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- 03/13/17--02:45: Article 13
- 03/13/17--02:55: Article 12
- 03/13/17--03:03: Article 11
- 03/13/17--03:15: Article 10
- 03/13/17--03:30: Article 9
- 03/13/17--03:46: Article 8
- 03/13/17--04:01: Article 7
- 03/13/17--04:25: Article 6
- 03/14/17--01:32: Article 5
- 03/14/17--01:56: Article 4
- 03/14/17--02:00: Article 3
- 03/14/17--02:15: Article 2
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- 03/14/17--03:10: Article 5
- 03/15/17--02:03: Article 4
BUSINESS IN BRIEF 11/3
Vietnamese firms showcase farm produce at Japan expo
Seventeen Vietnamese firms are showcasing their products at the 42nd FOODEX, Japan’s largest international food and beverage exhibition, which is underway at Chiba Prefecture.
Vietnamese enterprises are displaying farm produce such as fruits, vegetables, cashew nuts, rice products, seafood products and juices. The participating businesses hail from HCM City, Ha Noi, Nghe An, Bac Giang, Hai Phong, Ninh Binh, Dong Thap, Ben Tre, Tien Giang, Dong Nai, Lam Dong, Binh Duong, and Phu Quoc.
The four-day event is a great opportunity for firms to connect with potential clients, Vietnamese Trade Counsellor to Japan Nguyen Trung Dung said.
Vietnamese agricultural products have huge potential in the Japanese market, Dung said. He said businesses would be able to the tap this market effectively by conducting more promotional activities and ensuring that they have a steady, high-quality supply of products.
Kazuki Mizutani from VOX Trading Company in Japan said there is room for Vietnamese firms to boost the export of farm produce to Japan. To do so, they must improve product quality and offer them at reasonable rates, he advised.
Wood processing sector has room for development
The wood processing sector will have more room for development as Vietnam participates in more free trade agreements, according to the Handicraft and Wood Industry Association of HCM City (HAWA).
At the Vietnam International Furniture & Home Accessories Fair (VIFA – EXPO 2017), which opened on March 8, Huynh Van Hanh, Vice President of the HAWA, wood processing is a sector with high growth, less dependence and an added value of 40 percent.
He advised enterprises to invest in technology and design to boost their competitiveness.
He said the export of wood and wood products is expected to hit 8 billion USD in 2017.
Pham Thanh Kien, Director of the municipal Department of Industry and Trade, said this year’s fair attracts 313 enterprises, up 24 percent, and has 1,532 booths, an increase of 23 percent, from 2016.
The event will conclude on March 11.-
Tuna export revenue forecast to grow on better catch
The volume of tuna caught in three central coastal provinces in the January-February period of 2017 rose by 20% year-on-year to 3,540 tons, meaning that local enterprises this year will have abundant tuna supply for export sale.
According to a report of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the three central provinces that are strong in tuna fishing are Binh Dinh, Phu Yen and Khanh Hoa. Thanks to higher volumes, the export value of Vietnamese tuna this year is expected to pick up substantially against 2016 when many local enterprises could not secure sufficient material for export processing.
Phu Yen in the first two months harvested only 432 tons, down 27% year-on-year, but the other two provinces enjoyed bumper catches, with Binh Dinh netting 2,276 tons, up 22% year-on-year, and Khanh Hoa obtaining 832 tons, surging 68%.
According to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers ( VASEP), Vietnam’s exports of tuna frozen fillets to the European Union (EU) last year took a market share of 12%. The country’s tuna exports last year could have been much higher, but due to the falling fishing volume, local enterprises were forced to import materials from neighboring countries and boost export prices, resulting in its lower competitiveness in the European market.
The European Commission has recently proposed the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) impose restrictions on tuna fishing boat fleets and fishing activity in its member countries, paving the way for Vietnam’s tuna shipments to the EU to rise in the coming time.
Last year Vietnam fetched US$500 million worth of tuna export, a rise of 9% after three consecutive years of decline.
Govt gives green light to expressway in north
The Government has approved an expressway project which would connect Hoa Binh Province and Son La Province’s Moc Chau in northern Vietnam, VnEconomy reports.
Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung has asked the Ministry of Transport to work with provincial authorities of Hoa Binh and Son La and relevant agencies to map out a detailed construction plan for submission to the Prime Minister for consideration.
The two northern mountainous provinces will be responsible for implementing the project under the public-private partnership (PPP) format, and working with the Ministry of Transport to make clear their rights and responsibilities in the project.
Hoa Binh-Moc Chau expressway would be linked with the 85-kilometer Hoa Binh-An Lac Expressway with four lanes and would allow for a maximum speed of 80 kilometers per hour.
The project is estimated to cost more than VND20 trillion (US$877 million) and take over 42 months. It would cut travel time from the capital of Hanoi to Moc Chau District, Son La Province by around two hours, reducing traffic on National Highway 6, and promoting tourism in the two provinces.
NFSC: Oil price rise piles pressure on inflation
The world oil price has inched up in recent months, placing pressure on inflation in Vietnam, the National Financial Supervisory Committee (NFSC) said.
NFSC said in a macro-economic report that inflation in the country has been on the rise since September last year due to the rising prices of world oil and domestic public services. Inflation in 2017 will be higher than in 2016 if agencies do not take bold steps to put a new cycle of inflation under control.
The report showed February’s inflation grew 0.69% compared to the beginning of this year but a hefty 5.02% over the same period last year, driven by a price increase of 9.97% in the transport group over the year-earlier period. Domestic retail prices of fuels in January grew around 13% year-on-year, sending transport costs surging.
Higher inflationary pressure resulted from healthcare and educational services price rises of 57.21% and 10.07% against the year-earlier period in a number of provinces and cities as part of their road maps to adjust up prices of public services.
Core inflation in February expanded 1.51% year-on-year but the country’s inflation has steadily grown since last September due to periodical and seasonal factors.
NFSC said inflation often rose in the month coinciding with the Lunar New Year holiday (Tet). There will be a new cycle of inflation after prices of public services are revised up, contributing some 2.4 percentage points to last month’s inflation.
Notably, inflation started to go up in September last year, NFSC said. The committee added the long-term growth of inflation last month was 0.6 percentage point higher than in February last year.
The factors would make this year’s inflation higher than in 2016 if they are not put under control, NFSC said.
Speaking at a recent Government cabinet meeting in Hanoi, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc assigned Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue to tell the State Bank of Vietnam and the ministries of planning-investment, finance, industry-trade, health and education-training to find ways to achieve the inflation growth target of no higher than 4% this year.
SCIC divests from 11 firms this year
State Capital Investment Corporation (SCIC) divested a total of VND12.1 trillion (US$530 million) from 11 enterprises through share auctions in the first two months of the year, showed a report of the Ministry of Finance.
The amount was well above VND1.299 trillion SCIC invested in these enterprises thanks mainly to the first-phase sale of shares at Vietnam Dairy Products Joint Stock Company (Vinamilk). SCIC fetched almost VND11.3 trillion from this Vinamilk share sale.
The report said SCIC and other State-owned enterprises divested around VND14.2 trillion in the January-February period, which was much higher than the total book value of VND3 trillion.
Last year, SCIC sold its stakes at 73 firms, with a total of over VND16.11 trillion collected, compared to the book value of more than VND3 trillion.
Next month, the ministry is expected to propose the Government issue a new decree replacing Decree 59/2011/ND-CP on equitization of State-owned enterprises and approve the establishment of a coffee development fund in the country.
The ministry clinched four borrowing agreements totaling US$203.2 million in January-February, including two worth US$23 million last month, the report said.
The State Treasury had issued VND26.9 trillion worth of Government bonds to mobilize funds for budget spending and debt payments in the year to February 28.
In the first two months, budget collections totaled VND185.8 trillion, up 15.8% year-on-year, and budget spending was estimated at VND175.8 trillion, up 8.4% over the year-earlier period.
HCMC gets first food safety chief
Pham Khanh Phong Lan, ex-deputy director of the HCMC Department of Health, has been picked as head of the city’s newly established Food Safety Board.
HCMC chairman Nguyen Thanh Phong yesterday handed over an appointment decision to her with a term lasting until December 6, 2019.
Le Minh Hai serves as her deputy. He was formerly deputy director of the Rehabilitation and Occupational Disease Hospital in HCMC. The second deputy head is Huynh Thi Kim Cuc, deputy director of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
This is the city’s first agency responsible for food hygiene and safety.
Voters had repeatedly proposed the health and other agencies of the city carry out regular inspections into wholesale markets to prevent the trading of food of unclear origin.
Statistics show the demand for meat citywide ranges from 1,000 to 1,200 tons a day. Imports of frozen food amount to around 264,000 tons a year. City residents annually consume one million tons of vegetables and 170,000 tons of seafood.
The management of food safety in the city involved different agencies but their responsibilities were unclear, leading to poor food safety control.
Data indicates the city had six food poisoning cases with 512 victims but none of them were life-threatening. To prevent food poisoning, a major scheme for pork management, identification and traceability at Hoc Mon and Binh Dien wholesale markets has been carried out on a trial basis.
The municipal authorities also have plans to organize training courses this year to equip food producers and traders with best food safety practices.
HCMC supports small- medium sized & startup enterprises
Center for the Ho Chi Minh City Trade and Investment Promotion and Institute for Cadre Development of HCMC yesterday co-signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on long- term cooperation to train and support small- medium sized and startup enterprises.
Cooperative contents include training programs to improve knowledge and skills in the fields of business, export- import, trade and investment promotion, market researching and development…
The MoU will take effect in five years of 2017- 2020.
Tourists to Da Nang by sea up 30 percent
The number of tourists visiting Da Nang city by sea has increased 30 percent since the beginning of this year.
According to the central city’s tourism authorities, the Da Nang port has welcomed 30 ships with nearly 65,000 passengers and crew members.
The number of tourists to Da Nang by sea recovered in 2016 following two years of decline. Last year, the city welcomed 70 ships with more than 136,000 tourists and crew members, a 2.6-fold increase from 2015.
Da Nang developed new tours and services to better serve tourists like forming a tourism cyclo and improving service quality in the Champ Museum, Ngu Hanh Son, and Hai Van Pass.
Da Nang port was upgraded to accommodating big cruise ships as well.
Da Nang hopes to welcome 95 cruise ships and about 160,000 passengers and crew in 2017.
Ford to train more women employees in Asian market
Ford, the US automobile manufacturer, plans to step up its efforts to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace, including an increased focus on recruiting and training women employees to gain an edge in the battle for talent in fast-growing Asia markets, including Vietnam.
The company has announced that in the past five years it has grown the number of woman working in its operation across Asia Pacific by more than 125 percent and increased the number of woman in senior leadership roles.
“Women have been traditionally underrepresented in the auto industry, especially in Asia, and we see that as a massive untapped opportunity,” said Dave Schoch, President of Ford Asia Pacific.
“Recruiting and retaining the best talent is a big challenge in Asia. Increasing women in our workforce is not only the right thing to do; it's key to winning in China and other fast-growing Asia Pacific markets.”
A Nathan Associates study in 2016, APEC Women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics), found that women and girls across the 21 member economies of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum encountered stereotypes and other cultural constraints that discouraged them from aspiring to careers and leadership in STEM or STEAM fields.
To address this, Ford has been investing in STEAM programmes in India, China and Australia since 2014, and is looking to expand this support to other Asia Pacific markets.
As part of Ford’s Better World effort, the goal is to encourage young men and women to cultivate an interest in STEAM fields and keep them engaged throughout the education process, from early years to senior school and university.
For International Women’s Day on March 8, Ford is holding a number of special events across Asia Pacific, including Vietnam, to celebrate and recognise the many contributions of its women leaders and employees.
From engineers to designers, they are involved in every aspect of the company, upholding Ford’s commitment to quality and customer experience.
SCG acquires construction material operations in Vietnam
SCG, a leading business conglomerate in the ASEAN region, announced today (Mar. 8) that it has acquired the assets of Vietnam Construction Materials Company, Ltd. for US$156 million.
The acquisition is highly aligned with our strategic goal to establish leadership positions in resilient, attractive markets and further enhance our mix of vertically integrated operations, said SCG in a prepared statement.
We plan to create a more efficient operating dynamic in Vietnam by combining the efforts of this separately owned business into one cohesive SCG unit. Additionally, the purchase provides a highly strategic platform to capitalize on leading market positions and growing regional demand to serve as a supplier of choice.
26th ASEAN Exchanges CEOs meeting held
ASEAN Exchanges convened this past weekend in Bali, Indonesia, for the 26th ASEAN Exchanges CEOs meeting, where they reaffirmed their collaboration in promoting ASEAN capital markets as an asset class.
The meeting is symbolic. as the seven ASEAN exchanges - Bursa Malaysia, the Hanoi Stock Exchange, the Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange, the Indonesia Stock Exchange, the Philippine Stock Exchange, the Stock Exchange of Thailand, and the Singapore Exchange - met six years ago in Bali to formally introduce the ASEAN Exchanges collaboration.
Mr. Tito Sulistio, Chairman of the 26th ASEAN Exchanges CEOs Meeting, said: “The ASEAN Exchanges collaboration has made great strides forward since it was formalized in 2011 to foster greater diversity, innovation and investment opportunities. Trade value, market cap, and trading interests have all trended positively upwards in the years since its inception. Product innovations were systematically introduced every year in an effort to grow trade value and the quality of the ASEAN capital market product.”
In the last 12 months, ASEAN Exchanges collaboration ushered in the introduction of the ASEAN 5 FTSE4Good ESG Index and new MSCI ASEAN centric indices.
Mr. Sulistio added: “Today, growth in the seven exchanges of ASEAN and ASEAN-based intermediaries has exceeded expectations, by expanding from market-centric, domestic institutions to large regional intermediaries with an ASEAN focus. Compared with 2011, domestic-based investment banks and equity houses today have successfully transformed from country leaders into regional ASEAN leaders able to compete head on with some of the large global players.”
These institutions have defined efficient cross-border trade linkages within their own platforms and provided efficient inter-broker services to domestic-focused entities looking to expand their investments to ASEAN. Going forward, the collaboration will continue to introduce products and services, to catalyze new methods of streamlining access to and within ASEAN and build greater cross border harmonization.
The ASEAN Exchanges collaboration will continue to work with best-in-class partners from around the world to build greater liquidity among members in the region.
The ASEAN Exchanges CEOs reaffirmed the intention to continue to collaborate while focusing on harmonizing regulatory frameworks, facilitating the issuance of ASEAN products, the cross-exchange listing of ASEAN products, and mutual recognition of capital market professionals. These initiatives will be profiled through ASEAN Exchanges-driven marketing platforms within ASEAN as well as outside.
Bien Hoa-Vung Tau expressway to be constructed under BOT form
More than VND8.2 trillion will be invested to build the first stretch of an expressway connecting Bien Hoa City of Dong Nai Province and Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province.
According to Transport Engineering Design Inc. (TEDI), Bien Hoa-Vung Tau Expressway will have a total length of 46.8 km, of which 38 km will be developed in the first component of the project to link Bien Hoa City and Tan Thanh District of Ba Ria-Vung Tau. The remaining 8.8 km belongs to the second component and connects Tan Thanh and Cai Mep-Thi Vai port complex.
Build-operate-transfer (BOT) format has been chosen for the first component.
Project Management Unit 85 (PMU 85) under the Ministry of Transport has said it would complete procedures to begin work on the project in 2018.
With a maximum speed of 100 km per hour, Bien Hoa-Vung Tau expressway will help improve traffic in the southeastern region and facilitate cargo movement from HCMC, Dong Nai and Binh Duong to Cai Mep-Thi Vai port complex and vice versa.
When in place, the expressway would help reduce traffic National Highway 51, which is currently the artery between Bien Hoa and Vung Tau cities.
Business to get free tax help
The HCMC Tax Department will soon establish a division responsible for assisting newly established businesses to prepare, file and pay taxes.
Nguyen Nam Binh, vice director of the department, told the Daily that each of the communication and taxpayer support offices of 24 district tax bureaus citywide would also have such a tax help division.
Those divisions are mandated to provide timely assistance for startups and household businesses converted into companies to prepare, file and pay taxes.
The city has thousands of newly established businesses a month. The city government also encourages household businesses to upgrade themselves into companies as part of a broader scheme to boost the number of enterprises in the city to half a million by 2020.
Three more groups of items join billion-dollar export club
An additional three groups of items brought export revenue of more than US$1 billion each in the first two months of 2017, according to data of the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
They are machinery, equipment and tools; vehicles and vehicle parts; and wood and timber products.
Machinery, equipment and tools brought total export revenue of US$1.92 billion while vehicles and vehicle parts registered export sales of US$1.05 billion and the last group obtained over US$1 billion in January-February, the Vietnam News Agency reports.
January-February exports of the country rose by a staggering 15.4% year-on-year to US$27.3 billion. Of the figure, the domestic sector made up US$7.6 billion, up 12.2%, and foreign-invested enterprises accounted for US$19.7 billion (including crude oil), up 16.8% against the same period of last year.
In the year to end-February, export revenue from mobile phones and phone parts had amounted to around US$4.83 billion, a 2.6% year-on-year pickup. Textile-garment exports reached US$3.65 billion, jumping 12.2%.
According to the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association (VITAS), local enterprises have secured good export orders this year.
The period saw exports of computers, electronics and components in the first two months rising by 34.4% year-on-year to more than US$3.1 billion while export sales of footwear grew 10.7% year-on-year to around US$2 billion.
Overall, the seven sectors brought US$17.64 billion in export revenue in the two-month period, accounting for 64% of total exports.
AVC favors coconut leaf-shaped design for new airport terminal
The Airports Corporation of Vietnam (ACV) has opted for the coconut leaf-shaped design for the passenger terminal of a new international airport in the southern province of Dong Nai.
ACV, the project’s investor, has asked the Ministry of Transport to seek approval from the Prime Minister for this design for Long Thanh International Airport’s passenger terminal, VnEconomy newspaper reports.
The design is inspired by the coconut leaf, the popular image of Vietnam’s countryside and riverine culture. Inside the departure lounge, the check-in counters would look like boats in the river in rural Vietnam.
Functional facilities would be developed in a way that creates vibrant space, greenery and interior landscape.
ACV said the design is simple in structure, so it would facilitate construction work and save cost. Like other international airports, materials for the interior and exterior of the terminal should meet the requirements for durability, aesthetics and technical characteristics.
Do Tat Binh, ACV’s deputy general director, said the corporation had finished the consultation process.
The airport would require a total of more than VND336.63 trillion (US$14.76 billion) and around 5,000 hectares of land. It would affect around 4,700 households in six communes in Long Thanh District.
Around 40 kilometers from HCMC and 30 kilometers from Bien Hoa City, the airport would handle 100 million passengers and five million tons of cargo a year when it is fully in place.
FWD introduces insurance coverage with few exclusions
FWD Vietnam Life Insurance Co Ltd on March 7 introduced a minimized list of two to six exclusions across all its insurance products, becoming the first life insurer in the country to provide the widest insurance coverage.
This is the shortest exclusion list in the industry. Usually a life insurance product has 10-15 terms of exclusion, even up to 20, making many customers hesitant to buy.
Anantharaman Sridharan, general director of FWD Vietnam, said, “We are proud to be the first life insurer in Vietnam to introduce the shortest and simplest list of insurance exclusions in the market, providing even better protection at no extra cost. Applying minimum exclusions enables our customers to follow their passions and live a life to the fullest.”
Ngo Trung Dung, acting secretary general of the Insurance Association of Vietnam, said these changes in FWD’ insurance exclusions are an important milestone for Vietnam’s life insurance sector. This development will make insurance products simpler and easier to understand and more relevant to local customers.
IR 50404 rice eases off record high
The price of low-grade rice IR 50404 in the Mekong Delta has slightly declined by VND100 to VND200 a kilo after it rose to a record high last week.
Nguyen Van Tai, a rice trader in Cai Lay District, Tien Giang Province, said IR 50404 is now priced at VND4,700-4,800 a kilo, down VND200 against last week. At Ba Dac market in Cai Be District of the same province, it has edged down by VND100 to VND6,900-7,000 a kilo.
Another rice trader in Cai Lay, Nguyen Thanh Hon, said the fresh type of IR 50404 was traded at VND4,900-5,000 a kilo last week but the current price is VND200 lower than that.
Despite the fall, IR 50404 is still VND200-300 higher than in the same period last year.
The director of a major rice exporting firm in the Mekong Delta said the quotas which the Philippine food authority issued for private traders to import rice from Thailand, Pakistan and Vietnam expired late last month.
News about this expiration has affected the rice price since the contracts which Vietnamese traders won from Philippine partners provided a major price and consumption boost.
However, Philippine traders have asked their government to extend their import contracts until end-March so that they could fulfill them. Approval for this proposal is not yet forthcoming but local rice exporters are still pinning hopes on it, which is a needed price support.
Another factor that has helped prevent the Vietnamese rice price from a nosedive is the Philippines will invite tenders for supply of Vietnamese and Thai rice through a government-to-government contract (G2G).
Thailand has agreed to sell 200,000 tons of rice to China which also consumes 30-35% of Vietnam’s annual rice export volume. Therefore, rice enterprises in Vietnam can still have export opportunities elsewhere.
ACV prepares 5-year investment plan
Airports Corporation of Vietnam (ACV) has announced an investment plan for five years (2016-2020) with capital of VND31.6 trillion ($1.4 billion).
It will focus investment in airports that have high growth potential for tourism and play an important role in national security. Infrastructure will be upgraded at airports such as Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City, Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi, and Da Nang International Airport.
ACV also plans to expand aircraft aprons and hangars at Tan Son Nhat, Da Nang, Noi Bai, Lien Khuong, Buon Me Thuot, Can Tho, and Con Dao airports.
It submitted the plan to the Ministry of Transport and is waiting for approval from the government. Last year it proposed an increase to aviation service charges this year, which would mainly affect passengers of domestic flights leaving or arriving at Tan Son Nhat, Noi Bai, Cam Ranh, Phu Quoc, Vinh and Phu Bai airports. The plan, however, has not yet been approved.
The Vietnamese Government has recently granted permission to Aeroports de Paris (ADP) to buy 20 per cent of ACV and become its strategic partner. The contract is expected to be finalized shortly.
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc met Mr. Augustin de Romanet de Beaune, Chairman and CEO of ADP, last week and pledged to create favorable conditions for the strategic partnership.
ACV needs to raise capital to improve Vietnam’s airport infrastructure. It is expected to invest $16 billion in building Long Thanh International Airport in Dong Nai province over the next decade to ease overloading at Tan Son Nhat. ADP has also expressed interest in investing in the project.
ACV’s chartered capital stands at VND21.7 trillion ($951 million). It expects to list 2.1 billion shares on the Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange (HoSE) later this year.
In November last year it entered the Unlisted Public Company (UPCoM) market under the code ACV, with a total of 2.18 billion shares and a registered stock value of more than VND21.7 trillion ($976.5 million).
ACV is a joint stock company operating under the form of the parent - subsidiary company, with the State holding a majority stake. In October 2015, the government approved its equitization plan, with State ownership to fall to 75 per cent. In March this year it held its first shareholders meeting.
It is the largest enterprise by charter capital on UPCoM and manages 22 airports throughout the country, of which seven are international and 15 domestic, with 21 being directly managed by the corporation, and it also has a range of joint ventures with other companies.
Nghi Son Economic Zone to be expanded
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has approved the expansion of the Nghi Son Economic Zone (EZ) in the central province of Thanh Hoa through 2035, with a vision to 2050.
The zone will cover 106,000 hectares, encompassing the entire area of the old Nghi Son EZ, the remainder area of Tinh Gia district and several communes of Nong Cong and Nhu Thanh districts.
The expansion aims to make Nghi Son EZ a dynamic economic development area in the south of the Northern Key Economic Zone.
The Nghi Son EZ is also expected to be an attractive destination for investment and a regional transit centre, ensuring economic development and national security.
It is hoped to become a multi-sector industrial complex focusing on petrochemical refineries and basic industries as well as building deep seaports and a human resources training centre.
The main goals from now to 2025 include improving the investment environment and constructing socio-economic infrastructure to attract investors.
After 2025, the EZ will develop industry, services, trade, finance, culture and society, eco-tourism and resorts, and green urban models.
The PM called for clear assessment of the role, position, potential, and development of the EZ.
The planning scheme is built in accordance with Government Decree No/44/2015/ND-CP dated May 6, 2015 on construction planning.
The Nghi Son EZ, established in mid-2006, is about 200 kilometres to the south of the capital city of Hanoi.
It also houses the Nghi Son seaport and the Nghi Son Oil Refinery and Petrochemical Complex – the largest of its kind in Southeast Asia.
Reference exchange rate goes up 12 VND
The daily reference exchange rate for VND/USD was set at 22,258 VND per USD on March 9, up 12 VND from the day before.
With the current +/- 3 percent VND/USD trading band, the ceiling exchange rate is 22,925 VND per USD and the floor rate is 21,591 VND per USD.
The opening hour rates at commercial banks saw strong fluctuations.
Vietcombank listed its rates at 22,790 VND (buying) and 22,860 VND (selling) per USD, both up 40 VND from March 8.
BIDV raised both its rates by 25 VND, to 22,780 VND (buying) and 22,850 VND (selling) per USD.
Meanwhile, Techcombank cut both its rates by 20 VND, listing the buying rate at 22,740 VND and the selling rate at 22,840 VND per USD.
Electricity of Vietnam to gauge consumer satisfaction
The Electricity of Vietnam (EVN) Group said that it plans to sign an agreement with the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) to gauge consumer satisfaction.
The EVN said, in January 2017, it began supplying electricity used for daily life to 20,000 new customers in urban areas, 45,000 customers in rural areas and for production to over 16,000 customers.
In the two past months, the EVN’s customer care centres received and dealt with more than 252,700 requests from customers.
According to the EVN, in March, the system’s average transferred electricity output is 536 million kWh per day.
In the two months, the group’s total electricity output, including purchased power, was 26.56 billion kWh, up 7.4 percent from the same period last year, of which hydroelectricity accounted for 35.8 percent, coal-fueled thermal power 39.7 percent and gas-fueled turbines 23.3 percent.
Commercial electricity output exceeded 25 billion kWh, an increase of 8.1 percent, of which electricity for industry and construction increased by 10.6 percent, electricity for business and production rose by 6.7 percent and agriculture climbed by17.9 percent, management and consumption up 4.5 percent.
The EVN also worked with the General Department of Irrigation to release 4.67 billion cu.m of water to serve the winter-spring crop agricultural production for midland and Red River Delta provinces.
ROS, HBC, DXG Added to FTSE Vietnam Index in Q1 Review
FTSE recently announced it will add ROS, HBC and DXG to its FTSE Vietnam Index in the first quarterly review of 2017.
FTSE, a London-based provider of indexes, late on March 3 announced that it would add three tickers FLC Faros Construction (ROS), Hoa Binh Construction (HBC) and Đat Xanh Real Estate Service & Construction (DXG) to its FTSE Vietnam Index in the first quarterly review of 2017.
FTSE, in the meantime, will remove five other Vietnamese stocks namely KDC, PVT, PDR, HVG and HQC from the basket for calculation of the index.
FTSE Vietnam Index is the underlying index for db x-trackers FTSE Vietnam UCITS ETF, run by Deutsche Bank, one of the two most active foreign-run ETFs in Viet Nam.
The changes will be applied after the close of business on Friday, 17 March 2017 and will be effective on Monday, 20 March 2017, FTSE said in a statement.
Together with Hoang Huy Investment Financial Services (TCH), ROS was also added to the FTSE Vietnam All-Share Index while Hung Vương JSC (HVG) and real estate developer HQC were deleted.
According to Saigon Securities (SSI) and BIDV Securities (BSC), FTSE Vietnam UCITs ETF would buy in between 4 million and 4.7 million shares of ROS to refresh its portfolio.
US-based MSCI Inc on February 10 included ROS and brewer Sabeco (SAB) into the basket for calculation of the MSCI Frontier Markets Index.
The stock price of ROS ended down 0.6 per cent at VND167,000 (US$7.32) per share on Wednesday, up 12.15 per cent from the close on February 28.
Furnishing, handicrafts fair opens in HCM City
A wide range of indoor and outdoor furniture, handicrafts, and interior furnishing and accessories are on display at the 2017 Viet Nam International Furniture and Home Accessories Fair (VIFA-EXPO 2017) that opened in HCM City on March 8.
This year the number of exhibitors has increased by 23 per cent to 313 and the number of booths by 24 per cent to 1,532, Nguyen Quoc Khanh, chairman of the Handicraft and Wood Industry Association of HCM City (Hawa), said.
Vietnamese and overseas firms based here account for a third of the exhibitors while the rest are foreign.
The number of foreign firms has gone up by 72 per cent. They are from 14 countries and territories, including Singapore, Taiwan, the US, Australia, Canada, China, and Italy, and have brought 100 brands, he said.
To serve international visitors, expected to number 4,500, the association has turned to the HCM City Tourism Association for assistance with hotels, transport, visas, travel, and other arrangements, Khanh said.
Inaugurating the event, Bui Huy Son, head of the Viet Nam Trade Promotion Agency, said despite intense competition and trade barriers Viet Nam Nam’s wood and wood product exports last year topped US$7 billion to remain among the country’s top 10 export items.
This was made possible by enterprises improving their production capacity and design and product quality and effective support from business groups and trade promotion agencies.
The fair offers an opportunity for trade promotion by bringing local and international companies together, he said.
A seminar on technical standards for wood glue quality was held on the opening day.
Organised by the city Department of Industry and Trade, Hawa, and Hawa Corporation, the fair at the Sai Gon Exhibition and Convention Centre will go on until March 11.
Vietnamese high-quality goods fair opens in An Giang
A trade fair on Vietnamese high-quality goods organized organised by the Association of Vietnamese High-quality Goods Enterprises and the An Giang Province Trade and Investment Promotion Centre is currently underway.
The trade fair opened on the Tuesday evening of March 7 in Long Xuyen City, An Giang Province.
This fair, on until March 12, has on display high-quality goods of 150 Vietnamese enterprises at 350 pavilions, including consumer goods, electrical appliances, processed wooden products and machines for agriculture.
The organisation board also organized organised many other activities, including trade promotion activities and seminars to connect enterprises to develop special farming products in Viet Nam as well as in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta region.
An exhibition was held to present typical high-quality products produced by Vietnamese enterprises over the past 21 years to encourage further development of such products.
Delta raw shrimp prices soar
Prices of raw shrimp have been increasing rapidly in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta since early February when shrimp processors returned to work soon after Tet (Lunar New Year), according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
In major shrimp farming provinces such as Kien Giang, Ca Mau and Soc Trang, the price of thirty-pieces-per-kilo (ppk) size black tiger shrimp has risen by VND20,000 (90 US cents) per kilogramme to VND230,000-240,000.
The price of 40 ppk shrimp rose by VND10,000 to VND180,000-190,000.
White-legged shrimp prices have increased by similar levels to VND150,000-165,000 and VND140,000-150,000 for 50 and 60 ppk sizes.
The prices are expected to remain high or continue to rise until the peak harvest season three months from now.
Farmers are also preparing to begin a new brackish-water shrimp crop though activities have seen a downturn due to unpredictable weather, wide day-night temperature gaps and unseasonable rains that affect the water and cause possible shrimp disease outbreaks.
But despite all that the output of brackish-water shrimp is expected to be higher than last year.
Nearly 98 per cent of the country’s 448,000 hectares of brackish-water shrimp farms is in the delta.
Winners of furniture association annual design contest announced
Pham Quoc Trang has won the Hoa Mai Prize for furniture design in the annual contest organised by the Handicraft and Wood Industry Association of HCM City (Hanwa).
The HCM City-based freelance designer said his Oblique Collection is inspired by the texture trend.
Nguyen Hoang Nam and Nguyen Duc Huynh won the first and second runner-up prizes for their works titled Swing Armchair and Boat Desk.
The association also awards five consolation prizes to designs with the best functionality, marketability, aesthetics, creativity and uniqueness, and environment friendliness.
The winning works are on display at the four-day Viet Nam International Furniture and Home Accessories Fair that opened on March 8 at the Sai Gon Convention and Exhibition Centre.
Organised since 2002, the contest seeks to unearth new design talents for the furniture industry.
According to Hawa, many young designers who have taken part in the competition have since contributed significantly to the industry.
This year the competition attracted 251 entries from design schools, universities, furniture companies and freelance designers nationwide, and was sponsored by the American Hardwood Export Council and some Hawa member companies.
Vietnam, Australia strengthen cow-breeding cooperation
The Department of Animal Husbandry under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) jointly held an Asian exhibition and conference on beef and dairy cattle, which opened in Ho Chi Minh City on March 8.
Addressing the opening of the event, Hoang Thanh Van, head of the Department of Animal Husbandry, noted the strong growth of cattle breeding in Vietnam, with an average 7.5 percent rise in the number of dairy cows and a 3-5 percent increase in beef cattle each year.
The breeding farms have been expanded in scale, he added.
However, Van said that the sector has satisfied only 6.5 percent of total domestic demand for beef and 36 percent of milk demand, resulting in a sharp increase in imported dairy and beef cattle, mostly from Australia.
Australian Ambassador to Vietnam Graig Chittick said that Australia and Vietnam have shared long-standing cooperation in cattle breeding in such forms as provision of breeding stock, transfer of breeding techniques and expert training.
He held that the cooperation and trade in this field between Australia and Vietnam as well as other countries in Asia is a foundation for maintaining sustainable supply chains of milk and beef amidst increasingly fierce competition.
The exhibition and conference is a good chance for Vietnamese management officials, scientists, enterprises and cow breeding farmers to access new products, services and technology of Australia’s livestock breeding sector.
During the two-day event, products serving livestock breeding will be showcased, while various workshops on breeding technology will be held.
Vincom suits Platinum Cineplex
Vincom Retail Joint Stock Company (VCR) has filed a lawsuit against the M.V.P Group, owner of Platinum Cineplex, after the Indonesian entertainment conglomerate claimed that the closure of its cinemas at three Vincom trading centres early March is illegal.
Earlier, on March 8, the M.V.P Group held a press conference to address issued related to the closure of Platinum Cineplex, the biggest cinema operator by screen in Hanoi, at three Vincom malls.
The three cinemas include Platinum Royal City in Thanh Xuan District, Platinum Times City in Hai Ba Trung District and Platinum Long Biên in Gia Lam District.
At the press conference, an M.V.P representative said that VCR’s unilateral termination of the contract signed with M.V.P Group ahead of expiration date was illegal, as the group had not breached the contract.
Platinum has no outstanding debts at any of the three Vincom malls, the representative said, dismissing claims made by Vincom Retail in local media.
He said that the information supplied by VCR had serious impact on the group’s prestige.
In response to claims by the M.V.P Group, VCR general director Trần Mai Hoa said VCR had many times asked the M.V.P to voluntarily move its assets away from VCR premises as regulated in contract clause of termination. However, M.V.P has deliberately delayed moving.
Specically, on October 15, 2016, M.V.P agreed to move their assets but later asked for extension to February 4, 2017. On December 19, 2016, the group once again asked for an extension of 10 to 12 months. On December 20, 2016, it requested an extension and permission to operate over the Tết (Lunar New Year) holiday.
VCR agreed to an extension to February 24, but M.V.P has still not moved its assets. Therefore, on March 1, VCR was forced to seal the premises, in accordance with the contract. It notified M.V.P of its plans, and even agreed for M.V.P to send a representative to the premises to check its assets.
“Sealing the premises is a legal measure to recover our premises appropriated by the M.V.P when the leasing contract ended,” Hoa said. It was done and witnessed by M.V.P managers and representatives from authorities at each location.
Related to the outstanding debts, Hoa said that VCR and M.V.P had a working session to calculate the outstanding debts, and on October 14, 2016, head of the M.V.P financial department confirmed the figure.
The contract was terminated in accordance with the rights of the two parties negotiated and clearly specified in the contract, the VCR representative said.
She noted that the case is a disagreement between the two independent business partners and should therefore be resolved on the basis of law and the trade and civil agreement between the parties.
Social News 11/3
Hanoi looks to private sector to fund more public toilets this year
Hanoi plans to build 250 new public toilets this year to add to the 370 currently in use, the city’s construction department said.
The new toilets will be built based on financial sources of private sectors, according to Le Van Duc, head of Hanoi’s Department of Construction.
The capital has 371 public toilets, of which only 100 are situated along streets or at entertainment facilities while two thirds are still located in residential areas.
Most of the toilets were built in 1990 and have been going to pots for years, Duc said.
In 2012, the city’s authority intended to replace the old public restrooms with the new ones but high construction costs deterred them from doing so.
It was not until August, 2016 that a private company agreed to set up 1,000 new public toilets across the city. In exchange, it would be allowed to put up advertising billboards on footbridges and overpasses.
The lack of public toilets has resulted in public urination in the capital, which had a population of 7.6 million by the end of 2015, not to mention large numbers of migrants and foreign visitors.
Ho Chi Minh City faces the same problem with only 200 public toilets serving the needs of its 10 million residents and the 5 million foreign tourists that visit the city each year.
From February this year, the Vietnamese government has slapped a fine of US$44-133 on people peeing in public, significantly higher than the previous rate of US$9-13.
Improving labor quality for overseas workers
Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam has called for better training to improve Vietnamese workers’ foreign language and career skills to make them more qualified for working overseas.
He was speaking at a conference hosted by the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs in Hanoi on March 8 to address pending issues facing Vietnamese workers abroad.
“Market expansion for laborers requires new careers and less menial jobs while engaging more provincial contribution and training for workers. The government has planned to amend laws regulating Vietnamese workers serving abroad.”
Last year, Vietnam sent nearly 130,000 workers abroad, mostly in Chinese Taiwan, Japan and the Republic of Korea (RoK).
Electronic toll collection to be installed in central region
Electronic toll collection (ETC) will be introduced at three toll stations in the central provinces of Việt Nam from this May.
This was stated by a representative of Việt Nam Electronic Toll Collection (VETC) Company, the project’s investor.
The three stations that will install the modern technology are Phú Bài toll station in Thừa Thiên-Huế Province, Tam Kỳ station in Quảng Nam Province and Hoàng Mai station in Nghệ An Province.
Transport Minister Trương Quang Nghĩa has asked road investors and ETC service enterprises to complete signing contracts by April 30 to install ETC at all stations on highways No 1 and No 4 running through the Central Highlands region by July 1.
Earlier, on March 1, Hòa Phước toll booth on Highway No 1 in Quảng Nam Province already began operating the system. Hòa Phước toll booth is a gateway connecting to the busy central city of Đà Nẵng, with some 7,000 vehicles running through the station every day.
Bùi Ngọc Long, head of operation division of VETC Limited Company, said ETC at Hòa Phước station is available in both directions, using monthly or quarterly tickets. In mid-March, one-time tickets will be applicable.
Automobiles are installed with e-tags free of charge and connected with an online payment system via banks.
Car owners can have their e-tags stuck at the Hòa Phước station or at motor vehicle register centres of Quảng Nam Province and Đà Nẵng City.
“Automobile drivers no longer have to stop to pay fees and will be able to save time and fuel. Electronic receipts can be received on VETC’s smartphone app,” Long said.
According to transport experts, each stop for fee payment slows down a vehicle’s journey by two to three minutes and wastes fuel. ETC is estimated to help save running time, equivalent to some VNĐ2.8 trillion (US$124.5 million) per year and save fuel worth VNĐ233 billion ($10.4 million) at each station every year.
Thật grabs defeat from jaws of victory
National cyclist Nguyễn Thị Thật grabbed defeat from the jaws of victory in the first stage of the Bình Dương International Women’s Cycling Tournament, or Biwase Cup, yesterday due to celebrating her win too early, allowing her Japanese rival to overtake.
In the opening stage yesterday, 90 cyclists from 18 teams competed in the 66km race around Bình Dương City.
With strong sprinting skills, Thật of Gạo Hạt Ngọc Trời An Giang, Kajihara Yumi of Japan, Namkung Soyoung of South Korea were expected to perform well.
In first place and close to the finish line, Thật began celebrating. Taking full advantage of Thật’s mistake, Yumi passed her to win the race. The third place went to Soyoung.
Yumi currently holds the green and yellow jersey.
Today, cyclists will compete in the 115km second stage from Định Quán District in Đồng Nai Province to Bảo Lộc City in Lâm Đồng Province.
The tournament is themed Blue Sea, and organisers hope it will encourage people to protect the environment and the oceans.
Apart from prizes for stage winners, the organisers will award VNĐ30 million (US$1,300) for the overall yellow jersey winner. Cyclists who win the green, white and red jerseys, and the Miss Cycling title as well as the best team will also receive cash.
Who pays for parking fines in Vietnam? You or the café owner?
With the ‘sidewalk reclamation’ campaign continuing in District 1 and several other neighborhoods of Ho Chi Minh City, chances are that if your motorbike or car is parked outside a café or an eatery, it will be slapped with a ticket. But who will pay the fine?
It is common practice in Vietnam for customers to leave their vehicles outside a service venue, usually parked on the pavement. Some venues have attendants to look after their customers’ vehicles, but some do not.
Suppose members of the ‘sidewalk clearing’ team arrive to check the street where your motorbike is parked, while you are enjoying coffee inside. How will the law deal with this violation?
According to government decree No.46 issued in 2016, there are two kinds of administrative road traffic violations taking place, with corresponding fines.
If a customer leaves his motorbike on the pavement of his own accord, he has committed an act of “leaving motorbikes on the street or the pavement against the law,” which carries a fine of between VND100,000 (US$4.46) and VND200,000 ($8.93).
However, if a customer gives his vehicle to an attendant to look after, it is the venue owner who is deemed to be “occupying the street or the pavement to open a parking lot.”
Fines for this type of violation range from VND2 million ($89) to VND15 million ($670). If the offender is an organization, then fines increase to between VND4 million ($179) and VND30 million ($1,339).
As for cars, the violation could be for “parking on the road in nonurban areas” or “parking on the sidewalk against the law,” carrying fines from VND300,000 ($13.4) to VND400,000 ($17.8), and from VND600,000 ($26.8) to VND800,000 ($35.7), respectively.
“The first thing to do when handing out a civil fine is to identify the violator,” lawyer Tran Cong Ly Tao, from the Ho Chi Minh City Bar Association told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.
“If the illegal parking is done by the vehicle owner himself, he will be fined.
“On the other hand, if the customer has handed his motorbike to the venue owner to look after, through a ‘contract of mouth’ or a ‘parking receipt’, the latter will be held responsible.”
At some café’s or shops, security guards will normally ask customers to go inside the venue, implying that he will look after their motorbikes. In other cases, guards will give customers a sheet of paper as ‘receipt’ that he will keep an eye on their bikes.
According to lawyer Tao, it is the responsibility of the shop owner to find a legal parking space for their customers.
“If they simply leave the motorbike on the sidewalk, they should be fined and in no way should the customers be sanctioned,” he said.
Lawyer Tran Thi Mien, also from the Ho Chi Minh City Bar Association, noted that there are cases in which both the customers and the store owners are fined, which she said is incorrect.
“The principle here is that only the direct violator is fined, and one violation is fined only once,” she said, implying that one cannot fine a customer for the same violation used to determine the penalty for the shop owner.
“In this case, either the customers or shop owners can lodge a complaint and even bring law enforcement officers to court for their wrongdoings,” she said.
HCM City proposes US$44 mln tunnel to ease congestion at eastern gateway
Nearly 4,200 new cars and 9,000 new motorbikes are registered in the city every month.
Ho Chi Minh City is seeking approval from the transport ministry to construct a new tunnel at An Phu Intersection in District 2.
The tunnel, which would cost over VND1 trillion (US$44 million), is aimed to curb traffic congestion at the eastern gateway of Vietnam’s largest economic hub, according to the municipal administration.
The city is also considering an overpass above Mai Chi Tho Street to connect Long Thanh-Dau Giay Expressway and Luong Dinh Cua Street.
Details of construction phases have yet to be published.
With around 12 million people, Ho Chi Minh City is looking at various methods to solve its severe congestion, especially during rush hour.
In March, the city kicked off work on two overpasses near Tan Son Nhat International Airport to reduce traffic jams that often build up on nearby streets.
It also launched a mobile app to provide traffic updates and is now planning river bus services to alleviate pressure on its congested streets.
Statistics show that about 8.8 million motorcycles are currently running on the city's streets, not to mention private cars and bicycles. Nearly 4,200 new cars and 9,000 new motorbikes are registered in the city every month, while public transport is limited to buses.
Hoi An bus staff suspended for mistreatment of disabled passenger
A bus driver and assistant in the central province of Quang Nam’s Hoi An Town were suspended from their work for refusing to serve a disabled passenger.
The driver of bus 92B -008.69 Phan Nguyen Duy Lam was suspended for one month, while Le Xuan Tuong was given a three-month suspension without salary. They work for Hoi An transport co-operative under the province’s Department of Transport.
The case was detected after a short clip went viral on Internet, showing that the bus 92B. 008.69 on the Hoi An-Danang route declined to help a young disabled man.
The clip showed the disabled man in a wheelchair with accompanying woman refused help by the assistant and driver.
The footage, which stirred public outrage over the bus staff’s ignorance to the disabled passenger, was identified to be filmed on Le Duan Street on February 8.
Smart tech used for expressway management
Vietnam Expressway Corporation (VEC) will start operating an intelligent transport system (ITS) on March 10 to regulate traffic and ensure safety on HCMC-Long Thanh-Dau Giay Expressway.
The system consists of 16 surveillance cameras and 52 vehicle delivery service (VDS) cameras, said VEC.
The VND800 billion ITS will transmit all data and video footage to a control center in District 9, HCMC to supervise the entire expressway 24 hours, thus helping reduce traffic congestion, ensure traffic safety, and detect traffic accidents swiftly and road rule violations such as speeding and wrong lane use.
Electronic boards are installed along the two sides of the expressway to provide updates on traffic, road conditions and weather.
VEC will use a 33-lane tolling system, including eight lanes for electronic toll collection (ETC) to reduce congestion at tolling stations.
According to VEC, an average of 28,000-30,000 vehicles use HCMC-Long Thanh-Dau Giay Expressway, but on some peak days in 2016, the figure shot up to 40,000-50,000.
The 55-km HCMC-Long Thanh-Dau Giay expressway was opened to traffic on February 8, 2015.
HCMC to build tunnel at An Phu intersection
To ease traffic congestion at An Phu intersection in District 2 that leads to HCMC-Long Thanh-Dau Giay Expressway, HCMC has asked the Ministry of Transport to approve a traffic infrastructure development project for An Phu intersection, beginning with construction of a tunnel there.
The city government wrote to the Ministry of Transport on March 2 saying HCMC agencies had completed the investment plan for the intersection, including an overpass on Mai Chi Tho Street to connect HCMC-Long Thanh-Dau Giay Expressway and Luong Dinh Cua Street, and a two-way tunnel connecting the expressway and Mai Chi Tho street towards the Saigon River Tunnel.
The project is divided into two phases. In the first phase, a two-way tunnel with four lanes will be built to connect the expressway and Mai Chi Tho Street towards the Saigon River Tunnel at a total investment of an estimated VND1.04 trillion, with the construction cost alone amounting to over VND800 billion. In the second phase, all the remaining components will be completed.
The city government proposed that the Ministry of Transport approve the project’s scale as well as the two planned phases and empower HCMC authorities to evaluate and approve the first phase of the An Phu intersection project.
The city will hand over the project documents to Vietnam Expressway Corporation (VEC) to carry out the next phase by using surplus funds from the HCMC-Long Thanh-Dau Giay Expressway project.
An Phu intersection is always overcrowded with vehicles as this is the convergent point of four traffic directions.
Vehicles will then have their own lanes after the completion of the overpass and tunnel, which will basically solve traffic congestion at the intersection.
An Phu intersection is the starting point of HCMC-Long Thanh-Dau Giay Expressway and the finish point of Luong Dinh Cua Street at the junction with Mai Chi Tho Avenue, formerly East-West Highway. Since it was opened to traffic, the expressway has seen huge traffic, causing constant traffic congestion.
Cameras installed around construction sites to cope with traffic congestion
The HCMC Department of Transport has completed installing surveillance cameras around construction sites such as Truong Son intersection and Nguyen Thai Son-Nguyen Kiem roundabout to deal with traffic congestion there.
Cameras are now also available at the construction sites of Nhi Thien Duong bridge, An Suong intersection, two overpasses near Tan Son Nhat International Airport, and Go May crossroads, said Le Minh Triet, director of the Management Center of Saigon River Tunnel (MCST), which manages the city’s traffic information website.
The city now has a total of 300 traffic monitoring cameras operational round the clock. Traffic in the city can be monitored and updated on the traffic management website in real time. With an app downloaded to their mobile phones or computers, road users can plan the best route to avoid getting into a traffic snarl.
In January, the HCMC Department of Transport launched the website giaothong.hochiminhcity.gov.vn where users can find a digital map for Android and IOS devices. It provides real-time traffic updates, advice on route planning and other useful information. Users can also report traffic incidents and infrastructure problems via the website.
According to statistics of the department, the website has had more than 400,000 pageviews since its launch, with 65,000 of them by users of mobile devices.
The digital traffic map will be soon added with information about parking areas, public restrooms, hospitals and others.
Photo exhibition on Buon Me Thuot coffee and Gong Cultural Space opens
The awarding ceremony of a photo contest on Buon Me Thuot coffee and Gong Culture Space opened 2017 Buon Me Thuot Coffee Festival yesterday.
The photo titled “Duoc mua” (Bumper crop) by Vo Dinh Quyt from the central highland province of Lam Dong and “Suc song dai ngan” (Vitality of high mountain and thick forest) were granted the first prize.
This year’s event received 495 photos of 71 photographers throughout the country. It is one of the activities in 2017 Ban Me Thuot Coffee Festival and Cultural Festival Highlands Gongs that is organized in Buon Ma Thuot City in Dak Lak Province from March 8-13.
144 best photos have been displaying at Dak Lak Province’s Cultural Center as an activity of the festival.
2017 Ban Me Thuot Coffee Festival and Cultural Festival Highlands Gongs themed “Quintessence Convergence – Identity Promoting – Connecting for Development” will include activities, such as exhibition on coffee industry, seminar on development of the Vietnamese coffee, exhibition on Highlands Gongs’ history; display on agricultural products, machinery and equipment for agriculture; street festival, food fair, elephant festival, boat race, art performances and more.
Southeast Asian centre for lifelong learning launches portal
The online portal of the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organisation’s Regional Centre for Lifelong Learning (SEAMEO CELL) has been launched.
The website, www.SEA-LLLportal.org will be a forum for policy makers, researchers, scholars, teachers and other experts to discuss theories and practices related to lifelong learning in the region.
It is part of the ongoing project called ‘Towards an ASEAN Lifelong Learning Agenda’ by the SEAMEO CELL and UNESCO’s Institute for Lifelong Learning to provide assistance to SEAMEO member countries in establishing and implementing comprehensive policies about lifelong learning.
Teerakiat Jareonsettasin, the Thai Minister of Education and chairman of SEAMEO, attended the launch ceremony on Monday and visited SEAMEO’s regional training centre, which provides training in English, leadership and management.
He also met Việt Nam’s Minister of Education and Training Phùng Xuân Nhạ and discussed bilateral co-operation in education.
Contribution level to unemployment insurance fund to reduce
The Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs is collecting opinions about a draft NA resolution to reduce employers’ contribution level to unemployment insurance fund from 1 percent to 0.5 percent.
If being approved, the changed level is expected to last until December 12, 2019.
According to the Vietnam Social Insurance Agency, unemployment insurance spending topped VND5.7 trillion (US$250.3 million) and the remainder of the fund was VND56 trillion ($2.46 billion) last year. The fund is forecast to still ensure safety by 2020.
Therefore, it is necessary to cut the contribution level to facilitate businesses’ development and competitiveness improvement.
Laos’ top legislator encourages local cooperation
Lao National Assembly Chairwoman Pany Yathotou toured the Mekong Delta province of Ca Mau on March 8 as part of her official visit to Vietnam.
At a meeting with local officials, the Lao NA Chairwoman called for increased exchanges between Ca Mau and Lao localities to share experience on People’s Councils’ operation, the handling of socio-economic issues and prevention of natural disasters.
Secretary of the provincial Party Committee Duong Thanh Binh briefed the Lao guest on the local social-economic situation, particularly the growth of aquaculture as the leading economic sector.
He underlined the increasingly serious consequences of climate change as seen through frequent and unpredictable natural disasters such as drought, salt water intrusion, storm and high tides.
Host and guest discussed the operation of elected agencies, compared notes on the protection of people’s rights and interest in forest protection, and shared experience on natural disaster prevention, investment attraction and the settlement of complaints and petitions.
During her stay in Ca Mau, the Lao legislative leader visited and planted trees at the Ca Mau Cape, the southernmost point of Vietnam.
Nearly 80 percent of Thua Thien – Hue population use clean water
Nearly 80 percent of people in the central coastal province of Thua Thien – Hue have access to clean water thanks to a national target programme on clean water and environmental sanitation in 2016-2020.
The locality aims to provide clean water to 100 percent of rural people by 2020 and build clean water supply facilities at all schools and medical stations.
The Thua Thien Hue Construction and Water Supply State One Member Co., Ltd. has selected Phong Dien district, located far from the centre of Hue city, to carry out a project worth 51.5 billion VND (2.25 million USD) to provide clean water for locals.
The company plans to increase the capacity of Phong Thu factory in the district to 21,000 cubic metres per day by 2020 in the second phase of the project funded by the Asian Development Bank.
It has also invested more than 158 billion VND (6.9 million USD) to upgrade several old water supplying plants and build new ones.
The company runs 13 water production plants with combined capacity of 105,000 cubic metres per day, providing water across Thua Thien – Hue province.
Vietnam, Laos youth unions forge stronger ties
The Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union (HCYU) of Vietnam and the Lao People’s Revolutionary Youth Union (LPRYU) have agreed to jointly organise activities to celebrate the 55th anniversary of diplomatic ties and 40 years since the signing of the Vietnam-Laos Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC).
The agreement was reached during the talks between First Secretary of the HCYU Central Committee Le Quoc Phong and Secretary General of the LPRYU Central Committee Sonethanou Thammavong.
The two sides expressed delight at their fruitful cooperation in 2016 through the exchange of high-level delegations and large-scale exchange programmes. They also held seminars to share experience, along with many other programmes and activities, thus enhancing the friendship between the two countries.
Additionally, hosts and guests agreed to enhance communications and education among young people about the solidarity between Vietnam and Laos as well as ties between the youth unions.
The Vietnamese side suggested increasing the quantity, scale and quality of exchange activities between the two unions, as well as expanding training courses for Lao youth union officials at the Vietnam Academy for Youth and Adolescents.
This year, the two sides aim to improve ties among young entrepreneurs, while increasing experience sharing between officials of the two youth unions in organising youth movements as well as volunteer activities.
In 2017, the two sides will also work together to review their cooperation agreement for the 2012-2017 period and sign a similar deal for 2017-2022, with a focus on enhancing the effectiveness of their partnership and boosting the development of the friendship of the two nations.
Book collections for poor kids
Room to Read, a non-profit organization focused on girls' education and children's literacy in Asia and Africa, has had an initiative to launch a collection of picture books with colorful and cute paintings to serve children in remote areas of Vietnam for free.
One of the targets of Room to Read (RR) is to help build and develop the reading habit of elementary students. And picture books are one of the major publications by RR not for commercial purposes but serving as gifts to libraries in remote areas.
One of the differences of RR’s creations compared to other similar books is to nurture the natural development of kids’ mind by both the content and form of the books. Kids have freedom to think and imagine by their own mind, not be imposed by adults’ thoughts.
Experts who joined in the book project said that picture books are children’s must-read creations during their first years. Words and paintings have the same roles that help support each other to tell a story. Paintings even play more important roles than words.
Most of the authors who have joined RR’s projects are young writers. They have creativity and good memories about their beautiful childhood to help turn each book into an adventure for children. Making books for children must be a fate to many writers as they must know how to draw and write to attract kids’ attention.
Young artist Pham Quang Phuc considers making books for children help him relaxed in life. Phuc expects to use his stories to bring more beautiful dreams to children. Artist Huynh Kim Lien, who shared the first prize with Phung Nguyen Quang at a children book making contest in Asia in 2015, wishes to nurture the imagination and love and curiosity for children.
Writer Truong Huynh Nhu Tran said that making book for kids is a good opportunity to have a ticket back to her childhood while Vu Thi Thuy Dung, a long-term author at RR who has so far published 20 books, has silently written and created paintings for kids for years. Dung’s creations have received much love from child readers.
During the past years, RR has been passionate in improving the quality of children’s book by hosting many seminars and roundtables for painters and writers.
It’s an issue for local organizations and publishers to learn from the idea of Room to Read to make good books for kids and to earn profits and to further develop the market for children’s book in the country.
Expat suspected of alcoholic poisoning hospitalized in Hanoi
A foreigner has been admitted to a hospital in Hanoi with dimming vision suspected of methanol poisoning, Tuoi Tre Online reported on March 8.
It named the 35-year-old patient as Martin, saying he was hospitalized on March 7, a day after having his eyes checked at another hospital. The report neither identified Martin's nationality nor gave his last name.
Martin started having problems with his eyesight after drinking alcohol he bought from his street.
Doctors said dim-sightedness is one of the clear signs of being poisoned by methanol. Martin's medical examinations are pending final results.
Three other Vietnamese patients admitted to the same hospital, who had also drunken alcohol at street vendors, were diagnosed with methanol poisoning. One of them is in a coma while the other two have the same symptoms with Martin.
Vietnam is the second biggest consumer of beer and liquor in Southeast Asia after Thailand and ranks the 10th largest in Asia for alcohol consumption.
Most alcoholic beverages contain low levels of methanol, which causes no harm. High levels of methanol, however, may lead to neurotoxicity and organ failure, the Vietnam News Agency said in a report last month.
In one of the country's worst deadly alcohol poisoning cases, seven people were killed while many others were hospitalized in the mountainous province of Lai Chau last month after drinking alcohol bought from a commune on the Chinese border.
Initial tests show that the methanol content in the alcohol consumed by the victims was thousands of times higher than permitted, according to the news agency.
Northern Vietnam braces for coldest night of year so far
Northern Vietnam is forecast to suffer its coldest spell of weather so far this year on March 8, with temperatures in Hanoi expected to drop to as low as 14 degrees Celsius.
The northern and north-central regions began experiencing cold weather and rain on Monday, but the cold snap is expected to strengthen tonight, the National Center for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting said on March 8.
The latest update at 7:00 am found temperatures had dramatically dropped in several areas.
In Hanoi, the Lang Fortress, Ha Dong and Hoai Duc Districts reported readings of 15.5, 15.4 and 14.7 degrees Celsius, respectively.
In Bac Son District, Lang Son Province, temperatures dropped to as low as 12.7 degrees Celsius, and Dong Van Karst Plateau, a famous destination in Ha Giang Province, 10.1 degrees Celsius.
In the popular tourist town of Sa Pa in Lao Cai Province, the cold front sent temperatures to 9.6 degrees Celsius, and in Mau Son Mount, 7.8 degrees Celsius.
Tonight, temperatures in northwestern Vietnam are expected to average 15 to 17 degrees Celsius, 10 to 12 degrees Celsius in mountainous areas, and 8 to 9 degrees Celsius in Sa Pa.
Hanoi will experience temperatures between 14 and 16 degrees Celsius, and Mau Son, 7 to 8 degrees Celsius.
161 members selected to VWU’s central committee
Delegates at the ongoing 12th National Women’s Congress elected 161 members of Central Committee of the Vietnam Women’s Union (VWU) for the 2017-2022 tenure during their second working day on March 8.
Earlier the same day, the congress adopted a proposal that the VWU Central Committee will have 171 members.
Therefore, the remaining 10 members of the committee will be elected later.
The new Central Committee convened their first session in the afternoon the same day.
Also on March 8, participants contributed ideas for the congress’s documents, including a draft political report and the union’s charter.
Delegates continued to present their reports and recommendations on women’s affairs, women’s movements and the union’s operation.
Many solutions were proposed to promote the role, potential and creativity of all-level women’s unions in national construction, defence and development.
The congress is slated to conclude on March 9.
National Women’s Congress talks improving vocational training
The 12th National Women’s Congress discussed improving the efficiency of vocational training for women and protecting interests of female workers during its second session in Hanoi on March 8.
According to the General Statistics Office’s employment survey for the third quarter last year, there were 53.27 million paid workers nationwide, 25.8 million of them were women, accounting for 48.48 percent, said Deputy Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Nguyen Trong Dam.
He stressed that job generation for women is one of the priorities of the Government during recent years.
The National Fund for Job Assistance, which provides credit for job generation, helped create employment for around 105,000 workers in 2016, about 60 percent of them were women.
The fund also earmarked 62 billion VND (2.69 million USD) last year to offer job assistance to over 1,000 members of the Vietnam Women’s Union (VWU).
Since 2011, Vietnam has sent 80,000-100,000 workers abroad for contracted jobs each year, 35-40 percent of them are women.
Deputy Minister Dam said renewing management on vocational education is one of the two breakthrough measures proposed by the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, which will focus on issuing legal documents guiding the implementation of the Law on Vocational Education, technical standards on the operation and management of vocational education system and improving the capacity of State management agencies in the field.
Additionally, the ministry will improve the efficiency of vocation training in tandem with job creation by rallying public resources, including businesses, to offer training to workers, especially adult women in rural areas. At the same time, it will also diversify job transaction activities by regularly holding mobile job fairs in rural areas, thus increasing women’s access to job opportunities.
Trinh Thanh Hang from the Vietnam General Confederation of Labour (VGCL) said protecting the legitimate rights and interests of women is the responsibility of the confederation and the VWU.
The VGCL has adopted a Resolution on the mobilisation of female workers and an action programme on gender equality with specific goals, she said, adding that the VGCL and the VWU are active in reviewing and offering recommendations on amendments and supplements to legal documents regarding female officials, cadres and workers.
In the near future, both organisations will continue to well perform its role as advisors in terms of law building and enforcement involving female workers, gender equality, women’s advancement, population, reproductive health, family and children.
The VGCL will continue listening to female workers’ aspirations, holding dialogues with employers, and proposing relevant laws and policies.
Women’s role promoted in new rural area development
The 12th Congress of Vietnamese Women continued its 2nd day in Hanoi on March 8 with a focus on discussing the role played by women in the building of new rural areas through movements of the Vietnam Women’s Union.
Dang Thi Hong Nga from the Phu Yen provincial Women’s Union said local members have contributed to the development of road networks and welfare facilities.
“Local women have responded positively to the movement of building new rural areas. They have registered since the beginning of the year with local government what contribution they could make, especially in environmental protection, land offer for road building and other public works," she said.
The Congress also discussed ways to improve the efficiency of vocational training and protect the rights of female workers. Women’s employment has been of the top concerns of Vietnam.
By November 2016, the total capital for employment fund reached US$217 million, helping to generate about 60,000 jobs each year for women. In addition, since 2011 Vietnam has sent from 80,000 to 100,000 people to work abroad each year, of which women account for 40%.
Deputy Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Nguyen Trong Dam said renewing management on vocational education is one of the two breakthrough measures proposed by the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, which will focus on issuing legal documents guiding the implementation of the Law on Vocational Education, technical standards on the operation and management of vocational education system and improving the capacity of State management agencies in the field.
In addition, the ministry will improve the efficiency of vocation training in tandem with job creation by rallying public resources, including businesses, to offer training to workers, especially adult women in rural areas. At the same time, it will also diversify job transaction activities by regularly holding mobile job fairs in rural areas, thus increasing women’s access to job opportunities.
Trinh Thanh Hang from the Vietnam General Confederation of Labour (VGCL) said protecting the legitimate rights and interests of women is the responsibility of the confederation and the Union.
The VGCL has adopted a Resolution on the mobilisation of female workers and an action programme on gender equality with specific goals, she said, adding that the VGCL and the Union are active in reviewing and offering recommendations on amendments and supplements to legal documents regarding female officials, cadres and workers.
In the near future, both organisations will continue to well perform its role as advisors in terms of law building and enforcement involving female workers, gender equality, women’s advancement, population, reproductive health, family and children.
The 12th Congress of Vietnamese Women elected 161 members to Executive Committee of the 12th Vietnam Women’s Union for the next 5 years term. The congress will close on March 9.
Gyalwang Drukpa to gift Vietnam giant Guanyin embroidery
A giant embroidery of Guanyin, the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy, will be the special gift prepared by the Gyalwang Drukpa for his visit to the country next week.
The 12th incarnation of the Gyalwang Drukpa, an honorific title for the head of the millennium-old Drukpa Lineage school of Tibetan Buddhism, will pay a visit to Vietnam next week, announced Vietnam’s Drukpa center at a press conference in Hanoi on March 7.
He has been to Vietnam many times before.
This time, the Gyalwang Drukpa will be staying in the country from March 14 to April 2, during which he will hold religious ceremonies to pray for peace in Vietnam’s and the happiness of its people.
He will lead a delegation of 100 Drukpa monks in an Indian Buddhist festival held at Truc Lam Tay Thien Zen Monastery in northern Vinh Phuc Province, as well as oversee the opening of a local festival honoring the Buddhist Goddess Guanyin.
During his visit, the religious leader will gift Vietnam an 11.7-by-16-meter embroidery of ‘Guanyin with 1,000 Arms and 1,000 Eyes’, the largest ever seen in Vietnam, according to VietKings, an organization specializing in certifying national records.
Guanyin, or Quan The Am in Vietnamese, whose name literally means “[The One Who] Perceives the Sounds of the World”, is an East Asian Buddhist divinity associated with compassion.
According to Dang Tung Lam, a representative from Drukpa Vietnam, the masterpiece is impressive not only in its size but also in the tremendous efforts and delicacy put into the embroidery by 40 Bhutanese artisans who worked under close supervision of senior Drukpa monks.
The embroidery will be displayed publicly at the big temple of Tay Thien in Vinh Phuc Province starting March 16.
Vietnam pushes for fresh bilateral trade deal with US
The remaining 11 members of the Trans Pacific Partnership aim to reach agreement on whether to move ahead with the trade pact without the US when they meet on March 14-15 in Chile.
ACV picks coconut leaf design for Long Thanh International Airport
Of the three passenger terminal design plans submitted to the Prime Minister, Airport Corporation of Viet Nam (ACV) showed its preference for Plan LT-07, the architectural plan for Long Thanh International Airport inspired by the coconut leaf image.
At the beginning of March 2017, ACV proposed government to pick plan LT-07 highlighting coconut leaf design for the passenger terminal of Long Thanh International Airport in Dong Nai.
Plan LT-07 will be applied to the construction of the roof. It demonstrates characteristics of local culture and the space inside the station was designed as a boat travelling in a rural river in Vietnam. The project also features modern architecture harmoniously combined with green zones and the furniture to break the usual monotony.
According to ACV’s leaders, construction as per plan LT-07 would be simple and economical. The furniture inside and outside the terminal catches up with the trends of other airports in the world.
In 2016, ACV held a contest for the design of Long Thanh International Airport’s terminal. The contest attracted nine architectural plans from many countries. Of all nine architectural plans in the contest, the Ministry of Transport has discussed and chosen plans LT-03, LT-04, and LT-07 to submit to the government. These are the three most voted for options during the consultation period by citizens, professional associations, and specialised organizations.
Besides the plan LT-07 that was preferred by ACV, the other two designs were also worth considering. Plan LT-03 was inspired by a stylized lotus, and plan LT-04 uses all bamboo material in the public spaces of the airport. All has their own advantages and demonstrate specified local cultures in Vietnam.
Long Thanh International Airport will be constructed in Long Thanh District (Dong Nai). The construction comprises of three phases, the first one will begin in 2019, and each phase costs nearly VND165 trillion (over $7 trillion). The 5000-hectare project is expected to become a big and important international gateway to Vietnam and even Southeast Asia in the future.
By Trang Vu, VIR
When will Vietnamese entrepreneurs go global?
It will take another five to 15 years for Vietnamese entrepreneurs can become global business leaders, according to a study by the Human Capital Leadership Institute.
Vietnamese and foreign executives chat on the sidelines of a panel discussion on business leadership in HCM City last week.
The study, “Leadership Mosaics across Asia,” sought to discover the different ways of leadership in Asia based on the in-depth conversational interviews with 165 top executives in nine countries -- China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Viet Nam.
It found that while Viet Nam’s business leaders are able and adept at dealing with situations of volatility, their general lack of exposure to other cultures and approaches hampers their potential for global leadership.
Speaking at a panel discussion in HCM City last week, Su-Yen Wong, HCLI’ s CEO, said there are four very important factors in assessing the readiness of emerging Vietnamese leaders to become global leaders.
The first is being able to deal with complexity because regional and global roles are much more complex and ambiguous.
The second factor is the ability to build relationships across external and internal organisational boundaries.
The third factor is the ability to adapt.
“When you take on a regional or global role, regardless of where you are, you need to work with different types of people, with different styles, different assumptions, and different histories; so you need to be able to adapt cross-culturally.”
The fourth factor in becoming a regional and global leader is the personal aspiration to move across borders.
Talking of the advantages Vietnamese business leaders possess, she said: “One of the aspects that Vietnamese leaders do very well based on our research is the ability to drive complexity. This is something that Vietnamese leaders should focus on leveraging as they go into other markets to expand their businesses.”
Tieu Yen Trinh, CEO of Talentnet, said there has been a good evolution of high-level human resources in the past five years, with an increase in the number of Vietnamese taking up high positions in large foreign companies in Việt Nam.
But Vietnamese need some more time to accumulate experience to take on regional and global roles, she said.
To become global business leaders, the first step is recognising the importance of being global, having global experience and developing a global mindset, Su-Yen said.
The second is being open to various kinds of experiences, which could be relocation or working on regional projects, and this can help learn how to become adaptable, she said.
Pham Hong Hai, CEO of HSBC Vietnam, saying leaders need to be positive and persistent with their vision and purpose, called on Vietnamese to connect and support each other to go global.
Attendees said as Viet Nam continues to integrate globally, it is imperative that its senior business leaders prioritise corporate governance, professional management, employee up-skilling and scaling up their business effectively.
Praneeth Yendamuri, managing director of Kimberly-Clark Vietnam and Indochina, said while it may be some time before Vietnamese global leaders emerge and achieve critical mass, senior executives should focus on leadership development and take accountability for building the next level of leaders.
Trinh said Vietnamese are very talented, intelligent, hardworking and willing to learn.
Young Vietnamese leaders should strengthen their regional and global networks and visit other countries to be more confident about connecting with the world, she said.
Japanese investors still looking for Vietnamese manufacturers
Japanese investors attach high importance to expanding their investments in Vietnam. However, the localization ratio of their products remains modest, at 34 percent, much lower than that in other regional countries.
Japan is among the top foreign direct investors in Vietnam, with 70 percent of Japanese enterprises planning to expand investments here.
However, they have faced problems in doing this, partially because of the weak local supporting industries.
Atsusuke Kawada, JETRO’s Chief Representative in Vietnam, said at the opening ceremony of the 2017 Japan Parts & Processing Exhibition that 70 percent of Japanese enterprises are meeting difficulties in looking for local part and accessory suppliers.
“Though the locally made content ratio has increased to 34 percent, product localization remains a big problem for Japanese enterprises in the manufacturing sector,” he said.
JETRO supported 20 Japanese enterprises to attend the exhibition as buyers. This was the first time JETRO used a pre-matching system which allows enterprises to connect and exchange in a more effective way.
According to the organization, the localization ratio in 2016 represented a slight increase compared with 2015’s ratio of 32.1 percent.
The figure in Vietnam is higher than in the Philippines (31.6 percent), but much lower than China (67.8 percent), Thailand (57.1 percent), Indonesia (40.5 percent) and Malaysia (36.6 percent).
Japanese enterprises want to find Vietnamese parts suppliers so as to reduce the production costs and increase competitiveness. However, the local supporting industries remain weak after many years of development.
A representative of Honda Vietnam told the press at an exhibition that 90 percent of Honda motorbike parts are made in Vietnam, while the localization ratio in car products remains very low, just 16 percent.
He said Honda Vietnam wants to find more domestic suppliers, but Vietnamese companies still cannot satisfy the requirements. “They still cannot satisfy the general standards of the automobile industry,” he said.
Nguyen Ngoc Thieu from RICOH Imaging Vietnam said the company uses 100 suppliers, and only 25 are from Vietnam. But none of the Vietnamese companies can supply components and spare parts.
“Only a few of them can provide plastic bags and porous boxes. In the past, some Vietnamese companies could make cardboard packaging, but they cannot maintain the quality of products in both size and cleanliness. Therefore, we have to buy products from Japanese enterprises,” he said.
“Some Vietnamese enterprises want big orders, though they are not large-scale enterprises. Therefore, they lost customers,” he said.
Developing supporting industries is a big goal for Vietnam. It plans to raise the locally made content ratio from less than 50 percent to 65 percent in textiles & garments, from 40-45 percent to 75-80 percent for footwear and satisfy 60 percent of demand for input materials for domestic industries.
Chi Mai, VNN
Lam Dong Aluminium-Bauxite complex posts trillions in losses
Vietnam requests Australia roll back ban on shrimp imports
The Vietnam government contends the ban by the Australian Department of Agriculture on raw imports is ‘causing serious damage’ to the country’s shrimp farmers and exporters, and has requested it be reversed.
Australian Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce announced a six-month suspension on the import of raw shrimp this past January, following an outbreak of white spot disease in the northeast state of Queensland.
Vietnam Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade, Tran Quoc Khanh, has now asserted the ban has damaged the country's shrimp farming industry that on average exports roughly US$55 million worth of raw product to Australia annually.
Over $486 million from State budget used on state-owned cars
Some 34,214 State-owned cars cost the State budget more than 486 million USD per year, according to Tran Duc Thang, Director of the Department of Public Asset Management under the Ministry of Finance.
At a news conference on revising policies on State-owned cars held in Hanoi on March 8, Thang said the cost of running a car, including hiring chauffeurs, maintenance and repair, is about 320 million VND (14,400 USD) per year.
In 2016 the MoF sold 1,105 redundant cars for an average price of 46.2 million VND (2,070 USD) per vehicle.
Assessing the implementation of Decision 32/2015/QD-TTg on State-owned cars, Thang said the existing State-owned car management policy had positive points like determining the number of cars allowed by each agency, organisation and unit, and the number of redundant cars to adjust the use of State-owned cars.
The policy also helps reduce the number of jointly-used vehicles, sell redundant cars or transfer them to agencies in need.
However, the decision implementation faces problems like the increase of individual-use cars and lack of regulations on commuting allowances for some positions.
The MoF created a plan to allocate commuting allowances to some positions and to reduce the number of State-owned cars from 30 to 50 percent in ministries, sectors and localities, except for those operating in sea and islands as well as mountainous and extremely disadvantaged areas.
According to a draft decision replacing Decision 32/2015/QD-TTg, the MoF put a price cap on buying State-owned cars. A car for the head of a government agency has the maximum price of 1.1 billion VND (49,000 USD), a car for deputy ministers not more than 920 million VND (41,000 USD) and a jointly-used car no more than 720 million VND (32,300 USD).
The decision also proposes solutions of commuting allowances, including a one-time allocation of 6.5 million VND (291 USD) per month or 16,000 VND per kilometer (0.72 USD).
The MoF plans to submit the policy on commuting allowances to the Prime Minister for approval in the second quarter of this year.
Vietnamese addicts start using drugs as young as 12: survey
Two young men use meth at a rented house in Ho Chi Minh City.
The average age for young people in three of Vietnam’s biggest cities, Hanoi, Hai Phong and Ho Chi Minh City, to begin using drugs ranges from 16.4 to 17.3 years old, the Center of Supporting Community and Development Initiatives (SCDI) said at a meeting in Hanoi on March 10, citing its own study.
Some users, like Hanoi-based T.T.A., 19, began to be on drugs when he was only 12 years old.
“A. said he had been using drugs for six years when we first met him,” Nguyen Thuy Linh, an SCDI official, said.
“He knows clearly that his health is bad, but he has never been able to access any service that helps reduce the detrimental effects of addiction.”
The survey, polling 580 young men aged between 16 and 24, was the first-ever large-scale study to be conducted on those young Vietnamese who use heroin, marijuana, methamphetamine and ecstasy, according to the center.
It was conducted between December 2016 and February 2017.
Using drugs, most of these young people have a tendency to engage in group sex, which is associated with a high risk of HIV infection.
What is more worrisome is more and more young people are using methamphetamine, or crystal meth, in the false belief that this substance does not cause addiction.
Nearly 40 percent of the respondents admitted to using meth, according to SCDI director Khuat Thi Hai Oanh.
“In one locality, 17 percent of the respondents said they use crystal meth on a frequent basis, and in Ho Chi Minh City, nearly eight percent confessed they resort to it a few times a day,” Oanh added.
The young are increasingly reliant on crystal meth, the SCDI director said, adding that “34 percent of the junkies in Ho Chi Minh City said they always enjoy the drug alone” and up to 8.5 percent of the crystal meth users tend to have group sex.
The survey also found 22 percent of the drug users surveyed in Ho Chi Minh City to be involved in homosexual interactions and more than 50 percent to have at least two sexual partners. In both groups, most drug users do not use condoms during intercourse.
In Ho Chi Minh City, the ratio of young people aged from 16 to 24 to be infected with HIV for using drugs is as high as 12 percent, according to the survey. On the overall scale, 6.3 percent of the 580 respondents are living with HIV.
Speaking at the Hanoi meeting, Bui Duc Thiem, deputy head of the anti-drug police unit, said crystal meth users have been getting increasingly younger in the last few years, with some starting to take the drug at the age of 15 or 16.
“Most of those users hold a misconception that using crystal meth is cool and that it is not an addictive drug,” Thiem said.
Oanh noted that most of the young drug users in her survey have yet to become much reliant on drugs so they can still be “saved.”
“Most of them are from unhappy families and have problems growing up, so we have to start from their families to be able to ‘save’ them,” Oanh said.
Delta takes urgent steps to prevent drought
Last year’s drought devastated crops and caused serious losses for farmers in the Mekong Delta. This year, authorities are restructuring crops, building dykes and erecting sluices in anticipation of continuing weather disasters.
The official attitude of provincial authorities in the Mekong Delta region this year could be deemed “forewarned is forearmed”.
Authorities are determined to prevent a recurrence of the disaster that struck last year after the worst drought in 90 years, along with serious saline intrusion, affected the entire region.
This year, the Delta is storing as much fresh water as possible. Dykes have been upgraded, sluices erected, and crops restructured. Master plans on climate-change adaptation are being reviewed and adjusted.
Predictions are that saline intrusion will be at a higher level this year in comparison with previous years. But it will be lower and less serious than last year, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Irrigation General Department.
Salty water is already beginning to enter the Delta and will increase by early March.
Kiên Giang Province in the southwestern area of the Delta has taken precautionary measures by investing more than VNĐ40 billion (US$1.8 million) to upgrade 276 dykes and build sluices on the Kiên River and Cụt Canal.
Another VNĐ20 billion ($900,000) has been spent on drilling more wells to ensure fresh water for domestic use.
The province has also worked closely with the neighbouring province of An Giang on “a proper plan to use water resources”, according to Nguyễn Văn Tâm, the director of Kiên Giang’s Agriculture and Rural Development Department.
Authorities have made careful plans for the winter-autumn crop, based on the availability of water resources in different localities.
In Bạc Liêu Province, hot weather and salinity have been occurring since early February.
The province, working with the neighbouring provinces of Cà Mau and Sóc Trăng, is now operating 100 major sluices to adjust the usage level of fresh water.
More than 40 temporary dykes have been built, and farmers have been warned to preserve fresh water.
In an attempt to prevent saline intrustion and preserve soil quality, the entire region has also reduced the number of rice crops planted from three to two each year. The extra time will be used for vegetable cultivation.
Tiền Giang in the coastal region, for example, has already shifted 2,500 hectares of land to vegetable cultivation.
Opinions about a master plan for the Delta to cope with climate change vary among experts, but all agree that it must be adjusted and completed as soon as possible.
Dr Tăng Đức Thắng of the Southern Institute of Water Resource Research said: “The Delta needs a long-term master plan to cope with drought and salinity, as it is one of several places in the world that will suffer the most from climate change.”
This year, the amount of fresh water in the Mekong River is estimated to be 15-35 per cent lower in comparison with previous years, according to a report from the General Department of Irrigation.
“Water-related development in the Mekong upstream has already affected agricultural production and daily life, and it will have a more serious impact in the future,” Thắng said.
“The government should give priority to investing in salinity-control sluices along the Tiền and Hậu rivers and modernising irrigation by using automatic measurements and connecting independent irrigation systems to a larger system,” he added.
To cope with changes in weather, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has made a 2016-20 action plan, which links agricultural production and rural development in the Mekong Delta.
Under the plan, rice is now mainly cultivated in the Đồng Tháp Mười (Plain of Reeds) sub-region, which includes the provinces of Long An, Đồng Tháp and Tiền Giang.
Coconuts and pomelos are grown in a sub-region traversed by the Tiền and Hậu rivers in the provinces of Tiền Giang, Vĩnh Long, Trà Vinh and Bến Tre. And shrimp are farmed mostly in the sub-region of the Cà Mau peninsula, which includes Sóc Trăng, Cà Mau, Bạc Liêu and Kiên Giang provinces.
As part of the plan, rice and catfish are now the major products in the sub-region of Long Xuyên, which includes the provinces of Hậu Giang, An Giang, Cần Thơ and Kiên Giang.
Trần Công Thắng, deputy head of the Institute of Policy and Strategy for Agriculture and Rural Development, said that while the government had taken action to cope with climate change, more solutions were needed.
“Việt Nam has built more irrigation dykes and sluices, enhanced measurements and warnings, provided more financial and technical support, changed timetables for crop farming, shifted farm lland from rice to vegetables, and planted new rice seeds resilient to drought and salinity,” he said.
“But all of these measures have limitations and we still lack long-term, sustainable solutions for the region,” he added.
However, Dr Andrew Wyatt, the Mekong Delta programme manager at the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Việt Nam, told Việt Nam News that the Mekong Delta Plan had already covered many of the most pressing issues.
The plan was created in 2013 by Việt Nam and the Netherlands under a Strategic Partnership Arrangement on Climate-Change Adaptation and Water Management.
“The Mekong Delta Plan has carefully noted all of the climate-change impacts that would affect the region over the long term, and all suggestions have been properly given under the 100-year plan,” Wyatt said.
The master plan is currently being reviewed and adjustments will be made, according to Wyatt.
Salinity: friend or foe?
“I think Vietnamese authorities and local communities should change their views and consider salinity as an opportunity to develop in a new way,” Wyatt said, adding that agricultural practices could be shifted to take advantage of saline conditions.
Before Việt Nam’s reunification in 1975, the Mekong Delta region had no dyke systems to keep fresh water.
“In the past, farmers knew how to cope with salinity, but now, after a long time of being protected, they don’t know how to deal with it,” he added.
Wyatt said that warnings about serious drought and salinity from local authorities to local farmers had been ignored last year.
“Local authorities should provide farmers with useful software that will help them prepare for climate change,” he said.
Over the years, the extensive irrigation system in the delta helped Việt Nam become one of the biggest rice exporters in the world. However, changes to that system have occurred.
“In many places, like the southernmost province of Cà Mau, local farmers destroyed irrigation systems and dykes so they could pump salt water into their shrimp farms," he said. "So now, it’s time to carefully review agricultural production in the region in the context of climate change."
Wyatt also pointed out that in the past, only land in the middle of the Delta region could grow fruit because it was not threatened by flooding or saline intrusion at that time.
“Now, fruit-growing areas have expanded and salinity could affect orchards because fruit needs several years to grow,” he said.
Mangrove-shrimp farming model
One climate-adaptation project, a new integrated mangrove-shrimp farming model, has been highly successful in the coastal region of the Delta.
Introduced in Cà Mau, it has helped farmers earn more income, while preserving mangrove swamps that aquaculture often destroys.
Many shrimp farmers in the past, for example, cut down mangroves to build ponds for shrimp, which thrive in salty water. This caused coastal erosion and increased saline intrusion in inland farming areas.
The mangrove-shrimp project, organised by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and the Netherlands Development Organisation, was first set up in Cà Mau Province’s Nhưng Mien Protective Forest with 1,075 households.
The project goal is to help local shrimp farmers become more profitable by combining farms with protected mangrove forests, thus increasing profitability and sustainability while also enhancing coastal resilience to climate change.
Although shrimp farming is one of Việt Nam’s leading export-related activities, it is also the leading cause of mangrove loss in a country with a long, densely populated coastline vulnerable to tropical storms and rising sea levels.
The sustainability of the shrimp farming business and the conservation of mangroves are both national priorities.
The mangrove-shrimp project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety.
It focuses on a group of around 2,700 farmers who use an integrated model of farming shrimp in mangrove forests in which each household has to earmark 60 per cent of the land for mangroves.
While farmers may have significantly lower yields per hectare than intensive shrimp farms, the integrated model results in a highly diverse output, lower costs and much lower risk of crop failure.
Not only is this model resilient to disease, but it is also stable and profitable, with incomes significantly higher than from traditional farming.
Households receive training that allows them to acquire certification in raising shrimp without industrial food or chemicals. Farmers also learn how to manage household waste and protect forests.
“With the model, local residents can earn a sustainable living while mangroves are preserved and protect the coast,” Wyatt said.
Underground water is also protected as the mangroves reduce water evaporation.
“If you can protect underground water, you can help stop ground depression, and right now, the Mekong Delta is expected to sink around 10 millimetres each year because of excessive use of underground water,” Wyatt said.
By Phạm Hoàng Nam,Viet Nam News
Canada trade mission highlights need for food safety in Vietnam
Lawrence MacAulay, minister of the Canadian Agriculture and Agri-Food agency, recently concluded a 2-week trade mission he led to Vietnam and India aimed at strengthening and expanding trade relationships in the Asia-Pacific region.
During the mission, MacAulay met with his Vietnamese and Indian counterparts as well as industry representatives to discuss topics of common interest, expand new opportunities in key Asian markets, and strengthen overall bilateral, trilateral and multilateral ties.
Hospitality segment on the rise in Da Nang
Da Nang holds substantial potential for real estate investment with major opportunities available in the hospitality segment, according to the latest report from real estate consultants Savills.
Da Nang City
Hotel supply in the fourth quarter of 2016 was approximately 9,030 rooms following the entry of four three- to four-star hotels, an increase of 5 per cent quarter-on-quarter and 19 per cent year-on-year.
Room tariffs in all segments increased, by 18 per cent year-on-year, and average revenue rose 26 per cent.
Nine four- to five-star hotels supplying approximately 2,200 rooms will come this year.
Condotel stock in the fourth quarter of 2016, meanwhile, was approximately 3,910 units from ten projects, of which 1,325 were primary supply.
Son Tra district had the most, with 50 per cent, followed by Ngu Hanh Son district with 44 per cent.
Total apartment stock was 3,495 units from 15 projects, of which 520 are primary supply. Ngu Hanh Son district had the most, with 30 per cent, followed by Son Tra, Hai Chau and Thanh Khe districts.
Savills said that guaranteed returns are offered in many condotel projects’ pre-sales programs.
APEC 2017, being held later in the year in the central city, will likely increase condotel performance and spur a rash of investments.
The report also noted that Da Nang continues to establish itself as a competitive coastal location for both domestic and international tourists.
It welcomed 5.51 million visitors last year, up 18 per cent year-on-year, according to the Da Nang Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism.
International arrivals were 1.66 million, an increase of 31.6 per cent, with 3.84 million domestic tourists also visiting the city, up 12.5 per cent. Total tourism revenue was estimated at VND16 trillion ($727.2 million), up 24.7 per cent.
Da Nang aims to make tourism a leading economy sector from 2016 to 2020, Mr. Tran Chi Cuong, Deputy Director of the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism told the “2016 Da Nang Spring Tourism Forum”.
It has set a target of welcoming 8 million tourists annually by 2020, including 2 million foreign visitors, and earning VND27.4 trillion ($1.23 billion) in revenue.
VN Economic Times
Foreign investors contribute more capital to businesses
As the state’s divestment plan continues, more foreign companies are pouring capital into Vietnamese businesses.
The latest report of the Foreign Investment Agency (FIA) showed that from the beginning of the year to February 20, Vietnam granted investment certificates to 313 foreign invested projects with total registered capital of $2 billion, an increase of 6.5 percent over the same period last year.
These included 137 projects which plan to expand the additional registered capital of $759.5 million.
Foreign investors made 654 deals in contributing capital to businesses and buying shares of Vietnam businesses with total value of $619 million, a four time increase compared with the same period in 2016.
As such, the total foreign investment capital flowing to Vietnam from the beginning of the year to February 20 was $3.4 billion, an increase of 21.5 percent against the same period.
Though registered capital increased sharply, the disbursed capital was 1.55 billion only, a slight increase of 3.3 percent over the same period last year.
Foreign investors usually register projects in the first months of year, thus increasing registered capital, while disbursement is now in the low season (just before and after Tet).
As usual, processing and manufacturing continue attracting attention from foreign investors with registered capital of $2.5 billion, accounting for 73.4 percent of total registered capital.
Real estate is the second most attractive sector with $345.5 million worth of capital registered, followed by retail & wholesale with $222.6 million.
Singapore is the biggest foreign investor registering $881.6 million in investment capital (25.8 percent), followed by China ($721.7 million) and South Korea ($637.1 million).
FIA for the first time released figures about the foreign investment via capital contribution and share purchase in August 2016 (in the past, it only released statistics about foreign direct investment FDI).
Analysts have commented that since the 2014 Investment Law took effect on July 1, 2015, foreign investors have poured more money into capital contribution and share purchase deals.
This is because under Vietnamese laws, they don’t have to make investment registration when contributing capital or buying shares of Vietnam businesses, which they have to do with FDI.
Therefore, they choose this investment mode to avoid wasting time and quickly access the Vietnamese market.
From July 1, 2015 to July 20, 2016, more than 3,000 foreign invested institutions spent $2.9 billion to contribute capital and buy shares in Vietnamese businesses.
Tran Thuy, VNN
HCM City to have Vietnam’s largest square
With an area of over 20ha, Thu Thiem Central Square in the Thu Thiem New Urban Area in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 2 is planned to be the largest public space in Vietnam.
The city authorities have basically approved the main contents in the scale-1/500 detailed plan for the central square and a waterfront park at the Thu Thiem Urban Area by Dai Quang Minh Real Estate Investment JSC.
Accordingly, Thu Thiem Central Square and the riverbank park will cover an area of over 27 hectares on Thu Thiem Peninsula, divided into separate areas for political and cultural activities, as well as daily events.
The square is capable of accommodating 268,000 people during political festivals and 500,000 for cultural events.
In addition, there will be an underground parking lot that can hold nearly 2,700 cars at the same time.
As part of the project, construction for two pedestrian bridges over the Saigon River linking Thu Thiem Square with the Bach Dang wharf area in District 1 will be kicked off.
The waterfront park will feature a 1,000 m2 tourist ferry terminal representing the 100-year-old Thu Thiem ferry, which stopped operating after the opening of Thu Thiem Tunnel (located under the Sai Gon River) in late 2011.
The total investment for the project is set at nearly VND2 trillion (US$87.7 million), according to a study by French consulting firm Deso Defrain Souquet Associates.
A conception of Thu Thiem Central Square.
Thu Thiem Square with transport routes designed in a trapezoid system. (Credit: deso-architecture.com)
Location of the square and a park on Thu Thiem Peninsula. (Credit: deso-architecture.com)
A child is sexually abused every eight hours in Vietnam
Recent statistics have revealed that over 1,000 children across Vietnam are sexually abused on a yearly basis, meaning that one child falls victim every eight hours.
Ho Chi Minh City Association for Child Rights Protection officials talk with local reporters about the alleged molestation of seven-year-old N.T.P.N. in Thu Duc District on March 13, 2017.
The Gender Based Violence Prevention Network (GBVNet), a network of 15 organizations working on gender and gender-based violence in Vietnam, released an announcement on Monday to voice their concerns over the alarming increase of child abuse cases in the country.
Over 1,000 children in Vietnam become victims every year, or one child every eight hours, the GBVNet said, quoting statistics of the Ministry of Public Security.
According to Nguyen Van Anh, director of the Center for Studies and Applied Sciences in Gender, Family, Women, and Adolescents (CSAGA), many cases of child abuse have not been investigated properly, meaning the culprits have not been sternly punished.
In these scenarios, authorities require proof of any violation, and evidence of molestation is difficult to obtain, Anh said.
Meanwhile, the credibility of statements from young victims is often questioned, resulting in many inconclusive cases.
Dang Hoa Nam, head of the Department of Child Care and Protection under the Ministry of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs, backed the opinion by saying that regulations have not been laid out to aid the investigation of child abuse crimes.
Nam listed the ongoing case in the southern province of Bia Ria-Vung Tau, in which an accusation against a 76-year-old man harassing seven children is yet to be clarified after over six months.
State President Tran Dai Quang has had to give orders personally to expedite the investigation.
According to Nam, child abuse has become more serious in Vietnam and also more complicated as many offenses are committed by the victims’ relatives, step dads, or even birth fathers.
“These cases are just the tip of the iceberg,” the official warned.
On full alert
Le Minh Tan, director of the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs, said that people must be on full alert.
In 2016, nearly 100 children in the southern city were molested, of whom 24 were raped, Tan revealed, adding that young victims are traumatized by the events.
It is necessary to raise awareness for parents and equip children with sufficient knowledge so that they can defend themselves against strangers, the official continued.
Several hotlines have also been established for local citizens to report cases of child abuse to the relevant authorities.
Cases to be brought to light
On Monday night, the Hanoi Department of Police launched an investigation into the alleged molestation of an eight-year-old girl in Hoang Mai District, following an order by Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh on the morning of the same day.
On January 8, N.T.L., the victim’s mother, discovered her daughter had been sexually harassed, while the young girl claimed that the culprit was C.V.H., who lived in a nearby rented house.
Two months after L.’s accusation, police in Hoang Mai District concluded that there was not enough evidence for them to bring charges.
In another case, police officers in Thu Duc District, Ho Chi Minh City, held a press meeting on Monday afternoon to talk about the purported abuse of 7-year-ol N.T.P.N.
N.’s mother discovered a bloodstain near her genitals and later took her to Tu Du Hospital for an examination.
Based on the results, doctors said that N. could have been abused, while the victim stated that she was molested by a man at school.
However, the Thu Duc Education Office later announced that the bleeding had refsulted from N. tripping and falling in her class.
Officers said that the girl’s statements were inconsistent, while her mother claimed that she was afraid to tell the truth at first.
The Ho Chi Minh City Association for Child Rights Protection has offered free-of-charge lawyers to assist N. and her mother during the entire case.
Students use seafood waste to grow safe vegetables
Two students in Can Tho City are using waste from seafood processing factories to create microbiological sludge to grow safe vegetables and ornamental flowers.
Nguyen Huu Huy Hao, a third year student of the Can Tho Economics & Polytechnic College, and Phan Hong Muc, a third year student of the Can Tho University of Technology, defeated another 200 projects in the Mekong Delta to win the first prize at the ‘Y tuong khoi nghiep’ (Ideas for startups) competition initiated by the SIMVA Project.
Hao and Muc were the representatives for the Mekong Delta at the national competition on innovative entrepreneurial ideas launched by the Vietnam Student Association’s central committee. The final round of the competition will be held in Hanoi in March 2017.
Hao said he had seen increasingly serious pollution caused by waste from seafood processing factories in Ca Mau and Bac Lieu.
In early 2016, when implementing experiments on treating waste water with the teachers at the college, he found that the waste sludge after water treatment was left unused. The waste sludge contains many organic matters and does not contain chemicals or heavy metals.
According to Hao, activated sludge after sedimentation contains many good organic substances which can be used together with other substances to grow orchids and vegetables.
Muc said that Vietnam is losing big resources as it cannot take full advantage of the waste produced by seafood processing factories. If their idea of re-using the waste is realistic, this will not only help create a new good source of fertilizer for plants, but also help mitigate the impact on the environment.
Hao’s and Muc’s microbiological sludge products have been used at many farms in Can Tho City and Mekong Delta’s provinces.
Nguyen Van Phong, the owner of a vegetable farm in Can Tho City, is trying the sludge for the new vegetable and tomato varieties imported from the Netherlands.
“The plants have been growing very well thanks to high nutrition level,” he said, adding that he plans to use the microbiological sludge for the whole farm.
Nguyen Tri Thanh in Cai Rang district, who has been using the sludge for one month, confirmed that the proportion of nitrogen in the soil fertilized with the sludge is three to four times higher than normal, thus helping plants grow well and saving money for fertilizer.
Mai Chi, VNN
Ha Tinh targets Vung Ang Economic Zone investment
Vice chairman of Ha Tinh Provincial People's Committee, Duong Tat Thang, (left) talked with Dan Tri/DTiNews reporter on March 12.
An entertainment centre has to close in Vung Ang
Business circle opposes criminalization of violations in payment services
Should the behavior of providing unlicensed payment services be subjected to criminal prosecution? The business community says ‘no’.
A representative of VCCorp said it took the business five years to ask for an operating license in the e-payment sector.
“If fintech startups can only begin trying to provide payment services after they get licenses, they will meet difficulties. The time for waiting may kill them,” he said.
The representative from VNG agrees that it would be better not to criminalize the issue. VNG had to spend seven years to obtain the license for practicing e-payment services. The criminalization will have big impact on the startups which provide intermediary payment services in Vietnam.
Napas (the National Payment Corporation of Vietnam) also thinks there is no need to take criminal proceedings against illegal payment services in the current conditions.
National Assembly’s deputies also agree on the removal of the Article No 292 of the 2015 Penal Code.
The Article says any services offered online or via telecommunication networks without prior permission would be deemed illegal. Analysts believed that the article would destroy the Vietnamese startup ecosystem.
"The Vietnamese start-up community could be the most harmed by the article, as computer and telecommunication networks remain a business tool for the majority of start-ups in Vietnam in many fields, as well as being a common trend throughout the world," lawyer Tran Duc Hoang from EZLaw Firm said in Viet Nam News.
Napas said the provision of intermediary services is basically the provision of technical infrastructure and utilities through the banking system.
Entities affected here are banks and customers. Therefore, damages, if they occur, will be physical damages, and this should be subject to administrative punishment instead of criminal prosecution.
Tran Quang Viet, director of VTC Pay, commented that criminalization will not be the right approach way in this case, emphasizing that it is most important to clarify the provisions of the law.
“It is necessary to clarify the meaning of ‘providing intermediary payment services illegally’, the coverage of the law and the grounds for applying criminal penalties for illicit gains from this activity,” he said.
Vinasa commented that lawmakers should not request payment service providers to prove the impact of the law on investors and clients. They need to show the arguments why they want to put the provision of illegal payment service for criminal proceedings.
The representative from VTC Pay suggested that it is necessary to set up sanctioning on foreign institutions that violate the laws.
The government has submitted to the National Assembly the draft law that amends some provisions of the 2015 Penal Code, suggesting removing the Article No 292. However, some experts still want to retain some provisions of the article.
Thanh Mai, VNN