Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc delivers a report at the opening sitting of the NA's ninth session on May 20th (Photo: VNA)
Addressing the opening sitting of the ninth session of the 14th-tenure National Assembly, PM Phuc pointed out that in the first months of 2020, the international and domestic situation witnessed big and unprecedented changes due to impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The global economy has slipped into recession while major partners of Vietnam have been seriously affected. Almost all sectors in the Vietnamese economy have been strongly influenced with many socio-economic activities stagnating.
However, he said, the entire Party, people and army have joined hands and exerted all-out efforts to realise the dual targets of fighting against the pandemic, and maintaining, recovering and developing socio-economic activities and ensuring people’s livelihoods.
The COVID-19 combat is unprecedented, requiring strong, synchronous, swift, flexible, timely and effective measures, he said, elaborating that the Government has ordered the pandemic prevention and control be implemented in a comprehensive manner that suits the outbreak’s developments.
Response measures have been carried out earlier and at a level higher than recommendations by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Social distancing was imposed adamantly and opportunely, thus effectively stopping the spread of COVID-19 in the community.
Thanks to the whole political system’s engagement and the people’s solidarity and unanimity in seriously and effectively implementing the measures, Vietnam has basically put the pandemic under control, PM Phuc said, noting that for the past more than one month, the country hasn’t recorded any community infections while the recent confirmed patients are all imported cases.
Amid this global pandemic, Vietnam has been cooperating closely with other countries and UN organisations, especially the WHO, in developing treatment regimens and vaccines, according to the Government leader.
Vietnam has also had many initiatives in external relations in this context, he said, adding that as Vietnam is ASEAN Chair in 2020, the PM issued the Chairman’s Statement on ASEAN Collective Response to the Outbreak of COVID-19 and successfully chaired the special ASEAN and ASEAN+3 virtual summits on COVID-19.
The meaningful victories in the fight against COVID-19 are the crystallization of patriotism, trust and strength of the great national unity bloc, PM Phuc affirmed.
Looking back on socio-economic performance in the first months of 2020, the PM said the COVID-19 pandemic has strongly hit almost all economic sectors. The agricultural sector registered a growth of only 0.08 percent due to export difficulties, and industry up only 1.8 percent due to the shortage of input materials as well as problems I export markets. The service sector suffered from severe losses, especially in tourism, restaurant and transportation.
The number of newly-established firms dropped 13.3 percent while 33.6 percent of all firms suspended their operations. More than 5 million workers have been affected.
PM Phuc reported that the Government and the PM promptly issued mechanisms and policies in support of businesses and the public, as well as held online meetings to tackle their difficulties.
He pointed to bright spots in the economic picture, including stable macroeconomic foundation and major balances of the economy, facilitating post-pandemic recovery. The consumer price index in April fell by 1.21 percent from December 2019, and regulatory interest rates down 1.5 percent, thus ensuring liquidity for credit institutions and the economy.
Despite the challenges caused by COVID-19, the leader said the Government still pays attention to socio-cultural development, stepping up administrative reform, preventing corruption and wastefulness, and enhancing national defence-security and external activities.
According to him, the Government issued Resolution No.42 on measures supporting residents hit by COVID-19 with a total funding of nearly VND62 trillion (USD2.69 billion), along with reducing electricity, water and telecommunication prices and offering preferential loans to poor households via the Vietnam Bank for Social Policies.
“In the new context that is full of difficulties and challenges, all of us must reform mindset and working methods for development, improve capability, grasp opportunities, re-organise economic activities, seek new development models, and make use of the shift of investment and production in the region and the world,” PM Phuc said.
In addition, it is also necessary to strongly bring into play the role of businesses in all economic sectors and proactively take part in economic links and production and value chains generated by new-generation free trade agreements.
For the rest of 2020 and the following period, aside from pushing ahead with the disease prevention and control, the Government will direct the synchronous and drastic implementation of tasks and solutions for socio-economic recovery and development, he noted.
He emphasised that the country has entered a new development stage with intertwined challenges and opportunities. In this situation, the strength of the great national unity bloc and the people’s trust in the Party and State’s leadership need to be further promoted.
PM Phuc called for joint efforts and high resolve to overcome challenges to perform tasks for 2020 and the 2016-2020 period as best as possible./.