The skyline of Ho Chi Minh City - an economic hub in the south of Vietnam (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – The likely gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate of 6.8 percent and improved business climate are among the highlights of Vietnam’s economy in 2018, experts said.

Economic expert Nguyen Minh Phong said the country’s GDP this year is likely to expand by 6.8 percent – a pace even faster than China’s, while credit growth has slowed and bad debt has declined, showing investment in society has become more effective.

Another highlight is the improved investment environment, recognised by both domestic and foreign enterprises, he noted, adding that red tape has been slashed by the Government.

Additionally, Vietnam remains a destination for foreign investment and tourists, and the country has been an active player in investing overseas and integrating into the global economy, Phong said.

Echoing this view, Le Dang Doanh, former Director of the Central Institute for Economic Management, said Vietnam has obtained relatively comprehensive economic achievements in 2018.

Notably, the Government has strived to maintain the startup movement. Almost 121,250 new businesses with total registered capital of 1.23 quadrillion VND (nearly 52.78 billion USD) were set up between January and November, respectively up 4.5 percent and 9.1 percent year on year. That reflects the business climate’s improvement, which has created more optimal conditions for firms to be formed.

Another positive sign is that average registered capital per company hit 10.2 billion VND (more than 437,600 USD), up 4.1 percent from a year earlier.

The country has also been working hard to promote export value and modernise agriculture, the expert noted.

He said reform efforts have helped improve the international community’s assessment of Vietnam’s business environment.

However, Vietnam still has problems in administrative reforms, overspending and waste of State funds, high public debt, slow restructuring of State-owned enterprises and incomplete e-Government building, Doanh added.

Phong pointed to other issues that need more improvement, including labour productivity, national competitiveness, products’ added value, public investment’s effectiveness, bad debt settlement and pressure on inflation.

He said the challenges in 2019 won’t be small as Vietnam will have to face the adverse impacts of the US-China trade war and economic integration.

According to Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Le Quang Manh, to sustain the growth trend in 2019, it is necessary to continue improving the investment and business climate, promoting economic growth and restructuring the economy. 

The country should also step up innovation and application of scientific and technological advances while capitalising on the Fourth Industrial Revolution, increasing labour productivity and enhancing the economy’s quality, self-reliance and competitiveness, the official said.-VNA