UN Resident Coordinator in Vietnam John Hendra met with reporters in Hanoi on May 10 to share his view on the country’s development during five years of his term of office in Vietnam, highlighting recent measures taken by the Government to mitigate the impact of inflation.

Like many other Asian nations, Vietnam is faced with higher inflationary pressure in comparison with other regions, Hendra said.

The country’s inflation rate rose 17.5 percent in April against the same period last year and was up 3.3 percent compared to March – the highest figure since December, 2008. It was also higher than in other ASEAN economies and among the world’s highest.

Hendra spoke highly of Government Resolution 11 and attempts to stabilise the macro-economy and curb inflation, saying that the resolution is a turning-point not only in policymaking, but also in the way of thinking about the policy.

For the first time, growth is not given the immediate priority, he said, adding that the move shows the increasing consensus for the demand of shifting Vietnam ’s growth from “quantity” to “quality”.

The Government should ensure the effectiveness of its public investment, he said, stressing the need to consider it an immediate priority.

The UN official emphasised the positive sign in the Government’s strong commitment in cutting down investment in state enterprises that showed poor performance, and assisting agriculture, export, support industries, small and medium-sized enterprises.

But he warned that poor people in urban areas will be directly affected by inflation, especially poor migrant labourers, retirees and low income earners, due to sharply rising food, electricity and energy prices.

He hailed initiatives to help the poor, such as subsidies for electricity costs for the poor.

To help the Government closely monitor impacts on the poor, including labourers in the most vulnerable sectors, Hendra said, the General Office of Statistics conducted a survey on the labour force and the UN supported Vietnam in monitoring quick assessment on economic crisis impact over the past two years.

The work will continue in coming months, to provide new data on social impacts from the existing prolonged inflation, he said.

Hendra noted the important role of poverty reduction and social support programmes, saying experiences from the financial crisis in Asia and global economic woes showed that a comprehensive social support system is a necessary factor to implement social support and assist the poor./.