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Vietnamese State President Vo Van Thuong.

A National Assembly Deputy said ‘the longest path is the path from saying to doing’. 

The speech by the State President shows the needs to address the fact that many cadres are not performing their duties properly in accordance with their functions and powers as assigned. 

The National Assembly and government have both made strong commitments to correct cadres and civil servants’ style of work, to stop attempts to ward off duties, and to address their fear of responsibility and of making mistakes. It is necessary to encourage and protect cadres who dare to think, dare to do and dare to take responsibility, and at the same time step up decentralization with intensified supervision and inspection.

The PCI (provincial competitiveness index) report released by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) showed that 61 percent of surveyed businesses say ‘the time needed to follow administrative procedures is longer than regulated’. They also complained that ‘they have to pay unofficial fees’, ‘it takes too much time to determine land prices’, and ‘cadres don’t give sufficient guidance on the procedures businesses have to follow’.

The fact that cadres do not properly implement tasks in accordance with their functions and duties affects the country’s efforts to recover the economy after the pandemic.

The national economy is in difficult condition. Some economists even say that the country has been experiencing the toughest days in many years. The statistics released at the ongoing National Assembly session show this.

GDP slowdown

Reports show that the credit growth rate as of October 11, 2023 had reached 6.29 percent compared with late 2022 (the figure was 11.12 percent the same period last year). The total money supply as of September 20, 2023 had increased by 4.75 percent, an abnormally low increase, just 50 percent of that of the same period of previous years.

Such a low money supply, which comes against loosened monetary policy being pursued by Vietnam after easing operating interest rates four times, shows the difficulties people and businesses are facing.

The growth of goods and service retail revenue has been gradually decreasing quarter after quarter (the growth rate was 13.9 percent in the first quarter and dropped to 7.3 percent in the third quarter).

Private investments in the first nine months increased by 2.3 percent, just one sixth of that before the pandemic.

The processing and manufacturing industry growth has also slowed down (the Index of Industrial Production decreased by 2.9 percent in the first quarter, 0.7 percent in second quarter and grew moderately by 3.5 percent in the first nine months). Meanwhile, the added value of the whole industry in the first nine months just increased by 1.65 percent, the lowest increase compared with the same periods in 2011-2023.

As many as 135,000 businesses left the market in the first nine months, nearly equal to the number of departed businesses of all of 2022 (143,200 businesses). Meanwhile, the number of newly registered businesses dropped by 14.6 percent in registered investment capital and 1.2 percent in number of workers. The number of workers at industrial enterprises in early September 2023 decreased by 1.9 percent.

Goods export turnover in the first nine months decreased by 8.2 percent. The high trade surplus, mostly caused by low input material imports, showed weak demand for input material for domestic production.

In such difficult conditions, Vietnam’s GDP grew only by 4.24 percent in the last three quarters, which makes it more difficult to gain a growth rate of 6-6.5 percent as targeted. To reach that end, the growth rate in the fourth quarter must be 7.21-11.21 percent.

If Vietnam’s GDP growth rate is 4.7 percent as forecast by the World Bank, Vietnam would be behind Indonesia (5 percent), the Philippines (5.6 percent) and Cambodia (5.5 percent). Vietnam has been leading the region in GDP growth rate for many years.

The government has launched a series of bailouts and credit packages to recover the economy which was hit hard by the pandemic. However, the disbursement of the packages has been very slow, except the package from the unemployment insurance fund, worth VND38 trillion.

Breakthrough expected

The public sector plays an important role in development. Whenever there are high-ranking officials who dare to think, dare to do, and dare to take responsibility, economic development will create a breakthrough and vice versa.

Tu Giang