GDP growth rate for 2017 questioned by experts

Created 23 January 2018
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The 6.81 percent GDP growth rate in 2017 has been announced by GSO (General Statistics Office), the only agency in Vietnam in charge of providing official statistics. However, leading experts question the figure.

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Mr Truong Dinh Tuyen and Mrs Pham Chi Lan, the renowned economists

Nguyen Duc Thanh, director of VEPR (Vietnam Institute for Economic and Policy Research), at the launch ceremony for the report on macroeconomy in Q4 and 2017 held on January 16 in Hanoi, said his institute has calculated VEPI (Vietnam Economic Performance Index) and found a result which ‘is not as impressive as GDP growth rate’.

VEPI is built based on figures about commercial electricity output, export and import turnover, credit growth and others. 

VEPR found that the VEPI of the fourth quarter of 2017 was 7.28 percent, much higher than the previous quarters and the same periods of 2016.  Meanwhile, the GDP growth rate announced by GSO was 7.65 percent.

VEPR found that the VEPI of the fourth quarter of 2017 was 7.28 percent, much higher than the previous quarters and the same periods of 2016.  Meanwhile, the GDP growth rate announced by GSO was 7.65 percent.

“The fact that VEPI is lower may mean that the GDP growth rate is not really as high as reported,” Thanh said, adding that there might be unusual growth of Vietnam economy, or there might be some figures reported at higher levels than reality.

Thanh’s report at the event sparked debate. Pham Chi Lan, an economist, said that she found differences in VEPR’s and GSO’s report and that many other experts questioned such high GDP growth rates in Q3 and Q4 of 2017. 

In early 2017, some economists warned that if the government set high GDP target, it may try many ways to reach the target while forgetting about reform. Meanwhile, reform is the driving force for long term sustainable economic growth.

A GSO leader spent half an hour at a workshop to explain the method of calculating GDP that GSO applies, affirming that the figures released by GSO are reliable.

However, doubts about the reported GDP still have been raised.

Hoang Quang Ham, a NA Deputy, said at the NA’s session on October 31 that the GDP grew contrary to economic laws.

Truong Dinh Tuyen, former Minister of Trade, said he has confidence in VEPR’s report. 

His forecasted GDP growth rate of 6.3 percent for 2017 was much lower than the official 6.81 percent announced by GSO.

The VEPR report pointed out that many problems in the economy still exist. First, if Vietnam cannot improve productivity, it won’t be able to maintain the current high growth. Second, the state budget deficit and public debts are on the rise. And third, Vietnam relies on the world economy and foreign-invested sector.

 

Source: Kim Chi - Bridge

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