Frankly speaking, it is evident that 2023 continued to pose economic challenges, as anticipated since the last two quarters of 2022. Several unprecedented adverse factors have converged simultaneously. External orders have seen a significant decline, with credit experiencing periods of dryness and stagnation, hindering its robust flow into business operations. The real estate market, once frozen during the 2009-2012 period, is now facing an even more pronounced downturn. In 2021, the entire country had approximately 700 real estate projects, but in 2023, there were only about 60-70 projects, and there were no large-scale projects.
Nonetheless, it would be inappropriate to compare the growth rate of 2023 with the remarkable surge in 2022, as the latter was based on a significantly low foundation in 2021, greatly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. While the growth in 2023 might not have reached the ambitious target, it is noteworthy that, given the current global and regional circumstances, the overall results for the country in 2023 were positive, displaying a steadily rising trend. It established a promising momentum for the pursuit of the goals and tasks set for 2024.
The review’s results suggest that the traditional drivers of economic growth, including investment, exports, and consumption, all show promising growth opportunities in 2024. In the realm of exports, there is notable progress, with each succeeding month outperforming the previous one and gradually recovering growth momentum. As for consumption, the total retail sales of goods and consumer service revenue exceeded 9 percent, nearing the two-digit mark.
In the field of investment, comprising State, foreign, and private investment, the opportunities in 2024 look even brighter, especially in public investment with the Government's unwavering determination. Economic diplomacy initiatives are proving to be more encouraging in attracting foreign investments, especially in emerging fields like semiconductor technology and renewable energy. Despite the difficulties encountered in 2023 due to the impact of the currency market, corporate bonds, and domestic stock markets, private investment continues to demonstrate resilience, offering potential for recovery and significant growth. It requires dedicated attention for nurturing. Considering this perspective, fostering domestic investment, alongside the revival of the export market, may invigorate the economy in the new year.
Encouraging innovation and creativity
A notable highlight of 2024 is that during the 6th plenary session, the 15th National Assembly prioritized concentrating on 'promoting economic growth rather than stabilizing macroeconomic conditions.' This underscores the commitment of the entire political system to hasten the pace of growth and recovery and compensate for previous limitations and declines caused by the objective impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as the adverse effects of the global economy in 2023, instead of placing 'macroeconomic stability' as the primary goal.
Adhering to this philosophy, the priority is given to revitalizing the real estate market. Accomplishing this objective will lead to the revival of thousands of projects. However, the solution is not merely about aggressively increasing credit at all costs, or even accepting lowered lending standards. To cultivate credit demand within the private business sector, it is imperative to stimulate investment and consumption, bolster economic growth drivers, intensify trade promotion, broaden export markets, explore opportunities in the domestic market, improve the business environment, and simplify administrative procedures.
The Government's introduction of a separate resolution on the business environment, as it continuously did in previous years, further emphasizes the appropriate attention to this matter, contributing to reinforcing business confidence. It is evident that private investors still harbor concerns and are not completely at ease when it comes to investing capital, primarily due to fears of the potential criminalization of civil relationships. For instance, it is not advisable to curtail the civil rights of a business leader simply because the company is facing tax debt at a difficult time. In many instances, with adept handling by State management agencies, businesses might have the chance to recover, uphold their reputation, settle tax obligations, and regain momentum for development.
The Party and the State have endorsed the principle of non-criminalization in civil relations, but its application is sometimes inconsistent. Business leaders are eager for a more concrete implementation of this approach, aiming to reduce instances where businesses face the risk of being labeled as "violating regulations." Simultaneously, there is a push to eliminate unwarranted constraints to foster a culture of innovation and creativity. Furthermore, it is essential to establish regulations that align with international commitments, facilitating the development of domestic businesses by providing favorable conditions related to infrastructure, land, and factories. As recognized by international experts, Vietnam holds potential strengths in various technology sectors and e-commerce. The key is to facilitate business development by dismantling barriers and building a robust technology ecosystem.
It is recommended to evaluate all matters based on concrete results and be open to accepting "anomalies within reasonable limits" that may arise for achieving breakthrough growth. The livelihoods and quality of life for people in 2024 are assuredly expected to surpass that of 2023.