Vietnamese income “average”, spending “extravagant”

VietNamNet Bridge – The current Vietnamese annual income is approximately $2,000 per person, which is 14 times higher than that of 21 years ago. However, the majority of 90 million Vietnamese people remain poor.

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In 1992, the Vietnamese annual income was $140 per person. In 2013, the figure is $1,960. As such, the Vietnamese income has increased by 84 percent just over the last three years. And if compared with the last year, the people’s income per capita has increased by 27 percent.

The figures demonstrate the great achievements Vietnam has gained over the last 30 years of doi moi (renovation), which has turned Vietnam, a poor country, into a country with average income.

However, a question has been raised that if the sharp increase really reflects the increase in the income of the majority of the 90 million people.

If considering the current official dong/dollar exchange rate, the above said annual income in dollar is equal to VND41.4 million, which means the income of VND3.4 million a month.

As such, the Vietnamese annual income per capita is triple the minimum wage level applied since July 1. It is 2.4 times higher than the farmers’ income (VND1.4 million, according to the report of the Institute for Agriculture and Rural Development released at an October’s conference). However, it is just equal to 38 percent of the personal income taxation threshold (the minimum income level to be taxed)

Meanwhile, the articles on mass media show that some Vietnamese are still very rich, though the Vietnam’s economy is now in big difficulties. More and more billionaires have shown their faces.

A Vietnamese businessman, Pham Nhat Vuong, has been recognized by Forbes as one of the world’s richest people. Vietnamese billionaires, like the other billionaires in the world, have also become famous for their supercar collections and luxurious hobbies.

Vietnam reportedly has 195 super rich people who have the assets of $20 billion, according to Singapore-based Wealth-X and Swiss UBS. The assets of the minority of people make up 11.4 percent of GDP of Vietnam.

Vietnam now ranks second in the world in the increase of the number of super rich people over the last year (14.7 percent).

Some experts have pointed out that the figure $2,000 per annum is the result of the division of the GDP value to 90 million people. Meanwhile, the GDP value includes the production value created by foreign invested enterprises as well.

They believe that only the GNI index (gross national income) can truly reflect the real situation of the Vietnam’s economy. Meanwhile, according to the World Bank, there exists a big gap between the GDP and GNI figures. The gap was $7.5 billion in 2012, an increase of 16 times over 2003.

Having the “average income,” but Vietnamese have to buy goods at the highest price levels.

In 2009, a survey found out that the formula milk price in Vietnam was the highest in the world, equal to that in the US and Canada. The price has increased by 30 times just over the last three years.

The formula price in Vietnam is 23 percent higher than the Philippines, 14 percent than Malaysia, 45 percent than Indonesia and 33 percent than Thailand.

Pham Huyen

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