Hanoi’s economy achieves 7.3 percent growth hinh anh 1A view of residential area Times City in Hanoi (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Hanoi enjoyed relatively high economic growth in the first half of the year with good performances in the service and industry-construction sectors, officials said at a municipal People’s Council meeting on August 1.

Vice Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Nguyen Doan Toan reported to the meeting that gross regional domestic product (GRDP) increased by 7.3 percent, in which the service and industry-construction sectors grew 7.5 percent and 7.8 percent, respectively, while the agricultural sector recorded a modest increase of 2.1 percent.

Toan said the GRDP growth rate was “relatively high”, even though it was lower than the targeted annual growth of 8.5-9 percent.

A report by the Economics-Budget Committee of the municipal People’s Council said that in order to meet the annual target, the city would have to achieve a growth rate of 10-11 percent in the remaining months of the year, which would be difficult.

Budget collection in the first six months was about 85.8 trillion VND (3.8 billion USD), a 16.3 percent year-on-year increase.

This period also saw significant improvements in attracting investment capital, with a more than fourfold year-on-year increase in investment capital in industrial zones, according to Toan’s report.

The city authority approved most planning schemes at subdivision and district levels, which paved the way for appropriate investment to be carried out.

The application of information technology in administrative reform was boosted, resulting in considerable changes to the procedures of business registration, tax filing and the issuance of land right certificates. In the first six months, 98 percent of tax filing and 95 percent of tax payments were done online, according to the report.

However, the growth rate of export turnover was only 0.1 percent, much lower than the expected range of 7-8 percent.

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased 2.8 percent year-on-year, which was higher than the average rate of the whole country.

Members of the municipal People’s Council also pointed out other areas that need improvement.

Deputy Ho Van Nga from Quoc Oai District said the city risked falling short of its targets for enterprise equitisation and State capital withdrawal from enterprises.

“The city aims to equitise three enterprises and lessen State capital in 60 others in 2016. But up to now, none were equitised, and State capital was only lessened in seven enterprises,” Nga said.

Nga asked the city authority to clarify their solutions to the problem and answer whether the targets could be fulfilled or not.

Toan acknowledged the slow speed, attributing it to the fact that the city had to deal with many equitisation plans for the 2016-20 period, in addition to plans for an earlier period.

He said the Department of Finance, which was in charge of the issue, was accelerating the pace.

Deputy Pham Dinh Doan from Hoang Mai District raised the issue of local enterprises’ weakening competitive capacity amidst a rising number of foreign-invested companies as a result of various free trade agreements the country recently signed.

Doan suggested the city authority work with local professional associations to discuss measures to help local enterprises increase their competitiveness for better integration.

He said the city should take the lead in promoting start-ups and providing favourable conditions for them to thrive.

Deputy Pham Thanh Mai from Dong Anh District urged the early completion of wastewater treatment facilities in industrial zones.

Toan responded by saying that 14 wastewater treatment facilities would be completed and operating by the end of this year. The construction of other treatment facilities, which are slated for the 2017-2020 period, would also be accelerated, he said.-VNA