Vietnam navigates headwinds to push national socio-economic development forward

The joyful atmosphere on those days is a result of Vietnam’s successful navigation through the challenging year of 2023, marked with positive developments.
Vietnam navigates headwinds to move forward: Op-Ed
Vietnam navigates headwinds to push national socio-economic development forward: Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh (third, right) rings the bell to open a trading session at NASDAQ in New York on September 22, 2023. (US time). (Photo: VNA)

The 2024 Lunar New Year, the Year of the Dragon, is just around the corner. On these days, farmers in flower villages and retailers are busy with their work in anticipation of the most important and the longest festival in Vietnam, the Tet. The bustling atmosphere can be felt everywhere, from streets to villages. Those working far from home have completed booking their travel and readied everything they need for family reunion on this occasion.

The joyful atmosphere is a result of Vietnam’s successful navigation through the challenging year of 2023, marked with positive developments. Despite a raft of challenges, the country recorded relatively comprehensive socio-economic achievements across spheres, standing out as a bright spot in the region and the world as a whole. The Government and Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh showed their drastic management with the spirit of "solidarity-discipline, mettle-flexibility, innovation-creativity, timeliness-effectiveness” to push the national socio-economic development forward.

Converting situation, changing status

In 2023, the "headwinds" caused by economic downturn, the lingering consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, the strategic competitions among superpowers, impacts of conflicts, natural disasters and climate change, among others, hindered global economic growth. The Vietnamese economy experienced a "double impact" from external unfavourable factors and long-standing intrinsic limitations and deficiencies that became more clearly after the pandemic.

With the perspective of "not standing idly by", the Government and the Prime Minister drastically managed to "convert the situation, change the status". The Prime Minister ordered an absolute avoidance of complacency and negligence, or a lack of vigilance. He said there should be no panic and wavering but, instead, a state of calmness, confidence, proactiveness, flexibility, and innovation should be maintained. The approach should avoid sudden changes in state and abrupt decision-making.

In the year, the Government convened 22 sessions, and the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Ministers presided over nearly 1,600 conferences and meetings. Alongside regular and long-term contents, various critical, urgent, emerging issues were promptly supplemented, addressed, and accelerated by the Government.

The Government and the Prime Minister focused on addressing fundamental issues such as managing fiscal and monetary policies harmoniously and rationally; spurring growth, stabilising the macro economy, controlling inflation, and ensuring major economic balances; pushing ahead with the planning work, attracting foreign investment, streamlining the administrative procedures, boosting digital transformation, disbursing public investment, developing 19 state-owned groups and corporations, perfecting institutions, building laws, and handling projects that lagged behind. Additionally, various challenges and obstacles regarding the financial market, production and business credit, corporate bond, real estate, tourism, cultural industry, labour market, and energy were handled in a timely and effective way.

Vietnam navigates headwinds to move forward: Op-Ed
Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and Lao Prime Minister Sonexay Siphandone and Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Manet. (Photo: VNA)

Clearly aware of the risk of rising inflation, the Prime Minister requested prioritising inflation control, even at the expense of growth. After inflation was tamed, he directed turning priorities towards boosting growth. Similarly, in the face of food shortages and food price hikes globally, the leader ordered boosting exports, ensured with domestic reserves.

2023 also marked the time when the stock, corporate bond, real estate, and gold markets experienced turmoil, and the risk of power and petrol shortages triggered concern among businesses and the people. However, the Government and the Prime Minister gave a timely policy response, made decisions, handled issues, and called for efforts from the business community and the public to return to normalcy.

Last year, the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Ministers made 83 working trips to localities and cleared up over 350 petitions raised by localities, agencies, and units. The Government established five task forces for public investment disbursement and 26 others deployed to localities, helping them remove obstacles.

The Prime Minister made trips throughout the Tet holiday to localities to inspect and push ahead with the implementation of key transport projects. Throughout the year, the Government leader made nearly 30 visits, most of them on weekends, to various localities.

With the efforts by the Government and the Prime Minister, coupled with the sound and timely leadership of the Party, specifically the Party Central Committee, the Politburo and the Secretariat, led by General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, along with the companionship and supervision of the National Assembly, the coordination of all levels, sectors, and localities, the engagement of the entire political system, the collective endeavours of the entire Party, people, and army, and the international support, Vietnam reaped relatively comprehensive results in most sectors last year.

The macroeconomy was kept stable, inflation controlled, growth ensured relatively high, major economic balances guaranteed, and social security and people's lives improved. Besides, the country stepped up the fight against corruption, worked to consolidate and strengthen national defence-security, and reaped comprehensive results in international integration. Its reputation and position were also consolidated and advanced, and people’s confidence in the Party and the State improved.

At the 8th plenum of the 13th Party Central Committee, Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong said although the national GDP failed to meet the set target, it was still quite high compared to many other countries worldwide, given a host of challenges much more complicated than forecast.

The GDP is now estimated at 435 billion USD, bringing Vietnam into the group of the 40 leading economies in the world. The country’s national brand value reached 431 billion USD, ranking 32nd out of the 100 strong national brands in the world.

Many reputable international organisations have highly valued the results and prospects of the national economy and shared the view that the country will recover quickly in the time ahead.

Roads of joys

One thing that kept occupying the Government leader’s mind not only in 2023 but also from the beginning of the tenure is the implementation of the three strategic breakthroughs in line with the Resolution adopted at the 13th National Party Congress on infrastructure, particularly transport infrastructure, as he views transport as the "artery" of the national economy.

Vietnam navigates headwinds to move forward: Op-Ed
Vietnam navigates headwinds to push national socio-economic development forward: Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh chairs a Cabinet meeting and an online meeting between the Government and localities in September 2023. (Photo: VNA)

The Government has, therefore, earmarked huge resources to the work, and taken drastic actions to remove clogs in transport infrastructure, especially those relating to land, site clearance and construction materials.

Right from early 2023, the starting of 12 subprojects of the North-South Expressway project paved the way for a series of other key transport projects in the year.

Notably, the leader always emphasised transport infrastructure development during his visits to localities. He even made several field trips to construction sites, especially My Thuan 2 Bridge connecting the Mekong Delta provinces of Tien Giang and Vinh Long.

Under his instruction, nine expressway component projects with a length of 475 km were inaugurated, raising the total length of expressways put into operation nationwide to 1,892 km. Meanwhile, 37 other projects/component projects stretching 1,658 km are now under construction. The country expects to have 3,000 km of expressways by 2025.

Besides, efforts have been made in upgrading airports like Dien Bien, Phu Bai, Noi Bai, and Tan Son Nhat; building Long Thanh International Airport; and expanding others, along with seaports.

Sincerity, reliability, efficiency

Last year, Prime Minister Chinh made 12 working trips to 11 countries, hosted nine counterparts, and held more than 200 talks and meetings with leaders of foreign countries and organisations, international friends, and representatives from associations and businesses worldwide.

He also held many dialogues with representatives from foreign-invested firms and presided over conferences on economic diplomacy.

His foreign activities contributed to deepening the relations between Vietnam and other countries, demonstrating Vietnam’s proactive and active participation in raising initiatives at regional and international organisations, and affirming its role and responsibility in settling global issues.

They have also contributed to deepening the relations between Vietnam and China, and the US, establishing a contact mechanism between Government leaders of Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos following the one between the heads of the three ruling Parties, and promoting the connectivity among the three economies, especially infrastructure.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister’s trips to Indonesia, Brunei, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Türkiye have opened up a new period of cooperation with the Middle East and the Southern Common Market (Mercosur - including Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay), and facilitated the development of the halal food industry.

His efforts in foreign affairs have also helped enhance the economic cooperation between Vietnam and others, and raise the country’s total export-import turnover in 2023 to some 683 billion USD, with a trade surplus of about 28 billion USD, the highest so far.

It is noteworthy that foreign direct investment (FDI) in Vietnam neared 36.6 billion USD, up 32.1% against the backdrop of the shrinking global trade and investment. The FDI disbursement also hit an all-time high of 23.2 billion USD.

The Government and the Prime Minister stay resolved to well perform tasks set for 2024, and work together with the entire Party, army, and businesses to complete socio-economic targets and State budget projection, contributing to the realisation of the 2021-2025 socio-economic development plan.

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(Source: VNA)