The announcement by the General Statistics Office of Vietnam that the country’s economy likely grew 8.02% last year led to celebration among senior members of the Communist Party, but some economists cast doubt on the accuracy of the estimate and warned conditions may be tougher this year.
On Dec. 20, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh called the data “a proud, bright spot in the context of a developing country,” saying it showed the economy was progressing.
His optimism was shared by Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong.
“In the context of many difficulties and great challenges … thanks to the cooperation and efforts of the whole Party, the people, the army … the economy continues to grow rapidly, reaching 8%, much higher than the plan and a high level compared to other countries in the region and around the world,” he said at a Jan. 3 conference reviewing the government’s work last year and outlining its tasks for 2023.
Some economists are concerned about the reliability of the data.
Economist Nguyen Tri Hieu, who has over 30 years’ experience working in banking and finance in the U.S., Germany and Vietnam, told RFA that accuracy depends on the method of calculation and the ability of the statistician, information which is not available in Vietnam
“The problem is that there is no agency to verify the statistics of the General Department of Statistics. It’s the only number we know,” he said.
Hieu said in order to gauge the health of the economy it is important to consider factors such as