Vietnamese PM’s New Year Message

PM Nguyen Tan Dung has sent a New Year message emphasizing the central tasks of 2014, including the improvement of the institutions and promotion of the mastership right of the people. The following is his full message

PM Nguyen Tan Dung has sent a New Year message emphasizing the central tasks of 2014, including the improvement of the institutions and promotion of the mastership right of the people. The following is his full message

Improving the institutions, promoting the mastership right of the people and successfully accomplishing the tasks set for 2014, creating foundation for rapid and sustainable development.

In the last year, the entire Party, Army and people have made tremendous efforts to overcome difficulties and challenges and attained important results. Marco-economic stability has been better maintained with higher growth and lower inflation compared with 2012. Many progresses have been recorded in cultural and social development including environmental protection. National defence and security have been safeguarded. External performance has seen enormous successes. Social and political stability has been maintained. Our position on the world arena has been improved.

In implementing Conclusions of the Party Central Committee, National Assembly and the Government issued the Resolution on socio-economic development for 2014. Accordingly, the main goals are maintaining macro-economic stability, keeping a reign over inflation, removing obstacles to facilitate business activities, accelerating economic restructuring and striving for higher growth rate compared with 2013. It is also important to ensure social security and welfare and improve the life of the people. Another important goal is to safeguard national defence and security and as well as improving external performance and international integration.

Even though the world economy has shown signs of recovery and our economy is picking up, difficulties and challenges remain huge, which requires concerted efforts and higher level of commitment of the whole political system in order to realize socio-economic goals for 2014. It is critical to decisively and comprehensively implement medium term and long-term tasks to create foundation for rapid and sustainable development. It is important to focus on the construction of law-governed state, bringing into full use the ownership of the people, improving the socialist-oriented market economic institution and restructuring agriculture coupled with building new rural areas.

I

We are now living in the age of unfolding globalization and international integration. Accession to many FTAs with high requirements and at a wider range has created many opportunities for mutually beneficial cooperation. However, it also gives rise to increasing interdependence and competition. Annual reports by many international organizations have ranked economies in terms of competitiveness. It is an important reference index about each country position in the global race. Those having higher competitiveness will have more opportunities to overtake and head for rapid and sustainable development.

Competitiveness is determined by many factors. Among those, institutional quality and business environment are of primary importance. Institutional quality generates not only intrinsic impacts but also influences the business environment and competitiveness of the economy as a whole and each enterprise. As a result, it is the prerequisite to fully tap national advantages. It is impossible to attain high competitiveness without high quality institutions and modern national governance.

In retrospective of the last 30 years, our major achievements are inseparable from major institutional reforms, the nature of which is to expand democracy and implement market mechanisms in economic activities. The remarkable and comprehensive breakthrough of this process started from the 6th Party Congress.

Breakthroughs in agriculture management originated from Contract System 10. As a result, from a food deficit country, Vietnam has become one of the world leading exporters of rice and many other agricultural products. Business freedom has been widely promoted with the introduction of Business Law, Law for Private Enterprises, Law on Foreign Investment, etc. Thanks to that, our country has come out of stagnation and developed actively and rapidly. International economic integration has created more opportunities for development.

Appropriate reform policies by the Party and the State have lifted Vietnam from an under-developed country to a middle-income developing nation. Our impressive achievements in poverty reduction have been widely recognized by the international community.

However, in recent years, our competitiveness has not been significantly improved. Economic growth and restructuring have slowed down, social pressing issues emerged. One of the main causes is that driving force created by reforms is no longer strong enough to further promote development. It is time we need a new momentum to regain impetus for growth and sustainable development. Such a driving force must come from institutional reform and stronger promotion of the mastership right of the People.

Democracy is a great ideological thought of President Ho Chi Minh. He pointed out that our country is a democratic nation, and all powers belong to the people. The Party also reaffirmed that democracy is both a goal and driving force in the national building and defence. Democracy is a inevitable trend in the development process of humankind. The incremental democracy ladders of human societies go from slavery, to feudalism and capitalism. The socialist regime that we are building must be much better in terms of democracy and the party must hold high the banner of democracy. Strengthening the Party’s leadership and state management, in the nutshell, is equal to better ensuring the mastership right of the People. Democracy will help bring into full play the creativeness of individuals, remove social stigmas, and strengthen social cohesiveness and the great national unity.

In the context of stormy scientific and technological development, especially information technology, our young generation is now equipped with better knowledge, frequent internet access for exchanges, learning, discovering and observing. This generation has played and will play a decisive role in the country’s development and future. It represents both pressures and advantages for us to enhance democracy and institutions.

Democracy and law-governed state are twins in a modern political institution. While ensuring democratic rights, President Ho Chi Minh paid special attention to the construction of a law-governed state. This is a connection between democracy and discipline. He wrote “Hundred things must have the God of legitimacy”. In a law-governed state, laws are bible. Law must safeguard justice and legitimacy. Any restrictions on freedom of citizens must be carefully considered and only for the sake of national defence and security, social safety and order and preservation of our cultural, historical and moral values. The people have the rights to do anything that are not prohibited by law, interpret laws to protect their legitimate rights and benefits. State agencies and civil servants are only allowed to do things stipulated by laws. Every decision by State must be transparent.

The amended Constitution adopted by the National Assembly in 2013 has opened up a new constitutional space for us to realize the great thoughts of President Ho Chi Minh. No country can exercise the direct democratic rights at all levels and in all aspects of life; nevertheless, as direct democracy becomes increasingly comprehensive and substantive, representative democracy will also be implemented in a more effective manner. Therefore, the relationship between direct democracy and representative democracy must be incorporated into the overall solutions to ensure the mastershipright of the People. Direct democracy must be expanded and election mechanisms of the National Assembly and the People’s Councils at all levels must be improved. Direct elections of the chairman of Communal People’s Committee on a pilot basis should be soon carried out in accordance with the Resolution adopted at the 5th plenum of the 10th Party Central Committee while improving social criticism mechanism to further facilitate people’s participation in the policy-making process and cadres selection as well as the quality of Q&A sessions at the National Assembly and the People’s Councils at all levels and accountability of policy-making agencies’ leaders.

Tobring into full play the mastershipright of the People, the State needs to perform well its function as development facilitator. The State does not replace the people but focuses on designing proper institutions and creating most favorable conditions for all people to unleash their creative potentials for the benefits of themselves and the country. The country can only be powerful when its people are prosperous. Socialization will not only help mobilize resources but also create favorable conditions for all social stakeholders to better perform their functions. Only by so doing, can we build a streamlined and effective administrative apparatus.

The State must ensure and bring into full play the real mastershipright of the People, particularly the right to participate in the policy-making process, the right to choose their representatives and the property ownership. Mastershipright must be coupled with citizens’ social responsibilities and obligations, most importantly law observance.

The State must create a level playing field based on market regime, strictly control and remove monopoly as well as mechanisms and policies that lead to unfair competition. Laws, mechanisms and policies must create best conditions for citizens and businesses to expand production and business activities. Natural resources and national capital must be channeled to the deserving stakeholders who can produce the highest benefits for the country.

The State needs to adopt policies to build high-quality workforce and mobilize resources for socio-economic infrastructure to meet the development requirements. It is crucial to actively integrate into the global community and create favorable conditions for national construction and protection.

The State needs to build a streamlined and effective administrative apparatus with qualified, competent and highly professional cadres and civil servants. Civil servants at all agencies must be assigned with clear tasks. The assessment of organizations, cadres and civil servants must be based on their performance. Criteria for assessment and mechanisms for public duty management must be improved. Heads of administrative bodies must be responsible for the performance of assignments and shall be correlatively empowered to make decisions on personnel work.

The interaction between State agencies, between the State apparatus and socio-political organizations must be strengthened. Dialogues with the people and businesses must be expanded under various forms to promote closer relationship between the State, cadres, civil servants and the people and better match policy and legislation with reality. Coordination among legislative, executive and judicial branches must guarantee the independence of one or another and meet the demand for cross check and mutual reinforcement in accordance with the law. Decentralization must be intensified to promote the pro-activeness and creativeness of lower levels while ensuring unified management of the whole system. Socio-political stability must constantly be enhanced.

In that spirit, in 2014, utmost efforts must be made to develop and revise laws for the implementation of the new Constitution. Institutions, mechanisms and policies must be reviewed and the State apparatus be consolidated to push forward the building of law-governed State, strong advancement of the people’s mastership and completion of the socialist-oriented market economy. Law enforcement and disciplines must be improved to build a clean and strong State apparatus. Responsibility of the Government as an organization and of each Government members in the formulation and promulgation of legal normative documents must be increased to ensure the progress and quality.

II

In thepast years, great strides have been made in the completion of the socialist-oriented market economy with focus on creating a leveled playing field and administrative reform. This also represents a strategic breakthrough defined by the Resolution of the 11th National Party Congress. As part of the socialist-oriented market economy, market economy rules must, in the first place, be fully respected while regulatory tools and distribution policies be put in practice to guarantee social equality and social progress. In the coming years, comprehensive measures must continue to successfully implement this strategic breakthrough, in which focus should be made to address two important and closely-related issues, namely market price mechanism for essential goods and services and fair competition.

The market price mechanism for all goods and services must be consistently implemented. The pricing of essential goods and services by the State must be accurate and sufficient in terms of costs; price-formulating elements must be made transparent and the market price mechanism must be persevered with a suitable roadmap. In the mean time, there must be support policies for the poor, policy beneficiaries, ethnic people, and people living in remote, disadvantaged areas.

Businesses of all economic sectors must operate in accordance with market rules. Business monopoly, policies and mechanisms generating unfairness among businesses, especially access to resources, must be eliminated.

Resolute efforts must be made to restructure State-owned enterprises, focusing on SOEs equitization, including economic corporations; withdrawing capital from non-core businesses and selling shares that the State does not need to control even in profit-making enterprises under market rules. State-owned enterprises shall only operate in key, essential fields, important zones and in national defense and security area. Business tasks shall be separated from political and public duties. Mechanism for State ownership and representative owners of State capital in enterprises should be improved. Enhance the management, supervision and inspection on the state ownership. Improve capacity of the management personnel and business administration. Make public SOEs’ performance in accordance with the law. Strictly handle law infringements and failure to seriously implement the approved restructuring Master Plan.

Only by doing so, can we create a level playing field, enhance the effectiveness and performance of SOEs, increase the strength the State sector, thus contributing to maintaining macroeconomic stability and promoting economic restructure.

III

In pursuit of the reform policy, the agricultural sector has obtained outstanding advancement, significantly contributed to the country’s overall achievements. In recent years, agricultural growth rate has gradually slowed down, the shortcomings of an agricultural sector on the basis of scattered household economy, low productivity and quality in the context of increasingly fierce competition have been revealed. Therefore, it is a must to effectively realize the three strategic breakthroughs, renew the growth model and restructure the economy, especially speeding up agricultural restructuring towards value-added improvement, sustainable development in combination with new rural area building makes up an essential part. This pressing task needs to be fulfilled by implementing comprehensive solutions, in which focus must be made to combine scientific and technological application with the reorganization of agricultural production.

Farmers must be placed in the center as the master of agricultural restructuring and new rural area development. The State should adopt mechanisms and policies to step up widespread scientific and technogical application, especially bio-technology, information technology in agricultural production and management, boost agriculture industrialization and modernization of rural areas. Diverse forms of cooperation in appropriate scales, particularly between farmers and businesses in production and service sectors must be encouraged. Value chains should be formed while ensuring harmonious interests of stakeholders in production, processing and consumption. Focus must be made in developing products that are comparative and competitive advantages with potential market. High-tech agriculture-industry-service complexes should gradually be formed in close connection with farmers, towards the development of multi-functional and sustainable agricultural production models.

Incentives to attract investment in rural areas should be promoted, production and business in agriculture, industries, and services in rural areas should be developed; focus should be made on processing and labor-intensive industries to build large-scale production areas, promote labor and rural economic restructure. Reform the mode and improve the effectiveness of vocational training. Mobilize investment resources for infrastructure development. Effectively realize the sustainable poverty reduction program. Pay due attention to environmental protection; preserve and promote cultural identity, fine traditions and customs of Vietnamese rural areas.

The implementation of Resolution of the 7th Plenum of the 10th Party Central Committee on agriculture, farmers and rural development needs to be expeditiously reviewed to step up the process of agricultural restructuring and new rural area development.

IV

Overthe past three years since the 11th National Party Congress, our Party, army and people have been faced with numerous difficulties and challenges. Considerable efforts and resources have been devoted to resolve short-term issues and important achievements have been recorded. Concurrently, importance has been attached to the implementation of medium and long-term tasks, yet the results achieved have not met the demand. Reality shows that macroeconomic stability would not be firmly sustained, the potentials of the nation would not be fully released, the opportunities brought about by international integration would not be thoroughly grasped and the foundation for rapid and sustainable development would not be built without a successful performance of these tasks.

The tasks that lie ahead of us are heavy. Difficulties and challenges remain enormous. Yet, this is an opportunity to move forward with bolder reform. Against this context, strong determination and political will are required. The fortitude of our Party and people shined during our past struggle for national independence and reunification. This once again reinforced as our country faced and overcame the socio-economic crisis in the early 1980s with the launching of the reform policy.

Nowadays,the position and strength of our nation are ever stronger. That fortitude will definitely shine again as our country moves forward with comprehensive reform in light of the 11th National Party Congress Resolution to strengthen national building and defence for a socialist Vietnam with prosperous people, strong, democratic, just, and advanced country.

VGP

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