A view of Ho Chi Minh City, a national economic hub, from above. (Photo: VNA)

HCM City (VNA) – The Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee hosted a conference on February 1 to review its socio-economic development and state budget during January and map out the main tasks for next month.

According to the municipal People’s Committee, total retail sales of goods and services in January reached an estimated 64.69 trillion VND (2.9 billion USD), up 4.1 percent from last month and 12.7 percent year-on-year.

Exports, excluding crude oil, are forecast to reach 2.26 billion USD, an increase of 6.4 percent against the same period last year, while imports are estimated at 2.86 billion USD, a slide of 6 percent from the previous month but a year-on-year expansion of 9 percent.

Support policies have shaken up investment in the city, with the number of newly-registered businesses rising 30 percent year on year to more than 1,900 with a combined capital of over 11 trillion VND (496.7 million USD).

About 2,770 companies added nearly 16.37 trillion VND (734 million USD) to their registered capital, up 8.4 percent and 68.4 percent respectively compared to the corresponding period last year.

Some 44 foreign investment projects, worth 116.9 million USD, were newly authorised by the city in January, up 91.3 percent and down 64.5 percent respectively, while 34 million USD was added to 11 operational projects. Total foreign investment landing in the city during the month totalled 150.9 million USD, a drop of 41.5 percent.

International tourist arrivals in the city rose by 8 percent year on year to 445,500 during the first month of 2016, earning it approximately 8.34 trillion VND in revenue, up 7 percent.

Chairman of the city’s People Committee Nguyen Thanh Phong has asked departments as well as communal and district authorities to work hard to prepare a united, safe, joyful and cost-saving Tet holiday for all residents.

The city is focusing on stablising prices of primary goods both before and after Tet, while management will be enhanced to prevent speculation and ensure food safety and hygiene.

Bui Xuan Cuong, director of the municipal Department of Transport, said the city will provide sufficient vehicles to meet the surging travel demands during the peak season when people rush to return to their hometowns to celebrate Tet with their families.

Pre-Tet supplies this year are 10 percent more than targeted and up 40 percent year on year, Deputy Director of the city’s Department of Industry and Trade Nguyen Ngoc Hoa noted, adding that it will satisfy market demand for the holiday.

Deputy Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Le Van Khoa urged banks to monitor their ATMs to avoid any unwanted breakdowns. Firms must also make full payments of salaries and bonuses to their workers, he said.

Regarding the key task for February, Phong said relevant bodies should work closely with local enterprises to learn firsthand about their difficulties, particularly in terms of administrative procedures, and create a better business climate for them.-VNA