March Cabinet meeting heats up with natural disaster-related issues

by P.V27 March 2016 Last updated at 08:07 AM - Easing the losses caused by drought and saltwater intrusion in the Mekong Delta, south-central and Central Highlands regions dominated the Government’s monthly meeting in Hanoi on March 26.

This was the last meeting for 20 out of 27 Cabinet members, as they are scheduled to assume new posts assigned by the Politburo and the Party Central Committee, or to retire next month.

A report presented by the Minister of Planning and Investment Bui Quang Vinh shows that in the first quarter of this year, despite achievements in macro-economic stabilisation, with GDP estimated at 5.46 percent and curbed inflation, the national economy still faced a multitude of difficulties due to the severe impacts of drought and salinisation.

According to him, natural disasters have pushed down agricultural, forestry and fishery production. The minister also warned that if such problems linger, the country’s annual GDP growth rate is expected to stand at only about 5.45 percent this year, a far cry from the 6.7 percent set by the National Assembly. Addressing the meeting, Prime Minister Nguyễn Tấn Dũng called on Cabinet members to create both long and short-term solutions to cope with the impacts of climate change, and speed up relief aid to natural disaster stricken localities. The leader underscored the need for the Cabinet to swiftly stablise its organisation following new personnel arrangements, to be decided during the ongoing 11th meeting of the 13th National Assembly. Other issues raised at the meeting included the $1.4 billion loan package for social housing projects, which was proposed to be expanded until the end of 2016, and the draft demonstration law.

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