Thursday, 13 July 2017 — Senior Vietnamese economist Le Dang Doanh, who used to serve as president of the Central Institute of Economic Management (CIEM) and economic advisor to various Vietnamese leaders, delivered a public seminar at the ISEAS - Yusof Ishak Institute on economic and political developments in Vietnam since the 12th National Congress of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) in January 2016. The seminar was attended by more than 50 participants, most of whom were businesspeople, government officials, researchers and academics.
The seminar was chaired by Dr Le Hong Hiep, Fellow at the ISEAS - Yusof Ishak Institute (Source: ISEAS - Yusof Ishak Institute)
Dr Doanh highlighted positive reforms that the new government under Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has undertaken to improve business environment and to resolve longstanding economic woes, such as non-performing loans, rising fiscal deficit, and inefficient state-owned enterprises. While stressing the positive effects that these measures have generated on the economy, Dr Doanh also warned of major challenges that the new government has to overcome to meet its growth target in 2017 and subsequent years. In the short term, the most serious risk for Vietnam is the rising fiscal imbalance and public debt. Other challenges for the country in the medium to long term include climate change, institutional reform, declining growth rate and low productivity, ageing population, and environmental degradation.
On political developments, Dr Doanh discussed various issues that have emerged since the CPV’s 12th Congress, especially the strengthening position of General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong and his anti-corruption campaign. The campaign has so far led to the discipline of a number of high-ranking politicians, including former Politburo member Dinh La Thang, and the prosecution of a number of government officials and SOE managers. Dr Doanh also highlighted a number of emerging issues that may have important political implications for Vietnam, such as the increasing number of land disputes and social resentment against environmental pollution.
Participants at the seminar (Source: ISEAS - Yusof Ishak Institute)
In the discussion that followed his presentation, Dr Doanh addressed more than 10 questions on various issues, including the CPV’s political determination in its fight against corruption, the parameters of Vietnam’s socialist-oriented market economy, how Vietnam is dealing with the rising fiscal deficit, and Vietnam’s relations with China and its participation in the Belt and Road Initiative.