Vietnam PM asks state firms for 10 pct growth

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Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has ordered all state-owned enterprises (SOEs) to improve operations and ensure an average 10 percent growth this year.

The SOEs have to revise their business plans, complete their projects on schedule, increase exports and cut imports, Dung said Wednesday at a meeting in Hanoi.

The government will make sure all companies are given preferential conditions to implement their projects. Every new power plant or cement factory will help create jobs and boost economic growth, the PM said.

Vietnam has targeted an economic growth of 6.5 percent this year.

PM Dung said local businesses contributed 42 percent of the country's gross domestic product last year, helping the economy expand by 5.32 percent.

However, some SOEs have failed to improve efficiency in production and labor use and need more focused investment strategies, he said.

Inflation control

PM Dung also ordered state-owned companies producing essential goods to stabilize prices and assist the government in controlling inflation.

"Prices of many products including fuel, steel and cement are all in the hands of state-owned companies"¦ As a result, state-owned companies have to calculate prices to make sure they are based on supply and demand factors and not driven by speculation.

"There will be no more power and coal price hikes this year. Fuel prices will be market-based but government supervision will make sure traders cannot just engage in one price hike after another."

Since December 15 last year, fuel distributors have been allowed to raise pump prices automatically without seeking government consent if world prices rise by seven percent or more.

Traders last month increased gasoline pump prices by VND590 per liter, saying they'd suffered losses due to higher import prices. It was the second hike this year.

The Ministry of Finance on Wednesday said fuel firms have to keep price hikes stable until the end of June to prevent negative impacts on production.

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