Institutional reform was emphasised as the driving force of development at the 2014 Spring Economic Forum held in the northern province of Quang Ninh on April 28.

Economic specialists at the forum reviewed the country’s financial situation and the implementation of macroeconomic policies last year, before offering advice for the next 12 months.

Participants joined discussions on financial trends, the economic outlook for the country and the potential influence of global markets on Vietnam in 2014.

They also talked about challenges facing fiscal and monetary policies and measures to enhance the country’s international globalisation.

Although the 2013 GDP growth target was missed, the economy still saw signs of recovery, said Nguyen Van Giau, head of the National Assembly’s Economic Committee (NAEC). He noted that last year’s production rebounded while inflation was curbed and foreign currency reserves increased sharply.

To reach this year’s economic goals, Vietnam needs to tackle difficulties facing domestic enterprises and help those with non-performing loans (NPLs) boost their production, experts suggested, adding that bolstering economic reforms and developing economic zones are essential.

Speakers at the event also said that a greater awareness of the role by the State economic sector must be promoted.

They said this would allow prices to be managed in line with the market mechanism, and facilitate the sustainable development of the property market. The forum was co-organised by the NAEC, the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences, the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).-VNA