Premier says Vietnam economy over the worst
HANOI - Vietnamese Prime Minister
Phan Van Khai said on Saturday his country had
recovered from the worst effects of Asia's economic
crisis and that the ruling communist party remained
committed to reform.
He added that the impact of regional economic
difficulties over the past 18 months had been less severe
than the political and economic crisis that hit
communist-led Vietnam in the wake of the collapse of
the former Soviet Union in 1990-91.
``We have been able to overcome the difficulties and
have been able to maintain a high economic growth rate
of six percent...and macro-economic and political
stability,'' Khai told a news conference.
Vietnam's official General Statistic Office on Thursday
posted an estimated gross domestic product growth for
the country in 1998 of 5.8 percent.
Vietnam has been spared some of the worst excesses
of the regional meltdown because its economy remains
relatively isolated due to the lack of a stock market and
its non-tradeable dong currency.
Khai stressed that the worst crisis to be faced by
Vietnam in recent years was the collapse of the former
``In 1990 and 1991 all assistance from the former
Soviet Union was no longer available and Vietnam's
economy was very vulnerable,'' Khai said.
``Also at that time the whole socialist camp collapsed
and was disbanded. Vietnam was able to overcome
that crisis,'' he added.
Vietnam is one of very few communist-ruled countries.
Analysts have said that its communist party is
increasingly divided as groups representing different
vested interests fail to agree on key policy when full
consensus is required.
The end result, the analysts say, has been paralysed
decision making and a tendency to focus inwards to
search for perceived threats to the party's continued
``We don't have liberal forces or conservative forces in
the party or within the state. Outsiders often think we
have big problems with this, but we don't,'' Khai said.
``We have a very high degree of unanimity in our policy
of reform. We are carrying out reform with good results
and that allows us to accelerate the reform process
which we do for the benefit of our people and our
country,'' he added.
Khai said Vietnam's political life was also being
reformed in attempts to cut red tape, bureaucracy and
corruption through implementing what the party has
termed ``grassroots democracy'' which is supposed to
increase transparency in decision making.
``We are carrying out a gradual approach with steady
improvement. The most important thing today is how to
implement the democratic rights of the people,'' Khai
But Khai warned that the Vietnam Communist Party
would continue to exercise caution.
``We are not going to attempt the political reforms that
some countries have adopted because such reforms
could lead to the collapse of the whole system, or lead
to instability and disorder,'' he said.
Reuters - January 02, 1999.