Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has asked ministries and localities to continue the comprehensive and effective implementation of socio-economic development tasks in the time to come.

At a regular March meeting of the Government in Hanoi on April 1, the PM pointed out shortcomings and limitations in the economy that should be fixed, such as low credit growth and investment disbursement, a high volume of bad debts, businesses’ poor access to loans, and falling prices of agricultural products, especially rice, tra and basa fish, and poultry.

“It is necessary to increase total investment demand and credit growth in combination with ensuring the quality of credit and solving bad debts, while speeding up the disbursement of public investments and better site clearance for key projects, particularly transport works,” he said.

Emphasising the need to maintain macroeconomic stability, PM Dung urged ministries, agencies and localities to control market prices, ensure the demand-supply balance of goods, and strictly punish any acts of trading fake, smuggled or sub-standard products.

They were also urged to focus on removing difficulties for businesses, improving the investment environment, and expanding domestic and foreign markets.

“We should be more active and proactive to conclude negotiations at an early date for the signing of free trade agreements with partners, thus promoting trade and investment,” he said.

The Government leader also requested ministries and localities to make stronger steps in the restructuring of public investment, the banking system and businesses as well as provide correct and objective information for the public and the press to create a social consensus, thus contributing to successfully fulfilling objectives and tasks set for 2014.

At the meeting, Government members agreed that the country’s socio-economic situation in the first quarter of this year saw positive results, with inflation curbed, market prices stabilised and demand and supply of goods ensured.

The consumer price index in March dropped 0.44 percent compared to the previous month, the lowest in many years, and the gross domestic product (GDP) grew 4.96 percent, higher than those of the two previous years’ same period.

Exports increased 14.1 percent year-on-year and a trade surplus was recorded.

The first quarter also saw more than 4,600 businesses with difficulties resume their operations, up 48.9 percent against the fourth quarter of last year.-VNA