The Government convened its regular monthly meeting in Hanoi on October 29, with a focus on discussing the country’s socio-economic development in October and during the first 10 months of the year.

A report delivered by the Ministry of Planning and Investment showed that the economy continued to recover in all major sectors, recording a higher growth rate than the same period in the two previous years.

Industrial and agricultural production generated a trade surplus thanks to a growth in exports, while the tourism sector benefitted from an influx in international visitors.

The report also noted the curbed inflation, the lowest increase in the consumer price index (CPI) in 11 years, the stable interest rate and foreign exchange market, and positive changes in foreign direct investment (FDI) and the disbursement of official development assistance (ODA), and preferential loans.

Social security continued to be ensured, political security and social order were maintained, and traffic safety saw positive developments.

The report pointed to a number of economic challenges, including difficulties in production and business operations, a high number of suspended businesses, low credit growth and complex forest fires.

Chairing the meeting, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung announced that public debt remains below the safety limit of 65 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), and will sink to 60.2 percent by 2020.

Up to 98 percent of public debt is spent on development projects, which is entirely in line with the national public debt strategy, the PM told cabinet members at their monthly meeting in Hanoi on October 29.

To pay off debt, the Government will set aside just under 25 percent of the total spending budget. By 2020, 19.5 percent of the budget will be used.

The Government will also restructure its debt portfolio to ensure debt repayments do not exceed 25 percent of GDP.

Regarding the settlement of non-performing loans, the leader asked the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) to lower the proportion of such loans to 3 percent next year, down from 5.43 percent recorded in mid-September. He added that the Government will alter the relevant legal documents, making it easier for the Vietnam Asset Management Company (VAMC) to clean up bad debt.

By late September, VAMC acquired 125 trillion VND worth of bad debt, moving closer to its target of 130-150 trillion VND for this year. It also resold 4 trillion VND of debt to the public.

According to SBV Governor Nguyen Van Binh, credit growth is improving, expanding by 6.62 percent by September 22 and 7.46 percent by October 20 since late 2013, primarily in production and trade.

Concluding the meeting, the PM remarked that the economy will grow by more than 5.8 percent this year, driven by mechanical engineering, mining, agriculture and services.

Giving direction on tasks for the remaining months, the government leader requested ministries, agencies and localities to finetune the market economy regulations, with a focus on administrative reforms, improving the business climate and boosting national competitiveness.

More crackdowns on counterfeit, smuggled and low quality goods are required on the domestic market, especially poultry transported across the border illegally, he said.

He called for the acceleration of the equitisation of State-owned enterprises, while restructuring the agricultural sector alongside the construction of new-style rural areas.

Relevant agencies were also requested to continue ensuring social welfare for all and sustainably reducing poverty by generating jobs and providing better educational and social services.