Ho Chi Minh City is determined to retain its role as the heart of the national economy in the year 2014 and will do all it can to ensure this remains the case.

Secretary of the municipal Party Committee Le Thanh Hai stressed that the key task for the city this year is to make full use of available resources to remove difficulties for businesses, restore production and expand markets for the four major industries and nine services sectors.

“The municipal administration must stand shoulder by shoulder with businesses at times of difficulty,” he said.

At a year-end working session with the city’s officials, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung instructed that the city should continue with measures to stabilise the macro-economy, particularly controlling inflation at a suitable level and maintaining stable foreign exchange rates and the gold market.

At the same time, the city should try to improve the quality of growth and increase the productivity and added value of its industries in order to perform its leading role in economic growth and restructuring, both locally and nationally.

HCM City posted an economic growth rate of 9.3 percent in 2013, lower than the target (9.5 percent). However, the city has managed to fulfill 21 out of 25 targets set for the year. The three other unfulfilled goals are social investment in development, export growth and medical waste treatment.

The city’s growth rate is 1.7 times higher than the national figure, and as the country’s largest economic hub, it has helped the country achieve a suitable GDP growth of 5.6 percent in 2013, despite negative impacts from the prolonged financial crisis and economic downturn worldwide.

As a result, per capita GDP in the city has increased to 4,513 USD for the year, and is projected to reach 4,800 USD in 2015.

HCM City has managed to fulfill the goal of collecting tax for the State budget. With 229.5 trillion VND (nearly 11 billion USD), the city contributed almost 30 percent of revenues to the State coffers.

Foreign investment in the city totaled 1.7 billion USD for 2013, which was poured into 450 new and 130 existing projects.

A total of 80,000 households in the city have escaped poverty during the 2011-2013 period, bringing the poverty rate down to 0.8 percent.

A major setback for the city recently has been a drop of 5 percent in export value, which stood at an estimated 26.33 billion USD. In addition, local banks reported a high bad debt rate at 5.49 percent of outstanding loans.-VNA