Sunday, 19/8/2018
With new confidence, momentum, driving force, we continue to unite and strive to successfully accomplish the goals and tasks and build the country bigger and more beautiful *
28/3/2018 16:36' Send Print
General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong addresses the conference. Photo: VNA

Today, I am very glad to attend the online conference of the Government with localities to review the work in 2017 and set out tasks and plans for socio-economic development in 2018. This is a very important conference. First of all, I would like to convey my cordial greetings, kind regards and best wishes to all of you.

I would like to make some suggestions for exchange and discussion.

Looking back on 2017

Listening to the Report of the Government and opinions of representatives of some provinces and cities, we are pleased to find that in 2017, despite difficulties and challenges, Vietnam continued to grow rapidly and relatively comprehensively in most areas. Most prominent were:

In economy, for the first time in many years, we completed and overfulfilled all 13 targets. GDP growth reached 6.81%, exceeding targets, higher than many countries in the region and the world. Macro-economic stability was maintained, inflation was controlled at 3.53%. Major balances of the economy were basically guaranteed; budget deficit was low, about 3.5% of the GDP. The monetary market was stable; foreign exchange reserves hit a record of $US51.5 billion. The stock market gained momentum, surpassing the level of 950 points, the highest since 2008. Total import-export turnover reached $425 billion, the highest ever. Production and business continued to recover and develop comprehensively in all three sectors of industry, agriculture and services. The number of newly established businesses reached almost 127,000, an increase of 15.2% compared to 2016. Despite severe impacts of natural disasters and floods, agriculture still increased by 2.9%, four times higher than 2016; export turnover of agricultural products gained $36 billion, the highest level so far. The service sector recorded a sharp rise, up 7.44%, the highest level since 2008; The number of foreign tourists stood at nearly 13 million, up about 30% compared with 2016. Positive progress was made in administrative reform and improvement the business environment. Compared to 2016, Vietnam's business climate rating increased 14 levels (from 82 to 68 out of 190 economies); and competitive index jumped up 5 levels (from 60 to 55 out of 137 economies).

The socio-cultural sector continued to make progress. The capacity for innovation in science and technology was raised. The radical and comprehensive reform of education and training in the spirit of Resolution No. 29-NQ/TW, dated 11 November 2013 of the Central Committee of the 12th Party Congress brought about obvious changes in higher education assessment, examination, and enrollment. Social security and welfare were paid attention to; regimes and policies for people with meritorious services and the poor were better implemented, especially during natural disasters, storms and floods. Efforts were made to step up the fight against crimes, achieving positive results, contributing to strengthening political security and maintaining social order and safety. Culture, information and communication were renewed, strengthened, and improved, contributing to building trust, creating consensus in society, combating negative phenomena and false allegations and winning the sympathy and support of the international community.

On external relations, national defense and security. The year 2017 was considered one of the most successful years in implementing objectives and tasks to improve the efficiency of external relations, deepen relations with partners, proactively and actively integrate into the world community, contributing to raising the position and prestige of Vietnam in the international arena. Relations with other countries, especially with important partners became increasingly comprehensive and effective. External relations with most of the key partners were improved. As far as high-level delegation exchange is concerned, we made 18 visits to 19 countries, participated in 8 international multilateral conferences, conducted hundreds of bilateral contacts with leaders and heads of state including 50 events in the APEC Summit Week alone. Vietnam welcomed 36 heads of state and prime ministers. The content of external relation activities were substantial, in-depth, stable and sustainable. Obvious political and economic progress was made in the relations with key partners, such as China, the United States, Japan, Russia, India and ASEAN. As a host country, we left an imprint of Vietnam in APEC cooperation in particular and economic and political linkage in the Asia-Pacific region in general.

Through cooperation and struggle, we resolutely, persistently, and firmly defended our independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity; safeguarded national security, social order and safety and ensured the strategic interests of the country. We maintained a peaceful, stable and cooperative environment, and good relations with neighboring countries, contributing to creating a favorable environment for national development and defense. Vietnam’s strength, national defense and security power were strengthened step by step; marine economic activities were safely and effectively carried out.

On building and rectifying the Party, strengthening the political system, combating corruption, waste, bureaucracy and negative phenomena: The Party and State led, directed and implemented affirmatively these activities for many years. Recently, these efforts have been stepped up, becoming stronger than before, and initially achieved many concrete and positive results, and received support from people. Serious and complicated economic and corruption cases including high-ranking officials of the Party, incumbent and retired cadres were resolutely and strictly dealt with in accordance with the Party regulations and the State law.

The Party Central Committee’s Inspection Commission concentrated on scrutinizing and making conclusion about wrongdoings and deciding on discipline measures or proposing competent authorities to take disciplinary actions on organizations and individuals which committed wrongdoings. The inspectorate branch conducted more than 6,800 administrative inspections, nearly 260,000 specialized inspections and controls, focusing on corruption-prone areas. They uncovered, settled or proposed to solve 68 cases and 107 corruption perpetrators. Investigative agencies in the country completed investigations on 197 cases, and 467 accused. People's Procuracies at all levels prosecuted 219 cases, and 481 accused. People's Courts at all levels brought 205 cases and 433 defendants to first-instance trials on corruption charges. Central and local procedure-conducting bodies made great efforts to accelerate investigation, prosecution and adjudication of extremely serious and complex economic cases of public concern in accordance with the law.

In summary, in 2017 we achieved many important and remarkable results in almost all fields, leaving a good impression and gaining several lessons learnt. It is not a coincidence that an atmosphere of enthusiasm, trust in the leadership of the Party, the success of the cause of renewal, national construction and defense has prevailed.

So what are the causes of these results?

There are many reasons, but the major ones include: 1. We succeeded the results and achievements of previous years, especially of 2016 with the brilliant success of the 12th Congress of the Party and results and achievements of 2016: the successful election of the National Assembly and People's Councils at all levels; the rearrangement, renovation and perfection of organizations and apparatus of the political system for the 2016-2021 term with many correct and appropriate resolutions and decisions promptly made; 2. The unity, unanimity, efforts of the Party, people and army in the comprehensive and synchronous renovation to realize the Resolution of the 12th Party Congress. The agencies of the Party and the State have renewed their leadership, harmoniously and synchronously coordinated in directing and implementing the Resolution of the 12th Party Congress, making positive changes in promoting the leadership role of the Party, the management of the State, the right to be masters of the people, settling promptly, properly and effectively problems, especially important, sensitive, urgent issues that have caused public resentment.

The Party Central Committee, the Party Politburo, the Party Secretariat have closely led, directed the development, promulgation and implementation of important resolutions and conclusions on socio-economic development, building the Party, State, and political system; timely set out correct, and appropriate lines and policies in different fields, especially on the five-year and annual socio-economic development plans, and national key projects for the National Assembly to consider and approve for investment and on defense, security, and foreign affairs.

The National Assembly made many improvements, better performing all three functions: legislation, supreme oversight and making decision on important issues of the country; institutionalizing Party lines and orientations, promulgating many laws and resolutions, and approving socio-economic development plan. The decisions of the National Assembly and People's Councils at all levels reflected "the Party's will, the people's consensus," creating favorable conditions for the Government and local administrations to better fulfill their functions and tasks in leading, directing and governance. It can be said that the atmosphere of democracy in the Party, National Assembly, and people's councils has spread to the whole society.

The Government and local administrations urgently and thoroughly organized the study and implementation of the resolutions and conclusions of the Party Central Committee and the National Assembly. They were proactive, active, dynamic, creative in leadership and implementation; promptly reported to the Politburo, the Secretariat, the National Assembly and the National Assembly Standing Committee on newly emerging matters which were beyond their authority. Attention was given to associate comprehensive socio-economic development with national defense and security and external relations; promptly detected and solved emerging problems, especially complicated, sensitive matters, and "hot spots" in all areas, in all regions and country which caused public concern.

The agencies of the Party, State, National Assembly, Government, Fatherland Front, ministries, committees, branches and organizations coordinated more harmoniously, and promptly. Particularly, the consensus, support, encouragement, and timely contributions of opinions by cadres, party members, senior comrades, people of all strata, information and media organizations created synergy of the whole political system and society.

On behalf of the Party and State leaders, I would like to express sincere thank to the National Assembly, the Government, Party Committees and administrations at all levels, business community, cadres, party members, compatriots and soldiers through out the country for the results, achievements, endeavour and contribution.

However, we should not be satisfied with the results and achievements. Because the country is still facing many difficulties and challenges. The situation in the world, and region continues to evolve rapidly, complicatedly, unpredictably; there are potential risks in the world economy; protectionism and anti-trade and anti-investment liberalization movement has appeared in many places. Shortcomings, weaknesses accumulated in the economy and sectors have remained, causing bad consequences, and social resentment and it is not easy to overcome over night. We need to take synchronous solutions, appropriate roadmap, resolute, persistent, firm and scientific direction to overcome. These limitations include failure in doing business, loss, corruption, and waste in many enterprises and projects. Disciplines, law and order have not been strictly abided by in many places. Natural disasters, epidemics, unpredictable climate change tend to cause heavier impacts on people’s production and life. Violations of regulations on environment, food hygiene and safety, traffic accidents, crimes, social evils, domestic violence and child abuse have developed complicatedly, especially in big cities. Meanwhile, we have to strive to make our country not only progress year after year but also to develop faster and more sustainably, avoid lagging behind, and gradually catch up with advanced countries in the region and the world.

Therefore, our conference should spend time to discuss carefully and thoroughly, reach high unanimity in the assessment of the situation, causes, lessons learned, especially limitations, weaknesses and causes to develop correct, accurate, practical and most feasible plans, tasks and solutions for 2018.

On direction and tasks of 2018

The year 2018 is the third year of the 12th Tenure, the pivotal year deciding the successful implementation of objectives and tasks of the five-year socio-economic development set out by the 12th Party Congress. The country is facing new opportunities and advantages to develop faster and more sustainable in the future. These opportunities and advantages include achievements of historical significance during 30 years of renovation, and initial important results of the two-year implementation of the 12th Party Congress’ Resolution, especially results and lessons learned in the past two years, particularly in 2017. Peace, cooperation and development are still the dominant trend in the world. The world economy is forecast to continue recovering and growing. The Fourth Industrial Revolution opens up new opportunities, advantages, difficulties and disadvantages. We need to take advantage of opportunities, overcome challenges, strive to step by step bridge the development gap with preceding countries.

We must pay attention to the following issues:

First, priority should be given to improving the socialist-oriented market economy institution in line with the Resolution of the 5th Plenum of the Party Central Committee, 12th Tenure. In the process of developing, promulgating and implementing mechanisms, policies and measures, it is necessary to be fully aware of, respect and properly apply objective laws of the market economy, international practices and at the same time, ensure the socialist orientation in line with the development conditions of the country in each period as well as scientific, synchronous and highly feasible characteristics. Harmoniously associate economic growth with social progress and equity, cultural development, environmental protection, defense and security. Define clearly and maintain the position, role, functions of the State in its relations with the market and society in line with the market economy; maintain socialist orientation; and strengthen and maintain the leadership of the Party. The State economic sector plays the leading role; the private economic sector is an important driver of the economy. The foreign-invested businesses, considered as part of the economy, is encouraged and facilitated. State-owned enterprises play a key role and are an important material force of the state economy. The State, collective, and private economic sectors are the core force to develop an independent and self-reliant economy. Stakeholders from economic sectors are equal, cooperative, competitive and develop in accordance with the law. The State’s role is to orient, build and perfect economic institutions; create a fair, transparent and healthy competitive environment; use its tools, policies and resources to orient and regulate the economy, boost production, business and protection of natural resources and the environment; and develop culture and society. The market plays a crucial role in mobilizing and effectively allocating resources, an important driving force for liberating production force; State resources are allocated according to strategies, and plans in line with the market mechanism.

Second, it is necessary to be fully aware of and drastically implement the Party viewpoints and guiding ideas to push up restructuring of the economy in association with renovating the growth model, increasing labor productivity and competitiveness of the economy, considering these as our fundamental and essential tasks in the coming time. We must be fully aware of and understand that the growth model which our country is building is increasingly based on growing productivity, quality and competitiveness of the economy; effectively mobilizing, allocating and utilizing resources according to market signals and mechanisms; promote patriotism, national pride and respect, talent and creativity of people and all potentials and advantages of branches, aspects, localities and the whole country; create opportunities for people to participate and benefit from growth; attach importance to raising the quality of growth, maintain macroeconomic stability, exercise social justice and equity, ensure national defense and security and preserve ecological environment. Based on the actual situation of each branch, sector and locality, rationally push up broad and in-depth growth, focusing on the latter. Shift investment- and export-based growth to growth which is based on both investment, export and domestic market. Gradually shift from increased production inputs to increased productivity, labor quality, science and technology application and innovation. Harness and maximize internal resources in combination with effectively attracting and using external forces. Pressure of growth, and pressure to settle urgent issues should not hamper attention to leading, directing and allocating resources for solving fundamental, long-term problems relating to rapid and sustainable development.

Third, step up the implementation of the Resolution of the 12th Party Congress and resolutions of the Central Committee Plenums, 11th Tenure on radical and comprehensive renewal of education and training; develop human resource; strengthen scientific and technological potential and accelerate the application of science and technology to overcome challenges and grasp opportunities that the fourth industrial revolution brings about. This is a new industrial revolution but has developed rapidly and had a great impact on every nation and country in all aspects, from institution and governance, business administration to economy, society and environment, fundamentally changing the world's production, step by step redrawing the world economy map to the direction of reducing the power of countries based mainly on exploitation of resources, cheap labor, production and rationally operating business and increasing power to innovation- and creativity-based countries.

Given the advantage of the golden population stage, hard-working, intelligent, creative people, and in the past few years, we have focused on building the initial material and technical infrastructure of information and communication technology and gained important results in this field, Vietnam is certain to overcome difficulties and challenges and seize opportunities and advantages brought about by the fourth industrial revolution to make a breakthrough in socio-economic development in the coming time. To do so, it is necessary to exert more efforts, propose and apply appropriate mechanisms and policies, continue building up and developing human resources, especially high quality human resources and modern and synchronous socio-economic infrastructure; concentrate investment in developing industry and information technology in order to shape and pilot some smart and high-tech cities, branches, and aspects.

Fourth, pay more attention to effective development of culture, society, and improvement of people's lives. Urgently review theory and practice, study and submit to the 7th Plenum of the 12th Party Central Committee for consideration and decision the Program on reform of salary policy for cadres, public employees, civil servants, armed forces and laborers in enterprises and the Program on reform of social insurance policies. Continue to review and perfect policies for people with meritorious services. Implement solutions for sustainable poverty reduction, ensure social security and welfare; give priority to allocate resources to socio-economically difficult regions, ethnic minority areas and disaster-prone regions as well as regions affected by climate change and sea level rise. Encourage the development of social housing. Strictly observe regulations on labor and food safety and hygiene. Regularly pay attention to leading and directing new rural area development, stepping up the movement “all people are united” and building new cultural families.

Step up the implementation the Resolution of the 9th Plenum, 11th Tenure on building and developing Vietnam’s culture and people to meet the requirements of sustainable development of the country. Develop culture for the perfection of human personality and develop human for cultural building. In building culture, pay attention to developing human personality, good lifestyle with patriotic, compassionate, honest, unity, hardworking, and creative characteristics. Build a synchronous cultural environment, attaching importance to bring into play the role of family and community; promote harmonious economic and cultural development, giving full attention to cultural and human factors in economic development.

Urgently and effectively implement resolutions of the 6th Plenum, 12th Tenure on protection, care and improvement of people's health and population work in the new situation. Consider protection, care and improvement of people's health an investment for development. The State prioritizes State budget allocation and adopts mechanisms and policies to mobilize and efficiently use resources for protection, care and improvement of people's health; Organize public service provision, ensure basic services, encourage public-private partnership, private investment, and on-demand service provision. Consider population the most important factor in national construction and defense, population work is a strategic, essential, and long-term task and the cause of the entire Party and people. Attention must be given to population size, composition, distribution and quality in the organic relationship with economic, social, defense, security and security factors to ensure sustainable development.

Fifth, resolutely, and persistently maintain national independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity; ensure political security, social order and safety; effectively step up external relations and international integration. Consolidate the people's defense and people's security posture. Push up comprehensive external activities in national defense and security in the spirit of "defending the country from afar,” and “safeguarding the country since it has not been in danger." Firmly maintain national security, ensure social order and safety. Proactively prevent, fight, and foil hostile forces’ schemes and sabotage activities. Take drastic and synchronous measures to prevent and combat crimes, ensure traffic order and safety, and prevent fires, explosions and social evils. Consolidate natural resource management, environmental protection, natural disaster prevention and adaptation to climate change; promptly respond to and efficiently handle natural disaster aftermaths and rescue and salvage.

Attach importance to raising the quality of forecasting and analyzing international situation; Proactively deepen strategic and comprehensive partnerships, strengthen relations with all countries in the principles of friendship, cooperation, equality and mutual benefit. Successfully organize bilateral and multilateral activities. Step up communication on international integration, enhance negotiating capacity, sign and implement effectively international treaties, especially new-generation free trade agreements and constantly improve the capacity to resolve disputes on international trade and investment. Improve the protection of citizens, create favorable conditions for overseas Vietnamese to contribute to national construction.

Sixth, continue to boost and work harder to build the Party and political system, especially building a clean, integrity, strong, effective and efficient Government and local authorities. In policy making, directing, and managing, always pay attention to two aspects: dealing with current problems and creating environment and conditions for faster and more sustainable development in the coming years. Strictly implement the Resolution of the 4th Plenum, 12th Tenure "On strengthening Party building and rectification; prevention of degeneration in political ideology, ethic, lifestyle, "self-evolution," and internal "self-transformation." Implement the Resolution of the 6th Plenum, 12th Tenure on continuing the renovation and rearrangement for a streamlined, effective and efficient apparatus of the political system, renovation of organization and management to raise the quality and efficiency of public non-business units. Improve the work on personnel to facilitate the selection and appointment of ethical, talented, and righteous cadres devoted to the Party, and people in leading positions of the state apparatus. Resolutely dismiss corrupt and degenerated people; combat all manifestations of illegal running for power, and positions, and recruiting non-eligible relatives. Promote grassroots democracy, raise accountability and sense to responsibility of cadres, public employees and civil servants. Boost application of information technology and e-government. Tighten administrative discipline, regularly inspect, encourage and create strong changes in public duty realization; raise the ethics, culture and professionalism of officials, public employees and civil servants. Strictly abide by regulations on practicing thrift, avoiding waste and receiving citizens; review and promptly resolve complaints and denunciations, especially complicated and prolonged cases. Intensify the prevention, combat, detection and handling of corruption and negative cases and law violations; speed up investigation, prosecution and adjudication of cases and serious matters of social concern; and recover to the maximum appropriated assets and loss.

The implementation of the above-mentioned work does not "deter" the direction or “slow down” development, but on the contrary, will help to clean up, create the true power of the apparatus and human resources, strengthen and consolidate people’s confidence, creating new driving force and momentum for the Government and local authorities in leading and directing the successful realization of all tasks.

I am confident and earnestly hope that after this conference, with new confidence, momentum and driving force, the Government and local authorities together with the Party, people and army continue to unite , make higher determination and dynamic and creative efforts in order to successfully accomplish the goals and tasks set forth by you, contributing to build our beloved country bigger and more beautiful as Uncle Ho expected.

On the occasion of the new year 2018 and Mau Tuat Spring, on behalf of the Party and State leaders and with personal regards, I wish the Government and local authorities continue to promote the achievements, results and experiences; overcome constraints, weaknesses and constraints; lead, direct, manage, operate drastically, effectively and efficiently and fulfill important tasks assigned by the Party, State and people./.

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* Headlines by the Communist Review

This article was published on the Communist Review, No. 903 (January 2018)

NGUYEN PHU TRONGGeneral Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam