Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung heard suggestions on Vietnam 's development from more than 30 scientists and economists at a meeting held in Hanoi on Mar. 25.

Dung said the Government will continue to focus on curbing inflation, stabilising the macroeconomy and ensuring social security and drastic measures will be taken to meet its targets for this year.

Scientists and economists said the country will have to make a concerted effort to cut inflation to a single-digit level and achieve a growth rate of 6 percent this year.

They said the Government should have measures to help industrial production and businesses develop markets and reduce their inventory goods.

Former minister of Planning and Investment Tran Xuan Gia and chairman of Viet Nam's Association of Foreign Invested Enterprises Nguyen Mai said total export turnover in the first three months this year has continued to be at the high level of 24.5 billion USD, representing a 27.6 percent increase over the same period last year, despite of difficulties with the country's big importers including the US and EU.

They said the Government should enhance trade promotion activities and should give loans to agricultural production, exports and small- and medium-sized enterprises.

Senior economists Pham Chi Lan and Tran Du Lich agreed that the Government should monitor public investment to ensure efficiency and reduce losses and that the real estate market must be a focus in implementing monetary policies.

They also asked the country to shift from a processing industry into an industry that applies technology to improve the competitiveness of its goods.

In the context of a discussion on controversial ideas on tax and fee policies, former Governor of the State Bank of Viet Nam (SBV) Cao Sy Kiem said policies should be carefully calculated to reduce difficulties for businesses, especially SMEs.

SBV's former Governor Le Duc Thuy proposed taking measures to reduce tax pressure on businesses to make them feel at ease accessing loans for investment.

Thuy suggested carefully resolving issues of bank liquidity and continuing to lower interest rates, advocating strict control over lending interest rates at commercial banks and harsh punishments for exceeding the ceiling interest rate.

In terms of economic restructuring, economist Le Dang Doanh and former head of the Institute of Policy and Strategy for Agriculture and Rural Development Luu Bich Ho proposed enhancing the application of science and technology to agricultural development.

Scientists and economists also asked the Government to pay attention to issues of jobs, income, industrial development, foodstuff collection and social order and security.

At the meeting, SBV's Governor Nguyen Van Binh and minister of Finance Vuong Dinh Hue also consulted with the specialists about liquidity, interest rates, capital access, bad debts, the stock market, monetary policies and market prices.-VNA