Local economists have urged the government to reconsider its economic priorities, saying the growth target of 8 percent through 2015 is no longer viable.
Vietnam should focus on controlling inflation instead to make sure the economy will not fall apart, they said.
Economist Le Dang Doanh said the country cannot go on with its plan to pursue high economic growth and rapid industrialization.
The government needs to restore economic stability first by reining in inflation, cutting the budget and trade deficits, and improving state-owned enterprises, Doanh was quoted by the Vietnam News Agency as saying at a meeting held by the National Assembly's Economic Affairs Committee Friday.
Tran Du Lich, a member of the committee, agreed that the priority for the government now is to restructure the economy before planning for long-term growth. Growth should be stable, he added.
Former trade minister Truong Dinh Tuyen said slower economic growth is a sacrifice that Vietnam has to make.
Investment has grown so fast and trade deficit keeps widening, so the government needs to tighten its policies, he said.
The General Statistics Office reported Saturday that growth eased to 5.76 percent in the first nine months of 2011, compared with 6.54 percent a year ago, well below the year-end target of around 6 percent.
Following 12 months of increases, inflation eased for the first time in September. The consumer price index was recorded at 22.4 percent year-on-year in September from 23 percent last month, the statistics office estimated.
According to the Ministry of Planning and Investment, the economy could grow 6.0-6.5 percent next year and inflation will be kept under 10 percent.
The budget deficit is expected to stand at 4.8 percent of the country's gross domestic product in 2012 while investment for development will be equivalent to 33.5-34 percent of the GDP, the ministry said.