Buoyant economy sets scene for development
Message Today, September 2, 1997, the people of Vietnam are very happy to celebrate the 52nd anniversary of the National Day of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.
The day marks a turning point in the history of Vietnam when the Vietnamese people were liberated from the yoke of feudal and colonial domination, became the master of their own destiny and began to build and defend a new independent, free and happy state.
Vietnamese people are very proud of their achievements in the past 52 years, especially in the years of renewal.
A multi-sector commodity economy governed by a socialist-oriented and state-controlled market mechanism has been developed. A new dynamic of economic activities has been created and has made a great contribution to the growth of the country's economy.
GDP achieved an average increase of 8.2 per cent in the 1991-1995 period, 9.5 per cent in 1996 and more than 9 per cent in the first six months of 1997.
A new policy has been issued to encourage the development of the private sector. Service industries registered an annual increase of 12 per cent and remarkable progress has been made in the financial and monetary fields.
Inflation has been kept under control and decreased sharply from 12.7 per cent in 1995 to 4.5 per cent in 1996 and 2 per cent in the first six months of this year.
In health care, remarkable progress has been made with hunger eradication, poverty alleviation and social development. About 90 per cent of the population can read and they have enough to eat and wear.
With an open foreign policy, Vietnam has established diplomatic and trade relations with almost all countries and regions around the world. The annual value of exports has risen by 20 per cent. Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) has increased rapidly. There are 2,094 FDI projects underway involving capital of more than US$31.7 billion.
In the 1996-2000 period, Vietnam has to realise simultaneously three economic targets: acceleration of industrialisation and modernisation with a high, sustainable and efficient economic growth; firm macro-economic stabilisation and preparation for the phase of more advanced development beyond the year 2000; and, continuing the policy of developing the multi-sector economy operating within the market mechanism of state management and socialist orientation, to bring into play all resources for the development of productive forces as well as improving state management to achieve an economic growth rate of 9-10 per cent per year.
It is a great pleasure to mention that the partnership between Vietnam and Hong Kong has been one of long- standing. The value of bilateral trade was almost US$1 billion in 1996. By the end of last year, Hong Kong had 176 investment projects underway involving a total capital of US$3.137 billion.
The SAR is ranked third among 54 countries and territories investing in Vietnam. Both sides are close to signing an agreement on investment encouragement and protection. Vietnam-Hong Kong relations have also been encouraged by the growing number of direct flights between Hong Kong and Vietnam by a joint venture arrangement between Vietnam Airlines and Cathay Pacific.
On this occasion, I would like to express our sincere thanks to the Government and people of Hong Kong for their generous and valuable assistance and co-operation.
We believe that our co-operation in all fields, on the basis of mutual benefit, will be steadily developed and strengthened.
NGUYEN DINH BANG Consul General of Vietnam