Vietnam PM apologizes for mismanaging economy

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by Laura Matovina

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) -- Vietnam's embattled prime minister has apologized to the nation for mismanaging the economy and is pledging to step up reforms.

Nguyen Tan Dung was publicly rebuked last week by the Communist Party following a meeting of its central committee. Some reports suggested that he had survived a leadership challenge.

The growth of Vietnam's once-booming economy has slowed to around 5 percent this year. It has been dragged down by debt-ridden banks and inefficient state-owned enterprises.

Dung told the national assembly on Monday he takes personal responsibility for heavy losses run up by Vinashin and Vinalines, two state-owned shipping sector companies.

He pledges that reforms aimed at cutting those and other state-owned companies down to size will speed up in 2013.

Dung predicts growth of 5.5 percent next year.

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