Yesterday, June 16, a total of 423 new cases of COVID-19 were recorded, nine imported and 414 local transmissions. Vietnam’s southern business hub has reached the 1,000 patient mark.
Even with the rising patient count, deaths linked to the coronavirus, extended social distancing period, travel restrictions, the Vietnamese government remains firm in pursuing the twin goal of containing the impact of the pandemic and boosting the economic recovery.
While the country is facing the most serious wave of coronavirus cases, Vietnam is expected to see the GDP growth target of 6% set by the National Assembly.
According to a Hanoitimes report, during the National Assembly’s Standing Committee meeting on June 15, Deputy Prime Minister Le Minh Khai “attributed his projection to the complication of the fresh COVID-19 outbreak which has swept 40 out of 63 cities and provinces due to the appearance of some variants.”
This means the country’s nominal GDP in the first half of the year is estimated to reach nearly VND4 quadrillion ($174.68 billion), or an economic expansion rate of 5.8%.
Whereas the growth remains at .42% points lower than the government’s 6.22% target for Q1 and Q2, it still shows “a huge effort from the government,” said Deputy PM Khai.
Towards the end of 2020, the Vietnamese government released a statement that the goal is to hit a 6% GDP for 2021. Former Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said the growth target is “modest” considering the country’s potential.
Government agencies remain active
The Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung provided a more detailed perspective on Vietnam’s economic performance saying the construction-industrial production plays a key part in spurring growth by posting on the expansion of 7.85%, followed by 5% services, and 3% agro-forestry-fishery.
Minister Dung highlighted another positive result which is the 7% sharp rise of the total revenue from retail sales and services. “The macro-economic situation continues to serve as a solid base for economic recovery as inflation remains under control, along with stable foreign exchange and monetary markets.”
For the January to June period, Minister Dung expected the state budget revenue to reach 55.5% of the year’s estimate, up 10.9% year-on-year and around the same level of the pre-pandemic period in 2019. Meanwhile, state budget expenditure could be around 43% of the estimate, while disbursement of public investment is set to be around 34.15% of the plan, slightly down from the 34.85% rate recorded in the first half of last year, reads the Hanoitimes report.
The minister added the government is focused on taking measures to support its people and businesses affected by the global pandemic, especially those who lost their jobs and those working at industrial parks. “The government would gather all necessary resources to provide free vaccines for the public in a bid to achieve herd immunity,” he said.
Additionally, the government agencies will persist in addressing shortcomings in the legal framework for a greater deployment of social resources for development.
Meanwhile, the central government and localities are expected to reinforce the financial-budget discipline and disbursement rate of public investment funds, while continuing to attract high-quality FDI projects.
However, as of this writing, with a population of over 98 million, Vietnam’s national COVID-19 vaccination program has only served 1.5 million people, and 59,000 of them have received the complete two shots. That basically means 0.15% got their first shot and barely 0.06% of the total population is fully vaccinated.
Seven weeks into the country’s new coronavirus wave, Vietnam has recorded 7,787 local cases in 40 cities and provinces.
The country is in a strange hard spot right now, with a surge in new cases and the lowest rate of vaccination in all of Southeast Asia, the Vietnamese government surely has a lot of work to do.