Economic growth rate 7-7,5% for 2001

Ha Noi, October 27 (VNA) -- Viet Nam has set the economic growth rate between 7 - 7.5 percent for the next year (2001), Minister of Planning and Investment Tran Xuan Gia said on Oct. 26.

Several economic targets set for 2001 will be submitted to the National Assembly, including an increase of 13 and
13.5 percent for industrial production value; 4.5-4.8 percent for agro-forestry and fisheries; 6.5-7 percent for services; 14-16 percent for export turnover, 13 percent for import value; over 18 percent for the total development of investment capital for all sectors. The inflation rate is expected to reach about 5 percent. The budget deficit should not surpass the GDP growth rate.

For education, the number of junior high school pupils will be up by 4.6 percent and 10 provinces and cities will reach the standard for universalization of junior high education. The number of senior high school students will be up by 6 percent, and university and college students, by 5 percent; the number of students of vocational high schools, by 8.7 percent; and of job training schools, by 6.7 percent;

About 1.4 million jobs will be created, the rate of poor households will be reduced to 9-10 percent, the rate of malnutrition among children reduced to 32 percent, and 50 percent of the rural population will have access to safe water.

To achieve targets, major solutions have been worked out, namely creating momentum to change economic structures with the aim of boosting production and business, raising the efficiency of macro-management tools and policies, and continuing with the policy on developing economic cooperation with other countries and international integration.

Social tasks to be implemented in 2001, including: renewing education and training programmes, accelerating the enforcement of the Law on Science and Technology, inserting the environmental protection programme into socio-economic development programmes, resolutely fighting high risk epidemics in areas that have been ravaged by floods, applying the new policy on hospital charges, and setting up, on a trial basis, hospitals which are funded jointly by the Government and the people.

Minister Gia noted that based on the socio-economic achievements in the first ten months of this year and the forecast for the remaining two months, the country would surely post an economic growth rate of 6.7 percent for this year, surpassing the plan for this year as well as the 1999 rate.

In the past ten months, Viet Nam's industrial output value increased by 15.5 percent, surpassing the planned target of 4.5 percent.

Agricultural production, although adversely affected by serious and widespread natural calamities, achieved a 4.9 percent increase in production value, 0.9 percent more than the target. Remarkable achievements have been recorded in food production, livestock breeding, cultivation and processing of industrial crops, farm economy development, forest plantation and protection, aquaculture and fishing.

Services saw an average increase of about 6 percent and positive changes were made in external economic operations. As much as USD 1.7 billion in official development assistance (ODA) will be disbursed this year, much higher than the figures of previous years.

As far as foreign direct investment (FDI) is concerned, the country may draw in USD 2 billion this year. So far this year, USD 900 million of foreign investment has been registered in the country and USD 1.6 billion has been disbursed.