The country's macro-economy has not improved as much as expected after a year of restructuring and the process needed a strong boost, said economists at the Spring Economic Forum opened on April 5 in the central city of Nha Trang.

The two-day forum aims at reviewing a year of the country's economic restructuring and putting forward solutions.

Chairman of the National Assembly's Economic Committee Nguyen Van Giau told the forum that restructuring the economy will take a long time. It is now only in its early phases and initial progress has remained insignificant, he said.

Director of the Vietnam Economics Institute Tran Dinh Thien said that no significant changes in the basic trend of the economy have been seen since 2007.

Thien said a slowdown in GDP growth has occurred over past years, adding that the volatility of the macro-economy remains high and there have been no signs of sustainable control.

Macro-economic management is still mainly based on administrative and short-term measures. These could be reasons for the lack of improvement in the economy in the first quarter of this year, Thien said.

He recommended that instead of short-term and administrative measures, the Government should take long-term action to create real changes in restructuring the economy.

Deputy Director of the Central Institute for Economic Management Nguyen Dinh Cung said there has been no significant reforms in market and integration mechanisms.

Cung said that for the past year, restructuring has failed to encourage businesses, let alone create favourable conditions for firms and investors, to make them take risks and try new ideas, to restructure their business and production and to make better use of their human and financial resources.

Bui Tat Thang, from the Ministry of Planning and Investment's Institute for Development Strategies, said that confidence in the business and investment environment outlook has actually decreased as the economy faces a series of serious problems, including high non-performing loans and rising inventories. A number of firms have ceased or stopped operations.

As for the real estate market, Rector of the Banking Institute To Ngoc Hung said, the Government should look at whether to tax property assets in a move to prevent speculation.

Pumping capital into the real estate market would create a bubble, which would cause the number of non-performing loans to increase, Hung said. The State Bank of Vietnam should maintain its tightened and cautious monetary policies to control inflation and stabilise the macro-economy.

The forum was jointly organised by the National Assembly's Economic Committee, the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences and the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The assessments, analyses and proposals made by researchers and economists at the forum will be submitted to the National Assembly.-VNA