Vietnam enjoyed an encouraging socio-economic performance in 2014 and the first few months of 2015, creating a foundation for the country to achieve its 6.2 percent economic growth target this year, read a report delivered at the opening session of the 13th National Assembly (NA)’s ninth sitting on May 20.

The Government’s supplementary report on the implementation of socio-economic development and State budget plans was presented by Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, who said 13 out of the 14 key targets for 2014 were fulfilled or exceeded. The one target missed was for the rate of trained workers.

The GDP growth of 5.98 percent last year, the highest since 2011, surpassed the set target while the CPI expansion was at a record low of 1.84 percent.

Export turnover rose by 13.7 percent, helping the country see a trade surplus of 2.1 billion USD in 2014, the third year of surplus in a row, the official said, adding that Vietnam succeeded in stabilising exchange rates and reducing bad debt.

The household poverty rate was cut down by 1.83 percent nationwide and 5.61 percent in deprived districts during the year, he noted.

Phuc also underscored socio-economic highlights in the first four months of 2015, with a low consumer price index. Notably, GDP in the first quarter grew at 6.03 percent – a five-year high - of which the industry and construction sectors hiked 8.35 percent.

Meanwhile, an array of difficulties faced the agriculture sector, which expanded at a slower pace than the same period last year, the Deputy PM said. He pointed to acute droughts across Vietnam, especially in the southern central and Central Highlands regions.

He also noted problems facing the country. He criticised the sluggishness of several ministries and localities in improving local business environments, bemoaned the national economy’s low competitiveness, and warned about the slow recovery of the stock and property markets. He also revealed that the number of companies that were dissolved or suspended their operations in 2014 increased by 4.5 percent from the year before.

At the opening session, Chairman of the NA Committee for Economic Affairs, Nguyen Van Giau, asked the Government to make drastic improvements to scientific and technological application in production and business activities and the training of skilled labourers.

More efforts are also needed to implement the new-style rural area building programme, create a fair competition environment, ensure the budget for social welfare and increase the State management of national security and social order issues, he added.-VNA