Vietnamese economy experts and business people said Friday that a 6.5-per-cent growth target set by the government for the country's gross domestic product for 2009 may be unreasonably high, reported dpa.
Vietnam's National Assembly approved the 6.5 per cent target on Thursday.
"It is our administrative responsibility to try our best to reach the target," said Deputy Minister of Trade Nguyen Thanh Bien, who is responsible for exports. "But looking at it from the point of view of an economist, or an entrepreneur, I must say it is difficult to reach."
"I think there is no need to set a fixed target," said Pham Chi Lan, an economist and former senior advisor to the prime minister. "It looks as though Vietnam were still in the days of the planned economy."
Pham said the economic fundamentals to reach such a high growth rate were not present. A fixed target would only put the government under pressure to engage in unsustainable and inefficient spending, she added.
Vietnam's macroeconomic indicators are still fragile, with the summer's double-digit inflation just beginning to recede and a trade deficit still running over 20 per cent of the GDP. A burst of inefficient government spending, Pham said, could bring a return to high inflation.
Vietnam's economy has grown at a vibrant 7 per cent annually since 2001, but relies heavily on exports and foreign investment. The world economic slowdown is beginning to affect its prospects.
The government reported to the National Assembly last week that it would try to boost export growth by 10 to 12 per cent in 2009, despite predictions that many of Vietnam's key export sectors are to plateau over the next year.
Finance Minister Nguyen Van Ninh told local media the state budget would be lower than initially planned next year due to the falling price of crude oil, Vietnam's top export earner.
Le Quoc An of the national association of textile and garment exporters, Vietnam's second-biggest export earner, doubts the economy can reach next year's target.
"We have decided to keep the same export revenue projections as this year for next year," said An. "Next year will be a very hard year for us."
The government had counted on 9.5 billion dollars in exports from the industry this year, up from 7.8 billion in 2007, a target unlikely to be reached.
Doan Trieu Nhan, former chairman of the Vietnam Coffee Association, said Vietnam's 2009 coffee crop was expected to reach 18 million bags (1.08 million tonnes), up from 17 million bags in 2008, but was not sure the country could find buyers for all of it.
Vietnam planned to earn 2 billion dollars from coffee this year, 200 million dollars more than 2007.
The Vietnam Rubber Association also predicted its export revenue for next year would drop 12.5 percent to 1.4 billion dollars.