Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has issued a remarkable statement calling for rapid, sustained — and sustainable — development and acknowledging his country’s long list of challenges. He emphasizes harmonizing economic development, social development and environmental protection.
Dung highlights Vietnam’s shortcomings and says the country’s “achievements made are not yet commensurate with our potential because quality, productivity, efficiency and competency remain low.” Specifically, he says:
- Investment efficiency is low, and waste is high
- Energy consumption is too high
- Exploitation natural resources is uneconomical
- Macro-economic imbalances are unacceptable
- The environment suffers from severe pollution
- Many cultural and social issues remain problems, and social vices seem to be on the increase
- Traffic congestion remains serious
- Corruption has yet to be pushed back
- The quality of education and training, especially tertiary education and vocational training, has not improved at an acceptable pace
- Hospitals are overloaded and the quality of the health service is poor
What does Vietnam need to do about the above problems? According to the prime minister, this is what:
- Apply comprehensive solutions to safeguard Vietnam’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity; ensuring political security, law and order; actively and proactively integrating into the world; and creating a “peaceful and favorable environment for our country’s development.”
- Ensure the stability of the macro-economy and other major economic indicators; maintaining food and energy security as well as the safe and effective operation of demestic financial institutions.
- Mobilize all resources to ensure high growth and improve the quality of that growth, including removing bottlenecks in terms of administrative procedures and institutions; reforming and restructuring state-owned enterprises (SOE); improving corporate governance and competitiveness of the private sector; and improving the country’s infrastructure.
- Develop social and cultural sectors in harmony with economic development, focusing on poverty reduction and limiting the rich-poor divide through income regulatory policies and expanded social welfare networks; and provide more resources for education and training development; and improved health services.
- Practice wider democracy — but attach democracy closely with law and order — recognizing that the three main pillars of Vietnam’s development are a law-governed State, a market economy that ensures social welfare, and socialist democracy.
- Protect and improve the environment.