~ Le ViÍt Nam, aujourd'hui. ~
The Vietnam News

[Year 1997]
[Year 1998]
[Year 1999]
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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 Soviet Bloc.
``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 legitimacy.
``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 said.

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.