Vietnam not to cut GDP growth target despite epidemic

By Nguyen Hoai   February 5, 2020 | 08:44 pm PT
Vietnam not to cut GDP growth target despite epidemic
A man works at a car factory in Vinh Phuc Province, northern Vietnam. Photo by Reuters/Kham.
The government has decided not to lower the economic growth target despite the possible impacts of the new coronavirus epidemic.

"The impact of the epidemic on economic growth this year is very serious," Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Tran Quoc Phuong said at a press briefing Wednesday. 

He presented two scenarios for economic growth after factoring in the epidemic. In the first scenario in which the epidemic could be contained within the first quarter of the year, growth this year could be around 6.27 percent, he said. 

If it takes until the second quarter GDP growth would be just 6.09 percent, he warned. Vietnam’s GDP growth reached 7.02 percent last year.

But these numbers are only current estimates and could change depending on the government's policies and stewardship of the economy, he said.

Head of the Government Office, Mai Tien Dung, said however that despite the epidemic, "The government will not adjust or lower economic growth and development targets." Vietnam targeted its GDP to grow by 6.8 percent this year.

Regarding the possibility of providing economic bailout packages to offset the negative impacts of the epidemic, he said this "needs to be considered and depends on many factors."

"Vietnam's situation is not that serious yet and so for now it is not being considered. [It will only be considered if] the epidemic situation worsens."

Phuong said bailout packages are part of the plans proposed by his ministry, but the current priority is to commit resources to preventing and controlling the nCoV epidemic. 

The bailout also depends on many factors such as the availability of resources and the target of the assistance, he said.

Vietnam has so far reported 10 cases of nCoV infection, three of whom have been declared healthy and discharged from hospital.

As of Thursday the epidemic had killed 565 people, mostly in mainland China, and infected more than 28,200.

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