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  • 02/11/17--06:44: Article 0
  • HCM City in dire need of affordable houses


    Around 81,000 people in HCM City need accommodation each year in the 2016-2020 period as the city continues to attract people from the countryside, according to the HCM City Real Estate Association (HoREA).

    HoREA said that the southern metropolis’ current population stands at 13 million, including 500,000 who live in rented apartments. Around 3 million people that have moved to the city for work also need accommodation. However, the supply of apartments of one or two bedrooms priced at around VND1 billion (USD45,000) remains limited.

     
    Around 81,000 people in HCM City need accommodation each year in the 2016-2020 period 

    Le Hoang Chau, HoREA Chairman said that low-cost housing projects still face many difficulties in implementation related to site clearance and loans, leading to the modest supply.

    Under current regulations, commercial housing projects of 10ha or more are required to allocate 20% of the land to social housing, which Chau claimed may not be suited to specific projects. He suggested an option that investors can exchange land lots or apartments of equal value at other locations, or pay the required 20% land allocation in cash to localities so that they can use the money so that their upmarket developments would not be affected by low income earners.

    The State Bank of Vietnam’s Circular 36 issued early 2016 restricts credit in the property market, so lending interest rate for this sector has grown.

    Chau also noted that it takes investors up to two years to complete procedures for building affordable housing projects, which should be shortened.

    Besides cheap apartments, investors should also focus on building houses for low-income earners to lease, he said.

    By Nguyen Tuyen, dtinews.vn



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  • 02/13/17--01:55: Article 4
  • BUSINESS IN BRIEF 13/2


    MSCI adds ROS, SAB to iFrontier Markets Index     


     

    US-based MSCI Inc. has added two Vietnamese stickers -- ROS (FLC Faros Construction JSC) and SAB (Saigon Beer Alcohol Beverage Corp) -- to its basket for calculation of the MSCI Frontier Markets Index

    This was reported by Reuters on Friday.

    No stocks were deleted.

    MSCI Frontier Markets Index is the underlying index for the MSCI Frontier Markets Index ETF, which invests in securities in emerging markets.

    Therefore, following the first quarterly review in 2017, the number of constituents of the MSCI Frontier Markets Index will increase to 126. Among them are 11 Vietnamese securities -- VIC, MSN, VCB and HPG, as well as STB, GAS, BVH and BID, along with VNM and two newcomers ROS and SAB.

    Meanwhile, no changes were made to the MSCI Frontier Markets Smallcap Index in the latest review. In the previous review, three Vietnamese stocks -- NTP, VSC and VHC -- were added to the index.

    All the changes will take effect as of the close of February 28, 2017, MSCI said in a statement.

    ROS' stock increased 0.80 per cent to close at VND135,400 (US$5.96) per share on February 9. The stock went up 0.51 per cent during the break in February to VND136,100 đồng per share. 

    Uber faces new legal hurdles in Vietnam

    Uber may have to cease its operation in Vietnam as it now fails to meet legal requirements set out by the local government and transport ministry.

    The Vietnamese Ministry of Transport has ordered American ride-hailing app Uber to stop providing its service in the Southeast Asian country or cooperate with local vehicle owners and transport companies.

    According to Nguyen Xuan Thuy, an official from the transport ministry, the agency is piloting a form of digital contract in passenger transport across the country, as part of its Decision No.24 on the application of information technology to the management of transport activities.

    Such companies as Grab, V.car, Thanhcong.car, S.Car, and Vic.Car have met the requirements defined by competent agencies so far, Thuy continued.

    Meanwhile, that the Netherlands-based Uber B.V. authorizing Uber Vietnam to participate in the pilot scheme is inappropriate, as Uber B.V might refuse to be responsible for potential complaints and disputes between Uber Vietnam and their customers.

    The business fields registered by Uber Vietnam only include management consulting and market research, Thuy added.

    In order to be eligible for the plan, the firm needs to sign up for the correct field of business it operates in and fill in the details about its transport contracts via the mobile application.

    Accordingly, the content of the digital contracts must meet the requirements laid down in the government decree on the business conditions for automobile transportation, and the transport ministry’s circular on the management of passenger transport.

    Uber Vietnam will also need to register its app at the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the official added.

    In a relevant development, Nguyen Tuan Sinh, president of the trade union at Mai Linh Group, one of Vietnam’s major transport companies, has urged competent agencies to review the operations of Uber, Grab, and similar services.

    Such businesses have significantly increased their fares at rush hour and in peak seasons without any reactions from authorities, Sinh stated in his report.

    Uber Vietnam has also publicly called for investment and recruited drivers without a legitimate permit from the authorities.

    Dong A bank recoups $185m of bad debts     

    Dong A Bank has delivered a steady performance under the State Bank of ViEt Nam’s special supervision, since August, recovering nearly VND4.2 trillion (US$185 million) of its non-performing loans.

    A report on the bank’s business performance released this week stated it had ensured liquidity, with capital mobilisation rising by VND940 billion by the end of 2016 against January 2016. Its lending reached VND1.78 trillion between August 2016 and December 2016.

    The number of new customers last year also increased by more than 430,000 individual customers and over 2,000 institutional customers.

    In addition, service activities earned the bank VND492 billion and revenue from remittances was nearly $1.43 billion. 

    Masan resources net rises 52 per cent in 2016     

    Masan Resources Corporation (HNX-UpCOM: MSR), one of Viet Nam’s largest integrated resources producers and chemical processors, reported net revenues of VND4.049 trillion (US$179.15 million) last year, a year-on-year increase of 52 per cent.

    Its output was fully sold and order book continued to be full following long-term sales arrangements with strategic customers.

    The company’s EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortization excludes other income and other expenses) increased 66 per cent last year thanks to its cost restructure.

    Its Nui Phao project is in the lowest quartile for cash costs in the global tungsten industry, solidifying its position as a reliable supplier in any pricing environment.

    Besides, the ability to reduce cash costs while increasing overall productivity has allowed MSR to report profits of VND110 billion last year despite falling by 28 per cent from 2015 due to lower prices.

    Tungsten prices stabilised in the first half of 2016 but have since been range bound between $180/mtu and $215/mtu. With demand growth needing a catalyst to push prices higher, market participants are turning to the oil and gas sector, previously one of the hardest hit tungsten end-use markets.

    Advocates of a pricing increase are pointing to a potential recovery in drilling activities on account of OPEC’s agreement to cut oil production.

    The company said productivity initiatives, which have increased efficiency, have enabled it to further leverage its low cost base to capture additional market share in an environment where others are struggling.

    Productivity initiatives commissioned last year resulted in output increasing by 37 per cent in the second half, with fluorspar and tungsten production increasing by 31 per cent and 62 per cent.

    Kien Giang promotes industrial parks     

    The Mekong Delta province of Tien Giang has devised numerous measures to fully explore local industrial parks (IPs) and industrial clusters (ICs).

    Tien Giang is focusing on attracting investment in infrastructure facilities in IPs and ICs and developing multi-sector IPs with a wider range of products to meet domestic and export demand.

    Efforts will be made in simplifying administrative procedures and facilitating operations of investors in the IPs, such as Tan Phuoc 1, Soai Rap Petroleum Service Zone, Gia Thuan 1 and 2 clusters.

    According to Cao Minh Tam, head of the province’s Industrial Zones Management Board, the Government has approved planning for seven IPs on a combined area of over 2,083ha.

    Currently, Tien Giang has established and put into operation four IPs on over 1,101ha, with total investment of nearly US$230 million.

    Besides this, the province has put into operation four ICs -- An Thanh, Trung An, Tan My Chanh and Song Thuan.

    So far, the IPs and ICs in the province have created jobs for 92,561 labourers, and 84 per cent of them work in the IPs.

    In 2017, enterprises in the IPs target reaching VND58.5 trillion in industrial production value. 

    Quang Ngai expects US$530 million in 2017 budget revenue     

    The central province of Quang Ngai expects to collect a total of VND12.1 trillion (US$530 million) in State budget revenue this year, the provincial People’s Committee said.

    Of the estimate, nearly VND11.5 trillion is forecast to come from domestic tax collections, of which VND6.5 trillion will be contributed by the Dung Quat Oil Refinery Plant located in the province’s Binh Son District.

    Budget collection from import-export activities is predicted to reach VND620 billion.

    According to leaders of the provincial departments of Finance and Taxation, the provincial State budget collection in 2017 could surpass the annual target due to advantageous conditions, as there are currently plenty of large projects operating in the province, including a pulp and paper factory project run by the VNT 19 Pulp Paper JSC and a steel mill invested by the Hoa Phat Group.

    Newly-formulated government policies also facilitate the budget collection, such as Circular No 326/2016/TT-BTC, issued by the Ministry of Finance, regulating the implementation of the State budget estimate in 2017, which came into effect on January 1, 2017.

    Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Pham Truong Tho asked the provincial authorities at all levels to take prompt measures to collect revenues for the State budget right from the beginning of the year, examine and implement tax registration and declaration of enterprises and households, as well as strengthen the application of information technology in tax declaration and payment.

    As much as 100 per cent of provincial custom declaration services must be carried out online and 95 per cent of tax declarations have to be conducted online in 2017, Tho said. 

    Japanese firms to seek business opportunities in VN     

    More than 20 Japanese firms will participate in fact-finding trips to HCM City and Dong Nai Province on February 20-23.

    Led by Sakai City’s deputy mayor Hazama Emiko, the firms will seek opportunities for trade, finance, investment and hi-tech co-operation with Vietnamese partners.

    It is part of plans to further boost co-operation between Sakai City and the Vietnamese Consulate General in Osaka.

    At a seminar held in Osaka on Tuesday, the Vietnamese Consulate General updated 40 Japanese business representatives from small- and medium sized enterprises on economic affairs, incentives for foreign investors and potential for co-operation in the parts supply industry between Viet Nam and Japan.

    Hazama Emiko said the city gives priority to businesses that are strong in manufacturing, mechanical engineering and industrial production, which want to expand investment in Viet Nam.

    With more than 840,000 people, Sakai is the second largest city in Osaka prefecture and has collaborated with Vietnamese partners in many economic, trade and investment co-operation programmes over the past years. 

    Master plan on warehouses at border gates approved

    The Ministry of Industry and Trade has approved a master plan on developing warehouses at Vietnam – Laos, Vietnam – Cambodia border gates until 2025 with a vision to 2035. 

    The warehouses will be able to accommodate all export-import goods by 2025 and 80 percent will provide logistics, preservation, inspection and customs clearance services. 

    At least one depot will be upgraded to or built at an international border gate level. 

    All merchandise at depots will undergo quality or food safety inspections. 

    By 2035, Vietnam-Laos, Vietnam-Cambodia border gates are set to have a synchronous warehouse system for export-import storage.

    Vietnam expects strong investment from Japan

    Japan is expected to make strong investment in Vietnam in 2017, according to Cong Thuong (Industry & Trade) newspaper.

    Vietnam has so far attracted more than 22,000 foreign direct investment (FDI) projects worth about 300 billion USD from 116 countries and territories.

    Japanese investors account for 3,300 of the total projects with a total registered capital of nearly 42 billion USD, more than 14 percent of total FDI in Vietnam.

    According to the Ministry of Planning and Investment, 1,600 Japanese firms are operating in 52 out of the 63 cities and provinces in Vietnam.

    Japan is currently the biggest official development assistance supplier of Vietnam.

    Two-way trade has recorded annual average growth of 13.9 percent in recent years, which is expected to hit 60 billion USD by 2020.

    At the end of January 2017, a delegation of 70 Japanese businesses explored the investment environment in Vietnam.

    Chairman of the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry Akio Mimura, head of the delegation, said Vietnam was an attractive destination.

    Japan will boost investment in the Southeast Asian country in infrastructure, agriculture, industry and manufacturing spare parts, he added.

    A survey conducted by Japan’s Asian Nikkei Review in 2016 named Vietnam as the first choice for Japanese investors in ASEAN, with up to 53 percent of surveyed Japanese businesses planning to invest in Vietnam.

    During his official visit to Vietnam in January 2017, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed with Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Xuan Phuc to expand trade and investment ties.

    Vietnam drew over 175 FDI  projects capitalised at 1.24 billion USD in January 2017, year-on-year respective increases of 37.8 percent and 23 percent.

    Total newly-registered and increased capital reached 1.4 billion USD in the first month of 2017, up 6.6 percent against the same period last year. FDI disbursement was estimated at 850 million USD, a yearly rise of 6.3 percent.-

    German firms eye Vietnamese market

    Numerous firms in Germany’s Bayern state expressed their interest in the Vietnamese market during a business gala on February 8 in Coburg city.

    The event was attended by representatives from the host ministries, embassies in Berlin, 26 heads of foreign Economic Offices including the Vietnamese one, and hundreds of businesses.

    During the event, Vietnamese Ambassador Doan Xuan Hung met with Parliamentary State Secretary to the German Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development Thomas Silberhorn and the State Secretary in the Bayern Ministry of Economic Affairs and Media, Energy and Technology Franz Josef Pschierer  to discuss economic cooperation between Vietnam and Germany, including Bayern.

    He also talked with local firms to encourage them to invest in Vietnam. Many of the enterprises showed their interest in the Vietnamese market.

    The firms also plan to hold a workshop on cooperation with Vietnam.-

    4.1 million USD for trade promotion in 2017

    Vietnam will spend 93 billion VND (4.1 million US)  on 199 trade promotion projects under the national trade promotion programme in 2017, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT).

    The programme aims to expand export markets, targeting countries that signed free trade agreements with Vietnam, like Japan and the Republic of Korea, and member nations of the European Union, the Eurasian Economic Union, the ASEAN Economic Community, and the US. 

    Trade promotion will be also carried out in domestic markets, especially in rural and mountainous areas, to implement the “Vietnamese use made-in-Vietnam goods” campaign. 

    Vietnam’s import-export turnover in 2017 is expected to continue to increase  thanks to the signing of a number of free trade agreements and foreign investment shifting from other countries to Vietnam. Participation in the ASEAN Economic Community will also bring opportunities by expanding export markets and increasing competitiveness.

    The MoIT has set an export turnover target of 188 billion USD for 2017, or 6.9 percent higher than last year.

    The country recorded a trade surplus of 2.68 billion USD in the year, accounting for 1.52 percent of total import-export turnover.

    Vietnam’s export turnover to traditional markets including Asia, Europe and the US saw growth last year. Export turnover to the US saw the highest growth rate of 13.2 percent, followed by Europe with 11.3 percent and Asia with 6.9 percent.

    CBU auto imports soar in January’s first half

    Vietnam imported over 4,900 completely-built-up (CBU) autos worth a combined US$116 million in the first half of January, up a staggering 50% from a year earlier, according to data of the General Department of Customs.

    A representative of a Toyota auto dealership said in Nguoi Lao Dong newspaper that auto sales have risen since end-2016 but the growth rate is not high. He said sales surged in January thanks to higher demand before the Lunar New Year holiday. 

    He noted that consumption of Toyota Fortuner cars worth VND980 million to VND1.15 billion each imported from Thailand was strong. Many clients have to place orders now but delivery will not happen until April or May.  

    Nguyen The Hung, director of KYLIN-GX668 Trade Company in Haiphong City, said production has shrank as a result of import tariff cuts.

    Toyota used to produce five car models such as Vios, Fortuner and Innova in Vietnam. The automaker now manufactures one or two models and imports others for sale on the local market.

    “Domestic car assembly is falling and CBU auto imports are edging up,” Hung said. CBU cars enjoy import tax cuts so they have an edge over domestically assembled automobiles.

    Hung said five- and seven-seat cars manufactured in Thailand and Indonesia, which are subject to lower import tariffs, lured customers the most. Imported cars with engine capacity under two liters have also registered sales increases since special consumption tax cuts last July.

    Businesses forecast retail prices of autos would drop by 7%, or US$500-1,000 per unit, given import tariff reductions of 40% to 30% in line with the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA) in 2016-2018.

    Prices will dip by 20-25% in 2018 compared to the current levels when import tax on automobiles manufactured in ASEAN countries plunges to zero. 

    Enterprises said auto sales would not increase strongly this year as clients wait for sharp price falls next year.

    The Vietnam Automobile Manufacturers Association (VAMA) has predicted Vietnam’s auto market would expand 10% in 2017, well below 24% in the previous year.

    Auto sales rose to a 20-year high of 304,427 units in 2016 but demand will unlikely increase sharply this year given price drops in 2018.

    Vietnam braces for Filipino pizza

    Filipino pizza chain Yellow Cab plans to open at least 12 stores in Vietnam over the next five years.

    On February 9, the Phillipines' largest casual dining company, Max's Group Inc, announced the deal with the Ho Chi Minh City-based Blue Star Food Corp.

    The timing and locations of the restaurant openings weren't revealed, but the plan would raise Yellow Cab's international network to 165 outlets.

    Nguyen Thanh Nam, CEO of Blue Star Food, said Vietnam's young and affluent population has seen significant developments in the food and beverage industry.

    "A lot of western and casual dining restaurants are flourishing in Vietnam," Nam told Inquirer.net, adding that his company oversees 45 Baskin Robbins ice cream parlors.

    Vietnam has opened doors to various western food and beverage chains in recent years, including McDonald's and Starbucks.

    Western food represents 7% of dining-out visits in Vietnam, according a survey compiled by the Decision Lab.

    Boosting sustainable development of support industry

    Several of Vietnam’s important industrial sectors have yet to be paid due attention or have been invested in in an over-diversified or unplanned manner, resulting in low added value to the economy.

    There is no other way for Vietnam to develop a sustainable industry than to promote the support industry, which is the basis for the sustainable development and growth of Vietnam’s industries.

    During the past 20 years, Vietnam has approached foreign direct investment (FDI) capital under favourable conditions. However, Vietnamese enterprises have missed great opportunities from large FDI inflows in terms of the absorption and acquirement of technology from FDI enterprises.

    The reason for this is that Vietnam has a weak and underdeveloped support industry, in addition to the modest number of Vietnamese enterprises participating in the support industry who are mainly involved in outsourcing work.

    According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the capacity and technology of a majority of Vietnamese enterprises in the support industry is limited. 

    Domestic enterprises are capable of meeting only 10% of domestic demand for support industry products which are components and simple materials with low value. 

    Most of them have yet to approach and meet the demands of support industry products with high technology content.

    There is a big gap between the demand of multinational corporations and the production capacity of domestic enterprises. 

    Some Vietnamese enterprises have participated in supplying support industry products, but they have only paid attention to expanding its scale but not its technology.

    In addition, domestic suppliers and FDI enterprises have limited information about each other’s demands. 

    The relationship between Vietnamese enterprises is also loose, which is very necessary for enhancing the competitiveness and competitive advantages.

    In many countries, relationships between enterprises can be established through the development of industrial clusters. However, the establishment of industrial clusters in Vietnam is lacking in planning, with the main purpose being to clear land for production rather than creating relationships between enterprises.

    Vietnamese enterprises, who want to participate in the production chains of multinational corporations, must meet the three requirements of stable quality, timely delivery and reasonable prices. However, few domestic enterprises can satisfy all of these requirements.

    The Vietnamese Government has issued Decision No.68/QD-TTg on the development programme of the support industry from 2016, creating a premise and plans for the development of the country’s support industry.

    Under the programme, products from the support industry are expected to meet 45% of domestic production by 2020 and 65% of domestic production by 2025, contributing to creating more jobs, increasing income and reducing the prices of several industrial products including automobiles, garments and textiles, footwear and electronic equipment and the prices of related services such as logistics and transportation.

    The development of the support industry will also provide Vietnamese enterprises with opportunities to apply international standards and modern quality management systems in production and the chance to join the global supply chain.

    Investment keeps flowing into budget housing projects

    More investment in budget housing projects is seen continuing into 2017 as property developers are gearing up to cash in on the huge demand for affordable housing of low-income people and workers.

    Viglacera has started work on a housing project for workers on 20 hectares at Yen Phong Industrial Park in the northern province of Bac Ninh. Half of the area is reserved for buildings of nine to 12 levels with a total of 4,000 units for workers at the industrial park. 

    Having launched more than 300 units at Him Lam Phu An project in HCMC’s District 9, Him Lam Land is looking to sell the remaining 1,000 units of the project this year. 

    The apartments are priced at VND1.5-1.8 billion each and buyers can pay by installment over six years.

    Him Lam Land plans to provide the market with some 2,000 low-cost apartments this year.

    Vingroup, the country’s leading real estate developer known for major high-end housing, resort and commercial center projects, said late last year that it would build 200,000 to 300,000 apartments costing VND700 million each in seven cities and provinces. 

    In HCM City, the group is rolling its sleeves to launch sales at two megaprojects in districts 9 and Binh Chanh.

    Muong Thanh Group has also joined the affordable housing segment with plans to launch 800 condos priced VND9.5 million per square meter in Ha Dong District, Hanoi this year. Meanwhile, Viet Hung Urban Development and Investment Joint Stock Company is expected to put up for sale 5,000 apartments at a cost of VND1 billion each in the capital city this year.

    Property developers Nam Long, Hung Thinh, Nha Mo and Thu Duc House are preparing to launch hundreds of apartments this year.

    Property service provider CBRE Vietnam has projected around 40% of the apartments available for purchase in HCMC this year are in the affordable housing segment.

    The HCM City Real Estate Association said 2017 would see a significant rise of investment in affordable housing projects, supported by the huge demand of medium-income earners. 

    The supply of high-end apartments is now higher than in other segments but the local property market is expected to see a balance between supply and demand by 2020.

    Property experts forecast a large number of people are still in dire need of budget homes until 2030 since demand for such housing makes up 70% of total demand.

    According to CBRE, the absorption rate of budget condos would be 40-50% in 2017-2019, with this year’s rate predicted to rise to 60%. 

    Le Hoang Chau, chairman of the HCM City Real Estate Association, said HCM City’s housing demand is huge as the city is home to three million migrants, more than 500,000 households in need of homes and 50,000 newly-married couples a year.

    Stephen Wyatt, country head for Jones Lang LaSalle Vietnam, said property developers could gain high profits from budget housing projects because of high demand.

    However, Wyatt said to secure high profits, investors should acquire land connected to sufficient infrastructure and manage costs efficiently so as to sell apartments at reasonable prices to attract customers.

    Plan for hi-tech agricultural zone in Phú Yên approved

    The Prime Minister approved the general plan for the development of a hi-tech agricultural zone in the southern province of Phú Yên by 2030.

    The zone will be located in the Phú Hòa District’s Hòa Quang Bắc Commune, over a total area of 460ha in its first phase.

    Of these, the management and hi-tech services zone will cover a site of 10.78ha.

    The research zone will cover a site of 56.5ha and will be divided into four sub-regions.

    The training, technology transfer and agricultural products introduction zone will be located near the management zone cover an area of 1.85ha.

    The zone also consists of the production zone of hi-tech applied products; technical infrastructure zone and welfare services and rural residential area.

    The zone, which aims to serve production and development of the province and the south central region, will focus on sectors of farming, livestock, forestry, fisheries, farm produce preservation and processing, biological products and animal feed.

    Outstanding consumer loans capped at VNĐ100m per person

    A consumer can have a maximum outstanding loan of VNĐ100 million (US$4,400) at financial firms, as per the State Bank of Việt Nam’s Decree No 43/2016.

    This cap, however, will not apply to car loans, wherein the car is a mortgaged asset.

    Experts said the cap will encourage financial firms to focus on lending small loans to promote consumption.

    The decree, which comes into effect on March 15, has created the legal framework for growth in consumer lending, which is expected to see a boom in the next several years, driven by economic growth and a young population with high consumer needs.

    Regarding interest rates, which remain a matter of concern in consumer lending, the decree said that financial firms will have to draw up regulations on interest rates, such as the highest and lowest rates for each product.

    Consumer lending interest rates have always been higher than banking rates as the risks are higher.

    Experts said the decree would improve market transparency, and sub-standard customers could get access to credit.

    Consumer lending currently accounts for around 10 per cent of the total outstanding loans in Việt Nam, as compared to 25 to 30 per cent in the region.

    TAC shareholders approve 70% bonus issue     

    Tuong An Vegetable Oil Joint Stock Company (TAC)’s shareholders on Friday approved the company’s plan to issue bonus shares from its reserves.

    An extraordinary shareholders meeting in HCM City, which saw the participation of holders of nearly 18.3 million shares -- or nearly 100 per cent of all shareholders -- voted for a bonus issue in the ratio of seven shares for every 10 held.

    Accordingly, 13 million new shares will be issued.

    The meeting also approved issue of over 1.6 million shares to employees.

    After the issues, the total number of shares will rise to nearly 33.88 million.

    The shares to be issued to employees will be priced at VND27,000. They will have a 12-month lock-in period during which they cannot be sold.

    Earlier food producer Kido Group (KDC) had bought over 12 million shares of TAC, representing a 65 per cent stake.

    KDC director Tran Le Nguyen is now the chairman of TAC.

    In the last five years TAC has consistently reported profits of over VND63 billion ($2.7 million).

    TAC shares closed yesterday at VNĐ67,900 in HCM City. 

    41 new firms list on HNX in January

         

    The Ha Noi Stock Exchange welcomed the listing of three new companies on the official exchange and 38 new enterprises on the unlisted public company market (UPCoM) in January.

    The three new firms to be listed are PC3 - Investment Joint Stock Company (PIC), Hiep Khanh Tea JSC (HKT) and Vinacomin - Northern Coal Trading JSC (TMB).

    As of the end of January, the total number of stock codes listed on the HNX reached 379 codes, with total volume of 11.1 billion shares, corresponding to a total listed value of some VND111.5 trillion (US$4.9 billion).

    On the Ha Noi Stock Exchange, market trading liquidity remained lower than the previous month and average trading volume reached 25.44 million shares per session, equivalent to a transaction value of VND264.9 billion per session, down 38.6 per cent in volume and 36.9 per cent in value month-on-month.

    Transaction volume of the 10 largest stocks by market capitalisation reached 105.79 million shares, accounting for 24.45 per cent of total market transactions.

    The HNX Index gained 5.42 per cent to end at 84.46 points in the final minutes of the trading session on January 25.

    In January, trading transactions by foreign investors decreased from the previous month, with a total of 23.94 million shares traded, equivalent to a transaction value of VND369.6 trillion. Of the total transactrions, 17.33 million shares were purchased and 6.6 million shares were sold.

    On the UPCoM, there were 38 newly-listed stock codes -- VGT, L12, MCT, HVN, HEM, IST, BDF, MCH, DBW, FOX, SID, CCV, TNS, VIB, VEE, PKR, VWS, DPG, VIF, GVT, DFC, BTB, HGW, PNT, CHS, DCF, AMP, CKH, DBD, DHP, X18, PAI, SBL, BRS, MVY, VIM, HAS and NAS.

    As of January 25, there were 454 firms registered for trading on the UPCoM. The UPCoM index rose 1.6 per cent to end at 54.68 points in the closing minutes of the last trading session in January.

    The market saw some 119.7 million shares traded with transaction value of VND2.2 trillion last month. The average trading volume reached 7.04 million shares per session, equivalent to a transaction value of VND132.6 billion per session, down 36.42 per cent in volume and 32.8 per cent in value month-on-month.

    The HNX30 went up 5.5 per cent to conclude at 151.4 points at the end of the January 25 trading session. Trading volume averaged 11.6 million shares with an average trading value of VND134.9 billion, accounting for 45.7 per cent of the whole market’s average transaction volume and 52.9 per cent of its average transaction value.

    At the closing of the trading session on January 25, capitalisation value of HNX30 accounted for 50.9 per cent of the total market capitalisation.

    Regarding autions, in January, HNX held an auction for the divestment plan of the Viet Nam Debt and Asset Trading Corporation and two IPO auctions offering shares of 185 Co. Ltd and Haprosimex Co. Ltd.

    The total volume of shares offered during these three auctions reached over 8.9 million shares. Investors bought a total of more than four million shares, equal to 45 per cent of the shares offered. Over VND40 billion was contributed to the State budget.  

    Toong announces opening of co-working space in HCM City

    Co-working space operator Toong has announced an initiative designed to connect with the Ho Chi Minh City tech community through opening a co-working space inside the Oxygen Mall.

    The space provides flexible workspace options for start-ups and entrepreneurs seeking access to a networked community of diverse talent and expertise. Toong is working with Capitaland, an experienced and one of Asia’s largest real estate developers, to curate the experience.

    The space at the Oxygen Mall will connect the co-working community to Toong’s advanced internet services and provide a platform for a modernized working environment commensurate with advanced western countries.

    With a rapidly growing tech sector in HCM City, and a desire by those firms for high-speed connectivity, reliability and stability, our building will be getting new life as a centre of innovation and collaboration, said Toong representatives.

    The objective of the new space is to provide an environment that inspires knowledge sharing and collaboration among members of the co-working community and to enable them to problem solve and co-create with some of the best and brightest in their industries.

    Toonghas an established history of entrepreneur empowerment having already secured its status as the largest co-working space chain in Vietnam with outlets in other major cities including Hanoi and Danang.

    VEF/VNA/VNS/VOV/SGT/SGGP/Dantri/VET/VIR


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  • 02/13/17--02:19: Article 3
  • Harmful Chinese species multiply in Vietnam


    State management agencies and scientists have issued warnings about the damages to the economy and environment brought by harmful invasive species in Vietnam.


     vietnamnet bridge, english news, Vietnam news, news Vietnam, vietnamnet news, TPP, US President Obama, Vietnam net news, Vietnam latest news, vn news, Vietnam breaking news, exotic species, water melon, yellow snail

      
    1/ Tom hum do (red lobster), or Procambarus clarkia, has been found in Dong Thap province. An enterprise in the province leased land for growing lotus and breeding shrimp.


    Locals call the aggressive shrimp’10 pincer shrimp’. It has two strong forelegs which can break rice in half.

    The import of red lobster is prohibited. According to Nguyen Quang Huy, deputy head of the Aquaculture Institute No 1, the shrimp does not have high economic value, while it can destroy crops if not well controlled. However, it still has been bred in many localities and sold at VND180,000-250,000 per kilo. The shrimp is considered a specialty food at restaurants.

    Nguyen Dinh Hoe from VACNE (Vietnam Association for Conservation of Nature and Environment), said that the species not only damages rice and kills native shrimp, but also communicates diseases to living organisms, including people.

    The Dong Thap provincial authorities on February 9 released a decision on killing all alien red lobster farmed in the province.

    2/ The movement of breeding Chinese cockroaches (Eupolyphaga sinensis) arose  months ago in Bac Ninh province. Local farmers bred the cockroach as they were told that it could help treat diseases and be used as an anesthetic. Chinese businessmen promised to come to Vietnam to help them build farms and show farming techniques.


    State management agencies and scientists have issued warnings about the damages to the economy and environment brought by harmful invasive species in Vietnam.

    MARD then said that imports and farming of Eupolyphaga sinensis were illegal and prohibited. Cockroaches can transmit a number of diseases, such as diarrhea and cholera.

    3/ In early 2015, state agencies in the Lang Son and Quang Ninh border areas discovered consignments of worms carried from China across the border gates. In Vietnam, the worms were sold to bird breeders.


    According to Nguyen Xuan Hong from MARD, the worm is classified as a pest which can multiply rapidly and cause damage to crops.

    4/ In 1965-1970, caterpillars (Arna pseudoconspersa) caused severe outbreaks in the pine forests in Quang Ninh and Bac Giang and since then, it has been listed as harmful. The caterpillar prevention campaign, however, met difficulties.


    According to VACNE, the caterpillar which damages pine trees belongs to the butterfly family, and its natural biome is in the southern provinces of China. It began invading Vietnam in 1950s.

    The spread of the alien species is now believed to be one of the biggest threats to ecology and economy in the world in general and Vietnam in particular, directly and indirectly affecting human health and ecosystems. It becomes more severe due to climate change.


    Bao Han, VNN


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  • 02/13/17--02:31: Article 2
  • Social News 13/2


    Hanoi set to take on poverty

    The capital city aims to reduce the number of poor households by 10,230 this year, a decrease of 0.6 per cent of last year’s total, and support at least 99 per cent of children in extremely disadvantaged circumstances.

    These are the main goals of the city’s programmes on social welfare, focusing on poor people and underprivileged children.

    The city’s Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs said that it would reduce poverty for ethnic minorities by allocating funds from the State budget and organisations and individuals.

    In 2016, the city reduced the number of poor households by 23,600. As many as 177,230 poor people were eligible for monthly financial support.

    The city allocated VNĐ240 billion (US$10.5 million) to provide insurance cards for about 386,780 poor people. More than 20,000 poor households received loans, and the city spent VNĐ28.8 billion ($1.26 million) on electric bills for households.

    This year, the city plans to carry out programmes to protect children. There are nearly 1.8 million children in Hà Nội, 14,000 of which are underprivileged, with 50,780 more at risk of becoming underprivileged.

    Currently, the city-wide Children Protection Fund has mobilised VNĐ11.9 billion ($523,600), while the district-level funds hit VNĐ6.7 billion ($294,800) for those in need of assistance.

    The city also aims to implement a child injury prevention model in 584 communes.

    Sea encroachment collapses houses in Binh Thuan


     Hanoi set to take on poverty, Sea encroachment collapses houses in Binh Thuan, Lao Bao border crossing welcomes first e-visa recipients, Hanoi strives to better school healthcare, VNĐ3.7 billion raised for the disadvantaged

    Landslides, triggered by sea encroachment, high tides and strong winds caused five houses to collapse in the south central province of Binh Thuan on February 11 and 12.

    The affected households have been evacuated to the Hat Dieu building in Duc Long ward.

    Another 30 vulnerable households in Tien Duc hamlet, Tien Thanh commune, Phan Thiet city are awaiting evacuation.

    Le Ngoc Thu, head of Tien Duc hamlet said the area has been affected by seawater intrusion since 2010, destroying 152 houses.

    Local authorities allocated land for the victims to settle in Tien Binh hamlet, Tien Thanh commune, Thu said, adding that 116 households received land, but only 10 built houses.

    Most locals scrape a living from fishing, therefore, they cannot afford to build a new house on the land, according to Thu.

    He called on authorities to help the landslide victims build houses.

    Ha Long Bay to be patrolled by new tourism police force

    The northern province of Quang Ninh, home to the world-renowned Ha Long Bay, has been given permission to establish a special tourism police force.

    In a statement released on February 10, the Government Office said Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc had endorsed the proposal to form the new force. He asked the province, the Ministry of Public Security and other government agencies to cooperate on the pilot scheme.

    The move aims to protect tourists and cut crime in the area, said Vu Thi Thu Thuy, vice chairman of the province.

    Quang Ninh welcomed around 8.3 million visitors in 2016, up 7% from the previous year. Of the total, 3.5 million were foreign guests, according to the province’s television station.

    Located in the Gulf of Tonkin, Ha Long Bay is famous for its emerald green waters and thousands of towering limestone islands topped by rainforests.

    However, street vendors and criminals who cause trouble for tourists are an issue that local authorities have to deal with. In addition, a number of travel agencies have been caught committing business violations, besmirching the province's reputation.

    In August last year, Danang, another popular destination for tourists in central Vietnam, said the government had allowed it to form a tourism police force.

    On the other hand, Ho Chi Minh City has not asked the central government for permission to establish a new force.

    Children Hospital 1 gets top prize for medical service quality

    HCM City’s Children Hospital 1 on February 10 was awarded the first prize for medical service quality at the Medical Check-up and Treatment Quality Awards 2016 for its “red-alert” first aid procedure.

    The Medical Check-up and Treatment Quality Awards 2016 was launched for the first time by the HCM City Department of Health with the goal of honouring the best practices of hospitals operating in the city.

    Being implemented since 2008, the “red alert” procedure mobilises doctors from different departments to come together to treat a patient, which saved the lives of 10 children in extremely critical conditions, including a baby falling out of his mother’s uterus in a traffic accident. 

    Besides the Children Hospital 1, the awards also honoured the smart check-up faculty of the Gia Dinh People’s Hospital, the online medical records of the Thu Duc District Hospital, the uprogramme supervising antibiotics use of the Cho Ray Hospital and the robotic surgery technique of the Binh Dan Hospital.

    According to Assoc. Prof. Dr. Tang Chi Thuong, deputy director of the municipal Department of Health, said the goal of the awards is to highlight and multiply creative and effective practices of local hospitals.

    A total of 35 hospitals have sent 80 entries to compete for the awards.

    Lao Bao border crossing welcomes first e-visa recipients

    Libor Machelek and Aneta Sritrova from the Czech Republic are the first two arrivals through the Lao Bao International Border Gate following the start of the new e-visa scheme coming into effect.

    They were welcomed into the Vietnam north central province of Quang Tri on February 6 by Senior Lieutenant Colonel Ta Quang Hau after having received their visas via the internet.  

    The new 30-day single-entry electronic visa program for citizens from 40 countries is expected to benefit tourism as it streamlines procedures for foreign tourists to enter the Southeast Asian country.

    Ha Tinh: Renovated King Mai Hac De temple inaugurated

    A temple dedicated to King Mai Hac De King was inaugurated in Thich Loc commune, Loc Ha district, the central province of Ha Tinh province.

    The temple was renovated and expanded over an area of 1,000 sq.m at a total cost of 105 billion VND (4.7 million USD).

    Earlier, a 10.8m-high copper statue of the King was casted at the Mai Hac De Square in the coastal commune.

    King Mai Hac De, whose real name was Mai Thuc Loan, was born in Mai Phu village, Loc Ha district, Ha Tinh province and was the leader of the 722 uprising against the rule of the Tang Dynasty in the present-day Thanh Hoa and Nghe An provinces.

    New project on training officials in religious work

    The Prime Minister has approved a project on providing training to officials and public employees engaged in religious work during the 2017-2020 period.

    The project targets public employees at agencies implementing State management of religious affairs at central, provincial and district levels, including Government’s Religious Committee under the Ministry of Home Affairs, religious affairs divisions of provincial-level Departments of Home Affairs, and district-level Division of Home Affairs.

    Training will also be given to public employees and officials in charge of religious affairs at mass organisations such as the Vietnam Fatherland Front, the Vietnam Women’s Union, the Vietnam Farmers’ Union and the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union, along with those of the military and police.

    The project will be implemented at 63 provinces and centrally-run cities with emphasis given to ethnic minority-inhabited areas and areas with religious problems, with a view to improving the knowledge and skills for officials in dealing with religion-related matters.

    The goal of the project is to train 25,700 officials and public employees in the period.

    HCM City acknowledges ethnic people’s contributions to city’s growth

    The Vietnam Fatherland Front (VFF) Committee in Ho Chi Minh City held a Lunar New Year meeting on February 12 with representatives from local ethnic minority groups, during which it recognised contributions of the groups to the city’s growth.

    Nguyen Hoang Nang, President of the committee, reviewed the city’s achievements in the past year, highlighting efforts of ethnic minority groups in all fields, especially their active engagement in movements and campaigns launched by the municipal authorities, VFF and organisations.

    The groups’ endeavours have helped ensure social security and safety and defence in the city, he said.

    He also expressed hope that in the coming time, the groups will continue joining hands with the municipal Party Organisation and government to fulfill economic, culture and social targets, thus boosting the city’s growth and improving locals’ living conditions.

    Meanwhile, Hua Sa Ni from Khmer group who is deputy head of the Ethnic Minority Groups’ Culture Faculty under the Ho Chi Minh City University of Culture, thanked the municipal authorities for their support for ethnic minority people, saying that this is an encouragement for them to further contribute to the development of the city.

    The city has designed specific policies to assist children from ethnic minority families to get easier access to schooling, while regularly holding meetings and exchanges to strengthen the unity among ethnic groups, he said.

    Currently, Ho Chi Minh City is home to about 437,500 people from 51 ethnic minority groups, accounting for 6.1 percent of the city’s total population. The majority of whom are from Hoa, Khmer and Cham groups.

    Lao Cai develops sustainable tourism


     lao cai develops sustainable tourism hinh 0

    The northwestern mountainous province of Lai Cai has made bold investment in developing tourism in an effort to make it a key economic sector.

    The locality has developed numerous special tourism products and built tourism culture villages in Bac Ha, Sa Pa, Muong Khuong districts, thus preserving and promoting tangible and intangible cultural heritages.

    A focus has been placed on promoting traditional crafts, such as brocade making, sculpture, blacksmith, and carpentry, as well as local special products such as rice, chili sauce, Sa Pa rose.

    Community-based tourism models have been developed in ethnic minority areas, contributing to eradicating hunger and reducing poverty while raising the public awareness of protecting traditional cultural values.

    Lao Cai has over 200 community-based tourism facilities. The Na Hoi – Ta Chai homestay complex in Bac Ha has been recognised as the ASEAN community-based tourism site.

    The province’s tourism sector has also focused on diversifying its products and improving service quality. Some kinds of tourism have thrived such as resorts in Sa Pa and Bac Ha, ecotourism in connection with Fansipan and Hoang Lien Son National Park, shopping tourism in border gate areas, food discovery tours, spiritual tourism and cross-border tours.

    Lao Cai has boosted tourism connection with nearby localities such as Yen Bai, Phu Tho, Lai Chau and Ha Giang.

    Numerous tourism facilities have been built across the province, such as Thanh Kim, Ham Rong, Cat Cat resorts in Sa Pa, Ho Na Co in Bac Ha, and Fansipan cable network.

    The province has also devised many policies facilitating tourism development with a view to turning itself into a key tourist destination of the northwestern region and the nation by 2030.

    Lao Cai is featured by the 3,134 metre-high Fansipan peak, known as the roof of the Indochina, terrace fields, and Hoang Lien Son national park with diverse species of flora and fauna.

    Cloud-covered Sa Pa town is a magnet to domestic and international tourists thanks to its picturesque landscapes and favourable climate for ecotourism development.

    Besides, the province has numerous traditional festivals, such as the maturity ritual (Cap Sac) of the Dao ethnic minority, horse racing festival in Bac Ha district, as well as temples and pagodas to develop spiritual tourism. 

    It also boasts 18 national intangible cultural heritages, including the tug-of-war game of the Tay and Giay communities honoured by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, and 18 national relic sites.

    From 2011 – 2015, the number of tourists to Lao Cai increased by 22 percent annually.

    Tourism has become an important economic sector, contributing 11.5 percent to the province’s GRDP during the  period.

    In 2016, the locality received 2.7 million visitors, up 33 percent from 2015, including nearly one million foreigners.

    The sector generated 6.3 trillion VND (278.28 million USD) and created jobs for 10,000 labourers.

    Binh Phuoc builds houses for poor ethnic minority people

    The southern province of Binh Phuoc plans to build some 700 households for local poor ethnic minority households in 2017, according to President of the provincial Fatherland Front Committee Nguyen Quang Toan.

    The programme is estimated to cost nearly 36 billion VND (1.59 million USD) which is mobilised from different resources.

    According to the provincial Department of Construction, each house will range between 32-40 square metres.

    The housing programme is one of the province’s measures to encourage the poor overcome difficulties and escape from poverty sustainably.

    Currently, Binh Phuoc is home to nearly 14,000 poor households (according to multi-dimensional criteria) and over 5,800 near-poor households.

    The poor households are mainly in districts where most of ethnic minority people are residing, particularly Bu Gia Map district.

    Among them, 2,743 poor families have no house or living in dilapidated houses.

    Bac Ninh: Two localities achieve new-style rural criteria

    Tu Son town and Tien Du district in the northern province of Bac Ninh have been recognised as new-style rural districts for the 2016-2020 period.

    Tu Son and Tien Du are the first district-level localities in Bac Ninh province that have gained the status, bringing the total number of the country’s new-style rural districts to 30.

    All 13 communes of Tien Du district have achieved all criteria of a new-style rural commune while the district completed all nine criteria of a new-style rural district.

    The economic structure of Tien Du district has shifted towards the right direction with the construction and industry sectors accounting for 75.3 percent of the province’s GDP, the trade and service sectors making up 16.6 percent and the agriculture-forestry-seafood sector contributing 8.1 percent.

    For Tu Son town, by the end of 2016, all of its five communes met criteria of a new-style rural commune and the town completed all nine criteria of a new-style rural district.

    Bac Ninh province now has 35 new-style rural communes, equivalent to 36.1 percent of its total number.

    Hà Nội strives to better school healthcare


      

    Nguyễn Tài Thành, a medical worker at Quốc Oai High School in Hà Nội feels put under great pressure at work.

    The school, in Quốc Oai District, has nearly 1,900 students studying per day, while he is the only medical worker.

    The greatest pressure, Thành said, was that he must work two back to back shifts per day from 7.15am to 5pm, six days per week.

    Students can be unsafe when school starts, or fall on school grounds, or suffer from falling blood pressure at midday, he said.

    “I’m not present to resolve problem, their health can be seriously affected,” he said.

    Although Thành tries his best, he worries that with such a great amount of work, he can not control all problems.

    Schools in Hà Nội often have many students, several even have more than 2,000 students, so medical workers face many challenges.

    The education sector does not have any regulations on how many medical workers schools should have compared with the amount of students. In fact, each school has only one medical worker. And in some schools, medical workers must do other jobs as well.

    Văn Như Cương, head of the board of directors of the Lương Thế Vinh High School, said that one of the reasons for the problem was that the education sector did not have an official professional faculty for medical workers.

    School medical workers face as much pressure as medical workers in hospitals, but with their low income, few people wanted to do work for long, said Cương.

    About 10,000 schools across the country do not have official positions for medical worker as regular members of staff, equivalent to 25 per cent of total schools in the country.

    Incomplete education ministry statistics show that 90 per cent of schools in the central province of Thanh Hóa do not have an official position for a medical worker as a regular member of staff.

    In Hà Nội, Phạm Xuân Tiến, deputy director of the municipal Department of Education and Training, said that the capital has more than 2,500 schools from kindergartens to high schools, and every school had medical workers.

    Tien said that medical workers were always present at schools to take care of students’ health, supervise food safety and hygiene in school kitchens, and educate students on epidemic prevention.

    More than 90 per cent of the schools have professional medical workers, with teachers doing the work of medical workers at the other schools. About 90 per cent of medical workers at schools are regular members of staff.

    One of the reasons why not all medical workers are regular members of staff was that since 2015, schools had to temporarily suspend medical workers to check their quality, per Government requirements.

    Thus, Tiến said, schools founded since 2015 can only sign short-term contracts with medical workers.

    Most medical workers had basic skills for healthcare services at schools, Tiến said.

    Ngũ Duy Anh, director of the Department of Student Affairs under the Ministry of Education and Training (MoET), said that the role of health services in schools was detailed in Instruction 23 of Prime Minister Nguyễn Tấn Dũng, issued in 2006.

    To realise the instruction, the MoET implemented different measures to improve school healthcare services, and considered healthcare as an important duty of schools.

    Anh said that after 10 years of implementing the instruction, schools had set up infrastructure, manpower and equipment for healthcare services. But schools struggled to improve their healthcare services.

    At central level, only three or four officials supervise healthcare services at schools.

    At provincial and municipal level, each department of education and training must have one doctor supervising healthcare services. But in fact, 90 per cent of the officials doing the supervision are teachers.

    At district level, only 30 per cent of departments of education and training had officials supervising healthcare services, and all of them are teachers.

    To improve healthcare services at schools, Hà Nội is re-checking and setting up plans to give more training to medical workers.

    Deputy director Phạm Xuân Tiến said that although about 95 per cent of schools in the city had a well-stocked room for healthcare services, the services still need more investment to properly care for teachers and students.

    In December last year, Hà Nội held a competition for excellent school medical workers for the first time.

    The competition was an occasion for school medical workers to share experience and learn from each other, and for educational managers to pay more attention to school healthcare.

    Tiến said that soon, the city would regulate that schools must pay a fixed amount of money per school year for healthcare services.

    The city plans to strengthen supervision of medicines at schools with requirements that every school have enough regulated medicine with medical workers present in the healthcare room every day. 

    VNĐ3.7 billion raised for the disadvantaged

    The Thiên Mậu Thánh Mẫu Pagoda festival organising committee auctioned a collection of nine lanterns in Thủ Dầu Một City, raising VNĐ3.7 billion (US$163,000) last weekend.

    The funds will be donated to Lê Văn Tám Elementary School in Thủ Dầu Một City and to poor Chinese residents; a sum will also be donated to the Fatherland Front to help the poor and the disabled in the province.

    The auction is an annual event held during the pagoda festival, lasting from the 10th to the 15th day of the first lunar month.

    The charity event drew 50 individuals, businesses, and organisations both from and outside the province.

    The nine lanterns carry names that are intended to bring prosperity and peace, such as Thánh mẫu ban phước (Blessing of the Goddess), Ngũ phúc lâm môn (Five Luck), Vạn sự như ý (All wishes realised).

    The starting bid for each lantern was VNĐ 16.8 million ($740). After hours of auctioning, highest bid of VNĐ 800 million ($35,250) went to a lantern named Thuận buồm xuôi gió (Smooth sailing).

    Đồng Nai, City struggle to meet labour demand

    Companies in the southern province of Đồng Nai need to find more than 30,000 new employees by the end of next month to make up for the shortage caused by the post-Tết staff turnover, according to the local Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs.

    Firms in labour-intensive industries such as footwear, electronics, textile and garment are in need of a large number of workers, it said.

    For instance, TaeKwang Vina Industrial JSC needs 2,000 and Olympus Vietnam, 1,500.

    According to a spokesperson for the Đồng Nai Garment Corporation, the company urgently needs 2,500 workers, but labour demand constantly outstrips supply in the province.

    The company has to improve wages and the working environment to retain and attract workers.

    Most companies require female manual workers with monthly salaries of VNĐ6 million (US$265) per person.

    Over the course of the whole year the province needs to recruit nearly 79,000 workers, more than 60,600 of them unskilled, the department reports.

    Companies in Biên Hòa City alone will hire nearly 30,000 workers, with those in Nhơn Trạch and Trảng Bom districts adding 11,000 each.

    Đồng Nai Province is home to 30 industrial parks and export processing zones with tens of thousands of companies.

    In HCM City, companies in industrial parks and export processing zones alone need 3,000 manual workers and 300 trained engineers this month, according to the Employment Service Centre of the HCM City Export Processing and Industrial Zones Authority.

    The hiring will be done by both existing companies to expand production and new companies.

    Trần Anh Tuấn, deputy director of the HCM City Centre for Forecasting Manpower Needs and Labour Market Information, said that post-Tết labour demand in the city was estimated at 20,000.

    Of that figure, workers with college degrees or higher qualifications accounted for 27 per cent, semi-skilled and skilled workers for 38 per cent and manual workers for the remaining 35 per cent.

    Navigos Search, a senior and mid-level manager recruitment service provider, has forecast that besides key industries such as manufacturing, banking, retail, and IT, which always have demands for workers, some new industries like advertising and communications are likely to grow rapidly this year after a series of M&A deals done last year.

    HCM City hospitals raise quality of treatment

    Hospitals in HCM City have been striving to reach five goals to improve the quality of examinations and treatment, including safety, patient satisfaction, efficient management, effective services, and appropriate costs and prices.  

    Eight years ago, the city Paediatric Hospital 1, for instance, set up a Red Alert emergency aid procedure to save young patients.

    The procedure yesterday won first prize in a contest on activities that have improved quality of examination and treatment, organised by the city’s Department of Health.

    Dr Nguyễn Thanh Hùng, head of the Paediatric Hospital, said the procedure had helped reduce the number of complicated administrative procedures, which in turn had improved the rapid response of emergency aid.

    “It has been very effective in saving patients with many injuries,” Hùng said.

    In 2013, for example, two children were brought to the hospital for emergency aid after being stabbed by their neighbour nine times with a knife.

    The hospital’s Red Alert procedure was activated and within only 15 minutes, doctors and nurses were available to provide emergency aid, conducting a five-hour operation in which two children were saved.

    “In the last several years, the department has expanded the procedure, which now links hospitals in the city,” he said.

    Last year, the Ministry of Health instructed all hospitals in the country to carry out the procedure to treat patients in need of emergency aid.

    In addition, the Thủ Đức District Hospital has successfully piloted an electronic medical records project, creating a database on patients’ health to enhance the tracking of their condition and treatment.

    Nguyễn Minh Quân, head of Thủ Đức District Hospital, said the hospital’s doctors were ready to share their expertise with other hospitals in the country.

    “Databases between hospitals are connected, which helps reduce the need for repeated tests and makes it easier to carry out treatment at family medicine clinics,” Quân said.

    Among other efforts, Chợ Rẫy Hospital and Gia Định People’s Hospital have used software for the control of antibiotics, while Bình Dân Hospital has used robots to assist 20 surgeries.

    The hospitals’ activities were honoured at an awards ceremony yesterday held in HCM City for a contest to select outstanding activities related to examination and treatment quality.

    Many of the hospitals have carried out activities to increase patient safety. For instance, Nguyễn Trãi Hospital’s traditional medicine ward uses a plastic card attached to the patient’s bed that notes the number of needles used in acupuncture treatment.

    This alerts other medical personnel involved in the procedure about how many needles that need to be removed.

    Dr Tăng Chí Thượng, the deputy head of the Department of Health, said at a meeting reviewing activities and the contest, that the department had issued a handbook on what health facilities should do to improve quality of treatment.

    The handbook is based on 80 criteria on hospital quality, Thượng said.

    The department has also increased training for more than 1,600 people and staff working in wards and divisions who are in charge of quality management at hospitals.

    A database of 3,399 treatment guidelines for hospitals from the city to grassroots levels has been completed in order to standardise treatment.

    Thượng said that successful programme models should be replicated at other hospitals.

    Lương Ngọc Khuê, the head of the Department of Health Examination and Treatment at the Ministry of Health, said: “Patients in the city as well as the southern region have received benefits from these improved activities.”

    Dr Nguyễn Thị Thoa, deputy head of the city’s Health Department’s medical affairs division, said that it had assessed hospitals’ activities for improvement last year.

    The assessment focused on five groups of criteria: patient satisfaction, human resources, professional activities, development of medical specialities, and quality of treatment.

    The results showed that city-level hospitals such as 115 People’s Hospital, Gia Định People’s Hospital, Từ Dũ Obstetrics Hospital and Trưng Vương Hospital had high and comprehensive improvement.

    Thoa said those hospitals had average scores of 3.43 out of a maximum of five.

    District-level hospitals had an average score of 2.93 and private hospitals an average score of 2.77.

    The department has instructed city-level hospitals to continue training and technical assistance for district-level hospitals, especially District 3 and 9 hospitals, which had a score of less than 2.5, she said.

    Private hospitals, especially those in the plastic surgery and cosmetics field, are in need of improvement as well. Eighteen out of 46 of them in the city scored under 2.5. 

    HCM City police bust 2 drug gangs, arrest 6


     

    Six people belonging to two drug gangs have been arrested for trafficking 14kg of methamphetamine from China to the southern region, the HCM City police said on Thursday.

    After a month of investigations, the central Department of Drug Criminal Investigation zeroed in on Giáp Văn Đào, 42, of the northern province of Bắc Giang.

    Together with the city police they caught him red-handed on January 19 while transporting 2.2kg of meth to HCM City. The police seized another 2.8kg from his house in Dĩ An town in the southern province of Bình Dương.

    On the same day officers arrested Lê Trọng Mạnh, 55, and his wife Nguyễn Thị Xuyến, 28, also of Bắc Giang while they were delivering four kilogrammes of meth to a customer in front of a supermarket in the city’s Gò Vấp District.

    On questioning, the couple said they were paid VNĐ20 million (US$885) a time by Đào to carry drugs.

    He regularly hired them as mules to transport to the south drugs he bought at Lạng Sơn Province’s Tân Thanh border gate.

    Expanding their investigation led the police to Viên Ngọc Dũng, 33, of Gò Vấp District, who had been a loyal Đào customer.

    They suspected he was buying from Hoàng Phú Huỳnh, 27, of Hải Phòng after Đào’s arrest. On February 7 they caught Huỳnh red-handed while delivering five kilogrammes of meth to Dũng in District 10.

    Vũ Thị Thu Hà, 46, of Hải Phòng, who had supplied the drugs to Huỳnh, was arrested soon afterwards.

    HN’s hospital launches online-health advice service

    The Hà Nội-based E Hospital announced on Friday new services in the fields of online-health advice and at-home patient sample testing.

    It is be the first State-owned hospital in the city and the north to provide those services.

    Prof. Lê Ngọc Thành, director of E Hospital – a central general hospital under the Ministry of Health – said an increasing demand for health check-ups and treatment has caused overloads and long-waiting situations at most hospitals and health centres. Therefore, the paid-money services of online-health advice, health-check and sample-taking at home are suitable to elderly, children and immobile patients.

    “Patients don’t have to wait, suffer crowds or feel uncomfortably cramped, “ he said.

    The hospital is reaching out to qualified facilities and human resources to meet the demand, according to the director.   

    The hospital has 900 doctors and health workers. It was designed with 1,000 patient-beds and 11 function rooms for health-checks and treatment, 27 clinical faculties and eight sub-clinical faculties. The hospital has four key treatment centres: heart, gastroenterology, musculoskeletal and skull. 

    Int’l meet studies Lý Dynasty culture

    Various aspects of culture and art under the Lý Dynasty (1009-1225) and the importance of preserving its vestiges were discussed at two-day international conference last week.

    The conference, held in the northern province of Bắc Ninh, the heart of the dynasty, attracted about forty Vietnamese and international scholars, scientists and archaeologists.

    It was jointly organised by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Việt Nam Institute of Culture, Arts Studies, and University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies.

    “The Lý Dynasty, lasting for more than 200 years, is an important period in Việt Nam history and the topic of culture and arts under this dynasty has received great attention and interest of both Vietnamese and international scholars from different perspectives,” said deputy minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Nguyễn Thị Bích Liên.

    The two-day conference was a forum for scholars to discuss the development of culture and art under the Lý Dynasty, and also share experiences in preserving historical relics.

    Scholars have compared art under the Lý Dynasty with that of contemporaries in China, Japan and the Champa Kingdom, Liên noted.

    Vice Chairman of Bắc Ninh People’s Committee, Nguyễn Văn Phong, said the province was proud to be the hometown of the Lý Dynasty, which had helped preserve and develop Việt Nam’s culture, art and religion, and ensured a peaceful life for its people.

    Bắc Ninh has 131 relics related to Lý Dynasty, many of them Buddhism pagodas and towers.

    Over the last several years, Bắc Ninh has implemented practical policies and mechanisms to preserve and tap the value of these relics, Phong said.

    The conference is among a series of events being held to celebrate the 185th anniversary of establishment and 20th anniversary of re-establishment of Bắc Ninh.

    Phong said the active contributions of scholars at the conference, including papers presented, would contribute to the further studies on the Lý Dynasty’s culture and arts, and orient preservation work on the relics.

    The conference covered four main topics: approaches to Lý Dynasty culture and art studies; new discoveries and studies on arts, culture and architecture of Lý Dynasty in Bắc Ninh; art in the context of Buddhism under the Lý Dynasty; and the preservation of historic and cultural relics in the province.

    Bắc Ninh is a province that neighbours Hà Nội. Its Đình Bảng Village is known as hometown of dynasty founder King Lý Thái Tổ.

    The province is also well-known for many Buddhist pagodas as Buddhism prospered under the dynasty. The Phật Tích Pagoda, Dạm Pagoda and Đô Temple are some of the prominent ones.

    VNA/VNS/VOV/SGT/SGGP/TT/TN/Dantri/VNE


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  • 02/13/17--02:54: Article 1
  • Three Hanoi cab drivers fined for peeing in public


    Police in Hanoi have fined three cabbies VND2 million (US$88) each for urinating in public.


     

    The three cab drivers are seen at the police station in Hoang Mai District, Hanoi in this photo provided by officers.


    Officers from the police station in Hoang Mai District affirmed on Monday that they had imposed the pecuniary penalty on the three drivers, who had been found peeing in public places.

    The three offenders have been only known as P.V.X., 37, P.V.D., 29, and N.P.L., 27.

    The three were caught passing water on the sidewalk of Tran Thu Do Street in Hoang Mai District on Friday morning.

    Undercover officers spotted their urination and filmed it with their cameras in order to fine them later.

    The offense was later reported to competent agencies, before the three cabbies were escorted to the police station.

    They admitted their wrongful behavior after seeing the footage shot by police officers.

    Police in the Vietnamese capital have carried out regular inspections to deal with those who litter and urinate in public areas, as part of the municipal Party Committee’s effort to burnish the city’s public image this year.

    Repeat offenders will face a sterner fine and be forced to do community work to preserve public hygiene, online newspaper Dan Triquoted Colonel Nguyen Hong Thai, chief of the police station in Hoang Mai District, as saying.

    Tuoitrenews


    0 0
  • 02/13/17--03:09: Article 0
  • Vietnam eases ban on sports betting


    Casinos are feeling the heat from a pilot test on local sports betting, as the government is set to allow Vietnamese nationals to bet on international football games and horse and greyhound races starting March 31.

     
    The Vietnamese government will allow locals to bet on horse and greyhound racing, and international football matches-Photo: Le Toan

    This follows a decree issued late last month by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, lifting a local ban on casino gambling. It is expected to pave the way for foreign and domestic investment in race and horse tracks, and other local sport betting activities.

    Under Decree No.06/2017/ND-CP governing sports betting, only those 21 years old or older will be allowed to bet, and bookmakers will have to be at least 500 metres away from schools and public venues for children.

    The minimum bet value will be VND10,000 ($0.45) and the daily maximum limit will be VND1 million ($45.45).

    The decree only allows betting on international football games recognised by the governing body FIFA, and approved by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

    According to the decree, operators of bookmaking businesses will have to meet strict capital requirements: VND1 trillion ($45.45 million) for horse racing and football and VND300 billion ($13.64 million) for greyhound racing. A bidding process will be held to select one football betting provider for a five-year trial phase.

    Nguyen Dinh Chuc, deputy director of the Institute of Regional Sustainable Development, told VIR that this decree is a significant step forward in the development of the Vietnamese gaming industry, following the recent decree on casinos.

    Chuc said the new decree could cut into the flow of Vietnamese nationals crossing the border to place bets in the overseas market.

    Albert Climent, a gaming consultant with a background in European and Asian on-line gambling and a specialist in pre- and post-regulated markets, said, “I believe Vietnam will be the next Asian country to regulate online betting, so operators should start positioning themselves.”

    Licensed and proposed horse and  dog race projects in Vietnam

    - The greyhound race track at Lam Son Stadium in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau is the only race track currently open. The track was opened in 2000, and a 25-year licence was given to Sport Entertainment Services (SES). In mid-2016, Hong Kong’s Success Dragon International Holdings Ltd. entered into an agreement for the provision of management services with SES for greyhound racing in Vietnam.

    - Dai Nam Course is invested by Dai Nam Tourism in the southern province of Binh Duong. The 20,000-seat course is built on 60 hectares and meets international standards, with horse, dog, motorbike, go-kart, jet-ski, and fly board racing, as well as a bevy of other entertainment events. It opened late last month.

    - G.O.Max I&D signed a memorandum of understanding with the northern province of Vinh Phuc for a multi-billion dollar race track project last year. G.O.Max also has plans to open 70 horserace betting points in 54 cities and provinces across Vietnam, as well as an online betting system and horse breeding and training facilities.

    - Last year, Australian firm Golden Turf Club announced to invest $100 million to build a race course on 134ha in Phu Yen, to be completed by 2019.

    l- The Central Highlands province of Lam Dong approved a race course from Thien Ma Madagui Racing JSC in 2014. After a hiatus, construction has recently resumed. The course is expected to be operational by 2018.     

    - Hong Kong’s Matrix Holdings proposed a horse racing complex in the central city of Danang, which would include horse racing, a healthcare unit, and betting and entertainment services.

    Some key features of decree 06

    - The betting business is treated as a conditional business sector. Operators must obtain a certificate of satisfaction of betting business conditions.

    - An entity can only do horse and greyhound race betting once they have received an investment registration certificate (which, for a foreign invested company, also serves as a certificate of incorporation) and a certificate for satisfaction of business conditions. The investment registration certificate will only be granted for horserace betting projects with a minimum investment capital of VND1 trillion ($45.45 million). For greyhound betting projects, the minimum investment capital is VND300 billion ($13.64 million).

    - An investment registration certificate will only be granted to one international football betting pilot project (with minimum investment capital of VND1 trillion or $45.45 million). The international football betting pilot entity will operate within five years from the issuance of the Betting Business Licence.

    - The Ministry of Finance will grant the Betting Business Licence to entities with adequate financial resources, business plans, and appropriate betting and racing bylaws.

    - An enterprise operating horseracing and greyhound racing businesses must be in the form of a limited liability company or a joint stock company.

    - A Betting Business Licence’s term maximum is 10 years for horse and greyhound race betting and five years for international football betting, dating from its issuance date but still within the lifespan of the Investment Registration Certificate.

    - The maximum bet is VND1 million ($45.45) a day and the minimum bet is VND10,000 ($0.45). These limits could be adjusted for each period.

    - Players must be 21 years old or older, and not prohibited in writing to bet by parents, spouses, biological children, or themselves.

    - There should be no more than three horse or greyhound races in a week at each location.

    - The minimum rebate shall be 65 per cent of the revenues from selling wagering tickets.

    - Wagering tickets will be distributed via terminal equipment and telephone (fixed and mobile lines) – not via internet or internet-based applications on smartphones. However, distribution of wagering tickets via telephone will only be implemented one year after implementing the terminal equipment distribution method. In order to bet via telephone, players must have a registered account with the betting business entity. Payment of rebate must be via the players’ registered account and the bank account of the betting business entity opened at a lawful credit institution in Vietnam.

    In Vietnam so far, horse and dog race betting services have been allowed in two pilot projects, in Phu Tho and Vung Tau, but the horse track in Phu Tho was closed in 2011 after nearly 10 years of operation. Those courses were invested by Thien Ma Company and Sport Entertainment Services Company, respectively.

    Le Tu, deputy general director of Sport and Entertainment Services Company – a member of VABIS Group, which has held an exclusive operation licence for racing in Vietnam for 20 years – told VIR, “The decree is newly issued, and our company is considering and discussing how to implement it.”

    Oliver Massmann, general director of law firm Duane Morris Vietnam LLC, said, “As there is only one sports betting operator allowed from the effective date of March 31, and the bet is allowed only for international football matches, the regulation will, on the one hand, formalise sports betting. But on the other hand, it will create a monopoly and unfair competition.

    “If [investors] fail to be selected, there is a high possibility that illegal football betting will continue to operate. It would be better if the government sets out very strict regulations instead of fixing only one entity to do international football betting.”

    Massmann said recent moves by the Vietnamese government showed a willingness to open up a potential domestic gaming market to attract investors.

    “But we should wait and see what happens in the next three to five years after the trial period, to see whether such activities will be further allowed,” he said.

    The new decree on race betting is expected to lure additional foreign investment to Vietnam. Hanoi Tourist Corporation, for example, is seeking to build a $500 million horse racing track in the capital’s suburban district of Soc Son.

    Jung Young Jin - Strategy director of G.O.Max I&D

    I am so excited… We have been waiting for this for 10 years. G.O.Max I&D wants to raise the scale of the project to $1.5 billion from the initial plan of $570 million. Horse betting is new in Vietnam and it will become an attraction for many people. Many Korean investors like us are interested in this new sector in Vietnam.

    Karl John-Chief expert at Asia Trade Experts

    Vietnam interests global casino companies because it has a long-term economic growth trajectory and 95 million people supporting a thriving market that’s now mainly seen at border casinos and domestic underground play.

    The Vietnamese government announced plans to legalise sports betting – and to lure more tourists to stoke economic growth. Foreign interest in Vietnam’s gaming potential is expected to grow. The Maucau’s and Singapore’s success at extracting big revenues from small number of tourist arrivals through the effective targeting of high rollers with gives encouragement for Vietnam.

    Other foreign investors have been lining up. South Korea’s G.O. Max I&D has long wanted to build a $570 million race course in the northern province of Vinh Phuc. Others include Golden Turf Club, with a $100 million project in the central province of Phu Yen, and Hong Kong’s Matrix Holdings, with a planned horse track in the central city of Danang.

    By Ngoc Thu, VIR  

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  • 02/14/17--01:19: Article 6
  • BUSINESS NEWS IN BRIEF


    Measures proposed to turn household businesses into firms


     

    Attendees at a recent review conference of the HCMC Tax Department suggested a number of measures for turning household businesses into firms.

    To boost the transformation, tax offices should not sell blank invoices to family-run businesses that use these papers frequently.

    Le Tan An, vice chairman of District 6, which is home to a large number of household businesses, told the conference that the country lacks of strict regulations that force such businesses to convert into companies.  

    According to the Enterprise Law, a family-run business which has 10 staff or above must register as an enterprise. However, the level of compliance with the rule is low due to rare inspections into employment and business owners’ poor awareness.      

    An proposed blank invoices be sold to enterprises only. This means family-run businesses are not allowed to use invoices and they must register as companies if they want to do so.   

    He proposed competent agencies permit business registration at a district-level economic division to ease overload at the municipal Department of Planning and Investment and support household businesses.  

    Tran Ngoc Tam, director of the HCMC Tax Department, told local media recently that except for small-scale household businesses, bigger ones that frequently buy blank invoices must be turned into enterprises. A company can issue invoices itself and must pay taxes.

    HCMC leaders in the past have ordered district authorities to persuade family-run businesses to upgrade themselves into firms to make tax declarations and payments transparent. There is a high possibility of tax losses although their tax payments account for a small proportion of total tax revenues.

    The conversion of more family-run businesses into enterprises will make it possible for HCMC to have an additional 50,000 firms this year and a total of 500,000 by 2020.

    Tam said the tax department pledged to back firms, especially startups, and would adopt measures to make sure that all businesses receive adequate information about tax procedures. 

    According to the prevailing regulations, household businesses pay an annual presumptive tax based on their estimated revenues with the taxman’s prior approval. They can buy blank invoices from tax offices and for each invoice issued from early last year, they pay a 1.5% tax.

    Data showed HCMC has 296,836 household businesses at present with 1,182 of them employing more than 10 people each.

    Bac Ninh kicks off gems and jewellery expo

    Bac Ninh’s provincial Association of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises opened the Gemstone, Jewellery and Art Gemstone Fair on February 8 in Kinh Bac Cultural Centre, Bac Ninh Province.

    The event features the participation of organising and enterprising members of the Vietnam Gemstones, Jewellery and Handicraft Association from ten provinces and cities across the country.

    Thousands of types of gemstones and gemstone artworks were displayed at 90 booths at the event. Artworks introduced at the exhibition are made from natural gemstones in Vietnam like ruby, sapphire, spine, peridot, tourmaline, quartz and opal.

    The event is one of the activities marking the 185th anniversary of the establishment of Bac Ninh Province and 20th anniversary of its re-establishment. The expo also offered visitors a chance to contemplate gemstones and gemstone artworks.

    On the occasion, 30 gemstone artworks were to go under the hammer to raise money for a provincial charity fund. The organising board collected over VND 340 million the auction.

    The expo will run until February 16.

    Boosting sustainable development of support industry

    Several of Vietnam’s important industrial sectors have yet to be paid due attention or have been invested in in an over-diversified or unplanned manner, resulting in low added value to the economy. There is no other way for Vietnam to develop a sustainable industry than to promote the support industry, which is the basis for the sustainable development and growth of Vietnam’s industries.

    During the past 20 years, Vietnam has approached foreign direct investment (FDI) capital under favourable conditions. However, Vietnamese enterprises have missed great opportunities from large FDI inflows in terms of the absorption and acquirement of technology from FDI enterprises.

    The reason for this is that Vietnam has a weak and underdeveloped support industry, in addition to the modest number of Vietnamese enterprises participating in the support industry who are mainly involved in outsourcing work.

    According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the capacity and technology of a majority of Vietnamese enterprises in the support industry is limited. Domestic enterprises are capable of meeting only 10% of domestic demand for support industry products which are components and simple materials with low value. Most of them have yet to approach and meet the demands of support industry products with high technology content.

    There is a big gap between the demand of multinational corporations and the production capacity of domestic enterprises. Some Vietnamese enterprises have participated in supplying support industry products, but they have only paid attention to expanding its scale but not its technology.

    In addition, domestic suppliers and FDI enterprises have limited information about each other’s demands. The relationship between Vietnamese enterprises is also loose, which is very necessary for enhancing the competitiveness and competitive advantages.

    In many countries, relationships between enterprises can be established through the development of industrial clusters. However, the establishment of industrial clusters in Vietnam is lacking in planning, with the main purpose being to clear land for production rather than creating relationships between enterprises.

    Vietnamese enterprises, who want to participate in the production chains of multinational corporations, must meet the three requirements of stable quality, timely delivery and reasonable prices. However, few domestic enterprises can satisfy all of these requirements.

    The Vietnamese Government has issued Decision No.68/QD-TTg on the development programme of the support industry from 2016, creating a premise and plans for the development of the country’s support industry.

    Under the programme, products from the support industry are expected to meet 45% of domestic production by 2020 and 65% of domestic production by 2025, contributing to creating more jobs, increasing income and reducing the prices of several industrial products including automobiles, garments and textiles, footwear and electronic equipment and the prices of related services such as logistics and transportation.

    The development of the support industry will also provide Vietnamese enterprises with opportunities to apply international standards and modern quality management systems in production and the chance to join the global supply chain.

    Vietnam's import-export revenue tripled after 10 years of joining WTO

    The import and export activities of Vietnam have seen many changes after a decade of being a member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) with import-export revenue increasing threefold compared to 2007.

    According to the Vietnamese Customs office, the total import-export revenue of Vietnam in the first year of joining the WTO rose by 31.3% compared to 2006. After ten years, the import-export revenue climbed to US$350.7 billion, over three times higher than the number reported in 2007.

    In addition, Vietnam's balance of trade shifted from large deficit in the 2006-2011 period to surplus or small deficit in recent years.

    The structure of import and export goods also saw positive changes with the decrease in the proportion of agricultural products, fuel and minerals and the rise in the import of raw materials for production, machinery, and components.

    The development of Vietnam's foreign trade was also demonstrated through the global ranking of trade transactions over the past years. In 2006, the Vietnam's export and import of goods ranked 50th and 44th respectively worldwide and in 2015, the export of goods climbed to 27th while the import ranked 28th among countries and territories across the world.

    Among ASEAN countries, Vietnam surpassed Indonesia to rank 4th in terms of import and export revenue in 2015.

    HCMC determined to prevent bubble in realty market

    Deputy Chairman of Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee Le Van Khoa said that city authorities have been attempting to prevent housing bubble at a meeting with the Department of Construct on February 8.

    Deputy Chairman Khoa stressed that as per the Party’s resolution, the urban renewal will include residential block development and creating new quarters, re-building old buildings, and providing accommodation for those who are living along canals. 

    Housing development will be controlled by urban market mechanism and the government. The government will closer monitor the real estate market  on the base of the regulation as well as facilitate property developer and call for social contribution with the aim to build new face for the city.

    Mr. Khoa added the Department must manage not to occur bubble in the realty market. 

    Realty bubble just occurs, Mr. Khoa said, when economy develop dramatically in a short time leading to increase on shares; a part of rich people pour money into realty. The second factor leading realty bubble as per Mr. Khoa is that policies on finance and credit is loose and investors can ask for loans easily who go into bankruptcy later leaving bad debt. 

    The final factor causing realty bubble is that the rate of secondary investors who purchase to resell, is 60 percent.

    The Department and district administrations must manage the demand and supply balance to curb the possible bubble. Currently, the city has abundant deluxe condos while it lacks cheap apartments. The Department and related agencies must adjust this, said Mr. Khoa.

    Construction Department Director Tran Trong Tuan said that its realty project research is complete which will be submitted to the municipal People’s Committee soon. As per the Ho Chi Minh City Real Estate Association, some investors reported their concern of realty bubble in 2016.

    As per its latest report of activities in 2016, the association said that the Department of Construction has verified the eligibility for 57 projects with 29,017 houses; 27,792 apartments and 1,225 other low-ceiling houses. Of which, there are 5,630 deluxe apartments; 16,750 average condos and 5,412 cheap apartments.

    Moreover, there has been unbalance between demand and supply and increase in secondary investors. .

    Additionally, Mr. Khoa ordered a careful selection of investors or people will suffer losses. Good investors must have good financial capability and performance.

    Another matter needs to be take heed is traffic. Authority will put down the housing projects in residential block in alleys to prevent traffic congestion.

    Last but not least, illegal construction is a headache especially in outlying districts Binh Chanh, Hoac Mon and Thu Duc. Mr. Khoa ordered construction department managers and administrators of the three districts have detailed plan to curb the matter.

    The Department of Construction planned to carry out the city’s urban renewal and development, for the period 2016-2020, focusing on major projects and projects carried out in the middle, building new apartments in the land of old condos and providing accommodation for 2,000 households living along canals.

    Furthermore, the city will repair 10 old condos in the area of 116,778 meter square and give compensation for resettlement of five old condos. In addition, the city will start building six condos with 1,785 apartments to replace old ones. 27 projects of social houses with 20,650 apartments will be finished in the year.

    FDI capital hits record high despite long holidays in January

    Vietnam’s foreign direct investment (FDI) attraction hit $1.42 billion in January, the record high compared to the same period in previous years, despite two long Tet holidays the Western New Year and Lunar New Year, the Ministry of Planning and Investment has reported.

    A total of 175 new projects were licensed with the capital of $1.24 billion, up 37.8 percent in project number and 23 percent in capital. In addition, 76 projects increased investment capital by $179.2 million, taking the total FDI capital to $1.42 billion, up 6.6 percent over a year back.

    Disbursement was up 6.3 percent to reach $850 million. Of the total FDI capital, manufacturing and processing accounts for up to 67.1 percent.

    On February 6th, the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau granted investment certificates to four foreign and four domestic projects at a meeting with 150 businesses and some consulates’ representatives. The four foreign invested projects have the total capital of $311 million while four domestic ones have VND3.6 trillion ($159 million).

    Two largest projects include a $185 million project of Heineken Vietnam Company to expand its beer plant’s capacity to 610 million liters a year. The other is a $108 million ultra white clear glass plant of Viglacera Corporation and Khai Thinh Group.

    So far, the province has attracted 301 FDI projects with the total funds of $26.7 billion and 451 domestic projects worth VND245.5 billion ($10.83 billion).

    The HCMC Customs Department reported that the city’s export import turnover neared US$6 billion in the first month of 2017 including $3 billion export values and $2.7 billion import.

    The export import turnover at customs departments nationwide approximated $400 million since the first day of the lunar year until February 9th. The most exported items were computers, phones and components; machines, equipment and accessories; and steel products.

    Japan to seek investment opportunities in HCM City, Dong Nai

    More than 20 Japanese businesses want to seek opportunities for trade, finance, investment and hi-tech cooperation with their Vietnamese partners during their upcoming Feb 20-23 fact-finding tours of Ho Chi Minh City and Dong Nai province.

    The information was released at a seminar in Osaka on February 7 by Vietnamese Consulate General in Osaka, Saikai City and Ikeda Senshu Bank.

    At the seminar, the Vietnamese Consulate General updated 40 business representatives from small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) on domestic economic affairs, incentives for foreign investors and potential for cooperation in the support industry between Vietnam and Japan.

    Hazama Emiko, Sakai Deputy Mayor said the city gives priority to businesses strong in manufacturing, mechanical engineering, and industrial production want to expand investment in Vietnam.

    With more than 840,000 people, Sakai is the second largest city in Osaka prefecture and has collaborated with Vietnamese partners in many economic, trade and investment cooperation programs over the past years.

    Vietnamese businesses owe US$440 mln to social insurance fund

    Foreign companies owed more than 12 percent of the debt that should be used to pay workers' pensions.

    Vietnamese businesses owed more than VND9.92 trillion (nearly US$440 million) of workers’ social insurance contributions at the end of 2015, and nearly half of those firms were based in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

    The social insurance debts were up 5.5% from 2014, according to a new report by the State Audit.

    Companies in the capital city owed VND2.17 trillion (US$95.6 million) and those in the southern metropolis were nearly VND2 trillion in the hole.

    Foreign companies owed more than 12% of the debt while state-owned firms had racked up nearly 10% of the figure.

    Contributions to the social insurance fund pay for workers' pensions and other forms of compensation when they are sick or take paternity or maternity leave.

    To be able to receive the maximum pension allowance, which is equal to 75% of the basic salary, workers are required to pay into the fund for at least 35 years for men and 30 years for women.

    Vietnam’s social security fund has been in crisis for years with many businesses evading payments. The International Labor Organization forecast that the fund will be in a deficit in 2021 and may be depleted by 2034 unless changes are made.

    TMV breaks January sales record

    Toyota Motor Vietnam (TMV) has announced total sales in January (excluding the Lexus) of 5,318 units, an increase of 6 per cent, or 317 units, compared to January last year and its highest ever for the first month of the year.

    Customers in the north purchased 2,276 units (43 per cent), those in the central region 648 units (12 per cent), and those in the south 2,394 units (45 per cent). The record figure is the result of major efforts by TMV and its dealers to meet customer demand for motor cars just prior to the Tet holiday.

    Sales of passenger cars stood at 2,614 units and sales of commercial vehicles 2,704 units.

    The Vios maintained its leading position during the month, with 1,704 units sold, up 17 per cent compared to January last year. The Corolla Altis saw sales of 430 units, virtually the same as in January 2016.

    Sales of the Camry stood at 373 units. Nineteen years after first being launched in Vietnam in January 1998, sales have now exceeded 47,000 units.

    In the commercial vehicles segment, the Innova achieved impressive sales of 1,136 units, an increase of 16 per cent compared to January 2016. In the eleven years since being introduced in Vietnam in January 2006, the Innova has always been on the best-selling list and is ideal for work and family travel.

    Among the completely-built-up (CBU) vehicles imported and distributed by TMV, the leader in sales during January was the Fortuner, with 1,237 units, up 30 per cent compared to January last year. The impressive increase was thanks to the all-new Fortuner 2017 - “Tough & Sophisticated” - with a new tough design, sophisticated strength and luxury feeling, which was launched during the month. With all-new improvements, the Fortuner will continue to maintain its leading position in the SUV segment.

    Sales of the Hilux, meanwhile, reached 152 units, the Yaris 107, the Prado 84, the Land Cruiser 78, and the Hiace 17.

    Despite changes to tax policies for luxury motor cars with large engines taking effect from July 2016, Lexus saw sales of 135 units in January.

    Lexus Vietnam is now distributing the LS460L, GS350, ES350, ES250, LX570, GX460, and RX350, and new models with a turbo engine, including the GS Turbo, NX Turbo, RX Turbo, and RC Turbo.

    Hyosung to build $1.2bn plant in Ba Ria Vung Tau

    South Korea’s Hyosung Corporation has recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Ba Ria Vung Tau Provincial People’s Committee over the construction of a polypropylene (PP) and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) plant project in the southern province.

    Hyosung will build the plant on an area of 608,910 sq m at the Cai Mep Industrial Zone with investment of $1.2 billion, divided into two phases.

    The first phase involves building an underground warehouse containing LPG, with investment of $133 million, and the first PP plant in the project, with investment of $336 million and a capacity of 300 million tons per year.

    The second phase will build a PDH optical fiber plant with investment of $496 million and a second PP plant with investment of $226 million and a capacity of 300,000 tons per year.

    The Hyosung Corporation is one of the largest conglomerates in South Korea and specializes in manufacturing fiber for automobile tires, spandex fiber, nylon, steel fiber, and other fiber.

    In Vietnam it has a factory at the Nhon Trach 5 Industrial Zone in southern Dong Nai province, processing fiber (such as spandex, nylon, polyester, and carpet fiber), producing steel fiber for automobile tires (such as tire cord, bead wire, and saw wire), and manufacturing electrical motors.

    Hyosung, in its proposal, pledged to ensure environmental protection by using modern and innovative technologies.

    According to the latest report from the Foreign Investment Agency under the Ministry of Planning and Investment, South Korea retained its position as Vietnam’s leading source of FDI in 2016, with a total of $5.7 billion in 5,747 projects, primarily in the processing and manufacturing sector and the real estate sector.

    The MoU signing ceremony was held at a meeting between local authorities and enterprises making their first investments in Ba Ria Vung Tau province this year. Local leaders also licensed eight domestic and foreign projects with investment of $311 million and $156 million, respectively.

    The province has so far attracted 301 foreign-invested projects worth nearly $26.7 billion and 451 domestic projects valued at over $10.67 billion.

    Mr. Nguyen Hong Linh, Secretary of the Provincial Party Committee, said the province would take measures to reform administrative procedures and create a vibrant and responsible business climate.

    The provincial economy grew 5.6 per cent last year and it contributed in excess of $1.41 billon to the State budget and more than $434,000 to social welfare programs, and also generated over 22,000 jobs.

    Work to start on two expressways this year

    Construction on two expressways passing through the southern province of Dong Nai will start sometime this year. The two roads are Dau Giay-Lien Khuong and Dau Giay-Phan Thiet.

    According to a plan of the Ministry of Transport, the first section of Dau Giay-Phan Thiet expressway will commence construction in the first quarter of this year. The expressway is divided into two sections with the first stretching 36 kilometers from Dau Giay to Xuan Loc District in Dong Nai Province and funded by World Bank (WB) loans.

    The 62-kilometer-long second section from Xuan Loc District to Phan Thiet City in Binh Thuan Province will be developed under the public-private partnership (PPP) format, with construction work expected to begin late this year.

    The expressway requires a total investment of more than VND17 trillion (US$751 million), with VND6.2 trillion of it for the first section.

    As for Dau Giay-Lien Khuong expressway, the 60-kilometer-long first section connecting Dau Giay and Tan Phu will be built under the build-operate-transfer (BOT) format this year.

    The section worth VND4.6 trillion will have four lanes and allow vehicles to travel at 80 kilometers per hour.  

    According to a proposal of Project Management Unit 1 (PMU1) under the ministry, work on the section will commence in the fourth quarter this year and be complete in 2020. 

    According to the ministry’s guidelines, BOT can apply to new roads only and road users should be allowed to choose toll or toll-free roads.

    Dau Giay-Lien Khuong expressway will be constructed in parallel with the existing National Highway 20. When in place, people can choose to use either the highway or the new expressway.

    HoREA proposes swapping old condo units with new ones

    The HCMC Real Estate Association (HoREA) has written to the Department of Construction proposing compensation, support, resettlement and temporary accommodation for those affected by condo renovation projects.

    When newly-built condos are put into use, legal condo owners at old buildings should be resettled in the new apartment buildings with the same or larger area at no extra cost, according to HoREA.

    For run-down condo apartments which are not owned by the State, residents who have home ownership certificates should be relocated to new apartments and granted certificates of land use rights and home ownership without paying a registration fee.

    In case those having to make additional payments for any area differential will have priority access to loans from Vietnamede credit and financial institutions, or the city’s housing development fund. They will be awarded home ownership and land use certificates upon full payment.

    The city has 474 residential buildings built before 1975 and they house 27,000 households. Many apartments covering 10-30 square meters each are heavily deteriorating, posing serious threats to residents.

    Social insurance funds mostly lent to State

    A major part of Vietnam’s social insurance funds has been lent to the State and used to buy Government bonds while the remainder has been deposited at banks and lent to Lai Chau hydropower plant project, said a recent State Audit of Vietnam report.

    In 2015, Vietnam Social Insurance lent the State a total of VND324 trillion (US$14.36 billion) out of its total VND435 trillion (US$19.2 billion). Meanwhile, banks took out loans worth VND59 trillion, or 13.7%, from the fund.

    The agency spent VND45.5 trillion purchasing Government bonds, and lent VND6 trillion to Lai Chau hydropower plant project.

    According to the report, Vietnam Social Insurance applied different lending rates, ranging from 5.08% to 5.1% per year for short-term loans (less than 12 months) and around 9.04% for loans to the State, G-bonds and the hydropower plant project. The rates averaged out at 8.49%.

    Notably, the agency has not recovered principal and interest from the loans given to finance leasing arms of the Vietnam Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Agribank) as of the end of 2015.

    Agribank’s Finance Leasing Company I (ALC I) paid Vietnam Social Insurance only VND1 billion in interest versus the total of over VND27 billion. ALC I failed to secure incomes for interest payment as it was being restructured, said State auditors.

    Besides, Agribank’s Finance Leasing Company II (ALC II) still owed Vietnam Social Insurance over VND769 billion in 12 overdue loans since 2011, with interest reaching more than VND735 billion by the end of 2015. The enterprise became insolvent and was waiting for a decision from the Prime Minister.

    Total unpaid social insurance premiums were reported at over VND9.9 trillion, up 5.5% against 2014, with compulsory insurance premiums making up a big ratio.

    Of the figure, debts overdue for 12 months or longer totaled over VND4 trillion, including VND1.4 trillion in irrecoverable debts owed by dissolved and bankrupted enterprises.

    Jetstar Airways launches Vietnam - Australia direct flights

    Low-cost carrier Jetstar Airways in Australia, a member of Jetstar Group, has just announced the launch of two direct flights between Vietnam and Australia, according to Jetstar Pacific in Vietnam.

    Accordingly, Jetstar Airways will use Boeing 787 Dreamliner to operate three flights per week, starting from May 10 between Ho Chi Minh City and Melbourne, and four flights per week from May 11 between Ho Chi Minh City and Sydney.

    Director General of Jetstar Airways Jayne Hrdlicka highlighted Vietnam’s tourism potential, saying that the country is one of the fastest growing travel destinations in the Southeast Asian region thanks to its cultural diversity, beautiful beaches and food.

    The launch of the air route is expected to promote tourism exchange between the two nations, she added.

    On the launching occasion, the carrier offers a promotional campaign, under which travellers can buy one way tickets for the routes at 3,430,000 VND (150.92 USD) and get free return tickets.

    Promotional tickets are available at the website www.jetstar.com from 18:00 February 12 to the end of February 16.

    Jetstar Group is one of the largest low-budget airlines in Asia-Pacific, operating over 4,000 flights per week to 80 destinations in 17 countries and territories in the region.

    Quang Nam emerges as attractive destination for investors

    The central province of Quang Nam is expected to become an investment magnet in the central region using its advantageous location as well as favourable investment environment.

    With an area of 10,438 square kilometers, Quang Nam has a strategic location in the central key economic region, neighbouring Da Nang city, Quang Ngai province and an ASEAN member of Laos.

    It lies on the East-West Economic Corridor, which is favourable for road connection with Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, as well as sea links with other ASEAN countries.

    Besides a synchronous land, railway and sea transportation system, it boasts eight industrial parks and 50 industrial clusters having standardized waste treatment systems.

    At the same time, social and service infrastructure such as schools, hospitals, hotels, restaurants and entertainment facilities in Quang Nam has also met the demand of investors and locals.

    According to the provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Quang Nam has more than 5,436 hotel rooms to international standards, which makes it an attractive destination for tourists.

    So far, the locality has attracted 126 FDI projects worth 5.5 billion USD from investors from all around the world, including the Republic of Korea, Japan, Singapore, the US, China, France, Germany and Italy.

    In the long term, Quang Nam will focus on luring investment to sectors of its strengths such as support industry, processing industry, agriculture, tourism, services, urban development, human resource training, infrastructure construction and business at industrial parks and clusters.

    Investors to Quang Nam can choose and decide their investment methods, along with enjoying preferential policies offered by the Government in land use, corporate income tax and import tax.

    According to the provincial Centre for Public Administration and Investment Promotion, a 10 percent reduction in corporation income tax in 15 years has been applied for newly-established firms in extremely disadvantaged localities and the Chu Lai Economic Zone as well as those in high technology agriculture, science and technology, vocational training and environment.

    They are also given tax exemption in four years and a 50-percent reduction in corporate income tax in the following nine years.

    At the same time, Quang Nam has also supported investors in land use, along with specific preferential policies to large-scale projects.

    Dinh Van Thu, Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee, was quoted by Dau Tu (Investment Review) as saying that amidst the current extensive international integration trend, Quang Nam is working hard to become a promising land with abundant investment opportunities.

    The province has applied comprehensive measures to improve its investment environment and support enterprises, focusing on administrative reform, he said, noting that the launching of its Centre for Public Administration and Investment Promotion has showed the province’s determination in the field.

    Currently, Quang Nam is hosting many big domestic and foreign firms in various fields, including Truong Hai Auto, Suntory-Pepsico, Viet Nam Brewery Limited, Inax, Groz-Beckert and entertainment-service brands such as The Nam Hai, Montgomerie Links, Victoria, GoldenSand, and Palm Garden.

    Tra fish sector should target Asian market: experts

    Experts have advised tra fish businesses to focus on the Asian market, particularly China and countries from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 2017 in anticipation of difficulties from the current main markets of the US and EU.

    According to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), this year, tra fish exports to the US and EU will continue facing challenges, including fierce competition from other countries.

    At present, the US is the biggest consumer of Vietnamese tra fish, followed by China. 

    However, Vietnamese businesses will soon struggle to sell tra fish to the US due to anti-dumping taxes imposed by the US Department of Commerce.

    Besides, under the US inspection programme of catfish, from September 2017, countries, which could not submit a list of export companies to the US and documents proving food safety and hygiene according to the US Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service’s regulations, will not be allowed to export to the market.

    Given these difficulties, experts suggested businesses pay more attention to the Asian market.

    The VASEP said tra fish exports to China in 2017 will still account for about 20 percent of the sector’s exports.

    Businesses should focus on the high-quality segment instead of output, change their business methods and create clean products with reasonable prices.

    Chairman of the Board and General Director of the Hung Vuong Corporation Duong Ngoc Minh said China’s Hong Kong is expected to be one of the leading importers of Vietnamese tra fish in 2017 with growth of 30 percent. However, Vietnamese enterprises still need to control the quality of products and carefully review contracts with Chinese partners, he said.

    He also advised businesses to make use of the domestic market through selling products at supermarkets or online.

    Nearly 400,000 tonnes of aquatic products worth 15 trillion VND are sold in Vietnam each year, he said.

    Secretary General of the VASEP Truong Dinh Hoe said the most worrying issue at present is fish material, noting that in the fourth quarter of 2016, tra fish processing plants saw their output fall 30 percent against previous months, while demand increased by 40 percent.

    According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Vietnam has over 100 tra fish manufacturing and export facilities.

    In 2016, the tra fish sector earned 1.67 billion USD from exports, a year-on-year increase of 6.6 percent. The fish was sold in 137 markets worldwide, with the US making up the largest proportion of 23 percent, followed by China (17 percent) and the EU (16 percent).

    The sector aims to fetch more than 1.7 billion USD from exports in 2017.

    Vietnam tuna catches face penalties in Japan

    The Japan Fisheries Agency plans to control catches of Pacific Bluefin tuna, a fish species under threat of extinction, by applying the total allowable catch (TAC) system with a legal clause that would impose penalties on violators, sources close to the issue said.

    Under the TAC system, the agency will decide in advance on volumes of Pacific Bluefin tuna that fishermen will be allowed to catch to control the marine resource.

    The total allowable catch system sets limits on annual catch volumes in advance to control marine resources. Japan introduced the system in 1997. Currently, seven species — saury, Alaska pollack, horse mackerel, sardines, chub and spotted mackerel, Japanese common squid and snow crab — are subject to the system.

    The selection of species for the list has been decided based on such factors as importance to the daily life of the Japanese public and whether catch volumes are large or inconsequential.

    Member countries of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC), for which Vietnam is a cooperating non-member, had reached an agreement to halve catch volumes of immature Pacific Bluefin tuna from 2015 onward.

    WCPFC is an international organization that manages Pacific Bluefin tuna as a resource.

    However, dishonest practices such as falsely reporting catch volumes have been rampant in the industry worldwide. Thus, the Japanese agency decided to introduce stricter controls on both domestic catches and imports.

    The agency also hopes to demonstrate to the international community that Japan is taking a rigorous approach to managing marine resources by adding Bluefin tuna to the TAC system list.

    Uzbek Deputy PM visits Vietnam rice industry

    Uzbek Deputy Prime Minister Mirzaev Zoyir on February 11 headed up a contingent of delegates for a visit with rice industry representatives and a seed Company in northern Thai Binh Province.

    With a ripening potential for increased agriculture trade, Uzbek ag businesses are increasingly becoming interested in boosting rice trade with Vietnam. 

    One of the tour stops was at the Thai Binh Seed Company where they found an immaculate operation and an astute operator.  They’re looking for clean, high-quality food; food that’s been monitored from seed to the shelf and everywhere in between, said company reps.

    Uzbek imports a lot of rice and they are looking for a higher grade of it. If Uzbek would import more rice from Vietnam, that would be good for the entire rice industry.

    The reps said the contingent will probably go back to Uzbek, digest it, write it up and meet with Vietnam again. Hopefully, it won’t be long before the protocols are in place. Once we do that trade more rice trade can begin.

    Vietnam going big on shrimp farming

    The Vietnam government has announced plans to invest heavily in perfecting the country’s intensive shrimp farming operations and expand production significantly over the next few years.

    Earlier this month, the Government announced plans to expand farm raised shrimp exports more than three-fold from the current harvest estimated at US$3 billion in 2016 to US$10 billion over the next few years. 

    To accomplish the goal, the country will dig new ponds and expand the hectarage devoted to shrimp production that it already operates by reducing its rice harvest, principally in the Mekong Delta, said Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong.

    The Government made the decision to place all future bets on shrimp farming following a rice harvest in 2016 that was devastated by the rising salinity of the Mekong River in 2016.

    In the lower reaches of the Mekong Delta, saltwater has penetrated inland as far as 60 kilometres, according to meteorologists, killing crops and shuttering family farms, eliminating thousands of rural jobs.

    Longer-term, the Government is convinced that the shrimp farming business can compete on more equitable terms with the country’s other more profitable agriculture production.

    The increasing salinity may be bad for rice farmers but it is great for those in the shrimp business.

    Minister Cuong noted the gross revenue of the country’s shrimp farmers from exports last year surpassed that of rice, making it the second-largest agricultural export for 2016, after coffee.

    Government officials in the Mekong Delta and other coastal areas have been working to assist rice farmers make the transition to cultivating shrimp that will affect tens of millions in the Mekong Delta alone.

    Minister Cuong noted the global market for shrimp has been steadily increasing over the past few years and that the market demand is such that country would be able to safely expand shrimp farming to encompass some one million hectares from the 700,000 hectares now under cultivation.

    In addition, he said Government officials will work on introducing better-quality strains of shrimp and improving farming techniques. His target is to expand shrimp production to an average of eight metric tons per hectare.

    Intensive shrimp farms can hold a density of up to 220 shrimp per square metre, compared with only 180 for semi-intensive farms, resulting in an annual yield of 10 tons, versus 5 tons per hectare using the semi-intensive method.

    If one were to run the math, annual gross revenues of US$10 billion from shrimp exports is very doable, said Minister Cuong.

    The weather in the Mekong Delta is most suitable for shrimp and is the motivating factor in making the decision to transition away from rice. The current weather oscillations are just too much for rice.

    Japan now open to Vietnam banana growers

    After six months of negotiations, bananas from Vietnam can now be exported to Japan, making it one of the first fresh fruit to gain access to that market, a leading fruit exporter has reported.

    Vo Quang Thuan of the Huy Long An Ltd, one of the country’s largest fruit exporters, said that in addition to Japan, bananas have recently gained market entry into the Republic of Korea and Dubai. 

    The market openings are great news for Vietnamese banana producers and agricultural exports, said Thuan. Hitherto, China was the only foreign market for bananas, but now prospects for future exports are much improved.

    The Japan market is a promising market for bananas, said Le Si Cong, director of La Ba Da Lat Company, another large fruit exporter. During the first month of the year demand was much higher than we anticipated, he noted.

    Over the past few years, Vietnam and Japan industries have worked together to develop the scientific research needed to support the phytosanitary negotiations between the two countries.

    These efforts, along with strong industry market development, have nurtured and paved the way for exports to this market. In the early going, bananas have sold in Japan at a competitive price, added Cong.

    VEF/VNA/VNS/VOV/SGT/SGGP/Dantri/VET/VIR


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  • 02/14/17--01:35: Article 5
  • VN building code in a "messy" situation


    The Vietnamese government faces a messy situation when it comes to issuing and monitoring the current regulations on construction.


     Current regulations on construction, multi-storey buildings, messy situation, Vietnam economy, Vietnamnet bridge, English news about Vietnam, Vietnam news, news about Vietnam, English news, Vietnamnet news, latest news on Vietnam, Vietnam
    Demolition of 19th floor of 8B Le Truc building in Ha Noi. It is reported that some construction regulations are ignored by investors, other regulations have not been updated to catch up with the reality and there are regulations on building condo hotels are currently lacking. – Photo: VNA/VNS


    Some regulations are ignored by investors, other regulations have not been updated to catch up with the reality and regulations on building condo hotels are currently lacking, reported by the Tien Phong (Vanguard) newspaper.

    In June 2013, the Ministry of Construction promulgated an instruction of architectural norms applicable to multi-storey buildings nationwide.

    Under the instruction, an investor of a commercial housing project has to allot 20sq.m of parking space for each owner of a 100sq.m apartment; the ratio is 12sq.m for each owner of a 100sq.m low-cost apartment. However, many multi-storey residential buildings in both Ha Noi and HCM City have failed to follow the regulations. The result is a severe shortage of parking space in these buildings.

    In 2015, the ministry issued a construction regulation for disabled access to buildings and facilities, ordering investors of residential and public buildings to facilitate disabled people. Despite the regulations, not many disabled-friendly buildings have been built in big cities.

    Another problem is that, reportedly, no punishments have been issued for these violations.

    In 2013, the ministry promulgated the Decision No 212 to delete 169 outdated constructing regulations, including regulations on constructing high-rise buildings. Nonetheless, many new regulations to replace the outdated regulations have not been issued until now, causing troubles for investors in implementing their building projects.

    And as some regulations are only being issued now, regulations on building condo hotels have yet to be seen.

    Doan Van Binh, vice president of Viet Nam National Real Estate Association, said the model of condo hotel is strongly developing in the coastal areas of Nha Trang, Phu Quoc and Da Nang.

    The ministry has yet to issue any regulation related to building this kind of hotel, which has caused troubles for investors in constructing condo hotels. Some have even been constructed without regulations, he said.

    Binh said the association asked authorised agencies to quickly promulgate regulations on building and managing condo hotels.

    Associate Professor Tran Chung, from the Viet Nam Federation of Civil Engineering Association, admitted the current system of regulations on construction is “very messy”. Too many outdated regulations are on the books, and too many regulations are ignored.

    To fix the mess, in the short term, each investor should select regulations on construction that they would apply for a project before submitting to the authorised agencies for approval.

    This shift would help the investor ensure the consistency of regulations applied for the project, he said.

    Additionally, authorised agencies could impose fines for investors failing to implement the regulations they committed to, he added.

    In response to the situation, Deputy Minister of Construction Do Duc Duy said at a recent meeting that the ministry conducted checks of current regulations on construction to gradually fix the situation since last year.

    Duy also admitted that some regulations were discovered to be outdated and failed to catch up with the reality, therefore, the ministry would make amendments this year.

    Especially, the ministry planned to issue the regulations on building condo hotel in 2017, he said.


    VNS


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  • 02/14/17--01:44: Article 4
  • Hanoi sets controversial goal to bust 500 prostitutes in 2017


    The Hanoi administration has penned a controversial letter setting a ‘quota’ for its authorities to bust 200 cases of prostitution and penalize 500 prostitutes this year.

     

    A photo illustration of a woman standing at the side of a street


    The letter directs Hanoi’s police force to carry out administrative inspections at 150 service facilities deemed likely to host prostitution activities in 2017, and prevent the re-emergence of 20 known prostitution ‘hotspots’ eradicated between 2009 and 2016.

    An interdepartmental inspection team has also been tasked with checking regulatory compliance regarding prostitution laws at 50 businesses in the city.

    In the letter, Hanoi’s administration sets a ‘quota’ for these government bodies to bust 200 cases of prostitution and penalize 500 prostitutes during 2017, leaving many baffled by its wording.

    “I really don’t understand why we need to set a ‘quota’ to bust 500 prostitutes at all; do we wish to have no prostitutes or do we wish to have as many prostitutes as possible to meet the ‘target’?” a Tuoi Tre(Youth) newspaper reader asked in her comment on an article reporting on the issue.

    “If there aren’t enough prostitutes to be penalized, should the authorities be praised or disciplined?” another reader asked satirically.

    Vietnam is a country with low tolerance toward prostitution despite efforts by local social activists to legalize the activity.

    Prostitutes are not punishable under criminal laws, though they are subject to fines of up to VND500,000 (US$22.32), or deportation from Vietnam if they are foreigners.

    Those who organize prostitution, however, can face between one year and life imprisonment, depending on the severity of their offense.

    Earlier this month, the Hanoi administration announced another controversial piece of regulation which would name and shame those who dress scantily in public spaces.

    Tuoitrenews


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  • 02/14/17--01:59: Article 3
  • Who will lead the real estate market in 2017?


    Vingroup, Novaland, FLC and SunGroup are expected to continue to lead the property market in 2017. They are all big players in the real estate market, but each of them follows its own way.


     vietnamnet bridge, english news, Vietnam news, news Vietnam, vietnamnet news, TPP, US President Obama, Vietnam net news, Vietnam latest news, vn news, Vietnam breaking news, real estate, FLC, Vingroup

    Vingroup jumps into all market segments

    The firm reported a sharp increase of 80 percent in revenue from real estate transfers in 2016, at VND38 trillion.

    Nam Ha Noi Urban Development, a subsidiary of Vingroup, in the fourth quarter of 2016, delivered high-end apartments at Park Hill project in Times City urban area and earned VND9 trillion.

    Not only providing high-end apartments, luxury villas and expensive resorts, Vingroup has recently announced it will also provide apartments at reasonable costs when kicking off the VinCity project. The apartments of the projects would be priced from VND700 million only.

    Novaland with focus on mid- and high-end apartments

    Novaland is the second-largest real estate enterprise in the stock market in terms of capitalization value.

    In the last two years, Novaland has wrapped up a series of M&A deals to take over the projects in the central business districts of HCMC. With the deals, the enterprise’s land fund at 40 projects has reached 9.8 million square meters.

    Novaland is also moving ahead with a plan to implement 11 projects with total floor areas of 4.1 million square meters. According to Savills, the total value of the 11 projects is VND25.6 trillion.

    Novaland catches the public’s special attention not only with its large land fund, but also with its own way of sales. Unlike other developers who rely on distributors, Novaland develops its own sales network.

    The real estate developer reported revenue of VND7.4 trillion in 2016 and net profit of VND1.7 trillion, which was four times higher than in 2015.

    FLC focuses on resorts and golf courses


    Well known for its high-rise buildings and houses in Hanoi, including the twin tower at No 265 Cau Giay and FLC Complex at No 36 Pham Hung, FLC in recent years has focused on developing high-end resorts.

    FLC developed high-end resorts can be found throughout Vietnam. An analyst estimates that the projects are capitalized at over VND70 trillion. These include FLC Sam Sơn Beach & Golf Resort, FLC Quy Nhon Beach & Golf Resort, FLC Vinh Thinh Resort and FLC Ha Long Resort.

    Sungroup gathers strength on resorts and cable car projects

    Sungroup does not list it shares on the bourse like the other three big firms, but it is still a well known name to Vietnamese.

    Sungroup’s projects are mostly in thevhigh-end resort tourism sector, such as Premier Village Da nang Resort, Premier Village Phu Quoc Resort and Intercontinental Da Nang Sun Peninsula Resort.


    M. Ha, VNN


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  • 02/14/17--02:22: Article 2
  • Universities fail to post accurate data


     
    Many schools have well-equipped facilities and high-quality teaching staff, but still encounter difficulties in enrollment due to inefficient communication. - Photo zing.vn

    HÀ NỘI - Universities and educational institutes must publicize their achievements, such as the rate of their graduates who have found jobs, before the national high school entrance exam of 2018, experts said at a conference last Friday.

    Speaking at an online dialogue on the Government website chinhphu.vn on Friday, Dr Mai Văn Trinh, director of the Ministry of Education and Training’s Department of Education Testing Accreditation, said making the quality of each university public would benefit school enrollment.

    Many schools have well-equipped facilities and high-quality teaching staff, but still encounter difficulties in enrollment due to inefficient communication. If publicizing their results is compulsory, these schools would draw more students, he said.

    Since 2009, the ministry has required all schools to publicize their performance in three areas - school facilities, teaching staff and financial revenue and expenditure. The data is posted on university websites, but their accuracy has not been confirmed, he added.

    PhD Nguyễn Quý Thanh, director of Hà Nội National University’s Centre for Education Quality Accreditation, said there is a shortage of independent supervisors and evaluators of accreditation quality and no sanctions for those found to have announced inaccurate information.

    Apart from the three criteria mentioned above, experts recommended that the ministry require schools to announce the rate of students getting jobs a year after graduation.

    However, Thanh said some schools announce that up to 80 per cent of their graduates have found jobs, but failed to show the original questionnaire filled by students and employers when they were audited. Others carried out a survey on a very small number of students – only 30 per cent of total graduates – and came up with a high rate of employment.  But that number was unreliable, he said.

    Dr Nguyễn Văn Long, council chairman of the Hà Nội-based University of Transportation, said that to conduct a survey of all graduates was an impossible task, but schools should select typical samples of students.

    For example, he said, the University of Transportation would show that 85 per cent of graduates got jobs if it only chose graduates from the Traffic Construction Work Department – a popular faculty. The school had imposed sanctions to force graduates to report accurately on their careers, he added.

    To get accurate and transparent information on the accreditation quality of universities and institutes, the director of the ministry’s Department of Education Testing Accreditation said that the ministry was drafting a circular setting out regulations on accreditation quality of higher education.

    The detailed circular would help evaluate the positions of universities and colleges on the global map.  The set of 111 criteria was based on the set of criteria of high-standard universities in the ASEAN region. The circular will be open for comments from the public.

    Currently, centres of accreditation quality have been set up in Hà Nội, HCM City and Đà Nẵng. The centres have examined the education quality of 32 schools.  – VNS


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  • 02/14/17--02:41: Article 1
  • Enabling domestic private sector investment in Vietnam


    Vietnam has consistently rated poorly in global measures of domestic private sector development, a key to the country’s future economic success, said experts at a recent forum in Hanoi.


    enabling domestic private sector investment in vietnam hinh 0

    A report last year by the World Bank, they noted, showed that Vietnam ranked 78th out of 189 countries in the ease of doing business index with poor-quality infrastructure and business environment cited as the two major constraints to growth.

    There is an infrastructure backlog, particularly in the remote and rural areas, and the investment needed to cure the problem is far beyond the Vietnam government’s resources, said the World Bank report.

    Thus, far too many Vietnamese still live in remote and rural areas that have severely restricted access to commercial markets and services that many people around the globe take for granted.

    Better infrastructure and continuing economic reform to build the domestic private sector are needed for the Government to reduce poverty and reach its ambitious goal of becoming an industrialized country by the year 2020.

    The fastest growing region in Vietnam is the Mekong Delta, which is bound to be the future agricultural and industrial hub of the country. But for that to happen, better infrastructure need be constructed.

    Most of the country is also plagued by critical supply-side constraints linking producers and consumers, whether that connectivity lie with connecting people to essential services such as hospitals and schools or to commercial services.

    One of the most direct and practical solutions is through the expansion of the domestic sector and finding innovative ways to encourage them to fund the construction of badly needed infrastructure, said Nguyen Duc Thanh at the forum.

    Mr Thanh, who is the director of the Vietnam Centre for Economic and Policy Research, said there has been for far too long an overreliance on the foreign sector for economic growth and too little evolution of the domestic sector.

    The foreign sector, said Mr Thanh, currently accounts for two-thirds of exports and one-quarter of the country’s employment.

    As a result, the domestic sector, once the major driver of the country’s economic growth, has been stymied— constrained by lack of competitiveness with foreigners, limited access to finances and a slackening of consumer demand by Vietnamese, who increasingly prefer to purchase foreign goods to those made locally.

    One practical solution, according to Mr Thanh is straightforward.

    He suggests that all state-owned companies be sold off to the domestic sector and let private sector ingenuity operate them profitably and use those earnings to invest in and solve the country’s infrastructure and connectivity problems.

    Mr Thanh believes state owned enterprises are bloated with bureaucracy and inefficiency and are a drain on the country’s limited resources rather than a contributor to them.

    The faster the Government enables and engages the domestic private sector to invest in infrastructure throughout the remote and rural areas of the country and build a national supply chain the better, said Mr Thanh.

    Truong Dinh Tuyen, the former minister of the Ministry of Industry and Trade agreed. There are many obstacles to overcome in development of the domestic private sector, however, transferring state owned enterprises to the private sector is a good first step to prosperity.

    In addition, domestic companies can benefit tremendously from identifying good examples of how foreign companies operate their businesses, and copy those policies and practices that are appropriate for Vietnam.

    If domestic companies work closely with their foreign counterparts to share experiences, they will reap tremendous benefits by increasing their competitiveness that will pay off over the long-term by improving productivity and in turn prosperity.

    VOV


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  • 02/14/17--03:06: Article 0
  •  Internet price wars on expanding grid

    The domestic fibre optic cable market anticipates a tough race this year between leading players for larger market share and expanded service provision.

     
    Military-run telecom giant Viettel just won the rights to develop a fibre optic cable system for Trang An Complex, a major mixed-use development in Hanoi’s Cau Giay district.

    Under current regulations, other internet service providers such as leading state-owned telecom company VNPT and private tech giant FPT can still provide service upon customer request, but they must pay a fee to Viettel.

    Statistics released by the Ministry of Information and Communications’ Authority of Telecommunications showed that subscribers for fixed broadband internet services (both ADSL and fibre optic) rose from 7.7 million to more than 9.2 million last year – of which fibre optic cable subscribers numbered 5.5 million.

    At the moment, state-owned VNPT leads in internet market share with nearly four million subscribers (including one million ADSL subscribers), accounting for 41 per cent of total market subscribers.

    Viettel, which owns 500,000 kilometres of fibre optic line, covering 5,170 communes (46 per cent of communes nationwide), reports more than two million fibre optic internet subscribers.

    These two players hold about 80 per cent of Vietnam fibre optic cable market share. The remaining 20 per cent is divided between FPT and other service providers.

    During 2014-2015, Viettel was the largest provider of fibre optic cable services in the country. In 2016, however, they lost ground to VNPT, showcasing the tough race between these two leading players.

    The race between internet service providers attempting to seize as many subscribers as possible has led to a gritty price competition.

    According to provider calculations, a monthly fee of VND320,000 ($14.50) per subscriber will keep them solvent.

    In fact, except for corporate customers who have to pay monthly fees from VND1 million ($45) depending on usage demands, the average fee for family households ranges from VND200,000-250,000 ($9-11) per subscriber per month.

    VNPT VinaPhone general director To Dung Thai commented that this year will witness fierce competition between broadband internet services providers in the context of extremely low average revenue per user (APRU).

    The service providers shared a common assessment that this year the race between fibre optic cable service providers in expanding their subscriber pool will move from big cities into rural areas.

    A VNPT source shared that this year the group is set to add 1.2 million new fibre optic cable subscribers, and to achieve that goal, they will offer price discounts and try to shorten the time it takes for their services to reach their customer’s homes.

    Accordingly, VNPT will expand its fibre optic cable coverage to more rural and remote areas. At present, the group’s fibre optic network covers 93 per cent of communes nationwide and is expected to reach 97 per cent within 2017.

    Viettel’s strategy is to provide fibre optic packages suited to each customer group at reasonable fee levels. The group’s goal is to attain 20-25 per cent growth in fibre optic cable subscriptions this year against last year and expand fibre optic cable infrastructure coverage to 70 per cent of communes nationwide.

    By Huu Tuan, VIR


    0 0
  • 02/14/17--23:55: Article 3
  • New US visa policy worries Vietnamese travelers


    The new US visa policy will have adverse effects on Vietnamese students and travelers who want to go to the US, experts have warned.


    vietnamnet bridge, english news, Vietnam news, news Vietnam, vietnamnet news, TPP, US President Obama, Vietnam net news, Vietnam latest news, vn news, Vietnam breaking news, dollar price, US President Donald Trump, visa policy 

    Travel firms have warned travelers about the changes in the US visa policy. The maximum extension time one can get is 12 months since the expiry day instead of 48 months as previously applied.

    Those who cannot satisfy the requirements will have to register for interviews similar to those who apply for visas for the first time (in the past, direct interviews were waived in nearly all cases).

    According to Nguyen Tien Dat, deputy director of Transviet, the new policy with tighter requirements will be applied commencing February 1. It is foreseeable that travelers to the US will have to undergo stricter interviews and the proportion of visa applications  rejected will be higher.

    Tran Ngoc Hien Thanh, director of Co Viet Travel, noted that to date, those who apply for visas for the first time still have not been affected by the new policy. However, she thinks the policy will affect people who want to go to the US many times, or those who fly to the US to visit relatives and do business regularly.

    For example, travellers to the US for the second time may have to follow procedures as if they are visiting for the first time. They may still have to prove relations and financial capability, and the application may even be rejected even if these procedures are fulfilled.

    The new US visa policy will have adverse effects on Vietnamese students and travelers who want to go to the US

    HG Travel also said the new policy would mostly affect people who have visas expired for more than 12 months and want to enter the US once more.

    LTC, a businessman in HCMC, who often flies to the US on business, said he will have to spend more time on procedures and expenses for visa and administrative procedures.

    Thanh commented that the new visa policy may create insecurity for people who need to enter the US many times to visit relatives or do business.

    Many of them, when visiting relatives in the US for the first time, often ask for tourist visas and then ask for a visa extension. They may feel worried that they may not be able to return the next time.

    “This may worry Viet Kieu (overseas Vietnamese) who want to come to Vietnam. However, no need to worry too much about that,” she said. “The US immigration policy does not mention the entry of Vietnamese people.”

    The executive from HG Travel said many Viet Kieu who have green cards now also feel insecure. They fear that if they visit Vietnam, they may not be able to return.


    M. Ha, VNN


    0 0
  • 02/15/17--01:02: Article 2
  • BUSINESS IN BRIEF 15/2


    Vietnam appeals for more support from int’l agriculture fund


     

    Vietnam proposed the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) continue supporting Vietnam, particularly in rural development, poverty reduction and climate change adaptation.

    Deputy Minister of Finance Tran Xuan Ha, who led a Vietnamese delegation to attend the 40th session of the IFAD Governing Council in Rome, Italy, on February 14-15, made the remark in an interview with Vietnam News Agency.

    He said Vietnam also called for IFAD assistance in enhancing the role of women in ensuring nutrition for children, and enabling poor households to access social services such as education and health care.

    The official noted that the IFAD is helping Vietnam carry out 17 projects worth about 500 million USD in 11 provinces, focusing on disadvantaged mountainous areas.

    The IFAD has also upgraded its office in Vietnam to serve the country’s demands and other nations in the region as well, he added.

    He detailed some information about this year’s session, which aims to discuss plans to develop cooperation among the involved parties.

    Participants proposed diversifying IFAD activities for agricultural and rural development, and strengthening the agency’s financial capacity, he said.

    Former Prime Minister of Togo Gilbert Fossoun Houngbo was elected the new President for the IFAD, and will take the office on April 1, 2017. He takes over from Nigerian Kanayo F. Nwanze.

    IFAD, an agency of the United Nations, is headquartered in Rome. The establishment of IFAD was initiated in 1974 and the fund officially opened on November 30, 1977.

    Since 1978, IFAD has provided around 18.4 billion USD in aid and soft loans for projects in developing countries, helping up to 464 million people escape poverty.

    Vietnam became an IFAD member in 1997.

    Greece wants to develop seaport partnership with HCM City

    Greek businesses are keen to promote cooperation with Vietnam and particularly Ho Chi Minh City in the field of seaport.

    Greece’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Kotzias made the remark at a meeting with Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Nguyen Thanh Phong in the city on February 14.

    He said Greece is willing to serve as a bridge for Vietnamese enterprises, especially those from HCM City, to make inroads into the European market. 

    The diplomat suggested the two sides enhance cooperation in cultural exchanges, art and music to strengthen their mutual understanding and solidarity, as well as collaboration in politics, external affairs, and economics.

    Phong said the trade and investment relations between Greece and HCM City are still modest and below the bilateral cooperation potential. 

    Therefore, the city hopes Greece will step up cooperative activities in the fields of its strength such as seaport, tourism, culture and art, he recommended.

    He asserted that the southern metropolis will create the optimal conditions for foreign companies, including Greek ones, to make long-term business in the city.

    Dutch company plans vegetable seedling centre in Ha Nam

    A Dutch company is planning to build a high-quality vegetable seedling production and research centre in the Red River Delta province of Ha Nam.

    During a working session with the local authorities in Ha Nam on February 14, Director for Research of the Bejo Zaden Group, Bert Schrijver, said the group needs about 10-15 hectares to build the centre and asked for the province’s support by ensuring fertile land, good irrigation, and transport convenience for the project.

    Schrijver said the company will select and cross-breed high-quality varieties in Vietnam and Southeast Asia before putting them into mass production.

    Local workers will be employed and provided with techniques to create high-quality vegetable seedlings for the agricultural sector, he added.

    Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Truong Minh Hien said the project is conformable with the locality’s policy of developing hi-tech agriculture.

    He recommended two favourable locations for the project, one in Vinh Tru town (Ly Nhan district), and another in Phu Van commune (Phu Ly city).

    The province will create the best conditions for the company to implement the project, he said.

    Bejo has been operating for 128 years, specialising in the selection and creation of premium vegetables with over 1,200 varieties. Its network covers over 100 countries worldwide.

    In Vietnam, the group has two subsidiary companies, namely Bejo Vietnam Co, Ltd., headquartered in Hanoi and Bejo Vietnam Production Co, Ltd. in the Central Highland province of Lam Dong.

    Agriculture ministry vows to push forward with SOE equitisation

    The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) is determined to punish those whose lack of responsibility led to the prolonged equitisation of State-owned enterprises (SOEs), said MARD Deputy Minister Ha Cong Tuan.

    He urged quicker equitisation of SOEs under the ministry’s management at a meeting in Hanoi on February 14.

    MARD Minister Nguyen Xuan Cuong said equitisation is an opportunity for SOEs to revitalise but it also poses a lot of challenges.

    Equitisation must be carried out in line with law and in a transparent fashion so as to prevent losses and protect the State’s interests, he noted, stressing in that process, the head of each agency and SOE must take the leading role.

    Deputy Minister Tuan reported that from 2011 to 2016, the ministry took strong actions to re-organise, reform and restructure its SOEs, reaping encouraging outcomes. The MARD has equitised 12 corporations and companies directly subordinate to it and three science-technology businesses under the ministry’s institutes and universities.

    It successfully auctioned the Hanoi Agricultural Produce and Foodstuff Import-Export Co. Ltd and will finish handing over the company to the successful bidder in the first quarter of 2017.

    It is also working to equitise the Vietnam Rubber Group, the Vietnam General of Agricultural Materials Corporation Ltd, and the Vietnam Southern Food Corporation, he added.

    However, Tuan admitted that many small firms have encountered difficulties in selling their stakes due to poor performance and modest capital. For example, four subsidiaries of the Vietnam National Coffee Corporation (Vinacafe) failed to sell their stakes although they have registered for share offering for two or three times.

    After being equitised, while some businesses have operated in a more effective manner, others in which the State still holds a big stake have yet to live up to expectations, he added.

    Pham Quang Hien, Director of the MARD’s department of enterprise management, said SOEs subject to equitisation should move to attract investors, especially strategic ones with good capacity, to reduce the State ownership at those firms to a level that is low enough to change their governance. It is also necessary to coordinate more closely with consulting firms to precisely assess the value of the businesses to be equitised.

    Leaders of SOEs or the representatives of State capital who do not seriously or effectively conduct equitisation must also be strictly handled, he said.

    In 2017, the MARD will assess the value of Vinacafe and the Vietnam Northern Food Corporation to prepare for equitisation.

    Tra Vinh spends nearly 55 billion VND to support SMEs

    The Mekong Delta province of Tra Vinh will spend 55 billion VND (2.42 million USD), of which 51 billion VND (2.24 million USD) is funded by the Canadian Government, developing local small- and medium-sized enterprises in 2017.

    The information was released by the Management Board of the Tra Vinh SME project at a meeting in Tra Vinh on February 14.

    Deputy Director of the provincial Department of Planning and Investment To Ngoc Binh, who is also Director of the project management board, said the project will earmark 13 billion VND (572,000 USD) to support local firms’ operation.

    Over 17 billion VND (748,000 USD) will be invested in infrastructure facilities to support the operation of SMEs, and over 9 billion VND (396,000 USD) will be used to enhance management capability of involved staff.

    Apart from supporting local SMEs’ operation, the project also looks to promote dialogues and exchanges between the public and private sectors, and application of information and communication technology to simplify administrative procedures.

    In 2016, the project used over 23 billion VND (1 billion USD), of which 1.7 billion (74,800 USD) was sourced from the province’s counter capital.

    The project started on January 30, 2015. About 200 enterprises and over 194,000 local residents in 22 rural communes have benefited.

    Agriculture ministry speeds up SOE equitisation

    The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) is resloved to accelerate the equitisation of State-owned enterprises (SOEs), said MARD Deputy Minister Ha Cong Tuan at a meeting in Hanoi on February 14.

    He urged quicker equitisation of SOEs under the ministry’s management, saying equitisation provides an opportunity for SOEs to revitalize but it also poses huge challenges.

    Equitisation must be carried out in line with law and in a transparent fashion so as to prevent losses and protect the State’s interests, he noted, stressing in that process, the head of each agency and SOE must take the leading role, he said.

    Deputy Minister Tuan stated that the Ministry has equitised 12 corporations and companies directly subordinate to it and three science-technology businesses under the ministry’s institutes and universities.

    It successfully auctioned the Hanoi Agricultural Produce and Foodstuff Import-Export Co. Ltd and will finish handing over the company to the successful bidder in the first quarter of 2017.

    It is also working to equitise the Vietnam Rubber Group, the Vietnam General of Agricultural Materials Corporation Ltd, and the Vietnam Southern Food Corporation, he added.

    Tuan pointed out that small firms have encountered difficulties in selling their stakes due to poor performance and modest capital. For example, four subsidiaries of the Vietnam National Coffee Corporation (Vinacafe) failed to sell their stakes although they have registered for share offering for two or three times.

    After being equitised, while some businesses have operated in a more effective manner, others in which the State still holds a big stake have yet to live up to expectations, he added.

    Pham Quang Hien, Director of the MARD’s department of enterprise management, said SOEs subject to equitisation should move to attract investors, especially strategic ones with good capacity, to reduce the State ownership at those firms to a level that is low enough to change their governance. It is also essential to coordinate more closely with consulting firms to precisely assess the value of the businesses to be equitized.

    Leaders of SOEs or the representatives of State capital who do not seriously or effectively conduct equitisation must also be strictly handled, he noted.

    In 2017, the MARD will assess the value of Vinacafe and the Vietnam Northern Food Corporation to make plans for equitisation.

    Bao Viet Insurance, Bao Viet Tokio Marine prioritises agricultural insurance

    Bao Viet Insurance and Bao Viet Tokio Marine Insurance have signed an agreement to implement agricultural insurance in Vietnam.

    This is part of Bao Viet Insurance’s recent activities to expand cooperation with its partners.

      

    The agreement will give guidelines for the implementation of agricultural insurance in terms of survey, product design, distribution channel management, and evaluation and compensation.

    A representative from Bao Viet Insurance said the company wants to cooperate with foreign insurers like Bao Viet Tokio Marine to fully tap its experience in the field with the aim of providing the best-quality agricultural insurance products.

    Established in 1996, Baoviet Tokio Marine Insurance Company Limited was the first foreign insurance joint-venture in Vietnam with its current partners being Baoviet Holdings – a leading Finance-Insurance group in Vietnam and Tokio Marine – a leading giant insurance group in Japan. 

    Baoviet Tokio Marine Insurance Company Limited provides non-life insurance products and services for all international and domestic clients including both organizations and individuals in accordance with Vietnam’s Law.

    Jetstar to open two new air routes

    Jetstar Pacific Airlines and Quang Binh provincial People’s Committee have agreed to launch two new air routes: Dong Hoi-Chiang Mai (Thailand) and Dong Hoi-Haiphong at a recent working session.

    Accordingly, the Dong Hoi-Hai Phong flights will begin on late May twice a week while the Dong Hoi-Chiang Mai flights will start in June.

    Chairman of Quang Binh provincial People’s Committee Nguyen Huu Hoai pledged to create the best possible conditions for Jetstar Pacific Airlines to facilitate the two new air routes and asked travel agents and relevant agencies to join hands in promoting the flights.

    He hopes that the new flights will help attract more visitors to the province.

    Thai visitors now pay special attention to Vietnam tourist sites and Thailand, particularly Chiang Mai is also an attractive destination for many Vietnamese travellers.

    It will take two hours to travel from Chiang Mai to Quang Binh by air, instead of two days by road as in the past.

    The new air routes will attract more Thai visitors to Vietnamese northern provinces. Meanwhile, flights between Dong Hoi and Haiphong will make travel from central Vietnam to Haiphong and other northern provinces easier.

    Metropole Hanoi has new F&B director

    The Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi is elevating its culinary appeal with a new director of F&B and a new member on its pastry team. 

    As the hotel’s new director of food and beverage, Antoine Huc will oversee operations at the French restaurant Le Beaulieu; Vietnamese restaurant Spices Garden; Italian-inspired restaurant Angelina; and the hotel’s three bars, La Terasse, Bamboo Bar and the recently revamped Le Club. He will also be in charge of all in-room dining in the hotel’s 364 guest rooms and suites in addition to banquets and events.

    Huc, a native French speaker fluent in English and Italian, moves to Hanoi after more than 10 years of experience in the world’s leading hotels and restaurants.

    Most recently he was food and beverage director at the Amanyara Resort on the Caribbean island of Turks and Caicos, where he oversaw food and beverage operations of the 38 guest pavilions and 20 multi-bedroom villas.

    Prior to that he was food and beverage manager at the 114 bungalow, five-star Four Seasons Bora Bora Resort where he managed a multi-cultural team across five outlets.

    His international career includes stints with such lofty establishments as the Fairmont Le Montreux Palace in Geneva, The Plaza Hotel New York and Viceroy L’Ermitage Beverly Hills. Earlier this year, AccorHotels Group added FRHI Hotels & Resorts and its three luxury hotel brands: Fairmont, Raffles and Swissôtel to its global portfolio which includes Sofitel Legend, So Sofitel, Sofitel and MGallery by Sofitel.    

    Meanwhile, Marc-Alban Sicard is moving into the pastry kitchen from France. Sicard apprenticed under three Michelin-starred chef Jean-Michel Lorain at La Côte St.-Jacques just outside of Paris and has since honed his craft in many pastry kitchens around the world, most recently at the Balthazar Hotel & Spa Rennes.

    Sicard will go to work on an array of fresh breads, pastries and cakes from his homeland and his talents will soon become apparent at the hotel’s delicatessen, L’Epicerie du Metropole.

    Dozen resort investors in Ke Ga insist on compensation

    Investors of 12 resort projects whose land was taken back by authorities to build a now-defunct port in Ke Ga in Binh Thuan Province have said they will continue calling for local authorities and relevant agencies to pay site clearance compensation.

    In 2007, Binh Thuan authorities ordered investors in Ke Ga, Ham Thuan Nam District to stop construction on 12 resorts to make room for the Ke Ga port. At the time, The Gioi Xanh resort was the only one in service, Van Tru resort under construction and the rest half-finished.

    In 2013, the Vietnam National Coal and Mineral Industries Group (Vinacomin) suspended the port project, prompting the owners of the 12 resorts to lodge complaints to Binh Thuan authorities saying they suffered losses of hundreds of billions of dong.

    Vu Duc Cong, the owner of Van Tru resort, last week told the Daily that he lost more than VND20 billion in the project.

    When Vinacomin announced to suspend the port project, Cong said he was happy as he would not have to relocate his project but found it impossible to resume the project due to the lack of capital.

    “In 2014, Binh Thuan met the investors to evaluate losses and promised compensation. I demanded VND21 billion in compensation but have yet to get a penny,” Cong added.

    Nguyen Truong Vinh, the owner of Doi Phong Lan resort, said although Binh Thuan agreed to compensate VND36.5 billion in mid-2016, they had not delivered on its promise.

    Similarly, the nearby The Gioi Xanh resort has been in trouble since it was forced to shut down in 2007. Its investor demanded compensation of VND90 billion but the province approved just VND36.8 billion.

    “We need early compensation so that we can resume work on our projects,” said Nguyen Duc Dang Toan, the investor of The Gioi Xanh resort.

    Speaking to the Daily, an official of Binh Thuan Province’s Department of Finance said that the provincial government had submitted compensation levels to the Ministry of Industry and Trade for approval.

    Back to February 2014, Hoang Trung Hai, the then Deputy Prime Minister, told the province to work with Vinacomin to evaluate damage and compensate for the investors. The damage was estimated at VND54 billion by Vinacomin and VND83 billion by Binh Thuan, plus compensation for lost revenues and loan interest from 2007 to 2014.

    None of the resort investors has received the compensation.

    HCMC combats tax loss

    Secretary of the HCMC Party Committee Dinh La Thang yesterday morning said that tax loss fighting required the whole political system to join hands in order to contribute to economic development and create fair environment for businesses. 

    Speaking at a conference on enhancing the party role of  inspection and supervision in tax loss combat and transfer pricing, he said that the tax loss fighting must start from policies which should be supplemented to facilitate tax management.

    He instructed party organizations to strengthen inspection and supervision over their party members’ income and expenditure to improve the efficiency of tax loss fighting instead of leaving the whole work for tax and customs agencies.

    Party committees must speed up propaganda and cadre arrangement to contribute in fighting tax avoidance. Meantime, information technology application should be enhanced in tax collection to make the activity transparent and create advantageous conditions for taxpayers and tackle violations.

    Secretary Dinh La Thang questioned why 250,000 private business households which is tenfold business number now have contributed to only 2 percent of total tax revenue. Many of them have issued invoices so why they have not upgraded into businesses.

    He wondered how tax officials have worked to collect tax from these households and tax consultant councils in wards and communes have implemented their roles. The currently manual management has caused overloading condition as a tax official has to manage 500 business households or 160 businesses.

    Invoice regulations should be reviewed while presumptive taxation should be reconsidered to have a suitable mechanism for business households, he urged.

    Talking about tax loss combat, head of the HCMC Taxation Department Tran Ngoc Tam said that there were things out of reach of the agency requiring policy improvement.

    Price transferring is an example, he says. Some nations and territories impose 0 percent corporate tax rate which reaches as high as 20 percent in Vietnam. So it is definite that multinational corporations will transfer their profits to the 0 percent tax nations, he added.

    Therefore Vietnam has been forced to negotiate on price with foreign investors, this is just like presumptive taxation, he added. Moreover, tax agencies have been unable to supervise businesses over their brand name transfer abroad under the form of cooperation.

    Many foreign firms have taken in Vietnam outdated technologies but the tax industry alone is unable to tackle this issue because it needs relevant agencies to join hands.

    According to Mr. Tam, transfer pricing has occurred at not only foreign but also domestic firms. For example, industrial parks offer tax cut or exemption in 3-4 years. So many businesses have affiliated with companies outside the parks and then transferred profit to preferential zones to avoid taxes.

    The current mechanism has been unable to manage invoices which are the “soul” of value added tax because of cash payment. Many companies have offered invoices for sales publicly on the internet.

    Regulations just require transactions priced from VND20 million (US$880) and more to make payment through banks. Tax agencies used to suggest placing cash registers for retail firms who pose high threat of tax loss. However there is no legal proof to force them to use these machines, he says.

    Mr. Tam proposed district People’s Committees to work together to inspect and supervise tax collection and payments in their localities. District party committees need to supervise their cadres and party members.

    There are problems in import declarations now, in case businesses declares high import prices of materials and machines for their operation, it traditionally aims to increase costs to reduce corporate tax while low price declaration seems to avoid import tariff, according to deputy head of the HCMC Customs Department Nguyen Huu Nghiep.

    Hence, he proposed connectivity among banks, customs, taxation, planning and investment, industry and trade agencies to supervise businesses from their material purchase to product sale.

    Most of those working in the financial field claim that policy shortage has raised difficulties for inspection and tax loss fighting. 

    Deputy chairman of the HCMC People’s Committee Tran Vinh Tuyen asked tax agencies to mobilize and encourage private business households to become businesses. In short term, he urged to put an end to presumptive taxation at three wholesale markets in HCMC. 

    A mechanism should be built towards little inspection and high efficiency to prevent long lasting inspections from raising difficulties for businesses’ operation especially amid peak trading time.

    He prompted tax agencies to establish a joint database of businesses to supervise their input and output activities and coordinate with other agencies to connect their databases together.

    Mr. Tuyen proposed the Vietnam Fatherland Front Committee in HCMC to improve its supervision role to tax consultant councils in wards and communes. All level party committees should notice the control of their cadres and party members to limit negative issues in tax management.

    HCM City calls on businesses’ participation in seven breakthrough programs

    Standing deputy secretary of the HCMC Party’s Committee Tat Thanh Cang yesterday proposed HCMC Enterprises Association to promote their bridge role to improve businesses’ competitiveness as well as call on them to positively contribute in seven breakthrough programs of the city.

    At a meeting on businesses’ performance results in the city, Mr. Cang asked agencies and the association to protect legitimate rights of enterprises, improve their strength, consider them to be the subject of serving and create conditions for them to side with the city in conducting development programs. 

    In short term, he urged the association and agencies to support businesses to build brand names, increase product quality, reduce cost price and connect together to improve competitiveness and market stabilization. 

    In addition, they should provide enterprises with assistances in capital, business establishment procedure and market promotion activities; build material zones for support industry and expand regional connectivity, he said. 

    The agencies and association should work together to establish a material distribution center for garment and textile, mechanics, construction materials, food and pharmaceutical chemistry fields. 

    Chairman of the association Chu Tien Dung says it now has 65 clubs with 9,000 members. So far the association has implemented six programs to improve human resource quality, provide information and legal assistances and assist firms to integrate, access loans and promote trade. 

    He proposed the city to boost administrative reform in business and investment, support the association to build and synchronously carry out the set of norms to estimate businesses’ satisfaction to agencies and district people’s committees, and bravely task the association to develop businesses and startups.

    Qantas, Jetstar Asia expand codeshare services

    Qantas and Jetstar Asia are expanding their codeshare arrangements in a move to offer passengers including those traveling to and from Vietnam, more flights across the Qantas Group network in Asia.

    Qantas said its code has been available on an additional 142 services operated by Jetstar Asia, bringing the number of weekly codeshare flights between the two airlines to 349. Customers will be provided with more opportunities to access Frequent Flyer benefits and services across the joint network to some of Asia’s most popular destinations.

    Besides Qantas’ 44 weekly flights from Australia to Singapore and extensive own and partner network between Australia and Asia, the expanded arrangement between the two carriers also gives customers more options to book itineraries that combine different Asian airports.

    Benefits of booking the Qantas codeshare flights on Jetstar Asia include through-check to and from Qantas international flights, earning of Qantas Frequent Flyer points, access to Qantas Club Lounge in Singapore for eligible passengers and Qantas International baggage allowance. Qantas codeshare passengers also enjoy a hot meal on flights over 90 minutes and a muffin for shorter flights plus water, tea or coffee.

    Brokerages: Strong corporate earnings back equity market

    A number of brokerages said many listed firms have announced positive 2016 financial reports, which will buoy the equity market this week.

    Nguyen The Minh, head of the capital market analysis division at Saigon Securities Inc, said in Dau tu Chung khoan newspaper that corporate earnings improved significantly and various enterprises saw their revenue and profit rocketing to new highs last year, which could underpin the stock market. 

    Nguyen Huu Binh, head of the analysis department at Vietnam Investment Securities Company, said the VN-Index has hovered around the 700-point level over the past seven sessions, and ended at an intraday high last Friday amid hectic trading.

    If a certain sector or a group of large caps makes nice gains this week, the VN-Index will climb to a new high, he said.

    Last week saw the VN-Index rising 0.49% against the previous week at 703.78 points and the HNX-Index leaping 1.19% at 86.04 points.

    Liquidity improved on both exchanges as the average matched volume climbed 32% to 133.1 million shares per session on the HCMC bourse, and went up a staggering 81% to 38.1 million shares per session on the Hanoi market.

    According to vietstock.vn, profit taking pressure weighed on the HCMC exchange last week but strong cash flows helped the market avoid a decline.

    The VN-Index closed down last Monday due to poor performance of certain heavyweights, but nudged up in the next two sessions, backed by petroleum stocks. A selloff hit many large caps last Thursday and led the index to snap a two-day rising run.

    Viet Capital Securities Company wrote in a report that the index enjoyed its biggest gain of the week last Friday, advancing half a percent to a nine-year high at 703.78 points. Brewery SAB (up 1%) and real estate developer ROS (up 0.7%) advanced after MSCI announced it had added the two firms to its Frontier Markets Index.

    GAS and PVD of the petroleum sector moved higher as Brent crude oil prices extended an overnight rally in Asian trade last Friday.

    Regarding foreigners’ trade, the HCMC exchange saw such investors’ net purchases reaching VND37.9 billion. They picked VNM with VND156.3 billion, NVL with VND57.68 billion, VCB with VND 41.47 billion and SSI with VND30.9 billion.

    They offloaded VND58 billion of HSG, VND40.3 billion of RAL and VND30.5 billion of PAC.

    Foreign investors also stayed on the buying side on the Hanoi market and net bought VND6.6 billion of shares. They acquired SHB with VND6 billion, PLC with VND2.8 billion and VGC with VND2.6 billion, while they sold PGS and VND shares worth VND6.1 billion and VND5.5 billion, respectively.

    South Korea to invest in many sectors in Can Tho

    South Korean enterprises are seeking more chances to invest in traffic infrastructure, education, health, information technology, high-tech agriculture, and smart city projects in Can Tho City.

    Professor Lee Beom Jae from Ajou University, head of a Korean business delegation to Can Tho City last week, said at a meeting with leaders of the city on Friday that Korean businesses are keen to sound out opportunities in these sectors in the city.

    He hoped to connect many projects in Can Tho with Korean enterprises and the two sides would have specific projects by the end of this month.

    He suggested that Can Tho should open direct flights from the city to Korea as it currently takes Korean enterprises nearly four hours to travel from HCMC to Can Tho.

    Vo Thanh Thong, chairman of the city, said Can Tho is seeking to open air services to Singapore and Korea after launching air links with Taiwan and Thailand. Besides, if Trung Luong-Can Tho Expressway is completed in 2019, it will help halve the traveling time between HCMC and Can Tho to two hours.

    Korea-Vietnam Incubator Park (KVIP), which has got funding partly by the Korean government and has been put into operation in the city since last year, and a 200-hectare high-tech industrial park underway near KVIP will help incubate startup ideas to bolster economic cooperation between Can Tho and Korea.

    By the end of 2016, Korea had nine investment projects with total registered capital of US$247 million in Can Tho. The Korean Rice and Food Association has opened a branch in Vietnam with its office located in KVIP.

    Lee Kwang In, vice chairman of Donghae Engineering & Consultants, said at the meeting that his company would cooperate with the city in land planning, transport, and logistics related to the smart city project.

    Nguyen Khanh Tung, director of Can Tho Trade and Investment Promotion Center, also introduced projects in transport infrastructure, education, health, information technology, high-tech agriculture needing a combined US$618 million to Korean enterprises at the meeting.

    Can Tho targets 5.6 million tourists in 2017

    Can Tho City, the social and economic center of the Mekong Delta, aims for 5.6 million visitors this year, with 600,000 of them foreigners, according to the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

    Le Minh Son, deputy director of the department, said at a tourism conference in the city last week that Can Tho received 5.34 million visitors last year, a year-on-year rise of 14%, and obtained total tourism revenue of VND1.82 trillion (US$80.5 million), up 5%.

    There were around 258,400 international travelers staying overnight in the city, up 25%, he noted. The city tourism sector expects over 270,000 foreign visitors would stay overnight, and tourism revenues would reach VND2 trillion, he said.

    The city plans to organize a range of events such as the Southern Traditional Cake Festival and the Asian Beach Volleyball Championship to make it more attractive to tourists.

    Ninh Kieu, the city’s central district, is working on plans to upgrade transport services to promote MICE (meeting, incentive, convention and exhibition) tours, beautify Ninh Kieu pedestrian bridge, launch a food street, and arranging riverside and walking tours linking Ninh Kieu, Cai Rang and Phong Dien districts.

    Cai Rang has already finished a project on conservation and development of Cai Rang floating market to make the market a unique tourism product of the Mekong Delta.

    Le Van Tam, deputy chairman of Can Tho City, told the Daily that the city is also working towards establishing a tourism department by separating the Tourism Development Center from the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

    Dong Thap explains controversial lotus farming project

    The Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap has issued a statement giving explanations about a lotus farming project that has drawn public attention in recent times.  

    The provincial government said its competent agencies have monitored developments, launched investigations and adopted measures to cope with the incident since the end of last year.

    Earlier, local media reported that Sen Hoang Giang Co Ltd had rented 23 hectares of land from farmers to cultivate lotus plants, which originate in Quang Ninh Province, in Cao Lanh District, Dong Thap Province.

    According to the statement, the enterprise rented and compensated one hectare of paddy but used only 0.3 hectare to grow lotus on a trial basis. Lotus plants developed well in the initial phase but all of them had withered at the time of investigation. 

    The provincial Department of Planning and Investment issued an operation license to Sen Hoang Giang Co Ltd on September 1 last year. 

    The Dong Thap government said the firm’s director Tran Van Hoa sought approval to pilot lotus growing for rootstocks and got permission from the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

    “Sen Hoang Giang’s lotus growing on a trial basis is in line with the prevailing regulations. The Dong Thap government will keep a close eye on and study the origin of the plant species. If the province detects irregularities, sanctions will be imposed on the violator,” the statement said.

    Regarding the origin of crawfish raised in the lotus pond, the Dong Thap government said the aquaculture division of Cao Lanh District launched an investigation and worked with the director. Hoa admitted raising around three kilograms of crawfish that a friend in Hanoi gave him.

    The aquaculture division coordinated with the police and locals to destroy 107 crawfish and sprayed pesticides to kill all crawfish in the area between December 6 and 10 last year.

    Considered as an exotic invasive species in Vietnam, crawfish is banned from import into the country by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development as it can cause serious damage to crops and diseases in shrimp, according to local media.

    The statement said no new crawfish had been found. The Dong Thap government will continue monitoring and preventing the development of the species in the environment. Regarding the firm’s labor issue, three Chinese laborers using tourism visas worked for the enterprise but left the locality in mid-December last year.

    Ministry recommends online energy labeling registration

    The General Department of Energy under the Ministry Industry and Trade has recommended enterprises register energy labeling online to help firms save time and money, and support State governance. 

    According to Circular 36/2016/TT-BCT effective from February 10 on energy labeling for equipment and devices using energy under management of the ministry, businesses can submit energy labeling documents to the ministry at http://nhannangluong.dvctt.gov.vn or by post. The first way is recommended due to the aforementioned reasons.

    Procedures for energy labeling registration can be found on the website or provided at the department’s office at 23 Ngo Quyen Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi.

    The ministry issued Circular 36 in late December last year to replace Circular 07/2012. The new circular enables firms to claim the energy efficiency level and stick energy labels on their products and imported ones but firms have to be responsible for the quality of their products and energy labeling.

    With the new circular in place, companies are permitted to apply the results of an energy efficiency test to all products made in Vietnam and all imported goods with the same model, the same manufacturer, the same origin and the same technical features. The period of validity of such results is indefinite.

    The circular also enables independent laboratories and those run by domestic and foreign firms to do such tests. Earlier, only laboratories selected by the ministry could do these tests. 

    Importers must send papers to prove that laboratories chosen by them meet requirements as well as documents about energy labeling registration to the ministry.

    Notably, an exemption on energy labeling applies to non-commercial goods; a single product or component used in projects, works and factories; temporarily imported materials and equipment for re-export, transit goods, products of outsourcing firms, products in the national security and defense sectors and those relating to national secret and nuclear radiation.

    The circular stipulates that management agencies must tighten inspections after companies stick energy labels on products and put them into circulation.     

    Tra Vinh spends nearly 55 billion VND to support SMEs

    The Mekong Delta province of Tra Vinh will spend 55 billion VND (2.42 million USD), of which 51 billion VND (2.24 million USD) is funded by the Canadian Government, developing local small- and medium-sized enterprises in 2017.

    The information was released by the Management Board of the Tra Vinh SME project at a meeting in Tra Vinh on February 14.

    Deputy Director of the provincial Department of Planning and Investment To Ngoc Binh, who is also Director of the project management board, said the project will earmark 13 billion VND (572,000 USD) to support local firms’ operation.

    Over 17 billion VND (748,000 USD) will be invested in infrastructure facilities to support the operation of SMEs, and over 9 billion VND (396,000 USD) will be used to enhance management capability of involved staff.

    Apart from supporting local SMEs’ operation, the project also looks to promote dialogues and exchanges between the public and private sectors, and application of information and communication technology to simplify administrative procedures.

    In 2016, the project used over 23 billion VND (1 billion USD), of which 1.7 billion (74,800 USD) was sourced from the province’s counter capital.

    The project started on January 30, 2015. About 200 enterprises and over 194,000 local residents in 22 rural communes have benefited.     

    Steel production slumps in January

    Steel production and consumption recorded a slump in January compared to the last month of 2016.

    Steel output in the month totalled over 1.37 million and 823,000 tonnes of steel products were sold, dropping 12.7 and 45.2 percent compared to the previous month.

    According to Nguyen Van Sua, Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Steel Association (VSA), the reduction is attributable to low demand on the occasion of the seven-day lunar New Year holiday (Tet) and a fairly large amount of stored goods by steel traders before Tet.

    He predicted that steel consumption would be higher in February.

    Since 2016, a continuous increase has been seen in the import volume of steel products, despite the fact that the domestic industry is capable of meeting local demands. 

    The Ministry of Industry and Trade said locally made products are facing a fierce price competition from their Chinese rivals. 

    The ministry affirmed its commitment to implementing and monitoring temporary trade protection measures to ensure healthy competition. 

    With 10.8 million tonnes of steel products worth 4.45 billion USD shipped to Vietnam last year, China remained the biggest steel exporter of the country, followed by Japan and the Republic of Korea. 

    Vegetable exports rise 14 percent in January

    Vegetable exports in January rose 14 percent year-on-year to reach 230 million USD, reported the General Statistics Office.

    According to the Vietnam Fruit and Vegetables Association, 2016 was a successful year for the sector as it earned about 2.5 billion USD in exports, growth of 30 percent from 2015, surpassing that of strong agricultural products such as rice, peppercorn and rubber.

    The sector expects an export turnover of 3 billion USD this year.

    Good news also came for dragon fruit as it was officially accepted into the Australian market.

    Experts predict that exports of fruit and vegetables, especially fruit, will surge by three or four times in the near future.

    However, they also pointed to weaknesses in the sector, including market exploitation, as the volume of fruit and vegetables shipped to demanding markets such as Australia, France and the US remains low.

    In the first two years of exporting to France, only several tens of tonnes of Vietnamese lychee was sold, while a small amount of mango was shipped to Australia.

    Meanwhile, Vietnamese fruit and vegetable exports largely depended on China, as about 70 percent of products were shipped to China in 2016, compared to 65 percent in 2015 and 30 percent in 2014.

    Duong Phuong Thao, deputy head of the Department of Import and Export under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, said that China pledged to create optimal conditions for Vietnamese products in the market. 

    However, China will tighten import activities and strengthen the fight against smuggling and the supervision of product quality, she said.

    Thao stressed that to achieve sustainable growth in the sector, quality must be improved, with increasing investment in post-harvest storage and processing and building trademarks to attract more consumers.

    Vietnamese tuna loses competitive edge in Japan due to high taxes

    Vietnamese tuna exporters have struggled to compete with Thai and Philippine firms in the Japanese market due to high taxes, according to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP).

    In a letter sent to the Ministry of Industry and Trade on February 13, VASEP called on the ministry to review taxes applied on Vietnamese tuna products shipped to Japan and put the issue on table with the Japanese side in an effort to bring them to the zero percent tariffs that Thai and Filipino exporters enjoy.

    According to VASEP, Japan is one of Vietnam’s eight biggest tuna export markets. However, Vietnamese tuna exports to this market have continuously dropped since 2013 due to high taxes.

    Statistics from Japanese customs showed that tax rates levied on canned yellowfin tuna exported to Japan from Thailand fell from 4.8 percent in 2009 to zero percent in April 2012 according to the Japan-Thailand Economic Partnership Agreement.

    The rate for the Philippines also decreased to zero percent in April 2013 thanks to the generalised system of preferences, while the rate remains up to 9.6 percent for Vietnam despite the Vietnam – Japan Economic Partnership Agreement became effective in October 2009.

    The association pointed out that in the ASEAN – Japan comprehensive economic partnership agreement, there is no roadmap for Vietnam to enjoy zero percent taxes like the two above-mentioned countries.

    According to VASEP, tuna products contribute between 450-550 million USD per year to the country’s total export value.

    Chan May port expects to welcome 49 cruise ships in 2017

    Chan May port in the central province of Thua Thien – Hue expects to receive 49 cruise ships and 113,000 tourists in 2017.

    Last year, the port welcomed 36 ships with 87,000 visitors on board, an increase of 8,500 compared to 2015.

    Chan May port is located between the two biggest cities in the central region – Hue and Da Nang. The port also lies on the main sea route linking Singapore, the Philippines, Hong Kong (China) and Vietnam. 

    It is among 46 seaports in Southeast Asia selected by the Asia Cruise Association as a stopover for cruise ships.

    After a recent wharf upgrade, the port can now accommodate 30,000 DWT vessels and cruise ships carrying 3,000-4,000 passengers each.

    According to Nguyen Van Chuong, vice director general of Chan May Port JSC, to facilitate travel in the port area at night, a lighting system is being built on the route connecting the wharf with national highway 1A.

    Cruise ship arrivals are likely to bring huge revenues to the local tourism sector, however services for big-spending passengers remain limited.

    Connected tours in the region and with neighbouring regions offer a potential solution to this issue. Recently, tourism departments of Hanoi, Thua Thien – Hue, Da Nang and Quang Nam signed a pact to develop the sector through providing linked tours and facilitating travel companies.

    Hai Phong pushes tourism development

    The northern coastal city of Hai Phong aims to develop tourism into a spearhead economic sector, towards becoming a tourism centre of Vietnam by 2030. 

    The city’s tourism sector will enhance international cooperation and links with other localities to promote green and sustainable tourism, said Deputy Director of the municipal Department of Tourism Le Trung Son. 

    The department will intensify promotion activities to attract more visitors and call for more investment in the field while considering building a multi-language handbook to introduce cultural identities. 

    Information related to tourism events will be promoted at the website: www.dulichhaiphong.gov.vn. 

    The department will actively join tourism events and organise fact-finding tours to other localities to learn from their experience and seek cooperation opportunities. 

    Attention will also be paid to a project to develop cultural and spiritual tourism products, eco-tourism and maritime tourism, and new products on inter-regional tourism routes: Hanoi-Hai Phong-Quang Ninh; Hai Phong-Hai Duong-Bac Ninh; and Hanoi- Hung Yen-Hai Duong-Hai Phong-Quang Ninh. 

    Last year, Hai Phong enhanced links with localities in the Red River Delta and in the south with Can Tho and Khanh Hoa.

    Thanks to direct flights between Hai Phong and foreign countries like Thailand, Japan and the Republic of Korea, Hai Phong became an attractive destination for tourists from northeast Asian countries. 

    In 2016, the city welcomed six million visitors, including 759,000 foreigners.

    VEF/VNA/VNS/VOV/SGT/SGGP/Dantri/VET/VIR


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  • 02/15/17--01:43: Article 1
  • Enabling domestic private sector investment in Vietnam

     

    Vietnam has consistently rated poorly in global measures of domestic private sector development, a key to the country’s future economic success, said experts at a recent forum in Hanoi.

    enabling domestic private sector investment in vietnam hinh 0

    A report last year by the World Bank, they noted, showed that Vietnam ranked 78th out of 189 countries in the ease of doing business index with poor-quality infrastructure and business environment cited as the two major constraints to growth.

    There is an infrastructure backlog, particularly in the remote and rural areas, and the investment needed to cure the problem is far beyond the Vietnam government’s resources, said the World Bank report.

    Thus, far too many Vietnamese still live in remote and rural areas that have severely restricted access to commercial markets and services that many people around the globe take for granted.

    Better infrastructure and continuing economic reform to build the domestic private sector are needed for the Government to reduce poverty and reach its ambitious goal of becoming an industrialized country by the year 2020.

    The fastest growing region in Vietnam is the Mekong Delta, which is bound to be the future agricultural and industrial hub of the country. But for that to happen, better infrastructure need be constructed.

    Most of the country is also plagued by critical supply-side constraints linking producers and consumers, whether that connectivity lie with connecting people to essential services such as hospitals and schools or to commercial services.

    One of the most direct and practical solutions is through the expansion of the domestic sector and finding innovative ways to encourage them to fund the construction of badly needed infrastructure, said Nguyen Duc Thanh at the forum.

    Mr Thanh, who is the director of the Vietnam Centre for Economic and Policy Research, said there has been for far too long an overreliance on the foreign sector for economic growth and too little evolution of the domestic sector.

    The foreign sector, said Mr Thanh, currently accounts for two-thirds of exports and one-quarter of the country’s employment.

    As a result, the domestic sector, once the major driver of the country’s economic growth, has been stymied— constrained by lack of competitiveness with foreigners, limited access to finances and a slackening of consumer demand by Vietnamese, who increasingly prefer to purchase foreign goods to those made locally.

    One practical solution, according to Mr Thanh is straightforward.

    He suggests that all state-owned companies be sold off to the domestic sector and let private sector ingenuity operate them profitably and use those earnings to invest in and solve the country’s infrastructure and connectivity problems.

    Mr Thanh believes state owned enterprises are bloated with bureaucracy and inefficiency and are a drain on the country’s limited resources rather than a contributor to them.

    The faster the Government enables and engages the domestic private sector to invest in infrastructure throughout the remote and rural areas of the country and build a national supply chain the better, said Mr Thanh.

    Truong Dinh Tuyen, the former minister of the Ministry of Industry and Trade agreed. There are many obstacles to overcome in development of the domestic private sector, however, transferring state owned enterprises to the private sector is a good first step to prosperity.

    In addition, domestic companies can benefit tremendously from identifying good examples of how foreign companies operate their businesses, and copy those policies and practices that are appropriate for Vietnam.

    If domestic companies work closely with their foreign counterparts to share experiences, they will reap tremendous benefits by increasing their competitiveness that will pay off over the long-term by improving productivity and in turn prosperity.

    VOV


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  • 02/15/17--01:45: Article 0
  • Social News 15/2


    Hanoi looks to develop model “garden city” urban area


     

    Hanoi’s Department of Planning and Architecture publicised on February 14 the detailed planning of a functional residential area expected to become a “garden city” in south of the capital city.

    In the planning with a scale of 1:500, the residential area covers more than 75 hectares in Me Tri, Trung Van and Phu Do wards of Nam Tu Liem district, in the south of Thang Long Avenue.

    It is designed to consist of housing, lakes, greenery, and schools and accommodate 10,000 people.

    The department said while planning, relevant agencies of Hanoi tried to ensure appropriate land use and the residential area’s connectivity and harmony with surrounding projects, thereby meeting the general development demand in the south of Hanoi.

    The functional resident area is formed in line with the Prime Minister’s direction in January 2015 regarding the implementation of a culture, tourism and trade centre project to raise fund for the building of a national exhibition and fair centre.

    Ministry to tighten control of divestment and equitisation

    The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) will tighten control over company equitisation and impose strict penalties on irresponsible leaders who delay this process, Deputy Minister Hà Công Tuấn said at a conference in Hà Nội yesterday.

    Deputy Minister Tuấn said inefficient equitisation that creates losses of State capital and properties at fully-funded or partly-funded State enterprises would be subjected to compensation payment and held responsible under the law.

    According to the deputy minister restructuring of several firms has been implemented slowly. Some equitised companies are unable to sell out their shares on schedule and have not made major changes in terms of production efficiency, while their structure, operations and management have shown shortcomings.

    Nguyễn Nam Hải, general director of Việt Nam Coffee Corporation, said that during the 2012-2015 period, three fourths of the company’s units were equitised. One unit went into liquidation while two units conducted divestment. Four more units have not divested their capital.

    Việt Nam Southern Food Corporation and Việt Nam Rubber Group also faced divestment difficulties, especially in searching for competitive investors to purchase capital.

    A representative of the Finance Ministry said at the conference that in 2017, units must take active roles in restructuring and equitisation. The ministry will mobilise officials to help enterprises address problems that arise.

    Deputy Minister Hà Công Tuấn said MARD leaders attached importance to strategies attracting investors to agriculture. However, implementation of investment policies faced difficulties and the ministry was determined to work out measures to address them.

    Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Nguyễn Xuân Cường, said that renewal in enterprise management is a chance to revive State-owned firms.

    “The ministry’s plan in the 2017-2020 period is to seriously implement equitisation, capital transfer and divestment. The process will be carried out with respect of the law and transparency to avoid losses. Enterprise restructuring must be conducted along with production,” Cường said.

    Representatives of enterprises at the conference agreed that 51 per cent of stock of efficiently run companies should be kept, while 100 per cent of capital at ineffectively-run enterprises must be withdrawn.

    According to MARD, 12 State-owned companies under the ministry have so far equitised successfully. Three, namely Việt Nam Southern Food Corporation, Việt Nam Rubber Group and Việt Nam Agricultural Materials Corporation, are setting up equitisation plans. In 2016, the total divestment grew to VNĐ1.53 trillion (US$68.1 million).

    Quang Nam works to ensure security for APEC events

    The central coastal province of Quang Nam has deployed a plan to ensure safety and security for the organisation of APEC events.

    Three events are scheduled to take place in the locality, including meetings for finance senior officials; finance and central bank deputies; and finance ministers.

    Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Le Tri Thanh said local police conducted a counter-terrorism exercise in Hoi An city in August 2016, while proactively coordinating with the local Military High Command and border guards to strengthen defense and security for the APEC meetings.

    Deputy Minister of Public Security Bui Van Nam said the APEC Year 2017 offers a good opportunity for Vietnam to increase her position in the regional and international arenas.

    He requested the province to pay due attention to the entry-and-exit management, fire prevention, and crime prevention, especially during the time of APEC activities.

    Vietnam joined APEC in 1998, and hosted APEC 14 in 2006, which laid a foundation for Asia-Pacific free trade areas.

    Established in 1989, APEC now comprises 21 economies, including Australia; Brunei; Canada; Chile; China; Hong Kong, China; Indonesia; Japan; the Republic of Korea; Malaysia; Mexico; New Zealand; Papua New Guinea; Peru; the Philippines; Russia; Singapore; Chinese Taipei; Thailand; the United States; and Vietnam.

    WB experts assist Binh Dinh’s post-disaster rebuilding effort

    A delegation of World Bank experts had a working session with Binh Dinh authorities on February 14 seeking to address consequences of natural disasters in central provinces.

    The experts suggested Binh Dinh province focus investment on key projects, which could adapt to severe impacts of natural calamities in the coming time.

    According to the provincial People’s Committee, floods in 2016 caused an economic loss of over 2.2 trillion VND.

    Thirty-nine people were killed or unaccounted for, while hundreds houses were destroyed and 18,800 hectares of rice were submerged.

    Given the fact, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc visited Binh Dinh in December to inspect the local rebuilding efforts.

    The PM also entrusted the Ministry of Planning and Investment to coordinate with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to arrange an official development assistance (ODA) package for Binh Dinh to rebuild transport and irrigation systems and enhance local capacity to cope with natural disasters.

    On February 10, 2017, the Government leader approved a proposal to lend 100 million USD from the World Bank to quickly address natural disaster consequences in some central provinces, including Binh Dinh, Quang Ngai, Phu Yen and Ninh Thuan.

    Binh Thuan aims to become national sea tourism-sports centre

    The People’s Committee of the southern central coastal province of Binh Thuan has issued a plan to boost tourism through 2020, aiming to make tourism a spearhead sector of the province and turning the locality into a national sea tourism-sports centre.

    It has pursued an ambitious plan to make Mui Ne a national tourism site, Phu Quy island a national destination, and Phan Thiet city an urban tourism area.

    Ngo Minh Chinh, Director of the provincial Department of Sports and Tourism, said the province is blessed with 200km coastline and favourable conditions for tourism development and has effectively tapped the advantages for sea sports and festivals.

    As of January 2017, the province had 388 investment projects in tourism with a total investment of over 54.07 trillion VND. Of the total, 23 projects are foreign-invested.

    Infrastructure and services for tourism have been rapidly developed in both quantity and quality with 417 accommodations with 13,120 rooms and 300 houses and villas for hosting tourists.

    Binh Thuan has become a national tourism centre with diverse tourism products, he said, adding that tourism has significantly contributed to the province’s economic growth, helping create jobs for thousands of locals, especially those in rural areas, and contributing to preserving and promoting its historical, cultural values and natural resources.

    It is striving to turn the industry a major economic sector with synchronous infrastructure system. The sector expects to attract seven million visitors with a growth of 12-14 percent each year, including 10-12 percent growth each year in domestic tourists, and 10 percent contribution to the province’s gross regional domestic products.

    To this end, it will focus on 10 measures, including increasing communications on tourism, adjusting and building tourism growth planning and further fostering regional connectivity.

    It will speed up cooperation programmes with Ho Chi Minh City and the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong to promote the “Saigon market-Da Lat flower and Mui Ne beach” tourism product, while improving the infrastructure system, diversifying tourism products and bettering service quality, said Chinh.

    He also stressed the need to step up the administrative reform and develop human resources for tourism and strengthen State management over environment protection.

    In 2016, Binh Thuan welcomed 4.5 million visitors, a rise of 8.8 percent over the same period in 2015, including 530,800 foreign arrivals, up 11.2 percent year on year. The sector earned 9.04 trillion VND in the year, a surge of 18.4 percent over 2015.

    In 2017, Binh Thuan aims to serve 5 million visitors.

    Carbon monoxide poisoning kills Vietnamese sailor off Malaysia

    Three other crewmen were also rendered unconscious by the toxic fumes.

    A Vietnamese engineer died on February 13 after inhaling poisonous fumes on the vessel he was working on off the coast of Malaysia.

    Hoang Van Chuyen, 33, is believed to have died from carbon monoxide poisoning triggered by a gas leak in the vessel’s cargo compartment, the Star quoted Malaysian police as saying.

    Three other crewmen, 27, 29 and 32, were rushed to a local hospital unconscious but are now in stable conditions.

    Malaysian police said they will conduct a post-mortem to establish the cause of Chuyen’s death.

    The vessel was carrying a crew of 21 and 6,000 tons of rice from Ho Chi Minh City to the Philippines.

    The gas leak occurred on February 11 morning but the vessel only reached port at 6 p.m. on February 13.

    Saigon to revitalize downtown riverside park

    A weekly market will be held at a park along the Saigon River in downtown Ho Chi Minh City, as municipal authorities look to revitalize the weather-beaten historical site.

    The plan, masterminded by the administration of District 1, is set to carry out a complete makeover of the park, which is bordered by Ton Duc Thang Street in the district on one side and the Saigon River on the other.
    The park is linked to the historical site of Bach Dang Wharf where tenth-century Vietnamese general Ngo Quyen destroyed a fleet of invading Chinese warships by erecting a maze of sharp stakes on the riverbed, concealed by high tides.

    The market will assemble every weekend, promoting Vietnamese brands to international friends and creating a new cultural rendezvous for locals as well as tourists, according to District 1's administration.

    As many as 100 stalls are expected to be assembled each week, selling different locally-made goods depending on the week’s theme, including food, fashion, and tourism.

    The weekly activity is the city’s move to revitalize the park after it has decayed over the past two years without proper care and management.

    The park used to house a parking lot and terminal for the now-defunct Thu Thiem Ferry that transported passengers between District 1 and District 2 before the completion of the Saigon River Tunnel in 2011.

    In 2013, state-owned travel company Saigontourist took over management of the location with plans to renovate and turn the ferry station into a park.

    Little progress had been made on the project as of 2015 however, and since last September the park has once again been under the management of District 1’s administration.

    The upcoming beautification project will be carried out by Saigontourist, which plans to build a riverside square resembling the looks of the city of Saigon, the previous name of Ho Chi Minh City.

    Explosion decimates Nha Trang shop, kills 1, injures 2

    Officials confirm that one person was killed and two injured in an explosion at a construction shop in the city of Nha Trang in Khanh Hoa Province.

    Crews responded to the explosion at the Civil Engineering Construction No. 510 JSC on the morning of February 14 at around 8:50 am.

    Investigators have identified the dead victim as Le Xuan Huy, 42, who was employed at the shop. The two injured workers, Dinh Hong Nien,53, and Nguyen Tan Thanh, 33, remain hospitalized. Their condition is unknown.

    The cause of the blast that destroyed the shop remains under investigation.

    Hanoi wants more French 'Sister City' relationships


     hanoi wants more french 'sister city' relationships hinh 0

    Chair of the Hanoi People’s Committee Nguyen Duc Chung has called on the Committee to explore the possibility of establishing more French Sister City relationships.

    Mr Chung made the announcement during a February 14 meeting in Hanoi with Pierre Baillet, the permanent secretary of the International Association of Francophone Mayors.
     
    Alternatively, Mr Baillet, raised the possibility of establishing a network of Southeast Asian and French cities.This would create an ideal opportunity for all parties to tap into the benefits of twinning relationships.

    He said he had previously raised the idea with official in Vientiane (Laos), and Phnom Penh (Cambodia) and that it was well received.

    Officials say 6 dead in food poisoning outbreak in Lai Chau

    Six people have now died out of 11 confirmed cases of food poisoning linked to foods consumed at a funeral service, hospital officials in the province of Lai Chau said on February 13.

    There is a total of 11 cases of food poisoning, officials at the Phong Tho District General Hospital and Lai Chau Province General Hospital told reporters, all having occurred in the Ta Chai Hamlet.

    A possibility exists for more deaths as some of the five patients hospitalized are in critical condition.

    The exact cause of how the food was contaminated is still under investigation, but all the patients reported the same symptoms of headache, dizziness, nausea after consuming food at a funeral service, said the officials.

    Major Lo Van Nguyet, deputy head of Si Lo Lau border guard in the Phong Tho District said the funeral transpired three days earlier. Most of the casualties are Ha Nhi ethnic minorities.

    Tour operator struggles to arrange trip for 1,000 tourists to Bali

    Having won a contract to organize a trip for 1,013 tourists to Indonesia’s Bali, Ben Thanh Tourist has ended up in booking tickets from six airlines after a tough struggle to secure enough air tickets for the group.

    Ta Thi Cam Vinh, manager of the outbound section of Ben Thanh Tourist, told the Daily that her company won the huge contract to arrange a Meeting, Incentive, Conference and Event (MICE) tour for a company in Vietnam and that the customers wanted to depart on the same day. But there are not enough tickets so they have to take connecting flights to Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia.

    The customers are scheduled to depart on April 15, 18 and 21 on flights of Vietnam Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Air Asia, Malindo Air and Tiger Airways. They will be accommodated in four to five-star hotels after arriving in Bali.

    “This is our biggest MICE tour to Bali. It is hard to book enough tickets as there are few flights between Vietnam and Bali,” Vinh said.

    Formerly, Ben Thanh Tourist has organized similar tours to Japan and Korea. For long-haul and expensive destinations such as Europe, the company’s biggest contract was to serve 200 customers.

    Compared to other tourism sectors’ unstable growth, MICE tourism to foreign countries has seen steady growth in recent years. In 2016, this sector gained a year-on-year rise of 30%.

    The destinations vary over time but customers mainly choose Asian destinations.

    Vietnam offers two visa options for US visitors

    American tourists can now acquire single-entry visas again for only US$25.

    Vietnamese immigration officials have made it easier for American tourists to acquire visas with the introduction of an electronic visa system.

    American tourists, along with 39 other nationalities, can now apply for 30-day single-entry visas for a fee of US$25.

    Starting in August last year, Vietnam began offering US citizens multiple-entry one-year visas at a whopping fee of US$135, rather than US$25 for a single-entry visa as before.

    The one-year, multiple-entry visa policy is in accordance with a mutual agreement between the two countries intended to attract more tourists to Vietnam.

    Vietnam restored the short-stay visa option for US citizens after a request from the U.S. itself, which said it did not conflict with the above agreement.

    "This change is exactly what US travelers want because they usually just come to Vietnam on one-week tours and then move on to other countries," Director of Viet Excursions Phan Xuan Anh told Saigon Times.

    Vietnam attracted 552,000 U.S. travelers last year, 12.5% higher than the year before, accounting for more than 5% of the country’s total international arrivals, government statistics show.

    Tourism revenue contributes around 6% to Vietnam’s gross domestic product and the government is determined to further expand this sector.

    From February 1 this year, nationals from 40 countries have been able apply for e-visas to visit Vietnam.

    Last year, Vietnam also extended visa exemptions with single-entry visits to citizens of Germany, France, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom, and eased its visa policy for Chinese nationals.

    Hai Phong pushes tourism development

    The northern coastal city of Hai Phong aims to develop tourism into a spearhead economic sector, towards becoming a tourism centre of Vietnam by 2030.

    The city’s tourism sector will enhance international cooperation and links with other localities to promote green and sustainable tourism, said Deputy Director of the municipal Department of Tourism Le Trung Son.

    The department will intensify promotion activities to attract more visitors and call for more investment in the field while considering building a multi-language handbook to introduce cultural identities.

    Information related to tourism events will be promoted at the website: www.dulichhaiphong.gov.vn.

    The department will actively join tourism events and organise fact-finding tours to other localities to learn from their experience and seek cooperation opportunities.

    Attention will also be paid to a project to develop cultural and spiritual tourism products, eco-tourism and maritime tourism, and new products on inter-regional tourism routes: Hanoi-Hai Phong-Quang Ninh; Hai Phong-Hai Duong-Bac Ninh; and Hanoi- Hung Yen-Hai Duong-Hai Phong-Quang Ninh.

    Last year, Hai Phong enhanced links with localities in the Red River Delta and in the south with Can Tho and Khanh Hoa.

    Thanks to direct flights between Hai Phong and foreign countries like Thailand, Japan and the Republic of Korea, Hai Phong became an attractive destination for tourists from northeast Asian countries.

    In 2016, the city welcomed six million visitors, including 759,000 foreigners.

    Three men arrested in drug-related frauds

    Police have arrested three more men in a criminal ring accused of using psychotropic drugs to commit frauds in the central province of Thanh Hóa.

    Trịnh Hữu Văn, 41, from Triệu Sơn District; Vũ Văn Chanh, 45, from Yên Định District; and 44-year-old Hồ Văn Trọng from Hưng Nguyên District were arrested on Sunday following a three-month investigation into five fraudulent cases in which the victims were drugged and partially lost consciousness.

    Earlier, in December last year, Thanh Hóa police arrested three men -- Lễ Sỹ Tùng, 33, and Nguyễn Ngọc Cầu, 28, both from Triệu Sơn District, and Lê Đức Hùng, 31, from Thọ Xuân District. They allegedly rented a car with a driver, who was given a soda or beer with the psychotropic drug mixed in it. Under the influence of the drug, the driver lost the card games he played with the group and was forced to choose between writing a debt note and giving the car to the swindlers to pay off the debt.

    The police said the group had successfully stolen five cars since August last year until their arrest.

    Investigation into the swindling racket is ongoing.

    First totally drug-resistant tuberculosis case in Đồng Nai

    The first case of totally drug-resistant tuberculosis in the southern province of Đồng Nai is being treated at the provincial Lung Hospital.
    The information was released by the hospital on Tuesday.
    The 62-year-old patient, who remains anonymous, is from Biên Hòa City. He was hospitalised in September 2015 for treatment of drug-resistant tuberculosis.
    Despite long-term treatment, his condition did not improve and he still tested positive for tuberculosis bacteria.
    The Đồng Nai Lung Hospital sent his medical samples to HCM City-based Phạm Ngọc Thạch Hospital for testing. Results revealed that he suffered from totally drug-resistant tuberculosis.
    Bùi Văn Thịnh, head of the Tuberculosis Male Patient and Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis Ward under the provincial hospital, said the patient is under treatment and supervision at the hospital.
    At present, his condition is gradually improving and he has tested negative for tuberculosis bacteria.
    Nguyễn Ngọc Khánh, director of the Đồng Nai Lung Hospital, said totally drug-resistant tuberculosis was a dangerous disease and occurred in patients suffering from drug-resistant tuberculosis, who did not receive proper treatment or caught the disease from another totally drug-resistant tuberculosis patients.
    Treatment for totally drug-resistant tuberculosis was very difficult and prolonged, while medicines to treat the disease had several side effects that could be fatal, he said.
    Khánh said the tuberculosis could spread quickly, so the hospital had a separate area for drug-resistant tuberculosis patients, which was far from areas housing patients with other lung diseases.
    The hospital warned that residents with symptoms of prolonged coughing who had used different medication but their condition not improved and those suffering from high temperature in the afternoon and were losing weight should visit the hospital for timely treatment.

    Speeding bus kills 2 children in Bình Dương

    Two children were killed and several other people were injured, two grievously, in the southern province of Bình Dương on Monday when a public transport bus crashed into a car and several motorbikes at a traffic signal.

    The deadly accident occurred at 5pm at Mỹ Phước – Tân Vạn Street in Dĩ An town.

    Nguyễn Thị Kim Lan, nine, and her sister Nguyễn Thị Thanh Nga, two, died on the spot, and their mother, Lê Thị Kim Chung, 35, and another woman were severely injured.

    Several other people were slightly injured, according to the local police, who said the bus was speeding en route from Bến Cát town to Dĩ An when it crashed into the car.

    It then hit at least four motorbikes, dragging them for more than 10 metres, before crashing into and knocking over a lamp post before coming to a stop.

    Trần Hữu Tài, 30, of Hậu Giang Province, the driver, fled the scene, according to the police.

    There were no passengers in the bus.

    The police are investigating.

    Southern province celebrates intangible musical heritage

    The 23rd festival of đờn ca tài tử, the musical art recognised by UNESCO as an intangible cultural heritage, took place in the southern province of Long An on February 12-13.
    The festival paid tribute to music teacher Nguyễn Quang Đại, credited with promoting and preserving the traditional musical art of the southern region during the Nguyễn dynasty (1802-1945).
    It also offers an opportunity for masters of đờn ca tài tử to meet and exchange experiences to promote the art, contributing to the preservation of this intangible cultural heritage.
    Held annually in Long An, the festival has become a typical cultural feature of the region and attracts many visitors.
    This year, the đờn ca tài tử festival in Long An drew the participation of 10 musical groups from HCM City and the provinces close by, including Tiền Giang, Vĩnh Long, Bến Tre and Đồng Nai. They entertained the audience with their performances of songs praising national heroes, patriotism and national achievements.
    As part of the festival, the organisers also held a photo exhibition featuring the life and career of the masters of đờn ca tài tử so that visitors could learn more about this musical art of southern Việt Nam.
    UNESCO recognised the art as an intangible cultural heritage in 2013. The art is performed at numerous events, such as festivals, death anniversary rituals, and celebratory social events. The audience can join in by practising, making comments or creating new words for songs.

    Northern province prays for peace with mountain ritual


     

    A heaven and earth sacrifice ritual was held on February 13 at Ngũ Nhạc Mountain at the Côn Sơn-Kiếp Bạc special national relic site in the northern province of Hải Dương.
    The ritual, which is part of the Côn Sơn-Kiếp Bạc Spring Festival 2017, takes place annually on the 17th day of the first lunar month to pray for peace, prosperity and development.
    Following the ceremony, local authorities presented five types of cereals -- maize, rice, bean, peanuts and millet -- to participants.
    Ngũ Nhạc Mountain, located in Lê Lợi Commune, Chí Linh District, consists of five sacred peaks stretching over 4km. Five shrines are built on top of the peaks to worship the gods of the five directions.
    The local authorities decided to restore the shrines on August 8, 2004, to promote cultural values of the relic and attract more visitors. Construction was completed in February 2016, with a pedestrian path system leading to the mountains.

    Cần Giờ aims to become sea tourism destination

    The chairman of HCM City’s People’s Committee has urged the city’s Cần Giờ District to promote the area as a sea tourism destination.

    Nguyễn Thành Phong, who spoke with district authorities about socio-economic development targets in 2017, said the district had great potential, with 10km of coastline, 34 square kilometres of beach area, and mangrove rainforest.

    Lê Minh Dũng, chairman of Cần Giờ District’s People’s Committee, said the district welcomed more than 1 million tourists last year, a surge of 54 per cent over the previous year. Tourism revenues reached VNĐ380 billion (US$16.72 million) last year.

    This year the district hopes to receive 1.25 million visitors with tourism revenue of VNĐ500 billion ($22 million), he added.

    Dũng has asked the city to order the Sài Gòn Water Company (Sawaco) to speed up progress of projects to supply clean water for the district as there is a shortage in some areas.

    He also asked the city to send doctors from HCM City to work in the district on a rotational basis, especially after the 200-bed Cần Giờ General Hospital opens.

    He said the move would help Cần Giờ ensure a sufficient supply of doctors as the district is facing a shortage of high-quality healthcare staff.

    In addition, district authorities said they would like the Government to officially acknowledge Thạnh An Commune as an island commune.

    To address problems facing salt workers, Phong has asked district authorities to create favourable conditions for them or help them find another job.

    Phong also urged the district to speed up the Cần Giờ General Hospital project.

    The Cần Giờ mangrove forest of 31,000 hectares is home to more than 200 various species of wildlife and 150 species of flora. UNESCO recognised the wetlands as a world biosphere reserve in 2010.  

    Sea breaches Bạc Liêu Province dykes in 2 places

    Two sea dykes in the Mekong Delta (Cửu Long) province of Bạc Liêu were badly damaged on Sunday and Monday by high tides, huge waves and strong winds, threatening the lives and properties of local residents.

    In Bạc Liêu city, huge waves and powerful winds at speeds of level 8-9 damaged about 20m of the dyke along Nhà Mát Beach near Nhà Mát Border Post, flooding many houses near it.

    Phạm Thị Liên, 63, a seafood seller at the beach, said: “At around 2am, while I and my son were sleeping, water rushed in. Many big waves buffeted our house. All the furniture in my house and motorbike was damaged. Hundreds of beers and other drinks, and tens of kilogrammes of fresh seafood were swept away.”

    Local authorities quickly moved all the affected people to safe places. Others living in the vicinity were put on notice about moving in case of need.

    In Gành Hào town huge waves damaged 20m of dyke at section G1, where it connects with the Gành Hào River dyke.

    The waves swept away a six-tonne cement block, damaged a part of Rạch Vượt Bridge and caused many cracks in the sea dyke.

    Seawater submerged streets and houses in the town as the tide rose.

    The chairman of the provincial People’s Committee, Dương Thành Trung, ordered local authorities and border guards to take immediate measures to safeguard life and property.

    Agricultural officials should closely monitor changes in tides along Gành Hào and Nhà Mát beaches to take proactive protective measures during periods of peak tides every month, he said.

    Specific plans based on experts’ advice would be drawn up to protect the areas from the sea, he said.

    This has been the worst breach of the three times it has occurred since last year at the Gành Hào dyke, which is 11 years old.

    Last year large parts of the G1 section of the Gành Hào dyke were damaged and have not been rebuilt yet.

    Bạc Liêu is one of provinces in the Mekong Delta affected by climate change.

    The two sea dykes have an important role in protecting thousands of households and tens of thousands of hectares of coastal lands.

    VNA/VNS/VOV/SGT/SGGP/TT/TN/Dantri/VNE


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  • 02/15/17--02:07: Article 0
  • Vinachem seeks delay in plant equitisation


     
    The Ninh Bình nitrogenous fertiliser plant of Việt Nam National Chemical Group (Vinachem). Vinachem) has proposed to the Prime Minister to delay the equitisation of  the losing Ninh Bình Nitrogenous Fertiliser Plant until it generates profits again in order to ensure effective restructuring. - Photo cafef.vn

    HÀ NỘI – Việt Nam National Chemical Group (Vinachem) has proposed to the Prime Minister to delay the equitisation of  the losing Ninh Bình Nitrogenous Fertiliser Plant until it generates profits again in order to ensure effective restructuring.

    The plant has incurred losses since its opening in 2012 estimated at over VNĐ3.3 trillion (US$145.4 million) by the end of 2016.

    The management authority has faced a dilemma between a plant closure and continued production that could result in further losses of VNĐ1.2 trillion in 2017.

    In case of closure, the plant would have to spend around VNĐ1 trillion per year to repay its debts.

    The Ninh Bình and Hà Bắc nitrogenous fertiliser plants, two member companies of Vinachem, are among the 12 loss-making projects under the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT).

    In Vinachem’s Q4 equitisation report to MoIT, the national chemical group attributed the poor performance to heavy lending interest, quick depreciation and a drop in urea fertiliser prices in both local and world markets.

    Apart from the Ninh Bình plant, the report to the Prime Minister by Vinachem also mentioned troubles in selling stakes in other member companies, including the Hà Bắc plant, Industrial Gases and Welding Electrode Co Ltd, Hà Nội Soap JSC and Vĩnh Phú Battery JSC.

    Vinachem reported its charter capital rose to over VNĐ13.8 trillion but is still lower than the Government’s approved capital of VNĐ15 trillion. It has faced a capital shortage to repay debts as well as make investments.

    Under the 2016-20 restructuring scheme submitted to MoIT, Vinachem has sought the approval of the Prime Minister and MoIT to allow the corporation to plan its divestment roadmap in member companies to ensure feasibility and efficiency.

    The chemical group is set to carry out equitisation from 2017 to 2019 and proposes that the Government retain a controlling stake of between 51 per cent and 65 per cent after equitisation. It also plans to raise its charter capital by VNĐ5 trillion through a share issuance during equitisation.

    It has set targets of VNĐ43.6 trillion in total revenues and VNĐ155 billion in profits in 2017. – VNS


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  • 02/16/17--01:57: Article 4
  • Phu Quoc Island ‘smart district’ development requires careful planning


    The Phu Quoc Island ‘smart district’ development requires careful planning to maintain a critically important balance between conventional and modern technology, says the Vietnam Post & Telecommunications Group.

     phu quoc island ‘smart district’ development requires careful planning  hinh 0

    Speaking at a recent conference with officials regarding progress on implementing smart development of the Phu Quoc Island district, VNPT representatives elaborated on the concept of what it means.

      

    There is no universally accepted definition of either smart district, or relatedly, smart city development. Both are virtually identical in concept except for whether one is talking about a city or a larger urban district.

    However, the concept means many different things to different people around the globe and varies from country to country. A smart district would most definitely have a different meaning to someone living in the US than it would to a person in Vietnam or in Europe.

    However, conceptually the approach is to install modern computerized technology for use by the district of Phu Quoc Island in managing its operations to promote the quality of life – such as better air quality, reduced traffic congestion, improved water quality, efficient sewage treatment or reduction of crime – for the benefit of its citizens.

    It is possible that smart city technology may help create and sustain smart tourism in the future, but, there has been no empirical evidence collected anywhere around the globe that show smart city or districts have benefited tourism by any quantifiable measure.

    Under the proposed model, which is already in the preliminary phase of implementation, VNPT will install sensors and equipment to measure noise and air quality, traffic and parking lot use at selected locations throughout the district.

    In addition, it will begin to lay the groundwork to apply advanced technologies to construct smart transportation systems along with those to manage water resources and treat waste.

    Relatedly, the districtwill be able to use this intelligent infrastructure to support research to improve the understanding of its problems, said VNPT reps. In other words, thistechnology can be used to collect and analysedata to help officials make better moreinformed solutions.

    Most importantly, said the VNPT reps, these technology solutions must be used in conjunction with human intelligence. They are not a substitute for human decision making that is required to design and operate them as well as to interpret the information and make the management decisions for the district.

    Stage one of implementation, which began in 2016, focuses on network infrastructure, information technology and basic services like building e-government, making Wi-Fi available throughout the entiredistrict, installing CCTV cameras and building environment observation stations.

    The second stage from 2017 to 2018 will construct a data centre, a concentrated operation centre and continue giving effect to basic and smart services. The third stage from 2019-2020 will continue installing smart and added value services.

    Mai Van Huynh,vice chair of the Kien Giang Provincial People’s Committee said relevant agencies need to spread word of the project to residents and channel resources to help progress on the project proceed smoothly.

    Phu Quoc is the largest island of Vietnam and a district of the Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang. It spans an area of nearly 600 square kilometres and has a population of more than 100,000 people.

    VOV


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  • 02/16/17--02:13: Article 3
  • Hundreds fined as Saigon puts the brakes on sidewalk driving


     

    An urban order management officer pulls over a man for driving on the sidewalk.Tuoi Tre


    Over 100 motorbike riders in Ho Chi Minh City were fined on Wednesday for driving on sidewalks as the local administration looks to reestablish order on its streets.

    The administration of District 1, Ho Chi Minh City is cooperating with traffic police and urban order management in its campaign to put an end to sidewalk-driving in the city’s downtown area.

    Local police camped out on Nguyen Binh Khiem Street and the Ly Tu Trong-Nguyen Trung Truc intersection in District 1 between 4:00 pm and 6:00 pm on Wednesday, looking to book anyone riding on sidewalks to avoid traffic congestion.

    A total of 108 riders were stopped over the course of two hours, with each violation carrying a VND350,000 (US$15.63) fine and a temporary driver’s license confiscation.

    Some violating riders got off their motorbikes or made a U-turn upon seeing law enforcers, while others pretended to stop by a nearby house to justify their offense.

    Doan Ngoc Hai, deputy chairman of the District 1 People’s Committee, said district authorities would continue their campaign until order is restored to the city’s streets and the sidewalks are returned to their initial purpose of serving pedestrians.

    “It is a danger to pedestrians and an eyesore to foreign tourists for motorbikes to roam freely on the sidewalk,” Hai said. “Some violators asked to be let go without a fine as it was their first offense, but we insisted on using the law as deterrence. Only when each citizen is aware of and follows the law can our city become civilized.”

    The municipal Department of Transport stirred debate earlier this month when it installed fences and anti-motorbike barriers on multiple pedestrian walkways in District 1.


    TUOI TRE NEWS


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