PM wants to transform Vietnam from ‘beautiful girl’ to ‘economic tiger’

By Anh Minh, Vi Vu   January 15, 2018 | 08:44 pm PT
PM wants to transform Vietnam from ‘beautiful girl’ to ‘economic tiger’
Farmers plant rice on a paddy field in central Vietnam. Photo by Reuters/Kham
The prime minister added that no one should be left behind as he envisions Vietnam as a happy and prosperous country.

Vietnam’s prime minister has called for more efforts to make the fast-growing economy a new Asian tiger, combining macroeconomic growth with social prosperity and environmental conservation.

“We must try to transform Vietnam from a beautiful girl into a new economic tiger in Asia,” Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said at a meeting on Monday, referring to how Vietnam is usually associated with its natural charm.

This process does not mean Vietnam should turn its back on its natural advantages, but instead focus on securing sustainable development, he said.

The development process has to create a balance between the economy, society and the environment.

“We must develop but no one should be left behind. We will not leave anyone to suffer in this country,” he said.

“We have to be a happy country, not just a prosperous country.”

Phuc was speaking at the Vietnam Economic Forum held by the Communist Party’s Commission for Economic Affairs and attended by around 1,500 Vietnamese and foreign economic experts and scholars.

He called on investment agencies to improve the business environment and boost investor confidence and the economy’s competitiveness.

Vietnam’s economy expanded 6.81 percent last year, the highest in a decade, making it one of the fastest growing economies in Asia and the world.

Yet, the rich-poor divide remains wide.

A research paper by Oxfam released in January last year showed that the richest person in Vietnam earned more in one day than the poorest person made in 10 years.

The annual incomes of around 200 super-rich people in Vietnam could lift 3.2 million people out of poverty and basically end poverty nationwide, it said. "Super-rich" people are defined as people with investable assets of at least $30 million, while “poor” people are those who earn up to VND700,000 ($31) a month in rural areas and VND900,000 ($40) in cities.

According to the General Statistics, 8 percent of families in Vietnam were living under the poverty line last year.

The number of people living in hunger in the country dropped by 32 percent from the previous year to 746,100 in 2017, it said.

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