Le Thanh Hai, Politburo member and Secretary of the Ho Chi Minh City Party Committee, spoke to Vietnam News Agency about the city's achievements and its targets for 2015.

Q: Last year, HCM City attained several important achievements in various areas. Can you talk about the socio-economic achievements of the past year?

A: Last year, HCM City passed several resolutions and conclusions of the Central Party Committee and the Politburo, National Assembly and the Government to control inflation, stabilise the macro-economy, maintain suitable economic growth and ensure social welfare.

Thanks to the union of the city's party committee, administration and the people, who were dynamic and creative in overcoming difficulties, the city achieved several important results in various fields.

In 2014, the city's GDP growth rate was 9.6 percent. The economic growth rate was a positive one, as the GDP of each successive quarter was higher than the previous one.

With a significant economic growth rate, the State budget revenue in the city increased 11.4 percent last year, exceeding 11.4 percent of the target. The Consumer Price Index increased 1.65 percent compared with December 2013. It was the slowest increase recorded in several years.

Besides the achievements in the economy, other areas, including culture, social welfare, education and human-resource training in the city underwent development progress. Science and technology research contributed to improving healthcare services for the people. HCM City has also supported enterprises to overcome capital difficulties, by offering bank interest subsidies.

Q: Has there been progress in reducing the poverty rate?

A: For poverty reduction, the city's political system has shown combined strength in sustainable poverty reduction, limiting the number of poor households with annual per capita income below 16 million VND (761 USD) to 1.35 percent. The number of households living near the poverty line is 2.78 percent of the city's population.

Every year, HCM City creates more than 120,000 job opportunities which also help reduce the income gap among residents. At the end of 2014, the city's per capita GDP was 5,131 USD, an increase of 12.89 percent compared with 2013.

Q: This year is the final year of the city's five-year socio-economic development plan. The success in implementing 2015's plan will create motivation for the 2016 – 2020 plan. Can you tell us about the city's targets for this year?

A: HCM City must invest greater effort than what it has done in previous years. This includes supporting enterprises to overcome difficulties in accessing funds, speeding up administrative reform, improving the investment environment, and attracting resources for development to achieve targets set at the ninth Party Congress. These goals will form the foundation for the city's economic, cultural and social development target period 2016 – 2020.

This year, the city will not only maintain an economic growth rate higher than 2014, but focus on the quality of growth and sustainable development by giving priority to developing nine service sector clusters and four industry sector clusters. The policy will benefit the support industry which is linked to the development of small- and medium-sized enterprises.

Q: HCM City has been creative in deploying policies and guidelines of the Party and Government. Can you tell about experiences that have helped the city achieve results from these policies?

A: Every locality in the country has to put forth their best efforts to realise the Party and State's policies. HCM City is not an exception.

Not only in 2014, but over the past years, while implementing any policy or guideline from the Party and State, HCM City leaders have always pursued principles that are speedy and offer sustainable development, attaching economic growth to cultural development, social justice, environmental protection, and the building of a civilised, modern and urban society. The quality of social welfare has received a great deal of attention from city leaders, and has been further enhanced as a result.-VNA