Vietnam’s economy has recovered, but still faced numerous challenges and difficulties requiring greater efforts to deal with, such as a big trade deficit, high inflation and low budget collection, said a government official.

Permanent Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Sinh Hung delivered the remarks while chairing the government’s regular meeting, which convened in Hanoi on Feb. 1.

Hung asked all ministries, sectors, cities and provinces to work out their own plans with specific measures removing obstacles hindering production and business activities and boosting exports combined with controlling imports to reduce trade deficit.

The deputy PM also requested the relevant bodies to ensure the sufficient and timely supply of essential and quality goods for the people at reasonable prices, especially ensuring food safety and hygiene in preparations for the upcoming Lunar New Year Festival (Tet).

“Each locality must have responsibility for caring for the lives of the people, both materially and spiritually, particularly beneficiaries of social welfare policies and the poor, and not leaving them suffer hunger during the between –crop period,” he said.

Minister of Planning and Investment Vo Hong Phuc reported that in January all sectors and industries recorded high growth rates compared with the same period last year.

The industrial sector posted the highest growth as its production value rose by 28.4 percent year on year, of which the non-state enterprises saw a 31.1 percent increase.

In January, Vietnam welcomed 416,000 foreign tourists, up 10.6 percent against December 2009 and up 20.4 percent from the same period a year ago.

The total number of new telephone subscription reached 4.86 million during the month, a year on year rise of 145.3 percent, of which 4.3 million were mobile phone subscription.

According to the report, as many as 5,800 businesses were set up in January, a 25 percent rise year on year. Foreign-invested enterprises disbursed a total of 400 million USD, a 33.3 percent climb from the same period in 2009, while the country’s export turnover surged at 28.1 percent year on year to reach 4.9 billion USD.

Besides the achievements, Phuc also pointed out outstanding issues faced by the country’s economy, including a high rise in the consumer price index (CPI), at 1.36 percent, and a trade deficit of 1.3 billion USD, equivalent to 26.5 percent of the total export revenues.

To address these shortcomings, the government urged relevant ministries and agencies to complete and allocate state budget estimates and capital sourced from government bonds to the targeted units.

Stepping up industrial development, especially the production of goods to replace imported ones, and supporting agro-forestry-fishery production are also major tasks for the next months./.