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  • 02/21/17--02:36: Article 1
  • High liquidity, but no drop in interest rates

    Despite good liquidity in the banking system, the peculiarities in Việt Nam’s monetary policy management has prevented the decline of interest rates on deposits. - Photo

    HÀ NỘI – Despite good liquidity in the banking system, the peculiarities in Việt Nam’s monetary policy management has prevented the decline of interest rates on deposits, a central economic report said.

    The Party Central Committee’s Commission for Economic Affairs in its Việt Nam annual report in February 2017, entitled: ’2017 – Overcoming difficulties and continuing to develop’, said that it would be difficult to use inter-bank rate to impact the market interest rate due to the peculiarities in Việt Nam’s money and banking policy management.

    According to the commission, there is a major difference in the monetary policy management of Việt Nam compared with other countries. The committee explained that in Thailand, Indonesia and many other countries, the monetary policy management is implemented in accordance with the inflation target. However, the monetary policy management in Việt Nam is for multi-purposes, including inflation control, foreign exchange stability and capital control.

    It defeats these purposes, when there is pressure on foreign exchange rates, the commission said.

    It has cited last year’s experience in the report. When the exchange rate increased sharply in the wake of US’s Fed interest rate rise, the central bank had to sell the US dollar and increase the interest rate of treasury bills to reduce the pressure on the foreign exchange rates. It caused a sharp rise in inter-bank rate.

    Therefore, according to the commission, maintaining low interest rates in the inter-bank market triggers instability, and it will be a barrier to the commercial banks unwilling to lower interest rates (mainly long-term rates).

    Besides this, excess liquidity in some banks does not easily flow into other banks that are short on liquidity and do not have good asset quality. According to the committee, it is difficult for the latter to borrow from the first, unless they have secured assets such as G-bonds.

    Therefore, the latter must increase interest rates to higher levels than the average rates to be able to attract depositors.

    This year, the central bank has targeted keeping the interest rate stable, but some commercial banks inched up deposit interest rates in the first month of the year.

    However, the central bank said the rise was only in some small-sized banks and did not reflect the common trend of the entire banking system. It affirmed that interest rates were stable in the first month of 2017 and would remain steady for the entire year.

    Currently, deposit interest rates average at 0.8 per cent to 1 per cent per year for below one-month terms, 4.5 per cent to 5.4 per cent per year for one-month term to six-month terms, 5.4 per cent to 6.5 per cent per year for six-month terms to 12-month terms and 6.4 per cent to 7.2 per cent per year for terms exceeding 12 months. - VNS

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  • 02/21/17--02:43: Article 0
  • Tan Son Nhat gets 21ha of military land for expansion

    Vietnam’s aviation sector is now able to build additional airport facilities on a large military land plot adjacent to Tan Son Nhat International Airport, following a land transfer ceremony on Tuesday.

    An official is seen in front of the newly transferred land plot.Tuoi Tre

    During the ceremony, the Ministry of Defense transferred the land to its transport counterpart, allowing the latter to start the project to expand the capacity of the overloaded Ho Chi Minh City-based airport.

    Lai Xuan Thanh, head of the transport ministry’s Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam, said the land plot, previously home to military aircraft until Tuesday, will see construction of a new taxiway and a number of airport aprons for Tan Son Nhat.

    The new facilities will contribute to the plan to increase the airport’s capacity by 10 million passengers a year from the current 25 million, Thanh said at the ceremony.

    Tan Son Nhat currently has 50 aprons, falling short of  the demand of 67 parking spaces, according to the CAAV head.

    With the additional land, 30 to 35 new aprons will be built, resolving the shortfall, Thanh said.

    The official added that the taxiway and apron projects should be completed by the end of this year.

    Despite a design capacity of 25 million passengers per year, last year Tan Son Nhat served more than 32 million flyers, and that number is expected to keep rising over the next few years.

    “By transferring the right to use the land to serve Tan Son Nhat’s expansion plan, the defense ministry has made a significant contribution to ease pressure on the airport and to the development of the aviation sector,” Thanh said.

    The 21 hectares used to be where one brigade and one regiment of Vietnam’s Air Force parked their aircraft.

    Following Tuesday’s transfer, the two units are expected to relocate to the neighboring province of Dong Nai.


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  • 02/21/17--04:33: Article 0
  • Vietnam to verify Vietnamese passport holder held in Kim Jong-nam death

    Vietnam is working to verify information on a female suspect carrying a Vietnamese passport allegedly involved in the killing of North Korean national Kim Jong-nam in Malaysia last week, the Foreign Ministry said late Monday.

    People watch TV screen broadcasting news report on assassination of Kim Jong Nam, older half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. REUTERS

    The foreign ministry has tasked the Vietnamese Embassy in Kuala Lumpur with working with competent Malaysian agencies on the woman’s case, whose passport is issued in the name of Doan Thi Huong, the ministry’s Consular Department told reporters in Hanoi.

    The Vietnamese passport holder, together with three other suspects, has been held at Malaysia’s Kuala Lumpur International Airport following the February 13 death of Kim Jong-nam, the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

    Kim Jong-nam was using a North Korean passport under the name of Kim Chol at the time of his death.

    “The Vietnamese Embassy in Malaysia is keeping a close watch on the issue,” the Consular Department underlined.

    The department added that in addition to cooperating with Malaysian authorities, relevant Vietnamese agencies are also working to verify information from domestic sources.

    The department, however, admitted that they “had made little progress” as Vietnam’s request to obtain consular access to the woman will not be approved until seven days after her arrest, as per Malaysian law.

    Doan Thi Huong was arrested on February 15.

    The three other suspects include one Malaysian, one North Korean and one Indonesian.

    Reuters quoted Malaysian police as saying they are hunting for four more suspects, who are all North Koreans believed to have fled Kuala Lumpur following the attack, apparently carried out using poisoned needles.


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  • 02/23/17--02:36: Article 3
  • APEC Finance, Central Bank Deputies Meeting convenes


     At the meeting (Photo: VNA)

    Khanh Hoa (VNA)  The APEC Finance and Central Bank Deputies’ Meeting (FCBDM) kicked off in Nha Trang city, south central coastal Khanh Hoa province, on February 23.

    As part of the first APEC Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM-1), the event drew 150 delegates from the 21 APEC member economies and international organisations, including the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank (WB), Asian Development Bank (ADB), Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC).

    In his opening speech, Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Finance Tran Xuan Ha said under the theme “Creating New Dynamism, Fostering a Shared Future”, APEC Year 2017’s priorities will focus on such issues as promoting sustainable, innovative and inclusive growth; boosting regional economic connectivity, enhancing competitiveness and innovation of micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises, increasing food security and sustainable agriculture in response to climate change. 

    He added that the meeting will discuss regional and global economic prospects and identify common opportunities and challenges to seek practical and effective measures to mitigate risks and pursue sustainable development.

    Following consultations, Ha said, the APEC member economies suggested deliberating   long-term investment in infrastructure, finance and natural disaster risk insurance, base erosion and profit shifting, and financial inclusion, to report to the Finance Ministers’ Meeting in October this year.

    The FCBDM is scheduled to last until February 24.-VNA

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  • 02/23/17--02:55: Article 2
  • Domestic private conglomerates want to invest in subway systems

    Hanoi’s Mayor Nguyen Duc Chung said three Vietnamese large construction and real estate conglomerates - Vingroup, Xuan Thanh and Lung Lo Groups - have expressed their willingness to invest in the metro system in Hanoi.

    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, subway, Trinh Dinh Dung, Hanoi 
    Deputy PM Trinh Dinh Dung said it was necessary to call for domestic investment

    Under the overall capital city development plan by 2030 with the vision until 2050, Hanoi’s urban railway network will consist of eight routes with the total length of 318 kilometers. Currently, Hanoi is building two of them – the Cat Linh – Ha Dong and Nhon – Hanoi Station.

    It will require huge resources to develop the city’s urban rail system. The eight routes as planned are estimated to cost VND890 trillion, or $40 billion, if considering the average cost VND2.2-3 trillion per kilometer.

    At a working session with the city’s departments’ leaders on February 4, 2017, Deputy PM Trinh Dinh Dung, when mentioning the solutions to accelerate the implementation of the two projects on Cat Linh – Ha Dong and Nhon – Hanoi Station routes, said it was necessary to call for domestic investment for the projects.

    Three Vietnamese large construction and real estate conglomerates - Vingroup, Xuan Thanh and Lung Lo Groups - have expressed their willingness to invest in the metro system in Hanoi.

    With experience from implementation of the two urban railway projects, Dung wants agencies to work on a mechanism to enhance the mobilization of domestic and foreign resources instead of ODA (official development assistance) capital for other projects.

    He emphasized that it is necessary to create most favorable conditions for Vietnamese conglomerates to contribute to the projects’ implementation in order to increase localization, reduce construction costs and promote Vietnamese enterprises’ capacity.

    Tri Thuc Tre quoted Hanoi’s Mayor Nguyen Duc Chung as saying that the municipal authorities have received the proposal from three Vietnamese corporations to join the subway projects.

    “Hanoi will report the case to the government to consult on the issue,” Chung said.

    Deputy PM Dung applauded Hanoi’s idea of mobilizing domestic resources for the other six urban railway routes, saying that it is not easy to seek foreign capital for infrastructure development.

    Dung said that it will be less costly to implement the projects with the contribution of Vietnamese corporations. Vietnam needs to buy carriages and equipment from other countries, but it is quite able to build tunnels, set up rails, pillars, foundations and stations.

    The implementation of both the Cat Linh – Ha Dong and Nhon – Hanoi Station routes is being carried out by foreign contractors, from South Korea and China. However, both of them are running more slowly than expected, while the required capital has increased from the initially planned rate.

    The Cat Linh – Ha Dong subway project kicked off in October 2011 and is expected to become operational in 2016. However, in the latest news, it will only be put for commercial exploitation by early 2018.

    The Nhon – Hanoi Station would become operational by 2021, four years later than initially expected.

    Kim Chi, VNN

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  • 02/23/17--02:59: Article 1

    VHG offloads over four million treasury shares

     VHG offloads over four million treasury shares, Government unveils action plan to improve economic competitiveness, India – key supplier of pharmaceuticals for Vietnam, Oversupply seen hitting cement manufacturers hard

    Quang Nam Rubber Investment Joint Stock Company has announced that it will sell more than four million treasury shares to increase its working capital.

    The rubber developer will sell the shares between March 1 and March 30. The pricing will be decided by  HCM Stock Exchange (HOSE) regulations, and VNDirect Securities Company will serve as the trader.

    The four million treasury shares make up all of the Quang Nam Rubber Investment JSC’s treasury share holdings. The company bought those shares in November 2015 at an average price of VND8,112 per share.

    The company’s shares are traded on HOSE with code VHG. VHG ended yesterday session at VND2,310 per share, down 2.9 per cent from Tuesday’s closing level. The share price has dropped nearly three-quarters since November 2015. 

    Government unveils action plan to improve economic competitiveness

    The government has announced an action plan to implement the Party Central Committee’s resolution on enhancing the quality of growth, labour productivity and economic competitiveness.

    Under the plan, the government aims to maintain economic stability, keep annual inflation under 5% and gradually reduce the spending deficit to below 3.5% by 2020.

    Public debt during the 2016-2020 period is not allowed to reach 65%, which is to be brought down to 60% in 2030, while the ratio of bad debt is targeted at below 3% by 2020.

    The government also aims to increase the size of the stock market to 70% of GDP in 2020, divest all State stakes in enterprises where it is unnecessary for the government to hold more than half of capital.

    In order to achieve these targets, the government will endeavour to streamline economic management, push through the equitisation of State-owned enterprises and reform the financial market and public services.

    The government will also take action to build a clean and high-tech agricultural sector and restructure key industries in a more substantive manner.

    Under the action plan, the role of the private sector will be promoted with a wide range of supportive policies.

    The Ministry of Planning and Investment has been tasked with formulating the Law on Support for Small and Medium Enterprises, while other ministries and local authorities have been asked to step up administrative reforms to facilitate business activities. 

    Vietnam audit finds multiple projects with unnecessarily long toll period

    Multiple road and bridge projects in Vietnam are applying toll-collecting periods that are up to 13 years longer than they should be, the country’s state auditor has said.

    The State Audit Office of Vietnam (SAV) has inspected 27 toll roads developed under the BOT (build-operate-transfer) scheme countrywide and come to the conclusion that most of them have unnecessarily long fee-collection periods.

    “Those toll periods could be slashed by ten months to 13 years from the developers’ financial plans without affecting their investment recouping,” deputy auditor-general Nguyen Quang Thanh said in a report to the National Assembly Standing Committee on February 21.

    According to the SAV report, if those projects reduce their toll periods as suggested, the total amount of time saved will be more than 100 years.

    “You have more than 100 years of toll after looking into only 27 projects,” Nguyen Van Thanh, chairman of the Vietnam Automobile Transportation Association said, implying that a number of similar projects across the country may be collecting tolls longer than they should.

    “So will the SAV suggestion to cut those toll periods be met? And will any organizations or individuals be held responsible?” he questioned.

    Of the 27 audited projects, one road in the central province of Quang Nam was found to have fully recouped investment but refused to stop collecting a toll, according to the report.

    The SAV audit report also pointed out that many toll booths have been incorrectly placed, taking a toll on vehicles that have to pass them on a daily basis.

    Despite a rule stipulated by the finance ministry that any two toll booths should be at least 70km apart, there are many facilities located within this distance following agreements between the finance and transport ministries and local administrations.

    Moreover, there are cases when a toll booth for one road is located on another road, meaning people have to pay the fee even when they do not use the infrastructure.

    The state auditor has also said that many roads which used to be toll-free have been selected to undergo “upgrade or renovation” under the BOT scheme, while there is no set of standards as to which facilities should be upgraded and become toll roads.

    “People traveling on toll-free roads will all of a sudden have to pay a fee when the facilities become toll roads,” the SAV explained.

    The state auditor therefore suggested that the government stipulate that only newly built facilities be developed under the BOT scheme.

    “In the case of upgrades, the BOT should only be applied when the road to be improved is not the major access of local residents, so they will have other choices, instead of having to travel via that toll road,” the SAV said.

    India – key supplier of pharmaceuticals for Vietnam

    India has been the top supplier of pharmaceuticals for Vietnam as from last year with a value of US$22.4 million, accounting for 12.5% of Vietnam’s total pharmaceutical imports in January.

    The Republic of Korea came second with US$19.5 million, up 2.26% which was followed by Germany with US$18.6 million, up 59.22% against the same period last year.

    Particularly, drug imports from Canada saw a skyrocket growth of 1076.5% to just US$1.3 million while imports from Singapore dropped sharply by 84.98% to US$322,000.

    Russia has become a new supplier of pharmaceutical products for Vietnam with a value of US$293,200.

    Drug imports in the first month of this year hit US$183.8 million, down 17.6% against December and 7.2% over January last year.

    Korea looks to become leading investor in HCMC

    South Korea, the fourth largest investor in HCMC at the moment with 1,319 operational foreign direct investment (FDI) projects, is poised to take the first or second place this year given its big-ticket projects in the offing, said HCMC chairman Nguyen Thanh Phong.

    Speaking at a meeting with a delegation of the Korean province of Gyeongsangbuk-do on February 21, Phong said many enterprises from the northeast Asian nation have expressed interest in seeking cooperation and investment opportunities in the city. Notably, Lotte Group is preparing necessary procedures for major infrastructure projects in the city.

    “Korea is the fourth biggest investor among 86 countries and territories having investment projects in HCMC. And it is expected to take the first or second spot this year,” he said.

    Lotte is planning to invest around US$20 billion in Vietnam, especially in HCMC. The conglomerate highly appreciates the city’s high economic growth potential.

    Lotte E&C plans to inject a combined US$3.4 billion into metro lines No. 5 (phase two) and No. 6 under the public-private partnership format, and get involved in a wastewater treatment plant worth US$490 million in the southern part of the city.

    The HCMC Management Authority for Urban Railways asked the municipal authorities for permission early this year to cooperate with the Korean company to develop these metro lines.

    Oversupply seen hitting cement manufacturers hard

    Vietnam’s cement output by 2020 could have amounted to 120-130 million tons a year, whereas domestic consumption is forecast to reach around 93 million tons, resulting in an excess of 25-35 million tons.

    Chairman of the Vietnam Cement Association Nguyen Quang Cung said the cement industry from this year onward would start facing an oversupply as a result of the recent increase in capacity.  

    By end-2016, the total capacity of the cement industry had climbed to nearly 88 million tons a year. However, some more projects will be up and running in 2018, sending the annual capacity of the industry up to 108 million tons.

    Last year saw the nation's cement and clinker exports totaling only 14.7 million tons worth US$561 million, down 7.1% in volume and 16% in value compared to 2015. The Philippines and Bangladesh remained the two biggest markets for Vietnam’s cement and clinker. 

    However, cement manufacturers have found it tougher to export. Therefore, if domestic consumption does not rise, they will be in trouble.

    Vietnam looks to have 15,000 cooperatives by 2020

    The Department of Cooperative Economy and Rural Development under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has set a target of having 15,000 cooperatives nationwide by 2020, with 45% of them operating efficiently.

    The department announced the goal at a conference held in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province on February 21 by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to review the 2016 performance of cooperatives and discuss the 2017 plan for the sector.

    A report of the department says that the nation had had 11,000 agricultural cooperatives by the end of 2016 with 30% of them doing well. The average number of members in a cooperative was down from 600 to 400 and is forecast to drop to below 100 in the future.

    According to the department, the decrease in cooperative members will help improve efficiency and increase incomes of members. Currently, the average revenue of a cooperative is about VND1.1 billion per year while profit reaches around VND200 million per cooperative. Average monthly income is VND1.5 million per member.

    Data of the department reveals only 3% of the cooperatives get access to bank loans while 60% of them are in need of funds. Therefore, the Government should adopt policy to back cooperatives to easily access funding sources.

    Mekong Delta logistics development plan to get approval in June

     The Vietnam Logistics Association (VLA) and the Southwest Steering Committee agreed on February 21 to have a logistics development plan approved for the Mekong Delta in June.

    The plan aims to improve the competitiveness of the delta’s logistical services sector and satisfy the demand for cargo transport which is predicted to shoot up in the future.

    At a meeting on a plan for logistical services and infrastructure development between VLA and the Southwest Steering Committee in Can Tho City on February 21, Nguyen Trung Hieu, vice chairman of the committee told VLA to suggest new ideas for logistical services development in the Mekong Delta until 2020 with a vision to 2030.

    Hieu of the Southwest Steering Committee asked VLA to take into account the current conditions of the region in the process of doing the planning.

    According to Hieu, cargo throughput at the Mekong Delta’s ports would increase to 25-28 tons per year by 2020 and 66.5-71.5 tons by 2030.

    Le Duy Hiep, president of VLA, said logistical services planning for the Mekong Delta should be based on the State’s general planning regulations, the orientation of the region and individual localities, the current socio-economic situation and the future vision of the region.

    According to Hiep, the Government has suggested building a massive logistics center in Long An Province or Can Tho City. “Long An has an international port but it is near HCMC. Therefore, there is no need to build such a center in Long An.”

    Vietjet promotes one million tickets

    Vietjet said on February 21 it would sell one million promotional tickets from VND5,000 (20 U.S. cents) from  February 22 to 24.

    The promotional fares are available for booking at from noon to 2 p.m. Passengers can use their debit and credit cards of Visa, MasterCard, JCB, KCP and American Express and ATM cards issued by 29 banks in Vietnam to pay for air-tickets.

    The promotional fares will apply to all domestic flights of the no-frills carrier from March 15 to December 31, 2017 except for national holidays.

    Nghi Son refinery complex becomes operational this year     

    The US$9 billion Nghi Son refinery and petrochemical complex in the central province of Thanh Hoa is expected to become operational in the last quarter of the year.

    The Viet Nam National Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam) said the complex will complete important processes this year. Accordingly, it will complete mechanic works in March and start trial operations in the following month.

    The project is scheduled to supply its first batch of oil in the third quarter of the year.

    Following its operation, the complex will provide jobs to 1,400 people, including 1,200 Vietnamese labourers.

    The 400ha project will meet 70 per cent of domestic demand for energy in the future, with an annual capacity of 10 million tonnes of crude oil (200,000 barrels) per day.

    It will supply 2.3 million tonnes of gasoline, 2.9 million tonnes of diesel, 380,000 tonnes of polypropylene, 900,000 tonnes of aviation turbine fuel and nearly 700,000 tonnes of liquefied petroleum gas annually.

    The project aims to meet the country’s increasing oil refinery demand while ensuring energy supply, thus creating momentum to attract foreign investment into Viet Nam. 

    Emirates to launch non-stop service to Hanoi

    Emirates Airline will operate non-stop daily flights between Hanoi and Dubai from July 2 this year to meet increasing demand on the route.

    The fast-growing airline said in a statement that the new service will use Boeing 777-300ER aircraft configured with 42 business-class and 386 economy-class seats. In addition, up to 20 tons of cargo will be offered in the bellyhold on this service.

    Flight EK395 will depart from Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi at 1:30 a.m. and land at Dubai International Airport at 5:05 a.m. Inbound flight EK394 will take off in Dubai at 3:30 a.m. and arrive in Hanoi at 1:05 p.m.

    “The new service will help enhance connectivity for Hanoi and its neighboring areas, providing faster connections, additional opportunities for inbound tourism and regional products,” Emirates said.

    The airline said the flight schedules are designed in a way that allows for seamless connections to many European cities via a stopover in Dubai.

    Passengers on board all Dubai-Hanoi services will have a free baggage allowance of up to 35kg for economy class and 40kg for business class. 

    Emirates flights to and from Vietnam will have Vietnamese-speaking cabin crew on board, and inflight cuisine options with Vietnamese dishes.

    The route between Hanoi and Dubai will be launched together with daily services from Dubai to Phnom Penh. The new Dubai-Yangon-Phnom Penh route will also enable passengers from Yangon to travel to Phnom Penh and vice versa.

    Long An seeks to sustainably develop its IP complexes     

    The southern province of Long An plans to build industrial complexes in hi-tech parks, according to Phan Nhan Duy, director of its Department of Natural Resources and Environment.

    The province has assigned priority to environment-friendly technologies and strengthened environmental management to ensure sustainable operation of its industrial parks, he said.

    It has 28 IPs and 16 IP complexes currently in operation, with over 1,000 plants with a total investment of over US$5 billion.

    All had to file reports on their environmental impacts and environmental protection commitments to get their licences. They have their own wastewater and solid waste treatment facilities.

    Many of their developers have invested in modern environmental treatment systems and want environment-friendly projects in their IPs, Duy said.

    Exports from these IPs and IP complexes account for over 50 per cent of the province’s annual exports of over $4 billion.

    The measures taken by the province have helped it restructure its economy from agricultural to industrial, Duy said.

    Lê Anh Hieu, marketing manager of Long Hau JSC, the developer of Long Hau IP in Can Duoc District, said his company is focused on environmental protection.

    The IP prescribes environmental protection to its tenants, he said.

    Its wastewater treatment system is testament to the IP’s environmental protection efforts, he said.

    The effluent treatment and water supply systems cost over VND10 billion to build, he said.

    Recently it increased its wastewater treatment capacity from 2,000cu.m per day to 6,500cu.m, and the treated water is used to water trees in the IP.

    Long An regularly monitors surface water and air quality and does studies of the environment at places facing pollution risks.

    The province has taken measures to prevent pollution and encourages the use of new technologies for clean production, ISO 14000 and green consumption, and helps polluting enterprises relocate from residential areas.

    Hieu said the province has also done a study of the waste discharged in rivers to protect them.

    Logistics expected to boost Dong Nai’s growth

    Dong Nai province plans to establish an advanced logistics network to serve the entire southern key economic region.

    Under a blueprint until 2025, logistics services will grow 35% and contribute 15% to Dong Nai’s budget annually. 3 inland container depots will be built by 2020 and another 3 will be available by 2030. 

    Dong Nai will also develop an IT system connecting with other provinces and cities to facilitate cargo transportation from the Central Highlands, the Mekong River Delta, and the economic hub of Binh Duong to Vung Tau port.

    At a recent conference on logistics development in the Mekong Delta held in Can Tho city, the World Bank predicted a healthy growth for logistics services in Vietnam, citing increasing import-export values and retail sales.

    “Lower logistics costs will help improve Vietnam’s competitiveness globally. A successful logistics industry depends on many factors including financial and human resources”, Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue told the conference.

    A favorable location and an elaborate network of rivers and sea ports, highways, and railroads, and the future Long Thanh airport lays a strong foundation for Dong Nai’s logistics development. 

    Over 590 Vietnamese firms win product high-quality recognition

    The Business Association of High-Quality Vietnamese Goods has released a list of more than 590 firms having products recognised as high quality this year.

    Consumers across the country voted for 805 firms for the recognition. The association then coordinated with relevant agencies to select the qualified ones among them. 

    The consumer survey also showed that 92 percent of participants used made-in-Vietnam goods, but only 72 percent of them preferred these products to their foreign equivalents.

    The figure showed that Vietnamese producers have not lived up to local buyers’ expectations, which is the reason why they are facing challenges in the home market, while there are abundant opportunities for foreign firms.

    The survey results also highlighted consumers’ concern over food safety, with one fourth of polled people saying they worried about the use of banned chemicals or harmful materials in food production and preservation.

    Experts said the problem is that people still have to consume unsafe food, due to the small scale of the “clean market”.

    According to the survey, 60 percent of consumers still prefer to shop at traditional retail channels, such as wet markets and stores, but the rate of those who choose modern channels including shopping malls and convenient stores has risen to 34 percent.

    Head of the Business Association of High-Quality Vietnamese Goods Vu Kim Hanh said the rising popularity of modern retail is attributable to improved living standards and concern over food safety.

    US firm eyes investment in renewable energy in Binh Duong

    The US ACO Investment Group wants to implement renewable energy projects in Vietnam’s southern province of Binh Duong, Chairman and CEO of the group Hari Achuthan said at a working session with local authorities on February 22.

    He noted that the company is devising projects on two renewable energy plants in Vietnam, including the first solar power factory in Phuoc Dinh commune (Thuan Nam district) and Vinh Hai commune (Ninh Hai district) in the south central province of Ninh Thuan.

    The construction of the plant, which is designed with a capacity of 100 MW and a total investment of 150 million USD, will be commenced in the third quarter of 2017 and put into operation in July 2018.

    The US group hopes to cooperate with Binh Duong to build a solar lighting system instead of the current high-pressure lamps, he said.

    Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Tran Thanh Liem welcomed the US firm to invest in renewable energy projects.

    With over 10,000 hectare of industrial land, Binh Duong is a suitable location to build a solar power plant, he said.

    Along with Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and Dong Nai, Binh Duong has a high consumption of over 1 billion kWh of electricity each year. The power demand for production always surge, estimated at 12 percent per annum, he noted.

    Binh Duong is also one of the five leading cities and provinces nationwide in drawing foreign direct investment with over 2,800 FDI projects worth 25.5 billion USD.

    In 2016, the locality attracted more than 2 billion USD in FDI, including over 1.3 billion USD from 240 newly-licensed projects and 675 million USD of capital increase from 123 existing ones.

    Anti-base erosion, profit shifting measures talked at APEC seminar

    Representatives of the 21 APEC economies have agreed to cooperate in preventing base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) at a seminar on the implementation of a BEPS action plan in Nha Trang city.

    The function, wrapping up on February 22, was chaired by the General Department of Taxation under the Vietnamese Ministry of Finance.

    Participants discussed opportunities and challenges and shared experience in implementing anti-BEPS measures in the APEC economies, with attention paid to the four BEPS minimum standards, the BEPS Implementation Forum, and the Multilateral Instrument for BEPS tax treaty measures (MLI). 

    They showed their full awareness of the importance of BEPS prevention and BEPS’s impacts on the fairness and effectiveness of international taxation systems.

    Statistics show that 76 percent of the APEC members have joined the BEPS Implementation Forum, and this participation provides the economies which are not OECD members or G20 countries with a chance to be involved in global efforts against cross-border tax avoidance.

    Meanwhile, the MLI was built with a view to facilitating the amendment to existing bilateral tax treaties so as to carry out related tax measures within the framework of the BEPS initiative.

    About 40 percent of the double-taxation avoidance agreements belong to the APEC economies, and 19 percent of these economies have confirmed that they will sign the MLI this June, which is believed to be a foundation for the implementation of the BEPS action plan in 2017, when Vietnam is the APEC Chair.

    A BEPS action plan was completed and is set to be included in a report of the meeting of APEC deputy finance ministers and central bank deputy governors on February 23. It will be reported to the APEC finance ministers at their meeting slated for this October.

    Can Tho to host Aquaculture Vietnam 2017

    The Aquaculture Vietnam 2017, the country’s first show on the fishery sector, is scheduled to take place in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho from October 25 to 27.

    The event is expected to draw 120 businesses from 20 countries and territories, the organising board said on February 22.

    Several international conferences on aquaculture will also be held at the event, featuring many leading experts.

    According to the Vietnam Fisheries Society, aquaculture contributed three percent to the country’s gross domestic product in 2016. Export turnover of aquatic products increased 7.4 percent year-on-year, reaching 7.05 billion USD.

    The figure is expected to rise 5 percent this year, hitting 7.5 billion USD, 65 percent of which would come from aquaculture.

    MWG 2017 growth prospects uncertain

    In 2016, thanks to the growth of its revenue, profit, and the expansion of its operating network, Mobile World Investment Corporation (MWG) continuously reported record stock prices.

    However, a saturated personal electronics market, which made up the bulk of MWG’s revenue and profit, raised questions about this year’s business.

    MWG is a leading consumer electronics retailer. By the end of November 2016, there were 938 The gioi Di dong and 211 Dien may XANH stores. Besides, MWG is making an entrance in the food retail industry with the Bach hoa XANH chain.

    According to its released 2016 financial report, MWG recorded a net sales of VND44.613 trillion ($1.967 trillion), and after-tax profit of VND1.577 trillion ($69.53 million), increases of 77 and 47 per cent, respectively, compared to 2015. Its revenue also overtook the initial annual target by 14 per cent. Over the last five years, MWG’s revenue and after-tax profit have risen by 43.87 and 65.7 per cent a year on average.

    Despite the sharp growth in revenue and profit, over the last two years, the amount of inventory, cost of goods sold, selling expenses, administrative expenses, goods rejected, and goods repurchase has increased not only in terms of absolute value but also in the proportion of each account over revenue.

    Although there have not been any worrisome signals about these ratios, their rise should be controlled, otherwise they will become a significant burden to MWG’s revenue.

    At the end of 2016, MWG’s long-term assets accounted for 16.8 per cent, with the largest portion of 64 per cent (VND9.500 trillion - $418.87 million) belonging to inventories. Generally, consumer electronics and electronic appliances inventories often go out of date quickly without an appropriate inventory policy.

    MWG has a typical retailer asset structure as it does not depend on long-term borrowings. Instead, its owner’s equity can meet the need for long-term assets and a part of the additional working capital. During the period of 2012-2016, the average growth rate of owner’s equity was 40.3 per cent and the firm’s size also rose by 56 per cent per year on average. The percentage of liabilities in the capital structure was 74 per cent by the end of 2016 (56.44 per cent in 2014).

    The high short-term debt as well as the low quick  ratio has led to certain risks in capital flows. However, retailers retained some advantages from their high liquidity inventories, a large amount of positive operating cash flows, and not suffering appropriating funds from customers.

    Along with mounting expenses, MWG’s returns on equity (ROE) and returns on assets (ROA) have also been on the decline since 2014, although the gross profit margin was still maintained over 15 per cent.

    The decreasing operating efficiency ratios resulted from the high initial expenses of the stores which need time to enhance their efficiency. Thus, it is hoped that these ratios will recover after MWG finishes its expansion and focuses on improving its performance.

    MWG’s board of directors have released the 2017 business plan, targeting VND63.280 trillion ($2.79 trillion) in revenue and VND2.200 trillion ($97 million) in profit, which is equivalent to increases of 38.7 and 39.5 per cent, respectively, in comparison with 2016.

    Consumer electronics distribution is the key contributor to MWG’s success. The gioi Di dong stores make up approximately 70 per cent of MWG’s sales and account for 38 per cent of its market share.

    Nonetheless, after a strong growth period, it is forecasted that the consumer electronics market is saturated, especially in big cities, such as Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, which are also the company’s major markets. MWG can still increase its revenue due to a rising preference of strong brands over small outlets, however, it is difficult to maintain a high growth rate.

    In the appliance distribution sector, through the Dien may XANH chain, MWG has recorded high growth rates of revenue and market share thanks to the rapidly increasing number of outlets.

    According to market research and user experience research firm GFK Vietnam, the domestic appliancemarket is predicted to have the size of VND97 trillion ($4.28 trillion) in 2020, which is equivalent to a growth rate of 11.3 per cent in the period of 2016-2020. This signifies high potential to flourish in the future. MWG is targeting a 30 per cent market share by the end of 2017. This goal was 16-17 per cent only in 2016. MWG has determined that this will be its main growth driver in the next one or two years.

    When the consumer electronics market is saturated, the chain of Bach hoa XANH shops, which was developed at the end of 2015, is hoped to become the new main growth driver. With the slogan of “fast and cheap,” the chain compete directly with other strong brands, like Coop Food or Vinmart+.

    According to a newly released report from KIS Vietnam Securities Corporation, by December 2016, although the chain of Bach hoa XANH shops reached the revenue of VND1 billion ($44.1 thousand) per month in each shop, it still suffered losses, requiring more improvement from MWG.

    Moreover, at the end of 2016, MWG’s website has been launched to sell almost all products of the firm. MWG aimed to turn into a Vietnam-version of Amazon to compete with Tiki, Lazada, Sendo, and other competitors, catching the leading online consumption trend. However, as it is a new business, the possibility of success is questionable.

    With positive business results, MWG’s stock price has doubled in 2016, bringing MWG to the top enterprises with amarket capitalisation of over $1 billion. The company’s price per earnings ratio (P/E) is over 15, which is equivalent to the market P/E, but it is still highly appreciated in comparison with many other firms in the Vietnam retail industry.

    Recently, Dragon Capital has become a major shareholder of MWG. The foreign ownership limit, the maximum percentage foreign investors are allowed to own, was maximised at 49 per cent.

    MWG has no intention to raise this cap due to the manifold limitations in the retail sector over foreign investors, especially in opening new outlets. Thus, investors may not expect huge surprises in terms of foreign investment.

    Many shareholders pegged high expectations on MWG, recognising the large room to enhance the efficiency of its new store chain and its strong operational capacity with an effective inventory control system. Nevertheless, as competition intensifies, it becomes increasingly difficult to improve operating efficiency next to maintaining positive growth rates and controlling expenses.

    In the next general shareholders’ meeting, the primary expectations centre around the answer of MWG’s leadership to overcome these difficulties to reach the 2017 business targets.

    MWG has set the goal of $10 billion in revenue by 2020. Chris Freund, general director of Mekong Capital, which currently holds a little over 7 per cent of MWG, said, “I do not think that it is a plausible target for a company of the scale of MWG to grow ten-fold in only five years. However, in the past ten years, the company has always met its targets earlier than it planned. MWG has changed its long-term vision three times since we first invested in it in 2007. I believe that the newest vision of MWG will bring the company a lot of growth in the coming years.”

    Petrolimex reports 50 per cent growth in net profit ahead of listing

    Vietnam National Petroleum Group (Petrolimex), the biggest fuel distributor in Vietnam and where JX Nippon Oil and Energy Corporation is the sole foreign investor besides the Vietnamese government, reported a net profit of VND5.16 trillion ($226 million), up 50 per cent on-year, before its planned listing by the end of March.

    According to the company’s recently released consolidated financial statement, in 2016, Petrolimex earned a total consolidated revenue of VND123.1 trillion ($5.4 billion), down 16.2 per cent on-year. The company attributed this to the decreasing price of WTI crude oil, from $48.8 a barrel on average in 2015 to $43.32 in 2016.

    The company also announced completing all the procedures to be listed and is only awaiting the approval of the State Securities Commission.

    Petrolimex is one of the companies in which the government is going to hold a controlling stake. Additionally, the company is tasked with stabilising the market through the supply of gasoline, oil, and other petrochemical products.

    After the restructuring, the company intends to position oil and gasoline production and sales as its main activity. Next in line will be fuel transportation, refinery and construction in oil and gas. In the past few years profit from fuel have accounted for between 50 and 60 per cent of the company’s total profit.

    According to Nguyen Quang Dung, head of investment strategy at Petrolimex, the company aims to expand its market inside and outside of Vietnam, by developing its fuel retail network with a focus on providing added value at Petrolimex gas stations.

    In May 2016, JX Nippon Oil and Energy Corporation officially acquired 8 per cent of Petrolimex. According to JX Nippon’s press release on the share subscription agreement, JX Nippon will  enhance the corporate value of Petrolimex through “[exploring] various business opportunities in the petroleum products supply chain, from refining to marketing, using its long business experience in Japan.”

    At the moment, Petrolimex has 2,400 gas stations all over Vietnam, holding a 55 per cent market share in fuel distribution. Foreign companies, such as JX Nippon, cannot join the field of fuel distribution. Exceptions are made only to companies that also invest in fuel production.

    Most recently, Idemitsu Q8 Petroleum Limited Liability Company, a joint venture between Idemitsu Kosan Co., Ltd. and Kuwait Petroleum International Ltd., was allowed to set up to sell the products of Nghi Son refinery, where both companies are investors.

    JX Nippon and Petrolimex have also signed a memorandum of understanding to start a joint study for the construction of South Van Phong Refinery in Khanh Hoa province. Licensed in 2008 with a planned capacity of five million tonnes of crude input per year, the refinery has been at a standstill because the government has not agreed to the incentives requested by Petrolimex.

    Following an inspection of the group’s operations between December 26, 2013 and June 17, 2014, the Government Inspectorate of Vietnam found that Petrolimex incurred significant losses through its financial investments into businesses far removed from its core operations.

    For example, the VND76.5 billion ($3.4 million) investment into Petrolimex Aviation resulted in a dividend of VND6.4 billion ($287,000), a 2.8 per cent gain, while the VND102 billion ($4.6 million) investment into PetrolimexLand yielded a thin VND6.12 billion ($274,000), equal to 2 per cent.

    Central bank vested with broader powers to tackle serious violations

    The Government has delegated greater powers to the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) to deal with credit institutions which seriously infringe monetary and banking regulations.

    The authorization is provided in the Government’s Decree 16/2017/ND-CP governing the functions, tasks, rights and organizational structure of the SBV. The decree defines the SBV as a ministerial-level agency and the nation’s central bank tasked with managing monetary issues, banking and foreign exchange activities, printing money, acting as the bank of credit institutions, and supplying money for the Government.

    In addition to the tasks, rights and functions of ministerial or ministerial-level agencies detailed in the law on the SBV and the Government’s Decree 123, the central bank has to do 36 other specific tasks assigned by the Government and the Prime Minister and regulated in relevant regulations.

    The SBV is responsible for preparing draft laws, draft resolutions of the National Assembly, draft ordinances and resolutions of the Standing Committee of the National Assembly, and draft Government decrees. It must carry out relevant projects and plans as assigned by the Government and the Prime Minister; annual and long-term development strategies and zoning plans; national programs and action plans for important projects and programs in the areas under its management.

    The SBV is in charge of proposing annual inflation targets for the Government to consider and approve and use necessary tools for implementation of monetary policy in Vietnam. It should manage data in economic, financial, monetary and banking areas in Vietnam and abroad to support the drafting and execution of monetary policy in the country; and publicize monetary and banking information in line with law.  

    The SBV has the right to issue, revise and withdraw licenses of credit institutions, and those of foreign bank branches and representative offices in Vietnam. It is authorized to take special measures against institutions which seriously breach monetary and banking rules and struggle with financial problems that threaten the safety of the banking system.

    The new decree allows the SBV to set up a communications department in addition to its departments for monetary policy, foreign exchange management, payment, credit for economic sectors, forecasting and statistics, international cooperation, monetary and financial stability, internal auditing, legal matters, finance and accounting, organization, reward and emulation, information technology, governance, transaction, inspection and supervision, among others.

    The entities under the SBV include branches in cities and provinces, the Banking Strategy Institute, the National Credit Information Center of Vietnam, the Banking Academy, and banking publications.

    Vinh Phuc province to get $92m property project     

    Hoa Binh Construction & Real Estate Corporation has won a contract worth VND2.066 trillion (US$91.8 million) to design and build a golf and garden villa complex in Vinh Phuc Province.

    The project, Times Garden Vinh Yen, covers an area of 27ha, comprising 558 garden villas, three 18-floor building blocks, trade centre, park and entertainment facilities.

    The owner of the project is the Urban Development and Construction Joint Stock Company.

    Leaders of the company committed to complete construction as scheduled, while ensuring labour safety and product quality by using modern design solutions and cost-efficient material.

    Earlier this year, the company was also assigned by the Khang Dien House Trading and Investment Joint Stock Company to design and build a high-quality residential project in Phu Huu Ward in HCM City’s District 9.

    The project, with total investment of VND1 trillion, will provide 900 apartments for house seekers.

    Vinacomin announces financial reports of 2016

    Vietnam National Coal and Mineral Industries Group (Vinacomin) has published a report about the coal mining projects and headquarter constructions.   

    Lam Dong Bauxite Aluminium Complex project was approved in 2006 with total investment of VND7.7trn (USD337m) and was expected to be completed in 2009. After four adjustments, this figure ballooned to VND15.4trn and the deadline was pushed back to 2013. Since 2014, Vinacomin has completed the main project and started building support constructions including red mud reservoir.

    The Nhan Co Aluminium Factory project was approved in 2007 and scheduled to be completed in 2010. However, it also went through three adjustments. Costs increased from VND3.2trn to VND16.8trn and the completion date was changed to 2014.

    According to Vinacomin, Nhan Co Aluminium Factory went into pilot operation. It will go into commercial operation within the first quarter of 2017.

    Thach Khe iron mine is the biggest in Vietnam and valued at approximately USD35bn. However, the project has been halted and the investor has asked to withdraw from the project.

    In 2016, Vinacomin sold 35.2 million tonnes of coal. Vinacomin's revenue last year was VND101.3trn (USD4.4bn) of which VND50.9trn was revenue from coal mining, a decrease of 5% compared to 2015. Vinacomin spent VND15.7trn on construction. The debts owed to Vinacomin’s mother company by the end of 2016 reached VND19.7trn, a decrease of 12.16% compare to the early of that year. Meanwhile, it also owed VND80trn.

    Vinacomin didn't disclose its profits but said that it will continue spending trillions of VND to build offices and other constructions. New headquarters were agreed in 2012 with an investment of VND3.7trn (USD162m), and they are estimated to be opened in 2018. The VND964bn project to build headquarters in Quang Ninh Province was also approved in 2011 and is expected to be opened next year.

    In addition, trillions will also be used for coal mining. Vinacomin is finishing the preparation to start investments in Khe Cham II mine with an investment of VND12.5trn (USD547m). The new pit of Mao Khe Coal Company has the investment of VND5.8trn. The open pit-mines of Nui Beo Coal JSC has the investment of VND5.3trn and will produce the first batch of products this year.

    There are several coal mining projects that are behind schedules or in-progress such as the Ha Lam, Nga Hai and Binh Minh mines.

    Milbank advises on Vietjet's IPO

    Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP has advised BNP Paribas, Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan and Viet Capital as placement agents in the initial public offering (IPO) by Vietnam’s leading budget airline, Vietjet Air.

    The listing of shares on the Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange is set for February 28.

    The approximately $170 million offering of 44.78 million shares represents the largest IPO in Vietnam’s history and the country’s first internationally-marketed IPO.

    A private placement of shares by Vietjet’s founder and Chairwoman, Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao, is scheduled to be followed by a top-up subscription after listing.

    Capital Markets partner James Grandolfo led the Hong Kong-based Milbank team, which included senior associate Kurt Sherwood and associate Ari Singzon. The transaction was supported by aviation partner Paul Ng, based in Singapore.

    “We are exceptionally pleased to have advised these leading investment banks in helping Vietjet take a historic step, for both the country and the company,” Mr. Grandolfo said. “The success of the Vietjet IPO is an important milestone in the development of Vietnam’s capital markets. In addition, the capital raised by Vietjet in the offer will help support expansion of its international routes and the enlargement of its fleet, which are critical for it to compete in the Asian aviation market - one of the fastest growing and dynamic aviation markets in the world.”

    Milbank was recently named “Most Innovative US Law Firm in Asia” by IFLR. In addition to its highly-respected and industry-recognized Hong Kong capital markets practice, Milbank also boasts one of the most respected global aviation law practices.

    The firm recently advised Vietjet in several other important transactions, including an $11.3 billion purchase agreement for Boeing aircraft, announced in May 2016, and a $2.39 billion agreement to acquire Airbus aircraft, announced in September. Milbank also advised Vietjet in a $3 billion contract with Pratt & Whitney for the purchase of aircraft engines and in several multimillion-dollar agreements for maintenance, services, and flight training simulators.

    Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP is a leading international law firm that provides innovative legal services to clients around the world. Founded in New York 150 years ago, Milbank has offices in Beijing, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, London, Los Angeles, Munich, São Paulo, Seoul, Singapore, Tokyo and Washington D.C.

    Its lawyers collaborate across practices and offices to help the world’s leading commercial, financial and industrial enterprises, as well as institutions, individuals and governments, achieve their strategic objectives.

    Japense steel maker sets up JV

    Japanese steelmaker the JFE Steel Corporation has worked with the Mechanization Electrification Construction Corporation Joint Stock Company (AGRIMECO) to establish a joint venture company in Hanoi to sell processed construction materials.

    AGRIMECO constructs hydroelectric power plants and steel high-rise buildings and also processes construction materials. The new company, AGRIMECO & JFE STEEL PRODUCTS CO., LTD. (A&J), will sell processed construction materials by leveraging AGRIMECO’s strong local presence and JFE Steel’s capabilities in technological development and value engineering and value analysis. A&J is the first joint venture JFE Steel has established with a construction and steel-processing company such as AGRIMECO.

    A&J is the JFE Group’s latest initiative to expand its involvement with infrastructure-related construction materials outside of Japan, a key medium-term priority for JFE. The group also established GECOSS VIETNAM COMPANY LIMITED in August 2016.

    JFE Steel contributes to infrastructure development in Southeast Asia by drawing on diverse advanced technologies from JFE Group companies, including Vietnamese subsidiaries J-Spiral Steel Pipe Co., Ltd. and GECOSS VIETNAM.

    Vietnam, the largest steel-consuming country in Southeast Asia, is enjoying GDP growth in excess of 6 per cent and is forecast to continue growing. Domestic demand for construction materials is expected to remain strong and stable as the country actively expands its roads, railways, and other transportation infrastructure, as well as power plants.

    JFE Steel Corporation, one of the world’s leading integrated steel producers, was established through the consolidation of NKK Corporation and Kawasaki Steel Corporation in 2003. The company operates several steelworks in Japan and numerous branch offices and affiliates throughout the world. JFE Steel leverages world-class technologies and know-how to produce a wide range of products based on its “Only One, Number One” strategy of focusing on unique and best-in-class products.

    Cholimex to list on UpCOM

    The Hanoi Stock Exchange has approved a plan by the Cholimex Food Joint Stock Company to trade on the UpCOM market, with the stock code CLX. It has charter capital of VND866 billion ($37.92 million), with 86.6 million shares to be traded.

    The first trading day is expected to be March 1, with a reference price of VND10,200 ($0.44) per share.

    The State formerly held 100 per cent of Cholimex, which operates under the model of parent – subsidiary and is affiliated with the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee.

    Cholimex held an IPO in March 2016, with 199 investors buying 13.84 million shares. At a price of VND10,000 ($0.43) per share, the company brought in more than VND138 billion ($6.04 million).

    Its equitization steering committee sold the remaining stake of 8,290,600 shares via direct negotiations on March 29, 2016. Twenty-seven investors bought the shares at VND10,000 (0.43) per share.

    The company held its first shareholder meeting in late June 2016 and changed to a joint stock company with charter capital of VND866 billion ($37.92 million). At its first board meeting, Ms. Tran Thi Thanh Nhan was elected Chairwoman of the company, Mr. Bui Tuan Ngoc Vice Chairman, and Mr. Huynh An Trung CEO. The company has not increased its chartered capital since.

    Cholimex had three major shareholders as at September 20, holding a total of 92.35 per cent. The biggest is the State-owned Ho Chi Minh City Finance and Investment Company (HFIC), with 49 per cent. Transimex holds 35.02 per cent and the Van Hoa Viet Service Joint Stock Company 8.33 per cent

    SBV gives in principle approval to BIDV trust bank deal

    The State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) gave in principle approval on February 21 to the conversion of partial ownership of the BIDV Leasing Finance Company (BLC) to Japan’s Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank (SMTB).

    Formally 100 per cent owned by BIDV, SMTB is to have 49 per cent of BLC, which will change its name to BIDV-SuMi Trust (BSL), the SBV’s Official Correspondent No. 946 states.

    SMTB, the largest trust bank in Japan and the fifth-largest commercial bank overall measured by assets, had total assets of $585.4 billion as at September 30, 2016 and total charter capital of $19.9 billion.

    The two entered into a strategic partnership in n2013, followed by research and development (R&D) cooperation in many business projects, training, and technology transfer.

    The two also signed a partnership contract on financial leasing on April 29, 2016 in Hanoi.

    Under the contract, BIDV will sell 49 per cent of BLC to the Japanese bank, while at the same time raising charter capital at the company from VND448 billion ($19.6 million) to VND896 billion ($39.2 million), to meet the business development demand in the time to come.

    BSL is the first Vietnamese financial leasing company to apply the joint venture model between a domestic commercial bank and an international financial institution. Together with the establishment of BSL, BIDV will have new financial products to complete their diversified product range, including credit, insurance, financial leasing, and securities trading.

    Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) between banks and financial companies has become a trend over the last few years. SHB completed its M&A deal with Vinaconex-Viettel Finance (VFF) after two years of negotiating. With the acquisition of a financial company, banks can participate in the unsecured lending sector, which incurs higher risks but also higher returns than ordinary loans.

    ACB’s management board has shown an interest in acquiring Posts and Telecommunications Finance Ltd (PTFinance). Founded in 1998, PTFinance has charter capital of VND500 billion ($22.1 million) and is 100 per cent owned by the State-run telecoms provider VNPT.

    In an interview with Forbes in January, ACB Chairman Mr. Tran Hung Huy revealed that the bank has been conducting research to acquire a financial company in order to develop unsecured lending products. He affirmed that ACB has no plan to move into the field as yet, due to a fear of accumulating bad debts.

    Last year, the VPBank-owned FE Credit-Consumer Finance Services added 2.7 million accounts, to take its total number of customers to 3.3 million. Business Monitor International (BMI) and the World Bank have attributed the strong growth of the consumer finance market to Vietnam’s rapid urbanization. The country is estimated to have some 18 million adults living in urban areas, which is expected to further increase considering the speed of urbanization.

    Most are considered to be potential customers for financial services. To join the race, many foreign finance companies are ready to buy into local players. Japan’s Credit Saison and Shinsei Bank now respectively own 49 per cent of HD Saison and Military Bank’s MC Credit.

    VSIP commitment to a long-term vision

    Nearly a decade ago, L. D. Hung moved from his hometown at Quang Ngai province to the South, seeking a better life.

    After years away from home, Hung left behind a successful career at Binh Duong province for a position in VSIP Quang Ngai, where a prosperous life and a promising job are no longer just dreams.

    This is one of the stories that we see happening every day at Vietnam Singapore Industrial Parks (VSIPs). In just a single day, we hear so much about the meaningful connection between VSIP and its employees. We also met other employees who came to see Binh Duong their hometown, who told us about simpler days in the past and their decade-long journey with VSIP.

    By seeking job opportunities at VSIP Binh Duong, many employees also excitedly volunteered to return and work for new VSIP projects in their hometowns. Although they have all started their careers differently, their stories end with the same sense of pride for contributing to the success of a model for IPs in Vietnam.

    According to the 2015 National Internal Migration Study, the Vietnamese workforce has undergone a significant transition from rural to urban areas which caused difficulties for remote areas to recruiting labourers. It also led to a marked gap in the economic development and social environment throughout the country as labourers seeking higher-paying job opportunities relocate to bigger cities.

    In this context, VSIP has a unique business approach to develop a network of integrated townships and industrial parks that offer comprehensive solutions to work, live, and play to attract better investment to Vietnam. Therefore, people from smaller provinces benefit by living in their hometowns with stable incomes and are further equipped to contribute to local economic development.

    This strategy was set out following VSIP’s industrial development experience, in resonance with the Singaporean partner's future-forward vision in urban planning. The joint venture aims to help an entire generation of workers like Hung from different provinces to grow and guides them to contribute to the economic development of their home provinces.

    VSIP is playing a role in directing and leading workforce migration in the country, with a long-term vision to benefit all provinces. During its more than 20-year journey in Vietnam, VSIP has remained steadfast in its commitment to pioneering the industrial park model in line with international quality standards and has helped to unlock the economic potential, while contributing to the overall development of the provinces where its parks operate—Binh Duong, Bac Ninh, Hai Phong, Hai Duong, Nghe An and Quang Ngai.

    With seven parks in Binh Duong, Bac Ninh, Hai Phong, Quang Ngai, Hai Duong, and Nghe An, totaling a gross area of 6,660 hectares, VSIP has thus far attracted investments from 658 companies. The operations of these companies have brought in $9.1 billion in investment capital, with the combined strength of more than 179,000 workers.

    Through enabling further business growth in the areas of operation, VSIP has also seen the wider impact of its operations and have been heartened to see local SMEs take root in the surrounding communities. As a result of its operations, VSIP has seen greater development and infrastructure growth as well as employment for local residents in the provinces.

    Nguyen Van Hung, co-chairman of VSIP Group, shared, “VSIP sees improving the life of local communities and contributing to the comprehensive development of Vietnam as part of our mission. We also leverage the experience that Singaporean partners bring to develop sustainable business models which not only create economic value but also have long-term benefits for the community.”

    To ensure staying ahead of the competition, VSIP constantly looks for differentiators and value-added services for our customers. VSIP is managed completely as a commercial entity, with strong systems and processes that include a corporate governance structure and enterprise risk management capabilities.

    Exploring innovation hubs in Vietnam is a key focus for VSIP’s next chapter of development, with the belief that Vietnam can embrace the greater sophistication expected of world-standard factories. There is less emphasis on low wages, with the growing importance of advanced infrastructure and developing workers’ skills. VSIP has proved the long-term value of its strategy for both businesses and Vietnamese labourers.  

    SeaBank to set up asset management arm     

    The State Bank of Viet Nam (SBV) will allow Southeast Asia Commercial Joint Stock Bank (SeaBank) to set up its own asset management firm.

    In a statement released on Monday by the SBV, SeaBank will be able to found its Southeast Asia Asset Management Co Ltd, of which SeaBank will hold 100 per cent of the chartered capital.

    SeaBank will have to make sure its procedures of foundation comply to current regulations. The bank must also assure that it will operate safely before and after the foundation of its asset management arm, supervise strictly the business operation of the new firm and provide reports to the SBV about the issue.

    In 2006, SeaBank was a founding shareholder of the Asean Securities Company. At the end of 2015, the bank held total assets of VND84.75 trillion (US$3.76 billion), chartered capital of VND5.77 trillion and net profit of VND92 billion. 

    EVN International to trade on UPCoM     

    EVN International Joint Stock Company has obtained approval from the Ha Noi Stock Exchange to trade its 36.67 million shares on the Unlisted Public Company Market (UPCoM).

    EVN International will start trading on UPCoM on February 28 at a starting price of VND10,500 (46 US cents) per share.

    EVN International JSC is a joint-venture firm founded by some leading State-owned corporations, including Viet Nam Electricity (EVN), Pha Lai Thermal Power JSC, Viet Nam Rubber Group (VRG), Viettel Group and PetroVietnam Power Corporation, with initial chartered capital of VND2.4 trillion ($106.67 million).

    In April 2016, EVN International adjusted its chartered capital from VND2.4 trillion to VND366.77 billion to match the registered market capitalisation.

    The company has not increased its chartered capital since then. On December 28, 2016, EVN International had six major shareholders, holding 81.83 per cent of the company’s chartered capital.


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  • Social News 23/2

    More than 200,000 people join voluntary social insurance


    More than 200,000 people participated in voluntary social insurance after nine years since the policy was launched.

    The information was revealed at a conference on implementing voluntary social insurance held by the Ministry of Labours, War Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) on February 22 in Hanoi.

    MOLISA said the above figure is much lower than the number of people joining compulsory social insurance, which reached 13 million.

    Currently, there are still 40 million people who are eligible but have not taken part in voluntary social insurance.

    At the conference, representatives from other ministries, agencies and localities proposed measures to facilitate participation in voluntary social insurance.-

    Central Highlands region works to prevent dry-season forest fire

    The five Central Highlands provinces of Dak Lak, Dak Nong, Gia Lai, Kon Tum and Lam Dong are actively taking measures on forest fire prevention in dry season.

    The provinces instructed forest owners to strictly obey regulations on forest fire prevention and control, while developing preventives measures using local resources.

    Relevant authorities in the region have actively worked with forest owners to raise their awareness of forest fire prevention while asking ethnic minority people to take caution when burning land as their slash-and-burn cultivation practice. Localities and forest owners also signed commitments with ethnic minority households living near forests on forest fire prevention and forest protection.

    Besides, the localities have set up hundreds of forest protection teams, intensified forces on round-the-clock duty in high-risk areas, build thousands of fire watch towers and hundreds of kilometres of fire prevention belt.

    Information and communication work has been strengthened to warn forest fire risks and to effectively implement prevention and control measures against forest fires.

    According to the Central Highlands Steering Committee, the region has over 3.354 million hectares of forests and forest land, including 2,253 million hectares of natural forests, and over 313,313 hectares of planted forests.

    In 2016, the region recorded 45 forest fires, damaging over 170 hectares of forest. Of the fires, 34 occurred in Lam Dong, burning 118 hectares of forest; and 10 in Dak Lak, damaging 19.7 hectares of forest.

    Vietnam, US war veterans enhance cooperation

    A seminar to bolster cooperation between war veterans of Vietnam and the US as well as the two countries’ people was held in Hanoi on February 22.

    The event held by the Vietnam – US Society (VUS) under the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organisations, drew the participation of representatives from the Vietnam War Veterans’ Association, and Vietnam veterans’ organisations of the US.

    Participants reviewed their contributions to dealing with war consequences such as mine clearance in Vietnam, searching and collecting remains of Vietnamese and US soldiers, and English teaching for Vietnamese. They also discussed preparations for the Vietnam – US veterans’ business forum scheduled for July 6 and 7.

    Le Hong Quang, Vice Standing President of the Business Association Vietnam Veterans, expressed his hope that war veterans of two countries can promote economic cooperation, thus deepening bilateral relations.

    Khanh Hoa to build sea embankment

    The south central province of Khanh Hoa will invest over 200 billion VND (USD) to build a new sea embankment in Vinh Nguyen ward, Nha Trang city from 2017 – 2019.

    Of the investment, 42 billion VND will be spent to carry out first facilities of the work in 2017.

    Stretching over 500 metres, the project is one of the most imperative works to prevent coastal erosion in Khanh Hoa province due to climate change. Without sea dyke, many houses on the coastline have collapsed.

    To implement the project, Khanh Hoa plans to remove locals’ temporary coastal houses and inappropriate structures while asking financial assistance from the State.

    Over 14,000 tonnes of rice provided for the needy during Tet

    More than 14,000 tonnes of rice were provided for needy people in 17 provinces and cities during the Lunar New Year (Tet) 2017, said Nguyen Manh Ha, an official from the General Department of State Reserves under the Ministry of Finance at a press conference held in Hanoi on February 22.

    The rice support helped the needy overcome difficulties and stabilise production as well as enjoy a warm Tet holiday, Ha highlighted.

    The department also gave over 35,657 tonnes of rice to nearly 540,000  impoverished students in 47 provinces and cities during the first term of the 2016-2017 academic year, he said, adding that over 29,215 tonnes of rice will be provided for poor students in the second term.

    Deputy General Director of State Reserves Le Van Thoi said that the department will work closely with departments of education and training to distribute rice to each school while setting up a working group to inspect the allocation.

    The distributed goods are always in good quality as they must undergo strict examinations, Thoi underscored.

    Month of environment disinfection starts

    The first stage of a month of environmental hygiene and disinfection is scheduled for February 22 – March 21, 2017 to counter possible entry of avian flu viruses.

    In an urgent dispatch sent to chairs of municipal and provincial People’s Committees on February 21, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development asked them to set up disinfectant sites in northern mountainous provinces.

    Farms and fowl slaughter and egg incubation facilities will provide funding and materials for the activity under the watch of local authorities and vets.

    At border gates, animal quarantine agencies will work with border officials to arrange disinfectant sites and sterilise vehicles transporting animal products via border gates.

    Communal authorities will send antiseptic spraying teams to farming households and fowl markets in rural areas, village streets and animal storage facilities.

    According to the World Organisation for Animal Health, avian flu H5N2, H5N8 and H5N6 broke out in China this January. Therefore, there are high risks that avian flu A/H7N9 and other strains of flu virus could enter Vietnam.

    After testing avian flu viruses in live fowl markets in 32 cities and provinces nationwide last year, the Department of Animal Health and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation found that the rates of H5N6 and H5N1 infection among chickens are 1.89 percent and 0.94 percent, respectively.

    Meanwhile, the respective infection rates among ducks are 6.7 percent and 1.63 percent.

    The H5N6 and H5N1 infection rates in the environment are 2.9 percent and 2.07 percent.

    Quang Nam works to tackle coastal oil, rubbish

    The environment agency in the central coastal province of Quang Nam has to date collected nine tonnes of rubbish, covered with crude and clotted oil, along the coastline in Nui Thanh district.

    In early February, the rubbish, including plastic bags, bottles and 0.5-10 cm clotted oil, were found washed ashore and spanned 7 km along the local coastline.

    Since the environment incident took place, between 15 and 25 garbage collectors have been deploying to the scene every day, with harmful waste transferred to the waste processing site in the nearby Tam Xuan 2 area.

    According to an inspection carried out on February 18, the collection work ran on schedule and was in line with environmental regulations.

    Nguyen Vien, Director of the provincial Department of Natural Resources and Environment, said normally all rubbish is washed away from the shore after the flood season, but this year, it has stayed in place.

    He said his agency is looking for the cause of this unusual event and working to clean up the coast as soon as possible.

    HCM City seeks stronger economic ties with Japanese city

    Ho Chi Minh City welcomes and pledges to create the best conditions for businesses from Sakai city in the Japanese prefecture of Osaka to invest in the southern largest economic hub, said a local official.

    During a meeting with Deputy Mayor of Sakai city Emiko Hazama on February 22, Vice Chairman of the HCM City People’s Committee Le Thanh Liem briefed his guest of the city’s potential and advantages as well as prioritised fields calling for investment.

    Liem said HCM City expects to effectively carry out cooperation agreements already signed with Sakai city and Osaka prefecture and jointly remove obstacles to facilitate investment and trade ties.

    He called on the administrations of Sakai city and Osaka prefecture to introduce HCM City’s investment climate and encourage local investors to do long-term business in the city.

    Having talked about Sakai city’s advantages and potential and local enterprises’ demands for investment, Emiko Hazama expressed her hope that the HCM City authorities would create more favourable conditions for Sakai businesses to invest in the city.

    According to the deputy mayor, Sakai city is the second largest city in Osaka prefecture and boasts advantages in industry and high technology.

    Recently, Sakai enterprises have embarked on a range of economic, trade and investment cooperation projects in Vietnam, including HCM City.

    Vietnam sentences Russian man to 18 years in jail for cocaine trafficking

    A Russian man has been sentenced to 18 years in prison after he was found guilty of trafficking cocaine into Vietnam, a Ho Chi Minh City court said on February 22.

    A Russian man has been sentenced to 18 years in prison after he was found guilty of trafficking cocaine into Vietnam, a Ho Chi Minh City court said on February 22.

    Aleksandr Savin, 26, was found with 13 linings impregnated with cocaine in his coat, sleeping bag and suitcase after he landed at Tan Son Nhat International Airport in November 2015, according to investigators.

    Nearly 300 grams (0.6 pound) of cocaine have been extracted from the linings.

    The 26-year-old man testified that he met a woman named Svetlana in Russia, who asked him to carry “something” for her in exchange for $1,000 and a free trip to South America.

    Following the woman’s instruction, Savin received a backpack, which contained jackets and sleeping bags, from a man in Chile. Savin had been to several countries carrying the backpack before being arrested in Vietnam.

    At the trial on February 22, the Russian man said he didn’t know drugs had been hidden in the backpack, an excuse rejected by the Vietnamese jury.

    Vietnam has some of the world’s toughest drugs laws. Those convicted of possessing or smuggling more than 600 grams of heroin or more than 2.5 kilograms of methamphetamine face death penalty.

    Production or sale of 100 grams of heroin or 300 grams of other narcotics is also punishable by death.

    Australia Awards Scholarships open for Vietnamese

    A scholarship program for masters-level study in Australia is calling for Vietnamese applications from February to March 2017.

    Vietnam’s government and central agency officials, staff from NGOs, Vietnamese enterprises, university lecturers and researchers are encouraged to apply for the Australia Awards Scholarships, the Vietnam-Australia Human Resource Development Partnership has announced.

    Australia Awards Scholarships are prestigious international awards offered by the Australian government to the next generation of global leaders for development. They are for full-time study in Australia.

    Applications are open online from February 1 until March 31, 2017.

    Awardees are expected to begin their studies in Australia in 2018.

    “Australia Awards are central to Australia’s people-to-people links with Vietnam”, Australian Ambassador to Vietnam Craig Chittick said in a statement.

    “By encouraging innovation and supporting the development of a highly-skilled workforce, Australia is contributing to Vietnam’s efforts to meet its development aspirations.

    “So I am very pleased to announce applications for Australia Awards Scholarships open for Vietnamese from 1 February 2017, for Masters-level study in Australia.”

    The awardees will study at a university of their choice, at Masters level, in priority areas for Vietnam’s development:  governance and economic growth, transport, water and sanitation, education, gender equality, agriculture and rural development, regional stability and human rights, disability and climate change.

    Australia Awards recipients are required to return to Vietnam after completing their course to contribute Vietnam’s development.

    Australia Awards are building invaluable connections between people, trust between nations, and an understanding of one another’s cultures.

    In Vietnam, the Australia Awards Scholarships are part of a broader investment by the Australian Government in human resource development, which includes short courses and informal training opportunities to address gaps in skills and knowledge needed to support Vietnam’s development.

    Applicants with a disability and applicants from disadvantaged rural areas are given priority.  Out of 80 awards offered in last year’s round, five awards were given to applicants with disabilities and 15 to applicants from disadvantaged rural areas.

    Australia is a leading provider of government scholarships to Vietnam.  There are currently over 5,800 Australia Awards alumni from Vietnam who graduated from Australian universities dating back to the 1970s.

    Further information on the application process is available at

    HCM City to better Singapore in medical services: health chief

    Ho Chi Minh City has the potential to outdo Singapore in terms of medical services by as early as 2020 if medical facilities are adequately invested in, the municipal health director has said.

    Speaking at a recent meeting with the city's leaders, Nguyen Tan Binh, director of the municipal health department, asserted that with sufficient investment and favorable policies, he can promise that the city residents "will no longer have to travel to Singapore or any other country for medical treatment."

    According to Binh, with a population of over ten million, Ho Chi Minh City possesses an invaluable depth of medical talent who only require further training to become skilled doctors.

    One of the key facilities that Binh looked forward to finishing to further realize his vision is a hi-tech medical complex which is under construction in Tan Kien Commune, Binh Chanh District.

    The complex will be able to handle up to 2,600 resident patients, offering hi-tech medical procedures in different specializations including blood transfusion and hematology, dento-maxillofacial science and dermatology.

    In January, a massive children’s hospital, considered Vietnam’s most modern, went into partial operation in Binh Chanh, with its remaining wards scheduled to be inaugurated in the second quarter of this year.

    The second campus of Ho Chi Minh City’s Pham Ngoc Thach University of Medicine, which is also under construction in Binh Chanh, is expected to become the facility responsible for training highly skilled medical personnel.

    “After 2020, there will be doctors trained to European standards [in the city],” Binh said. “We do not lack human resources; what we do lack is proper investment.”

    Binh added that hospitals in the city needed more relaxed policies to allow the adaptation of the public-private partnership (PPP) cooperative arrangement, in which private investors can develop modern medical facilities for those who can afford the service.

    “Our Hospital of Oncology won’t be inferior to Singapore’s, while our obstetric and pediatric hospitals have already surpassed theirs [in terms of facility and personnel],” Binh claimed.

    Binh said Ho Chi Minh City would soon become the pride of Vietnamese medicine, with the ability to provide medical services on par with those offered in Europe and the US.

    “And there should be no reason for our citizens to seek medical treatment elsewhere,” he concluded.

    Australian firm lands US$520 million waste treatment contract

    The Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee has approved award of a contract to construct a waste treatment facility to Trisun Green Energy Corporation of Australia.

    Trisun bid the project earlier this month and came in low with a bid price of US$520 million, said Nguyen Thanh Phong, chair of the Committee in making the announcement.

    The contract calls for the new treatment facility to be constructed at the Phuoc Hiep Complex in the district of Cu Chi within 33 months.

    The City’s goal is for the new plant to treat waste currently being buried at the Da Phuoc Waste Treatment Complex in the district of Binh Chanh, said Phong.

    Vietnam Airlines signs landmark agreement with Hanoi

    Vietnam Airlines on February 22 signed an unprecedented agreement with the capital city of Hanoi to partner in boosting tourism to the City as well as increase its brand awareness.

    At the signing ceremony, Nguyen Duc Chung, chair of Hanoi People’s Committee affirmed that the City recognizes the importance of working closely with Vietnam Airlines to promote tourism and trade opportunities within the ASEAN region.

    Vietnam Airlines has an important role to play in providing greater accessibility between Vietnam and ASEAN, he noted. Working together as partners, we will be able to create even greater opportunities to increase the number of tourists and business travellers flying to Hanoi.

    Through joint efforts we will focus on raising the profile of Hanoi and Vietnam as a whole to ASEAN travellers, he added. The partnership will focus on using Vietnam Airline’s position as the leading carrier in the country to promote leisure travellers in the region – specifically rolling out tourism campaigns in ASEAN member countries.

    Northwestern region sees JICA healthcare benefits

    Provinces in the northwestern region of the country are seeing positive results from the second phase of a healthcare service project funded by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), launched in 2013.

    Speaking at a conference held yesterday in Hà Nội, Dr Lương Ngọc Khuê, head of the health ministry’s Diagnosis and Disease Treatment Department, said the country’s healthcare system was facing many challenges.

    Though investment in the healthcare sector has increased over the years, it has not met demand. The ratio of the number of beds compared to the number of patients is still low compared to other countries in the Southeast Asia region, he said.

    In addition, there is a lack of healthcare staff in remote areas, especially in the Northwest.

    The health ministry has directed agencies to increase the capacity of hospitals in remote areas and reduce overload at hospitals in bigger cities.  

    The project used US$3.21 million ODA from Japan and reciprocal capital from Việt Nam worth $212,000, according to JICA.

    The second phase of the project (from 2013-2017) aims to strengthen medical services in Northwestern provinces.

    Among its activities, the project set up a Direction Office for Healthcare Activities (DOHA) Network for provincial general hospitals, district hospitals in five target Northwestern provinces, and provincial, district hospitals and commune health stations in Hòa Bình Province.

    It has also helped improve management capacity of staff at the Medical Service Administration under the Ministry of Health, and provincial departments of health and provincial general hospitals in charge of DOHA and referral activities.

    Japanese experts have provided technical guidance on referral data analysis which is used to develop training for continuing medical education courses.

    The project has also created a DOHA Handbook and user-friendly guidebook which provides staff and leaders with the basic proceedings of DOHA and preparation for effective DOHA management.

    The handbook will be widely distributed to all cities and provinces in an effort to disseminate the lessons learned by the project.

    The project has also used Referral Data Management Software as an effective tool for referral information management, in accordance with Ministry of Health’s Circular on referral at medical facilities.

    The conference was attended by representatives from JICA Việt Nam Office, the Medical Service Administration and departments under the Ministry of Health, provincial departments of health, and provincial general hospitals in 27 provinces in the northern region.

    Also attending were representatives from the six target provinces, including Hòa Bình, Sơn La, Điện Biên, Lai Châu, Lào Cai and Yên Bái, as well as Bạch Mai, Việt-Đức, pediatric, obstetric and national cancer hospitals in Hà Nội.

    Gas station scam accused receive prison sentences

    Sixteen accused in a cheating case involving a gas station at 436 Trần Khát Chân Street were given various levels of punishments, from administrative fines to prison sentences.

    They were brought to court over collusion to rip off customers using tampered meters, an offence under the penal code.

    The sanctions were handed out Tuesday by the People’s Court of Hà Nội after two-day trial.

    The case was brought to light two years ago, when the Department of Economic Crimes under the municipal police, in collaboration with the city’s Market Management Department, inspected the gas station and found illegally integrated circuits fitted in all the six gas pumps installed there.

    These circuits helped short-change the customers by restricting the flow of fuel into the customers’ vehicles, whereas the pump would display a higher quantity of fuel. Trần Thanh Trình, 36, and Nguyễn Mạnh Hà, 33, attendants at the station, had proposed the scam.

    In April 2014, the two had sought approval from the manager of the station, Nguyễn Thị Hồng Hạnh, 50, to install the circuits and she agreed. The two then asked the other attendants at the pump to pay their share of VNĐ7 million ($306) each to purchase the circuits.

    Hạnh also asked Ngô Tuấn Anh, 35, to upgrade the circuits, so that the attendants could activate them via remote controls.

    Hồ Trọng Tuấn, head of the Market Department of Hà Nội Fuel and Petrol JSC, together with Ngô Đức Phong, former director of Thăng Long Petrol Equipment Co. Ltd., and Ngô Đức Tuấn, and Ngô Tuấn Anh, bought the circuits for the gas attendants being fully aware of the intention for the purchase.

    From April 2014 to December 24, 2015, when the defrauding activities were uncovered, Hạnh and 11 attendants of the gas station made a profit of VNĐ1.57 billion ($68,800) by stealthily cutting back 5 per cent of the gas pumped into the vehicle of each customer.

    The two "masterminds" of the crime, Trình and Hà, who also directly manipulated the gas meter, were given the heaviest sentence of 36 months in prison.

    Hạnh, deemed to be the most liable in the defraud case, received the second-heaviest sentence – 30 months of imprisonment.

    Six attendants of the station — Đỗ Thị Lương Hà, Trần Thị Minh Thu, Trương Quốc Cường, Nguyễn Công Trung, Lương Thị Vân, and Nguyễn Thị Vân — were given 24 months of probation, while another attendant, Bùi Thị Mai Linh, was given 20-month probation. Lê Đức Phong and Ngô Tuấn Anh received 18-month probation.

    Hồ Trọng Tuấn was given a term of 24 months.

    Nguyễn Bá Tùng and Hoàng Nghĩa Quân, two gas pump attendants, together with Ngô Đức Toàn, former director of Anh Phát Petrol Equipment Co. Ltd., were also fined VNĐ20-30 million ($876-1314).

    Apart from the prison sentences, the court also demanded that the defendants pay back the illegal gains.

    Khanh Hoa launches photo exhibition at APEC 2017

    The Department of Culture and Sports of the south-central province of Khanh Hoa is organizing a photo exhibition during the first Senior Officials’ Meeting of APEC 2017 taking place in the province’s Nha Trang City from February 18 to March 3.

    The event, themed “The beauty of the land, people of Khanh Hoa Province and the southcentral region”, is aimed to introduce international delegates to Khanh Hoa – the land filled with breathtaking scenes and diverse cultural identities, Vietnam Plus reports.

    The exhibition is available at five hotels in the resort city of Nha Trang, including Sheraton, Intercontinetial, Yasaka Saigon-Nha Trang, Sunrise and Liberty Central.

    The organization board displays 30 photos at each venue, with those featuring beautiful natural landscapes and the people of Khanh Hoa Province in particular and the southcentral region of Vietnam in general.

    In addition, visitors can admire the photos about cultural festivals, folk activities and traditional craft villages.

    Particularly, photos featuring the beauty of the Nha Trang Bay, one of the most picturesque bays in the world, are being exhibited at the event.

    At the parties serving distinguished officials, Hai Dang Ensemble of the province will stage cultural art performances, featuring the traditional music instruments such as dan bau (monochord), dan tranh (zither), and sao (flute), and folk songs along with dances by people from ethnic minority groups of the Central Highlands.

    The provincial government also introduces delegates attending the conference to some popular tourist destinations in the province such as the Ponagar Cham Tower datinmg back to over 1,200 years ago, known as an ancient architecture of the Cham people, and Hon Chong (Balanced Rock). These famous tourism sites attract hundreds of thousands of domestic and international tourist arrivals in the province every year.

    S.Korea exempts certain travelers from visa fee

    Staff members of companies listed on the website or businesses with revenues of over US$5 million a year each will pay no fee when they apply for a tourist visa to join South Korea incentive tours.

    Le Thi Thu Trang, marketing director of the Korea Tourism Organization in Vietnam (KTO), said employees of these companies will be exempt from a US$15 visa fee per person and that it would take three days to get a visa, instead of eight days as regulated.

    However, these tourists will have to buy tours at 17 travel agencies in HCMC and Hanoi designated by Korean authorities.

    Currently, Vietnamese tourists who are not staff of the 500 companies will pay a visa application fee of US$15 rather than the normal US$20 when they join Korea incentive tour programs.

    Vietnamese tourists to Korea in incentive tour programs last year numbered 33,000, rising 200% compared to 2015, Trang told at an event held in HCMC on February 21 to introduce Korean tourism products and services.

    Vietnam has emerged as a key source market for Korea as 251,000 Vietnamese traveled to the northeast Asian country last year, up 53% year-on-year, Trang said.

    This year, Korea expects to attract more than 300,000 Vietnamese tourists, surging 22% versus 2016.

    KTO this year will organize two large tourism and cultural festivals in Hanoi and HCMC in April and September respectively to promote high-end and promotional tours to Korea.
    RoK province wants to boost cooperation with Hanoi

    The most populous province of the Republic of Korea (RoK), Gyeonggi, hopes to establish ties with Hanoi to enhance bilateral cooperation across various fields, including hi-tech agriculture.

    Chairman of the province’s Anyang City Council Kim Dae Young made the statement at a working session with the Hanoi municipal People’s Council on February 22.

    With over 1,000-years of history and popular destinations, Hanoi is expected build close-knit relations with Gyeonggi for mutual benefits, he said, adding that the two sides share many cultural similarities.

    The Korean delegation also expressed willingness to exchange experience and help Hanoi develop urban areas.

    Vice Chairwoman of the municipal People’s Council Phung Thi Hong Ha said Hanoi is carrying out eight development programmes, including rural and agriculture development.

    The city hopes to learn experience from the RoK province in developing hi-tech agriculture, and explore cooperation in other realms such as economics, culture and social affairs.

    Dak Nong spends over 200 billion VND upgrading water system

    The Central Highlands province of Dak Nong will allocate more than 200 billion VND (8.7 million USD) to expand its clean water system and sanitation projects in rural areas in 2016-2021.

    Of the sum, 184 billion VND (8.06 million USD) comes from World Bank loans, with the remainder from the province’s capital.

    Up to 33 clean water works will be upgraded or built to serve about 45,000 residents in rural and remote areas. Clean water systems and sanitation projects in 46 schools and 2,200 toilets for rural households will also be built.

    After the projects, Dak Nong province hopes that 90 percent of rural residents will have access to clean water, while all schools and medical stations will have water works and toilets. Local officials and people will also be given training courses in sanitation and water saving.

    About 83 percent of Dak Nong’s population had access to clean water in 2016, however, the rate is low for people living in rural and remote areas, said the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

    New achievements in Vietnam’s historical research announced

    A meeting was held in Hanoi on February 22 by the Party Central Committee (PCC)’s Commission for Communication and Education to announe new achievements in Vietnam’s historical research.

    At the event, Professor Phan Huy Le, People’s Teacher and Honorary President of the Vietnamese Association of Historical Science, presented delegates with remarkable findings in studying Vietnam’s history over the past two decades; a new approach of Vietnam’s history; and lessons learnt and issues in conducting historical science today.

    Speaking at the event, Vo Van Thuong, Politburo member, PCC Secretary and Head of the PCC Commission for Communication and Education, said that the meeting provided useful information for those working in the communication and education sector.

    He stressed that leaders at all level always looked to history in search of lessons on how to run the country, consolidate the national solidarity, care for the livelihoods of the people and conduct external affairs.

    He expressed his hope that a text on Vietnamese history, which was being compiled as ordered by the Secretariat, would be soon promulgated, since the work would reflect the viewpoints not only of historians but also of the Party and State, thus providing objectivity, impartiality and a trustworthy evaluation of historical events, historical figures and the course of the country’s development.

    Young Makers Challenge Competition 2017 launched

    The 3rd season of the high school competition, Young Makers Challenge Competition 2017 has been launched nationwide starting from February 13 to June 3.

    The competition is opened for young makers who have a passion for science and technology. It is not only for budding inventors, but for artists, movie makers, engineers and anyone with a love of tinkering, designing, hacking, and innovating. It is divided into 3 age groups, 8 to 11, 12 to 15, and 16 to 18.

    The contest focuses on idea development and product design and construction based on the Arduino architecture. Products will be made on Intel Galileo boards; each team is provided with 01 board. While project ideas are not limited to specific fields, it is recommended that each team focus on the following areas: urban traffic, environment, smart home and healthcare.

    The event has four rounds, Online Application Form, Project Presentation, Semi-final and Finale.
    The organization board will grant one 1st Prize, two 2nd Prizes, three 3rd Prizes, one Best Individual Prize and one Best Female Student Prize.

    To participate in Young Makers Challenge 2017, teams can register online on the website:

    Young Makers Challenge Competition 2017 is co-organized by the non-profit youth organization, Young Makers Challenge and Intel Vietnam.

    Young Makers Vietnam is established with the aim to support and empower Vietnamese young makers. Through supporting students to approach innovative science in a more practical and intuitive way, Young Makers Vietnam contributes to the development of human resources in science and technology sector in Vietnam.

    Young Makers Challenge 2017 aims to encourage the creative spirit and research in science and technology of middle and high school students, to promote the practice and application of teaching, and to give students the opportunity to study and develop the hard skills and soft skills needed to create and design prototypes; simultaneously, Young Makers Challenge 2017 is a playground for the “young makers” to unleash their passion, explore their potential, and interact with their peers.

    Fires threaten Tây Ninh forests

    More than 50,000ha of protective and special-use forests in the south-eastern province of Tây Ninh face the risk of fire due to the prolonged hot, dry weather.

    To prevent forest fires, the local Forest Plan and Development Steering Committee is closely monitoring large tracts in high-risk areas.

    The high-risk areas include Chàng Riệc special-use forest, Dầu Tiếng protective forest, Lò Gò-Xa Mát National Park and Núi Bà historical forest.

    The steering committee has called on district authorities to strengthen their capacity to promptly tackle unexpected blazes.

    According to forest managers, firefighting forces are well prepared with tractors, hoses and other devices and have built reservoirs and firebreaks to combat fires.

    The Dầu Tiếng protective forest management has asked for funds to build two more observation towers at important areas with a complex terrain and farmlands.

    Last year there were 20 fires which damaged more than 60ha of natural and man-made forests, mainly in Dầu Tiếng, according to the local Sub-department of Forest Protection.

    Forty six other fires also destroyed 140ha of reforested areas.

    Leading singers perform music by Van Cao and Pham Duy

    Four leading male singers will perform music by two Vietnamese great composers Văn Cao and Phạm Duy at the HCM City’s Hòa Bình Theatre on February 25.

    The concert named after Cao’s popular song Cung Đàn Xưa (Old Melody) will include Tuấn Ngọc, Đức Tuấn, Tấn Minh and Hồ Trung Dũng.

    They will perform songs such as Mùa Thu Chết (Dead Autumn), Thà Như Giọt Mưa (Just like Rain Drop), and Thiên Thai (Paradise).

    With strong and beautiful voices, all the singers are very popular with local audiences through songs by veteran songwriters like Trịnh Công Sơn and Ngô Thụy Miên.

    They will pair with talented mixing engineers Hoài Sa, Đức Trí, Võ Thiện Thanh and Việt Anh, who promise to make Cao and Duy’s songs more beautiful.

    Both singers and mixing engineers had worked together to create acclaimed music products for years.

    Therefore, their corporation is promised to make the concert interesting.

    The concert will also include guest singers Uyên Linh and Nguyên Thảo, and pop bands Năm Dòng Kẻ and Mặt Trời Mới.

    It will see backing vocals from Cadilac group, dancers from Arabesque, and music band The Best Friend.

    The performance is directed by Phạm Hoàng Nam who has produced numerous music shows for Vietnamese famous singers.

    The concert will begin at 8pm at the theatre, 240 Ba Tháng Hai Street in District 10. Tickets are available at the venue’s box office and at


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  • 02/24/17--00:58: Article 2
  • PM requests verification of news on Deputy Minister’s assets

    The Prime Minister’s Office has issued instructions from PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Secretary of the Party Delegation to the Government, requesting relevant agencies’ prompt coordination in verifying news stories on Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Ho Thi Kim Thoa.

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    Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Ho Thi Kim Thoa.

    The PM asked the Ministry of Planning and Investment, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Industry and Trade, and the Government Inspectorate to quickly carry out Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong’s instructions dated February 16, regarding the collaboration with the Central Inspection Commission and relevant agencies, to make a full accounting of the contents of published stories and related issues.

    The PM also assigned the Ministry of Finance to work with the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Planning and Investment, the Government Inspectorate, and the Steering Commission on Enterprise Reform and Development to screen related legal regulations to perfect them, overcome limitations in managing, preventing and fighting the loss of State assets, and deter corruption and group interest in the equitisation of the State-owned enterprises and report the results to the PM in the second quarter of 2017.

    On February 16, the Office of the Party Central Committee sent dispatch No.3308-CV/VPTW to the Party Central Committee’s Commissions for Inspection, Organisation and Internal Affairs; the Party Delegations to the Government, the Government Inspectorate and the ministries of Industry and Trade, Finance and Planning and Investment, requiring them to work together to promptly examine news stories run by several newspapers regarding Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Ho Thi Kim Thoa and report the outcomes to the Party Central Committee’s Secretariat. 

    According to the dispatch, Nhan dan (People) newspaper ran an article “On asset filing by Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Ho Thi Kim Thoa” on February 11; while Tuoi tre (Youth) produced a story “Deputy Minister Ho Thi Kim Thoa owns asset worth of hundreds of billion dong” on February 11 and the other “What does Deputy Minister’s family have in Dien Quang company?”. 

    Tien Phong (Vanguard) also published articles on February 14, 15, 16 calling for inspections on stock acquisition and control of officials’ family ties to prevent power abuse. 

    Several other papers also raised the issue.


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  • 02/24/17--01:09: Article 1
  • Trade deficit returns to haunt Vietnam

    Vietnam had faced a trade deficit of US$1.21 billion in the year to mid-February, which resulted from shipments of some key export earners dipping, according to data of the General Department of Customs.

     Trade deficit returns to haunt Vietnam, vietnam economy, business news, vn news, vietnamnet bridge, english news, Vietnam news, news Vietnam, vietnamnet news, vn news, Vietnam net news, Vietnam latest news, Vietnam breaking news
    A container ship is seen at a port in Vietnam. Vietnam had faced a trade defi cit of US$1.21 billion in the year to mid-February

    The country’s total export and import turnover in the first half of this month was US$14.22 billion, a 10.9% rise against the previous half. 

    The total in the first one month and a half reached around US$41.65 billion, up 25% over the same period last year.

    The foreign direct investment (FDI) sector exported US$9.3 billion worth of goods in the first half of this month, a 13.1% increase against the previous half. 

    As of February 15, its import-export turnover reached nearly US$26.89 billion, up 25.2% year-on-year.

    The sector generated a trade surplus of over US$1.55 billion in the year to the middle of this month.

    Vietnam registered outbound sales of US$5.89 billion in the first half of this month, falling 15.9% over a half month earlier. 

    The export decline resulted from strong slides in key export products. Apparel fell by 53.4%, or US$625 million; footwear by 29.3%, or US$159 million; wooden products by 44.3%, or US$133 million; handbags, wallets, suitcases, hats and umbrellas by 57.4%, or US$90 million; and vehicles and parts by 28%, or US$82 million.

    But exports in the year to mid-February reached US$20.22 billion, up 18.5% from the year-ago period.

    Imports in the first half of this month totaled US$8.34 billion, up 43.3% over a half month earlier. As such, the country’s import bill in the year to mid-February amounted to US$21.43 billion, a year-on-year rise of 31.7%.

    Import of computers, electronics and components surged 38.7% (or US$387 million) compared to the previous half month; machinery, equipment and parts 35% (US$352 million); plastic materials 87.9% (US$151 million); iron and steel 52.1% (US$138 million); phones and phone parts 28.4% (US$115 million).

    Import of fuels decreased 30.9% (or US$94 million), 69.3% (or US$25 million) in soybeans, and 19.1% (or US$15 million) in corn.


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  • 02/24/17--01:22: Article 0
  • Samsung affirms $2.5 billion expansion in Bac Ninh

    In the midst of public suspicion about the fate of Samsung’s plans in Vietnam, today Samsung is going to receive the investment certificate for its $2.5 billion Samsung Display project in the northern province of Bac Ninh.

     Samsung affirms $2.5 billion expansion in Bac Ninh, vietnam economy, business news, vn news, vietnamnet bridge, english news, Vietnam news, news Vietnam, vietnamnet news, vn news, Vietnam net news, Vietnam latest news, Vietnam breaking news

    The project is going to be located in Yen Phong Industrial Park.

    It has been approved in principle by the government earlier, and the government is going to give to the project all the incentives that are available to a large-scale project.

    With this project, Samsung Display’s total investment in Vietnam is going to be $6.5 billion. 

    There is no confirmation from Samsung but experts said that Samsung Display’s expansion of investment in Vietnam may be related to Apple’s plan to switch to using AMOLED screen.

    Samsung is the only company in the world with exclusive technologies and the capacity for mass production of AMOLED screens to meet the demand of Apple. 

    At the moment Samsung is holding a 95 per cent share of the global market for AMOLED, producing an average 200 million products a year.

    With this investment, Samsung reaffirms its position as the biggest foreign investor into Vietnam at the moment. 

    The expansion also somewhat clears the doubt of the public that Samsung may postpone its investment plans in Vietnam, which boiled after Lee Jae-yong, Samsung Electronics vice chairman and the son of Samsung group chairman Lee Kun-hee was arrested on February 17 as part of a probe into corruption and influence-peddling that caused President Park Geun-hye to be impeached.

    At the moment Samsung has registered $17.3 billion of investment in Vietnam. 

    Besides $6.5 billion by Samsung Display is $9.5 billion investment by Samsung Electronics, including $5 billion in Thai Nguyen, $2.5 billion in Bac Ninh and $2 billion in Ho Chi Minh City, and the $1.2 billion Samsung Electro-Mechanics project in Thai Nguyen.

    Samsung Display first invested in Vietnam in 2014 with $1 billion. Only a year later the company decided to raise the capital to $4 billion and at the moment $6.5 billion. 

    The project in Bac Ninh is going to produce the newest generation of displays to supply to Samsung’s mobile device manufacturing facilities in Vietnam as well as to export.


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  • 02/26/17--23:35: Article 2
  • Luxury segment dragging VN housing market

    At a meeting with the Prime Minister’s working group in mid-February, Minister of Construction Pham Hong Ha said the housing market was facing an oversupply of high-end developments, detracting from the market’s attraction to investors.

    Luxury segment dragging VN housing market, vietnam economy, business news, vn news, vietnamnet bridge, english news, Vietnam news, news Vietnam, vietnamnet news, vn news, Vietnam net news, Vietnam latest news, Vietnam breaking news 
    Many research reports also clearly show a supply and demand imbalance in the high-end home market due to a fall in demand and increase in supply.

    There was enough luxury housing to last until 2020, he said.

    Many research reports also clearly show a supply and demand imbalance in the high-end home market due to a fall in demand and increase in supply.

    Some had estimated the inventory at around 200,000 high-end homes in the period from 2011 and 2015, and this figure has now increased significantly. 

    Another report said in the last three years the market added 50,000-60,000 apartments a year.

    Incomplete statistics from the Việt Nam Real Estate Association show more than 4,000 projects with a combined area of 460 million square metres, which is equivalent to 3 million apartments.

    In HCM City, according to the Hồ Chí Minh City Real Estate Association (HoREA), in 2016 and 2017  the market added over 30,000 housing units, of which high-end homes accounted for 20.3 per cent.

    Market observers said though the supply of luxury housing increased sharply demand fell sharply.

    According to a Savills Việt Nam report, there was a 31 per cent decrease in demand for luxury apartments in 2016 .

    HoREA said in the first two quarters of 2016 sales of apartments in the city, mainly high-end homes, dropped by nearly 4 5 per cent.

    Like many other major markets in the country, HCM City is also facing many other problems in addition to the oversupply of high-end apartments, one of which is the shortage of low-cost social and commercial housing.

    According to Trần Ngọc Quang, general secretary of the Việt Nam Real Estate Association, in recent years developers have focused on luxury housing while 70 per cent of the demand has been in the medium- and low-priced segments. 

    What has caused this drop in demand for high-end homes?

    In recent years investors have vied with each other to invest in the segment without paying heed to the market demand, expected a significant increase in buying by foreigners and overseas Vietnamese following changes to the ownership laws and policies.                        

    But it has turned out that the number of foreigners and overseas Vietnamese seeking to buy homes in the country is not as high as expected. Besides, some recent changes to credit policies by the State Bank of Việt Nam have hit demand from speculators.

    Circular No.06 /2016/TT-NHNN, which came into effect on January 1, has raised the risk index from 150 (the lowest level) to 200 per cent, making investors worry about a cash crunch.

    The circular also specifies a roadmap for the maximum ratio of short-term funds used for medium- and long-term loans to be reduced from 60 per cent to 40 per cent, which has made the banks cautious about pumping money into the real estate sector.

    These are expected to make the lending interest rates less attractive for home buyers, and so many investors do not want to further put money into real estate products, especially luxury ones.

    This has resulted in an oversupply of luxury homes, raising the spectre of bad debts as developers struggle to sell.

    According to CBRE, in recent times more than 60 per cent of apartment buyers are speculators, with the majority depending on bank loans for their funding.

    HoREA revealed that loans given for developing and buying property last year were worth around VNĐ150 trillion, a year-on-year increase of 14.2 per cent.

    The bad debt ratio in the sector averaged 3.9 per cent.

    Banks eye higher credit growth, profits

    Vietcombank has set itself a target of 18 per cent credit growth this year and pre-tax profit of VNĐ9.2 trillion (over US$405 million).

    Agribank hopes to achieve 14-18 per cent credit growth and at least 10 per cent profit.

    Private banks too expect credit growth to be higher this year than last year, thus boosting profits.

    For instance, ACB targets 18 per cent expansion.

    This was because for a long time banks’ profits have relied mainly on credit, particularly in the case of small banks.

    In fact, for many small banks, 80-90 per cent of profits come from credit-related activities.

    Many economic sectors are forecast to recover strongly this year, possibly giving banks’ lending plans a boost.

    But analysts are unsure, saying stepping up lending is not an easy task.

    A central bank official said this year bank lending would be closely controlled, especially long- and medium-term loans to high-risk customers, including those involved in property and in build-operate-transfer and build-transfer transport projects.

    The central bank will also focus on improving credit quality and lending to businesses in priority sectors, meaning banks will not have many opportunities for high credit growth.

    A member of the Advisory Council on National Financial and Monetary Policies also said achieving high credit growth this year would be a challenge.

    To expand credit, it is necessary to further cut interest rates, particularly on medium- and long-medium loans, but it is not an easy task because costs continue to rise due to high deposit interest rates, he said.

    Anti-dollarisation efforts face challenges                   

    The State Bank of Việt Nam’s anti-dollarisation efforts have managed to keep the đồng-dollar exchange rate fairly steady for a long time, thus helping stabilise the monetary market.

    But the fight against dollarisation is expected to face challenges after the dollar began to strengthen against the đồng on both the official and unofficial markets after the US presidential election results were announced last November and the Federal Reserve recently unveiled a roadmap to raise the interest rate on US dollar.

    On February 23 the central bank of Việt Nam had to hike the reference VNĐ/USD exchange rate to a record high of VNĐ22,231. Following this, some banks raised their dollar selling and buying rates by VNĐ5.

    State giant Vietinbank hiked its buying rate to VNĐ22,795 per dollar and selling rate to VNĐ22,790.

    The highest selling prices of  between VNĐ22,870 and VNĐ22,880  were at ACB, Techcombank and DongABank.

    The volatility in the greenback and new policies announced by the new US government are expected to affect the volume of the dollars pouring into Việt Nam starting this year.

    Analysts said the higher value of the dollar encourages individuals and institutions including banks to deposit their dollar holdings abroad to enjoy higher interest rates since the deposit interest rate in Việt Nam is still zero.

    Meanwhile, the protectionism US Government will have to apply high tariffs on imports, including of Vietnamese goods.

    This means exports to the US are likely to drop and affect the country’s foreign exchange reserves.  

    Việt Nam’s foreign exchange reserves could also be affected by falling remittances by Vietnamese-Americans due to the US’s policy of tightening its immigration laws, which is likely to worry the ethnic Vietnamese living there and cause them to hoard their money.

    Meanwhile, dollar demand remains high in the domestic market to pay import bills.

    This high demand is seen from the fact that though the central bank has for a long time been planning to stop banks from lending in foreign currencies to exporters, it has not been able to achieve this.

    In its Circular 31, the central bank has allowed exporters to borrow in foreign currencies until the end of this year.

    In the event, many experts have suggested that the central bank should remove the zero interest rate policy to be able to further mobilise the greenback.

    But the problem with this is that it could again cause people to hoard dollars.


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  • 02/26/17--23:55: Article 1
  • Japanese Emperor’s visit to Vietnam crucial to lift bilateral relation

    The first ever visit to Vietnam by a Japanese Emperor and Empress is a historical event of great significance to the two countries’ traditional relationship, press secretary of the Emperor Hatsuhisa Takashima told the Vietnam News Agency.

    In an interview granted to the Vietnam News Agency ahead of the scheduled Vietnam visit by Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, the press secretary highlighted the long-standing relations between Vietnam and Japan, which dated back to the 16th century with the presence of the first Japanese street in Vietnam.

    The bilateral rapport is now at its best after undergoing historical ups and downs, he said, adding that the exchange of visits between the two countries’ leaders is important to reinforce their mutual trust and friendship.

    Takashima noted that Vietnam and Japan are carrying out a number of activities to tighten their amity.

    japanese emperor’s visit to vietnam crucial to lift bilateral relation hinh 0

    He stressed that as the biggest aid provider for Vietnam, Japan has been cooperating with the Southeast Asian country to support its development, citing as examples the donation of maritime patrol vessels for Vietnam, the construction of the Vietnam – Japan University, and the active operation of Japanese businesses in Vietnam.

    The effective bilateral cooperation in economics, human resources training and infrastructure improvement have contributed to the good relationship between the two countries, according to Takashima.

    He said the Japanese Emperor and Empress were touched by the warm invitations from Vietnamese leaders, adding that the visit is one of the most-awaited for visits for both people and political circles in both countries.


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  • 02/27/17--00:29: Article 0
  • Editorial: Doan Ngoc Hai’s ‘sword of power’ in Saigon ‘sidewalk clearing’ campaign

    Doan Ngoc Hai, deputy chairman of Ho Chi Minh City’s District 1, has been grabbing the public’s attention over the last few days by leading officials to actively restore order on sidewalks throughout the district.

    Doan Ngoc Hai asks a traffic police officer to handle a state-owned car for illegal parking in Ho Chi Minh City.Tuoi Tre

    Reading news of Hai’s signature 'sidewalk reclamation' campaign, one might think that District 1’s deputy chief is either holding a ‘sword of ultimate power,’ or being backed by someone higher up the chain in order to exude such absolute determination.

    However, it turns out that the ‘sword of power’ of Doan Ngoc Hai is only the long-established regulations to ensure urban order. Hai is merely the one who applies these rules, and does so with a strong will.

    Many have expressed their satisfaction with what Hai has been doing during his campaign. However, there is one other question: Why do we feel happy when an official does what he is supposed to do?

    Reclaiming occupied sidewalks for pedestrians – this is an inevitability. However, over the last few years such a certainty has been ‘stolen,' while the existing rules and regulations, though strict enough to deter violators, have not been properly executed.

    The campaign, led by the deputy district chief, also leads to a question about ward-level authorities – where had they been before Hai and his officials began their campaign? Keeping the sidewalks and streets clean is the responsibility of these people, rather than those at district levels.

    The ‘sword of power,’ or the power conferred by law, is not something granted only to Doan Ngoc Hai, or any one ward- or district-level leader in either Ho Chi Minh City or the country in general.

    Every public servant has a 'sword,' but the problem is they have put it inside its sheath for too long, leading to a failure to execute powers within their jurisdiction. This inertia has become commonplace amongst many officials, something which needs to stop.

    Hai has gradually been making sidewalks in District 1 more spacious, and increasing the public’s trust in the authorities by properly enforcing the law. But what’s next?

    His resolve will ultimately be wasted if his campaign is not followed up by the leaders of District 1’s many wards. The same applies across all districts of the city.

    Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper raised this question to Le Van Khoa, deputy chairman of the city’s administration, and was told that many other districts are following in the footsteps of District 1 to ‘reclaim’ their sidewalks.

    Khoa also promised to hold a meeting with district-level leaders to ensure that those campaigns are resolutely mounted.

    We only need the ‘sword of power’ – rules that have been in place for years without being effectively enforced – to solve Ho Chi Minh City’s crowded sidewalk problem.

    The other crucial factor is that those who are granted ‘the sword’ must use it swiftly and resolutely.


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  • 03/01/17--00:32: Article 8
  • District 1-inspired ‘sidewalk reclamation’ effort begins in Saigon neighborhoods

    Authorities across multiple districts of Ho Chi Minh City have begun their endeavor to reclaim the sidewalks by creating awareness and fining serious offenders.


    An illegally parked car is towed away on Suong Nguyet Anh Street in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City.Tuoi Tre

    Following the ‘sidewalk clearing’ crusade initiated early last week by the deputy chairman of District 1 Doan Ngoc Hai, authorities in other districts are following suit.

    While officers in some areas have issued fines for the illegal occupancy of sidewalks, others have announced a specific timeline for local residents to organize their business operations.

    Direct measures are still being carried out in District 1 with several automobiles parked on sidewalks along several streets having been towed to local police stations.

    In District 3, police and urban management officers have recorded a total of 25 cases of sidewalk encroachment on two major streets, Vo Thi Sau and Hai Ba Trung, on Tuesday alone.

    Nguyen Thanh Phuong, deputy chairman of the People’s Committee in Phu Nhuan District, has led a team of officers to deal with the violations on Phan Xich Long Street.

    A resident of Phu Nhuan District removes his pot plants that were previously placed on the sidewalk. Photo: Tuoi Tre

    Four shops on the road were fined a combined of VND49 million (US$2,146) for letting customers park their motorbikes on the footpath.

    About 23 motorcyclists were slapped with VND150,000 ($6.57) fines for parking their vehicles in public space.

    Speaking with Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper, deputy chairman Phuong said that he had given local residents one week to rearrange their business activities.

    As the one-week period ended on Tuesday, those who occupied the promenade against the law were sternly penalized, the official continued.

    The action has received positive feedback and cooperation from citizens willing to help officers remove obstructions that had been erected on the sidewalk.

    In Tan Phu District, authorities have issued a specific time frame for residents to comply with the new regulations.

    Authorities confiscate objects occupying sidewalk space on Kha Van Can Street in Thu Duc District. Photo: Tuoi Tre

    According to Nguyen Quoc Thai, vice-chairman of the Tan Phu People’s Committee, in order for the effort to work, specific measures must be applied to prevent street vendors from selling on the sidewalk.

    “The state should establish policies to assist street sellers,” Thai said, explaining that the ‘sidewalk clearing’ campaign would affect their only source of income.

    Training programs should be offered to help vendors learn new skills and professions, the official suggested, adding that they could also be granted financial aid to help them continue their businesses in proper locations.

    Reclaiming sidewalk space was the main task of authorities in Thu Duc District on Tuesday as officers carried out inspections along major streets, including Kha Van Can, Vo Van Ngan, and Pham Van Dong.

    Local residents have been asked to sign commitment letters to keep their businesses from occupying promenades, with the promise of severe punishment should they fail to comply in the future.


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  • 03/01/17--00:46: Article 7
  • Hanoi to stop fish farming in the West Lake

    Hanoi authorities have banned and removed all fish farms in the West Lake after thousands of fish died last year.

    On February 28, Chu Phu My, director of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development announced the decision during a meeting with the city Party Secretary Hoang Trung Hai and Tay Ho District authorities.

    The city authorities will shut down all fish farming activities and tighten inspections into all discharges that go into the lake.

    My went on to say that they are carrying out research and reviewing the potential of fisheries in West Lake to find the best solutions to ensure that fish farming in the lake can thrive while ensuring ecological balance.

    Two tonnes of dead fish recovered from the West Lake

    Le Van Duc, director of the Department of Construction said the chairman of Hanoi had asked agencies to propose solution to supply water to West Lake during dry season.

    There is currently one waste treatment plant in the area with capacity to deal with 14,500 cubic metres per day. Duc hopes that they will be able to carry out other waste treatment projects in 2017 to completely deal with pollution in West Lake.

    Last week, Tay Ho District authorities started dismantling floating houses and restaurants on the lake. Businesses are moved to Nhat Tan Ward despite their complaining about incomplete construction and possible losses.

    In last October, about 200 tonnes of dead fish were recovered from the lake. Oxygen depletion and high ammonium levels 24 times higher than normal were deemed responsible for the mass fish deaths.

    By Quang Phong,

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  • 03/01/17--01:58: Article 6

    Turkey urged to ease trade defence against Vietnamese goods


    At a consultation session on the free trade agreement with Turkey from February 20-25, 2017, the Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT) asked the Turkish side to consider and recognise Vietnam’s market economy and minimise the application of trade defence measures against Vietnamese goods.

    The MOIT expressed concern that Turkey’s increasing application of trade defence measures against Vietnam’s export items in recent times has been adversely affecting trade exchange between the two countries.

    The Vietnam Competition Authority on February 28 revealed that Turkey has initiated anti-tax avoidance and anti-dumping investigations over partially oriented yarn (POY) imported from a number of countries, including Vietnam.

    Accordingly, POY items imported from China, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Chinese Taipei and Vietnam in the period of January 1, 2010 - December 31, 2016 will be put under investigation.

    POY is mainly used in texturizing to make textured yarn, also known as Polyester Drawn Textured Yarn (DTY) coded HS 5402.33. Earlier, Turkey decided to impose anti-dumping duty of between 34.81%-72.56% on Vietnam’s polyester yarn coded HS 5402.33.

    Turkey is one of Vietnam’s largest trade partners in West Asia. Two-way trade reached US$1.5 billion in 2016, with Vietnam exporting over US$1.33 billion worth of goods and importing approximately US$170 million worth of commodities.

    By the end of 2016, Turkey was the 27th largest foreign investor of 116 countries and territories investing in Vietnam, with total registered capital of US$704.3 million. Many Turkish businesses are currently interested in the Vietnamese market and are actively exploring and expanding cooperation with Vietnamese partners.

    Vietlott reports huge revenue

    Vietlott has earned VND12.8bn (USD562,000) a day in the first two months of 2017, an increase of 34% on last year, according to its report released on February 28.

    Vietlott reported positive growth compared to last year. In the first two months, the revenue of the company reached VND756bn (USD33m). The average monthly income is VND378bn, increased by 42% on last year. Its revenue from July to December 2016 was nearly VND1.6trn.

    Currently, Vietlott tickets are being sold at 12 provinces and cities including HCM City, Can Tho, An Giang, Dinh Duong, Danang, Hai Phong and Hanoi.

    HCM City is still Vietlott's biggest market. As of February 6, 85.71% of the Jackpot winning tickets are sold in HCM City and most of the winners are also living in HCM City. The Jackpot prize money can be as high as VND159.2bn (USD7m). The biggest prize paid out so far was over VND92bn.

    According to statistics, 53.85% of the winning prizes were won on the Sunday draw and the rest were drawn from Wednesday to Friday.  

    HCMC Customs Department implements online public service

    The Ho Chi Minh City Customs Department officially implemented level 3 online public service for its 41 administrative formalities from March 1.

    The administrative formalities include extension for tax or deferred payment and fines, recognition procedures for business priorities, obligation and exemption confirmation for tax, gift, sample etc etc… 

    Applicants can fill in public service registration and submit the form online to relevant agencies and organizations. 

    Results will be directly delivered to applicants and service fees will be paid online.

    European F&B businesses seek opportunities in Vietnam

    The European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development led a high-level trade mission comprising 29 business representatives to Vietnam on February 28 to explore market opportunities.

    The EU-Vietnam Business Network (EVBN) will implement a trade promotion program for food and beverage in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi on February 28- March 3 to help European businesses access the potential market and seek partners.

    Executives of 29 food and beverage businesses from 14 EU countries will attend seminars and workshops to study investment environment and quality food concepts in the country.

    According to EVBN, EU businesses want to access Vietnam market in different fields, especially food and beverage, to prepare for the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) which comes into effect in 2018.

    In late last year, a business delegation of 40 EU firms arrived in Vietnam to meet Vietnamese retailers and businesses. The Vietnam Foodexpo 2016 in HCM City in November attracted many producers from Italy, Poland, Germany, the Republic of Korea and Thailand to take part in.

    Many foreign businesses have invested in Vietnam food and beverage market through M&A activities to own shares at a series of renowned beverage businesses. More than 50% of beverage market shares now are owned by foreign businesses.

    Retail sales, service revenue increase over 7%

    Hanoi’s retail and service revenue in the first two months of 2017 amounted to VND365 trillion (US$16.4 billion), an increase of 7.1% from the same period last year, according to the Hanoi Statistics Office.

    In February alone, the figure was VND179 trillion (US$7.78 billion), down 3.9% from January.

    According to the department, Hanoi’s consumer price index in February increased slightly against the previous month, citing that prices this year changed little due to the early opening of supermarkets and commercial centres, which stopped the typical post-Tet scarcity of goods.

    The department said that more and more Vietnamese goods are on sale in supermarkets and commercial centres.

    In terms of exports, Hanoi’s export value in the first two months of 2017 was US$1.6 billion, up 13.1%.

    The industrial production index for the two months posted a year-on-year increase of 5.1%, the department added.

    Banks’ appetite for real estate lending drives up interest rates

    Banks’ favour for lending to real estate is the reason for high lending interest rates.

    Interbank rate and interest rate increased sharply this week. While before the Tet holiday, interbank offered rate was approximately 4 per cent per year, now it increased to 5-5.1 per cent. Per annum deposit interest rate and lending rate also increased by 0.1- 0.3 percentage point and by 1 percentage point, respectively.

    The State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) confirmed that the upward trend of interest rate only occurred at some small banks and does not show a general trend in the banking system. The SBV also said it would guide these banks to stabilize lending rates in order to help enterprises.

    However, a large number of securities companies projected that interest rate would increase slightly compared to last year.

    According to Bao Viet Securities Company, per annum deposit and lending rates will increase by 0.5-1 percentage point in 2017, while Saigon Securities Inc. expected that interest rates will be difficult to decrease this year.

    Some experts explained that the lending interest rate rose because deposit interest rose, which was in turn caused by inflation. However, Dr Dinh The Hien, a financial specialist, believed that this is not the real reason.

    He said deposit rates increased because of the lack of cash in banks. There are a few reasons for this.

    First, banks have been recently concentrating on medium and long-term loans so the cash has not come back yet.

    Second, some enterprises failed to pay their loans on time. Hoang Anh Gia Lai Group is a telling example.

    The third and underlying reason is that recently, lending is focused on real estate with terms from 5 to 15 years, whereas the proportion of lending to the manufacturing sector (medium and small enterprises, agriculture sector) is lagging. As a result, the growth of loans is much higher than that of the GDP.

    “In conclusion, the increase in the lending rate is predictable as the government makes ineffective investments and banks love to lend to the property sector. Credit for real estate increased significantly in the period from 2014 to 2016,” Dr Hien said.

    In the past two years, SBV has continuously reminded banks to channel their credit flows into the real estate market and transport infrastructure.

    Nearly 400 million new shares listed

    The stock market received nearly 400 million new shares on February 28, including those of Vietjet Air (stock code VJC), Sabeco Quang Ngai (BSQ), and EVN International (EIC).

    The 300 million VJC shares listed on the Ho Chi Minh City Stock exchange (HoSE) are the most anticipated by investors and had a reference price of VND90,000 ($3.95).

    The 45 million BSQ shares had a reference price of VND 22,600 ($0.99) and were listed on the UPCoM market. Sabeco holds 66.56 per cent of its subsidiary’s charter capital. Sabeco Quang Ngai was established in 2005 to carry out a Saigon beer brewery project at the Quang Phu Industrial Park in central Quang Ngai province. Total investment capital was VND1.58 trillion ($69.36 million), with a capacity of 100 million liters per year. The company has added a tank fermentation system to improve its quality and energy-efficient systems to raise capacity to 130 million liters per year.

    The 36.67 million EVN International shares also went public on the UPCoM market with a reference price of VND10,500 ($0.46) per share. It adjusted its charter capital to VND366.77 billion ($16.1 million) in April 2016. The main activities of EVN International is investing in generating and supplying electricity to Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.  

    There were also 3.4 million shares of the Tipharco Pharmaceutical Joint Stock Company (Tipharco - stock code DTG) listed on UPCoM. Investors have paid attention to the share as Tipharco recorded positive business result in 2016. Its reference price is VND20,600 ($0.9) per share.

    However, 1.073 million DTG shares are under restricted transfer provisions, which were issued individually to strategic shareholders, and ESOP shares issued to employees.

    6.8 million shares of the Quang Ngai Urban Environment JSC (stock code QNU) also went public on UPCoM with a reference price of VND10,100 ($0.44) per share.

    Ministry response to cutting toll collection time of many BOT projects

    The Ministry of Transport yesterday officially expressed opinions about the recent state audit inspection concluding that many traffic projects developed under BOT (Build-Operate-Transfer) form must reduce toll collection time by years. 

    The ministry said that total investment did not show the practical spending on the construction site so in BOT contracts, the ministry and a joint working group from the Ministry of Planning and Investment, the Ministry of Finance and relevant authorities decided to use definitive evaluation suitable with inspection and audit conclusions approved by authorized agencies as the final value to determine payback for a project. 

    The use of provisional fund must be approved by the Ministry of Transport. These clauses aim to tightly manage investment costs and determine payback. 

    According to the ministry, all BOT contracts stipulate that initial toll collection time is just expected and official time must be recalculated according to definitive evaluation and regularly updated in line with interest fluctuation and vehicle flow in practice. 

    Therefore, the payback does not affect the toll level which citizens must pay but depends on the definite evaluation and vehicle volume. If projection is suitable, macroeconomic factors are stable and investment management is well implemented, the reduction of the toll collection time is unavoidable and anticipated in BOT contracts. 

    In fact, the Ministry of Transport have based on estimate value to negotiate toll collection time cut for some projects not inspected by the state audit agency. For instance Highway 10’s stretch La Uyen-Tan De has reduced toll collection time from 22 years and 19 months to 10 years and three months; Rach Mieu bridge in Highway 60, Ben Tre province has dropped from 22 years and ten months to 13 years and five months.

    Vinalines signs $565 million insurance contract     

    Vietnam National Shipping Lines (Vinalines) reached a framework agreement with a joint venture of insurance companies to insure its off-shore fishing vessel hulls this year in Ha Noi on Tuesday.

    Under the US$565 million insurance contract, the hulls of 76 Vinalines ships will be insured by insurers such as PVI Holdings, Bao Viet Holdings, Bao Minh Insurance Corporation and PTI Insurance.

    Vinalines has managed and exploited a fleet of various ships, including container shipping, bulk cargo and oil carriers. The fleet annually transports 60 per cent of import and export goods in Viet Nam. 

    Orientations to bond market development till 2020

    The Finance Ministry will refine policies, ensure supply-demand and develop intermediary institution this year to develop a stable bond market, head of the ministry’s Finance-Banking Department Phan Thi Thu Hien told a press conference in Hanoi on February 28. 

    The ministry plans to submit a roadmap on the development of the bond market for 2017-2020 with a vision to 2030 to the Prime Minister this year, and a decree replacing another one on corporate bond issuance to the Government. 

    It is also due to issue a Circular on purchasing government bonds to contribute to the restructuring of government debts portfolio. 

    The government bond market, set to be a model in the financial market, will offer bonds with 10-year, 15-year, 20-year and 30-year maturity, and those at floating interest rates. 

    The Vietnam Social Insurance’s investment mechanism in the bond market will be renewed in line with the government’s Decree 30/2016/ND-CP while insurance firms, especially life insurance ones, and foreign investors are encouraged to join the market. 

    More credit rating organisations are expected to be born to improve the openness and transparency of the process of raising bond capital. Meanwhile, the State management agencies will strengthen liaison with the Vietnam Bond Market Association along the process. 

    In order to develop the domestic bond market in line with international practices, further attention will be paid to international cooperation. 

    According to the ministry, as many as 281.75 trillion VND (12.25 billion USD) worth of government bonds were issued last year, or 98.3 percent of the yearly target, 91 percent of them offered the maturity of at least five years. Notably, 30-year government bonds had been issued to foreign investors for the first time. 

    Thanks to restructuring, the government debt portfolio attracted capital accounting for 27.3 percent of the gross domestic product, compared to 16.2 percent in 2015.

    Peppercorn export drops in two months

    Peppercorn export has experienced a decline in both value and volume in the first two months of 2017, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

    During the period, Vietnam shipped overseas 16,000 tonnes of peppercorns for 112 million USD, down 19.8 percent in volume and 36.3 percent in value compared to last year.

    Business insiders attributed the reduction to a global oversupply trend.  

    Vietnam has seen a surge in the number of the pepper growers following increasing peppercorns prices in recent years. 

    The country accounts for 50 percent of the global peppercorns for trade, thus its growing yield is likely to diminish prices on the global market.

    Currently, domestic peppercorn prices are under 120,000 VND (5.27 USD) per kg, about 35,000 VND (1.5 USD) less than that of the same period last year. 

    Do Ha Nam, head of the Vietnam Pepper Association (VPA), said the prices still bring profit for growers, and are higher than that of other industrial plants, such as coffee and rubber trees. 

    He pointed to accelerating quality management as a way to avoid external pressures to reduce price on the global market.

    Prime Minister stresses tourism-driven economy in Khanh Hoa

    Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc asked the central coastal province of Khanh Hoa to develop tourism an economic driving force given its blessed natural conditions during a working session with local authorities on February 28. 

    Describing tourism together with industry, agriculture and rural areas as the three economic spearheads, the PM expected Khanh Hoa will serve at least 10 million visitors, including 3 million foreigners, and contributing 15-20 percent to the provincial gross domestic product by 2020. 

    He requested the province manage natural resources in tandem with environment protection during the process of developing tourism while making Nha Trang a sightseeing city to improve local lives. 

    On planning management, he hailed Khanh Hoa for relocating its administrative area to give land to production-trading and tourism development. 

    Regarding agricultural restructuring, the leader suggested building high-tech agriculture zones in service of tourism as well as acquiring the Central Highlands city of Da Lat’s experience in building organic farming areas. 

    As the province lies in a position strategic to national defence-security, he stressed the need to develop national defence logistic services in combination with safeguarding sea and island sovereignty. 

    The PM asked for continuing start-up and business facilitation to have 25,000 – 30,000 enterprises by 2020 and bring more firms to rural areas to stimulate growth. 

    Khanh Hoa must become a model administration that stands side by side with businesses and the people and one of the localities topping the provincial public administrative reform index, he said, noting that it needs to pool more public resources for development while closely controlling the economic and effective use of socio-economic infrastructure. 

    On the occasion, he also gave feedback on the province’s proposals regarding socio-economic infrastructure and tourism development.

    Last year, the province earned 12,998 billion VND (565.1 million USD) from tourism, up 16.43 percent year-on-year, adding 18,096 billion VND (786.7 million USD) to the provincial State budget. 

    Tourism and services make up more than 90 percent of the local economic structure thanks to special natural conditions, history and culture possessed by the locality. 

    With a long coast and some 200 islands, islets and bays, Nha Trang is considered one of the top 10 tourism-services centres in the country. In May 2013, Nha Trang bay became an official member of the Club of the Most Beautiful Bays of the World. 

    The province has also thoroughly dealt with all polluting facilities. Up to 90 percent of manufacturing and trading facilities met environment hygiene requirements and 90 percent of urban solid wastes were collected.

    Consumer price index rises slightly in February

    The country’s consumer price index (CPI) in February inched up 0.23 percent from last month and 5.02 percent year-on-year, the General Statistics Office (GSO) announced on February 28.

    Out of the 11 main goods and service groups, seven experienced price hikes during the month, including housing and construction material (0.77 percent), transportation (0.56 percent), medicines and healthcare services (0.22 percent), culture, entertainment and tourism (0.15 percent), other commodities and services (0.14 percent), restaurants and food services (0.11 percent) and household appliances (0.05 percent).

    Meanwhile, slight falls were seen in telecommunication (0.07 percent), garment, hats and footwear (0.05 percent) and beverage and tobacco (0.01 percent). Education group remained unchanged.

    Do Thi Ngoc, Deputy Head of the GSO’s CPI Department said that the rise in February’s CPI was due to high demand for certain commodities for traditional rituals in the first lunar month and spring festivals, such as flowers, food and restaurant services.

    Growing demand for travel and higher fuel prices contributed to the increase in transport service costs, Ngoc stated.

    However, there were some elements keeping CPI down like reduction in pork price due to low demands and limited export to China, abundant supply of fresh vegetables and weak demand for clothes after the festive season.

    In the month, gold price continued to rise in line with the global trend despite rumor that the US Federal Reserve is going to lift interest rate. The price of gold in the domestic market fluctuated at around 36.9 million VND (1,621 USD) per tael.

    Meanwhile, US dollar exchange rates remained stable at around 22,800 VND per US dollar thanks to profuse supply and low demand from enterprises.

    According to the GSO, February core inflation (excluding food and fresh foodstuff, energy products and State-controlled commodities such as healthcare and education services) increased a marginal 0.2 percent from the previous month and 1.51 percent against the same period last year. 

    Core inflation rate was under 2 percent, reflecting a stable monetary policy, it said.

    The GSO forecasted that CPI in March will be higher than February due to surges in world prices of fuel and possible adjustments in healthcare services in 10 cities and provinces in line with the roadmap specified in Circular 37.

    VN brewing better tea quality

    Việt Nam’s tea sector plans to produce 25,000 tonnes of tea using techniques to increase the quality and productivity of tea plants while protecting the health of farmers and land for future generations, the chairman of the Việt Nam Tea Association Nguyễn Hữu Tài said yesterday.

    Speaking at a conference on sustainable tea development, Tài said this was the target of the project to increase the number of tea farming households participating in the sustainable and high-quality tea supply chain from last July to this December.

    Under the project, more than 15 enterprises and 16,500 tea farming households will co-operate to produce 25,000 tonnes of tea, of which about 15,000 tonnes would be certified Rainforest Alliance – the seal awarded to farms, forests and businesses that meet environmental and social standards.

    Tea enterprises and farming households will be given training on sustainable agriculture, such as effective and proper use and control of agricultural chemicals, improving the productivity of tea plants, building the position of Vietnamese tea products on the world market and improving the competitive capacity of Vietnamese enterprises.

    The project will help set up agri-teams to provide knowledge on types of agricultural chemicals, usage methods and proper amounts in order tocurb pesticide residue in tea plants.

    Currently, eight enterprises have joined the project.

    The project was organised by the Netherlands’ IDH (Sustainable Trade Initiative), Unilever, and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

    Between November 2013 and December 2015 the project was implemented in the four northern provinces of Yên Bái, Phú Thọ, Tuyên Quang and Lai Châu. More than 2,280 farming households were given technical support on sustainable tea development.

    Lê Quang Chuyền, deputy general directof of Mỹ Lâm Tea JSC in Tuyên Quang Province, said that the model helped improve farmers’ awareness in producing higher-quality tea, meeting EU’safety food criteria while ensuring the health of farmers and surrounding environment.

    Trần Vũ Hoài, vice chairman of Việt Nam Unilever, said tea productivity has greatly increased after several years of implementing the model.

    Previously, the corporation only purchased about 4,500 tonnes of tea in Việt Nam, but now has increased its purchases to 11,000 tonnes. It hopes to increase the amount to 20,000 tonnes in the coming few years.

    Figures from the Việt Nam Tea Association show that there were about 133,400 hectares of tea cultivation areas in the country with a productivity of 1,025 tonnes. Last year, the country exported 134,000 tonnes, earning US$223 million.

    The main export markets for Vietnamese tea are Pakistan, India, China, Indonesia and Malaysia.

    Rules on PPPs relax, helping infrastructure

    The Ministry of Planning and Investment is expecting a wave of private investment into the infrastructure sector as it collects comments on the revision of legal documents pertaining to public-private partnership projects and selection criteria with the aim of attracting more investors.

    Vu Quynh Le, deputy head of the Public Procurement Agency under the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI), said the movement aims to settle a number of issues that remain uncertain after two years since the introduction of Decree No.15/2015/ND-CP, which details investment in the form of public-private partnerships (PPPs), and Decree No.30/2015/ND-CP, which guides the implementation of a number of articles on investor selection of the Law on Bidding.

    Nguyen Tuan Anh, a representative of the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s General Directorate of Energy, which manages  build-operate-transfer (BOT) power projects, claimed that a major concern with regard to power projects is the overlap of existing legal documents.

    He explained that Decree 15 allows the contracting parties to agree to the application of foreign laws to regulate the project contracts in which one party is a foreign investor, and the contracts are guaranteed by the government for performance obligation. This is a major change which allows international financial consultants to become more deeply involved in projects.

    There are still some uncertainties for investors, though, as the Land Law 2016 stipulates that land use rights and assets attached to land must apply to domestic laws.

    Regarding Decree 30, Anh suggested that regulations need to be more relaxed. “It should focus on qualified investors for capital instead of experience,” he said.

    Vu Tuan Anh, deputy director of the Ministry of Transport’s PPP Management Department, admitted that, due to a lack of capital, the Vietnamese government should accept revenue guarantees to attract foreign investors and to mobilise foreign loans at reasonable rates.

    Experts noted that Decree 15 regulates state capital in the project implementation process, stating that it should be primarily used to support the construction of auxiliary facilities, and cover compensation, site clearance and resettlement. However, the decree does not specify if the value of land use rights have been included in the total investment cost or not.

    MPI estimated that until 2020, Vietnam would need around $170 billion to develop its infrastructure, including transportation, bridges, power plants, water supply networks, waste treatment plants, and ports. However, traditional, public sources of capital, including the state budget, government bonds, and official development assistance would struggle meet more than half of this sum. Ergo, PPPs could prove to be a timely opportunity for both the government and the economy of Vietnam.

    Vietnam has been implementing PPP models for years through BOT and build-transfer (BT) investments, and the government managed these kinds of investment through Decision No.71/2010/QD-TTg – which guides the implementation of pilot PPP projects – and Decree No.108/2006/ND-CP – which guides the implementation of infrastructure projects under BOT, build-transfer-operate (BTO), and BT contracts.

    Decree 15 expands on the number of PPP forms available, laying the legal foundation for contracts of BOT;  BTO; BT; build-operate-own (BOO); build-transfer-lease (BTL); build-lease-transfer (BLT); and operate-manage (O&M) models.

    Banks’ appetite for real estate lending drives up interest rates

    Banks’ favour for lending to real estate is the reason for high lending interest rates.

    Interbank rate and interest rate increased sharply this week. While before the Tet holiday, interbank offered rate was approximately 4 per cent per year, now it increased to 5-5.1 per cent. Per annum deposit interest rate and lending rate also increased by 0.1- 0.3 percentage point and by 1 percentage point, respectively.

    The State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) confirmed that the upward trend of interest rate only occurred at some small banks and does not show a general trend in the banking system. The SBV also said it would guide these banks to stabilize lending rates in order to help enterprises.

    However, a large number of securities companies projected that interest rate would increase slightly compared to last year.

    According to Bao Viet Securities Company, per annum deposit and lending rates will increase by 0.5-1 percentage point in 2017, while Saigon Securities Inc. expected that interest rates will be difficult to decrease this year.

    Some experts explained that the lending interest rate rose because deposit interest rose, which was in turn caused by inflation. However, Dr Dinh The Hien, a financial specialist, believed that this is not the real reason.

    He said deposit rates increased because of the lack of cash in banks. There are a few reasons for this.

    First, banks have been recently concentrating on medium and long-term loans so the cash has not come back yet.

    Second, some enterprises failed to pay their loans on time. Hoang Anh Gia Lai Group is a telling example.

    The third and underlying reason is that recently, lending is focused on real estate with terms from 5 to 15 years, whereas the proportion of lending to the manufacturing sector (medium and small enterprises, agriculture sector) is lagging. As a result, the growth of loans is much higher than that of the GDP.

    “In conclusion, the increase in the lending rate is predictable as the government makes ineffective investments and banks love to lend to the property sector. Credit for real estate increased significantly in the period from 2014 to 2016,” Dr Hien said.

    In the past two years, SBV has continuously reminded banks to channel their credit flows into the real estate market and transport infrastructure.

    Nam Cuong Corporation and IFC to promote green building together

    The International Finance Corporation (IFC) is going to provide Nam Cuong Corporation with technical support in order to accelerate the developer’s green construction agenda and promote green building in Vietnam.

    On February 23, 2017, Nam Cuong Corporation and IFC signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to the effect of which all of Nam Cuong Corporation’s existing properties will be assessed under EDGE (Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies) standards developed by the IFC. The IFC will also provide training to Nam Cuong Corporation’s staff on the principles and applications of EDGE software as well as its standard and certification system.

    In addition, the two sides will collaborate to promote green building practices in Vietnam and identify opportunities for joint communication to enhance the implementation of green building and EDGE by other developers and the awareness of such by end-users.

    IFC appreciated the efforts of Nam Cuong Corporation to stimulate the trend of green building in Vietnam. “Your vision will have an impact on other developers,” said Jane Henley, IFC’s EAP EDGE Programme manager.

    Tran Thi Quynh Ngoc, deputy chairman of Nam Cuong Corporation, said that even though being green increases costs, the company wants to help save natural resources. Also, being a green developer means taking on corporate social responsibility, that is, to raise community awareness of environmental issues.

    “Nam Cuong Corporation has been here for a long time, we aim not only to build houses but also to build lifestyle. We strongly believe in sustainable development that can positively impact many generations of our customers and society in the long run,” she said.

    Developer Nam Cuong Corporation, established in 1984, is well known in Hanoi and neighbouring cities and is active not only in residential development but also hospitality. In the next period of development, the company focuses on “eco,” “green,” and “sustainability.”

    Anland Complex, the high-rise apartment buildings in Duong Noi Township, is on the path of getting the “Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiency” certification issued by IFC. Nam Cuong Corporation sets a goal to make EDGE as the standard for all properties in the future. The company envisions Duong Noi Township as a zero-energy township, with almost no energy consumption. This is the first time a Vietnamese developer set such a goal.

    The announcement of partnership between Nam Cuong Corporation and IFC in pursuit of their shared aspirations to help the Vietnamese construction industry align on a lower carbon, more resource-efficient path, is intended to be accomplished through sharing expertise and technical solutions to promote green building using the EDGE software and certification system.

    An innovation of IFC, EDGE is a software application, a universal standard, and a green building certification system promoting resource-efficient buildings in emerging markets.

    Launched in 2015, the new system is created for developing countries which have seen booming development in construction, such as China, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, and South Africa. IFC’s work to promote green building in Vietnam is delivered in partnership with Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).

    Vingroup to open 5,000 new hotel rooms

    Vingroup will launch seven high-class hotels in Danang, Ha Tinh and Hoi An at the end of April to double its capacity to 10,000 rooms.

    Le Khac Hiep, vice chairman of Vingroup, said the group currently has eight complexes of five or more-star hotels. Together with the imminent opening of the new hotels, the group has plans to build some hotels citywide similar to the five-star Vinpearl Can Tho Hotel which was inaugurated late last year.

    “Along with plans to develop new hotels, we will introduce new utility services at resorts, and change sales strategies,” Hiep said at the signing of a cooperation deal with Vietnamese tour operator Vietravel on February 27.

    Accordingly, Vingroup will limit the number of agents and cooperate with its key strategic agencies like Vietravel to expand the market.

    He did not reveal the number of strategic agencies, but said every agency has their own customers such as domestic and international tourists, or conference guests.

    Tran Doan The Duy, deputy general director of Vietravel, said his customers will be given priority when booking rooms at Vingroup’s hotels and resorts, in addition to reasonable prices.

    “We have booked a large number of rooms to ensure stability for the whole year and actively offering packages with fair prices for our customers without worrying about a lack of rooms in peak travel seasons,” he said.

    On the occasion of signing the deal with Vingroup, the tour operator will offer special promotions. In particular, the first 100 customers booking rooms for two nights or more from February 27 to end-March will get vouchers worth VND2 million for stays until end-June.

    The company will also launch more tours to Vingroup’s resorts, and offer some package tours at prices VND1-2.5 million lower than normal.

    Vietravel is a major tourism firm in Vietnam. Last year, it served around 647,000 travelers and earned total revenue of VND5.16 trillion.

    Banyan Tree and Angsana Lang Co among Top 40 resorts in Asia

    Banyan Tree Lang Co and Angsana Lang Co have been chosen among the Top 40 Best Resorts in Asia by the Condé Nast Traveler – Readers’ Choice Awards, released in February 2017, becoming the first ever integrated resort in Vietnam to enter the list.

    Located in central Vietnam, Banyan Tree Lang Co is nestled in a crescent bay framed by a three kilometer beach on the central coast of Vietnam, an area renowned for its pristine coastline, tropical jungles and rugged mountain peaks. The all-pool-villa resort including 62 rooms makes a dip part of the destination. Each villa is furnished with Vietnamese details like pitched roofs and lacquered wooden furniture.

    Meanwhile, Angsana Lang Co is set in the midst of not one but three UNESCO World Heritage Sites in central Vietnam – the ancient town of Hoi An, the Imperial City of Hue, and My Son Sanctuary. All 222 rooms have a contemporary and stylish design with a Vietnamese twist, and views of either the surrounding Truong Son mountains or ocean.

    Banyan Tree Lang Co and Angsana Lang Co are located in Cu Du Village, Loc Vinh Commune, Phu Loc District, Thua Thien-Hue Province.

    Automated toll collection at 28 stations to start from June 30

    The Ministry of Transport has urged investors of Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) road projects and service providers to finalize contracts for installing automated toll stations on Highway 1A and the Central Highlands section of Ho Chi Minh Road so that automated toll collection can start on all 28 such stations from June 30.

    As of February 22, auto toll systems have been installed at eight stations along these two axis routes, mainly in central Vietnam and the Central Highlands, and five such toll stations have applied non-stop toll collection and automatic weight control, the ministry said. These eight toll stations fitted with automated systems include Quang Dong (Quang Binh), Toan My (Dak Nong), Tu Nghia (Quang Ngai), Tam Ky (Quang Nam) and Hoa Phuoc (Quang Nam), among others.

    The initial operating cost of the auto toll system is the same as the manual one, as calculated by the automated collection project owner VETC Joint Stock Company, but this cost will gradually fall in the long run.

    According to VETC, difficulties in the negotiation process between this service provider and BOT investors have resulted in the project’s delays. Meanwhile, BOT investors are concerned about the fees charged by the service provider, and they want to have more service providers so that road builders can choose one suitable to them.

    To speed up the construction progress, Minister of Transport Truong Quang Nghia asked the non-stop auto toll service provider to propose reasonable prices to conclude contracts with the BOT investors.

    The launch of non-stop auto toll collection not only saves time for drivers but also helps BOT investors to save costs in ticketing, lowers road maintenance costs at toll stops, and helps State agencies monitor collections.

    Six old condo buildings in HCMC to be reconstructed

    Reconstruction will begin this year on six old condo buildings that have been torn down, providing 1,785 condo units with more than 142,000 square meters of floor space, the HCMC Department of Construction said.

    Those projects include Pavilion Square apartment and shopping center on the ground of Block D of Co Giang apartment building by Viet Land Development Corporation, 148 Nguyen Dinh Chieu  apartment building in District 3 by Khang Thanh Phu Corporation, Tan Phuoc apartment building on the premises of Block A of  Ly Thuong Kiet apartment building in District 11 by Tan Phuoc Real Estate Joint Stock Company, and an apartment building at 350 Hoang Van Thu by Duc Khai Tan Binh Corporation and Block G of Ngo Gia Tu apartment building in District 10.

    Besides, HCMC authorities will continue to renovate 10 other condo buildings with 1,761 units covering over 116,000 square meters and pay site clearance compensation for 580 households of five apartment buildings covering nearly 28,000 square meters. They will also dismantle five deteriorating apartment buildings with total floor space of 82,000 square meters.

    HCMC authorities target to relocate and dismantle 50% of 474 old residential buildings in the city by 2020. The renovation of old condos has faced numerous obstacles in compensation, site clearance and resettlement for the residents. Besides, there is no favorable policy for this sector to lure investors.

    Affordable homes in HCMC should come with different prices

    The HCMC government should develop affordable commercial homes costing from VND300 million to less than VND1 billion to satisfy various demands of laborers, rather than seeking to build condos worth some VND100 million each as in the neighboring province of Binh Duong, said a municipal construction official.

    Tran Trong Tuan, director of the HCMC Department of Construction, told a press conference last week that although it is possible for the city to develop budget condos at the price of around VND100 million each, it is not the right solution.

    Developers could build condos at VND100 million each only if they are allocated land at no charge, and costs of infrastructure development are excluded. If such conditions are met, developers could build apartments measuring around 25 square meters at a cost of less than VND4 million per square meter, or VND100 million a unit.

    Such apartments are only suitable for workers at industrial parks and export processing zones in the city as Binh Duong Province has done, Tuan said.

    “Many 30-square-meter cheap houses have been constructed at industrial areas in Binh Duong Province. The provincial authorities said they could still develop them, but the demand is falling short. Workers with higher incomes or living with large families are in need of spacious apartments,” he said.

    Reality shows that people can afford high-priced condos, so the city should develop affordable social and commercial homes, with flexible areas and prices ranging from VND300 million to less than VND1 billion to meet various needs of low-income earners.

    “The investor of a budget home project in District 12 with 1,000 units has offered a price of VND10 million per square meter, and the number of people putting their names down to buy such homes has amounted to over 7,000,” Tuan said, indicating there is strong demand for homes whose prices range from VND300 million to VND500 or VND600 million, or even VND800 million.

    He added the department has plans to organize a social housing design competition to provide potential investors with suitable housing models.

    There were 14 social housing projects with 5,146 units completed in the 2006-2016 period. The city aims to have 39,000 units by 2020, with 20% of them for rent. This year alone, around 1,650 units will be completed, and 23 projects with 19,000 units will get off the ground, according to the department’s statistics.


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  • 03/01/17--05:38: Article 5
  • Workers in VN paid half of salaries in China at Japanese factories

    The salary Vietnamese receive at Japanese businesses is half of what workers in China can expect. The key lies in productivity and the shift of production to higher stages of the value chain.

    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, vietnamese workers, JETRO, IT engineer 

    A recent survey by JETRO (Japan External Trade Organization) showed Vietnamese workers received $4,025 on average per year in 2016, though they worked for leading Japanese companies.

    The amount of money was less than 50 percent of the salary that Japanese companies paid to Chinese workers who work for factories in China.

    JETRO’s Chief Representative Atsusuke Kawada said the pay to Vietnamese shows that Vietnam remains a market with cheap labor costs in comparison with other countries. This is a great advantage for Vietnam to attract Japanese investors.

    The salary Vietnamese receive at Japanese businesses is half of what workers in China can expect. The key lies in productivity and the shift of production to higher stages of the value chain.

    However, Vietnamese experts don’t think low labor costs are a good competitive edge.

    Nguyen Dinh Cung, head of CIEM said that labor productivity is closely related to the average income of workers, because it is the surplus value they bring.

    ILO assesses labor productivity based on the value created in certain units of real time, i.e. the value created during one hour, one day or one year.

    In ILO’s ranking, Vietnamese labor productivity is among the lowest in Asia Pacific, which is only higher than Laos and Cambodia.

    Pham Chi Lan, a well-regarded economist, pointed out problems in vocational training, programming and forecasting.

    “One must not shift the blame onto Vietnamese workers. Vietnamese are diligent and creative. They usually win first prizes at the regional workers’ skill competitions, while the Vietnamese IQ is high, just lower than Singaporeans. Why is Vietnamese productivity lower than others?” she said.

    Many Japanese conglomerates have factories in Vietnam, but they mostly do assembling, work which creates the lowest added value in the value chain.

    This explains why the wages Vietnamese workers receive cannot be high.

    Vu Thanh Tu Anh from Fulbright Economics Teaching Program (FETP) said that Vietnam is still at the bottom of the ‘smile curve’ despite the presence of the world’s leading corporations in Vietnam over many years.

    He said that Vietnamese workers cannot expect high salaries until foreign invested enterprises in Vietnam do the assembling and undertake simple jobs in value chains.

    The report by JETRO, released on February 14, showed that Vietnamese managers in Japanese manufacturing enterprises earned an average of $14,629, or VND330 million in 2016.

    Chi Mai, VNN

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  • 03/01/17--05:42: Article 4
  • Social News 1/3

    Hanoi to host 1st Bulgarian Rose Festival

    first bulgarian rose festival in hanoi to open mar. 3 hinh 0 

    The first-ever Bulgarian Rose Festival honoring the friendship between Vietnam and Bulgaria will be held at Thong Nhat Park in Hanoi on March 3-8.

    The event is a chance to introduce to Vietnamese people the oldest rose festival in Bulgaria, Bulgarian rose products and culinary, create trade connection and opportunities between the two countries as well as promoting Bulgarian tourism. There will be a meeting with students, trainees, staff who worked and lived in Bulgaria.

    Highlight activities are street festival, “Queen of rose” contest, introduction of Bulgarian street food, music performance featuring Vietnamese and Bugarian artists and a parade.

    Visitors will have a chance to explore more than 300 species of roses and ancient-European-dome-shaped rose bushes; contemplate Bulgarian dishes and rose artworks such as Love Castle, Dating Wall, Love Rose Garden, wishing well and more.

    They can also attend a Talk Show on the mystery and allure behind Rose and Love; enjoy art performance featuring romatic love songs by local and Bulgrain artists; join the fanciful Lantern Festival – ‘Rose for you’; choose gifts inspired by roses and have experience with rose-infused beauty products.

    The festival aims to celebrate the Bulgaria National Day (on March 3), the International Women’s Day (on March 8), the Congress of Vietnam-Bulgaria Friendship Association, and the Vietnam and Bulgaria culture exchange.

    The event is co-organized by the Bulgarian Embassy in Hanoi and Vietnam-Bulgaria Friendship Association.

    Ho Chi Minh City enhances anti-corruption efforts

    The Party committees at all levels in Ho Chi Minh City need to focus on major tasks in preventing and fighting against corruption and wastefulness while highlighting the responsibility of leaders in such tasks.

    The statement was made by Politburo member and Secretary of Ho Chi Minh City Party Committee Dinh La Thang while chairing a conference to review efforts made in preventing and combating corruption and wastefulness in 2016 and revise tasks for 2017.

    Addressing the conference, the Politburo member noted that the City’s Party Committee always defines corruption and wastefulness prevention and combating as a challenging yet highly important mission of the Party committee, government, fatherland front, the political system and people.

    Agencies and localities around the City should promptly overcome all limitations and weaknesses to create visible changes in the area over the coming time, added Politburo member Thang.

    Over the past year, the City’s Party Committee paid much attention to directing the implementation of guidelines and measures to prevent and fight against corruption and wastefulness; and the acceleration of the investigation, prosecution and trial of corruption cases.

    In 2017, relevant agencies of the City will make further efforts to implement the Party Central Committee’s Resolution No.3 (10th tenure) on the strengthening of corruption and wastefulness prevention and combating.

    Activities welcome International Women’s Day

    A ceremony was held on February 28 in Phu Yen province to mark the 107th anniversary of International Women’s Day (March 9, 1910-2017).

    Delegates at the event reviewed the history of the International Women’s Day and highlighted the glorious tradition of Vietnamese women as well as their significant contributions to national construction and development.

    At the event, the provincial leaders presented the ‘Vietnamese heroic mother’ title to 86-year-old Cu Thi Tuy from An Nghiep commune, Tuy An district, whose husband and sons lost their lives in the struggle for national independence. 22 other mothers in the province, who passed away, were also bestowed with the title on the occasion.

    Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Hoang Van Tra expressed his deep gratitude to the heroic mothers, and extended his wishes for longevity to mother Tuy, describing her as a shining example of revolutionary tradition and patriotism for younger generations to follow.

    The Quang Tri Women’s Association (QWA) in collaboration with the provincial Department of Taxation and the provincial Border Guard High Command recently commenced the construction of a VND 70 million house for Pacoh woman Ho Thi Mup in A Bung commune, Da Krong district. Mup, born in 1940, is appreciated for her contributions and active participation in the war against the US from 1963 to 1974.

    In response to the upcoming International Women’s Day, the QWA have also presented gifts to underprivileged women in A Bung and A Ngo communes, and to the families of policy beneficiaries in the locality.

    The Thanh Hoa provincial Women’s Association held a ceremony to debut a collective of organic vegetable production, grouping 30 families in Dinh Binh commune, Yen Dinh district.

    The collective members will receive training on the methods of farming, harvesting, processing, and packaging organic vegetables, after which their products will be supported to reach markets inside and outside the province.

    The model is designed to create sustainable jobs for local women, increase their income and improve their living conditions.

    More young people sleepless

    The Ho Chi Minh City-based Medicine University Hospital daily examines and treats 15-20 people who have difficulty falling asleep, or staying asleep as long as desired.

    Meantime, the Mental Health Hospital said that since early 2017, it has received 13,500 people with sleep disorder or insomnia; 25 percent of them are young people from 18 to 30 years old.

    The alarming rate showed that sleeplessness is rampant amongst young persons.

    Dr. Tran Duy Tam from the Mental Health Hospital said that people with sleep problem will fall into fatigue; accordingly, they are not active daytime. For an adult, they need to sleep seven hours or more a night while senior people sleep below six hours a night. Sleeplessness will result in mental diseases and causing difficulties for their work, learning and health.

    Dr. Hoang Dinh Huu Hanh from the Medicine University Hospital said that those in the age of 18-30 suffering insomnia are on upward trend because of stress in work, learning, alcohol abuse and using smart phones and electronic equipment without cease before going to bed… Moreover having many anxieties, young people are so confident of their health and not fully aware of important role of sleep and bad effects caused by insomnia.

    When people experience sleeplessness, they should go to medical facilities for treatment. If not it will develop into chronic sleepless, it will hardly to cure. Sleep disturbance causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, educational, academic, behavioral, or other important areas of functioning; more seriously, sleepless people will have traffic accident or work accidents. Medical workers advised to lead a healthy lifestyle by taking exercise and eat vegetables rather than take sleep aids like sedative or depressant drugs.

    Culture must be a pillar of sustainable development: symposium

    Culture must be considered a pillar of sustainable development, aside from economic, environmental and social aspects, heard a symposium in Hanoi on March 1.

    The seminar, attracting nearly 100 scientists, researchers and culture officials, was organised by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the National Cultural Heritage Council.

    Participants said there remain limited awareness of the role of culture in sustainable development in Vietnam. Culture has yet to really be regarded as a development resource, and it is still dwarfed by other factors in the sustainable development strategy.

    Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Huynh Vinh Ai said Vietnam is home to 40,000 tangible heritage and 60,000 intangible heritage, and the problem is how to manage and optimise them in an effective manner while developing new values for those heritage so as to enrich the heritage treasure.

    Culture and heritage will become a priceless and endless resource if they are preserved and used scientifically, he noted.

    Participants said instead of simply listing and compiling dossiers of heritage, it is necessary to quantify heritage value in order to devise scientific preservation and exploitation strategies. The whole political system, not only culture agencies, must engage in this work.

    Community-based heritage preservation and development are a global trend and a solution for sustainably optimising heritage value since culture is an asset of a community, they said, adding that when heritage values benefit the community, local residents will proactively uphold heritage.

    Vietnam has been expanding community-based tourism which is a right development orientation, experts said, asking for more high-value products and long-term strategies in this type of tourism.

    Hanoi starts establishing personal medical records


    Hanoi on March 1 began a pilot project on establishment of individual medical records for residents in Phuc Dong and Co Bi wards of Long Bien district.

    According to Vice Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Ngo Van Quy, the digital personal health records are seen as as a long-term solution to reducing public health care costs.

    The individual medical record has each person’s detailed health care information, which is stored in the national digital medical records system. It includes personal information and health and disease history.

    The records can help doctors detect health issues and treat patients more effectively, while supporting the establishment of public health profiles for different areas.

    Maintaining an individual medical records system will encourage people to go for periodic checkups at hospitals and clinics and help doctors provide faster and more accurate diagnosis and treatment, which will reduce time and cost for patients.

    The system will also encourage people to go for health checkups at clinics at the grassroots level which will limit disease outbreaks and reduce overload at central-level hospitals.

    The project is set to run across the city’s 10 communes and wards.

    Work starts on second phase of environment project

    The government of HCMC on Friday broke ground for an interceptor drain package worth around US$85 million in the second phase of an environmental sanitation project in the city.

    Italian-Thai Development Public Co. Ltd. of Thailand, the contractor of the package, will construct the 8-kilometer-long interceptor drain in 36 months.  

    Phase two of the project consists of two main components. The interceptor drain is the first component which will be used to carry wastewater from the Nhieu Loc-Thi Nghe basin and from parts of District 2 to a treatment facility in Thanh My Loi Ward, District 2.

    Tunnel boring technology will be used to reduce road traffic disruptions, relocations of technical works, and excavations, and ensure safety for buildings along the drainage system.

    The second component will be a wastewater treatment plant covering over 38 hectares in Thanh My Loi Ward, District 2 with a daily capacity of 480,000 cubic meters.

    The second phase of the project would require a total investment of US$524 million, with US$450 million financed by a World Bank loan and the remainder by the city.

    When the second phase is in place, the Nhieu Loc-Thi Nghe Canal basin and District 2 would have a complete wastewater collection and treatment system, which will help reduce canal pollution by household and industrial wastewater.

    SMS campaign launched to support AO victims

    A campaign raising donations for Agent Orange (AO)/dioxin victims through SMS was launched on February 27 and will last until April 28.

    By texting DACAM to 1409, an individual can donate 18,000 VND to the victims of chemical – warfare.

    First held six years ago, the campaign has mobilized more than 18 billion VND (790,020 USD), including over 4.2 billion VND (184,338 USD) in 2016.

    As a result of the donations, care and rehabilitation facilities have been constructed for AO victims, along with financial support delivered directly to the victims.

    From 1961 to 1971, US troops sprayed more than 80 million litres of herbicides — 44 million litres of which were AO, containing nearly 370kg of dioxin — on southern Vietnam.  

    As a result, about 4.8 million Vietnamese were exposed to the toxic chemical. Many of the victims have died, while millions of their descendants are living with deformities and diseases as a direct result of the AO/dioxin effects.

    Maze-like sidewalk fences pose challenges for pedestrians in HCM City

    Sidewalks along a major hospital in Ho Chi Minh City have been equipped with a complicated system of barricades, an effort originally meant to reclaim space from vendors for pedestrians but now turning out to create immense difficulty for the latter.

    Promenades along the sections of Thuan Kieu and Nguyen Chi Thanh Streets that surround Cho Ray Hospital, considered the city’s best general infirmary located in District 5, have been fenced up to prevent sidewalk drivers and street vendors from encroaching on the spaces.

    However, the fences have been put up like a maze, proving to be obstacles for local pedestrians.

    According to observations by Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reporters, the barriers were about 1.5 meters high, spanning over 200 meters around the hospital.

    The sidewalks were divided into two sections, one for motorbike parking and the other exclusively for walkers.

    The entrances to the pedestrian zones were filled with fences planted in a zigzag design, not only making it difficult for sidewalk drivers and food vendors but also for pedestrians to enter.

    After observing for nearly an hour, the journalists only saw about five people walking in the preserved space while many others chose to walk on the roadways to save time and effort.

    Some people took advantage of the barriers to hang their hammocks whereas a few vendors also managed to place their stalls, chairs, and stables inside the walking areas.

    “Though erected to bar vendors and drivers from ‘invading’ the sidewalks, these barriers have created immense challenges to pedestrians due to their complex design,” a local resident told Tuoi Tre.

    Many people, especially the sick and disabled, find it hard to zigzag their way through the fences, he continued, adding that they walk on the roadways instead.

    Hanoi reports many violations of Dyke Law

    As many as 13 contraventions of the Dyke Law have been reported in Hanoi so far this year, according to the municipal Department on Agriculture and Rural Development.
    However, authorities in the capital city have only managed to resolve one of the cases.

    Specifically, the case was related to the dyke on the right bank of the Hong (Red) River.

    The dyke section passes through Phu Thuong, Nhat Tan, Tu Lien, Quang An and Yen Phu wards of Tay Ho District. Recently, a number of violations have been reported along the dyke, including the discharge of soil and waste into the Hong River near Nhat Tan Ward, houses built on agricultural land and in the protected embankment area in Tu Lien Ward, and houses built without permission from local authorities in Phu Thuong Ward.

    The violations caused anger and concern among local residents.

    The Hanoi Department for Dyke Management and Flood and Storm Prevention and Control has asked ward authorities to improve management, check and mete out punishments regularly, especially for any new violations, and punish anyone illegally selling and buying land in the area.

    Chu Phu My, director of the Hanoi Department of Agriculture and Rural Development said that the department sent documents asking related districts to help the department in resolving violations related to the Dyke Law and the Law on Storm Prevention and Control.

    The department is completing regulations on the organisation and operation of the Fund for Storm Prevention and Control following the Hanoi People’s Committee’s requirement, said My.

    Students gain experience through extra jobs

    Statistics show that as many as 200,000 graduates cannot find jobs in Vietnam at present. However, some students work while studying, which helps them earn money and gain experience for their future career.

    Since his 3rd year at university,  Nguyễn Tất Thành has been an intern at a software company, which suits his major. Now, although Thanh has not graduated yet, he is employed with an income of nearly 876 USD per month.

    Getting a job that suits their major is a desire for all students. Having to study while undertaking huge workloads, many students have handled the pressure to gain initial success in their career.

    Thanks to his efforts, Nguyen Xuan Bach has been invited to work for a business in Japan, with a starting salary of roughly 2,600 USD per month.

    The extra job helps the students understand their strengths and weaknesses. Unemployment is common for students if they do not work hard while studying at school.

    Theory must go together with practice. Internships not only help the students have more money but also equip them with experience essential for their future careers. And the door is open to those who dare to challenge themselves.-

    VND1,400 billion in social insurance premiums likely lost

    An auditing report on state budget management at Vietnam Social Security (VSS) indicates VND1.4 trillion of VND9.9 trillion in social insurance premium arrears might be lost, meaning the benefits of certain insured workers would be at stake.

    Total social insurance arrears of enterprises by the end of 2015 totaled more than VND9.9 trillion, with more than VND4,000 billion of it unpaid for more than 12 months.

    At a press conference on Tuesday, a VSS official said staff of enterprises that deliberately avoid paying social insurance would lose their benefits, so would workers at businesses that delay social insurance payments or are unable to pay.

    VSS has been tracking social insurance arrears for over a decade but to no avail. Since the 2014 Social Insurance Law came into force in early 2016, VSS has been able to handle a fraction of those enterprises having closed or preparing to stop business.

    Tran Hai Nam, deputy director of the Social Insurance Department at the Ministry of  Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs, said the Government had assigned the ministry to propose solutions to ensure the benefits of socially insured workers.

    At the press conference, Le Dinh Quang, deputy head of labor relations at the Vietnam General Confederation of Labor, said VSS had sent the confederation 1,150 files of enterprises that had failed to pay social insurance for their employees.

    But the confederation has sued 76 enterprises and will sue another 74 this month. Some enterprises have paid social insurance debts totaling about VND21 billion.

    But the litigation process is complicated. Twelve of 74 lawsuits have been returned because of problems with authorization.

    TSN airport expansion project to go before PM

    Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung has urged the Ministry of Transport and a consultant to finalize a Tan Son Nhat International Airport  expansion plan so that it can be passed to PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc for consideration next week.

    The consultant, Airport Design and Construction Consultancy Co, presented seven plans to upgrade the airport at a meeting at the Government office last week.

    They are divided into three options. The first is to build a new runway, two new terminals and other facilities on the premises of the current golf course just north of the airport. It would take over 15 years to complete and cost a massive VND201.35 trillion (US$8.8 billion) as 140,000 houses would be relocated.

    The second suggests constructing a new runway and two new terminals over a period of 10 to 15 years, with an investment cost ranging from VND100.9 trillion (US$4.4 billion) to VND187.2 trillion (US$8.2 billion). The final option is to build new terminals, aircraft parking space and technical areas in the northern and southern parts of the airport.

    In previous meetings, the most favored option is to build more parallel taxiways, especially those connecting runways 25L/07R and 25L/07L, develop terminals T3 and T4 with an annual capacity of 10 million passengers each, and construct a new apron and a new technical maintenance area in the north.

    These facilities would be constructed only on 24.5 hectares of military land which was transferred to the Transport Ministry early this week.

    With the cost estimated at around VND19.3 trillion and the construction period projected to last less than three years, the annual handling capacity of the airport could reach 43-45 million passengers.

    Earlier, Deputy PM Dung asked the consulting company to devise a plan called 3B which would have the same passenger handling capacity as the third option but expand the airport toward the northern wing, where the golf course, defense facilities and civil houses are located.

    At a meeting last Thursday, the firm presented a detailed plan in which taxiways, an apron, a technical service area, and terminal T4 with an annual capacity of 20 million passengers would be developed while runaway 25R/07L would be upgraded.

    The plan would need 276 hectares of land, including 90.1 hectares of the military, 157.3 hectares at the golf course site, and 28.6 hectares of residential land. Over 6,000 households would be affected by it.

    It would require a total of over VND61.5 trillion (US$2.7 billion), 3.2 times higher than the original one. In addition, it would take a longer period, 10-12 years, of which five years would be needed for site clearance.

    The consultant said construction work in the northern wing would significantly affect passenger traffic in the southern wing and ease traffic congestion on Truong Son Street. However, the plan would greatly affect flights, national defense and security.

    Deputy PM said there is enough scientific evidence to choose the third option as it would meet what is needed while easing traffic congestion and saving money.

    Private investors will have the opportunity to participate in the construction of passenger terminals T3 and T4, a car park and other supporting facilities. Meanwhile, the HCMC government can choose contractors to carry out road and drainage projects outside the airport.

    HCM City to erase 12 flood-prone sites by mid-June

    The government of HCMC has asked for a removal of 12 sites from the list of flood-prone areas by mid-June this year. The city now has 35 locations that are often heavily inundated after rain or during flood tide.

    The 12 sites belong to the streets of Luong Van Cang, Mai Xuan Thuong, Hau Giang, Le Quang Sung, Cao Van Lau, Hong Bang, Ba Van, Go Dua, Tan Huong, Truong Vinh Ky, An Duong Vuong, and Go Dau.

    The HCMC Steering Center for the Urban Flood Control Program this year will implement 51 flood control projects worth over VND2 trillion (US$87.6 million).

    The municipal Department of Transport has set a target of removing 16 sites vulnerable to rain-triggered flooding in 2017, including Ung Van Khiem Street of Binh Thanh District, and Hong Bang and Hau Giang streets of District 6.

    To reduce flooding in the rain season of this year, the city government has given specific assignments to all the relevant agencies.

    In particular, the Department of Transport is responsible for replacing deteriorating manholes and coordinating with district authorities to remove all what obstructs rainwater drainage next month.

    The center will cooperate with HCMC Urban Drainage Co Ltd and relevant units to complete the dredging of the drainage systems before June 15.

    The Department of Construction, together with the center, will check drainage at high-rise buildings with basements to propose measures to minimize the impact of rain-triggered flooding.

    The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development will work with the center over the operation of 12 flood tide sluices.

    Đà Nẵng to up use of organic fertiliser

    The central city of Đà Nẵng plans to increase the use of liquid fertiliser made from organic waste in its farms and public gardens, a local official said.

    Speaking at a review of a three-year (2015-2017) project on recycling organic waste last week, Nguyễn Phú Thái, Director of Đà Nẵng Institute of Socio-Economic Development, said this would help improve urban sanitation and support farmers in the city’s suburban areas.

    The pilot project, carried Hòa Vang District, was funded by the Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA).

    It brought in Japanese experts from Kyushu University, Saga University, Environmental Business Solution Inc and Chikujo town to help identify solutions that can be applied on a big scale to help achieve the target of Đà Nẵng becoming a green city by 2025, he said.

    The project involved 40 farmers, students and teachers at junior secondary schools, with the latter playing an important role in raising awareness in the community on organic waste recycle.

    Hoàng Thị Ngọc Hiếu, an official with the city’s urban environment company, said the pilot project could recycle 70 tonnes of human waste from septic tanks in the city to produce 3.5 tonnes of liquid fertiliser each day.

    “It’s very positive solution for dealing with human waste and dung from urban areas and farms. It costs around VNĐ300,000 (US$13.3) to convert each cubic metres of human waste into environment friendly fertiliser. However the city will work with Japanese experts on adjusting the technology to ensure its smooth application on a mass scale,” she said.

    She said public gardens and vegetable farms could use the organic fertiliser instead of chemical fertilisers.

    Nguyễn Thị Thu Hạnh, a staff of Hòa Vang District’s agricultural office, said the district has been developing as an organic farm zone, providing safe vegetables and other produce for the city.

    “Local farmers wish to fertilise their farm with recycled organic fertiliser as it can help improve soil quality,” Hạnh said.

    She said the district will build big tanks to contain liquid fertiliser near farms to facilitate organic cultivation.

    The mayor of Chikujo Town, Hisami Arakawa, said the town has 24 years of experience in recycling human waste into organic fertiliser.

    He said the plant built by the project in Hòa Vang District was similar to the one in Chikujo, and the Japanese partners will co-operate with the city in improving fertiliser quality as well as its mass use by the local community.

    The mayor also said that Chikujo had cut fertiliser costs in the town by 90 per cent.

    Đà Nẵng discharges nearly 700 tonnes of waste each day, of which 74 per cent is food, garden and park waste, and recycling this can produce energy and save lots of money.

    The city reserves an annual fund of VNĐ7 billion ($333,000) for waste collection and treatment.

    The pilot project enabled Hòa Vang District be the first locality in Việt Nam to produce the fertilizer under a co-operation deal between Đà Nẵng and Chikujo.

    Thái Van Quang, an official from the city’s agriculture and rural development department, said the project will help farmers in rural areas reduce cultivation costs.

    The project, which got Japanese funding of VNĐ10 billion ($442,477), included construction of a liquid fertiliser testing facility, technical training, education on the biomass circulation system and practical training in Japan.


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  • Mobile World Congress debuts cool stuff

    Viettel Group has sent a delegation to get an up-close look at all the Android phones, more Internet of Things and other cool stuff debuting at the annual Mobile World Congress tech conference in Barcelona, Spain.

    mobile world congress debuts cool stuff hinh 0
    An estimated 100,000 industry professionals and journalists have invaded the capital of Spain’s Catalonia region to see these new product launches, do business, and weigh in on topics such as the next generation 5G networks.

    This is the second time Viettel has attended the event, which annually attracts just about every important company in the business.

    At this year’s event running February 27-Marrch 2, Viettel has set up a booth showcasing its latest information technology solutions such as V-Wallet, E-government and its Distribution Management System.


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  • 03/02/17--01:41: Article 2

    Opportunity arises for orange exports to Indonesia

    Indonesia will become an important market for Vietnamese orange exporters as Indonesian oranges have fallen out of favour in the domestic market, according to the Vietnam Trade Office in Indonesia.

    Indonesian oranges are less sweet and their skins are paler compared with foreign oranges, the office said.

    In addition, imported oranges are sold at the competitive price of 28,000 rupiahs (2.09 USD) per kilogramme while consumers have to pay 24,000 rupiahs (1.79 USD) for one kilogramme of domestic oranges.

    Vietnamese orange exporters were recommended to research exporting to Indonesia.  

    Vietnam’s total fruit and vegetables export value reached 2.4 billion USD in 2016. The value is expected to increase to 3 billion USD this year.

    Vietnamese fruits and vegetables have been exported to 60 countries and territories worldwide. Indonesia is among major importers of Vietnamese fruits and vegetables.

    Bao Viet signs co-operation agreement with SeABank     

    Bao Viet Insurance Corporation (Bao Viet) and the Southeast Asia Commercial Joint Stock Bank (SeABank) signed a comprehensive co-operation agreement in Ha Noi on Wednesday.

    Leaders of the bank and the corporation said the agreement, which was signed by Viet Nam’s two leading financial institutions, aimed at strengthening the partnership and making the most of the two parties’ advantages, experience and professional capacity.

    Under the agreement, the two sides will implement insurance partnership programmes, prioritising the use their products among customers while enhancing cross-selling products and services and developing co-operation in marketing.

    Also under the deal, the firms will soon introduce SeACar Care, an integrated package comprising of SeaBank’s lending services applicable for auto products, along with Bao Viet’s insurance services to provide customers with a new financing insurance solution.

    In 2016, Bảo Việt saw a growth rate of above 12 per cent against the same period of 2015. Its 2016 revenue was estimated to reach VND6.8 trillion (US$297 million), accounting for nearly 20 per cent of the total insurance market share.

    SeABank is currently a strategic partner providing financial, banking and lending services for many leading auto brands, such as Mercedes-Benz, Thaco Truong Hai, Hyundai Thanh Cong and Kia, as well as Mazda and Toyota. 

    HMD launches new Nokia phones     

    HMD Global, the home of Nokia phones, late last week unveiled a new generation of Nokia smartphones including the new Nokia 6, Nokia 5 and Nokia 3 in Spain.

    Nokia 6 delivers performance and immersive entertainment in a premium and extremely robust design, while Nokia 5 is an elegant smartphone that fits perfectly in your hand. The Nokia 3 has unprecedented quality at an affordable price point.

    The new range of Nokia smartphones all run Android™ Nougat and offer a pure, secure and up-to-date experience and will all feature Google Assistant.

    The company also announced the return of a modern classic, the iconic Nokia 3310, reborn with a modern twist on design.

    The families of products demonstrate a belief that every consumer should have access to premium quality, not just those with high-end flagship devices.

    The company also announced the Nokia 3310 – a modern classic reborn. It is a head-turning modern twist on one of the best-selling feature phones of all time.

    Boasting an incredible 22-hour talk-time and month-long stand-by, the Nokia 3310’s fresh, colourful and modern design brings it up to date.

    The Nokia 3310 is available in four distinctive colours – warm red and yellow, both with a gloss finish, and dark blue and grey, both with a matte finish.

    The Nokia 3310 will sell at an average global retail price of 49 euros. 

    March gas price down     

    From Wednesday, cooking gas price is down by VND4,500 (US$0.2) per 12kg canister compared with February 2017, distributors and retailers in HCM City said.

    Accordingly, the retail price for end consumers from large companies, such as PetroVietnam Gas JSC, Liquefied Gas Company Limited Vietnam, Saigon Petro Co Ltd. and Vietnam National Petroleum Group, will fluctuate at some VND330,000 to VND340,000 per 12kg canister.

    According to distributors, the reason for a drop in domestic March gas price is the recent announcement of a decrease in world gas price in March, down by $15 per tonne to $540 per tonne compared with February 2017.

    To ensure consumers benefit and market regulations are followed, domestic businesses have adjusted the gas price in line with the decrease in world gas price.

    The new price will take effect on Wednesday.

    Distributors, retailers and consumers in HCM City and other southern provinces and cities have been informed of the decrease in price. 

    Mobile World Congress debuts cool stuff

    Viettel Group has sent a delegation to get an up-close look at all the Android phones, more Internet of Things and other cool stuff debuting at the annual Mobile World Congress tech conference in Barcelona, Spain.

    An estimated 100,000 industry professionals and journalists have invaded the capital of Spain’s Catalonia region to see these new product launches, do business, and weigh in on topics such as the next generation 5G networks.

    This is the second time Viettel has attended the event, which annually attracts just about every important company in the business.

    At this year’s event running February 27-Marrch 2, Viettel has set up a booth showcasing its latest information technology solutions such as V-Wallet, E-government and its Distribution Management System.

    Seafood export value estimated at 844 million USD early 2017

    The value of seafood exports in the first two months of 2017 was estimated at 844 million USD, representing a year-on-year decline of 3.1 percent, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).

    In February, the export value was 351 million USD.

    In the two months, Vietnam imported seafood worth 196 million USD, an increase of 19.1 percent from 2016. Seafood import value in February was 99 million USD.

    According to the MARD, seafood output in the first two months was 389,000 tonnes, up 1.5 percent, with tuna and anchovy producing the highest output.  

    Dak Lak avocado targets world market

    A firm in the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak plans to bring avocado grown in the locality to the Japanese, EU and US markets after successfully entering the domestic and several regional markets.

    Dakado avocado, a trademark that has been developed by Thu Nhon Ltd. in Da Lak, has been sold in China and Cambodia, along with supermarkets across the country, including Fivimart, Big C and Coopmart.

    Each year, the company ships hundreds of fresh Dakado avocado abroad, becoming the biggest avocado trademark in Dak Lak.

    To boost the growth of the trademark, the company has worked with 100 local farming households. The firm has sent experts to the farms to give technical support to farmers.

    Along with coffee, avocado has been named as a major industrial crop of Dak Lak.

    Retail sales, service revenue increase over seven percent

     Expert: Don’t set great store by FTAs, HCMC seeks ways to make budget homes affordable, Opportunity arises for orange exports to Indonesia, Retail sales, service revenue increase over seven percent 

    Hanoi’s retail and service revenue in the first two months of 2017 amounted to 365 trillion VND (16.4 billion USD), an increase of 7.1 percent from the same period last year, according to the Hanoi Statistics Office.

    In February alone, the figure was 179 trillion VND (7.78 billion USD), down 3.9 percent from January. 

    According to the department, Hanoi’s consumer price index in February increased slightly against the previous month, citing that prices this year changed little due to the early opening of supermarkets and commercial centres, which stopped the typical post-Tet scarcity of goods.

    The department said that more and more Vietnamese goods are on sale in supermarkets and commercial centres.

    In terms of exports, Hanoi’s export value in the first two months of 2017 was 1.6 billion USD, up 13.1 percent.

    The industrial production index for the two months posted a year-on-year increase of 5.1 percent, the department added.

    Reference exchange rate stays flat

    The State Bank of Vietnam kept the reference VND/USD exchange rate unchanged from the day ago to 22,232 VND/USD on March 1.

    With the current /- 3 percent VND/USD trading band, the ceiling exchange rate is 22,899 VND per USD and the floor rate is 21,565 VND per USD. 

    In the opening hours, major commercial banks made slight changes to their rates. 

    Vietcombank listed the buying rate at 22,740 VND/USD and adjusted the selling rate at 22,810 VND/USD, up 5 VND from the previous day.

    BIDV set the buying rate at 22,710 VND/USD, and adjusted the selling rate up by 10 VND to 22,810 VND/USD. 

    Techcombank adjusted up 20 VND to its selling rate to stand at 22,710 VND/USD and kept the buying rate unchanged at 22,380 VND/USD.

    Saigon in need of a million affordable homes over next decade - expert

    The southern hub is in the grips of a major affordable housing shortage amid a rapidly growing population.

    Ho Chi Minh City is likely to need one million more affordable homes over the next 10 years, according to a real estate expert. 

    “Saigon’s shortage of affordable homes, social housing and low-cost rentals is expected to continue over the next 10 years when demand could grow to one million homes,” said Le Hoang Chau, chairman of Ho Chi Minh City’s Real Estate Association.

    This shortage is not expected to subside in the near term with the World Bank forecasting the city’s population could reach 10 million by 2020 from 8.4 million currently.

    Without citing statistics on the number of homes built annually, Chau emphasized the need for low-to-middle income properties based on the population growth rate.

    About 500,000 families are currently unable to afford their own homes, and many currently share with parents or relatives.

    Meanwhile, 81,000 families will need cheap houses over the next four years, the local media cited a survey by the city’s construction department and Institute for Development Studies as saying.

    Migrants from other provinces who move to the city for work are the main contributors to Ho Chi Minh City’s population growth.

    The southern commercial hub is now home to 3 million migrants.

    According to some estimates, up to 70.6% of the 402,000 workers in the industrial parks and export processing zones on the outskirts of Ho Chi Minh City are in need of affordable housing.

    The city is also faced with a serious shortage of affordable rental housing ranging from VND1 million (US$44) to VND3 million (US$132) per month, Chau said.

    Japanese firm to set up medical device factory     

    Nipro Corporation, a medical device supplier from Japan, has received a business licence for production in Saigon Hi-tech Park in HCM City.

    In the first phase, which is worth US$300 million, the factory will produce medical devices used for blood filtration in the kidney.

    The medical devices will be supplied to the domestic market and exported to Japan and other Southeast Asian countries.

    The factory is expected to be built this year and operational by the end of the next year.

    Speaking with, head of the Saigon Hi-tech Park Le Hoai Quoc said Nipro planned to increase its investment capital in the factory to $500 million and then $700 million by 2030. 

    Farming start-ups need more help

    Pragmatic policies are needed for the Government to realise its goal of promoting start-ups in the agriculture sector.

    During an online discussion held by the Government portal on February 24, Dau Anh Tuan, head of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Legal Affairs Department, said that the Government should consider lifting the land limit which was hampering successful agricultural business.

    “Successful agricultural businesses require large-scale production,” he said. “Collecting products from multiple sources makes it difficult to ensure stable quality, trace origins and to guarantee the food safety”.

    The Law on Land introduced in 2013 set the land limit for agriculture by individuals or households from two to three hectares and from 10 to 30 hectares for industrial plants like rubber, coffee beans or tea trees.

    “Such land limits increase production costs and erode motivation to expand business,” he said.

    The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MoARD) was considering loosening agricultural land limits, which was a positive signal, Tuan said, hoping that it was a step towards complete elimination.

    He also suggested that the Government discard so-called production quotas. Citing examples of production quotas the MoARD set for tra fish and lobster in 2020 – which are hoped to reach some 1.9 million and 1,940 tonnes respectively, Tuan believed what the Government was doing was market intervention.

    “The Government is amending the Law on Planning and I hope that the regulations regarding production planning will be tossed out. The Government should only do macro-planning and let the market decide product supply”.

    A report titled “Enabling the Business for Agriculture” from the World Bank last year ranked Vetnam’s agricultural business environment in the lower half of Southeast Asia. The country was positioned only above Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar.

    Plant businesses in Vietnam scored 62.5 points on the scale from a possible 100, lower than Cambodia’s 68.8 and Bangladesh’s 70.8, while the country ranked 37th out of 40 countries in the report for the business environment for agricultural machinery with 24.4 points.

    The financial market for agriculture, meanwhile, was considered average with 45.3 points.

    Former Science and Technology Minister Tran Quoc Thang agreed one of the key challenges for agricultural start-ups was accessing capital.

    “There is currently a shortage of investors and venture capital funds to provide finance for start-ups,” he said. “In the long-term, the Government should set up venture capital funds and credit guarantee funds”.

    How to do high-tech?

    What the Government was encouraging was start-ups based on creativity and high-tech application, in which connectivity between those having business ideas and those having necessary technology played a vital role for successful start-ups, Thang said.

    The Government, in this regard, should lay out an even playing field for the three parties involved.

    “They are the Government with business policies, the start-ups and the science players like researchers, institutes and universities. The connectivity between them creates what we call the start-up eco-system,” he said.

    “If that national eco-system of creativity is established and develops, high-tech agriculture businesses will prosper”.

    Start-up company Hoa Anh Dao’s Management Board Chair Tran Le agreed, noting that some business ideologies failed to understand the real meaning of high-tech business and were threatening the environment.

    He cited the increase of plastic film made-greenhouses in Lam Dong Province’s Da Lat City which was dubbed an agricultural high-tech city.

    The film is a cheap way to build greenhouses, which led to mass construction of such greenhouses in Da Lat. Yet it resulted in a loss of rainwater absorbed in surface soil and to nearby streams and rivers.

    “High-tech agriculture was not supposed to be like that. It should be innovative and not affect the environment,” he said.

    “By and large, the definition of high-tech agriculture in Vietnam is still understood very vaguely”.

    Lithuania looks to strengthen trade links with Vietnam

    Lithuania's Ambassador Ina Marciulionyte today (Feb. 27) told a business forum in Hanoi that the country’s private sector is excited about strengthening trade links with their Vietnamese counterparts.

    Lithuania, one of the EU Member States, looks favourably upon the prospects for enhanced trade and investment once the EU-Vietnam free trade agreement come into force in 2018, he said.

    The trade pact also provides a wonderful opportunity for the two nations’ governments to develop bilateral cooperation as well. More active political relations encourage more active and smoother economic relations, he noted.

    BSSC backs startups to join Tourism Day

    The Business Startup Support Center (BSSC) has announced a plan to support startups to take part in Tourism Day 2017 which is slated for late next month in HCMC.

    The event will feature 50 display booths of tourism startups. According to BSSC, tourism startups are those directly selling tours to customers and those providing services for travel firms such as healthcare, souvenirs and handicrafts. 

    Startups can register a booth at the event at only US$70 a day.

    For further information, interested startups can visit The event will take place from March 23 to 26 at Le Van Tam Park in HCMC’s District 1.

    Can Tho to host int'l aquaculture exhibition

    An international aquaculture exhibition will take place in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho in October this year.

    The International Center for Aquaculture & Fisheries Sustainability (ICAFISH), in coordination with Thailand-based UBM Asia, will be organizing the event on October 25-27.

    The organizing committee said the event at the Can Tho International Exhibition and Fair Center would be an opportunity for domestic and international seafood enterprises, mainly shrimp and tra fish (pangasius) producers, to build business links.

    Rungphech (Rose) Chitanuwat, Asia business director at UBM, said in a statement released at a news conference in Can Tho on February 23 that participating enterprises would have a chance to gain access to innovative solutions to aquaculture such as feed and nutrition, and modern processing equipment of world’s leading corporations. 

    At the event, local and international experts will share experience in quality control and present advanced solutions for fish farming and processing.

    M. Gandhi, managing director (ASEAN Business) of UBM Asia, said the forthcoming exhibition is expected to attract some 120 firms from 20 countries and territories.

    Anh Duong told to pay settlement fee in anti-competition case

    The Vietnam Competition Council has told HCMC-based production, trading, service and import-export firm Anh Duong to pay a VND50 million fee for a case in which the company was accused of anti-competitive practices in tourism services.

    In 2013, AB Tours in Khanh Hoa Province petitioned competition authorities to look into Anh Duong’s practices to force its partner hotels to refuse guests from Russia, Ukraine and other Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) who were joining tours arranged by the former and other firms though there were still vacant guest rooms. Anh Duong, a partner of Pegas Touristik which handled a majority of tourists coming from these foreign markets, had clinched exclusive contracts with stringent terms on the hotels’ sale of rooms to rival travel firms.  

    Anh Duong requested its partner hotels to arrange room bookings for travelers from the (CIS) markets who flew to Cam Ranh on the chartered flights arranged by Anh Duong. The hotels were asked not to sell rooms to guests of rivals who also organized chartered services for guests to travel from Russia to Cam Ranh airport in the central province.

    Investigations found that Anh Duong, which was responsible for 51.6% of travelers on chartered flights from Russia to Cam Ranh airport in 2013 when AB Tours lodged the petition, had committed anti-competitive practices.

    However, as Anh Duong voluntarily stopped its unhealthy competition and removed the anti-competitive contract terms, AB Tours withdrew its complaint. Anh Duong was told to pay a fee of VND50 million for the case after it was transferred from the Vietnam Competition Authority under the Ministry of Industry and Trade to the council on March 28 last year.

    The chairman of the council issued a decision setting up a commission to handle the case on March 31 and Anh Duong was told to pay the settlement fee on December 30 last year.

    Nguyen Quy Phuong, head of the Travel Department at the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), said Anh Duong no longer dominates the Russian tourist market segment in Vietnam while AB Tours is a leading firm responsible for Chinese tourists.

    VN has 50 companies recognized as organic

    Vietnam now has 50 producers of agricultural goods, mainly vegetables, recognized as meeting organic standards, according to data of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

    Last year saw more Vietnamese firms gaining certification for organic food products.

    Data of USDA showed that the companies with organic certification are mainly located in southern Vietnam, including HCMC, Lam Dong, Binh Duong, Tay Ninh and Ben Tre.

    Phuong Thao at Organica, a leading organic food distributor in Vietnam, said such certification is valid for one year from the date of issuance, and must be renewed annually.

    Certification organizations in Vietnam include Netherlands-based Control Union Certifications, France's ECOCERT S.A and Germany's Kiwa BCS Oko-Garantie GmbH.

    Farmers struggling with falling chicken prices

    Chicken farmers in Dong Nai Province, the country’s key poultry farming area, are racking up heavy losses driven by the steep chicken price fall.

    Duong Anh Tuan, director of Binh Minh Farming Company based in Bien Hoa City, Dong Nai Province, said the price of white feather chicken at the farm in the last 15 days had ranged from VND15,000 to VND18,000 per kilo, way below the production cost of VND25,000.

    The previous price was VND25,000-26,000 per kilo and VND22,000-25,000 in the same period last year.

    The price of chicken with color feather at the farm is VND24,000-25,000 per kilo while the production cost is VND35,000-36,000.

    Nguyen Thanh Phi Long, technical director of Thanh Binh Farming Company, said the price of white feather chickens before Tet (Lunar New Year) sold for VND27,000-28,000 per kilo but their price dipped to VND22,000-25,000 shortly after Tet and VND15,000-17,00-19,000 in the last 10-15 days while production cost is VND24,000-25,000.

    Nguyen Van Ngoc, vice president of the Southeast Husbandry Association, said his chicken farm in Dong Nai was closed as prices slid to VND13,000-15,000 per kilo.

    Farmers have ascribed the dismal market conditions to the weak post-Tet chicken demand and the rising concern about a possible bird flu outbreak. Besides, low chicken import prices have made matters worse.

    Vietnam mainly imports chicken legs, feet and by-products from the U.S., Korea and China at VND13,000-15,000 per kilo to meet the huge demand of factory and school canteens.

    HCMC set to tax stores on social networks

    The HCMC Tax Department will work with the departments of trade-industry, information-communications and other relevant agencies to gather information on online stores to ascertain whether they are complying with tax rules.

    An official of the tax department put forward a proposal for looking into tax payments by online stores at a meeting on Wednesday.

    Pham Thanh Kien, director of the Department of Industry and Trade, said the department would coordinate with the departments of tax, information-communications, and public security to inspect e-commerce. There are currently around 80,000 e-commerce websites registered in the city, with half of them proving efficient, he said.

    Regarding sales tax collections from stores on social networks like Facebook, he said taxes could be collected if authorities work with the operators of social networking sites to enforce tax regulations.

    The municipal authorities have given priority to e-commerce development as demand for online shopping is on the rise, said Tran Vinh Tuyen, vice chairman of the city, on the sidelines of Wednesday’s meeting.

    The tax department has found it challenging to force online stores to strictly observe tax regulations. Identifying online stores subject to business registration is vital for tax offices to collect taxes from them.

    At a press briefing last month, Tran Ngoc Tam, head of the tax department, said the agency had found it almost impossible to determine exact revenues and profits of online stores as a majority of online shoppers prefer paying in cash on delivery, leaving no trail for tax collectors to determine the value of a transaction.  

    Dung Quat, Chu Lai EZs cooperate for further growth

    The Dung Quat Economic Zone in Quang Ngai and the Chu Lai Open Economic Zone in Quang Nam have attracted a large number of Vietnamese and foreign investors.

    10 years ago, the two provinces signed a cooperation agreement to support the growth of the two economic zones.

    The 10km coastal route connecting the two Economic Zones has facilitated transportation between them while National Highway 1A, the North-South railway, and the Da Nang-Quang Ngai Expressway connect the region with other provinces and cities in Vietnam. 

    Quang Nam and Quang Ngai province have focused their investment in seaports and have agreed that Quang Nam’s ports will receive small cargo ships while big container ships will dock at the deep sea ports of Quang Ngai.

    The 3,400 ha Chu Lai airport in Quang Nam province is being used by Vietnam Airlines, Vietjet Air and Jetstar Pacific offering 34 flights per week to and Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh city. 

    Do Xuan Dien, Director of the Chu Lai Open Economic Zone’s Management Board, says that the two provinces agreed the sectors of investment to avoid overlap.

    He said, “The sectors that have proved to be effective in Quang Ngai are not invested in Chu Lai and vice versa. This keeps investment in Quang Nam from overlapping in Quang Ngai or Da Nang.”

    The Chu Lai Open Economic Zone and Dung Quat Economic Zone have been chosen as the location for Vietnam’s first oil refinery center. Mr. Le Viet Chu, Secretary of the Quang Ngai Provincial Party Committee, says close cooperation will boost local economic restructuring.

    He said, “The Prime Minister has asked the two provinces to strengthen cooperation  in extracting gas from the Blue Whale gas field which spans Quang Nam and Quang Ngai province.”

    The number of investors in the two economic zones has increased in recent years thanks to incentives in land rent and human resource training.

    World loses its appetite for pricey Vietnamese rice

    Slowing overseas demand is putting the brakes on Vietnam's rice exports this year, industry players say.

    Indonesia, one of the country's key export markets, has said it has no plans to import any of the grain from Vietnam this year, and a government agreement with the Philippines to supply three million tons is unlikely to remedy the situation.

    The agreement with the Philippines is not a contract, and can be subject to negotiations with importers. Last year, Vietnam shipped only 396,000 tons of rice to the Philippines, a plunge of 65% from 2015, based on government data.

    The Philippines is forecast to import 1.4 million tons of rice in 2017, a jump of 75% from last year, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) said in a February report. 

    "Vietnamese rice prices are very high now, making the grain uncompetitive against Thai rice," a Vietnamese trader with a European firm based in Ho Chi Minh City said.

    Vietnam's 5% broken rice stands this week at US$350-US$355 a ton, free-on-board Saigon Port basis, up nearly 4% since the end of 2016, while Thailand offers a similar grade for US$353-US$355 a ton. 

    Buyers, mostly in Asia, followed by Africa and the Middle East, would only consider the grain if it is offered about US$10 a ton below Thai rice of the same variety, traders said. 

    Indonesia, Vietnam's fourth-biggest rice market last year, will not import rice this year given an expected surplus and efforts to stabilize rice prices by increasing local procurement, the Jakarta Post reported.

    Indonesia is projected to produce 80 million tons of paddy, or unhusked rice, this year, above its demand of 60 million tons, the newspaper cited Indonesia's Agriculture Ministry as saying.

    But Indonesia's decision not to import rice this year remains questionable. The USDA still projects Indonesia will import 1 million tons of rice this year, down from 1.1 million tons in 2016.

    "Even if Indonesia does decide to import rice this year, it will not focus on Vietnam," a Ho Chi Minh City-based trader said. 

    Rice exporters say they are facing problems with mounting stockpiles, while the Mekong Delta's winter-spring crop harvest is expected to peak from next month. The crop is the largest of three crops planted in the delta every year, with grain mostly used for exports due to its high quality.

    Rice export firms had nearly 1 million tons in stock at the end of January, while sales abroad were slowing, the Vietnam Food Association said. 

    Rice exports fell 32% last month from January 2016 to 325,000 tons, according to data from the agriculture ministry.

    The association projects Vietnam's rice exports this year will reach around 5 million tons. Last year, the volume fell to 4.8 million tons, the lowest level since 2008.

    In contrast, the USDA has forecast a rebound in Vietnam's rice shipments this year to 5.8 million tons, leaving the country in third place behind India and Thailand.

    "This is based on improved prospects to Asian markets such as the Philippines, where quantitative restrictions are set to expire later this year," it said in its February report.

    Late last year, the Philippine government said it would not seek a further extension of the so-called quantitative restrictions on rice due to expire in June 2017 and will allow higher rice imports, Reuters reported.

    Vietnam’s e-commerce: opportunities for online trade

    The Vietnam Online Business Forum opens in Ho Chi Minh City on February 24. Vietnamese and foreign businesses attend the forum to discuss trendy online trade, technology, and business innovations.

    Several big retailers in Vietnam like FPT, Hapro, Vingroup, Viettel, and Nguyen Kim have had success in online trading. 

    Trinh Van Hoa, Director of the Nguyen Kim Online Trading Center, said to increase their revenue, they have diversified sale channels to give customers more purchasing options. 

    “Nguyen Kim has focused on shopping via smart-phone. Revenue in 2016 increased two or three hundred percent. Our plan is to diversify shopping options for customers in urban areas as well as people in rural areas who can’t travel to the city to shop,” he said.

    Revenue from online trading will increase sharply from now until 2020.

    Dinh Thi My Loan, Chairwoman of the Vietnam Retailers Association, said, “Multi-channel trade such as markets, shops, and websites is increasingly popular. Online trading is a trend with many advantages.” 

    The Vietnam Online-Trading Association reports that about 60% of Vietnam’s population use the Internet and a large number of them have smart-phones. It’s a lucrative market for online trading.

    Expert: Don’t set great store by FTAs

    The signing of free trade agreements (FTA) has helped Vietnam’s economy cushion the negative impacts of its international integration, instead of maximizing benefits, so there should not be excessive optimism, an expert said at a conference in HCMC on February 27.

    Tran Toan Thang, deputy director of the Business Environment and Competitiveness Department of Central Institute for Economic Management (CIEM), said Vietnam has inked 15 FTAs so far while its neighboring countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Singapore have signed 17, 21, 21 and 32 FTAs respectively.

    The free trade agreement between Vietnam and the European Union (EVFTA) may not bring as huge benefits to Vietnamese enterprises as expected.

    He explained a majority of Vietnamese goods to the European market are essential consumer items. If tariffs of such products were reduced, their selling prices could be lowered but this would not have strong effects on demand.

    This is a difference between essential and luxurious goods. Even if the agreement takes effect next year, Vietnam’s total shipments to the EU might not skyrocket, he reasoned.

    The prerequisite for Vietnam’s products to the EU is that they must meet the market’s technical requirements.

    He analyzed these enterprises are inclined to have short-term investments rather than long-term ones. Thus the improvement of competitiveness is more challenging.

    Once the agreement comes into force, some sectors would suffer negative growth. This means a certain number of workers would be made redundant. However, this factor has not been taken into careful consideration by enterprises to have contingency plans in a timely manner.

    HCMC seeks ways to make budget homes affordable

    How to bring down prices of budget homes with their size unchanged and all same utilities as commercial ones is a matter of concern for the HCMC government and enterprises.

    The seminar themed “Development of low-cost and affordable commercial homes” was held by the HCMC Real Estate Association (HoREA) in the city on February 27.

    Nguyen Van Duc, deputy director of Dat Lanh Real Estate Co Ltd, said the city should allow for construction of commercial apartments of 20-30 square meters each for low-income people and workers in outlying areas, industrial parks and university campuses. 

    With a unit of 20 square meters, the lowest construction cost is VND5 million per square meter. With investment, design and sale costs included, each unit must cost VND160-180 million, said Le Huu Nghia, director of Le Thanh Company.

    However, he believed such apartments should not be sold since it would easily lead to some sort of slum.

    “Small homes should be only for rent, and could be taken back when tenants failed to satisfy the conditions of the investor. In the long term, investors may dismantle them for reconstruction, or merge 2-3 apartments together to create bigger units,” he suggested.

    Homes for sale in HCMC should be 35-50 square meters each in 12-15 storey buildings and priced at VND12 million per square meter, or VND400-600 million a unit, said Nghia.

    Cooperation for cost reduction

    HCMC Party Secretary Dinh La Thang said the city should draw on Binh Duong Province’s experience to build homes costing VND100 million per unit, but would not have to exactly follow in Binh Duong’s footsteps. The city is aiming for the housing area per capita of 19.8 square meters by 2020, thus each apartment should cover 40-60 square meters.

    Thang said the city should offer low-cost housing developers favorable conditions by perfecting the mechanisms and policies and relaxing legal procedures. In particular, it is necessary to create a chain link with cost reductions in many stages such as construction, design and completion so as to lower the price of the final product.

    In addition, to promote the development of low-cost housing, a market should be formed, where transfer is free, with no rules restricting home transfers within the first five years of residence, Thang said.

    In response, a number of building material manufacturers said they would offer lower prices for affordable housing projects. “For low-cost housing projects, we may bring down prices by VND500,000 per ton compared to market levels,” said a representative of Ha Tien Cement Company.

    Tran Phuoc Dong, director of Australia Precast Concrete Co. Ltd., said their advanced technology and design could cut the price of low-cost homes by VND5 million per square meter, equivalent to the level in Binh Duong.

    In addition to one-bedroom apartments of 25-30 square meters that cost VND250-300 million each for small families and single people, the city may focus on two-bedroom units with an area of 50-77 square meters, priced at VND500-700 million per unit, said HoREA chairman Le Hoang Chau.

    Also, to reduce the price of low-cost homes, large-scale projects should be developed over 50 hectares or more, combined with affordable commercial housing projects, to form new urban areas with full utilities, he suggested.

    Tran Trong Tuan, director of the HCMC Department of Construction, said homes costing less than VND1 billion were acceptable under the current circumstances. This is a market with a wide range of consumers, so there should be diverse prices.

    CAR does not improve in 2016

    The capital adequacy ratio (CAR) of the banking system based on the latest data published by the central bank was 12.84% on December 31, 2016, meaning almost no improvement was made last year.

    Joint venture and foreign banks are in the group with the highest CAR while the lowest CAR belongs to State-run banks, at 9.92%. Commercial joint stock banks have an average rate of 11.8%.

    CAR is still calculated with the method determined by the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV), not in accordance with the standards of the Basel 2 and the world.

    CAR is an important indicator of the health of the banking system in particular and credit institutions in general. The newly published figures suggest CAR barely improved throughout 2016, for it previously stood at 12.65% on June 30, 2016 and 13% on December 31, 2015.

    It should be noted that this took place when banks in Vietnam announced positive earnings results in 2016. Many of them reported higher-than-expected profits.

    Also according to the data published by the SBV, the system’s equity capital picked up 10.66% last year, equivalent to some VND639.6 trillion. Total assets grew 16.18 to more than VND8,500 trillion.

    Chartered capital increases were very modest, 6.11% compared with the end of the preceding year, equivalent to about VND488.4 trillion. Fresh capital injections are currently a major concern of and a great challenge to banks.

    The percentage of short-term capital utilized to make medium- and long-term loans was 34.51%, particularly 37.32% at State-run banks and 39.93% at joint stock banks.

    ROA (return on assets) and ROE (return on equity) of the system, as per the financial statements for the third quarter of 2016, were 0.45 and 5.66% respectively.

    Joint stock banks put their ROA at 0.26% and ROE at 3.49%, while the respective figures at State-run banks were 0.47% and 8.24%. Those credit institutions with negative equity were already eliminated when such rates were calculated.

    The ratio of credit to deposits in November 2016, the latest update, was 86.72%. This ratio was particularly high at State-run banks, 94.43%, while the joint stock ones registered a rate of 79.37%.

    It should be noted that the above figures are only relative and do not fully reflect the health of the system of credit organizations in Vietnam. It is because the statistics are based on account balance reports and monthly statistical reports for December 2016 that credit institutions sent to the SBV, with those with negative equity capital already excluded when such indicators as equity capital and CAR were calculated.

    HCM City leader wants Can Gio District to become attractive tourism complex

    Chairman of HCMC Nguyen Thanh Phong on February 27 asked the Department of Planning and Architecture to submit a plan for organizing an international planning contest to develop Can Gio District into an attractive urban area for entertainment and leisure tourism in the second quarter of 2017 at the latest.

    At the meeting on February 27, Phong urged relevant agencies to speed up construction of Binh Khanh Bridge and Vam Sac Street to improve traffic infrastructure in Can Gio, which is known to have strong tourism potential owing to a 13-kilometer coastline and more than 34,000 hectares of mangrove forest.

    Phong also demanded those agencies ensure that tourism projects will match the general planning and take forest preservation into account when carrying out tourism activities.

    “We need to awake the potential of Can Gio,” he added.

    Taking Thailand for example, Phong said tourists often choose to visit Pattaya which requires a two-hour drive from Bangkok. Meanwhile, it just takes 50 minutes to drive from downtown HCMC to Can Gio. This is a big advantage and Binh Khanh Bridge and the axis street of Vam Sac will be the first impression for tourists entering the region.

    Besides calling for businesses to invest in more tourism projects, the city’s authorities will focus on adding tourism products in Can Gio to make the most of its potential like seafood, yacht tours, and hiking in mangrove forests and on the island of monkeys.

    Can Gio is 60 kilometers southeast of downtown HCMC. The district has a coastline of more than 13 kilometers, a maze of canals and rivers, and lush mangrove forests which were recognized as a world biosphere reserve by UNESCO.

    Can Gio attracted one million visitors and obtained tourism revenue of VND400 billion last year. It targets more than one million tourists this year.

    At a conference on February 27, Bui Ta Hoang Vu, director of HCMC’s Department of Tourism, said the city is expected to welcome 7.5 million foreign visitors in 2017.

    Foreign visitor arrivals in HCMC this month have surged 15% compared to the same period of last year, reaching nearly 525,000 passengers. The city has seen a 20% rise in tourism revenue, at nearly VND9,000 billion.

    Vietnam enterprises seek to build business links with Dubai

    A Vietnamese business delegation is visiting the Gulfood Fair 2017 held in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) city of Dubai to sound out business cooperation opportunities there. 

    Thirty-three agricultural and food enterprises of Vietnam are showing their products at the trade fair. The traditional domestic items on display include rice, coffee, pepper, tea, cashew nuts, and other processed and canned products such as milk, fruit juice, and functional foods.

    In a press release on February 27, the Embassy of Vietnam in the UAE said the number of Vietnamese booths for product display is double the country’s first attendance four years ago.

    Apart from brands such as Vinamilk, Hapro and Lotus Rice that have been found at the previous Gulfood fairs, two new brands, Vinamit and VinEco, are present at the fair.

    Pham Binh Dam, Vietnam’s ambassador to the UAE, said Vietnam’s farm produce, food and beverages have captured international attention and Vietnamese booths are frequently crowded with visitors during the fair.

    Many local firms have been equipped with modern production lines, and therefore, the quality of domestic farm products has much improved and received high appreciations from foreign partners, Dam said.

    Enterprises tapping into the Dubai market have registered sales growth of around 20% to 30% per year. For example, Vinamilk’s dairy products are already present there, Dam added.

    Featuring 120 national booths the fair kicked off on Sunday and will wrap up on March 2. It is expected to welcome around 95,000 guests from over 170 countries and territories.

    An Giang sees tourist growth in religious sites

    The Mekong Delta province of An Giang received more than 1 million tourists to its religious sites in February, up 200,000 from the previous month, according to the provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

    The number represented 26 percent of the local yearly target.

    Religious tourism has been developing in An Giang in recent years. The locality is famous for a complex of historical and religious sites, including Temple of Ba Chua Xu Nui Sam in Chau Doc city, Cam Mount in Tinh Bien district and That Son, a range of small mountains located in Tri Ton and Tinh Bien districts.

    The province has been stepping up promotion campaigns for these tourist attractions and worked to stop local service providers from illegally soliciting travellers and overpricing.

    Chau Doc city, where most tourist sites are located, has offered free wifi at Basa Fish Park, Bo De Dao Trang Pagoda Park and Ba Chua Xu Nui Sam Temple while Tourist.ONE, a mobile application that offers travel guide in the province and helps travellers book tickets, has been also developed by the department and a local mobile operator.

    This year, An Giang province aims to welcome over 6.8 million tourist arrivals, earning the revenue of more than 3.5 trillion VND (153.8 million USD).

    It plans to launch a Month for Tourism in An Giang 2017 event in Chau Doc city in May alongside a wide range of other tourism promotion events and festivals throughout the year.

    Crowne Plaza West Hanoi has new director of sales and marketing

    Crowne Plaza West Hanoi has announced the appointment of Mr. Park Ryan as new Director of Sales and Marketing of the hotel and residences. 

    Mr. Park brings a track record of 19 years in Sales and Marketing and possesses a wealth of international experience in Corporate, MICE and Travel. Prior joining InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), he has worked for different properties such as Walkerhill Seoul and Ritz-Carlton Seoul and Lotte Hotels & Resorts in Seoul, HongKong and Bejing. 

    “We are excited to welcome Mr. Park to IHG’s family and expect his next success” said Barry Pitman, General Manager of Crowne Plaza West Hanoi. “He will be an integral part of our hotel. We are confident that he is the right person to further elevate the sales and marketing strategy and all of us are looking forward to his leadership and collaborations in accomplishment of overall results.”

    In this new role, the Korean Director of Sales & Marketing will be leading the Sales and Marketing team as well as overseeing all revenue and distribution management.


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