Vietnam needs post-pandemic programme to boost economic recovery: Expert

To achieve important targets in 2021-2025, Vietnam should consider economic digitalisation key to shifting its growth model and shortly carry out a “post-COVID-19” mid-term programme in association with economic restructuring on the basis of taking advantage of opportunities brought about by free trade agreements (FTAs).

The advice came from Dr Tran Du Lich, a member of the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Group, in an interview granted to the Cong Thuong (Industry and Trade) Newspaper.

He said Vietnam’s growth of 2.91% last year was a miracle amid the serious impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and natural disasters.

However, entering 2021 - the first year of implementing the new Socio-Economic Development Strategy - Vietnam has to face several major mid-term challenges. Firstly, he said, the economic achievements gained in 2016-2019 are now being eroded, as reflected through the significant decline in 2020 GDP growth, while public debt and bad debts are increasing once more and the unpredictable developments of the pandemic have slowed down the economic restructuring process.

Secondly, the readiness of Vietnamese enterprises to bring into full play the opportunities presented by bilateral and multilateral FTAs, particularly the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), the EU-Vietnam FTA, and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, remains weak. Most enterprises, even those with foreign investment, are using outdated production technologies.

Thirdly, efforts to reform economic institutions have brought about certain results but not in a systematic manner, Lich said.

The next five years will be an unpredictable period in politics, economics, and international trade, he believed.

Top priority should be given to economic digitalization during the shifting of the growth model in a sustainable manner during the 2021-2025 period.

It is necessary to turn the Government’s determination and innovation during a period of “fighting the disease like fighting the enemy” into determination and innovation in the “post-pandemic” period with specific policies.

Despite the challenges, Vietnam’s economy will have many opportunities to reach socio-economic targets in the 2021-2025 period, he added.

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