A recent assessment of Vietnam's troubled economy by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) found some bright spots amid the gloom.
CU PULL BACK TO SVs & GVs OF Weaving in factory. (7 SHOTS)
GV PULL BACK & SVs & CUs Harvesters working in the fields. (5 SHOTS)
GVs Market place in Ho Chi Minh City, stores selling electrical goods. (6 SHOTS)
NOTE TO EDITORS: THIS STORY HAS COMMENTARY BY ABC REPORTER PAUL LOCKYER, WHICH MAY BE USED IF REQUIRED.
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Background: A recent assessment of Vietnam's troubled economy by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) found some bright spots amid the gloom. The IMF team saw some encouraging signs of growth in the primary and secondary industries for the first time since the war. But there are serious doubts that the gains can be sustained. One of the main reasons for the rises in production was the government's decision to flirt with private enterprise. Factory workers can now double or treble their old salaries by increasing productivity. In the countryside, the government has tried to increase the poor output from state farms by allowing farmers to grow food for private sale after state quotas had been met. In Ho Chi Minh City many consumer goods are now on sale. However, there are signs that Hanoi may be clamping down on the private sector with tax increases on all forms of private enterprise. The government needs the revenue to reduce its massive deficit. But the higher taxes are also aimed at pushing many private business people into government co-operatives - something which Hanoi has been unable to achieve so far.