HANOI : Vietnamese legislators on Tuesday approved a stimulus package worth nearly 350 trillion dong (US$15.4 billion) for the 2022-2023 period to prop up the country's pandemic-hit economy and support those impacted by coronavirus curbs.
The Southeast Asian country is targeting gross domestic product expansion of 6.0per cent to 6.5per cent this year, up from last year's decades-low growth of 2.58per cent.
Vietnam's annual GDP growth averaged 6.55per cent over the five years prior to the pandemic.
The latest stimulus package includes measures to reduce value-added tax by 2.0 percentage points, cut loan interest rates by 0.5-1.0 percentage points and increase infrastructure investment.
The package also includes funds for the healthcare system and financial support to cut house rents for workers.
On a quarterly basis, Vietnam's economy recovered strongly in the fourth quarter of last year, after the lifting of most mobility restrictions imposed to contain the spread of the coronavirus, but authorities warned more difficulties were ahead.
"The pandemic is still evolving in a complicated manner," National Assembly chairman Vuong Dinh Hue said on Tuesday.
Hue said businesses and people are facing numerous difficulties derived from the pandemic, while non-performing loans in the banking system were threatening to increase further.
Vietnam has so far recorded 1.91 million coronavirus infections, with 34,500 deaths from COVID-19.
(US$1 = 22,720 dong)
(Editing by Martin Petty)