percent to the gross domestic product (GDP) in 2020, 2025 and 2030, respectively.
5. Some BOT transport projects become hot button issue
In 2017, shortcomings in some build-operate-transfer (BOT) transport projects attracted public attention, despite the fact that the policy of developing transport infrastructure in the BOT form is a right move and many BOT projects contributed to improving transport infrastructure and developing the economy in some localities. At some BOT toll stations, many drivers and local residents objected to paying fees, causing traffic jams, and forcing investors to allow vehicles to pass through the booths without fee collection. Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc urged responsible agencies to strictly address the problems and legal violations while revising inappropriate procedures.
6. Resolution on streamlining the political system comes into life
Resolution 18-NQ/TW on reforming and reorganising the apparatus of the political system towards effective and efficient operation dated on October 25, 2017 has been carried out widely, creating initial changes in streamlining the organisation of the apparatus; recruiting, appointing and promoting officials; and accelerating decentralisation and administrative reform. The Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee agreed to terminate the operation of the North West, Central Highlands, and South West Steering Committees. The National Assembly, and the People’s Councils of some cities and provinces promulgated resolutions, putting forth concrete measures to implement the policy.
7. Health sector faces dengue fever epidemic, serious medical incidents
In 2017, dengue fever broke out and spread across 63 cities and provinces with 163,600 cases, including 138,327 patients hospitalised and 30 fatalities. Also, the health sector encountered serious medical incidents such as the death of eight kidney dialysis patients in northern Hoa Binh province and four infants in northern Bac Ninh province, and violations in the management of medicine prices and use of cancer drugs. Those incidents required the health sector to look for effective measures to prevent diseases and improve management.
8. Vietnam’s sport affirms position in regional, global arenas
Vietnamese athletes ranked third with 58 gold, 50 silver and 60 bronze medals at the 29th Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games 29) in Malaysia on August 19-31. Track-and-field athletes won big with 17 gold medals with swimmers alone claiming 10 gold medals.
Weightlifter Le Van Cong secured a gold medal at the 2017 World Para Powerlifting Championships in Mexico, breaking the world record of his own at the 49kg men’s category and becoming the top disabled athlete in the history of Vietnamese sport with a collection of gold medals at Paralympic, world, Asia and Southeast Asia tournaments.
9. Storm Damrey kills 107 people, causes economic losses of about VND 22 trillion
Storm Damrey, the strongest storm hitting Vietnam in years, suddenly landed on the south central coast of Vietnam, leaving 107 people dead, 16 unaccounted for, 342 injured and damaging 165,000 houses. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development estimated that the storm caused economic losses of about VND 22 trillion (nearly USD one billion).
In 2017, Vietnam suffered 16 storms with severe human and material losses (375 dead and missing, 636 injured and nearly VND 51.6 trillion of economic loss).
10. Two more heritage elements honoured by UNESCO
On December 7-8, 2017, at the 12th session of the UNESCO Inter-governmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage in Jeju, the Republic of Korea, UNESCO added Vietnam’s “xoan” singing in northern Phu Tho province and “bai choi” singing in the central region into the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. “Xoan singing” was transferred from the UNESCO’s List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding to the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity thanks to great efforts to preserve this heritage over the past six years.- (VNA/VLLF)