Vietnam’s socio-economic performance in 2012 and the first four months of this year was high on the agenda at the National Assembly (NA)’s fifth session that opened in Hanoi on May 20.

Addressing the opening session, Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said although the socio-economic situation is moving in the right direction, it remains slow and fragile. It is forecast that Vietnam will still face challenges in socio-economic development while the global economic climate remains uncertain.

In the coming months, the Government set the goal of enhancing macro-economic stability, curbing inflation, reaping higher growth than that of 2012, tackling difficulties in production and trade, dealing with bad debts and developing markets.

At the same time, it will effectively restructure the economy, ensure social security and welfare, boost natural disaster prevention, protect the environment and cope with climate change, speed up administrative reforms, improve the efficiency of State management and external relations work while strengthening the fight against corruption and wastefulness, as well as national defence and security, Phuc said.

He added that the Government requires the NA, the Vietnam Fatherland Front (VFF), mass organisations and people across the country to enhance supervision and collaboration to forge synchronous and positive progress in various sectors, towards successfully realising this year’s socio-economic development goals, contributing to the success of the 2011 – 2015 socio-economic development scheme.

Head of the NA’s Committee for Economic Affairs Nguyen Van Giau delivered a report reviewing the Government’s account of socio-economic development and the State budget for 2012 and early 2013.

While generally agreeing with the Government’s account, the report also shows that the domestic economy is facing more serious challenges than last year. Annual economic growth was a mere 5.03 percent, lower than the 5.2 percent reported at the legislative body’s previous session and the 6-6.5 percent set under the NA’s Resolution.

Meanwhile, credit growth was only 8.91 percent, down from 31 percent in 2010 and 14.41 percent in 2011. Bad debts and inventories in the processing industry, engineering and the property market stood at a high level. The number of dissolved and bankrupt firms was over 54,000 last year, higher than 2011.

In the first four months of this year, gross domestic product growth hit 4.89 percent, higher than 4.75 percent recorded in the same period last year.

The committee described tasks for the remaining months of this year as tough, especially how to both ensure economic growth and rein in inflation amid an economy with implicit uncertainties.

Also at the session, Chairman of the VFF Central Committee Huynh Dam delivered a report on the collection of voters’ opinions.

Of the 1,724 comments the NA received from voters and people across the country, most said that thanks to efforts made by the whole Party, people and armed forces, inflation is initially under control.

Interest rates are on the decline, the economy is recovering, social welfare, security and order have been maintained. People of all strata actively contributed their ideas to the draft amendments to the 1992 Constitution.

However, they also expressed their concern with unsteady economic development, particularly the price of electricity, oil and gas, and key commodities.

According to them, numerous State-owned enterprises generate losses and mismanage State assets. Diversified public investment leads to low efficiency, corruption and wastefulness remain rampant, locals meet difficulties in their lives, and the wealth gap is getting wider. In the meantime, environmental pollution, unhygienic food, road accidents, social crimes and evils are on the rise.

This afternoon, the deputies will hear a report on acquiring public opinions and adjustments to the draft amendments to the 1992 Constitution.-VNA