Vietnamese lawmakers said the government needs to step up efforts to stabilize prices of essential products to prevent monopolistic practices and speculation from hurting consumers.
Discussing a new bill on prices on Friday, many members of the National Assembly said it is necessary to strengthen surveillance on prices of products such as electricity, fuel, drugs and milk, news website VnExpress reported.
Nguyen Thanh Phuong from the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho said prices of many products are not yet determined by real competition, so the government still needs to play a major role in maintaining stability for the domestic market.
But Phuong said many efforts so far, including the use of petroleum price stabilization funds and subsides for distributors, have not proved effective.
Representative Tran Quoc Tuan of Tra Vinh Province said the law on prices must be specific about which products will continue to be put under the government's control.
He said prices will become stable when the government can maintain a balance between supply and demand of goods.
Tran Du Lich from Ho Chi Minh City said the law needs to clarify the role of the government in price management and when and how it can intervene in the market.
The goal is to prevent a monopoly, speculation and unhealthy competition from hiking prices of key products including medicine and milk, VnExpress cited Lich as saying Friday.
Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung on Wednesday ordered government agencies and provincial authorities to take measures to stabilize prices of essential goods for the upcoming Lunar New Year, Vietnam's most important traditional holiday.