Vietnam could grow 5.5 pct this year: PM

HANOI (AFP) — Vietnam’s economic growth will pick up and could reach between five and 5.5 percent this year, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said Wednesday.

He was speaking during a meeting with Singapore’s Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew, who is on a visit to the country.

Dung told Lee that growth is expected to recover from the 3.1 percent announced in the first quarter — the lowest level on record.

“In our estimation, in the following quarters of this year we’ll have higher growth,” Dung said, a statue of the communist nation’s revolutionary hero Ho Chi Minh behind him.

“By the end of this year, Vietnam may be able to reach the economic growth rate of between five and 5.5 percent,” he said.

Dung was last month quoted as saying the government may have to ask the National Assembly, the country’s parliament, to reduce its growth target to five percent from the existing 6.5 percent for this year.

Vietnam’s economy expanded by 6.18 percent last year, its lowest level in almost a decade.

The World Bank has also projected 5.5 percent expansion for Vietnam, while the Asian Development Bank said Vietnam could could achieve 4.5 percent growth in 2009, leaving it in better shape than most Asian economies despite a global downturn.

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