Cabinet meeting: GDP growth rate projected at 7 percent in 2016
Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung suggested Cabinet members raise the national GDP growth rate target from 6.7 percent to 7 percent in 2016.

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

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

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung speaks at the Cabinet meeting__Photo: VNA

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

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 lure more investment.

Stressing USD 22 billion in official development assistance (ODA) committed by donors, PM Nguyen Tan Dung called for greater efforts to speed up ODA disbursements and maximize 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 had to grapple 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 salinization 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 (NA) in March.

The meeting heard that in 2015, state budget collection hit nearly VND 997 trillion (USD 44.9 billion), up 9.4 percent compared with the previously estimated figure. State budget overspending was estimated at 6.1 percent of GDP.

Twelve out of 14 targets set by the NA were fulfilled or surpassed. Two exceptions are 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.- (VNA)

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