Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc speaks at the Government's monthly meeting on July 31 (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has reiterated the Government’s resolve to control inflation, noting that although the consumer price index (CPI) in July fell slightly from the previous month, the pressure for inflation hike remains considerable.

The PM was chairing the Government’s monthly meeting in Hanoi on July 31 to review the socio-economic situation in July and the first seven months of 2018.

He said the socio-economic situation in July was better than in June when inflation was controlled well with the CPI down 0.09 percent after surging in the two previous months.

Though there remains an array of difficulties, PM Phuc asserted the Government will try to keep this year’s inflation within 4 percent as targeted by the National Assembly. Core inflation (CPI excluding fresh food, energy, and State-managed services such as health care and education) has just risen by 1.36 percent in seven months.

Stressing the need to have more measures to rein in inflation, he noted the big pressure for inflation increase as a result of higher interest rates in the world market, exchange rates and prices of essential goods, especially amid a trade war between China and the US.

Highlighting other positive economic figures, the Cabinet leader said industrial production expanded strongly by 14.3 percent in July, including a 16.6-percent increase in processing and manufacturing. 

Other indices like retail sales of consumer goods and services, the number of international arrivals, foreign direct investment, budget revenue and exports also posted good growth. Notably, exports had approximated 134 billion USD as of mid-July, leading to trade surplus of 3.1 billion USD. Nearly 80,000 new businesses have been set up while 18,700 firms have resumed operations so far this year.

With encouraging socio-economic signs, many international organisations have projected good economic outlook for Vietnam, he said, noting that the Asian Development Bank forecast this year’s GDP growth rate at 7.1 percent while Standard Chartered predicted this figure at 7 percent and inflation at around 4 percent.

However, PM Phuc also pointed to many shortcomings along with challenges to the economy, including the complex flooding situation. He asked the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and relevant agencies to take stronger measures to manage reservoirs and dams and study the lesson of the recent hydropower dam collapse in Laos.

Expressing his worry about the slow equitisation of State-owned enterprises, he blamed many ministries, sectors and localities for not being drastic enough and requested them to accelerate this work. He noted that the Government will hold a national conference on State-owned enterprises in the time ahead.

Regarding the national high school examination cheating in some localities, he said these scandals have greatly influenced the public trust. He demanded the whole political system and relevant agencies to deal with this problem thoroughly.

In terms of scrap import into Vietnam – another public concern, the PM said the Cabinet’s standing members had met to discuss and issue directions on this issue with the determination of not turning Vietnam into a dumping site of the world. He added that the public security sector has been assigned to investigate and launch criminal proceedings against importers abandoning imported scrap to avoid responsibility.

In its routine meeting, Government members will focus on policies and institutional building on July 31 and look into the socio-economic situation on August 1.-VNA