Vietnam’s Government Apologizes for Struggling Economy

Posted October 16th, 2012 at 4:45 am (UTC-5)
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Vietnam's Communist Party has issued a rare criticism of its own performance, apologizing to the nation for the mismanagement of its struggling economy.

Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong says the party has admitted it “made some big mistakes,” especially in not preventing “corruption and deterioration” among some of its members.

Trong's comments, which appeared Monday in state media, come after a key two-week meeting of the party's 175-member Central Committee. Some analysts had expected scandal-ridden Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung to be ousted during the meeting.

But Trong said the party would spare both its elite 14-member Politburo and the one member who it said deserved punishment, in apparent reference to Mr. Dung.

Vietnam's economy is facing large amounts of bad debt, slowing growth rates and rising inflation after having previously been a rare bright spot in a struggling world economy. Moody's last month downgraded Vietnam and recommended reforms in its fragile banking system.

Prime Minister Dung has tried to spark economic growth by relying on Vietnam's state-owned companies. But the former central banker's plan was set back when one of those companies, shipping giant Vinashin, nearly collapsed in 2010 under massive debt.

While the party recommended that state-owned companies be restructured, it said the problem partly stemmed from a lack of oversight and reaffirmed its “core role” in the companies.

Observers say although Prime Minister Dung's grip on power has been weakened, his position appears to be secure for now.

Many bloggers in the heavily censored state criticized the decision not to oust Mr. Dung, who has been in power since 2006.