President Truong Tan Sang has stressed the need to accelerate reforms, renovate growth models and facilitate economic restructuring to increase the competitiveness of the economy, boost rapid and sustainable development, and successfully implement industrialisation and modernisation initiatives.

The State leader made the statement in an interview granted to the Vietnam News Agency on the threshold of the traditional Lunar New Year (Tet).

“We should continue updating and perfecting the socialist-oriented market economy institution and focus on human resources training in order to expeditiously improve the country’s position in the world economy,” he said.

According to the President, economic growth in recent years has relied heavily on investment increases, intensive use of natural resources, and labour with low productivity and quality, negatively affecting rapid and sustainable development.

Noting the low efficiency of public investment and poor infrastructure as compared to other countries in the region, he stated that Vietnam will struggle to improve its competitiveness with a high proportion of outsourced products, low and middle technology, an unskilled workforce, and low productivity, and if the growth model is not quickly renewed.

He also stressed the immediate difficulties Vietnam is facing in the financial and banking sector, including substantial public debt and State budget overspending, as well as sluggish production and business activities.
Meanwhile, limitations remain in education, science-technology development and in the State management of central and local agencies, he added.

“Therefore, the central solution is to improve the awareness of agencies at all levels, elevating their determination to tackle any challenges hindering national development,” he said.

President Truong Tan Sang went on to say that Vietnam holds numerous advantages, as it is recognised by the world community as a politically stable nation and located in the Asia-Pacific region – an economic development momentum of the world.

By late 2015, the full trade liberalisation will be realised in ASEAN as well as between the bloc and China, meaning that a wide range of tariffs will be removed to facilitate the free circulation of goods.

By 2018, Vietnam will have to cut down tariffs under its commitments with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) as well as in free trade agreements (FTAs) it joined, he said, adding that the country has concluded negotiations on FTAs with the EU, the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, and the Republic of Korea, and is talking the Tran-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement.

“These are both opportunities and challenges for Vietnamese producers, and will instigate swift and strong development in the years to come,” he affirmed.

He went on to say that rapid reforms to the country are essential, as delays in this initiative will slow economic development, cause macro-economic instability, and increase social evils and income inequality. Beyond social insecurity, failure to reform will degrade community trust in the Party and State.

People or constituents have the right to expect and require the Party and State to continue the renewal in a comprehensive fashion as the subject and the purpose of renewal, he added.

The State leader emphasised the need to create fresh driving forces to make the country thrive, push up economic development, improve people’s living conditions and successfully implement industrialisation and modernisation.

Regarding anti-corruption initiatives, the leader noted that in recent years, Vietnam has carried out a number of measures to detect and counteract corruption, which have produced significant results from the local to central level.

However, the results have been insufficient as corruption and wastefulness have not been completely eliminated, he stated, asking for more drastic measures, unswerving efforts and increased determination to combat the issue and increase the sense of security among the nation’s people.

He reiterated the country’s external policy of independence, self-reliance, peace, cooperation, development, multilateralism, diversification and international integration, as well as being a trusted friend, partner, and responsible member of the international community. Thanks to the policy, Vietnam has received strong support from foreign friends.

In the past struggles against foreign invaders, Vietnam leveraged the strength of its people with assistance from peace- and justice-loving communities over the world. If the balance of power was the only factor, many believed Vietnam could not defeat any hostile forces, yet the country was victorious. The value of that historical lesson can be seen in the present nation-building and safeguarding processes.

If the patriotism and strength of the national unity are fully utilised in conjunction with international support, and the interests of the nation and its people are given top priority, Vietnam can overcome any challenge.

On the threshold of the Tet holiday, the State leader conveyed his best New Year wishes to all Vietnamese, inside and outside the country.

He expressed his hope that this year, each family and each enterprise will surmount any difficulties and achieve significant progress, and that every organisation and official in the political system at all levels will work collectively and exert the utmost effort to develop the country, enhance lives, and maintain national sovereignty and independence.-VNA