Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has called for the nation’s concerted efforts to combat the economic slowdown and fulfil the GDP growth target of 5 percent for this year.

The PM made the request at a regular government meeting held on July 6-7. Leaders of the People’s Committees of all 63 provinces and cities took part in the socio-economic development session via live television.

Stabilising the macro-economy, preventing inflation, ensuring social security and national defence, and maintaining political and social stability are other major tasks for the rest of the year, PM Dung said.

Cabinet members agreed that, despite facing various challenges in the first half of 2009, the economy has suffered a slight slowdown, but not fallen into a crisis and is now showing signs of recovery.

The government’s policy of exempting, reducing and reimbursing taxes has helped mitigate difficulties for businesses and consumers, step up production, commerce and exports, and stimulate investment and consumption, they noted.

However, the participants pointed out the country’s restrictions in socio-economic development during the first six months of this year, citing the GDP growth rate of 3.9 percent--the lowest level in recent years--capital shortages for production and business and less foreign direct investment.

Natural disasters, epidemics and unemployment due to the adverse impact of the world economic recession have also affected the incomes and the lives of the people.

To reach this year’s targets, the government put forth a number of solutions, focusing on the implementation of stimulus packages, fostering production, business and exports, and pushing for a GDP growth rate of 5 percent.

Relevant ministries and agencies need to accelerate the disbursement of available capital, encourage economic sectors to pour investment into development projects, adopt flexible monetary and financial policies, stabilise the macro-economy, curb possible inflation and ensure social security./.