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- 04/08/17--00:58: Article 3
- 04/08/17--01:20: Article 2
- 04/09/17--00:52: Article 1
- 04/09/17--01:04: Article 0
- 04/10/17--03:03: Article 2
- 04/10/17--06:34: Article 1
- 04/10/17--06:47: Article 0
- 04/10/17--07:14: Article 2
- 04/11/17--02:35: Article 1
- 04/11/17--02:59: Article 0
- 04/13/17--06:49: Article 0
- 04/17/17--03:08: Article 2
- 04/17/17--03:30: Article 1
- 04/17/17--03:51: Article 0
- 04/18/17--02:21: Article 4
- 04/18/17--02:35: Article 3
- 04/18/17--02:45: Article 2
- 04/18/17--02:53: Article 1
- 04/18/17--03:04: Article 0
- 04/19/17--05:43: Article 3
BUSINESS IN BRIEF 8/4
Businesses keen on clean energy plants in Dak Lak Province
Many domestic and foreign enterprises have been granted investment licenses to develop solar and wind power projects in the Central Highlands of Dak Lak, according to the provincial People’s committee.
It is sunny and windy much of the year in Dak Lak province, giving it great potential to develop clean energy, according to experts.
According to a national master plan on solar and wind power development to 2020 with a vision to 2030, Dak Lak province aims to bring clean energy capacity to about 5,250 MW.
Wind power will be developed in Krong Buk, Cu M’gar, Krong Nang, Ea H’leo districts and Buon Ho town with a tentative capacity of 1,382 MW. The rest of the electricity will be generated at solar power plants.
The HBRE Wind Power Company Ltd. has invested 270 million USD to build a wind farm with total capacity of 120 MW in Dlie Yang Commune, Ea H’leo District.
The farm, the first of its kind in the Central Highlands, is designed to produce 450 million KW of electricity per year.
For solar power projects, Vietnam’s Xuan Thien Company Ltd. will invest 2.2 billion USD in a 2,000MW solar installation in Ea Sup District.
Long Thanh Infrastructure Development and Investment Company has planned to invest 310 million USD in a 250MW solar installation while TH True Milk Group will build a 1,117 MW solar plant on an area of 1,117 ha in the same locality.
Meanwhile, the US power group AES Corporation has spent 750 million USD on a solar factory, which will have the capacity to generate 300 to 500 MW in Ea Sup and Buon Don Districts.
Hanoi expects to have 40,000 new enterprises in 2017
Hanoi expects to have 40,000 new enterprises in 2017, with about 30-35 percent of them operating in the innovation and creativity fields.
The city also plans to establish a service area to support start-ups in the year.
To realise the targets, the municipal authorities have taken various measures, focusing on administrative reform and preferential policies.
Enterprises will be supported through programmes and projects, helping them improve competitiveness and build brands.
Newly-established enterprises are expected to create jobs for 150,000 labourers, and contribute 40 percent to the city’s GDP.
Last year, the number of newly-established firms in Hanoi was 36,442.
Most of these operate in real estate, health care and social assistance and education-training.
HCMC Secretary promotes trade, investment in Japan
Secretary of the Party Committee of HCM City Dinh La Thang is on a visit to Japan from April 6-15, aming to enhance trade and investment ties between the city and Japan.
During the visit, Thang is scheduled to meet local authorities and businesses to seek cooperation in infrastructure development, transportation, tourism and high technology.
The secretary will attend events promoting trade, investment and tourism in Osaka, Tokyo, Hyogo, Aichi and Nagano. Especially, conferences in Osaka and Hyogo are intended to call for investment in the city’s key projects and introduce its potential for investment and tourism.
He will tour several industrial parks and hi-tech agricultural and industrial projects in Japan.
On April 6, Secretary Thang met with Vietnamese Ambassador to Japan Nguyen Quoc Cuong in Tokyo where he updated Cuong on socio-economic development in HCM City.
The city reported economic growth of 7.46 percent in the first quarter of 2017, higher than the same period last year, while about 85 trillion VND in tax payment was collected, Thang said.
At the same time, it confronted several major challenges in terms of infrastructure, transportation, environment, food safety and security, he added.
He expressed his hope that the Vietnamese Embassy will continue connecting HCM City and Japan so that more Japanese investment will enter the city.
Last year, Japan ranked sixth among countries and territories investing in HCM City.
Hanoi needs comprehensive tourism product development
Branching out tourism products is necessary to lure more tourists to the capital city of Hanoi, heard a tourism meeting held by the municipal People’s Committee on April 6.
Hanoi has more than 5,000 historic cultural relic sites, including those recognised by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) like the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long and a system of 82 stone steles at the Temple of Literature 1,350 craft villages and various non-tangible cultural heritages.
However, the city lacks international-scale entertainment zones and typical tourism packages to compete with neighbouring countries.
Creating new products and renewing available resources will help build Hanoi into a high-quality destination, said Nguyen Van Tuan, General Director of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism.
Tourism projects have been brought to the city while further infrastructure and human resource development is needed to revitalise tourism sites like Hanoi’s Old Quarter, Hoan Kiem Lake and eco-tourism sites, Tuan stressed.
Nguyen Tien Dat, Deputy Director of TransViet Tourism Company, suggested adding cultural activities to pedestrian-only areas around Hoan Kiem Lake.
Local people should be encouraged to wear Ao Dai (traditional long dress) and fashion designers can organise Ao Dai show in the areas, he said, adding that a cultural historic space should be set up through exhibitions of photos, vehicles and costumes.
Hanoi should zone off key tourism areas like Malaysia did, with Kinabalu a major eco-tourism and Kuala Lumpur a place for meeting, incentive, conference and exhibition, entertainment and shopping tourism.
The city leaders agreed to support enterprises, organisations and individuals to develop tourism in the city.
Vietnam Ambassador discusses trade links in Japan
Trade opportunities with Japan were explored when Vietnam Ambassador Nguyen Quoc Cuong visited Kagawa, the island nation’s smallest, most abundant prefecture today (April 7).
The visit of Ambassador Cuong aimed to showcase Vietnam as an investment and business destination for Japanese investors, especially in the areas of science, innovation, infrastructure, agriculture and transport.
During the visit, the Ambassador met with key business representatives of the prefecture, which is brimming with historical and cultural attractions and is also within easy access of the Japanese big cities of Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, and Hiroshima.
vietnam ambassador discusses trade links in japan hinh 1 He also visited Tokushima Prefecture and met representatives from the public, private and civil society sectors and assured them that Vietnam is always happy to support trade links between the two economies.
Near the end of the day, Mr Cuong toured Kagawa University, one of the oldest institutions of higher learning in Japan, which specializes in pure and applied research in bioscience and biotechnology.
Dragon Capital signs joint venture to expand in Myanmar
Dragon Capital Group and Ruby Hill Financial Company, a member of Loi Hein Group from Myanmar, have agreed today to set up Ruby Hill Microfinance, a new microfinance firm based in Yangon, Myanmar.
At the signing ceremony in Ho Chi Minh City, the two partners announced that Ruby Hill Microfinance will commence business with the initial capital commitment of US$5 million.
Dragon Capital and Loi Hein Group will respectively own 49% and 51% of the stakes in the new firm.
Ruby Hill Microfinance will focus on promoting inclusive loan products and services to the burgeoning workforce driving Myanmar’s rapid economic development.
The firm will be strategically led by Dr Sai Sam Htun and Dominic Scriven, the respective chairmen of the two groups. They will directly chart the business course of the microfinance institution from its board of directors.
Meanwhile, Trinh Proctor, Loi Hein Group’s chief strategy officer, has been appointed as CEO.
The formation of Ruby Hill Microfinance will combine the banking and microfinance expertise developed by Dragon Capital Group in Vietnam and the Greater Mekong Subregion with the local presence and knowledge of Loi Hein Group, one of Myanmar’s largest business conglomerates.
Ruby Hill Microfinance aims to serve at least 50,000 consumers in its first year of business, according to chairman Dr Sai Sam Htun. The firm plans to consistently raise its capital to US$1.2 billion within the next ten years.
“The success of Ruby Hill Microfinance is of paramount importance to Dragon Capital Group, as it is our first investment in Myanmar,” said Dominic Scriven, chairman of Dragon Capital. He was glad to collaborate with Loi Hein Group to help the Burmese gain access to credit and escape poverty.
The United Nations Capital Development Fund estimates that more than 50% of Myanmar’s 60.9 million strong population had no access to financial services. The total unmet financing demand in Myanmar is estimated at around US$1 billion, which presents a great opportunity for microfinance services.
Robins to run midnight sales on April 8
Robins department store, a member of the Central Group Vietnam, will run a midnight sales program on April 8 from 9:30 a.m. till midnight at its property in the Crescent Mall in HCM City’s District 7.
This is a special promotion program to bring a unique shopping experience to customers with thousands of gifts and up to 50% discounts on hundreds of fashion, cosmetic, accessory and household appliances’ brands like The Body Shop, Yves Rocher, Bobbi Brown, Kanebo, iBasic, Lovell, Vera, Triumph, Vascara, Lemino, Travel Point, JBL, SuperSports, Akemi, Jean Perry, Komonoya, and Sanrio.
For shopping bills worth from VND700,000, customers will receive vouchers worth VND50,000 while customers with shopping bills worth from VND1.2 million will get vouchers worth VND100,000.
The One Card’s holders will be given Robins’ pillows for any shopping bills worth from VND1.2 million (each customer can receive a maximum of two pillows). New membership card holders will get canvas bags, notebooks or Robins helmets.
Furthermore, Robins also hosts a lucky draw for shoppers with their bills from VND1.2 million during the golden hours from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. and from 10 p.m. to 12 a.m. Interesting prizes include TV Samsung 40”, Bluetooth JBL speakers, iPad Mini 2 32G, and Samsung Galaxy J7 Prime G610.
This is the fourth time Robins has joined hands with the Crescent Mall to hold the midnight sales program.
Hanoi district to resettle street vendors in local market
Authorities in Hanoi will reserve a part of the Thanh Xuan Bac Market in Thanh Xuan District for those street vendors who have been forced off the sidewalks in ongoing campaigns to restore order on the streets.
The vendors would have the first three months free from rent for market space, according to a recent directive from the Thanh Xuan administration.
According to Nguyen Xuan Luu, chairman of the Thanh Xuan People’s Committee, up to 70% of households in the district have voluntarily reorganized their business and removed items that previously occupied the capital’s sidewalks following the call of local authorities.
To assist street vendors in need of a location to carry on with their business, the district’s administration has asked its Economic Division to work with managers of the Thanh Xuan Bac Market to come up with a ‘resettlement’ plan for the vendors.
Accordingly, kiosks inside the market measuring between three and four meters in width will be reserved for those who wish to find a permanent space for business.
The first three months’ rent for the kiosks will be waived, Thanh Xuan officials said.
Those who want to continue ‘street vending’ or cannot afford to pay the rent for a kiosk will be allowed to sell in the market’s front yard.
If the market runs out of space, vendors will be permitted to sell their wares on the 200-square-meter first floor of the district’s Center for Commercial Services, which is next to the market.
Samsung to assist Vietnamese businesses in producing sophisticated electronic parts
On April 5, Samsung Vietnam officially kicked off their consultation programme for Vietnamese enterprises, assisting them in joining the component supply chain for the year 2017.
According to the roadmap, the consultation programme started in 2015 with focus on industries such as printing, packaging, and plastic moulding. In 2017, Samsung will expand their field of consultation to hi-tech industries such as electric and electronics (PCB, speakers built into TV, wire harness and more) to help Vietnamese enterprises produce sophisticated electronic parts which have added-value and hi-tech content in the global supply chain.
Samsung’s target in 2017 will be to provide consultation for 12 Vietnamese suppliers, which would bring the total number of business consultees to 26 since the year 2015. And Samsung affiliates like Samsung Display Vietnam and Samsung Electro-mechanics Vietnam will join this programme for the first time.
Also in this year, Samsung will launch a pilot model for tier-1 vendors to guide tier-2 vendors, creating a ripple effect in Vietnam’s supporting industry. This turning point demonstrates the Samsung’s commitment in increasing localisation rate, supporting Vietnamese businesses to get further involved in Samsung’s component supply chain and contributing to the development of Vietnam’s supporting industry.
With 12 Vietnamese firms participating in the consultation programme in 2017, Samsung will continue to send South Korean experts experienced in the field of final product technology and production quality control to directly guide them for 12 weeks. The South Korean experts will survey and assess local firms for two weeks and directly consult and work with them in the following 10 weeks in reforming production procedures and complete all standards in the product and parts supply process for Samsung’s factories in Vietnam.
In response to the call of the government of Vietnam, which is raising the localisation rate and the presence of Vietnamese enterprises in Samsung's component supply chain, since 2015, Samsung’s supporting programmes have helped increase the competitiveness of Vietnamese enterprises, bringing positive achievements in improving equipment efficiency as well as reducing inventory days and poor-quality stages. Through the consulting, all suppliers have achieved good results, including average 25 per cent reduction in defect rate and a 30 per cent increase in manufacturing capacity
“During the past two years, Samsung has always endeavoured to support Vietnamese enterprises in increasing their competitiveness in production and product quality. The consultation expansion into hi-tech industry with the aim of assisting local firms in producing sophisticated parts and joining the value chain is a strong affirmation for Samsung's long-term and sustainable commitments in Vietnam,” Han Myoung Sup, president of Samsung Complex Vietnam, said.
This consultation programme is one of the Samsung’s efforts to dramatically increase the number of local firms participating in its supply chain with 201 vendors in total (23 tier-1 vendors and 178 tier-2 vendors). They are participating in supply chain for three Samsung’s plants in Vietnam, namely Samsung Electronics Vietnam (SEV), Samsung Electronics Vietnam Thai Nguyen (SEVT), and SEHC Complex in Ho Chi Minh City.
It is expected that, Samsung’s total number of tier-1 vendors will increase to 29 ones in 2017. Besides, Samsung Vietnam has also recorded the significant breakthrough in raising the localisation rate of products from 35 per cent in 2014 to 57 per cent at present. This year, the turning point in supporting programme for high-tech enterprises will promisingly create more opportunities for Vietnamese suppliers to join Samsung's global value chain as well as help Samsung achieve its goal of increasing localisation rate in 2017.
Private sector working with government in development
The private enterprise community is a companion of the government in economic development in 2017, Mr. Ngo Huy Giam, Secretary General of Vietnam Private Sector Forum (VPSF) told the Creation of a Favorable Business Environment, Promoting Trade Facilitation in Vietnam seminar held on April 4.
The aim of the forum was to bring into full play the pivotal and positive role of the business community and the private sector in working with the government and was held by VPSF together with the EU-Vietnam Trade and Investment Facilitation Investment Project (EU-MUTRAP).
Enterprises and business associations attending the conference also pointed out that difficulties and longstanding problems in the investment, production, and business environment have been proposed by many agencies but solutions are yet to be found.
Specific issues included problems in the implementation of tax procedures, social insurance, customs procedures, and specialized inspection management procedures (import / export licensing, quality control of food safety, animal and plant quarantine, and cultural inspection).
Associations such as the Vietnam Association of Logistics Services, the Association of Textiles, Footwear, Fisheries, Cotton, Wood and Forest Products, and the Japan Business Association, as well as Vietnamese enterprises, shared their thoughts at the seminar.
The VPSF also stated that management issues and regulations are in tune with the idea of a constructive government.
Mr. Giam also emphasized that consultation, cooperation, and public-private dialogue are solutions in dealing with the difficulties and longstanding policy and legal issues.
VPSF has also compiled a plan to assess and build reform solutions for enterprises based on their difficulties.
This will help businesses follow the progress of their petitions. Forums and associations will more actively participate in policy matters, and relevant agencies will understand business insights and views.
The difficulties in import-export procedures were also discussed. Mr. Hoang Ha, CEO of FPT Group, told VET that complex customs procedures have had a major impact on the import and export activities of manufacturing enterprises, including FPT.
SCG reboots Vietnam's first petrochemical complex
Thai industrial conglomerate the Siam Cement Group (SCG) has recently re-signed a joint venture contract and articles of association with the Vietnam Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam) to become the two largest investors in the Long Son Petrochemicals (LSP) Complex, reviving the long-delayed project in southern Ba Ria Vung Tau province.
SCG, through its wholly-owned subsidiary Vina SCG Chemicals (VSCG), previously acquired a 25 per cent stake from Qatar Petroleum International (QPI) in LSP Limited, the investor of the LSP Complex, according to a statement published on SCG’s website.
The $36.1 million acquisition directly and indirectly increased SCG’s stake in LSP Limited from 46 to 71 per cent and continued to strengthen its position as a major investor in Vietnam’s first petrochemical complex. The remaining 29 per cent is held by PetroVietnam.
Investment capital for the project is now $5.4 billion, up from the $3.7 billion in the initial investment certificate. “We have rationalized to get the best project,” said Mr. Dhep Vongvanich, SCG Vietnam’s Managing Director. “There have been some changes in product types and production scale. The project has also received good support from local authorities and has paid land rentals for a period of 50 years and is now just waiting for construction.”
The project is expected to receive an adjusted investment certificate in the second quarter, for construction to begin in the third quarter, with an estimated operational date of 2021.
SCG has been looking for a new partner in the project since 2015, after QPI decided to withdraw, and purchased the entire 25 per cent stake from Qatar Petroleum Vietnam Limited (QPIV), a division of QPI.
The project will be financed through a combination of equity and debt, the final decision on which is expected to be made in the first half.
Located some 100km from Ho Chi Minh City, LSP is the first petrochemical complex in Vietnam, with a goal of developing a 1 million ton ethylene cracker with a flexible gas and naphtha feed, creating an olefin capacity of up to 1.6 million tons per year.
Entering Vietnam in 1992, SCG is a century-old Thai corporation with interests in cement production, construction materials, chemicals, and packaging. Regionally, it has investments in Indonesia, Vietnam and Cambodia. As at the end of 2016, it had invested more than $800 million in Vietnam via a number of projects.
It invests heavily in core businesses, including construction materials, petrochemicals, and packaging. In addition to direct capital inflows, it has also expanded its investment in Vietnam through mergers and acquisitions (M&As) in recent years. As at the end of 2016, its total assets in Vietnam stood at about $943 million.
The group last month announced it would pay $156 million to acquire 100 per cent of the Vietnam Construction Materials JSC (VCM), an integrated cement producer in central Vietnam.
Hanoi encouraged to create more attractive tourism products
Hà Nội’s tourism industry has made many significant achievements in recent years, but its development has not lived up to its potential or its expectations, tourism managers and enterprise workers agreed at a conference in the capital city.
Held within the framework of Việt Nam International Travel Mart at the International Exhibition Centre, the conference aimed to enhance tourism cooperation among nations, organisations, cities and provinces of high tourism potential.
The event also created opportunity for state tourism organisations to receive constructive feedback and support to overcome difficulties.
Việt Nam’s tourism in general — and Hà Nội’s in particular — have achieved obvious development. In 2016, the total number of tourists to visit the capital reached 21.8 million, increasing by 11 per cent over 2015. Meanwhile, the figure of international tourists to Hà Nội was 4 million, increasing by 23 per cent in comparison with the previous year.
The development has transformed economic structures and created job opportunities. It also has improved living standards, global integration and the national image.
According to Nguyễn Văn Tuấn, Vietnam National Administration of Tourism’s general director, Hà Nội possesses many tourism resources that make it a high quality destination. There are two options for Hà Nội’s tourism development: creating new products and renovating the old ones.
In creating new products, the city has attracted many investors to launch large-scale tourism projects. However, to refresh available products like the old quarter, Sword Lake or cultural heritage sites, the tourism sector needs to improve their quality by investing in infrastructure and human resources.
Nguyễn Tiến Đạt, the vice director of TransViet Company, argued that the pedestrian zone around Sword Lake, a temporary tourism product in the city, has not met its expectations. He suggested the introduction of more diversified cultural activities to enhance its attractiveness, like áo dài zone to display Việt Nam’s traditional dress or photo exhibition capturing each period of Hà Nội.
According to Nguyễn Quang Lân, the chairman of Việt Nam Tourism Association, Hà Nội needs to construct more international-standard leisure centres. Moreover, it is important to organise the tourism zones within the city to clearly identify its major tourism areas.
The conference also witnessed the signing ceremony of the cooperation agreement between Hà Nội and other provinces including Huế, Đà Nẵng, Quảng Nam, Điện Biên, Lào Cai, Sơn La, Nghệ An, Thanh Hóa, Ninh Bình and Hòa Bình.
Industrial salt import limited to 102,000 tonnes
The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) has limited import quota for industrial salt to only 102,000 tonnes in a bid to support domestic salt production, the ministry’s chemical department said.
The decision will take effect from July 1 and last until December 31, according to the Công Thương (Industry & Trade) newspaper.
Although the demand for industrial salt import is very high, MoIT still has to tighten import quota for salt so as not to affect the domestic salt industry, Nguyễn Văn Thanh, head of the chemical department, said.
The salt import quota has been limited to 102,000 tonnes, but in practice, the actual quantity of salt allowed to be imported may be much lower than the quota, estimated to be just some 40,000 tonnes, Thanh said.
According to the Agro-Forestry Processing and Salt Industry Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, in the first two months of 2017, the quantity of handmade salt reached nearly 2,600 tonnes while industrial salt touched over 11,100 tonnes.
By the end of February 2017, the total quantity of stockpiled salt was estimated at some 400,000 tonnes. However, many enterprises producing chemicals and medicines continue to face a shortage of industrial salt.
Salt produced in the country is mostly handmade and used for cooking and food processing, while enterprises need industrial salt refined from crude salt to use as the main raw material in medical products and chemical production. Therefore, enterprises are greatly in need of industrial salt, which has low domestic production due to a low-tech salt refining facilities, a chemical manufacturing company based in HCM City told Công Thương (Industry & Trade) newspaper.
Price spike sparks tra fish farming rush
Many farmers in the Mekong Delta are racing to breed tra fish (pangasius) as tra fish prices have climbed to VND27,000 a kilo, the highest in recent years, Tuoi Tre newspaper reports.
Experts ascribed the increase in tra fish prices to strong exports to the Chinese market but China is a highly unpredictable market. Therefore, farmers may face heavy losses if market conditions turn tough.
Pham Thanh Nhi, head of the Agriculture Division in Hong Ngu District in Dong Thap Province, said local farmers have shifted from growing snakehead fish to tra fish as the price of the latter is soaring while snakehead fish are marking down.
Truong Van Dien, director of Phu Thuan B seafood cooperative in the province, said the facility has not been able to meet the strong demand.
Vo Hung Dung, vice chairman of the Vietnam Pangasius Association (VN Pangasius), said the tra fish price had risen to record highs as breeder fish are getting scarce and tra fish exports to the Chinese market are edging up.
Pangasius shipments to the northern neighbor last year accounted for 18% of the country’s total, Dung added.
Dung said the association was looking into the Chinese market to make recommendations for exporters.
Nguyen Van Nghiep, who has a tra fish farm of over 8,000 square meters in An Giang Province, said the current fish price is a big dream of farmers over the past years.
Transport Ministry halts equitization of five entities
The Ministry of Transport suspended equitization of five public services entities under its management in the first quarter of this year.
These entities were the Vietnam Aviation Academy, Thang Long Transportation Vocational School, Nam Thang Long Hospital and the transport hospitals in Vinh and Danang cities, according to a report on equitization of entities under the ministry in quarter one.
The report did not clarify reasons for the suspension but sources told the Daily earlier that they wanted to operate as financially-independent entities, instead of going public.
In May 2015, the ministry sought the Government’s nod to implement a pilot scheme to equitize 12 out of its 114 entities in the health and educational sectors. After the Transport Hospital went public in late 2015, the ministry told scores of entities under its umbrella to prepare their equitization plans.
Later, the academy, the school and three hospitals won approval from the Government to call off their equitization plans.
In the first quarter of this year, Vietnam National Shipping Lines (Vinalines) had to reassess its corporate value determined by December 31 last year and map out a new equitization plan as required by the Prime Minister.
As for the equitization of Airports Corporation of Vietnam (ACV), the firm struck a basic investment agreement with French group Aeroports de Paris in January this year and is now in talks to sell its shares. The ministry is expected to ask for the Prime Minister’s approval to deal with relevant problems that are beyond its authority.
Higher price cap for tra fish fillets
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has issued a circular capping the ratio of ice at 20% in net weight of frozen tra fish fillets for export, with effect from May 5 this year.
Circular 07/2017/TT-BNNPTNT, which provides regulations and standards for frozen tra fish fillets and seafood, comes after nearly 27 months of debate between seafood firms and relevant agencies on the ice-to-fish ratio rule. The circular specifies the moisture ratio is no more than 86% of net weight of tra fish fillets.
The ministry raised ice and moisture content in the new circular compared to the respective ratios of 10% and 83% provided in the Government’s Decree 36/2014/ND-CP issued in April 29, 2014. The decree came into force on June 20 in the same year, except for the ice ratio rule which took effect on January 1, 2015.
However, before the ice ratio rule in Article 6 of Decree 36 became effective, seafood firms voiced disagreement with the maximum ice and moisture ratios of 10% and 83% and triggered debate with relevant agencies.
Due to the persistent requests of seafood enterprises, the rule on ice and moisture contents in tra fish fillets was postponed until the end of 2015 as proposed by the agriculture ministry to make life easy for exporters.
However, seafood exporters again called for a delay of the rule throughout 2018 as an agreement on the ice ratio in tra fillets for export had not been reached by the parties concerned.
The ministry made concessions and then signaled at some meetings that the ice and moisture ratios would be changed to prevent the enforcement of the rule from further delays. As a result, the ministry issued the circular setting the maximum ice and moisture ratios at 20% and 86% respectively.
HCMC approves 372 new gas stations
The government of HCMC has approved a plan to set up 372 new gas stations between now and 2030, mostly in outlying districts.
A senior source from the Trade Management Division at the HCMC Department of Industry and Trade told the Daily on Tuesday that the city government had given the nod to the number of new gas stations in each district.
For instance, Cu Chi District will have an extra 53 pumping stations and Binh Chanh 51. New stations will also go up in districts Binh Tan, Go Vap, Can Gio, Nha Be, Hoc Mon, 2 and 12.
There will be 62 new gas stations on the water surface in districts 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, Thu Duc, Nha Be, Hoc Mon, Can Gio, Cu Chi and Binh Chanh serving waterway tourism and transport.
The Department of Industry and Trade has forecast that the city will consume some 2.3 million cubic meters of fuels by 2020, about 3.2 million cubic meters by 2025 and nearly 4.3 million cubic meters by 2030.
The Trade Management Division said it would encourage investors to set up gas stations combined with convenience stores and parking lots.
A license for establishing a gas station is valid for one year only. If investors fail to open a station within one year, they would lose the license, so others will be found to replace them.
HCMC now has 532 gas stations.
Q1 seafood exports estimated at US$1.5 billion
Vietnam’s seafood exports in March were estimated at US$537 million, bringing the total in the first quarter to US$1.5 billion, up 3.6% over the same period in 2016, said the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Japan, the United States, South Korea and China were the top four importers of Vietnamese seafood. The foreign markets to which Vietnamese seafood exports surged strongly in the period include Brazil with 67.6%, the Netherlands with 55.6%, Japan with 28.5%, Canada with 24.3%, China with 19.5% and South Korea with 13.5%, Vietnmaplus reported.
Meanwhile, the nation's seafood import bill in March totaled US$104 million, bringing the total in the first three months of 2017 to US$306 million, up 30% over the same period in 2016.
An undersupply and an increasing demand of exporters have led to tra fish (pangasius) prices soaring. Compared to the previous month, the price of unprocessed pangasius has increased by about VND1,000 per kg to VND24,000-26,500, helping farmers and traders get a profit of VND500-1,000 per kg.
Similarly, the price of unprocessed shrimp in southwestern provinces in the first quarter edged up sharply due to limited output in the beginning of the shrimp season and high export demand.
Chicken imports surge steadily
Vietnam has in the past few years spent hundreds of millions of U.S. dollars a year importing chicken meat, according to the General Department of Customs.
In 2016, local firms imported 140,000 tons of chicken meat with a total value of US$107.8 million. In 2015, the respective figures were 153,100 tons and US$111.1 million.
In the year to March 15, chicken imports had reached 22,300 tons worth US$19.8 million. The pre-tax average price of imported chicken ranges from US$0.72 to US$1 a kilo.
Vietnam mainly buys chicken meat from the U.S., Brazil and South Korea. The volume from the U.S. always makes up more than half of total chicken imports.
Chicken imports are now subject to different tax rates depending on the origin of chickens. The import tariff for whole chickens is 40% while chicken wings and thighs are taxed 20%.
Tariffs are lower for imports from the markets with which Vietnam has signed trade agreements. For example, whole chickens and chicken wings from South Korea are duty-free while chicken thighs are subject to an import tariff of 5%.
Huge chicken import volume has left direct impact on domestic chicken prices. In the past, the price of white-feather chickens dipped to a mere VND15,000-18,000 a kilo.
Chicken prices go up in Dong Nai again
A number of chicken farms in Dong Nai Province said the price of white chickens in late March increased to VND28,000-36,000 per kilo after having fallen to VND15,000-18,000.
Nguyen Van Ngoc, vice president of the Southeastern Livestock Association and the owner of a chicken farm in Dong Nai, said white chickens were now selling for VND28,000 a kilo at the farm, up VND7,000-10,000 from mid-February.
The price of buff chickens has also gone up to VND27,000-28,000 per kilo, a rise of VND3,000-4,000 from mid-February, but farmers are still incurring losses as production costs are as high as VND35,000-36,000 a kilo, said Ngoc.
Nguyen Thanh Phi Long, technical director of Long Binh Livestock Co. Ltd. in Dong Nai, said the price of white chickens ranged from VND30,000 to VND36,000 per kilo depending on type.
The white chicken price surge in Dong Nai, Long said, has resulted from the weather anomaly which has affected chicken growth and productivity.
Jetstar Airways to launch two direct flights to HCM City
Low-cost carrier Jetstar Airways of Australia will open two direct flights from Melbourne and Sydney to Ho Chi Minh City of Vietnam from next month.
Australian Assistant Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Keith Pitt and representatives of Jetstar Airways announced this information at a press conference in Ho Chi Minh City on April 5.
Accordingly, Jetstar Airways will use Boeing 787 Dreamliner for three flights per week from May 10 between Ho Chi Minh City and Melbourne, and four flights per week from May 11 between Ho Chi Minh City and Sydney.
In the past 12 months, the flow of visitors from Vietnam to Australia has increased 21 percent, and the number is expected to continue rising after the launching of the two air routes, said Paul Rombeek, Jetstar Groups’ Global Head of Sale.
Assistant Minister Keith Pitt said Vietnam is rapidly becoming one of the most attractive destinations in South East Asian for Australian tourists.
He also noted that the new flights will connect economic hubs of Australia and Vietnam and promote the linkage between people and businesses of the two countries.
Entrepreneurship competition for Vietnamese held in US
A global entrepreneurship competition for Vietnamese (VietChallenge) took place recently with the final round held in Boston city, the US state of Massachusetts, on April 1.
The final round saw the attendance of Vietnamese Ambassador to the US Pham Quang Vinh, Vietnamese Ambassador to the United Nations Nguyen Phuong Nga, Babson College President and former Governor of Massachusetts Kerry Healey, and representatives of many businesses.
This year’s competition attracted more than 170 teams from Vietnam, the US and many other countries.
Team ScholarJet won the first prize, worth 20,000 USD, with the idea of building a website to help students seek scholarships.
Speaking at the final round, Ambassador Vinh said the competition was a big success of the Association of Vietnamese Students and Professionals in the US (AVSPUS) in encouraging entrepreneurship and creativity.
It also connected young Vietnamese people in the US with their peers around the world, helping them to create opportunities for themselves and contribute to the homeland’s development, he noted.
Before the final round, Ambassador Vinh met with AVSPUS leaders, informing them about Vietnam’s socio-economic development as well as recent progress in Vietnam-US relations.
He spoke highly of the association’s contributions and innovative ideas as well as its successes in supporting the life, study and start-up of young Vietnamese in the US.
TH True Milk to invest in Dak Lak
The TH True Milk Group is looking to invest in new projects Ea Sup district in the central highlands province of Dak Lak.
The Group is to build a modern fruit processing plant in the province with input materials primarily grown on land belonging to the Dak Lak Forestry and Food Processing Limited Liability Company and from joint ventures with farmers and cooperatives in the province.
It also plans to invest in a solar power plant with a maximum capacity of 1,117 MW on 1,117 ha belonging to Dak Lak Forestry and Food Processing Limited Liability Company.
The investment will be implemented in two phases: the first having a capacity of 117 MW and the second 1,000 MW. To speed up its investments, the Group will survey the location of the fruit processing plant. Regarding the solar power project, it has proposed that the province decide to approve the investment and submit it to the government for approval.
Ms. Thai Huong, Chairman of the TH True Milk Group, said that strategic investment in science and technology to focus on bringing high technology into the Group’s production will bring into full play the local advantages to create a breakthrough competitive advantage, creating the basis for sustainable development.
At a recent meeting between the Group and the province, Chairman of the Dak Lak Provincial People’s Committee Pham Ngoc Nghi suggested that the Group quickly deploy the land use plan and survey the construction of solar power plants, and report to the province so it has a basis for reporting to the government.
Chairman Pham Ngoc Nghi also asked the Department of Industry and Trade to revise its power planning and study and supplement the Group’s solar power project into the provincial power plan. The People’s Committee unanimously decided to set up a steering committee to resolve and deal with difficulties facing enterprises when promoting and investing projects in Ea Sup district, thereby speeding up the tempo and creating favorable conditions for enterprises to invest in the area.
Gamuda Land to launch The ZEN Residence this month
The ZEN Residence, Gamuda Land’s third luxury apartment project, will be officially introduced this month at Gamuda Gardens Township, at Km 4.4 Phap Van, Yen So ward in Hanoi’s Hoang Mai district.
Anticipated to be one of the hottest real estate products in the market, The ZEN Residence encompasses all of the elements that have made Gamuda Land a success in past decades.
With the aim of tightening the relationship between family members and neighbors, it offers residents high-quality and versatile facilities for both community and private purposes.
The infinity pool, one of the highlights of The ZEN Residence’s landscape concept, allows residents and guests to capture the beautiful scenery of the township from a special vantage point and relax among luscious greenery.
Working towards providing the best lifestyle for residents and to ensure the safety of everyone, especially youngsters, a kids’ pool has been woven into the design of the fifth floor, in addition to the spacious infinity pool.
Simultaneously, an outdoor playground, a luxurious gym, and 3,000 sq m of retail space are among the special features of The ZEN Residence that few other projects possess.
In addition to its overall master plan and detailed design, Gamuda Land emphasizes the importance and constant improvement of security systems at Gamuda Gardens township as well as at The ZEN Residence.
With brand new technological advances to meet increasing customer demand, each unit at The ZEN Residence is equipped with a smart digital lock for the main door, which can be opened by a number of methods: key, access card, or password.
The elevator system is monitored minimize access and ensure security.
The architecture is in harmony with the design of other projects at Gamuda Gardens, i.e. Camelia Homes and Lily Homes. As the first township project of Gamuda Land in Vietnam, Gamuda Gardens is built on the four core pillars of “Design Quality”, “Community & Amenities”, “Healthy Lifestyle”, and “Safety & Security”.
With a desire to provide an ideal lifestyle to an integrated township, Gamuda Gardens has become a prestigious community hub for Hanoians. Luscious greenery, high-end amenities, and modern facilities such as a resort-style clubhouse and tennis courts can all be found within the vicinity.
Gamuda Land, a real estate corporation under Gamuda Berhad Malaysia, is one of the largest infrastructure companies in Malaysia. It marked its presence in Vietnam with its first project, the 500 ha Gamuda City in Hanoi. With total investment of $5 billion, Gamuda City includes five key components: Yen So Park, Gamuda Lakes, Gamuda Central, Gamuda Plaza, and Gamuda Gardens.
Creating conditions to promote textile and garment exports
This year, the Vietnamese textile and garment industry set a target of 6.5%-7% growth, compared to 2016, and gaining an export turnover of over US$30 billion.
However, it seems that a lack of synchronous and long-term development strategy, proactive investment, technological innovation, enhancement of management and preparation of raw and auxiliary materials of enterprises, will impact the competitiveness of the country’s textile and garment industry, particularly in the context of deep and strong international economic integration.
The export turnover of the Vietnamese textile and garment industry reached US$28.3 billion in 2016, much lower than the target of US$31 billion. In the last months of last year, enterprises lacked orders as their partners moved contracts to countries with a lower cost than Vietnam. One may observe that though the Vietnamese textile and garment sector’s strength has been the first stage (yarn) and last stage (tailoring), it has not paid much attention to weaving and dyeing, thus failing to create added value or improve the competitive element of products.
General Director of Nam Dinh Textile and Garment Joint Stock Company (Vinatex Nam Dinh), Nguyen Van Mieng, said that Nam Dinh province’s textile industry has had a long tradition and used to hold leading position in the country in terms of products’ quality. However, obsolete equipment and technology caused energy-consuming production and poor quality of products. Meanwhile, Nam Dinh Garment Company did not operate effectively and lost the market. On the other hand, textile and garment makers in the province were conservative and did not want to change, creating stagnation and low-efficiency in production and business for a long time.
With the above issues as a backdrop, Vinatex Nam Dinh has restructured its parts, focusing on relocating its dyeing plant to Hoa Xa Industry Zone, as well as investing in modern equipment to improve the product quality.
Since its technological update in March 2016, the fibre plant has had only 45,000 spindles compared to its earlier number of 78,000. Meanwhile, the number of workers has decreased to 450 while the product output has increased to 630 tonners per month. In terms of garment industry, thanks to the renewal, the total output is recorded at 300,000 products per month.
Also, according to General Director Mieng, Vinatex Nam Dinh still encounters numerous difficulties. For instance, the waste-water treatment station of the fibre plant was forced to stop operating for more than a year due to poor quality, quitting of skillful workers and loss of partners.
Currently, the textile and garment industry employs around three million workers in nearly 8,000 enterprises, significantly contributing to transferring economic structure from agriculture to industry. However, there have not been enough training facilities that are essential for the textile and garment sector such as human resources for order management as well as for those relevant in fields like weaving, fibre and dyeing.
Despite its contribution to the country’s socio-economic development, the textile and garment industry outsources significantly. This is likely to lead to problems in terms of improving the industry’s competitiveness in the global supply chain in the near future. Regarding this issue, Head of the Hanoi Textile and Garment Industry University, Hoang Xuan Hiep, affirmed that in the short-term, the university will train engineers and management officials at senior, medium and grassroots levels in this field. This is a solution to help enterprises maintain competitive advantage in producing high quality products, improve workers’ productivity and gradually increase the localisation proportion. In the long-term, the university would continue to train high-level human resource for textile and garment industry such as factory directors and order managers, significantly contributing to helping enterprises add value to the production method.
The textile and garment industry has been one of the largest export earners in Vietnam; however, 80%-85% of materials have been imported, including fabric, leather, sewing thread, button and metal buckle. The industry’s export turnover reached over US$28.3 billion, but nearly US$15 billion was spent to import materials for production. Thus, the value margin that the industry gained was very small.
Specifically, the volume of domestic fibres can meet the demand of production in the country and exports; however, fabric and cotton can meet only 20%-30% and 3%-5% of the production demand, respectively. According to a director of a big fibre plant in the north region, its fibre commodities have been exported to two major markets of China and the Republic of Korea.
Notably, there have been mechanisms to eliminate the ‘knot’ as Vietnam exported fibre but imported fabric to serve production activities. It is imperative to find solutions to solve this problem as well as accomplish investment policies to develop weaving and dyeing factories in the future.
Tran Van Dinh, an official from Tra Ly Fibre Joint Stock Company in Thai Binh province, said that the company now has 71,000 spindles (annually producing around 14,000 tonnes of fibre), earning over VND660 billion in 2016. The company has to import 100% of materials, so it is forced to export its products to reinvest. If its products are sold in the domestic market, it will have to exchange foreign currency to import materials for production.
Although there have been several factories manufacturing materials for the textile and garment sector, the production in the country is still heavily reliant on imported material resource. Therefore, the important issue is to help enterprises take the initiative or guide them to reduce their dependence on imported materials as well as benefit from tariff preferences while fully meeting the rules of origin as Vietnam joins the free trade agreements with foreign countries such as EU, Japan and the RoK, in the near future.
Regarding this problem, General Director of the Vietnam National Textile and Garment Group (Vinatex), Le Tien Truong, emphasized that the rules of origin under the EU – Vietnam Free Trade Agreements (EVFTA) are based on the ‘fabric forward’ rule. If the garment enterprises do not take the initiative in developing fabric sources in Vietnam or the EU, they will be not be in a position to utilize opportunities. Instead, they will also face numerous challenges and risks as their customers transfer orders to enterprises that can be proactive in sewing and fabric sources.
In addition, if the enterprises cannot manufacture fabrics on their own to meet the rules of origin of the EU, enterprises will be entitled to tax reduction and forced to reduce costs of outsourcing, causing low profits and even loss.
In order to survive and develop, the Vietnamese textile and garment sector must device mechanisms to promote the supporting industry. In particular, it is essential to establish industrial clusters for manufacturing materials, ensure requirements for wastewater treatment in dyeing and kinds of environmental-related materials such as plating in manufacturing metal buttons. The relevant agencies also need to set out preferential policies related to land tax, VAT, income and tax exemption and reduction and capital for enterprises investing in industrial complexes for materials.
In addition, a fund for credit incentives and support should be launched for enterprises operating the mode of FOB (free on board) for orders with localization rate of 50% and over as well as those who are experimentally producing spare parts and materials and equipment in the production line of auxiliary products.
What’s happening in the retail banking market?
Many Vietnamese banks have reported high growth rates in retail banking in recent years.
VietinBank has reported high growth rates in the retail banking with the outstanding loans increasing by 2.5 times in 2015 compared with 2014 and by 35 percent in 2016 compared with 2015.
The capital mobilized by the bank by the end of 2016 increased by 21.2 percent compared with 2015, while retail turnover increased by 30 percent.
After the restructuring, Asia Commercial Bank (ACB) has regained its strength in the retail banking market. In 2016, its pretax profit increased by 27 percent compared with the year before to VND1.667 trillion.
According to the Saigon Securities Incorporated (SSI), ACB’s lending to individual clients in 2016 increased by 30 percent thanks to a large network and experienced workforce.
Analysts noted that the bank’s proportion in lending to individuals increased significantly (accounting for 53 percent of outstanding loans by the end of 2016, higher than the 49 percent by the end of 2015), while the loan-to-deposit ratio has improved (77 percent in 2016 vs 76 percent in 2015).
They also commented that the increased investment in technology helps Vietnamese banks well exploit the retail banking market. With large networks and modern technology, banks can provide diversified retail banking products which increase the revenue.
What are foreign banks doing?
In late 2014, HSBC Vietnam told the local press that it found retail banking was a stable and less risky sector which can bring high revenue. By 2015, the bank had for five consecutive years led the market in terms of card payment revenue, according to Visa.
However, the Number 1 position unexpectedly went to Vietcombank in 2016, while HSBC Vietnam fell into the third position.
The commercial banks which hold the biggest market share reported by VisaNet include many Vietnamese names - Vietcombank, Vietinbank, Military Bank, ACB and Techcombank. Meanwhile, two foreign names are Citibank and HSBC.
ANZ was recognized as the best retail bank in Vietnam in 2013. Some sources said ANZ is negotiating with partners on the transfer of its retail banking division. Three foreign banks and two Vietnamese banks have shown their interest in ANZ’s retail banking division.
The decision by ANZ could be a part of its plan to adjust business strategy. However, analysts commented that the Vietnamese retail banking market, where only 20 percent of the population has approached consumer finance services, is not as attractive as it may appear.
Kim Chi, VNN
Vietnam should not aim to become industrial power: economist
Vietnam should not continue to try to become an industrial power and instead should shift to developing agriculture and tourism, according to economist Le Xuan Nghia, head of the Business Development Institute (BDI).
Mr Le Xuan Nghia
Nghia, who was deputy chair of the National Finance Supervision Council, said:
“I have little hope that Vietnam would become an industrial power. That seems far-fetched. But it is very likely that Vietnam would become a great power in farm produce, and tourism thanks to its great advantages in the fields."
The fourth industrial revolution is expected to create big changes in the global economy. It is expected that robots will replace people in many works, which will reduce the labor cost to less than one-third of the current cost.
This would make it difficult to bring labor from the agriculture sector to the industrial sector in the future.
Nghia hopes that Vietnam may become a power in agricultural production and tourism with clear advantages in tropical farm produce and natural wonders.
In fact, developing hi-tech agriculture has been mentioned repeatedly by the government and experts in many recent conferences. The government has announced that a huge credit package worth VND100 trillion, the largest ever fund in the field, will be disbursed to help develop agriculture.
Commenting about the policies to develop agriculture, Hoang Trong Thuy, an agriculture expert, said the biggest problem in agriculture development is the management bodies’ thinking.
The policy ‘nguoi cay co ruong’ (all ploughmen must be given land) has always been the ruling motto in Vietnam in the last many years since Vietnam began land reform tens of years ago.
Not only impeding the transfer of agriculture land, the old thinking has made it impossible to capitalize land. No matter how large it is, land cannot serve as mortgage for bank loans.
As a result, businesses lack capital to expand their production. Meanwhile, banks cannot set higher prices for land prices because the state only considers land as a means of production.
“It is necessary to consider land as an input factor of production,” Thuy said, adding that since land is still not an input factor of production, it is being wasted.
Thuy said the land bank could be a good solution to help avoid the ineffective use of land. However, the tardiness in setting up the land bank is partially blamed on farmers, who try to keep agricultural land even though they have left and given up farming.
Mai Chi, VNN
BUSINESS IN BRIEF 9/4
Flow of FDI to HCM City up 56.7%
Ho Chi Minh City attracted US$574.71 million in foreign direct investment (FDI) in the first quarter of 2017, a year-on-year increase of 56.7%, according to the municipal Department of Planning and Investment.
The city granted investment certificates to 141 projects with a total investment of US$133 million and 42 existing projects with a combined capital of over US$89 million. Besides, it approved 401 foreign investors’ registration to contribute capital, purchase shares and buy back financial contributions from the city’s firms to the tune of US$352 million.
Malaysia topped the city’s FDI sources with over US$44 million (33.3% of the total), followed by Japan with US$29 million (22%) and the Netherlands with US$16 million (12%). Information and communications sector was the top sector, luring US$51.77 million, or 38.7%, as much as 3.1 times over the same period last year.
The municipal Planning and Investment Department has launched an online investment registration system for foreign investors who want to contribute capital to firms in the city. After five months of operation, the system received 432 documents. The second phase of the programme will include other procedures.
Regarding domestic investment, more than 7,900 new enterprises with a total registered capital of VND99.4 trillion (US$4.3 billion) were licensed by the city, up 14% and 61.7% respectively over corresponding figures last year.
Vietnam seeks to land spot in Argentina retail big leagues
In Argentina, the Coto Supermarket chain is one of the big retailers along with Disco, Jumbo and the French mega-chain Carrefour, where consumers can find cosmetics and home goods alongside groceries.
The Trade Office in Buenos Aires has recently disclosed that it is in negotiations with representatives of Coto hoping to land a supply contract to get Vietnamese goods on the shelves of the major retailer.
Vietnam’s top brewer Sabeco tops up profit goal for 2017
The company expects its annual sales to rise 3% against last year.
Vietnam's biggest brewer Sabeco is aiming to push sales to more than 1.7 billion liters this year, an increase of 3% against 2016, in a bid to raise its annual revenue by 9% to VND34.5 trillion (US$1.52 billion) and net profit by 1% to VND4.7 trillion (US$207 million).
The state-owned company also plans to raise its dividend payments from 30% to 35%, as agreed by its board of director.
Those targets will be put on the table at a shareholder meeting on April 18.
Company bosses said that price cuts on ingredients, a preferential tax policy on malt and stable market growth in rural areas, where Sabeco is the most competitive, are the reasons for the more positive targets.
Sabeco, known for the Bia Saigon and 333 brands, is also preparing for fiercer competition on the domestic market following Belgium’s Anheuser-Busch InBev entry into the Vietnamese market.
With the special consumption tax on beer and wine raised from 55% to 60% on January 1 this year, and set to climb to 65% in 2018, as well as a labeling regulation that's still under discussion, Sabeco is concerned that the at production cost for each beer bottle will be rise by VND200.
In its financial statement released last month, the brewer reported VND30.66 trillion in revenue last year, up 13% from 2015, and a profit of VND4.6 trillion (US$205 million), a 33% jump.
According to the Ho Chi Minh City Securities Corporation, Sabeco’s beer sales made up 43.3% of the domestic market share last year, a slight decrease compared to 43.9% of 2015. It predicted that the figure will edge up to 43.5% this year.
The trade ministry announced in August last year that it planned to sell its entire stake in Sabeco, according to a government report.
Under the plan, the ministry would have offered a 53.59% stake worth VND24.5 trillion (US$1 billion) in 2016 before Sabeco made its market debut, and the remaining 36% stake worth VND16 trillion (US$705 million) in 2017 after the listing.
However, due to delays, the trade ministry failed to sell its first Sabeco shares as planned.
Deputy Trade Minister Do Thang Hai told local media on Monday that over 641 million shares in Sabeco had been listed on HOSE on December 6 last year at a starting price of VND110,000 (US$4.85) per share.
As of April 3, prices stood at VND200,400 (US$8.8) per share.
Beer consumption in Vietnam rose 12% year-on-year to reach 3.8 billion liters in 2016, according to the trade ministry.
Vietnam is Asia’s third largest beer consumer by volume after China and Japan.
Industry experts expect annual growth of 4% to 5% over the next five years. The country’s annual beer output is forecast to hit 4.1 billion liters by 2020, according to government projections.
Vietnam proposes drastically increasing ‘environment tax’ on petrol
The Vietnamese government is drafting an amendment to the law on environmental protection tax, which includes a proposal to more than double the current tax on gasoline.
The bill, prepared by the Ministry of Finance, suggests lifting the maximum environmental protection tax on gasoline to VND8,000 per liter from the current VND3,000.
Higher tax rates for other fuel products, such as diesel and fuel oil, are also proposed in the draft amendment.
The finance ministry is scheduled to collect feedback for the bill in April and submit a final draft to government in May.
The government will then officially present the bill to the lawmaking National Assembly in June, which will assign various committees to appraise the draft before deciding its fate in October.
The environmental protection tax is intended to solicit resources from the public and increase state revenue in order to resolve environmental issues, according to the finance ministry.
The ministry revealed that revenue from this kind of tax has steadily increased, from VND11,160 billion (US$498.21 million) in 2012 to VND42,393 billion ($1.89 billion) in 2016.
The tax accounted for 1.5 percent to 4.1 percent of the state’s total budget collection, making up 0.3 percent to 0.9 percent of the country’s GDP.
With the tax rate for gasoline likely to more than double later this year, local consumers are worried that fuel prices will soon skyrocket.
A92 gasoline, the country’s most widely used fuel, currently sells for VND17,310 a liter under the VND3,000 environment tax.
Should the new tax rate be applied, the price would rise to more than VND22,000 a liter, according to analysts.
However, Ngo Tri Long, a price management expert, has said that VND8,000 a liter is only the proposed ceiling tax rate for gasoline, and that the finance ministry does not necessarily have to immediately apply it after it is approved.
Even so, the proposed ceiling rate is so high that it will surely impact consumers and the market in general, Long added.
Several regulatory bodies, including the foreign and justice ministries and the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry have also expressed concerns about the negative impact the new tax rate will have on the economy.
Long therefore suggested that the finance ministry focus on measures to reduce tax losses in the fuel sector, at a time when the state’s budget is suffering huge losses from smuggled fuel.
DVIZ targets green development
The Belgium government has always supported investment in projects in Viet Nam, especially support to further pursue green projects, Rudy Huygelen, chief of Cabinet, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and European Affairs of the Kingdom of Belgium, said.
Huygelen, attending the celebration to mark the 20th anniversary of the Dinh Vu Industrial Zone (DVIZ) and its success as the leading seaport industrial zone (IZ) in Viet Nam, held in the northern Hai Phong Port City on Wednesday, said the Deep C-DVIZ project was a symbol of the firm cooperation between Belgium and Viet Nam.
He said the project is “the largest investment of Belgium in Viet Nam, probably also one of the oldest, and maybe also be the one with the maximum impact on the Vietnamese economy and society.” Development of other expansion projects such as this and green energy projects have also been welcomed by both governments, he said.
Dinh Vu Industrial Zone Joint Stock Company, the company invested by Hai Phong People’s Committee, Rent-A-Port (Belgium) and Infra Asia Investment Hong Kong, has developed and manages the Deep C cluster.
“Partner Rent A Port has a proven track record as a pioneer in the development and exploitation of renewable energy in Europe and particularly Belgium, hence we are convinced we have the correct partners in Viet Nam and we are happy to see this partnership moving to the next level in addition to the development of industrial parks,” he said.
Set up on Dinh Vu Peninsula, a deserted area mainly used for fishery, DVIZ is different from other IZs as it started with no land, no power, no water supply and no access road; only with the vision of exploiting this premium and strategic location as the centre of a transportation hub.
“Over the last two decades, DVIZ has drawn US$3 billion investment from 70 multinational companies from Japan, Germany, the United States and Viet Nam, as well as Singapore and South Korea. Prominent investors include Bridgestone, JX Nippon Oil & Energy, Idemitsu and Shin-etsu, as well as Chevron, PVOil, IHI and Nippon Express, along with Yusen, Knauf, C.Steinweg and Flat Group. DVIZ has created more than 10,000 direct and 50,000 indirect jobs in the industrial service sector, contributing to the country’s rapid industrialisation,” Nguyen Van Tung, chairman of the municipal People’s Committee, said.
DVIZ created the precedent to confirm feasibility of building on the sea and has become the symbol for port and industrial development in Cat Hai-Lach Huyen, in which DVIZ/Deep C is also a major player. Expanding to south Dinh Vu (Deep C HP II) and Cat Hai (Deep C HP III next to Lach Huyen Deep Seaport), DVIZ is a good starting point for the Deep C Industrial Cluster of over 3,000ha at the centre of the city’s mega infrastructure, which is the most strategic location in north Viet Nam.
Taking the initiative for sustainable development of the city and the country, the main shareholder of the Deep C/DVIZ project is undertaking green energy projects, including green power generation from renewable energy sources, generation of water from the sea and generation of electrical energy from waste, which is today left unexploited.
On the same day, a number of co-operation MoUs were signed between Rent-A-Port and the city for “green” projects, including research on the development of a green industrial cluster in Hai Phong, research on green energy production supply to industrial zones and research on wind-powered water treatment in Cat Hai to supply 400 cu.m. per day clean water to 4,000 residents of the island in the beginning stage. This is a pioneering project in Hai Phong and can be duplicated in other provinces with water shortage. Both parties will partner to request for 4.5 million euros Official Development Assistant from the Belgian government to fund this project.
Another MoU was signed between Daiwa House Viet Nam and DVIZ stating co-operation in finding prospective investors for DVIZ and its expansion. Daiwa House is Japan’s largest firm in real estate and construction, while Daiwa House Viet Nam has operated since 2012. The co-operation promises increased presence and participation of Japanese investors in the city for its strategic development.
Q1: Binh Dinh province attracts 12 new projects
Central Binh Dinh Province has attracted 12 domestic and foreign investment projects to economic zones in the first quarter of the year, provincial People’s Committee Chairman Ho Quoc Dung said.
Good implementation of land clearance measures and investment promotion were responsible for this development, Dung said.
Notably, there are four projects investing in the Nhon Hoi Economic Zone with total capital of VND1.3 trillion (US$57.8 million), bringing the total number of projects in the zone to 55 so far, with total investment reaching VND36.6 trillion.
All industrial zones in the province have to date lured 228 projects with total registered capital worth VND11.1 trillion, of which 65 per cent has been disbursed.
Dũng added that the province’s construction and industrial production value in the first three month of the year increased by 8.95 per cent year-on-year to VND2.79 trillion.
The chairman said in the near future, the province would boost trade and investment promotion to encourage enterprises to invest in fields such as home furniture, seafood processing for export, textile and garment, and industrial feed processing.
Support to households, cooperatives and small and medium-sized enterprises to develop traditional handicraft would continue to further satisfy demand for export and consumption, he added.
HCM City market stabilisation programme a success
The market stabilisation programme for essential goods in HCM City has contributed to ensure social security and meet consumer demand, especially from low-income earners, over the last 15 years, according to city authorities.
Initiated in 2002, the programme aimed to stabilise prices of essential goods during festival seasons such as the Tết (Lunar New Year) holidays, when demand for these items usually increase sharply, said Tran Vinh Tuyen, deputy chairman of the HCM City People’s Committee.
From 2010, the programme was implemented throughout the year, and then expanded to stabilise prices of four commodity groups: food and foodstuffs, dairy products, essential drugs and school supplies from only food and foodstuffs in the initial stage.
Goods supply for the program is steady and abundant at reasonable prices and accounted for a large market share.
The program, therefore, has become an effective tool to stabilise the market, control inflation and ensure social security as well as contributing to the successful implementation of the Politburo Campaign “Vietnamese give priority to using Vietnamese goods” in the city, he said.
Capital allocation for the programme as well as the number of participating enterprises have increased significantly every year, from two enterprises in 2002 to 86 last year.
The programme also contributed to boost the development of trade and distribution infrastructure towards a modern society, according to a report from the city People’s Committee.
As of today, the city is home to 240 markets, 192 supermarkets, 41 trade centres, 900 convenient stores and more than 160,000 small general stores.
In addition, the number of outlets under the programme has also increased from 242 outlets, mainly located in inner city districts, to 10,552 points of sales covering all 24 districts, providing stable-priced goods to more consumers, including those in outlying districts and industrial and export processing zones.
Sharing his experience of more than 10 years in the programme, Trương Chí Thiện, director of Vinh Thanh Dat Company, which specialises in supplying poultry eggs, said the programme has created good opportunity for producers to access modern retail channels.
In addition, it also helped connect domestic firms to establish a wide distribution system, even in remote areas, he said.
Taking part in the programme since its inception, supermarket chain Saigon Co.op has invested in co-operatives, livestock breeders and farmers to ensure stable supply, hygiene and food safety for the products in its outlets.
After five years participating in the programme, Ho Quoc Nguyen, Central Group Vietnam’s PR director, which owns the Big C supermarket chain, said the programme’s biggest benefit is bringing trust to customers, especially on holidays and Tet when prices usually fluctuate strongly.
Big C will continue to participate in the programme in the coming years to enable more consumers in the city to benefit from the programme, he said.
Talking about the orientation of the programme until 2022, Nguyen Huynh Trang, deputy director of the city Department of Industry and Trade, said the programme will focus on improving market forecasts to help enterprises produce products on demand as well as mobilise all economic resources to participate in the programme.
Developing a commercial infrastructure, raising the efficiency of goods circulation, improving market management to prevent trade fraud and strengthening communication about the programme are among the tasks for the coming years, she said.
Textile, garment industry expo opens in HCM City with nearly 1,200 exhibitors
The Vietnam Saigon Textile and Garment Industry / Fabric and Garment Accessories Expo 2017 (Saigon Tex 2017) opened in HCM City on April 5, showcasing a wide range of latest machinery and equipment and feedstock for the textile and garment industry.
The 35,000sq.m expo has attracted nearly 1,200 exhibitors from 23 countries and territories, including Belgium, Canada, China, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, the UK, the US, and Viet Nam.
It will feature several seminars -- on increasing the value of Vietnamese textile and garment products, investment opportunities in the textile and footwear sector and trade barriers from the free trade agreement between the EU and Viet Nam, today’s global apparel and fashion market, and others.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Phan Chi Dung, director of the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s light industry department, said textile and garment is one of the country’s highest export earners.
The garment and textile industry earned US$28.5 billion from exports last year, a year-on-year increase of 5.2 per cent, with the US, the EU, Japan, and South Korea being the largest buyers.
But its value addition was low compared to its counterparts in other countries since enterprises mainly did sub-contracting work for foreign buyers, he said.
Another factor is that “we have not developed a supply chain for the industry,” he said.
Le Tien Truong, general director of the Viet Nam National Textile and Garment Group (Vinatex), said there is fierce competition in the global garment and textile market, which increasingly demands higher product quality, more competitive prices and faster delivery.
Vietnamese enterprises need to improve their competitiveness and invest in new technologies to improve their productivity and quality, reduce costs and at the same time reduce energy consumption and protect the environment, he said.
During the past 28 years as well as this year, the organisers of the exhibition have always striven to introduce new generations of machinery, equipment and technology as well as input materials and accessories for the industry, he said.
Dung said Saigon Tex 2017 would offer garment companies a gilt-edged chance to foster relations with foreign enterprises and explore investment opportunities, acquire technologies to increase local content in garment products and improve quality to meet the needs of local and international buyers.
This would add value to Vietnamese garment and textile products, contributing to the development of the industry, he said.
Organised by the Vinatex, VCCI Exhibition Service Co., Ltd, CP Hongkong Exhibition Organisation Co., Ltd and CP Vietnam Exhibition Organisation Co., Ltd, the exhibition at the Saigon Exhibition and Convention Centre will run until April 8.
HNX issues derivatives market rules
The Ha Noi Stock Exchange has issued its membership regulations for derivative market trading, which is scheduled to start operation in the second quarter of this year.
Pursuant to Decree 42/2015/ND-CP, dated July 1, 2015—which lays out the legal framework for trading derivative securities in Viet Nam—there are four types of members, including trading member (securities companies), special trading member (commercial banks), market maker and clearing members.
Only Vietnamese entities can become trading members.
To become a trading member, securities firms must be licensed by the State Securities Commission with a certificate of satisfaction of conditions for derivatives brokerage, while a commercial bank must have the central bank’s approval on investment in derivatives and be a member of the Government bond market of the stock exchange in order to be a special trading member.
It must not be in the process of a consolidation, merger or dissolution, it must not be under control or special control of any Vietnamese authority; and its operation must not be subject to suspension or temporary suspension. A firm also must meet requirements of charter capital, owner equity and business results.
In order to be a market maker—who is entitled to create a market for one or more derivatives on the basis of a contract with the stock exchange—securities firms or commercial banks must satisfy clearing member conditions.
Clearing member can clear and settle transactions for their own account and for its brokerage clients.
In addition, members must satisfy the stock exchange’s requirements on IT infrastructure and professional rules for derivatives trading.
On March 24, the Ha Noi Stock Exchange issued regulations on membership of the derivatives market, with detailed requirements on IT infrastructure and application procedures.
According to the new rules, securities companies and commercial banks need to have their IT infrastructure connected to the stock exchange and ensure connection with the stock exchange’s derivatives trading system.
They also must install software to serve registration procedures, transactions, settlement. Securities firms must have websites to disclose derivatives trading as well as information of companies.
For entities whose membership is terminated by the stock exchange, the time needed to re-register is two years in case of voluntary termination and three years in case of compulsory termination.
The regulation also stipulates rights and obligations of members. Securities firms have the right to receive the information provided under the contract signed with the stock exchange while banks can connect and perform transactions on the stock exchange’s trading system as well as use the services provided for special trading members.
Applicants to become market makers must test the function of listing prices and sign contracts with the stock exchange and register account for market makers.
In addition, the new regulations provide details on reporting regimes and disclosure requirements for each type of member, as well as settlement disputes and punishment for violations.
“With this regulation issue, legislation related to market members has been basically completed and ready to open its door for derivative market operation,” the northern stock exchange said in a statement.
After 16 years of operation, the domestic stock market has only stocks, bonds and fund certificates commonly traded. The establishment of derivatives market is expected to provide modern products for investors and boost the local market toward greater development.
80 VN firms participating in expo in Myanmar
More than 80 Vietnamese firms are participating today in the 2017 Viet Nam-Myanmar Trade-Service-Tourism Expo in Yangon City, Myanmar.
The firms are exhibiting products in processed food and agriculture, consumer utensils, textiles and garments, as well as electronics, footwear, chemicals and interior décor, along with pottery, handicrafts, construction materials, industrial machines and equipment.
Besides marketing Vietnamese products to Myanmar consumers, the firms also expect to find partners for setting up a distribution network in Myanmar.
Nguyen Tuan, deputy director of the HCM City Investment and Trade Promotion Centre (ITPC), the expo’s organiser, said a conference on sharing information and experiences in doing business and investment in Myanmar will be also held on the sidelines of the expo.
ITPC will also organise fact-finding trips for the Vietnamese firms to Myanmar’s construction materials supermarkets and Bago’s agriculture produce market.
The expo is on until Sunday.
According to the Viet Nam General Department of Customs, two-way trade turnover between Viet Nam and Myanmar last year rose 26 per cent against 2015 to US$548 million, of which Viet Nam’s export value was nearly $462 million, up 22 per cent against 2015.
A report from the Myanmar Department of Business Investment and Registration showed Viet Nam ranked seven among 49 nations and territories, with projects totalling registered capital of $2 billion invested in Myanmar.
D-AGROTECH 2017 to open in HCM City
Some 150 domestic and businesses will showcase organic products at an international exhibition on digital agriculture and organic products in Viet Nam.
D-AGROTECH 2017, a three-day event, will be held at the Phu Tho Indoor Sports Stadium, HCM City, from July 14 to 16.
The exhibition will have more than 200 booths on organic foods, materials, technologies on production and harvesting, as well as processing, preservation and distribution. It will be an opportunity for businesses to seek partners, develop markets and share experiences in digital agriculture.
The exhibition, organised by Asia Trade Fair and Business Promotion Holdings, is expected to attract over 50,000 visitors.
Vietnamobile continues to eye young customers
Vietnamobile Mobile Telecommunication JSC, now in its eighth year, is continuing to target young customers with a slew of programmes.
Elizabete Fong, its CEO, said during a media interaction in HCM City to mark the eighth anniversary, “With experience gained in many markets around the globe by the Hutchinson Group, our strategy is to enhance the user experience to meet their diverse needs."
She said new services such as Mobile TV, the high speed Youtube package, Voice 4 Teen, and a fun game called Drappy (using actual enhancement technology) that offers users prizes are being launched.
Besides, the company is also thanking loyal customers by giving VND888,000 worth of inter-network connections to 88 selected subscribers who have been using the service for eight years.
More than 500 selected stores nation-wide selling sim cards will also receive special gifts.
Following Vietnamobile’s conversion to a joint stock company with Hong Kong’s Hutchinson Group picking up a stake in October 2016, the company has seen many positive developments.
Vietnamobile has rapidly upgraded its 3G network coverage and quality nation-wide.
On Thursday it announced that its 3G services now cover 100 per cent of the central city of Da Nang.
HCM City supports newly-established businesses
The HCM City Tax Department on Wednesday officially launched a programme to support newly-established businesses and put into operation website http://www.hcmtax.gov.vn designed to support the businesses.
Trần Ngọc Tâm, director of the department, said this was one of the key tasks of the department in realising the Government’s Resolution No 35/NQ-CP, dated May 16, 2016, on support and development of enterprises.
The goal of the programme was to ensure newly-established businesses including startups did not face difficulties due to lack of tax information, he said.
The website is expected to serve as a channel to collect information related to tax problems that the enterprises experience, which will help improve the efficiency of State administration in taxation-related issues, Tâm added.
The programme will save time and costs for enterprises, save taxpayers a lot of trouble and minimise tax violations by providing information on tax policies, guidance on tax procedures and tax consultation on using e-invoices and online tax declaration and payment.
Ngô Tuấn Vũ, director of 247 Online Solutions Company, said if companies received detailed and clear guidance from tax authorities from the early days of their establishment, they would be certain of properly fulfilling their tax obligations, enabling them to focus resources on production and business.
The tax administration should continue to simplify administrative procedures, assisting firms from their start-up stage to contribute to overall economic development, Vũ said.
Sử Ngọc Anh, director of the municipal Department of Planning and Investment, emphasised that non-State enterprises would be the main source of economic growth in the future.
The Department of Planning and Investment has committed to prioritising and simplifying business establising procedures as a "birth certificate" for individuals and is implementing a "green door" mechanism to realise the commitment.
In the time ahead, the department will coordinate more harmoniously with tax authorities and business associations through the exchange of electronic information to create favourable conditions for the enterprises.
Starting April 5, the newly-established business support programme officially kicked off at the HCM City Tax Office and five tax offices at districts 1, 3, Tân Bình, Tân Phú and Bình Chánh.
It is expected that from now until the end of April 2017, the programme will be implemented in tax offices at all districts and communes in the city, so that businesses can visit any office for advice, information and consultations on issues related to tax procedures for free.
Mekong Delta has good economic governance
The Mekong Delta has been evaluated as a region having good economic governance since the Provincial Competitiveness Index (PCI) was first announced 12 years ago, heard a workshop.
The People’s Committee of Vinh Long province and the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) branch in Can Tho city held a workshop in Vinh Long on April 5 to analyse the PCI 2016 in the delta.
In 2016, Dong Thap ranked third nationwide in the PCI. Other localities such as Can Tho, An Giang, Ca Mau, Tien Giang, Ben Tre and Soc Trang also witnessed improvements.
Vinh Long, in particular, recorded 62.67 points in the PCI, ranking second out of the 13 Mekong Delta cities and provinces and rising from 19th to 6th sixth place nationwide.
According to Secretary of the provincial Vinh Long Party Committee Tran Van Ron, the province has focused on improving the investment climate and administrative reform.
Director of the VCCI Can Tho Vo Hung Dung said the PCI is an effective tool to manage the local economy because localities with PCI ranking improvements have seen better economic growth.
Head of VCCI Legal Department Dau Anh Tuan said the Mekong Delta performed well on the PCI due to easy access to land, quick administrative procedures, a fair business environment and proactive provincial leadership in solving problems for enterprises.
However, entrepreneurs expect the region to further improve labour quality and administrative procedures while increasing consultations with businesses to tackle difficulties, he said.
The Mekong Delta spans 40,576 sq. km and has 13 cities and provinces, namely Can Tho, An Giang, Ben Tre, Bac Lieu, Ca Mau, Dong Thap, Hau Giang, Kien Giang, Soc Trang, Long An, Tien Giang, Tra Vinh and Vinh Long.
Number of multi-level marketing businesses drop to half
The number of multi-level marketing businesses has halved to 37 by end of March, following Government crackdown over the past two years to ensure that they are operating correctly.
The Ministry of Industry and Trade has been closely monitoring multi-level marketing businesses across the country to prevent illegal operation.
The latest statistics with the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) shows that the licences of 15 multi-level marketing firms were revoked, while 12 others closed down themselves, and three others temporarily halted operations last year.
The number of people involved in multi-level sales total 637,637, a drop of 25 per cent compared to the end of 2015.
However, despite a significant decrease in the number of multi-level marketing firms and sales people, the sector’s revenue dropped by only 2.5 per cent to VNĐ7.8 trillion (US$346.7 million) in 2016.
The Competition Management Authority said this indicates that social responses towards illegal multi-level marketing do not have significant impact.
The revenues of multi-level marketing firms mainly came from sales of supplementary food (59 per cent) and cosmetics (24 per cent).
About 31 per cent of the total revenue was used for paying commissions. On average, each sales person earned just VNĐ3.8 million per year, the Competition Management Authority said.
Significantly, the returns of multi-level marketing firms were low, averaging 2.2 per cent, with more than 50 per cent of the firms reporting losses last year. The authority said these firms have not contributed much to the State budget.
It is difficult to determine the true value of multi-level marketing products as all transactions are made on the basis of an agreement between sellers and buyers, so the Government cannot intervene, the Competition Management Authority said. So consumers should be sensible and study products carefully before purchasing anything, it advised.
Since mid-2015, the MoIT has been closely monitoring multi-level marketing businesses across the country to prevent illegal operations and to maintain a healthy business environment in the sector.
HCM City metro projects short on capital
The two urban railway projects Ben Thanh-Suoi Tien and Ben Thanh-Tham Luong, which were in the portfolio of important projects receiving national budget funding of at least VND10 trillion ($438 million) each, are confronted with a shortage of capital.
Metro line 1 in trouble
A shortage of capital is the key problem of both Line 1 (Ben Thanh – Suoi Tien) and Line 2 (Ben Thanh – Tham Luong) urban railway projects.
The Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee is the developer responsible for the two projects.
At the Metro Ben Thanh-Suoi Tien project, the developer has been slow to pay contractors and may have to pay interest on late payment.
According to a report submitted to the Ministry of Transport at the beginning of March 2017 by Le Van Khoa, deputy chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee, the payments for four construction packages have been delayed since September 2016.
The reason is that the ODA capital provided for Ho Chi Minh City was only VND592.693 trillion ($26 million), a much lower amount compared to the VND1.95 trillion ($85.17 million) payable for the contractors.
To deal with the current shortage, Ho Chi Minh City had to withdraw VND600 billion ($26.3 million) from the city budget to pay in advance for the consulting companies and contractors.
With the current progress, although package No. 1a was started in November 17, 2016, the authority cannot pay the contractors as promised.
Accordingly, by February 15, 2017, Ho Chi Minh City’s Urban Railway Management Boardwould have to pay in advance the amount of VND571 billion ($25 million).
In case the developer fails to pay, the contract will be extended, which will result in numerous incurred additional expenses.
Khoa said that the estimated ODA capital for Metro Line 1 is VND2.119 trillion ($93 million) in 2017.
However, the project’s capital has not been added to the country’s plan on using ODA, which significantly affected the construction progress.
By the end of February 2017, package No. 1b, used for the constructions of the stations between Saigon Opera House and Ben Thanh, was 41 per cent completed, while package No. 2 toconstruct the 17.1-kilometre stretch plus depots between Ba Son and Binh Duong was 65 per cent completed.
Package No. 3 for the purchase of electromechanical equipment, locomotives, carriages, and railway tracks was 12 per cent completed.
In general, the total disbursement of the project is VND10.9 trillion ($477 million), of which VND9.712 trillion ($425 million) is sourced from ODA.
If the Japanese and Vietnamese contractors progress as scheduled, the total value of the completed parts in 2017 may reach VND5.320 trillion ($233 million).
“The project should receive more ODA. It is essential to ensure the project’s progress as committed, as well as to avoid other incurred expenses, late payment penalties, and lawsuits from foreign contractors,” said the report.
The 19.7-kilometre Ben Thanh-Suoi Tien Line goes through District 1 (Binh Thanh), District 2 (Thu Duc), District 9, and ends in Binh Duong Province (Di An District).
Of the total, the underground parts are 2.6 kilometres, and the overhead parts are 17.1 kilometres long.
The total investment after three adjustments has increased from VND14.415 trillion ($631 million) to VND47.325 trillion ($2.07 billion).
The construction of the overhead part has been on-going since August 2012.
The maximum speed along the line will be 80 kilometres per hour on the underground sections and 110 kilometres per hour on the bridge. It is forecasted to begin test runs in 2019 and be officially put into operation in 2020.
Metro Line 2 in a worse spot
Although Metro Line 1 is in slow progress, at least it has a forecasted launching period, while Line 2, which is also managed by Ho Chi Minh City’s Urban Railway Management Board, is struggling with investment adjustments and updating bid documents.
Accordingly, the total investment of Metro Ben Thanh-Tham Luong is proposed to be VND47.605 trillion ($2.152,36 million), an increase of 56.6 per cent compared to the initial planned investment in 2010.
The three biggest increases derive from land clearance, which rose from $119.38 million to $197.88 million; installation and purchase, which went from VND748.11 billion ($33 million) to VND1.198 trillion ($52 million); and reserves, which increased from $263 million to $368 million.
By the end of February 2017, after six years of construction works, the disbursement was only VND700 billion ($31 million), including VND572 billion ($25 million) of ODA capital, which is equivalent to three per cent of the expected sum total.
A representative of the Ho Chi Minh City Urban Railway Management Board admitted that implementation was slow compared to the promised schedule because the design has been adjusted.
Additionally, the different instructions issued by the sponsors and the Vietnamese government on picking contractors and the elongated time for collecting feedback from sponsors also contributed to the slow going.
As the most important Metro line in Ho Chi Minh City, the Ben Thanh-Tham Luong line will go from the new urban area Thu Thiem (District 2) and end in An Suong (District 12). It is forecasted that by 2025, it will handle 481,700 passengers a day.
Besides the sharp increase in capitalisation, the launch will be delayed to 2024, despite initial promises to complete works by the end of 2016, as specified in Decision No 4474/QD – UBND approved by the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee.
“The Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee should review the implementation progress of each package used in these projects and have appropriate solutions to avoid the extension of process, which may lead to an increase in total investment, administration, and interest expenses, exchange rate risks, and fluctuations in construction material prices,” an expert said.
Provinces on alert against H7N9 bird flu infections
The health ministry has asked all provincial health departments to take measures to prevent the avian influenza A(H7N9) virus from entering Viet Nam.
Customs staff supervises visitors through camera surveillance system at Huu Nghi Border gate in the northern province of Lang Son.
The ministry sent out instructions after the World Health Organisation (WHO) recently reported on the increasing number of human A(H7N9) virus infections in mainland China.
The ministry has asked provinces and cities to strengthen border quarantine activities and tighten supervision of visitors entering Viet Nam through border gates, especially those coming from areas where there have been bird flu outbreaks.
The people’s committees, especially of provinces and cities sharing borders with China, Cambodia and other high-risk regions, have been advised to take special care following the Government’s recent instruction number 427/CĐ-TTg.
Hospitals and medical stations have also been asked to collect samples from patients with severe pneumonia to enable early detection, isolation of patients and treatment.
The ministry has suggested that localities promote inspection and communication campaigns to strengthen awareness on preventing bird flu, especially in areas that share borders with China and Cambodia.
On April 5, 2017, the WHO reported 566 human Asian H7N9 virus infections during the fifth epidemic in China, bringing the total number of human H7N9 infections to 1,364 since the virus strain was first reported in China in March 2013.
During the epidemics, around 40 per cent of the people confirmed with the H7N9 virus infection, have died.
Exploring world of wonders in Vietnam’s Dong Van Karst Plateau
The road leading to Dong Van Karst Plateau in Ha Giang Province.
Dong Van has been acknowledged as an official member of the Global Geoparks Network (GGN), managed by the UNESCO’s Ecological and Earth Sciences Division, since 2010 thanks to its contribution to conserving the planet’s geological heritage and its support for sustainable research and development.
Eighty percent of the 2,346-square-kilometer geopark is limestone, the fossils of ancient inhabitants of Earth from 400-600 million years ago. The geopark has an average elevation of between 1,400 and 1,600 meters above sea level, according to the park’s GGN profile.
According to Dr. Vu Cao Minh, a professor of geotechnical engineering at the Hanoi University of Science and the former vice-president of the Institute of Geological Sciences, the karst plateau is much more than a spectacular tourist attraction.
Dong Van Karst Plateau in Ha Giang Province. Photo courtesy of Vietnam's Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism
In 2009, Dr. Minh led a group of his students on an excursion into the heart of the Dong Van Karst Plateau, which envelops most of the area around Meo Vac, Dong Van, Yen Minh and Quan Ba Districts in Ha Giang, the northernmost province of Vietnam that borders China.
“Dong Van Karst Plateau is an invaluable living resource and a textbook for any geology or geotechnical engineering student,” Dr. Minh said at the time. “It’s like an outdoor laboratory of geodynamics.”
Eight years later, the professor has just finished a research paper that aims to define the outstanding values of the land mass, and experiment with specific heritage elements for the promotion of geotourism there, a project he worked on with his colleagues between 2014 and 2016.
The area of special interest to the scientists is a ten-hectare area inside Dong Van, where evidence of multiple sea-dwelling species that lived 300 million years ago has been found, giving the area the name, ‘Lung Pu Land Ocean.’
“If we imagine ourselves standing here 300 million years ago, we would see in front of us a vast ocean home to various creatures and giant limestone columns in the shape of sails on the surface,” Dr. Minh said.
According to Dr. Minh, the area boasts the widest variety of fossils on the karst plateau and has the potential to be developed into a geotourism site showcasing Paleozoic fossils from the Permian and Carboniferous geologic periods.
“The fossils, combined with the natural limestone ‘forests,’ satisfy the requirements for science-based tourism,” Dr. Minh and the co-authors said in their research paper published in December.
Rock formations at Dong Van Karst Plateau in Ha Giang Province. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Dong Van Karst Plateau in Ha Giang Province. Photo: Tuoi Tre
(Youth) newspaper reporters followed the group of scientists to Dong Van earlier this year who returned to collect the final pieces of evidence for their announcement.
Trekking along narrow trails and climbing across dangerous rock formations, the group eventually arrived at the edge of a limestone forest in Ma Li Peng, a popular tourist attraction overlooking the Nho Que River, resembling a string of silk from above.
Entering deeper into the ‘forest,’ large columns of rock that tower up to fifteen meters high begin coming into view.
“This rock forest has the highest rock columns in Vietnam, and is among the highest in the world,” Dr. Minh said. “Their shapes are also intriguing, as their surfaces are covered with vein-like lines and dotted with brightly-colored patches. Some columns overlap one another, while others are shaped like animals.”
The beauty of these rock columns is in the eye of the beholder: some look at a column and see a mother holding hands with her daughter, while others may see it as the head of a lion.
From where these unique rock formations are found, one may catch sight of a small village of the ethnic Hmong people, who live more than 1,000 meters above sea level in the mountains of northern Vietnam.
In the commune of Khau Vai in Meo Vac District, rocks take the form of wild flowers, creating a magnificent ‘garden’ of rocks as far as the eye can see.
Rock formations in this area have been affected by the process of cavitation over hundreds of millions of years, carving through the columns to create intertwining shapes that resemble blooming flowers.
The 'rock garden' at Khau Vai Commune in Meo Vac District, Ha Giang Province. Photo: Ha Loc
At Thanh Ma Tung Village in Sa Phin Commune, the pyramid-shaped rocks rise up to 1,500 meters toward the mountains.
The site has long been popular with local travelers thanks to its breathtaking views, and rumors that the structures serve as ‘antennae’ that attract the energy of the universe, making standing next to them beneficial for one’s health.
“Living museums should be opened at multiple sites in Dong Van so that not only scientists but also residents and travelers can understand their value beyond their natural beauty,” said Assoc. Prof. Dr. Pham Van Luc, former president of the Vietnam Museum of Nature.
TUOI TRE NEWS
Speed up electronic toll collection: Transport Minister
Transport Minister Trương Quang Nghĩa has ordered haste on the installation of electronic toll collection (ETC) equipment in toll stations on major highways.
All project proposals to install ETC equipment must be submitted to his ministry before April 15, and relevant documents and contracts between the ETC installers and BOT (Build Operate Transfer) investors of the highways should be signed before April 30, he said.
Nghĩa said this applies in particular to the 28 toll stations that are to implement the technology in the first phase of the national project that will cover all stations by the end of 2020.
The latest order comes after tardy progress made thus far on upgrading the toll stations despite the project having been initiated by the ministry in 2015.
In the first phase, the ETC equipment will be installed at 28 toll stations on National Highway No 1 and the section that runs through the Central Highlands region of the Hồ Chí Minh Highway.
The ETC projects, which will collect toll by scanning cards installed in vehicles passing through toll gates, saving a lot of time, will be implemented on a Build-Own-Operate (BOO) basis.
Vũ Quang Lâm, general manager of the Việt Nam Electronic Toll Collection (VETC) Company – an investor and operator of ETC systems under the management of infrastructure developer Tasco, said that his company had installed the system in October 2016 at the Tư Nghĩa toll station in Quảng Ngãi Province.
However, the BOT investor has not allowed them to collect their fees, saying the system should be piloted for the first 6 months, he said.
In fact, VETC has installed ETC equipment in three stations, and the system works well with vehicles passing through toll gates at 30km per hour. However, the BOT investors have not allowed them to operate the systems, Lâm said.
He said the company plans to operate the technology in two to three toll stations per month and complete the 28 toll stations by the end of this year, he added.
In Decision No 07 issued last month, the Prime Minister has ordered that by the last day of December 2018, the ETC technology should be carried by all toll stations on National Highway No 1 as well as the section of Hồ Chí Minh Highway that runs through the Central Highlands region.
Contractors that build toll stations after January 1, 2019, must complete necessary procedures to hand them over to the BOT investors as soon as their quality inspections are completed, the Decision says.
It also mandates that the ETC equipment should be installed at these toll stations by December 31, 2019 at the latest.
“All investors must comply with the procedures that have been regulated to ensure synchronised implementation of ETC nationwide,” Nghĩa said.
It must also be ensured that the toll fees charged by ETC companies will not exceed that fixed by BOT investors, he added.
No limitations should be placed on the selection of technology providers, he said.
The ETC technology will be implemented on 1-2 lanes of the highways from 2016-2019 and on all lanes after 2019.
The transport ministry wants ETC systems installed at all toll stations nationwide by 2020, said Deputy Minister Nguyễn Hồng Trường. - VNS
Call for VND7trn to upgrade railways
Thai businesses struggle for power in Vietnam’s real estate market
The strong recovery of the real estate market has brought golden opportunities to Thai investors.
After M&A deals in the plastics sector, SCG Group has announced the takeover of VCM, a Vietnamese building material company, in a deal worth $156 million. Four years ago, SCG spent VND5 trillion to take over Prime Group, which was then a big tile manufacturer.
Other Thai conglomerates have also been eying Vietnamese building material companies. Siam City Cement (SCCC), the second largest cement manufacturer in Thailand, spent $580 million to acquire a 65 percent stake of LafargeHolcim Vietnam.
Most recently, Amata Group injected $600 million in industrial real estate projects in the southern province of Dong Nai.
Analysts commented that Thai businesses want to take shortcuts and enter Vietnam as quickly as they can. Besides the retail sector, Thais have shown their ambitions in the real estate sector.
According to the Foreign Investment Agency (FIA), Thai businesses have invested in 440 projects so far with total registered capital of $7.7 billion, ranking 10th out of 112 countries and territories with investments in Vietnam.
The construction and real estate sector was not mentioned among the favorite investment fields for Thais. However, many Thai tycoons have turned up in recent deals.
Even Charoen Pokphand Group (CP), well known in the agricultural sector, has also invested in Vietnam’s real estate. In early 2016, it announced the investment of $3.6 billion in Vietnam in the next five years, half of which will be poured into real estate projects and one retail chain.
The recent meeting between Probus Opportunities Mekong Fund, based in Thailand, and Hoang Quan Trade Consultancy & Real Estate JSC has been cited by analysts as proof showing that Thais are now eyeing Vietnam’s real estate sector.
In early 2016, KT ZMICO Securities had a working session with Hoang Quan on social housing projects.
According to CBRE Vietnam, a real estate consultancy firm, the Vietnam real estate market has strongly recovered from the 2008 global financial crisis, bringing great opportunities to attract foreign capital flow, including capital from Thailand.
Regarding SCG, analysts commented that it is the right time for the Thai conglomerate to buy Vietnam’s cement manufacturers as the latter are facing difficulties.
Cement is listed among the most polluting industries. The Quang Binh provincial authorities have released a decision on suspending the Van Ninh Cement Plant as it has discharged untreated dust and smoke to the environment.
SCG wants to implement its plan to conquer the real estate market in the time to come.
M. Ha, VNN
Aviation authority prepares for US FAA safety assessment
The Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAA) will co-operate with the US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) to conduct an assessment of CAA’s capacity to oversee safety in accordance with International Civil Aviation Organisation standards in May.
National carrier Vietnam Airlines last November asked the Ministry of Transport to allow it to open a direct route to the US by the end of 2018.
However, a prerequisite for the United States to consider approval is that the country’s aviation authority has reached CAT 1 rating.
The move is a preparation step for the FAA’s International Aviation Safety Assessment Programme, which is an attempt to appreciate the local aviation authority’s ability to adhere to standards and recommended practices for aircraft operations and maintenance.
The CAA last year set up a project on strengthening supervision capacity of aviation safety with the financial aid of US$0.56 million, funded by the US Trade and Development Agency.
The project, which is aimed at helping Viet Nam reach FAA’s Category 1 rating (CAT 1), focused on perfecting the CAA’s action plan on supporting vocational training on supervision and updating related regulations and legal documents.
If the local aviation authority is qualified for CAT 1, Vietnamese air carriers will be able to transport goods and passengers directly between Viet Nam and the United States.
Viet Nam currently has no direct route to the United States. National carrier Vietnam Airlines last November asked the Ministry of Transport to allow it to open a direct route to the US by the end of 2018.
However, a prerequisite for the United States to consider approval is that the country’s aviation authority has reached CAT 1 rating.
According to reports, some 689,000 passengers traveled between Viet Nam and the US in 2016, marking an average growth rate of 8.4 per cent per year in the 2010-16 period.
Japanese investors pour money into mid-end hotels
Anticipating a wave of travelers flocking from East Asia, many well-known Japanese brands have injected money into mid-end hotels in Vietnam.
Route Inn Group last week officially began running the 4-star Grandvrio Hotel in the central city of Da Nang. The VND400 billion is expected to start the movement of Japanese hoteliers coming to Vietnam.
Route Inn Group’s president Nagayama Katsutoshi said he plans to set up 50 hotel and resort complexes in Vietnam by 2025. It’s Grandvrio Ocean Resort Da Nang project will be inaugurated in mid-May, while one more project would be opened in 2018 in Hue City.
Nikkei Asian Review reported that Super Hotel, another Japanese hotel brand, has just opened hotels in two locations in Hanoi, while Kuretakeso opened the first hotel in Vietnam in 2016 and the second last February. Azumaya Hotel has had hotels on nine locations.
The mid-end hotel market segment in Vietnam has been developing rapidly with investments by many foreign developers, including Japanese. The investors can see the increased number of travelers, especially business travelers from East Asia.
The increased number of business travelers from Japan, China and South Korea is attributed to the number of small multinational companies and foreign company branches. There are also many foreign professional workers seeking job opportunities in Vietnam.
According to the General Statistics Office (GSO), travelers from these three countries made up 67 percent of total foreign travelers to Vietnam in 2016.
While new investments from large conglomerates such as South Korea's Samsung and Japanese automobile manufacturers have slowed down, about 340 Japanese investors in other business fields jumped into the Vietnamese market in 2016, an increase of 26 percent compared with the previous year.
A survey by JETRO found that 34 percent of Japanese businesses intend to expand their business in Vietnam. The trend of expanding business in Vietnam has been increasing for the second consecutive year.
Meanwhile, it is difficult for foreign workers to choose the places to stay where they are in Vietnam. They don’t have many choices of luxury hotels with the room rate of $200 per night or places with the room rate of below $30. Vietnam lacks hotel rooms with rates of $40-100, but the demand is extremely high.
Some travel firms noted that Japanese travelers tend to stay in hotels developed by investors from the country.
Design and Urban Development Consultancy Company, which is running an 8-story Super Hotel Candle in Hanoi, commented that Japanese travelers, the ones the hotel targets, tend to be more fastidious than travelers from other countries.
Thanh Lich, VNN
Social News 17/4
PM green lights two large-scale reservoirs
Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc has given the investment green light to building two large-scale reservoirs with capacities of nearly a million cu.m each..
The Đồng Mít Reservoir in the central province of Bình Định and Cánh Tạng Reservoir in the northern province of Hòa Bình aim to improve irrigation for agriculture production, improve water supply and living standards in the two provinces.
The Đồng Mít Reservoir, with a designed capacity of 89.8 million cu.m, will need an estimated VNĐ2.14 trillion (US$94.1 million) to build. It is expected to boost socio-economic development while improving the local ecosystem and environment in Bình Định’s four districts of An Lão, Hoài An, Hoài Nhơn and Phù Mỹ.
The construction of the reservoir is expected to be completed in 2021.
The Cánh Tạng Reservoir, constructed during 2017-2020, will have a designed capacity of 93 million cu.m, and need a total investment of over VNĐ3.1 trillion (roughly $136 million).
The project, located in Phú Yên Commune, Lạc Sơn District, will include the building of a river dam, a flood drainage gate and other supportive facilities for a water supply and sewage system.
The reservoir is expected to irrigate about 6,460ha of farmland in 17 communes of Hòa Bình’s Lạc Sơn and Yên Thủy districts, and supply water to the 200ha Lạc Thịnh Industrial Zone in Yên Thủy District.
It is also expected to provide dry season irrigation for 2,500ha in Thạch Thành District, Thanh Hóa Province
Officials said the reservoir would also help restructure the agricultural sector and improve living conditions of people in Hòa Bình’s Yên Thủy and Lạc Sơn districts, as also Thanh Hóa Province’s Thạch Thành District.
As a lower riparian country in the Mekong and Red River deltas, most dams and reservoirs in Việt Nam have been constructed for multiple purposes, including flood control, irrigation, hydropower, water supply and other flow management.
There are about 3,600 reservoirs of various sizes, of which less than 15 per cent are large or medium with capacities of a million cu.m or a height of more than 10 metres.
Siltation from degradation of watersheds is causing a decline in reservoir capacity – some with just 30 per cent of the original capacity remaining, according to a report by the Water Environment Partnership in Asia.
Project to develop Buôn Ma Thuột coffee benefits 15,000 farmers
A project to develop the Buôn Ma Thuột coffee brand is expected to benefit more than 15,000 farmers who live in a poor commune in the Central Highlands province of Đắk Lắk.
The three-year project, developed by the Đắk Lắk Province’s People’s Committee and the provincial Agriculture Extension Centre, aims to help farmers in Êa Tu Commune to replant thousands of old, unproductive trees.
Under the project, advanced technologies will be used in pilot production models while small farming households will be consolidated into a centralised farming area to improve coffee productivity in six villages and six hamlets in Êa Tu Commune.
According to Huỳnh Quốc Thích, deputy director of the province’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, coffee trees have been cultivated in Đắk Lắk Province for the last 100 years.
Most of the trees are more than 20 years old and produce low yields. The average life span for coffee trees is between 20 and 30 years.
Between 140,000 ha and 160,000 ha of trees need to be replaced in the next five to 10 years, a big challenge for the industry.
The industry is also facing other problems, including small-scale production, poor quality control and outdated processing technologies.
Ten years ago, coffee brought a prosperous life to millions of farmers in the province, but in recent years the productivity and quality of coffee beans have declined.
Coffee trees more than 20 years old account for 23.5 per cent of the area, and trees 15-20 years old nearly 35 per cent, according to the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
More than 92 per cent of the coffee trees have not adapted well to disease or to climate change.
In addition, intensive farming and improper use of fertilisers and pesticides have seriously affected soil quality in the province. Many farmers often water trees excessively, washing away nutrients needed for the plants.
Under the project, an agreement between Bình Điền Fertilizer Joint-Stock Company and Vinacafé Biên Hòa Joint-Stock Company, a member of the Masan Group Corp, was signed last month as part of the 6th Coffee Festival held in Buôn Ma Thuột City.
The agreement aims to assist local authorities to create a high-quality, productive coffee-growing area in Êa Tu Commune.
The two companies have been cooperating with the Central Highlands’ Agro-Forestry Scientific and Technical Institute to create linkages among farmers, scientists, businesses and the state in an aim to improve the Buôn Ma Thuột coffee brand.
Located in the northeast of Buôn Ma Thuột City in Đắk Lắk, Êa Tu Commune covers an area of 2,862 ha, of which the coffee plantation area accounts for 1,340 ha.
The commune has 3,617 households with 15,023 people, according to the province’s people’s committee.
The commune has 175 poor households. Their major income comes from agricultural production, mostly coffee cultivation.
Over the past 10 years, the country has exported 1.2-1.5 million tonnes of coffee annually.
Việt Nam ranks second in the world for coffee exports, following Brazil.
Fire flares again at garment factory
Fire flared up again at the Taiwanese Kwong Lun-Mekong garment factory in Cần Thơ City yesterday morning, fifteen days after an earlier fire. No casualties were reported.
Six fire trucks and some 50 firefighters were sent to the factory, where the fire was extinguished after 30 minutes.
The fire broke out at about 9am on the first floor, where dozens of workers were cleaning up from the earlier fire that burned from March 23-27.
Initial investigations show that the fire was caused by workers welding iron frames on the first floor, creating a fire that spread to cotton and feathers stored nearby.
The foreign-owned factory is located in the Trà Nóc Industrial Park, specialising in the manufacturing of garments.
A fire broke out at the factory on the morning of March 23, but was brought under control by firefighters that night, then flared up again on March 26. The fire destroyed one million dollars in materials, affecting hundreds of people and some 1,200 workers.
Job fair held for people with disabilities
Some 230 labourers have been hired for work and 340 for vocational training during a job fair for people with disabilities (PWD) held in Hà Nội yesterday.
Held on the occasion of the Vietnamese People with Disabilities Day (April 18), the event attracted some 1,000 participants and 61 enterprises, as well as members of the Hà Nội Disabled People Association and blind associations of the city’s districts.
Products made by disabled people were displayed and promoted at several booths at the fair.
Workshops on taking care of disabled people’s physical and mental health, on business models for disabled people, as well as on the national policies and regulations related to disabled people, were held at the fair.
Also, a festival was held in conjunction with the fair on the occasion of the 45th anniversary of the Hà Nội Blind Association.
Additionally, two collectives and 32 individuals were honored at the festival for their achievements in the fields of community service, production, arts and culture, study, and applied information technology.
Several activities were organised at the festival for participants to experience the life of blind people in order to encourage empathy from society for blind people, in particular, and disabled people, in general.
Hoàng Mạnh Cường, president of Đông Anh District’s blind association, said the festival had created opportunities for members of the association to connect with the community.
Each type of disabilities has its own particularity that requires further attention, study and understanding from society, in order to provide disabled people with proper care and support, he said.
City seeks approval to speed up bridge project
The chairman of HCM City’s People’s Committee, Nguyễn Thành Phong, is seeking approval from the Prime Minister for the construction of the Thủ Thiêm Bridge 4 project.
The city has proposed to carry out the project under a build-transfer (BT) model.
The city also asked for permission to select investors among Phát Đạt Corporation Real Estate, Investment Corporation 620, 168 Construction Development JSC, and Tân Thuận Industrial Promotion Company Limited (IPC) .
The 2.16km bridge, connecting Districts 2 and 7, would have six lanes, with a total investment of over VNĐ5,200 billion (US$2.29 billion).
Last year, the city asked the central Government for early implementation of the project, but was not granted permission.
Police indict members of fraud ring
Seven members of multi-level marketing firm Liên Kết Việt have been indicted by Hà Nội police for alleged fraudulent appropriation of assets.
Investigations into the case were completed yesterday.
Management board chairman Lê Xuân Giang, 46, general director Lê Văn Tú, 32, and deputy general director Nguyễn Thị Thủy, 47, are among the accused.
The remaining four accused are members of the business development team, including Trịnh Xuân Sáng, 42, Lê Thành Sơn, 29, Nguyễn Xuân Trường, 50, and Vũ Thị Hồng Dung, 42.
The seven were arrested in February 2016, accused of swindling some 67,000 people and appropriating a total VNĐ2 trillion (US$88.2 million).
Investigations show that Lê Xuân Giang paid investors a total of VNĐ1 trillion ($44 million), of which VNĐ870 billion ($38 million) was paid as commissions.
The remaining money was divided among the seven accused. Giang kept VNĐ871 billion ($38 million), Thủy kept VNĐ36 billion ($1.6 million), Tú kept VNĐ62 billion ($2.7 million).
The remaining four accused received some VNĐ4-16 billion ($176,000-706,000) each.
About 9,000 clients of the firm in 49 provinces were interviewed during investigations, the police said.
Most of the clients said they were tricked into believing that Liên Kết Việt and the BQP Medical Equipment Group Joint Stock Company – founded by Giang– were under the management of the Ministry of National Defence, and that Giang was a colonel in the army, the police added.
Liên Kết Việt was established in 2010 and obtained a multi-level marketing licence from the Ministry of Industry and Trade in 2014. It focused on marketing and trading products under a pyramid scheme.
From March 2014 to November 2015, with a variety of tricks which included forging a fake Certificate of Merit from the Prime Minister, the firm opened 34 branches and representative offices in 27 provinces and cities, recruiting thousands of clients, investors and sellers.
Fishing boat, 11 crew members rescued
A fishing vessel was found drifting 140 nautical miles off the coast of Đà Nẵng City at around 2.30am yesterday morning and all its 11 crew members rescued.
The boat, DNa 90369TS, suffered an engine breakdown and was cast adrift in the seas near Việt Nam’s Hoàng Sa (Paracels) Island on Thursday.
A rescue ship from the Regional Maritime Search and Rescue Co-ordination Centre No 2 (MRCC2) found the boat and towed it to safety yesterday evening.
The fishermen were in good health and taken home yesterday, officials said.
Mystery ship found
In other news, Colonel Lê Văn Phúc, commander of the city’s Border Guard force, said an investigative team has found that it was steel ship HP4054 that hit fishing vessel QNa 90191 last Saturday.
The vessel had four fishermen from Quảng Nam on board.
Phúc said the dredging ship, HP4054, had left the Tiên Sa Port on the evening of April 8 and collided with the fishing boat before sailing away to Vũng Áng Port in Hà Tĩnh Province.
Three of the fishermen on board were rescued by the border force, while the fourth swam to safety on his own.
The dredger has been escorted by the city’s border force from Vũng Áng Port to Đà Nẵng for further investigation.
Rabies at risk of spreading in Bắc Kạn
Rabies in the northern province of Bắc Kạn was at risk of spreading during the first two months of this year, the provincial people’s committee said on Friday.
According to reports of the provincial people’s committee, from January 6 to March 4 this year, 39 dogs and one buffalo died from rabies in Chợ Đồn, Bạch Thông, Ngân Sơn and Chợ Mới districts.
Seven out of the 39 dogs bit 11 residents.
The provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development asked the veterinary sub-department and local authorities to cull sick domestic animals and instruct locals to avoid transporting, trading and slaughtering dogs and cats. Domestic animals should be vaccinated against rabies, it added.
Earlier, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development asked the Vietvaco National Veterinary Joint-stock Company to support the province with 5,000 litres of Vetvaco-lodine, free-of-charge, to prevent rabies, which would otherwise cost some VNĐ735 million (US$32,600).
Exhibition on Hải Phòng opens in HCM City
An exhibition “Hải Phòng – Nơi Đầu Sóng” (Hải Phòng – The Wavefront) opened at the HCM City War Remnants Museum on Saturday to celebrate the 42nd anniversary of the Unification Day (April 30) and the 127th birthday of President Hồ Chí Minh (May 19).
The event, organised by the museum and the Hải Phòng Museum, showcases more than 200 photos and images and 70 objects of the port city of Hải Phòng from wartime to the present.
The first part of the exhibition includes images and objects focusing on the destruction of Hải Phòng during the American war of destruction against North Việt Nam from 1965 to 1972.
The second part features Hải Phòng soldiers and the people’s fight against the war and their post-war recovery.
Hải Phòng in the present day is the main theme of the last part of the exhibition, introducing the city’s outstanding natural landscapes, sea ports and tourism areas, and its development in economics, education and culture as well.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Nguyễn Văn Phương, director of the Hải Phòng Museum, said, “The exhibition aims to introduce local and foreign visitors, especially people in the South, to a brave Hải Phòng which overcame challenges and difficulties to get victory in the war against the enemy.”
“We are proud to show the great achievements of Hải Phòng in modernisation and industrialisation,” he added.
The event will close on June 30. The museum is located at 28 Võ Văn Tần Street in District 3.
Khánh Hoà beats HCM City 4-1, jump to third place
Zarour Chaher scored a double to help Sanna Khánh Hoà beat HCM City 4-2 in the last match of the V.League’s first leg yesterday.
Chaher opened the score at the 19th minute, before teammate Sadio Diao made it 2-0 six minutes later.
It was 3-0 for the visitors by the end of the first half when striker Lâm Ti Phông netted from a shot to the high far corner of goalkeeper Đinh Xuân Việt.
Sanna Khánh Hòa’s players were very happy after their third goal and loosened their focus, which led to HCM City’s goal by Victor Ormazabal in the remaining time.
HCM City tried to fight back in the second half, but their attempts were not sharp enough to break Sanna Khánh Hoà’s defence.
While the forwards worked ineffectively. the defence made mistake.
Former national Trương Đình Luật fouled Nguyễn Hoàng Quốc Chí in the box. A penalty was given to the visiting side and Chaher was successful, to finalise 4-1.
The win lengthens Sanna Khánh Hoà’s non-losing streak to eight and pushed them to the third position with 23 points, behind defending champions Hà Nội FC and FLC Thanh Hoá
HCM City maintain at No 9 with 15 points.
In the other game, former champions Becamex Bình Dương drew 2-2 with Hải Phòng, which seemed to have been an unexpected result for both sides.
Bình Dương, earning one more point, remains the third team from the bottom.
Hải Phòng failed to grab the leading role after the first leg and fell one step to No 4.
Bình Dương’s goals belonged to captain Nguyễn Anh Đức and Sunday Emmanuel.
Đức has scored seven goals and leads the national scoring chart.
Nguyễn Vũ Hoàng Dương and Anthony Stevens scored to claim one point for the Hải Phòng side, who were considered a stronger team this match.
In other matches during the 13th rounds, Thanh Hoá drew Sài Gòn 1-1; Long An found their first point after 11 losses in a row in a 1-1 draw with Quảng Nam; SHB Đà Nẵng was tied 2-2 by Cần Thơ; and Hoàng Anh Gia Lai ended their losing streak with a 2-2 score in a match versus Quảng Ninh Coal.
Teams will have about two months to rest before returning for the second leg. During this time, young players are called up by the U20 team will take part in the World Cup in South Korea. — VNS
Cường wins race around Pleiku City
Phạm Quốc Cường of Domesco Đồng Tháp won the eighth stage of the HCM City Television Cycling Tournament yesterday.
The 23-year-old cyclist rode 30 laps around Pleiku City of Gia Lai Province with a time of 50.37min, leaving behind veteran teammate Nguyễn Tấn Hoài and national team member Trịnh Đức Tâm of Gạo Hạt Ngọc Trời An Giang.
The result of this stage, however, is not counted in the tournament’s official ranking.
The next stage is from Pleiku to đi Konplong District of Kon Tum Province in a 100 km. route. In this stage, athletes will need to overcome the 12km Măng Đen Pass. The winner will be named the King of The Mountain.
Vinh, Châu win first place at national chess tournament
Grandmaster (GM) Bùi Vinh topped the National Chess Championship’s first round yesterday in Hà Nội.
Vinh walked away after his rival, Dương Thượng Công of the Army, retired because of an illness.
The host master will next play Tống Thái Hùng of HCM City, who pocketed a surprising win over International Master (IM) Nguyễn Văn Huy.
No 1 seed Trần Tuấn Minh, who has just been granted GM title, defeated Lê Hữu Thái of Lâm Đồng yesterday. Minh stands at No 4 and will play teammate IM Tô Nhật Minh in an all-Hanoian match.
On the women’s side, Ngô Ngọc Châu of the Army won the first position. She was followed by Women’s GM Hoàng Thị Bảo Trâm of HCM City and IM Phạm Lê Thảo Nguyên of Cần Thơ.
The national championship, which kicked off yesterday, attracted nearly 100 athletes from 16 cities and provinces.
They will compete in an 11-match system in standard, blitz and rapid chess events.
The tournament is scheduled to close on April 27.
Vietnamese student union in France holds 7th congress
The Union of Vietnamese Students in France (UEVF) held its 7th Congress at the Embassy of Vietnam in Paris to review its performance from 2015-2017 and elect a new executive board to represent about 6,500 Vietnamese students across France for the next two years.
The congress took place on April 15, with celebrations for the 42nd anniversary of the liberation of southern Vietnam and national reunification (April 30) fast approaching.
Addressing the event, UEVF executive board member Pham Nhat Minh gave attendees an overview of what the union have done over the past two years, including hosting a festival for Vietnamese people in Europe (Festival Lumos) in August last year that attracted nearly 10 overseas Vietnamese student associations from European countries.
The UEVF also worked with the Vietnamese Embassy to organise the Study in France Forum in Hanoi, HCM City, Hue and Da Nang and partnered with the General Union of Vietnamese in France to hold celebrations for Tet holiday, Minh said.
He added that it also held exhibitions on Vietnam’s sea and islands, a beauty pageant for young Vietnamese girls studying in France and several concerts and sporting events.
He later detailed the UEVF plan for the 2017-2019 term.
Speaking at the event, Vietnamese Ambassador Nguyen Ngoc Son lauded the achievements of the union since it was launched 13 years ago. He spoke highly of its contributions to building a Vietnamese community in France and to promoting Vietnam’s image overseas.
The congress voted Nguyen Minh Duc as the new UEVF president and selected five others as members of the union’s Standing Committee.
Kien Giang develops irrigation system
The Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang is paying heed to the development of an irrigation system to cope with climate change, Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Mai Anh Nhin has said.
From now to 2020, the province will focus on investment to build irrigation works to control salinity levels from Ba Hon in Kien Luong district to Tieu Dua in An Minh district, as well as ensure water for 800,000 hectares of rice, over 4,000 hectares of other rotating crops growing on rice land and more than 221,500 hectares of aquaculture.
It needs some 3.8 trillion VND (167.4 million USD) from the central budget development investment capital, official development assistance for the national target programme to cope with climate change and promote green growth and local corresponding capital.
The provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development will pour over 900 billion VND (39.6 million USD) into controlling salinity in An Bien – An Minh sea dyke.
Nearly 1.95 trillion VND (85.9 million USD) will be spent on upgrading irrigation systems to prevent saltwater intrusion and preserve fresh water for agricultural production at the Long Xuyen quadrangle, the eastern Hau river and U Minh Thuong National Park.
Authorities also called for central budget investment in building Cai Lon and Cai Be sewage treatment systems.
The irrigation facilities will help Kien Giang shift to growing climate change adaptive crops and animals, and develop a sustainable and environmentally-friendly agriculture.
Efforts to get 30 million people covered by social insurance
Vietnam aims to have of its workforce covered by social insurance by 2020. To achieve this target, policies are needed to increase the number of insurees.
13 million workers in Vietnam are currently covered by compulsory social insurance and 200,000 more are covered by voluntary insurance.
Vietnam’s total workforce is projected to be 60 million by 2020, half of whom will have social insurance.
But to increase the number of insured from 13 million to 30 million will be a real challenge, said Doan Mau Diep, Deputy Minister of Labor, Invalids, and Social Affairs.
He said, "Under the 2014 Social Insurance Law, social insurance is compulsory with labor contracts of more than a month. Currently, 60% of Vietnam’s workforce works in unstructured sectors and sectors that lack formal labor relations. This law encourages those workers to voluntarily obtain social insurance.”
In the near future, a number of incentives will be implemented to make it easier for workers with compulsory insurance and those who don’t have labor contracts to obtain voluntary insurance.
The Vietnam Social Insurance Department has increased communications to address the problems of discontinued and delayed contributions.
Deputy Minister Doan Mau Diep said, “The 2014 Law on Social Insurance allows the Vietnam Social Insurance Department to establish and inspect collections for social insurance.”
The expansion of voluntary social insurance is expected to attract more than 40 million customers. Changes concerning insurers, contribution methods, and benefit mechanisms have been made to fine-tune incentives. These regulations will come into force in 2018.
Grandpa walks the length of Vietnam
In Vietnam, a trip across the country is a dream for many young people. When it comes to this trans-Vietnam trip, most youths turn to motorbikes, but some even take bicycles.
Now meet 64-year-old Tran Ngoc Cong. He decided to up the ante by walking.
Cong began his adventure on February 2 after testing himself with a six-day, 170km (105 miles) walk from Huu Nghi Border Gate in the northern province of Lang Son to his home in the capital early this year.
His family disapproved of his plan at first, but the determined grandfather would not take no for an answer.
For the past two months, the old man has been walking 30km every day in all kinds of weather on his journey of self-discovery.
Cong said he spends approximately VND300,000 (US$13.2) per day and always carries fresh water, hats and raincoats.
Most of his journey has taken him down National Highway 1, but he sometimes follows Google Maps to stroll along picturesque seaside roads.
“Young people trek, climb mountains and even cross Vietnam on bicycles. I chose to walk from north to south to make the most of my trip,” the old man said.
Having already visited several different countries, Cong said there are still many beautiful places in Vietnam that he wanted to see. He said he does not regret his decision because it has given him many memorable experiences like any other “normal” tourists, such as visiting museums and natural heritage sites, or spending the night in Hoi An and having a mud-bath in Nha Trang.
The image of an old man walking alone on the streets has made local people curious. Some even stop to offer him a lift or a place to stay for the night.
“Around 39 people have offered me a free ride. Two young people even thought that I didn't have money and insisted on giving some for a bus fare,” Cong recalls.
Sometimes he had to lie and say he was undergoing treatment that requires him to walk 30km each day so that people would let him continue his trip.
He also ran into bad people. On the Co Ma Pass in the central province of Khanh Hoa, a young man drove up to him on a motorbike intending to rob him.
Cong gave him his old backpack, which had some clothes and a bottle of water inside. It made the robber think that I had mental health issues and was just wandering around,” he said.
Given all ups and downs of his journey, Cong has finally reached the finish line in Ca Mau Province in mid-April as scheduled.
For him, the support he received from family, friends and strangers is the most valuable thing he got out of the adventure, which many would consider too risky for an old man.
Off-site citation to be imposed on expressway linking Saigon, Dong Nai
CCTV footage of traffic violations on the Ho Chi Minh City - Long Thanh - Dau Giay Expressway in southern Vietnam will be provided to local police for off-site citation starting May 1.
The plan was announced by Vietnam Expressway Services Engineering (VECE), a joint stock company in charge of operating the expressway, which connects Ho Chi Minh City with neighboring Dong Nai Province.
The 55-kilometer expressway runs from the southern metropolis through Long Thanh Town in Dong Nai Province before reaching its end at Dau Giay Town in the same province.
The VND20.63 trillion (US$920.98 million) expressway was built over a period of six years, completed in August 2015.
According to VECE, starting May 1 it will provide relevant authorities with images and footage collected from surveillance cameras installed along the expressway for penalizing traffic violators.
Violations including wrong-way driving, parking or stopping in undesignated areas, speeding, overloading and littering on the expressway will be submitted to authorities for review, VECE said in its announcement on April 15.
The company is also looking to publish images of violating vehicles that have been confirmed by relevant authorities on media platforms to inform citizens against such violations.
Nguyen Thi Hoai Phuong, deputy director of VECE, said the move was aimed at ensuring obedience of traffic regulations on the expressway, thereby improving its safety records and service quality.
Last month, a smart control center incorporating an intelligent transportation system (ITS) was launched, providing 24/7 surveillance over the southern expressway with its system of 68 cameras connected to monitors at the center via a closed circuit.
Traditional Musical Instrumentalist and Ensemble Festival opens
The Traditional Musical Instrumentalist and Ensemble Festival 2017 opened in Thanh Hoa city, the central province of Thanh Hoa on April 15.
The event features the participation of over 900 artists and actors from 35 public art units, music academies, conservatories, institutions of cultural and art training across the country.
Scheduled to run until April 23, the festival offers audience members an opportunity to enjoy 80 traditional musical instruments performances at some 35 shows.
The festival aims to popularise and promote values of national music, especially Vietnam’s traditional musical instruments, such as string instruments, wind instruments and percussion.
The Traditional Musical Instrumentalist and Ensemble Festival is part of cultural activities to celebrate the cultural day of ethnic groups in Vietnam.
The ethnic culture day is held annually to preserve and promote traditional cultural values of the country’s 54 ethnic groups. It also helps consolidate solidarity, attract tourists and popularise cultural heritages.
Bamboo and rattan weaving honoured at Hanoi ‘s Old Quarter
A wide variety of bamboo and rattan weaving products from Phu Vinh village, Chuong My district, Hanoi, are being displayed at a programme which began on April 14 at Kim Ngan Temple in Hang Bac Street, Hoan Kiem District.
Kim Ngan Temple was transformed into an installation arts space, with various products made from bamboo and rattan, including lanterns, paintings, vases, baskets, tables, chairs and decorative boats. They were weaved by talented bamboo and rattan weavers in Phu Vinh trade village.
In addition, visitors to the exhibition can find information introducing the handicraft of bamboo and rattan weaving in Phu Vinh village, from its origin, tools, techniques and outstanding artisans.
Notably, artisan Nguyen Van Trung, who has spent his whole life working as a bamboo and rattan weaver, will perform different stages of bamboo and rattan weaving.
In addition, he will talk about the history of the craft as well as his passion for preserving this traditional handicraft.
Phu Vinh bamboo and rattan weaving village is one of many well-known traditional trade villages in Hanoi with a history of nearly 400 years. It was officially recognised as a traditional trade village in 2002.
With their creativity and skillful hands, Phu Vinh artisans have created hundreds of different weaving techniques to make highly attractive products that have been sold widely on both domestic and foreign markets.
The programme honouring Phu Vinh bamboo and rattan weaving products and artisans is expected to help promote the capital’s traditional cultural values to Vietnamese people as well as international friends.
The programme will run until May 7.
Film month celebrates National Tourism Year 2017
A film month marking the ‘Lao Cai - Northwest National Tourism Year’ 2017 will take place nationwide from April 25 to May 23.
The film month will also celebrate major holidays such as Liberation Day (April 30) and International Labour Day (May 1) and President Ho Chi Minh’s birthday (May 19).
The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism assigned Cinema Department coordinating with Nam Phuong (Hongngat Film) Media Company Limited, Thien Ngan Film Joint Stock Company, Central Science and Documentary Film Company Limited, Department of Culture and Sports, Department of Culture, and Sports, Cinema Companies and Film Distribution and Screening Centre of provinces and cities.
The films including ‘Bien cuong’ (Boder), ‘Toi thay hoa vang tren co xanh’ (Yellow Flowers on the Green Grass), ‘Tren dinh A Mu Sung’ (On top of A Mu Sung), ‘Quay phim chien truong’ (Filming the battleground).
The 2017 National Tourism Year, themed ‘Northwestern Colours’, aims to attract more local and foreign investors to the northwestern region.
The region will focus on eight typical tourism products, including community-based tourism, terraced rice fields, flower seasons and mountain trekking. The region has 12 areas reserved for development under the national strategy on tourism development in the period through 2020, including the Dong Van Karst Plateau, the Ban Gioc Waterfall, Mau Son Mountain, Ba Be Lake, Tan Trao, Dien Bien and Hoa Binh Reservoir.
Four national tourist attractions that feature in the strategy are Lao Cai city (Lao Cai province), Pac Po historical site (Cao Bang province), Lang Son city (Lang Son province), and Mai Chau district (Hoa Binh province). The northwest region comprises eight provinces, namely Dien Bien, Ha Giang, Lao Cai, Yen Bai, Hoa Binh, Lai Chau, Son La and Phu Tho.
Thousands flock to Trang An festival in Ninh Binh
Thousands of people and visitors flocked to the 2017 Trang An Traditional Festival which officially kicked off on April 15 at Suoi Tien temple under the Trang Tan ecological tourism area in Ninh Binh province.
The festival is held annually to celebrate Saint Quy Minh Dai Vuong, a general under the reign of the 18th Hung King.
During the two-day festival, numerous rituals imbued with cultural identities of the ancient city of Hoa Lu (now Ninh Binh province) were held, including boat and palanquin processions and a dragon dance on the river.
A wide variety of cultural and arts activities of 11 provinces and cities, including performances of folk songs which were recognised as intangible cultural heritages of humanity such as Quan ho (love duet), Xoan (a special art form in Phu Tho province), and Nha nhac cung dinh Hue (Hue royal Court Music), will be the highlight of the event.
Visitors to the festival will have a chance to enjoy specialties of the province and several other localities. Furthermore, the setting of the Hollywood blockbuster ‘Kong: Skull Island’ was reproduced at the ecological tourism complex and is open free-of-charge to visitors.
The festival is one of practical activities to celebrate the country’s major events in 2017 as well as promote the image of the land and people of Vietnam, including Ninh Binh province, to international friends.
Addressing the opening ceremony, Vice Chairman of Ninh Binh provincial People’s Committee Nguyen Ngoc Thach said that Trang An Festival aims to educate the public on the patriotic tradition and the spirit of great national unity among people, particularly younger generations.
The event is also an opportunity to pray for a peaceful country and prosperous people, fair winds and good crops.
51 outstanding ethnic minority youth honored
The Youth Union in Ho Chi Minh City yesterday honored 51 outstanding ethnic minority young people at an ethnic culture festival which celebrates the diverse culture of ethnic groups.
51 ethnic minority young people are those who studied well and greatly contributed to the movements of Youth Communist Union and charity activities.
At the festival, over 1,000 youths watched photos of 54 ethnic groups in the country; enjoyed musical performances of folk instruments and made traditional handicraft products and partook in folk games.
On the same day, the Union held a competition Olympic for Marx, Lenin subject and Ho Chi Minh ideology.
505 candidates from 85 teams of universities and colleges citiwide took part in the competition. It is scheduled the prize-giving ceremony will be held on May 18.
Candidates will compete on the subjects such as learning and following Uncle Ho example, basic principles of Marxist-Leninism, Ho Chi Minh ideology, the 10th and 12th Party resolution, matters relating to history, economy, culture of Vietnam and HCMC as well as the application of Marxist-Leninism and Ho Chi Minh ideology into reality.
Fire occurs in Kwong Lung – Meko Co. in Can Tho
Can Tho's Fire Prevention and Fighting Police Department said that a flame suddenly burnt inside Kwong Lung – Meko Company in Tra Noc industrial park at 9:45 am yesterday.
After receiving the information, the city Fire Department sent three fire trucks and 50 fire fighters to the scene. At 11am, the blaze was extinguished.
The functional agencies continue investigating reasons.
Accordingly, it seems the second consecutive fires happened in the Kwong Lung – Meko Company in recent two months.
Another fire occurred in Ho Chi Minh City this morning
A big flame suddenly burnt into a clothing unit at No.13 Nguyen Thai Hoc Street in Tan Phu district, Ho Chi Minh City at 5am today.
The flame quickly spread out 11 neighboring houses due to many clothing and the easy materials insides the place.
The local people moved property out of the scene.
After receiving the information, the functional forces and Fire Prevention and Fighting Police Department of Tan Phu district sent six fire trucks and firefighters to the scene.
By 6am, the functional forces extinguished the blaze. However, the flame burnt again and the firefighters continued praying water to extinguish the blaze.
The fire completely destroyed two houses and properties. Fortunately, nobody was hurt and killed in the fire. The case is under investigation.
Exhibition raises marine environmental awareness
An exhibition called “Altered Cloud II” aiming to raise the awareness of the community for the protection of the marine environment opened at Then Café in Hue City from April 15-28.
The project is a long journey of some giant kites that are flown in the areas damaged by garbage, including plastic bottles, plastic bags, and other types of waste.
The artists collaborated with local residents and kite artists in Hue City to create the kites from the garbage collected from those areas.
The project offers a new approach to marine pollution issue and a means of spreading knowledge on, and protecting, the marine environment in particular and the environment in general.
The display is one of the activities of the biennial Hue Traditional Craft Festival 2017 themed “The Quintessence of Vietnamese Crafts” that will be held in Hue, the capital city of Thua Thien-Hue Province on April 28-May 2.
30 year old dialysis patient gives birth safely
A women undergo regular hemodialysis for seven years gave birth safely several days ago.
30 year old Nguyen Thi Mo from the Northern Province of Thai Binh with renal disease for seven years came to Bach Mai Hospital in Hanoi for consultation when she got pregnant, said Dr. Nguyen Huu Dung, head of the hospital’s Hemodialysis Ward.
A meeting was convened which doctors discussed the case carefully and then the woman was hospitalized under doctors’ observation. When her pregnancy is 33 weeks, doctors performed a C section to take out the baby.
The mother and her baby were discharged.
A study carried out by a European center during past ten years in Belgium, Denmark, France and British showed that only 52 percent of neonates of 23 women who got pregnant while undergoing hemodialysis have chance to survive during the pregnancy.
Patient Nguyen Thi Mo is the third case who gives birth safely while undergoing hemodialysis in Bach Mai hospital.
Pregnancy in women with chronic renal insufficiency possesses much higher maternal and fetal morbidity and mortality when compared to women with normal renal function.
Bus ticket prices increase during national holidays
Bus ticket prices on the Reunification Day on April 30 and International Labor Day on May 1 will increase by about 40 percent higher than normal days since April 28, according to Director of the Mien Dong (Eastern) Bus Station in Ho Chi Minh City, Nguyen Ngoc Thua.
Accordingly, fares on bus routes from Ho Chi Minh City to Ba Ria-Vung Tau, Binh Duong, Binh Phuoc, Dong Nai will see a 30 percent jump; ticket prices on routes from HCM City to the central highlands provinces, Binh Thuan, Nha Trang will rise 40 percent.
Meanwhile coach fares on routes from Ho Chi Minh City to the Mekong Delta provinces, such as Tien Giang, Ben Tre, Can Tho, An Giang, Dong Thap and Kien Giang will increase from 20-40 percent.
Additionally, Saigon Railway Transportation Company will plan to add more trains from HCM City to Pha Thiet, Nha Trang and Quy Nhon on national holidays; and give a discount of 10-50 percent for students, the elderly and groups of 10 or more persons.
The national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines (VNA) will fly 175 additional flights on 8 local routes to meet increasing travel demand on the Reunification Day and International Labor Day.
The domestic routes to benefit from this program are from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to Da Nang, Nha Trang and Phu Quoc. VNA will operate additional flights from April 27 to May 3.
Air and train fares jump for upcoming holiday
Air and train ticket prices during the Reunification Day (April 30) and International Labor Day (May 1) holiday have soared due to high demand.
According to some ticketing websites, most ticket prices of flights from April 28 to April 30 have increased sharply. For example, Vietjet Air has hiked the fare for the Hanoi-Phu Quoc service on April 28 to more than VND3.1 million (exclusive of taxes and fees) from VND1.7 million on April 27. Meanwhile, tickets for Vietjet’s Hanoi-Phu Quoc flights on April 29 are fully booked.
Similarly, Vietnam Airlines charges VND3.3 million on April 28 on this same route, compared to more than VND1 million on April 27.
The price hike also applies to other routes such as Hanoi - Nha Trang, HCMC - Phu Quoc and HCMC - Danang.
Representatives of airlines said that due to high travel demand during the holiday, they have to add flights and increase ticket prices to offset their higher operating costs.
Meanwhile, train tickets from HCMC to tourist destinations like Nha Trang also recorded a strong increase. For example, the fare for the HCMC – Nha Trang route has edged up to VND216,000 from VND141,000, while the price of tickets on a sleeper carriage
has increased to VND482,000 from VND337,000 before the holiday.
Prices of bus tickets to other provinces such as Ba Ria-Vung Tau, Binh Duong, Dong Nai, Lam Dong and Quang Ngai during the holiday have also soared 30-40%.
In related news, Vietnam Airlines announced to add 175 one-way flights on eight domestic routes during the upcoming holiday, with a total supply of over 180,000 seats, up nearly 25% compared to ordinary days and 15 % over the same period last year.
Extra flights during the peak period from April 27 to May 3 mainly focus on routes from Hanoi and HCMC to tourism destinations such as Danang, Nha Trang and Phu Quoc. Vietnam Airlines adds over 100 flights for Hanoi/HCMC - Danang routes, 40 flights for Hanoi/HCMC - Phu Quoc routes and 18 flights for Hanoi/HCMC - Nha Trang routes.
Vietnamese arrivals to Taiwan up 90% in two months
Taiwan (China) received 47,000 Vietnamese people during the first two months of this year, up 90% against last year’s January-February period.
vietnamese arrivals to taiwan (china) up 90% in two months hinh 0 Half of the arrivals were holidaymakers and the rest came to Taiwan for study, work and business operations, said a representative from Taipei Tourism Bureau.
The number of Vietnamese nationals to Taiwan increased from 146,300 in 2015 to 196,600 people in 2016. However, the figure is still lower than regional countries like Malaysia (474,000 people), Singapore (407,200) and Indonesia (188,700).
According to Taipei Tourism Bureau, the growing number of Vietnamese arrivals to Taiwan is attributable to promotional campaigns and budget tours.
The bureau is set to launch more carry out advertisement programs in Ho Chi Minh City in September.
Social News 18/4
HCMC asks for Government permission to implement 36 anti-flooding projects
The HCMC People’s Committee has proposed the Ministry of Planning and Investment to submit the investment policy of 36 anti-flooding projects in the city to the Prime Minister with the total funds of VND9,936 billion (US$439 million).
The funds will be raised from State Capital Investment Corporation (SCIC), according to the proposal.
Besides the above projects the city needs VND73,057 billion ($3.21 billion) to implement a slew of other projects under the flooding mitigation program, said the committee.
Hot weather drives Saigon people into hospitals
The scorching sun in Ho Chi Minh City over the past week drove locals, especially kids and elderly people to hospitals.
The Children Hospital 1 admits around 6,000 kids suffering from respiratory, digestive problems and hand-foot-mouth.
The hospital was crowded with kids and their relatives on April 17. Patients were seen in stone chairs in front of doctors’ rooms and flower garden, lobbies.
Doctors warn that though diseases in hot season are not dangerous yet parents should not neglect or else it could lead to death.
Dr. Dinh Thach said that two most common diseases this season are respiratory infection and digestive disorders.
Respiratory illnesses are usually caused by different temperature between air-conditioned rooms and outside; therefore, parents should set room temperature properly. Moreover, parents should give kids with more water and keep the house clean.
Meantime, the Medicine University Hospital has seen the surge of patients from 4,000 to 5,800 people a day with most cases of digestion, blood pressure, heart problems and asthma. Meanwhile, the number of patients with mental illness increased in the Mental Disease Hospital leading to overcrowding.
Medical experts warned people not to go out in these days under the sun. Adults with hypertension must have enough water and measure on their blood pressure regularly.
Tropical depression weakens into low pressure zone
According to the latest weather news from the National Hydrology Meteorology Forecast Center, a tropical low depression was positioned at 14.8 degrees north latitude and 116 degrees east longitude, at around 460 kilometers of the southeastwards of the Paracel Islands in the early morning today.
The maximum wind near the center speeded up 40- 50 kilometers an hour.
The pressure is forecast moving the northwestward or the north- northeastwards in next 24 hours,, and after that it will be downgraded to a tropical depression zone.
By the early morning of April 19, it will be at 17.8 degrees north latitude and 116.5 degrees east longitude at 490 kilometers of the east northeastwards. The highest wind near the center will be below 40 kilometers.
In the following day, the damaged zone will be defined at 13.5- 18 degrees north latitude and 114 degrees east longitude.
Liver transplantation conducted on kids with cirrhosis
The Children Hospital No.2 in Ho Chi Minh City yesterday announced a successful liver transplantation for a 10 year old kid.
This is the eleventh liver transplantation carried out by hospital doctors.
The kid patient from Mekong delta province of Bac Lieu had been treated by Kasai's hepatic portoenterostomy operation before the transplantation. But later his illness developed into cirrhosis.
The donor is his mother. The operation lasted 12 hours because surgeons faced difficulties including much bleeding in the donor. His ectopic liver tissue is occasionally found either attached to the diaphragm and gallbladder. The kid suffered pleural effusions yet he was taken care of by doctors so his condition is stable later.
The donor and the recipient recovered. They will be discharged next week.
Operation consultant Professor Tran Dong A said that liver transplantation for kid under ten years old and alive donor is the most difficult technique because blood vessels are very small.
Vĩnh Long’s e-commerce website makes debut
The southern province of Vĩnh Long’s Department of Industry and Trade on Monday officially launched e-commerce platform www.trade.vinhlong.gov.vn.
The e-commerce website features images of the province’s localities, industries and their specialties and updated information of markets and legal documents, serving as a bridge to connect enterprises.
Enterprises seeking trade and business opportunities on the platform will have their own page to introduce themselves, the products and services that they provide and their discount policies offered to consumers.
According to the department, the website was built to support enterprises to access business and investment opportunities, help them save costs and trading time, thereby enabling them to efficiently increase their competitiveness, diversify consumer markets and make full use of the digital economy.
Phạm Tứ Phương, director of the department, said in the time ahead, the department would boost the application of e-commerce, disseminate legal documents related to e-commerce, provide public services online to businesses and focus on improving firms’ awareness of this kind of trading platform.
Meeting discusses anti-corruption work
Permanent members of the Central Steering Committee for Anti-Corruption convened a meeting in Hanoi on April 17 under the chair of Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, who is also head of the committee.
The members discussed and gave opinions to the progress, results, difficulties and obstacles regarding the investigation, prosecution and trial of cases under the supervision of the committee.
They agreed to complete the investigation, prosecution and trial of 12 cases that are under the supervision of the committee in 2017.
The permanent members requested authorised agencies to make greater efforts and enhance coordination to address difficulties and speed up the investigation, prosecution and trial of serious cases, focusing on three remainders out of the six cases mentioned in the notice No. 30-TB/BCDTW issued by the committee.
They also asked relevant agencies to further investigate the case at the PetroVietnam Construction Corporation (PVC), and pursue and extradite Trinh Xuan Thanh to serve the investigation and trial.
The participants agreed to establish eight working teams of the Central Steering Committee for Anti-Corruption to inspect and supervise the prosecution, investigation, and trial of complicated and serious corruption and economic cases of public concerns in 20 provinces and cities nationwide.
Concluding the meeting, Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong spoke highly of the recent efforts by relevant agencies as well as members of the Central Steering Committee for Anti-Corruption, which have brought in remarkable results.
However, there is much work to be done in the time ahead, requiring the closer coordination among authorised agencies, he noted.
At the meeting, the participants also agreed to assign Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh, deputy head of the committee, to participate in directing authorised agencies to settle a number of serious economic and corruption cases when requested.
Thua Thien – Hue: compensation effectively used
Most fishermen in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue have effectively used their compensation from last year’s Formosa-caused marine environmental incident.
Two batches of compensation, worth nearly 33 billion VND (1.45 million USD), have been distributed to 2,048 affected locals in Phong Dien district.
About 25 billion VND (1.1 million USD) is being provided to 800 people with seasonal jobs, 177 others fishing with small boats and 135 those who farm aquatic products.
In Phong Hai commune, 1,379 people have received compensation from the two batches, with the total amount exceeding 21 billion VND (924,000 million USD). Most of them bought fishing tools for offshore fishing. Some built tanks to farm eels, while other households invested in pig and poultry raising.
Meanwhile Phu Loc district is giving compensation of 149 billion VND (6.55 million USD) to 7,484 people. More than 2,000 people from Loc Vinh commune will receive 37.343 billion VND (1.65 million USD) from April 18-21, while 2,900 others from Lang Co town will receive about 57 billion VND (2.5 million USD) from April 25-29.
From April 3-15, 1,534 people from Vinh Hien commune received 27.688 billion VND (1.2 million USD).
On April 11-12, 90 people from Loc Tri commune received 5.058 billion VND (220,000 USD), 391 people from Vinh Hai commune received 6.225 billion VND (265,000 USD), 349 people from Loc Binh commune 6.670 billion VND (291,000 USD), and 217 from Vinh My commune 8.162 billion VND (360,000 USD).
Tran Ven from Loc Tri said he will use the compensation to repair ships and buy fishing tools and fuel for offshore fishing.
Children’s painting exhibition marks aerospace day
An exhibition of 65 aerospace paintings by Vietnamese children opened in Hanoi on April 17 to mark Russia Cosmonaut Day (April 12).
The event was held by the Russian Centre of Science and Culture in Vietnam, Hanoi Children’s Palace Arts and Culture and the Hanoi Union of Friendship Organisations.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, acting director of the Russian Centre of Science and Culture in Vietnam Natalya Shafinskaia stressed that it is necessary to ignite children’s passion for astrology to continue exploring space.
Children’s vivid imaginations were shown in the exhibition, she said, adding that outstanding paintings will be printed in a book called “way to the stars”.
At the event, documentary films about first woman in space Valentina Tereshkova and first Vietnamese in space Pham Tuan were screened.
The exhibition will run until April 21. Awards will be presented for the best paintings the same day.
Vietnamese, Cuban writers share experience
Vietnamese and Cuban writers met at an exchange held in Hanoi on April 17 on the occasion of a visit by a delegation of the Cuban Institute for Friendship with the Peoples.
Vice President of the Vietnamese Writers’ Association Nguyen Quang Thieu said that the visit by Cuban friends was a chance for Vietnamese and Cuban writers to meet and share experience.
It also offered an opportunity for Vietnamese writers to understand more about Cuba’s literature during the renewal process and express solidarity with the Cuban nation, people and literature.
At the event, Cuban writer and journalist Marta Rojas Rodrigues, author of the famous book titled “the south of Vietnam: strategic weapon is people”, talked about her book and the path that brought her to journalism, literature and Vietnam.
She affirmed that exchanges and meetings will tighten solidarity between the two countries’ writers and help them create more works about each other’s culture and people.
On this occasion, the Vietnamese Writers’ Association presented the English version of the historical-documentary novel “A War Account 1-2-3-4.75” of journalist-writer Tran Mai Hanh, who was awarded the Félix Elmuza Award from the Association of Cuban Journalists, to the Cuban delegation.
Vietnamese Ambassador to US greets Laos on traditional New Year
Vietnamese Ambassador to the US Pham Quang Vinh and his spouse extended their wishes to Lao Embassy’s diplomats and staff on their traditional New Year festival, Laos Boun Pi May.
During their meeting on April 14 at the Lao Embassy in Washington DC, the two ambassadors affirmed to further enhance coordination between the two embassies, contributing to stepping up solidarity and friendship between Vietnam and Laos.
They agreed that the two agencies will effectively cooperate with other ASEAN member nations’ embassies in the US in strengthening links with the host country, as well as in organising activities to celebrate the 40th founding anniversary of ASEAN-US relations, and the 50-year establishment of the group.
Ambassador Mai Sayvongs and his spouse conducted water splashing rituals to Ambassador Vinh and Vietnamese guest, wishing them a New Year of happiness, luckiness and success.
Poor ethnic minorities in Phu Yen aided to build houses
Five disadvantaged households of the ethnic minority group in Ea Bar and Ea Ba communes in the south central province of Phu Yen’s Song Hinh district have received a total grant of 200 million VND (8,810 USD) to build houses.
The financial assistance was handed over to the recipients by a delegation from the Steering Committee for the Central Highlands on April 17.
Deputy head of the committee Dieu K’re said the agency always pays attention to the lives of local ethnic minority people.
He asked the local authorities to deliver more support to the groups, particularly in restructuring farming models, escaping poverty, and preventing early marriage.
Dieu K’re stressed that Ea Bar and Ea Ba communes need to strengthen forest management, protection and development, especially upstream forests and forests between Phu Yen and Dak Lak provinces.
Thua Thien-Hue accelerates water environment improvement
The central province of Thua Thien-Hue is giving a push to a project to improve the water environment in the former imperial city of Hue, which has struggled to hit targets.
The 4.2 trillion VND (188.3 million USD) project, funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency, has six construction packages. However, only two have been completed. Four others are underway, however they should have been finished in 2016.
Further, construction work in 11 wards in the south of the Huong River has greatly impacted local livelihoods.
The provincial People’s Committee demanded more effective operation from the project’s management board. Contractors were asked to reset detailed progress for the project and to speed up package deals.
Stiff punishments will be given for any violations of contracts while difficulties must be tackled in a timely manner.
Construction units must pay attention to ensuring works’ quality, construction and traffic safety and environment hygiene. They were requested to work with Hue city People’s Committee, the local Department of Planning and Investment and relevant authorities to supervise the project.
The head of the project’s steering board was directed to work with contractors and banks during contract payments to ensure the capital is used for the right purposes.
Helping people with disabilities always policy priority
Helping people with disabilities integrate into the community has always been a priority in Vietnam’s policies towards this disadvantaged group, and the nation will continue to focus on this task in the 2016-2020 period.
Vietnam has around 7.2 million people with disabilities, accounting for 7.8 percent of the population, one of the high levels in Asia-the Pacific. More than half (58 percent) of the disabled population are women, 28.3 percent are children and 15 percent live in poverty, according to statistics in 2016 of the National Committee for People with Disabilities.
Following the previous Constitution, the 2013 Constitution continues to affirm that the State shall create equal opportunities for citizens to benefit from social welfare and adopt policies to support the elderly, people with disabilities, the poor and other disadvantaged groups (Article 59). Article 61 of the Constitution stipulates that the State shall create the conditions for the disabled and the poor to receive education and vocational training.
The legal system on people with disabilities has been constantly updated, notably the adoption of the Law on People with Disabilities in 2010 and the national blueprint on support for people with disabilities for 2012-2020 (Project 1019).
The National Assembly approved Vietnam’s accession to the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities on November 27, 2014, which reiterates the country’s commitment to protecting and enforcing the rights of the disabled.
More recently, a National Committee for People with Disabilities was established in January 2016 with the task of assisting the Prime Minister in instructing and coordinating the work of ministries, agencies and localities in issues relating to people with disabilities.
The enforcement of laws has helped raise awareness about the rights of people with disabilities in society in general and among the group in particular, and reduce social barriers, thus facilitating their integration into social life.
According to statistics of the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, around 900,000 people with disabilities are receiving monthly allowance. All centrally-governed cities and provinces have built rehabilitation facilities for the disabled. During 2011-2015, around 140,000 people with disabilities received vocational training and found jobs through State-sponsored programmes.
Activities supporting the disadvantaged group also receive warm response from the community. The Orphans and Disabled People Sponsorship Association has raised more than 2.5 trillion VND worth of donations and gifts for the target disadvantaged group during its 25-year operation. In addition, the association coordinated with relevant agencies and organisations to provide free treatment to more than 100,300 sight-impaired people and correcting surgery to about 17,500 patients.
Two Vietnamese sold as brides to China return home
Two young Vietnamese sold as brides to China have been rescued and returned home last week, South China Morning Post reported.
They had been sold to poor men in the coastal province of Shandong months ago before they were rescued by police and sent to Guangxi last week in order to be escorted back to Vietnam, the newspaper cited a state media report in China as saying.
One of them, 17, was abducted in November while attending a high school activity in Hoa Binh Province neighboring Hanoi, the report said.
A few days later, her father received a phone call from a man telling him to stop looking for his daughter and that she had been taken to China for sale.
Police in Vietnam then arrested a Vietnamese suspect and asked for help from their counterparts in China's Guangxi Province for help.
The schoolgirl was rescued in January. The other woman, 21, was rescued in March.
Many men in rural China have been paying traffickers for a foreign wife as they are either too poor or old to find one at home.
Vietnamese victims of human trafficking rose nearly 13% to 1,128 in 2016, according to official data.
They were sold to men seeking wives in China, Malaysia and South Korea, or just to bear children or work as prostitutes in these countries. Police only managed to rescue around half of them.
Bridgestone donates smart trash bins to HCM City
Bridgestone, a co-organizer of Earth Day (April 22) for the fourth consecutive year in a row, has announced it will donate 100 smart trash bins to Ho Chi Minh City as part of an effort to promote a cleaner environment.
Bridgestone Corporation is a multinational auto and truck parts manufacturer founded in 1931 in Japan.
It currently has more than 141 manufacturing facilities located in some 24 countries around the globe.
Bullet shortage, bureaucracy continue to haunt Vietnamese shooters
Hundreds of sporting shooters in Vietnam are continuing to practice without bullets despite a promise that ammunition would be re-stocked by the end of last year.
The earliest shipment of ammunition is not expected to arrive in Vietnam until May, ten months after a contractor won a bid to become the country’s official supplier of sporting ammunition.
The ammunition shortage has become a normal part of Vietnam’s sports shooting community over the past two years, with competitors losing count of how many national shooting championships have been held with athletes running around borrowing bullets from one another.
Beginning in December 2013, under a joint decree issued by the Ministry of Public Security and its sports counterpart, companies must go through a bidding process in order to supply sporting weapons in Vietnam.
In July 2016, a bid was won by the General Army of Economics and Technology (GAET), a corporate structure run by Vietnam’s Ministry of National Defense, which gave hope to local shooters that their thirst for ammunition would finally be quenched after two years of ‘air shooting’.
As of today however, their much needed bullets are still nowhere to be seen.
A GAET representative told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper that an order of ammunition could take between three months and two years to complete, as the process involved a lot of red tape given the ‘sensitive nature’ of the goods.
According to the representative, in 2016 GAET was approved to import up to VND43 billion (US$1.92 million) worth of sporting arms, which included rifles, pistols, bullets and skeets.
GAET had worked with the sporting authorities of 12 provinces shortly after it won the bid, he said, but only four of those arrived at successful supply contracts, worth a total of VND12 billion ($535,000).
The representative explained that, since the time GAET had won the bid, halfway through 2016, most local administrations had already completed their budget allocations for the year, and were therefore unable to spare any more for sporting ammunition.
Though administrations can apply for emergency budgets, he added, Vietnamese law requires that any purchase made outside of original budgets be finalized within the same year, which was not possible given that the shipment could take months to complete.
The biggest and most important shipment of 1.5 million bullets, weighing five metric tons, is scheduled to arrive in Vietnam next month, he said.
In August, Vietnamese shooters will be in Malaysia to compete with regional athletes at the 29th biennial Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games).
As the event nears, local shooters have become anxious that they would not be able to properly practice before the largest multi-sport event in Southeast Asia, after over two years without bullets.
Top shooters Hoang Xuan Vinh and Tran Quoc Cuong have already scheduled training programs in Germany, which will commence in May, as concern grows that they won’t be in the best possible shape for the Games.
According to GAET, since 2014, European ammunition exporters have had tighter controls placed upon them due to growing concerns over terrorism.
It can take up to 90 days for an application to export bullets and arms to be processed by European authorities, according to EU regulations.
Recent terror attacks in Europe have also prompted airlines to refuse the transportation of ammunition and explosives, or flammable shipments, which are categorized as dangerous goods.
Most shipments of ammunition must be transported by sea, which makes the waiting time even longer, the GAET representative explained.
HCM City to open 62 petrol stations on waterways
Of the 407 petrol stations to be opened in HCM City from now until 2030, 62 of them will be on boats on local waterways.
The new plan was approved and signed by the deputy chairman of HCM City People’s Committee, Trần Vĩnh Tuyến, after a previous decision about the matter became invalid.
Most of the new petrol stations will be located in outlying districts.
To develop river tourism, 62 stations will be located on boats in waterways along districts 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, Thủ Đức, Nhà Bè, Hóc Môn, Cần Giờ, Củ Chi and Bình Chánh.
On-land stations include 22 in District 2; 26 in District 12; 51 in Bình Chánh District; 53 in Củ Chi District; 21 in Cần Giờ District; 20 in Nhà Bè District, and 16 in Hóc Môn District, among others.
Around 106 petrol stations have already been closed, with 532 stations operating as of 2016, according to the Department of Industry and Trade.
Along with the new stations, there will be a total of 939 stations in HCM City by 2030.
The department said the volume of petrol consumption is expected to reach 2.35 million cu.m in 2020, 3.25 million cu.m in 2025, and 4.3 million cu.m in 2030.
More petrol stations are needed to meet demand resulting from an increase in population, it said.
Hoài wins stage of HCM City cycling event
Nguyễn Tấn Hoài won the ninth stage of the HCM City Television Cycling Tournament yesterday.
Hoài of Đồng Tháp won the 100km stage from Pleiku City to Konplông District in a time of 2:37.30.
Nguyễn Trường Tài of VUS-TP.HCM and Lê Ngọc Sơn of Gạo Hạt Ngọc Trời-An Giang were the runners-up.
Phan Hoàng Thái of Calytos Đồng Tháp holds the red jersey as king of mountain with eight points, followed him by Hoài with six points.
Nguyễn Văn Dương retained his yellow jersey for best overall time of 19:30.25 after nine stages. Nguyễn Quốc Bảo of Calytos Đồng Tháp and Nguyễn Minh Việt of BTV Đại Nam-Bình Dương are second and third, respectively.
The green jersey as best sprinter belonged to Lê Nguyệt Minh of HCM City with 45 points. Hoài and Huỳnh Thanh Tùng of the Military Zone 7 are second and third with 42 points and 41 points, respectively.
In the team rankings, the Military Zone 7 lead with a time of 58:38.15. Domesco Pharmacy Đồng Tháp and Bike Life ĐN follow the military team.
Today, cyclists will have a day off. Tomorrow, they will compete in the 10th stage from Ba Tơ District to Quảng Ngãi City lasting 86km.
National book festival to feature various activities
Vietnam Book Festival 2017, scheduled to open on April 20 at National Library of Vietnam, No. 31 Trang Thi Street, Hanoi, will feature various meaningful activities targeting readers of all ages.
The event is an activity to welcome Vietnam Book Day (April 21), the World Book and Copyright Day (April 23) and the 100th anniversary of the National Library of Vietnam.
The theme of the festival is "Book, Knowledge and Social Development". The festival aims to honour the value of books and reiterate their role and importance in society. The festival also intends to honour those who collect, compile, publish, print, distribute, preserve and disseminate books apart from encouraging the reading movement in the community.
It also aims to promote awareness on the significance and importance of reading for acquisition of knowledge, skills, development of thinking, education and personality development, while improving responsibility of relevant authorities and social organisations at all levels in the building and development of Vietnamese reading culture.
The festival features various activities, including an exhibition, "Book, Knowledge and Social Development" (April 20 to May 5), to introduce readers to materials on the essence of human knowledge; cultures and civilisations around the world formed on the development of knowledge; knowledge gained and Vietnam’s achievements in the areas of socio-economic, scientific and technological development, as well as education, healthcare security and defence.
An exchange of authors and works will be held on the morning of April 20. Participating speakers include historian Duong Trung Quoc and Nguyen Kiem, former director of Bureau of Publication under the Ministry of Information and Communications.
The speakers will introduce and discuss some of the typical works awarded by the Vietnam Publishing Association. Participants will also have chance to receive two return air tickets for Hanoi – the Europe route sponsored by Turkish Airlines.
In addition, several contests including an English storytelling contest and an author-and-book identifying competition will also be held on the opening day.
Within the framework of the event, the organisers call on and receive funding from agencies, organizations and individuals to support libraries in remote and difficult areas.
The event also features a book fair from April 20-23 with the participation of a number of publishers and bookstores, introducing thousands of books at preferential prices.
Ha Long – Quang Ninh tourism week to be held
The ‘Colourful Ha Long’ programme will replace the Carnaval Ha Long during the Ha Long – Quang Ninh Tourism Week 2017, which will be held from April 28 to May 7, in Quang Ninh province.
This was announced on April 17 by Deputy Director of the Quang Ninh provincial Tourism Department, Trinh Dang Thanh, at a press conference on the Ha Long – Quang Ninh Tourism Week 2017.
Organised by SunGroup, this year’s tourism week will feature a series of cultural, sports and tourism events in the two cities, such as the opening ceremony of 2017 Mong Cai Tourism Week, the 2017 Tuan Chau – Ha Long Asian Beach Volleyball Championship, and Quang Ninh provincial tennis tournament, in the province, Ha Long and Mong Cai.
The ‘Colourful Ha Long’ programme, highlight of the tourism week, is expected to be held at 8pm on April 28 at Ocean Park in Ha Long. The programme will see the participation of many famous singers in Vietnam, such as Dang Duong, Trong Tan, Tung Duong, Ho Ngoc Ha and Hoang Thuy Linh, as well as artists from Europe.
In the framework of Quang Ninh-Ha Long Tourism Week 2017, a wide range of events will be held, including Soong Co singing festival in Binh Lieu district, badminton tournament in Dong Trieu Town, and the second Culture-Sport-Tourism week in Co To island district.
The event is scheduled to welcome 500,000 tourists.
Under cover of charity, two suspects trick farmers out of tens of billions
The Investigation Agencies under the Ministry of Public Security has prosecuted and issued the arrest warrant of the former director and deputy director of the Center for Supporting the Poor in new rural development.
According to documents of the Investigation Agency, these two suspects under the cover of the "Heart of Vietnam" program to steal hundreds of billions from thousands of farmers in many provinces.
The Investigation Agency under the MPS conducted a criminal investigation into the case and arrested Tran Duc Trung (56) and Le Thi Hang (54), relatively former director and vice director of the Center for Supporting the Poor in new rural development under the Vietnam Association of Rural Industrial Small and Medium Enterprises.
Under the cover of the “Heart of Vietnam”, Trung and Hang mobilized many people to donate money as “support” to the Center.
Being deceived by them, thousands of farmers in various provinces, including Bac Giang, Nam Dinh and ThanhHoa have donated money to the Center.
The initial release of the Investigation Agency says that Tran Duc Trung and Le Thi Hang have defrauded farmers in Northern Vietnam of tens of VND billions.
Construction licensing time to fall to 42 days
The HCMC Department of Construction plans to launch an electronic construction licensing system in early July, shortening the approval process from the current 133 days to 42.
The system is set to operate on a trial basis in six months, according to Vo Thi Trung Trinh, deputy director of the city’s Department of Information and Communications.
In particular, the municipal departments of construction and information-communications are working on a set of guidelines for an electronic single-window mechanism for issuing construction licenses for projects within the licensing jurisdiction of the Construction Department.
After the pilot period, municipal authorities will review the system before introducing it at district level.
Local residents and enterprises applying for construction permits now have to go through three procedural steps: basic design, construction design, and construction licensing.
The e-licensing system is designed to merge these procedures into one, meaning applicants will need to send all documents to a particular office of the Construction Department.
The department’s officials will then transfer these documents to the offices responsible for environment, fire prevention and fighting, transportation, and architectural design through an electronic system using digital signatures to verify licensing conditions.
Trinh said the pilot scheme is aimed at slashing the construction licensing time from the current 133 days to 42.
Complaints about the time-consuming and complicated construction licensing process are not uncommon. Some have to make multiple visits to relevant agencies to get paperwork done.
Local officials will no longer use paper documents, except for some specific and confidential ones, from early July. Instead, they will do the job on the online platform using digital signatures, she added.
Film screening and panel discussion about autistic children in Hà Nội
A film about autistic children will be screened on Saturday in Hà Nội, followed by a discussion about autism with international health experts working at Family Medical Practice Hanoi.
The film Jack of the Red Hearts is a movie telling an emotional story about parenting, powerfully depicting the challenges caring for and teaching an autistic child. The movie is directed by Janet Grillo, a critically acclaimed filmmaker, Emmy Award-winning producer and the mother of a child diagnosed with autism.
Following the screening, there will be a panel discussion on early detection, early intervention and parenting a child with autism. Panelists will include pediatricians, early development/intervention specialists and parents of autistic children.
All are welcome to this event which is sponsored by Family Medical Practice Hanoi and the US Embassy.
The event will be held at 2pm at Toong Co-working Space (inside the Trade Union Hotel) located at 98 Tô Ngọc Vân Street, Tây Hồ District of Hà Nội. You can register via email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Hanoi builds houses for social policy beneficiaries
The capital city of Hanoi is speeding up the building and repair of nearly 7,300 houses for social policy beneficiaries and revolutionary contributors, with a view to complete the work before July 27, which was designated as War Invalids and Martyrs' Day.
Of those, 3,520 new houses are being constructed and 3,778 others are being repaired, with an estimated cost of almost 379 billion VND (16.7 million USD), sourced from the State budget.
Khuat Van Thanh, Director of the municipal Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, said the implementation of the programme faces various obstacles.
Some of these difficulties are the large number of recipients and unclear criteria for deteriorated houses, thus making it hard to decide the level of financial assistance.
Thanh suggested a number of measures to these issues, including faster disbursement of the construction funds, which should be updated following current market prices.
Khmer people in Soc Trang celebrate traditional festival
Local Khmer ethnic minority people in the Mekong Delta province of Soc Trang are celebrating their traditional New Year Festival - Chol Chnam Thmay from April 14-16.
Soc Trang is a province having the largest Khmer community in the Mekong Delta region, with over 400,000 people, making up approximately 31 percent of the local population.
Ly Binh Cang, head of the provincial Committee for Ethnic Affairs, said the local authorities sent delegations to visit and present gifts to Khmer officers, soldiers, social welfare beneficiaries and families that made grate contributions to the nation during this occasion.
This year, the Steering Committee for Southwestern Region selected Soc Trang to host a gathering on April 7 for Khmer people in the region, with the participation of 900 delegates.
Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Tran Van Chuyen said the locality has effectively implemented the Party and State’s policies on developing ethnic minority-inhabited areas such as providing land for house building and production, loans, breeding livestock and saplings for disadvantaged families.
Last year, over 8,000 households in the province escaped from poverty, including 3,500 Khmer families. As many as 16,000 households gained access to electricity, of them 5,500 are Khmer familes.
Chol Chnam Thmay is one of the most important festivals for Khmer people. It usually lasts three days and is celebrated mostly in pagodas. The festival is a demonstration of Khmer people’s aspirations, like many other ethnic groups, to move on from the previous year’s misfortunes and look forward to a promising new year.
HCM City to host Vietnam Fashion Week Spring-Summer 2017
Vietnam International Fashion Week Spring-Summer 2017 will take place from April 25 to 28 in Ho Chi Minh City.
This is a major fashion event in Vietnam, featuring the newest collections from the world’s and Vietnam’s leading designers, said the organising board. It aims to showcase Vietnam’s fashion sector.
Fashionistas as well as Vietnamese artists will attend the event.
Garment-textile exports of Vietnam in 2017 are expected to hit 30 billion USD, said Vu Duc Giang, Chairman of the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association.
Binh Dinh spends over 1.6 trillion VND on disaster relief
The central province of Binh Dinh has invested more than 1.6 trillion VND (70.5 million USD) mobilised from different sources in relieving damage caused by natural disasters in late 2016, said Ho Quoc Dung, Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee.
Accordingly, 52 million USD from the State budget was allocated to repair dykes and irrigation works. The Government provided the province with 120 billion VND (5.3 million USD) to overcome flood consequences and 65 billion VND (2.86 million USD) to exempt local students from school fees in the first semester of 2017, along with 3,000 tonnes of rice.
The province has poured 27.8 billion VND (1.2 million USD) into rebuilding and repairing more than 700 houses for flood victims, as well as supported 22 fishing boats sunk and damaged by floods with 1.8 billion VND.
Over 1,500 tonnes of rice were distributed to local people on the occasion of the Lunar New Year 2017 while several irrigation works and canals were repaired ahead of the 2017 crop.
Besides, the province will continue directing businesses to actively implement projects, especially those on tourism development, while speeding up the repair of dykes and transport facilities hit by floods and the construction of Phu Cat airport terminal to raise the airport’s capacity.
Mango producer struggles to meet Australian standards
Vietnamese producers have been aiming to put mangos on the shelves of supermarkets in Australia for years, but have failed to do so due to the stringent sanitary and phytosanitary regulations that they must comply with.
Now, Nguyen The Bao director of Suoi Lon Mango Cooperative, has announced his company has signed another memorandum of understanding to experiment once more in exporting mango to the land down under.
In the past attempts by the company have failed due to a lack of investment in the physical plant and technology that could treat the fruit with heated water to bring bacteria counts within acceptable limits.
They have also lacked in cold storage technology resulting in low quality product.
Bao claims his company is the first in Dong Nai to have received VietGap and GlobalGap certification yet the only foreign country it has had any marked exports to is China, which has no sanitary and phytosanitary regulations to speak of.
Efforts to get 30 million people covered by social insurance
Vietnam aims to have of its workforce covered by social insurance by 2020. To achieve this target, policies are needed to increase the number of insurees.
13 million workers in Vietnam are currently covered by compulsory social insurance and 200,000 more are covered by voluntary insurance.
Vietnam’s total workforce is projected to be 60 million by 2020, half of whom will have social insurance.
But to increase the number of insured from 13 million to 30 million will be a real challenge, said Doan Mau Diep, Deputy Minister of Labor, Invalids, and Social Affairs.
He said, "Under the 2014 Social Insurance Law, social insurance is compulsory with labor contracts of more than a month. Currently, 60% of Vietnam’s workforce works in unstructured sectors and sectors that lack formal labor relations. This law encourages those workers to voluntarily obtain social insurance.”
In the near future, a number of incentives will be implemented to make it easier for workers with compulsory insurance and those who don’t have labor contracts to obtain voluntary insurance.
The Vietnam Social Insurance Department has increased communications to address the problems of discontinued and delayed contributions.
Deputy Minister Doan Mau Diep said, “The 2014 Law on Social Insurance allows the Vietnam Social Insurance Department to establish and inspect collections for social insurance.”
The expansion of voluntary social insurance is expected to attract more than 40 million customers. Changes concerning insurers, contribution methods, and benefit mechanisms have been made to fine-tune incentives. These regulations will come into force in 2018.
Up to 15 storms, depressions forecast to enter East Vietnam Sea in 2017
Thirteen to 15 storms or tropical depressions will be seen in the East Vietnam Sea in 2017, the Vietnamese National Center for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting said on April 14.
This is a quite higher than the annual average number of about 12 storms in many previous years, according to the center.
However, of these expected weather conditions, only three to four storms or tropical depressions are likely to leave direct impact on the mainland of Vietnam, mostly in the central region, the center noted in the forecasts for the May-October storm season.
However, the center acknowledged that the El Nino phenomenon may occur later this year, reducing both the number and intensity of storms or depressions in the East Vietnam Sea.
The center also predicted that the rainy season will come and end sooner than usual in the Central Highlands and southern regions, whereas the northern and north-central areas will experience rainwater level drops.
Ten storms and depressions were recorded in the East Vietnam Sea in 2016, with four storms and two depressions directly affecting the mainland.
The country also experienced negative weather conditions last year, with multiple record cold snaps hitting the north, drought ravaging the central and salinity taking a toll in the Central Highlands and Mekong Delta.
HCM City seeks permission for Reunification Day fireworks shows
Ho Chi Minh City is seeking government approval to hold fireworks shows throughout the city in commemoration of the 42th anniversary of Reunification Day on April 30.
The southern metropolis is petitioning the government to hold one high-range and three low-range shows, along with other commemorative and artistic activities, on the evening of April 30, according to a proposal signed by municipal chairman Nguyen Thanh Phong.
This is the first time the Ho Chi Minh City administration has sought permission from the government for the traditional Reunification Day fireworks displays.
Last year the Secretariat of the Communist Party, the constitution’s highest implementation body, requested that all provinces and cities refrain from fireworks displays during Tet, or the Lunar New Year, falling late January 2017, and instead redirect funds earmarked for the shows to support the poor.
Salaried workers in Vietnam will have a holiday later this month, observing Reunification Day and the Labor Day on May 1.
The Ho Chi Minh City chairman said that funds for the shows would be raised from the private sector rather than the city’s own budget.
According to a government decree in 2009, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City are allowed to hold fireworks displays, lasting no longer than 15 minutes, at 9:00 pm on April 30.
Ho Chi Minh City authorities are using that decree as grounds for the planned fireworks shows.
If approved, one high-range fireworks display will be held atop the Thu Thiem Tunnel in District 2, while three shows with lower range fireworks will take place at the Dam Sen Cultural Park in District 11 and the outer districts of Can Gio and Cu Chi from 9:00 pm to 9:15 pm.
Quang Thanh Giang, a passionate musician
The Mekong River Delta has nurtured young, passionate musicians. Quang Thanh Giang who lives in Can Tho city has an outstanding reputation for songs about his homeland.
Quang Thanh Giang was born in 1977 into a poor family in Ca Mau province, but showed an aptitude and a great passion for music from a young age. Giang and his sister began studying music at an Art College in Can Tho city. Despite financial hardship, the two worked hard to continue their studies at Ho Chi Minh City’s Conservatory of Music.
Giang began writing songs about love and the homeland. His song “The Mekong River delta in the rising sun” won second prize in a national music writing contest.
“I wrote the song 'The Mekong River delta in the rising sun' last year. It’s about Can Tho and the Mekong River Delta where I was born and raised. I have travelled to many places. When I returned, I noticed some big changes in my homeland and described this observation in my song”, said Mr Giang.
Quang Thanh Giang is now deputy head of the Vietnam Musicians’ Association in Can Tho City. He has produced music for a lot of local art programs and TV music shows. Le Nghiep has worked with Giang on many of these shows. Nghiep said “Quang Thanh Giang has an aptitude for music. He is at the peak of his music writing career”.
Do Hong Quan, Chairman of the Vietnam Musicians’ Association, says the Mekong River Delta has a number of rising musicians and songwriters doing impressive work, but Quang Thanh Giang is a music phenomenon: “Quang Thanh Giang is a new member of the Vietnam Musicians’ Association. His song “The Mekong River Delta in the rising sun” is excellent. He is phenomenal”.
Upcoming events calendar for HCM City
So it's April and time to celebrate the arrival of spring with a trip to the beach and start hashing out warm weather plans and figuring out things to do on a rainy day in or around Ho Chi Minh City.
At a press conference yesterday (Apr. 13), Tran Vinh Tuyen, vice chair of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee, reminded everyone that there’s a fireworks display coming up on Reunification Day (April 30), a food festival May 25-28, and southern fruit festival June 1-11.
Other events further out include the Vietnam International Tourism Mart 2017 (September 7-9), a fashion festival (September 14-16), a lion dance festival in late September, a marathon in November and a lighting show in mid-December.
Sa Huynh Salt Village in Quang Ngai
Sa Huynh salt village is located in Duc Pho district 60 kilometers south of Quang Ngai city. Sa Huynh has a beautiful beach and is well-known in the central region as a salt-making area.
From the section of Highway 1A that runs through Sa Huynh village, the salt fields look like mirrors sparkling in the sunlight.
Sa Huynh was originally named Sa Hoang, which means 'yellow sand'. Local elders say they had to change the name to Sa Huynh because “Hoang” was the name of Lord Nguyen Hoang of the Nguyen Dynasty. During the Nguyen Dynasty in the 19th century, Sa Huynh held an important position in guarding national territorial waters. Later the salt-making craft was established and has been maintained ever since.
Sa Huynh currently has 550 households and about 2,000 of its inhabitants are involved in salt making. With a production area of over 116 hectares, the village turns out an average annual volume of 9000 tons of salt. The salt season is from March to September.
Salt making is hard work. Salt workers, a majority being women, do manual work under the scorching sun of the central region.
Pham Thi Vang, a Pho Thach villager, told VOV “The salt-making process is as follows: We direct sea water into the fields. Then we have to wait for the sun to evaporate the water, leaving just the salt.”
Nguyen Thi Be, a veteran salt worker, recalled that in the past many villagers had to find new jobs because of an unstable market. Men got involved in ship building, fishing, or construction. Women wove fishing nets, started small businesses, or offered tourism services, as Be and her family are now doing.
“In the past our ancestors didn’t know what to do for a living besides make salt. They made salt from January to July and put enough aside for the whole year. My entire family earned less than US$880 a year. Now our income is from salt, raising fish, shrimp, and oysters, and providing tourism services. Our income has greatly improved,” said Be.
With government support, Sa Huynh villagers have invested tens of thousands of USD into new production models. Nearly 7 km of dikes have been constructed and one third of the area of salt fields has been paved. This has improved the quality of Sa Huynh salt. It is now a favorite of consumers and is used by the seafood processing industry. As a result, its market has expanded across the central and central highlands regions. Sa Huynh now is one of the three biggest salt producers in Vietnam.
Though its infrastructure remains poor, Sa Huynh's tourism has been growing. From a tiny fishing village Sa Huynh has become an attractive town steadily growing in popularity. Visitors come to enjoy the unspoiled beach, explore the ancient culture, learn about the life of the salt makers, sample the local food specialties, and see the vast fields of salt.
Tourism growth presents opportunities for hospitality market
The growth of tourism is creating opportunities for the hospitality market, especially the mid-end and high-end segments, according to Savills’ latest review.
In 2016, the total rated travel accommodation supply in Vietnam was up 18 per cent year-on-year to 420,000 hotel rooms, commensurate to tourism industry development.
Enhanced tourist flows are creating more opportunities for the hotel market, especially in the upper-mid to high-end segments.
From 2013 to 2016, the supply of four and five-star hotels increased 20 per cent on average to meet international tourist demand for upscale resorts and luxury accommodation.
As major economic hubs, Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi attract the most tourists. Meetings-Incentives-Conventions-Exhibitions (MICE) and business travelers accounted for over 40 per cent of total international arrivals to Vietnam.
In 2016, there were 5 million visitors to Ho Chi Minh City and 4 million to Hanoi.
Previously the only international points of entry by air, arrivals in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi are now being marginally undercut by growth in capacity and the number of direct flight to other key cities.
On the other hand, increased ease of travel has made Vietnam far more attractive. Emerging coastal destinations such as Da Nang, Nha Trang, and Phu Quoc Island are becoming more competitive, with direct international flights.
Hanoi remains the gateway for tourists to northern provinces and likewise Ho Chi Minh City remains the gateway to Mekong Delta provinces, but the central region is becoming increasingly self-reliant.
In 2016, Vietnam’s resort cities and islands outperformed Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi with higher international inbound growth rates.
A tropical island location makes Phu Quoc an attractive destination and a new alternative for international travelers, with an arrival growth rate of 40 per cent.
Da Nang, at over 30 per cent, and Nha Trang at 23 per cent also exceeded the international arrival rates of Ho Chi Minh City at 10 per cent and Hanoi at 19 per cent.
Ho Chi Minh City has the largest hotel supply in Vietnam, with approximately 16,000 three- to five-star rooms, 70 per cent more than Hanoi.
In 2016, both had similar occupancy rates of approximately 70 per cent, but future supply rates will diverge.
Over the next three years, Ho Chi Minh City expects 3,500 new rooms, a 22 per cent increase. Pressure will be higher in Hanoi, with future supply accounting for up to 50 per cent of current stock.
Nha Trang has the largest hotel supply among coastal cities, with over 12,000 three- to five-star rooms and the highest occupancy rate.
In 2016, the city had 1.2 million international arrivals, which was 30 per cent lower than Da Nang.
The average Length of Stay (LOS) varies among popular destinations. In 2016, the international tourist LOS in Nha Trang was 3.5 days, compared to 2.8 days in Da Nang and 2.6 days on Phu Quoc.
Da Nang appeals to both domestic and international visitors, with an international airport and location along the Central Heritage Road, which comprises Hoi An ancient town, the My Son Sanctuary, the Imperial City of Hue, and Phong Nha caves. However, this ease of access also diminishes Da Nang’s ability to increase tourists’ LOS.
Phu Quoc is an ideal destination for high-end hospitality, and as of the fourth quarter of 2016 the five-star segment accounted for 71 per cent of the 2,500 three- to five-star hotel rooms.
However, as an early-developed market, a large future supply may challenge developers to improve performance.
Vietnam is a rapidly growing Southeast Asian tourism destination. However, inbound travelers are less than half of those visiting the most popular ASEAN locations of Thailand and Malaysia. This gap represents significant potential.
Inbound travelers have tripled in the last decade and a 26 per cent year-on-year increase in 2016 saw Vietnam outperforming other regional destinations.
According to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, there were approximately 10 million international arrivals in Vietnam in 2016.
This growth is expected to continue, with approximately 18 million annual visitors anticipated by 2030.
China and Russia are Vietnam’s fastest growing inbound source markets. Russia has a tourist visa exemption and its population prefers Vietnam for holidays, particularly because of its lower costs relative to other destinations in the region.
Even in the wake of sanctions and a depressed Ruble, Russian arrivals to Vietnam have steadily increased over the past few years.
The growing middle class in China is creating greater outbound travel demand, especially to more affordable ASEAN destinations.
In 2016, Vietnam had a combined 2.7 million business travelers and tourists from China, a 50 per cent increase over 2015. China-based ASEAN inbound visitors are forecast to double over the next ten years, according to Goldman Sachs in 2015.
The country’s rich geographic and topographic diversity and local micro climates support a variety of tourism appeals.
Fast-growing increases in household and personal income over the past five years have contributed to a 15 per cent expansion in Vietnam’s domestic tourism.
Low-cost airlines have been a growth catalyst, and from 2014 to 2016 Vietjet Air increased its fleet size from 18 to 45 aircraft.
To further encourage growth in domestic tourism, the government approved a decree allowing Vietnamese to gamble in casinos under certain conditions.
While gambling remains labelled by the National Assembly as a “social evil”, this new legislation is indicative of the leadership’s commitment to supporting tourism growth and widening regional competitiveness.
VN Economic Times
Nearly half of 38 police held in disturbance outside Hanoi freed
Fifteen out of nearly 40 law enforcement officers held captive by residents of a commune outside Hanoi since last weekend have been released, with three others escaping, authorities said while giving a detailed account of the escalating situation on Tuesday.
My Duc District, 30km from the center of Hanoi, is seen in this screengrab taken from Google Maps.
All of the released people are members of a flying squad, who were dispatched to resolve a land-related protest by villagers in Dong Tam Commune, My Duc District, 30km from the center of the city, on Saturday.
A total of 38 people were then taken hostage by local residents.
As of Tuesday afternoon, 15 police officers had been freed by the villagers, while three others managed to escape by themselves, Bach Thanh Dinh, deputy director of the Hanoi police department, confirmed to Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.
Twenty people are still being held in Dong Tam and police are calling on villagers to release them as soon as possible, Dinh added.
In the latest official statement on Tuesday, the propaganda and education commission under the Hanoi Party Committee also detailed what had led to the disturbance in Dong Tam.
Defense ministry-managed land
According to the commission, in 1980, the government tasked the defense ministry with developing the Mieu Mon Airport on an area covering Dong Tam and three communes in nearby Chuong My District.
In October 2014, the defense ministry authorized the Air Defense-Air Force of Vietnam to use the said land plot as the base for its Brigade 28.
The ministry later withdrew 50.03 hectares of the land plot then managed by the air defense force and transferred it to the military-run Viettel Group to develop a defense project known as Project A1.
Forty-six hectares of this 50.03 hectare piece of land lies within Dong Tam territory, which was later illegally occupied by some from the commune’s Hoanh village.
Although the Hanoi administration and the defense ministry assert that the 46-hectare land plot in Dong Tam is military-zoned land, some local residents still staged a protest when Viettel started reclaiming the area for site clearance to begin construction for Project A1 in 2016.
Fourteen households in Dong Tam were using the land plot at the time Viettel took over the area.
In mid-2016, these residents held a number of activities to hinder the site clearance task, such as gathering in crowds when officers came to measure the area or rallying en masse.
The situation has since become increasingly complicated and peaked in February this year, when Viettel began construction on the Project A1. Local residents obstructed the construction work, removing the signs and banners claiming that the area is military land and even bringing four tractors and one excavator to the area for agriculture cultivation.
With the situation escalating rapidly in March, Hanoi police eventually decided to launch an investigation into the ‘disturbing social order’ case on March 30.
Police have also summoned individuals involved from Dong Tam three times, and arrested four on April 15, leading to the latest disturbance.
Shortly after officers captured the four villagers, other residents besieged a police car, damaging five other law enforcement vehicles and held 38 people, including My Duc officers and policemen, captive.
The leaders of the protest asked villagers to surround the village with big wood logs and stockpile ‘weapons’ including wooden sticks, fuel and lime, ready to fight against any effort to rescue the hostages.
Over the last few days, villagers have indeed thrown stones and gravels at Hanoi officials and police officers when they attempted to come to hold a dialogue with the protesters and rescue the hostages.
The Hanoi administration asserted that the land plot in question is under the management of the defense ministry, and Project A1 plays a crucial role in the country’s defense and the military’s security.
The capital’s administrators said they are still resolving lawsuits in regard to the land plot filed by Dong Tam residents, adding that the violent reaction to law enforcement officers as seen in the commune is a serious violation of the law.
Different measures are being taken to de-escalate the situation, according to Hanoi authorities.
TUOI TRE NEWS
BUSINESS IN BRIEF 18/4
HCMC apartment market falls in Q1
The apartment market in HCMC contracted sharply in terms of supply and demand in all segments in the first quarter of this year.
Data of CBRE Vietnam showed the market had 5,083 new apartments from 21 projects in the first three months of this year, down a staggering 44% quarter-on-quarter and 49% from a year ago.
Medium-class condos accounted for the largest proportion of 52% of the total put up for sale while the number of luxury apartments on sale dived by 72% over the previous quarter. Year on year, the high-end apartment segment tumbled by one-third.
More than 6,050 apartments found buyers in the January-March period, plunging 47% quarter-on-quarter and 29% compared to the same period last year.
The fall resulted from limited supply in quarter one, according to Duong Thuy Dung, director of research and consulting at CBRE Vietnam. She noted medium-class apartments made up 67% of the total offered for sale.
Meanwhile, Le Hoang Chau, chairman of the HCMC Real Estate Association (HoREA), pointed out lower-than-expected growth indicators were among the reasons behind the lackluster performance of the property market.
He noted the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew 5.1% in the first quarter of this year. Chau specified the manufacturing and construction sector expanded 4.17%, a marked slowdown compared to the year-earlier period, and the growth of the construction-real estate sector in particular was 6.1% compared to the 8.6% in quarter one of 2016.
Apartments were sold at the average of around US$1,600 per square meter, up 6% quarter-on-quarter and 13% year-on-year, according to CBRE. Luxury products registered the highest price increase of 7.9%, especially for property projects in District 2.
The proportion of people who bought homes to meet their residential needs took 31% of total successful transactions in quarter one, well above 23% in the first quarter of last year.
CBRE said apartment projects in the western part of HCMC had for the first time taken the lead in the number of condos put up for sale with 1,821 units in quarter one, or 36% of the total apartments launched in the period. The eastern part came second with 1,523 units.
Apartments priced at VND1-2 billion per unit sold well in the first quarter of this year, according to property investors.
Nguyen Nam Hien, general director of Hung Thinh Land, said customers have registered to buy over 90% of the products at the company’s Moonlight Boulevard in Binh Tan District and Richmond City in Binh Thanh District after their model homes were introduced in quarter one.
Moonlight Boulevard comprises of 656 apartments whose prices start from VND1.2 billion and 54 office-tel units, while Richmond City includes 880 condos with prices from VND1.6-2 billion per unit, plus 300 office-tel units and four levels for commercial facilities.
Apartments at multiple projects in the western part of HCMC were put up for sale at less than VND1 billion each in the January-March period. They included Dacin Company’s Vision 1 with 620 condos in Binh Tan District and Sieu Thanh Co Ltd’s Kingsway Tower in Binh Tan District.
In the south of HCMC, more than 96% of apartments at G Building of Saigon South Residences Phu My Hung found buyers on the launch day. The apartments measure 60-70 square meters and cost around VND2 billion each.
D-Vela project of Can Nha Mo Uoc Investment JSC attracted many buyers as apartments there are affordable, starting from VND1.5 billion per unit. The project in District 7 has 168 apartments, 82 office-tel units and nine shophouses.
Tran Khanh Quang, general director of property investment firm Viet An Hoa, said more homebuyers have sought products in the budget and medium-class segments and this is the reason why more investors have developed housing projects with affordable prices in the western part of the city.
Chau of HoREA said the HCMC real estate market performed well in 2015-2016, but the growth momentum has started to taper in 2017 compared to last year. Still, the market is expected to see more affordable housing projects for medium- and low-income earners.
Dang Phuong Hang, managing director of CBRE Vietnam, said the Vietnamese real estate market would expand at a slower tempo than in the 2015-2016 period as both investors and homebuyers have grown more cautious after more than two years of strong growth in the market.
“Growth of the real estate market will depend on the confidence of homebuyers. They will continue buying homes if they receive quality products as pledged by developers,” Hang said.
Can Tho seeks initiatives for eco-friendly development
The government of Can Tho City is organizing a program to seek the most feasible innovations which will make the city green, clean and beautiful.
The World Bank will provide US$500,000 for the city to carry out the program as part of an urban upgrade project in the Mekong Delta.
The program aims to establish an environment that improves the health and lives of local residents, as well as contributes to the city’s economic development, according to Doan Thanh Tam, deputy director of the city’s management board of official development assistance projects at a working session on April 10.
The program focuses on four major themes: environmental cleanup, urban rehabilitation and sustainable use of construction works, school cleanup, and green coverage.
Selected initiatives will receive aid ranging from VND20 million (US$882) to VND200 million (US$8,821).
He said individuals and organizations have proposed 15 initiatives such as the organizing of eco-friendly trips for local river tourism, the application of Israel’s drip irrigation technology in Can Tho, and the application of solar energy in the city’s Con Son tourism site.
The program is part of Component 4 of the project for upgrading the Mekong Delta’s urban area which is being implemented in the city between 2012 and 2017, he added.
Vietnamese visitors to South Korea increase sharply
Vietnam has become a key source market for South Korea’s tourism sector as the number of Vietnamese tourists to this East Asian country has maintained a double-digit growth rate over the years.
According to the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) in Vietnam, Vietnamese tourists to Korea in the first three months of 2017 increased by more than 30% over the same period last year. Meanwhile, this number in 2016 increased by nearly 55%, reaching about 251,000 people.
This year, Korea expects Vietnam tourists to grow 22% year-on-year to more than 300,000 visitors.
In order to maintain the growth of Vietnam’s market, KTO will carry out plenty of marketing activities such as promoting Korean tourism in various provinces instead of major cities only. Korea will be introducing the FIFA U-20 World Cup, developing medical tourism, and offering high-class products.
In accordance with the tourism promoting program in Vietnam, KTO coordinated with Hanoi City’s government to organize the “Korean Days in Vietnam 2017” festival on April 8 and 9. This festival featured a variety of exciting shows and entertaining activities, providing participants with an interesting cultural experience.
Coal revenue increases in Q1
Viet Nam National Coal and Mineral Group (Vinacomin) reported a total revenue of VND24.554 trillion (US$1.1 billion) in the first quarter of this year, a year-on-year increase of 104 per cent, equivalent to 23 per cent of the target set for the whole year.
The group sold 8.6 million tonnes of coal in the first quarter, with 185,000 tonnes being shipped overseas.
Vinacomin had set a production target of 3.2 million tonnes of raw coal and sales of 3.45 million tonnes (3.32 million tonnes for domestic use and 130,000 tonnes for export) in April.
Earlier during an online conference on production management for April 2017, Vinacomin’s director general Dang Thanh Hai urged departments and units to be more active while executing their assigned jobs.
Specifically, it is necessary to actively work with households to unify the reasonable price of coal, strengthen resource management and product quality, reduce 5 per cent loss from mining exploitation compared to the previous year, and tighten the mine acceptance test and technological norms, while strengthening the management of mine boundary resources and the process of coal transportation and consumption, he said.
It is also necessary to ensure stability, optimise the technical criteria, meet the quality standards, and fulfil customer requirements, besides having strict controls to ensure environmental safety, as well as operate production-consumption in accordance with the market movements and enhance product consumption, Hai added.
SHS Holdings signs MOU to develop solar farm in Vietnam
SHS Holdings Ltd. has announced that it and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Sinenergy Holdings Pte Ltd, signed a memorandum of understanding with the Ninh Thuan People’s Committee to develop a 300MW solar farm.
The proposed farm would be constructed by Singaporean based SHS Holdings on agricultural land in Ninh Thuan Province, Vietnam.
This proposed investment is subject to a detailed feasibility study to be conducted; the subsequent issue of an investment licence from the Ministry of Planning and Investment of Vietnam, and the passage of certain legislation by the Vietnam government.
The specific solar power policy and legislation is anticipated to be ratified by the Vietnam Government later this year, before the parties move ahead to sign a formal implementation agreement.
“We have completed extensive research into the opportunities and technical parameters surrounding the potential of harnessing solar energy in Vietnam, and believe that Ninh Thuan is the most suitable and ideal location for such a project,” said Mr Henry Ng, CEO of SHS Holdings.
The Group, he said, is accelerating its track record in solar energy, which is one of its key growth engines. In 2016, it completed a 4MW grid-tiered solar photovoltaic system on the rooftop of SATS Airfreight Terminals 5 and 6 at Singapore Changi Airport.
It is also currently constructing a 50MW solar plant in Bangladesh that is expected to complete by the second quarter of 2018.
Vietnam Airlines adds flights for Labour Day holiday
Vietnam Airlines has announced it will introduce additional flights in preparation for the increased passengers expected to be travelling during the upcoming Labour Day (May 1) holiday season.
The flights are serviced by Boeing 767 aircraft, which can accommodate 232 passengers.
Because of high demand, the National Flag Carrier will add 175 flights from April 27 through May 3 on eight routes from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City, Danang to Nha Trang and Danang to Phu Quoc.
Coal consumption improves in Q1
The Vietnam National Coal and Mineral Group (Vinacomin) sold 8.6 million tonnes of coal in the first quarter of 2017, up 3 percent compared to the same period last year.
Of the total, 185,000 million tonnes were shipped overseas.
Vinacomin released the figures while reviewing its operation in the first three months at a conference in the northern province of Quang Ninh on April 10.
The group reeled in nearly 13 trillion VND (572 million USD) from coal sales and contributed more than 4.3 trillion VND (189.2 million USD) to the State budget.
However, combined coal inventories came to 9.3 million tonnes, higher than the regulated amount of 8.5 million tonnes.
Vinacomin Deputy General Director Nguyen Ngoc Co said the group has faced challenges selling its coal products due to high cost and coal imports from foreign countries.
The business strategy for the next quarter will prioritise production restructuring with a focus on technology and adjust output according to market demand, he noted.
Goals set for the coal sector in the second quarter included the exploitation of 8 million tonnes and selling of at least 9 million tonnes.
At the conference, alumina business was also mentioned as a highlight of Vinacomin’s performance in the first quarter, with the total output of over 312,000 tonnes, which was sold out.
TPG Asia sets to become the majority shareholder of VAS
Global alternative asset firm TPG has just entered into a definitive agreement with the shareholders of Vietnam Australia International School to become a majority owner.
As part of this transaction, two private equity funds, Mekong Enterprise Fund II and MAJ Invest, will fully divest their holdings in Vietnam Australia International School (VAS). Founder Pham Tan Nghia will continue as a VAS shareholder after TPG’s investment is closed.
Leveraging TPG’s expertise in Asia and in the education sector, VAS will continue to expand its campuses, improve the quality of its programmes, and further develop its staff to remain the market leader in the bilingual K-12 education segment in Vietnam.
TPG is a leading global alternative asset firm with more than $74 billion of assets under management. TPG Capital Asia is the dedicated Asia platform for TPG, with investment professionals in Beijing, Hong Kong, Melbourne, Mumbai, Seoul, and Singapore, managing more than $6 billion in assets.
As one of the first private equity firms to invest in Asia, some of TPG Capital Asia’s past and current investments include 8990 Holdings, Cushman & Wakefield, Healthscope, HCP Packaging, Janalakshmi Financial Services, Lenovo, Myer, PropertyGuru, Union Bank of Colombo, and Wharf T&T.
Across platforms, TPG’s past and current investments in Vietnam include Proconco, Masan Group, and FPT Corporation.
“VAS is a business that is uniquely adapted to the Vietnamese market. Its innovative educational model responds to the needs and preferences of the expanding middle-class, and it has a strong brand with great potential for growth,” said Dominic Picone, managing director of TPG Asia.
“VAS is a good example of the type of creative investment opportunities we look for in Southeast Asia, and we believe the business will thrive in partnership with TPG.”
VAS has more than 6,300 students across seven campuses in Ho Chi Minh City – a steep increase from the 2004 school year, when it had 400 students.
It is now the largest private K-12 education group in Vietnam. The school system’s growth has thrived since it introduced the Cambridge International Curriculum, which has led to an increase from 4,100 students in 2014 to its current total.
With investments in new buildings and facilities such as the newly-opened Garden Hills campus and planned campuses in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, the school system is bringing more educational opportunities to students throughout Vietnam.
The growth of VAS has been achieved by a dedicated team of more than 1,300 high-quality Vietnamese and international teachers and staff, many of whom have been with the school since its inception.
Many alternatives to public education have been opened in recent years in Vietnam, especially private schools teaching international programmes.
VAS has created differentiation and a competitive advantage by pioneering the delivery of the Cambridge International Education in Vietnam, combined with the National Programme throughout all grades in Ho Chi Minh City.
Students enrolling in the VAS bilingual programme have advantages in terms of knowledge, skills, certificates, and diplomas issued by the Cambridge International Examinations Council (CIE), which have permanent, worldwide currency. Students also receive the national Ministry of Education and Training-mandated qualifications.
In particular, CIE’s A Level Diploma at VAS helps many students save on costs instead of going abroad.
VAS is also the first school to introduce the “7-core-value system” in its teaching methodology, using it as a guide for the students to develop strong values as well as prepare for success in higher levels of education and in life.
“In the next three to five years, with the support of TPG, we will invest in the development and training of our staff, the further improvement in the quality of our service, the teaching-learning activities, and the facilities throughout the entire system,” said VAS executive chairman Marcel van Miert.
“Regarding our expansion plans, VAS intends to open many more large-scale campuses in Ho Chi Minh City and other provinces. I am very honoured to continue to accompany the VAS staff and teachers who will implement this plan.”
Ninh Thuan farmers make fortune with VietGap grapes
Thanks to technical assistance and training from NinhThuan’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development in recent years, many farmers in the central province have successfully applied the VietGap model in grape growing. The model has helped improve economic efficiency and the quality of local grape products.
Growing grapes under VietGap or Vietnamese Good Agricultural Practice standards poses plenty of challenges at first, as the plant requires special care, especially given climate change.
Yet, thanks to strict compliance with technical procedures in planting, growing and harvesting, one hectare on average can produce about 30 tonnes of the fruit.
As organic products, the wholesale price of grapes grown under the VietGap model is often 1.5 times higher than those without VietGap approval.
Grapes have higher economic value compared to many other plants. Specifically, its economic efficiency is 8-9 times higher than that of rice.
Therefore, applying VietGap model in growing grapes can help farmers make their fortune.
Being fully aware of the grape’s foothold position in the province’s economy, local authorities have mapped out a 7,900-hectare area for grape growing.They also focused on developing new varieties and technical assistance for local farmers.
Japan company helps Hanoi operate urban railway system
Tokyo Metro, the leading subway company in Japan, has established a subsidiary, Vietnam Tokyo Metro, to help Hanoi manage and operate its urban railway system.
Vietnam Tokyo Metro will share Japanese experience in operating the project through technical consultations and exchanges of information and human resources between the two sides.
Metropolitan railway lines will be the backbone of Hanoi’s sustainable development, Director of Tokyo Metro Yoshimitsu Oku said, stressing the need for the development of the means of transport in the city.
Tokyo Metro has also partnered with the Japan International Cooperation Agency in the “Technical assistance project to strengthen the regulator capacity and to establish an agency managing the operation and maintenance of Metropolitan Railway Lines in Hanoi City, Vietnam”.
Hanoi calls for environmentally-friendly, hi-tech projects
Hanoi is calling for investment in environmentally friendly large-scale projects that use advanced technologies.
According to the city’s promotion programme for trade, investment and tourism in 2017, it will prioritise projects in urban infrastructure development, especially those that connect Noi Bai International Airport and Nhat Tan Bridge; hi-tech agriculture; retailing; healthcare; education and culture.
The capital aims to carry out more projects under public-private partnership agreements and draw more than 3 billion USD in foreign direct investment. It also hopes to have 80 percent of applications for business registration done online and plans to pilot granting investment licences online.
In addition, local authorities will enhance partnerships with other cities and provinces across the country to distribute high quality “made in Vietnam” products in the city and provide more support for local producers to improve product quality and help them access domestic and overseas markets.
The city will continue promoting tourism at international fairs with the focus on key markets like Europe, the United States, Southeast Asia, Northeast Asia, South Asia and the Middle East.-
Vietnam int’l tourism mart draws 61,000 visitors
The four-day Vietnam International Tourism Mart (VITM) 2017, which concluded on April 9, saw the participation of 3,000 enterprises and about 61,000 visitors.
According to the organising board, some 20,070 domestic and international tours were sold at the event for total revenue of 212 billion VND (9.35 million USD).
VITM, the largest of its kind in Vietnam, attracted major Vietnamese travel firms, such as Vietravel, Vietrantour, Saigontourist and Hanoitourist, along with international firms from the Republic of Korea, Japan, the Philippines and Cambodia.
Among the most successful enterprises at the event were Vietrantour with sales of 15.7 billion VND (692,527 USD), up 15 percent year on year, TransViet with 26 billion VND (1.14 million USD), a rise of about 30 percent, and Hanoi Redtours with 21 billion VND (926,310 USD).
The organising board said that a survey at the fair showed that 79.5 percent of participants were satisfied with the event, while 72.7 percent of the firms said that they will attend the fair next year.
A street food festival was a highlight giving visitors a chance to enjoy dishes from the Republic of Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Mexico, Italy, the US, the Philippines and Vietnam.
Ten dishes, five chefs and five firms received awards, while the Vietnam Tourism Association honoured the first 10 travel enterprises to serve outbound tourists in 2017.
Sale of CBU cars up 114 percent in March
Sales of completely – built units (CBUs) increased 114 percent to reach 8,484 in March, according to the latest data released by Vietnam Automobile Manufacturer’s Association (VAMA).
More than 18,388 complete knock down (CKD) units were sold last month, up only 35 percent, said VAMA.
Total automobile sales in March rose 52 percent from the previous month to nearly 27,000 units, despite people waiting for prices to further reduce.
Of the total, 16,805 units were passenger cars, up 67 percent; 8,278 units were commercial vehicles, up 31 percent; and 1,789 units were special-purpose vehicles, up 45 percent.
Domestic manufacturer Truong Hai Auto Corporation led VAMA members with 9,468 units sold, occupying 45 percent of the country’s market share.
Second was Toyota Vietnam with 4,679 units, 20.5 percent of market share.
Ford Vietnam came third with 2,501 units, 11 percent of the market share.
Total automobile sales in the first quarter of 2017 experienced a year-on-year increase of 8 percent to 64,729 units with passenger cars up 23 percent while commercial and special-purposes vehicles declined by 10 and 13 percent respectively.
In addition, the number of CBUs sold expanded 41 percent while CKDs slid one percent.
APEC adopts Support Industry Initiative
The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) member economies have adopted the Support Industry Initiative proposed by Japan and Vietnam.
The initiative aims to evaluate polices and experience in developing Vietnam’s modern support industry, through which Vietnam will partner with Japan and the APEC Policy Support Unit to devise a set of policy guidelines and good governance practices on APEC Support Industry, which are expected to be submitted to the APEC Joint Diplomatic-Economic Ministerial Meeting later this year.
Mac Quoc Anh, Vice Chairman and General Secretary of the Hanoi Small and Medium Enterprises Association, underscored the importance of the initiative because 97 percent of Vietnamese businesses are small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
He said supporting SMEs is a necessary task, saying that they create jobs, value and stability while State-owned enterprises attract as much as 80 percent of domestic capital but create a mere 20 percent of value.
Luong Hoang Thai, head of the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Multilateral Trade Policy Department, described the development of the support industry as a strategic choice of APEC member economies.
He added that one of the pillars of APEC Year 2017 is creating a driving force for its member economies to further integrate into the regional and global supply, manufacturing and value chain while promoting support industries and services.
Work begins on $35million plant in Bình Dương
A-Pro Tech Vietnam Co Ltd on Monday broke ground for the construction of a bike and automobile spare parts manufacturing plant in the southern province of Bình Dương.
The US$300 million project is financed by the Taiwan-based A-Pro Technology Co Ltd and will be operated by A-Pro Tech Vietnam Co Ltd.
GIZA Engineering & Construction Joint Stock Company is the general contractor.
The factory is being built on a 76,000sq.m plot in Đại Đăng Industrial Park. Once completed, it is expected to have an annual capacity of 300,000 bicycles, one million bike frames of different types, 100,000 tonnes of spare parts for bicycles, motorcycles and cars, as well as 50,000 tonnes of metal tubes.
The plant is expected to become operational this December.
VNREA pushes for low-cost housing policy
The Viet Nam Real Estate Association (VNREA) has again proposed that the government formulate policies for developing small, inexpensive apartments smaller than 75sq m and cheaper than VND15 million per sq m.
At its annual meeting held in the central Binh Dinh Province last week, the VNREA drew up five proposals to be submitted to the government.
The association has proposed the reduction of value-added and corporate income tax for cheap housing projects, and has recommended that such projects get preference for land funds and bank loans.
VNREA’s chairman Nguyen Tran Nam said the market still faces risks such as unbalanced goods structure, meaning, the demand from a majority of the population is for mid- and low-cost houses, while most projects in the market are high-end.
“The market lacks products that suit the finances of the majority. The two big cities of Ha Noi and HCM City have only a small number of new apartments priced under VND20 million per sq m,” Nam said.
Projects, especially in large cities, are not coming up based on demand in specific localities. The development of social housing projects has been slow as capital and policies are not in sync with market reality.
The VND30 trillion housing stimulus package, launched in 2014, supported low-income buyers, and people were given a preferential interest rate of 5 per cent for within 15 years. However, after the package period got over, no new credit policies have been introduced to encourage cheap apartment projects, said Pham Sy Liem, former deputy minister of construction. “The government should focus on credit for the development of low-cost housing projects. Developers selling apartments for VND10-15 million per sq m should get access to preferential loans,” he said.
Liem pointed out that many countries have such policies in place to encourage low-cost housing projects.
Last November, the association made a similar proposal to the National Assembly on the local real estate market after it met in October.
The VNREA has also asked local authorities to determine the ratio of social, commercial and high-end housing projects, to balance the real estate demand. Based on real demand, localities should make decisions on granting land and construction.
The association has also suggested a collaboration between the ministries and the State Bank of Viet Nam to fix suitable credit resources and avoid concentration on only certain market segments.
Rent-A-Port NV expands business in Viet Nam
Rent-A-Port Green Energy on Saturday inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to develop wind and solar driven micro desalination, in a bid to solve the problems of salt water harming rice fields in the Mekong Delta region.
The agreement was signed with officials from Viet Nam’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).
Rent-A-Port Green Energy is 100 per cent owned by Rent-A-Port NV, a Belgium engineering and investment company, specialising in the development of marine infrastructures and industrial zones. Through its shareholders, Rent-A-Port can fall back on a wealth of in-house experience in the analysis, design, construction, development and management of port, logistics and marine infrastructures, green energy as well as industrial zones worldwide.
Under the agreement, the Belgian firm and MARD will set up five demonstration wind-powered water desalination plants, with a total investment of US$15 million, which are capable of providing fresh water for at least 200 hectares of rice fields in five locations across the Mekong Delta region.
Each plant consists of two water production units, with a combined peak capacity of 400 cu.m per day. The amount of salt found in the fresh water from the plants would be below 0.1 per cent, making it suitable for irrigation and even drinkable for local people.
“We are expecting around 250 such plants to be built in the region, as a part of supporting Viet Nam in improving rice production and the livelihoods of the region’s farmers. We are also willing to help Viet Nam identify and seek the most suitable financing source for the development of such plants in the Mekong Delta,” Marc Stordiau, managing director of Rent-A-Port, said at the MoU signing ceremony.
He added that the project was not looking for profits, but will work to help farmers overcome difficulties in growing crops.
The project will only use green energies, thus reducing the system’s costs, he said.
Tran Kim Long, general director of MARD’s International Co-operation Department, said the project would support two of Viet Nam’s important programmes for building new rural models and restructuring.
“The public-private-partnership in the agricultural sector is expected to take advantage of models and partners who have had success in green growth in other countries,” Long added.
Since 2008, Rent-A-Port NV, a subsidiary of CFE, part of the large French Concession Group VINCI and the industrial group Ackermans and Van Haaren, have taken over all shares of AIG, to become the major shareholder of the Dinh Vu Industrial Zone in northern Hai Phong Port City.
Rent-A-Port continues to expand it industrial zones, not only in Hai Phong City, but also in Quang Ninh Province, creating the Deep C industrial cluster, which is built over a 3,000 ha. area.
Rent-A-Port Green Energy’s management was the driving force behind the pioneering “far shore” wind C power farm. This was the first time that wind turbines were built so far offshore (30 kilometres). The total farm capacity was approximately 360 MW.
Rent-A-Port Green Energy has also participated in several green power projects in Oman and Belgium.
The group has begun investing in green energy for the sustainable development of Viet Nam. These include projects in wind-powered water desalination in the Mekong River Delta and Hai Phong, pioneering in solar energy in north Viet Nam, as well as waste-to-energy modules in Dinh Vu and Uong Bi City. Rent-A-Port is also looking at developing inland waterway ports that divert traffic from roads to a safer and more ecological route by sea.
In November 2016, Rent-A-Port Green Energy and Rent-A-Port Utilities signed an MoU with the MARD on co-operation in wind-driven desalination for agricultural production in the Mekong Delta region.
HCM City stabilizes market, ensures social welfare
15 years ago, Ho Chi Minh City was the first locality in Vietnam to implement a market stabilization program, enabling city dwellers to buy high-quality essential goods at affordable prices.
The 15-year-old market stabilization program has achieved its goal of ensuring social welfare and meeting low-income families’ need for essential goods.
Nguyen Thi My works in the Linh Trung I Export Processing and Industrial Zone, Thu Duc district. She said “The prices are reasonable. The quality of goods is improving, gaining consumers’ trust.”
There are now 10,500 shops offering essential goods at subsidized prices, compared with only 240 shops in the beginning. 86 enterprises are selling rice, cooking oil, sugar, milk, and eggs.
Many enterprises have developed distribution networks and brands and work with producers to ensure a steady supply of goods.
Nguyen Thanh Nhan, Director General of the Saigon Trading Cooperatives’ Alliance, said “My policy is to invest in credible producers of food to ensure food safety and hygiene and a dependable supply of goods.”
Ho Chi Minh City is combining traditional and modern distribution systems and optimizing trade infrastructure to improve the price stabilization program.
Nguyen Huynh Trang, Deputy Director of Ho Chi Minh City’s Department of Trade and Industry, said “We are focusing on the quality of goods and goods' supply. A tool for tracing pork origins is being used and this will be applied to chicken, vegetables, and fruit. Subsidized goods should be of good quality.”
The city’s market stabilization program is coordinated with a campaign to encourage Vietnamese to buy made-in-Vietnam products.
Lottery firms in southern Vietnam found with massive non-core investment
All 11 lottery ticket companies in southern Vietnam have collectively channeled nearly VND1,000 billion (US$44.64 million) into sectors outside their main business, the Ministry of Finance’s inspectorate announced.
By the end of 2015, these 11 companies had earmarked more than VND1,078 billion (US$48.13 million) for long-term financial investment, though only over VND80.8 billion (US$3.61 million) was meant for their core business operations, the finance inspectors said.
The combined non-core investment of these companies amounts to VND997 billion (US$44.51 million), according to the inspectors tasked with examining the 2015 consolidated financial reports from the lottery firms.
The finance ministry also noted that plans to increase the registered capital of the 11 companies by a total of VND4,137 billion (US$184.69 million) are inappropriate and should therefore be carefully vetted.
The companies had either asked to increase chartered capital more than they should, lacked convincing reasons for needing more capital, or intended to put the extra capital into non-core business ventures, according to inspectors.
The finance ministry asked seven of the lottery companies to pay back a combined VND1,448 billion (US$64.64 million) to the state budget for submitting improper capital increase plans, and VND431 billion (US$19.24 million) for unpaid taxes and fees.
The ministry inspectorate also demanded that the lottery companies withdraw from their non-core ventures in the near future, though the firms say the divestment process may take some time.
The Tien Giang lottery firm, for instance, has invested a total of VND453 billion (US$20.22 million) into different entities operating in the finance, water supply, and tourism sectors and says it can only withdraw from these non-core investments by 2020.
Company director Ly Minh An said the investments were made before Vietnam banned lottery companies from investing outside their core business, adding that the company is speeding up its divestment processes.
Nguyen Hoang Hai, general secretary of the Vietnam Association of Financial Investors, said the nearly VND1 trillion of non-core investments would have been of better used if they had been channeled into education or healthcare.
Hai said the companies should be forced to withdraw from risky sectors, such as banking and finance, as “many provinces are still in need of money for social welfare projects.”
“If the non-core investment withdrawals come with losses, we should also find and sanction the individuals responsible for those investment decisions,” he said.
Indonesia turns it back on Vietnamese rice as crops at home flourish
Indonesia, the world's fourth most populous country and a major buyer of Vietnamese rice, has not returned to Vietnam for new purchases this year, while its overall 2017 rice imports are forecast to halve to around 500,000 tons thanks to better domestic production, according to industry reports.
Indonesia was among Vietnam's 10 biggest rice buyers in the 2010-2016 period, with imports peaking at nearly 1.9 million tons in 2011, based on data from Vietnam's agriculture ministry.
But its purchases have been falling and Vietnam received no orders during the first two months of 2017, ministry data shows. Vietnam is the world's third-biggest rice exporter after India and Thailand.
Indonesia is forecast to import 500,000 tons of rice this year, down 50% from 2016, as domestic milled rice output edges up 2.6% to 37.15 million tons "due to increased area harvested", a US Department of Agriculture attache said in a March 30 report.
The report said increased cropping intensity and new land will help expand the harvested area this year to 12.24 million hectares (30.25 million acres), 1.2% above 2016 when Indonesia experienced a weak to moderate La Nina weather phenomenon.
Given more use of high-yielding varieties, the report forecasts Indonesia's output next year will rise further to 37.4 million tons, leaving the country's rice imports unchanged.
The forecasts pose a challenge to Vietnam's rice exports in 2017, with shipments in the first quarter already dropping 24% from a year ago to 1.2 million tons, a two-year low, the government has said.
Hanoi maintains forecasts of a modest rice export volume for 2017, anticipating 5 million tons to be shipped, due in part to expected higher demand from top buyer China. Last year, Vietnam's rice exports fell to 4.8 million tons, the lowest since 2008.
Malaysia, another key buyer of Vietnamese rice, is forecast to import 950,000 tons of the grain this year, unchanged from 2016, said a USDA report dated March 27. Last year, the country was Vietnam's 5th biggest rice buyer, after China, Ghana, the Philippines and Indonesia.
The average export price of Vietnam's 5% broken rice eased 2% in the first quarter ending March from a year ago to US$344 a ton, free-on-board basis, and that on Thailand's 5% broken rice also eased the same pace in the same period to US$372 a ton, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization said.
Unseasonal rain in the past week has disrupted the harvest of the Mekong Delta's winter-spring crop, and quotations edged up slightly even though buying demand remains thin, traders said. The 5% broken rice advanced to US$355 a ton this week from US$347-US$350 on March 30.
Output of the crop, the biggest among the Delta's three crops grown a year, is projected to drop 1.3% from last year to around 10 million tons of paddy, the agriculture ministry has said.
Ministry strives for sustainable development of tra fish
In an effort to ensure a sustainable development of the tra fish sector, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development will support enterprises and farmers to boost links in order to improve tra fish quality to fulfill choosy markets’ demands.
After four years of implementation, a project of building a sustainable tra fish supply chain has proved effective with a 7-10% decrease in production costs of fish sapling rearing, breeding and processing. Thanks partly to the project, lots of breeding sites have met global standards.
Still, the supply chain needs to improve its diversity and added value for more sustainable development. Links between stakeholders should also be enhanced to further the interests of enterprises and farmers.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is also reviewing focused tra fish farming areas and breeding to improve the production quality. It’s also paying heed to linking closed chains and expanding markets.
Firms honoured for great efforts
Sixty-one foreign-invested enterprises, along with 100 local firms which have high growth rates and provided superior products and services favoured by consumers, received the Golden Dragon Award and Vietnamese Excellent Brands on Saturday in Ha Noi.
Initiated in 2001, the awards seek to honour businesses for in their operation and contributions to the economy. In addition, the firms were recognised for actions taken to protect the environment, as well as ensuring the rights of labourers.
The organising board said that this year, enterprises which have been in the lead in putting in place policies called for in the fourth industrial revolution, were also honoured.
These companies have made great efforts to overcome the difficulties caused by economic crises in the region and the world. They also have strategic plans to improve their competitiveness, while remaining active in international integration.
Several well-known names were honoured with Golden Dragon Awards, such as Samsung, Deloitte Viet Nam, Unilever and Honda. Others were awarded the Vietnamese Excellent Brands, including VietinBank, VinGroup, Viettel, Vietcombank, Viettel and Vinamilk.
Nguyen Khac Trinh, deputy director of Phuong Linh Company, said a strong brand name has been the precondition for business development amidst international integration.
“Companies should have new thoughts and technologies, if they want to have a strong brand name,” Trinh said, adding that companied need to update their machinery to improve the quality of their products, while reducing their costs to consumers.
The annual prize is sponsored by the Ministry of Planning and Investment’s Foreign Investment Agency, and the Viet Nam Economic Times, to honour contributions to the nation’s economy by Vietnamese businesses. This is the 16th consecutive year the awards have been handed out.
Garment, textile exports expected to increase by 10 per cent
Viet Nam’s garment and textile exports may increase by 10 per cent this year if there are not adverse fluctuations in the global market, according to the Viet Nam National Textile and Garment Group (Vinatex).
Pham Minh Huong, Vinatex’s managing director, said the garment and textile industry earned US$28.5 billion from exports last year, a year-on-year increase of 5.2 per cent.
Viet Nam has advantages in making products for middle-class customers. With prolonged economic difficulties in the world market in recent years, the number of mid-end orders also fell, and importers shifted to import cheap products.
That is why the industry’s growth rate fell last year, she said.
“But the number of orders increased significantly in the first months of the year, which is a good sign for the industry,” she said.
Viet Nam’s garment and textile sector has certain advantages, including diverse products, a higher level of quality and better skilled labour force than countries with a similar development level.
In addition, with its steady production, ensured quality and delivery time and services, as well as stable political situation, Viet Nam is considered a main destination for garment and textile products, she said.
Pham Xuan Hong, chairman of the HCM City Association of Garment Textile Embroidery and Knitting (AGTEK), told Viet Nam News that many enterprises have many orders until the second quarter of the year.
Enterprises were linking up each other to fulfill large orders, said Hong, who is also general director of Saigon 3 Garment Joint Stock Company.
Hong said Saigon 3 expected to enjoy a growth rate of 10 per cent this year, with Japan being its largest importer.
Both Hong and Huong believe that the industry’s value addition has been low since enterprises mainly do sub-contracting work for foreign buyers, lack design capacity, and rely on imported materials.
Domestic supply for fabric remains modest, Huong said, adding that domestic and foreign firms have invested more in fabric production to meet domestic demand.
Speaking at a conference held on the sidelines of Saigon Tex 2017 held in HCM City from April 5 to 8, many delegates urged enterprises to switch their production methods to FOB (free on board) and ODM (original design manufacturer) to add value to products.
Proceeding to higher production methods to enhance added value in products is an inevitable trend, said Nguyen Dinh Truong, deputy chairman of the Việt Nam Textile and Apparel Association.
Businesses should thoroughly prepare for such methods, focusing on material market research and producing on demand from their partners, he said.
Some delegates at the seminar said they were afraid that the garment and textile industry would not reach its export target for the year amid drastic competition.
In addition, the increase in labour costs has affected the competitiveness of businesses, said Le Quang Hung, chairman and general director of Sai Gon Garment Trading Joint Stock Company.
Huong said to retain competitiveness, enterprises need to invest more in modern technology with higher automation features to improve productivity, save energy consumption and protect the environment.
In addition, they should develop similar products that compete with countries that have competitive advantages in those items, she said.
Besides prices and quality, large buyers have also paid attention to environmental requirements of products when they seek suppliers, she said.
Samsung expands consultation into hi-tech industry
Samsung Viet Nam on Wednesday officially kicked off their consultation programme for Vietnamese enterprises, assisting them in joining the component supply chain for the year 2017.
The consultation programme started in 2015 with focus on industries such as printing, packaging, and plastic moulding. In 2017, Samsung will expand their consultation to hi-tech industries such as electric, electronics (PCB, speakers built into TV, wire harness) to help Vietnamese enterprises produce sophisticated electronic parts which have added-value and hi-tech content in the global supply chain.
Samsung targeted to provide consultation for 12 Vietnamese suppliers, which would bring the total number of business consultees to 26 since the year 2015. Samsung affiliates like Samsung Display Viet Nam and Samsung Electro-mechanics Viet Nam join this programme for the first time.
Samsung will also launch a pilot model for tier-1 vendors to guide tier-2 vendors, creating a ripple effect in Viet Nam’s supporting industry. This turning point demonstrates the Samsung’s commitment in increasing localisation rate, supporting Vietnamese businesses to get further involved in Samsung’s component supply chain and contributing to the development of Viet Nam’s supporting industry.
With 12 Vietnamese firms participating in the consultation programme in 2017, Samsung will continue to send South Korean experts experienced in the field of final product technology and production quality control to directly guide them for 12 weeks. The South Korean experts will survey and assess local firms for two weeks and directly consult and work with them in the following 10 weeks in reforming production procedures and complete all standards in the product/parts supply process for Samsung’s factories in Viet Nam.
Through the consulting, all suppliers have achieved good results, including an average 25 per cent reduction in defect rate and a 30 per cent increase in manufacturing capacity
Han Myoung Sup, president of the Samsung Complex Viet Nam said, “During the past two years, Samsung has always endeavoured to support Vietnamese enterprises in increasing their competitiveness in production and product quality. The consultation expansion into hi-tech industry with the aim of assisting local firms in producing sophisticated parts and joining the value chain is a strong affirmation for Samsung’s long-term and sustainable commitments in Viet Nam.”
This consultation programme is one of the Samsung’s efforts to dramatically increase the number of local firms participating in its supply chain with 201 vendors in total (23 tier-1 vendors and 178 tier-2 vendors).
They are participating in supply chain for three Samsung plants in Viet Nam, including Samsung Electronics Viet Nam (SEV), Samsung Electronics Viet Nam Thai Nguyen (SEVT), and SEHC Complex (HCMC). It is expected that, Samsung’s total number of tier-1 vendors will increase to 29 in 2017.
Besides, Samsung Viet Nam has also recorded the significant breakthrough in raising the localisation rate of products from 35 per cent in 2014 to 57 per cent at present.
This year, the turning point in supporting programme for high-tech enterprises will promisingly create more opportunities for Vietnamese suppliers to join Samsung’s global value chain as well as help Samsung achieve its goal of increasing the localisation rate in 2017.
Vinamilk publishes growth targets
The Vietnam Dairy Products Joint Stock Company (Vinamilk) announced a growth target for the next five years of 10 per cent annually, with a 70 per cent increase in average production capacity by 2021.
The company’s 2021 goal for total earnings is set at VND80 trillion (US$3.58 billion), 75 per cent of which will come from the domestic market ($2.73 billion) and 25 per cent ($851.5 million) from foreign markets.
Vinamilk’s expected 10 per cent growth rate per annum from 2017 to 2021 is considered on par or above the market average.
As for 2017, the milk company’s current revenue goal is VND51 trillion ($2.28 trillion), an increase of eight per cent from 2016, whereas the 2017 desired post tax income is VND9.7 trillion ($434.7 million), an increase of four per cent from the previous year.
The current average corporate income tax rate applied to Vinamilk in 2017 is 17.5 per cent, higher than the 16.7 per cent in 2016.
In the long term, Vinamilk plans to lead the domestic milk market, expand their market share especially in the frozen goods sector and develop new sales channels.
The company is also seeking investment opportunities through mergers and acquisitions in South East Asia, the United States, Australia and New Zealand.
Between 2017 and 2021, Vinamilk aims to harvest a total of 157,000 tonnes of milk from its farms, with an additional 251,000 tonnes from individual farmers.
Vinamilk released the targets in its report for the upcoming shareholders meeting for the first quarter of 2017, to be held on April 15.
Đồng liquidity cools down
Liquidity of the Vietnamese đồng in the banking system has shown signs of cooling down over the past week.
This has helped the central bank withdraw money from the banking system, a new report from the Saigon Securities Company (SSI) revealed.
In its weekly report on the monetary market, SSI said the central bank last week withdrew VNĐ8 trillion (US$352.4 million) from the banking system following four consecutive weeks of having to consecutively pump in a significant amount of money to support liquidity.
However, interest rate in the inter-bank market last week still stood at a high level. The overnight rate closed the week at 4.55 per cent per year, inching down by only 0.83 percentage points against the end of the previous week.
After rising in mid March, deposit rates listed at commercial banks last week remained unchanged, of which the rate for six-month deposits averaged 6 per cent per year and for 12-month deposits averaged 7 per cent, SSI reported.
SSI forecast that interest rate could be kept stable and could even be reduced in the coming months if credit growth and capital mobilisation were balanced. The central bank is capable of managing this, SSI said.
Lending from January to March 23 rose by 3.14 per cent against the end of last year while capital mobilisation rose 3.07 per cent, the central bank reported.
In a meeting to assess the interest rate in Q1 2017, held last week, both the central bank and commercial banks said the interest rate has been steady so far this year and there was no pressure on interest rate hike.
Major steel project halted due to “unresolved issues”
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has requested the suspension of the $10.6-billion Ca Na steel project in the central province of Ninh Thuan in order to “clarify some issues related to the environment and technology.”
This is the conclusion on the Ca Na steel project that the Prime Minister made at the regular government meeting at the beginning of March 2016, and was recently announced by the Government Office.
The Prime Minister said that it is good that Ninh Thuan and the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) wanted to grow the province economically, but this project has only seen rudimentary evaluation and the preparations for it have been proceeding too fast. In addition, the prime minister added concerns that the information on the project is not comprehensive, leaving a sore need for clarification before the project can go ahead.
Specifically, the parties have to calculate the domestic demand for steel and specific types of products, and then review the country’s master plan on steel development and figure out the appropriate capacity and the timeline for the project.
The investor and government agencies also have to evaluate the environmental impact and review the technology to make sure the project is safe and will not repeat the Formosa incident. The project also has to review the total amount of capital needed, including the deep water port, the railway, and the road that are part of the project, and state clearly where the material to build the project would come from.
“This steel project was proposed after the Formosa incident so it is a sensitive topic. As early as during the stage of proposal the investor and the government agencies have to be clear on these issues,” the document said.
It said that after a careful review to clarify these issues, Ninh Thuan and government agencies can propose the project again for approval.
The prime minister said that calling a halt to the nuclear energy project earlier in November 2016 had an effect on the socioeconomic development of the province, so it is necessary to attract more plants. However, Ninh Thuan has many advantages in renewable energy, tourism, organic agriculture, not only nuclear energy and steel.
Meanwhile, on April 4, the working group from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MoNRE) complemented by a body of other scientists, have concluded that Hung Nghiep Formosa Ha Tinh Steel Co., Ltd. (HFS), a subsidiary of Taiwanese Formosa Plastics Corp. meets the requirements for the first blast furnace to start operation, after an investigation of the environmental protection components of the $10.5-billion steel and port complex in the central province of Ha Tinh.
A year earlier, in April 2016, fish were found dying en masse along the central coast of Vietnam. Consequent inspection identified the reason as wastewater released during HFS’ test run. The incident harmed the livelihood of fishermen in the region for a long time after, as well as negatively affected the budding tourism industry of the central region.
By Ha Duy, VIR
Social News 19/4
Labour inspection campaign in electronic sector launched
A labour inspection campaign targeting the electronic sector was launched in the northern province of Vinh Phuc on April 18.
The campaign is co-hosted by the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA), the Vietnam General Confederation of Labour (VGCL) and the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry under the auspices of the International Labour Organisation (ILO).
It aims to promote compliance with labour regulations for the sustainable development of electronic enterprises.
The campaign aims to increase the number of firms and buildings subject to inspection to at least 500 during April-December and looks to raise the awareness of employers and workers of labour law as well as safety standards and labour hygiene in the sector.
The inspections will focus on compliance with labour regulations, social insurance in enterprises, detecting and addressing violations, and collecting feedback for revising legal documents.
The activity also aims to review the outcomes of the previous campaign, thus making better plan for the next.
The Ministry is developing a strategy on promoting compliance of labour regulations in the sector. Accordingly, all enterprises in the sector are expected to observe labour regulations and labour hygiene and safety by 2020, thus contributing to sustainable development of enterprises and the sector.
Competition on Vietnam-Laos relations history launched
The Party Central Committee’s Information and Education Commission launched a competition on history of the Vietnam-Laos relationship at a press conference in Hanoi on April 18.
As part of activities to mark the 55th anniversary of Vietnam-Laos diplomatic ties (September 5, 1962-2017), the move aims to promote popularisation and raise public awareness, especially that of young people, of the Vietnam-Laos special friendship.
Deputy Head of the Commission Pham Van Linh said this is a practical activity to respond to the Vietnam-Laos Friendship and Solidarity Year 2017, contributing to tightening the bilateral ties and fighting hostile forces’ acts to distort the history of the Vietnam-Laos special solidarity and friendship.
The organising board said multiple-choice questions will be available on the website: http://dangcongsan.vn, while questions for writing will be given by the Information and Education Magazine under the commission.
The multiple-choice questions will be conducted every week, beginning from May 2 through December 22. Meanwhile, the time for the writing contest will be from October 1-31.
Overseas Vietnamese and Lao, and foreigners are encouraged to join the contest.
The awarding ceremony was slated for December this year.
HCM City orders improved emergency treatment
Ho Chi Minh City’s Department of Health has instructed general hospitals to improve emergency aid treatment in an aim to reduce overcrowding at Cho Ray Hospital.
These so-called first-category hospitals are health facilities with highly professional staff, specialised departments and modern medical equipment and facilities.
The hospitals include Gia Dinh People’s Hospital, Nguyen Tri Phuong Hospital, 115 People Hospital and Trung Vuong Hospital, among others.
The hospitals have been told to develop specialised treatment for serious burns, multiple organ failure and snake bites.
Last year, general hospitals were required to set up one ward for treatment of stroke, as required by the Health Ministry.
Patients with serious diseases and conditions needing emergency aid are often brought to Cho Ray Hospital from province- or district-level hospitals in the city and other southern provinces.
At a meeting held last week to review medical treatment in the first quarter, Dr Pham Thi Ngoc Thao, Deputy Director of Cho Ray Hospital, said the hospital treated 28,000 patients with emergency aid in the first quarter, including 14,455 from the city’s district-level hospitals.
During holidays or Lunar New Year (Tet), the hospital’s emergency aid department was overcrowded, Thao said. The department has the capacity to perform 150 surgeries a day, but around 30 patients usually have to wait because of overcrowding.
Many of them wait for up to 12 hours, but still cannot be served, she said, adding that the risk was too high for some patients.
Of district-level hospitals, Cu Chi District Hospital has the highest number of patients transferred to Cho Ray Hospital, according to the Department of Health.
Dr Ho Hai Truong Giang, Director of Cu Chi District Hospital, said that patients taken to Cho Ray Hospital had serious brain injuries or coronary problems that cannot be treated by doctors at his hospital.
He said that relatives often ask doctors to transfer the patient to Cho Ray Hospital because they trust the doctors there.
Cho Ray Hospital’s doctors, however, have told Cu Chi District Hospital not to transfer patients.
In a related matter, Deputy Director of the Department of Health, Tang Chi Thuong, said that HCM City Orthopaedics and Trauma Hospital should develop a ward for brain injuries.
In addition, hospitals, especially district-level, should co-operate with higher-level hospitals to carry out emergency aid called Red Alerts to avoid transfers.
In the procedure, emergency ward doctors can evaluate the patient’s condition and then activate a Red Alert to seek help from doctors at another hospital, he said.
Doctors at Cho Ray Hospital and University Medical Centre are ready to provide assistance for doctors at lower-level hospitals, Thuong said.
Assistance offered to more than 30 million children
The National Fund for Vietnamese Children (NFVC) has mobilised more than 5.5 trillion VND (243.3 million USD), goods and volunteers to support some 30 million children across the country.
The information was released by NFVC Director Hoang Van Tien at a meeting with press on the organisation’s 25th anniversary in Hanoi on April 18.
Deputy Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Dao Hong Lan underlined the remarkable contributions the organisation has made to Vietnamese children.
The fund has served as a bridge connecting the community, society, international organisations and children, encouraging the community to protect and educate children.
Over the past 25 years, the fund has organised numerous activities, including the 15-year “For children’s hearts” programme funding heart surgeries worth nearly 80 billion VND (3.54 million USD) and a functional rehabilitation programme for children with disabilities, particularly victims of Agent Orange/dioxin.
Since 2001, 34 rehabilitation centres have been established in 24 provinces and cities nationwide, benefiting more than 23,000 children.
Since 2000, the fund has also provided long-term financial assistance for thousands of orphan students or those whose parents are disabled or unable to work, giving each about three-six million VND per year, worth a total of 6.6 billion VND (292,000 USD).
The Deputy Minister urged the fund to improve their operations and methods to mobilise resources and donations while promoting its activities to draw attention from organisations and individuals.
According to Tien, the fund aims to provide long-term assistance for children, so they can continue their education and have a better life. The organisation will also build schools in mountainous, border and sea-island areas and provide eye check-ups for students.
By 2020, the fund aims to mobilise 80 billion VND (3.54 million USD) per year.
A ceremony will be held in the Hanoi Opera House on May 4 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the fund (May 4).
Hanoi woman kicked off plane faces no-fly ban
A Hanoi woman who claimed to have bought "thousands of air tickets" after she was kicked out of an airplane over improper behavior earlier this month seems to be unable to afford an administrative fine of less than US$200.
Tran Thi T., hailing from Hanoi’s Thanh Xuan District, is likely to be banned from flying for up to six months for ignoring the sanction.
The 44-year-old was asked to leave the Hanoi-bound Vietjet flight VJ134 from Ho Chi Minh City on April 3 when she made a scene shortly after boarding.
A video showed T. repeatedly yelling at the flight attendants and verbally attacking a passenger who attempted to stop her.
The woman repeatedly said she had “bought thousands of air tickets” from the airline, and that “[her] seat is in business class, not economy.”
The quarrelsome woman was eventually taken off the flight, which was forced to take off 50 minutes later than scheduled. Airport security officers later slapped her with a VND4 million (US$180) fine.
More than two weeks later, T. has failed to pay the fine, which may earn her a flight ban, the Southern Airports Authority said on April 17.
“We have asked local authorities in her registered residence to help her to pay the fine,” the Southern Airports Authority deputy director Nguyen Minh Tuan told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.
“If she continues to ignore it, we will report the matter to the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam, which will impose a limited no-fly ban on her.”
Tuan said while it is not clear how long the aviation watchdog will ban T. from traveling by air, “similar violations like hers are normally subject to a six-month ban.”
T. disturbed flight VJ134 because she had missed the boarding gate change announcement and was unsatisfied with her allocated seat upon boarding.
Besides verbally attacking flight attendants, she also ignored an order to leave the plane by the captain, and refused to sign the case record prepared by airport security officers.
Subsidence ‘more urgent’ than rising sea level in southern Vietnam
Ho Chi Minh City and provinces of the Mekong Delta region in southern Vietnam are sinking at an alarming rate, posing grave danger to the local economy and livelihoods, experts have warned.
Alarming numbers about land subsidence in Ho Chi Minh City have been published in a study by a group of scientists at the Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology, led by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Le Van Trung.
The scientists looked at remote sensing images of the area taken between 1992 and 2010, with updates added in 2016, to observe changes in land level over the years.
The results were shocking – the districts of Binh Chanh, Binh Tan, 8, 7, 2, 12, Thu Duc and Nha Be in Ho Chi Minh City are all suffering from complete or partial subsidence at a rate of 5-10 millimeters per year.
The sinking of land was attributed to excessive extraction of groundwater, as well as rapid urbanization that has placed tremendous pressure on the ground.
Its consequences include the expansion of areas affected by high tides, as well as the salinization of water stored at different levels underground, threatening farming and sustainable agriculture.
According to Dr. Trung, land subsidence has been warned of by local and foreign experts for years, though the situation is not yet “frightening” enough.
To give a comparison, Trung said that China’s Shanghai had subsided by 2.4 meters since experts began tracking, while Ho Chi Minh City had subsided around 0.4 meters in total.
Trung warned authorities not to be comforted by those numbers. “We need to come up with a solution to the problem now, or some parts of the city will submerge once our subsidence gets as bad as Shanghai’s,” Trung said.
In some areas of the southern metropolis, the consequences of land subsidence had already become apparent.
At the foot of a pedestrian bridge on Vo Van Kiet Boulevard in Binh Tan District, the ground has sunk by up to 20 centimeters, revealing parts of a bridge that were previously underground.
At the residence of Nguyen Van Ut in the same district, walls have been damaged by the constantly shifting foundation.
“It’s not hard to notice the subsidence,” Ut said. “My house was the most solidly built in the neighborhood, but you can see it’s clearly leaning if you look down from the roof.”
Four years ago, Ut’s house was 0.5 meters above ground level, but has since sunk to the same level as the street.
The study led by Dr. Trung also looked at land subsidence in the Mekong Delta region, where they said it was most noticeable in the districts of Ninh Kieu, Binh Thuy and Cai Rang in Can Tho City.
According to Dr. Le Xuan Thuyen from the Ho Chi Minh City University of Science, Ho Chi Minh City and the Mekong Delta provinces are built on soft geological layers, causing the area to sink faster than other regions.
Excessive and illegal sand mining on southern rivers has also played its part in accelerating the process, Thuyen said, citing a statistic saying that the reserves of sediment in the Mekong River had dropped by half since 1984.
According to Nguyen Huu Thien, an independent expert on the Mekong Delta ecosystem, land subsidence was a more urgent threat in southern Vietnam than rising sea level.
Sea level is rising at the average rate of three millimeters per year, Thien said, while land subsidence is occurring up to ten times faster.
Culture festival starts Apr. 19 in Hanoi
The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has announced it will hold a culture festival April 19-23 at the Vietnam Ethnic Group Village in the capital city of Hanoi.
The opening ceremony of the festival will broadcast live on the Voice on Vietnam (VOV) and Vietnam Television (VTV) channels.
Events planned during the festival include handicraft exhibitions, art shows, music and dance performances, sporting events, parades and cultural events.
South African Honorary Consulate donates five houses to Navy
South African Honourary Consul Đỗ Thị Kim Liên and VASS Assurance Corp today donated five houses worth VNĐ350 million (US$15,418) to social welfare beneficiaries of the Navy.
The donation was made via the Vừ A Dính Scholarship Fund and The Club for Beloved Hoàng Sa and Trường Sa, with former Vice President Trương Mỹ Hoa the chairwoman of the fund and the club.
Also on Monday, the South African Honorary Consulate held a ceremony to celebrate the 23rd anniversary of South African Freedom Day.
Liên said South Africa has high demand for Vietnamese goods. The country has imported a large volume of products in which Việt Nam has advantages, including footwear, garments and textiles, coffee, rice, gemstones and metals, timber and timber products.
Badminton teams vie for title in Thái Nguyên
The National Team’s Badminton Championship is in progress in Thái Nguyên Province with the participation of nearly 90 players.
Among 14 teams, eight are competing in the men’s category.
All the nation’s strongest players such as Nguyễn Tiến Minh of HCM City, Vũ Thị Trang and Nguyễn Thị Sen of Bắc Giang, Lê Thu Huyền and Đỗ Hồng Nam from Hà Nội are taking part in the tournament.
The first round of the event saw Hà Nội beating Đà Nẵng 4-1 in the women’s category. On the men’s side, Public Security won 4-1 over Hải Phòng and Bắc Ninh defeated Thái Nguyên 3-2.
The third championship will have a purse of VNĐ400 million to decide to winner.
Semi-finals and finals will be aired live on VTV6 from 2pm on Friday and Saturday.
Track-and-field athletes compete in Thống Nhất Speed Cup
The Thống Nhất Speed Cup athletics tournament kicked off yesterday at the HCM City’s Thống Nhất Stadium.
Nearly 500 athletes are taking part in the event which is divided into two stages, one for seniors and one for the youth.
The senior athletes will compete in 12 disciplines each for men and women, while the juniors will vie for success in nine disciplines.
Nguyễn Trung Hinh, deputy chairman of the Việt Nam Athletics Federation, said this year the tournament had seen a huge number of participants.
He hoped that new talents would be discovered at the event, who could strengthen the national team that will be taking part in many international and regional tournaments later this year. The tournament will end today.
Traffic accidents in Hanoi slightly decrease
Traffic accidents in Hanoi killed 129 people and injured 274 others in recent months, a decline compared to the same period last year, announced the Hanoi Department of Transport.
The number of dead and injured dropped by 8.5 percent and 7.7 percent respectively, from mid-December 2016 to mid-March 2017. There were 338 accidents, a decrease of 1.7 percent.
The outcome was attributed to measures local authorities deployed to prevent traffic jams and accidents.
However, there was a rise in railway accidents in the first three months of 2017, with seven accidents claiming seven lives, an increase of three cases year-on-year.
In the first quarter of 2017, the city traffic police handled more than 11,700 cases of traffic violations, with total fines of about 22.3 billion VND (981,000 USD). Nearly 160 vehicles were seized and 1,587 drivers had their driving licences revoked.-
Quang Binh tourism recovers from sea environmental incident
Despite it only being the beginning of the travel season, the central province of Quang Binh has welcomed numerous tourists, showing signs of recovery from last year’s Formosa-caused sea environmental incident.
According to data from the provincial tourism sector, local three – star and above hotels received considerable numbers of bookings in the first quarter of this year.
The number of tourists who booked rooms for the April 30 – May 1 holiday filled 70 – 90 percent of capacity of the hotels by mid-April.
Quang Binh province has taken measures to attract more visitors, with a Dong Hoi – Quang Binh culture and tourism week taking place during the April 30 – May 1 holiday with various activities such as street festival, cuisine festival and boat racing.
HIV, tuberculosis services continue in districts, communes
An HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis (TB) integrated treatment model has continued to be piloted at district and communal clinic centres in 18 provinces with high and medium rate of HIV this year, according to the Vietnam Administration for HIV/AIDS Control (VAAC) under the Ministry of Health.
VAAC Deputy Director General Bui Duc Duong said that TB is the most common opportunistic infection associated with HIV and a leading cause of death among people with HIV. Persons infected with HIV are 19 times more likely to develop TB than those without HIV.
HIV-infected people also face the emerging threat of drug-resistant TB. In 2015, some 390,000 people died of HIV-associated TB in the world, accounting for 25 percent of global HIV deaths. There are an estimated 5,500 HIV-associated TB cases in Vietnam, Duong added.
HIV/AIDS and TB services are being provided separately at numerous district clinic centres, inconveniencing patients.
The integrated model has been introduced at district and communal clinics to enhance management and provide comprehensive service for HIV- associated TB patients, he said.
The model was piloted in Nho Quan district in Ninh Binh province and Hung Ha district in Thai Binh province during 2013-2015. It was enlarged to other 12 provinces in 2015-2016.
According to the Vietnam National Hospital of Tuberculosis and Respiratory Diseases, after two years of the model, the rate of detection of TB for HIV patients increased while rate of HIV-associated TB patients receiving treatment also rose.
In addition, people with TB received consultations and HIV tests at the integration clinics and those with HIV were treated at the same centre.
The integration model also helps reduce costs at local clinics and enhances quality of diagnosis and treatment.
Child abuse cases prompt VN province to install cameras in kindergartens
Education authorities in Vietnam's central province of Thua Thien-Hue have ordered local nursery schools and kindergartens to install surveillance cameras in classrooms and toilets to protect kids following recent child abuse scandals that have caused public uproar across the country.
Pham Van Hung, head of the province's Education and Training Department, told the education ministry he had made the request and also asked local educational establishments to improve walls and fences.
Hung said parents of small children are dismayed over the rising number of child sexual and physical abuse cases recently exposed in Vietnam.
"The installation of cameras in classrooms and toilets aims to monitor teachers and detect any ill-intentioned strangers attempting to break into schools," said Hung.
It was not immediately clear if the policy has been approved.
A number of pre-school establishments in Thua Thien-Hue have installed surveillance cameras in classrooms. Ton Nu Luc Ha, headmaster of Hoa Mai Kindergarten in Hue, said her school has installed 28 cameras in 24 classrooms and function rooms.
"Images of the classrooms and the function rooms are recorded and transmitted to a large screen with a regular observer," Ha said. "The system will help our school to monitor teachers and prevent abusive behavior towards kids."
In Vietnam, more than 8,200 cases of child abuse were brought to light between 2011 and 2015, including 5,300 cases of sexual abuse, according to official figures released last year.
In most cases the perpetrators were people with authority over the children, like teachers, school security guards and relatives.
Experts said at a recent conference that sexual abuse cases in Vietnam tend to be prolonged or even buried due to legal loopholes that require evidence of serious physical effects on the victims.
In March, intensive mainstream and social media reports angered the public and prompted top government officials to intervene following the exposure of several child sexual abuse cases.
Police have arrested two male suspects, namely a 76-year-old accused of molesting seven girls at an apartment building in the southern beach town of Vung Tau, and a 34-year-old Hanoian for assaulting his 8-year-old neighbor.
Assistance offered to more than 30 million children
The National Fund for Vietnamese Children (NFVC) has mobilised more than VND5.5 trillion (US$243.3 million), goods and volunteers to support some 30 million children across the country.
The information was released by NFVC Director Hoang Van Tien at a meeting with press on the organisation’s 25th anniversary in Hanoi on April 18.
Deputy Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Dao Hong Lan underlined the remarkable contributions the organisation has made to Vietnamese children.
The fund has served as a bridge connecting the community, society, international organisations and children, encouraging the community to protect and educate children.
Over the past 25 years, the fund has organised numerous activities, including the 15-year “For children’s hearts” programme funding heart surgeries worth nearly VND80 billion (US$3.54 million) and a functional rehabilitation programme for children with disabilities, particularly victims of Agent Orange/dioxin.
Since 2001, 34 rehabilitation centres have been established in 24 provinces and cities nationwide, benefiting more than 23,000 children.
Since 2000, the fund has also provided long-term financial assistance for thousands of orphan students or those whose parents are disabled or unable to work, giving each about three-six million VND per year, worth a total of VND6.6 billion (US$292,000).
The Deputy Minister urged the fund to improve their operations and methods to mobilise resources and donations while promoting its activities to draw attention from organisations and individuals.
According to Tien, the fund aims to provide long-term assistance for children, so they can continue their education and have a better life. The organisation will also build schools in mountainous, border and sea-island areas and provide eye check-ups for students.
By 2020, the fund aims to mobilise VND80 billion (US$3.54 million) per year.
A ceremony will be held in the Hanoi Opera House on May 4 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the fund (May 4).
Vietnamese aviation authority close to all clear for direct flights to US
Vietnam’s aviation authority is likely to have its safety credentials approved by the US next month as part of the process to allow Vietnamese airlines to open direct flights to the US, a Vietnamese aviation official said.
The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is expected to grant its approval in May for the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam (CAAV) to get its Category 1 (CAT1) rating, which recognizes the CAAV as having the capacity to ensure safety on Vietnamese airlines.
“Pending further good results, the FAA will give official recognition this year,” CAAV director Lai Xuan Thanh told VnExpress.
The CAAV currently follows standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organization, but in order to earn the CAT1 it has to make certain improvements, including completing a new set of regulations, ensuring a sufficient number of staff and improving its supervisory capacity.
Thanh said Vietnam is prepared for the overall assessment on aviation safety supervision and US evaluation.
After receiving the CAT1 rating, the CAAV will supervise airlines based in Vietnam and ensure they are eligible to operate direct flights to the US.
Vietnam and the US signed an air transport agreement in 2003 to allow airlines to operate direct flights between the two countries.
In 2004, national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines sought permission from the US to provide direct services. However, the request was denied because the CAAV did not meet safety supervision requirements set by the FAA.
The airline said it has reapplied to the US Department of Transportation to launch direct flights, and if Vietnam gets the CAT1 rating, Vietnam Airlines will start offering the service in 2018.
Thanh Hoa’s Sam Son town becomes city
Sam Son town was promoted to a city in the north central coastal province of Thanh Hoa at the ongoing ninth session of the 14th National Assembly Standing Committee in Hanoi on April 19.
Deputies also agreed with the establishment of four wards, namely Quang Cu, Quang Chau, Quang Tho, and Quang Vinh in Sam Son town.
The move aims to meet the local urbanization process and develop Sam Son into a national tourist city.
It also looks to create a development triangle area, encompassing Thanh Hoa city, Sam Son city, and Nghi Son Economic Zone, which will be an important momentum for economic growth in the province and the north central region generally.
With the establishment of four wards and one city, Thanh Hoa still keeps the number of administrative units at 27 at the district level and 635 at the communal level.
The province is now home to two cities, one town, 24 districts, 34 wards, 28 townships, and 573 communes.
Sam Son city will cover 44.94 square kilometers with a population of 150,902 and 11 communal administrative units.
Deputies suggested the province devise measures to ensure defense security and social order and safety as well as pay attention to eco-environmental protection and cultural preservation and changing jobs for locals.
Metropole Hanoi to host Michelin-starred chef
The Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi is set to welcome Christophe Lerouy, a French Michelin-starred chef, for two unique culinary experiences on April 28 and 29 at the hotel’s French fine-dining restaurant, Le Beaulieu.
“This meeting of culinary masterminds brings passionate foodies together in both the kitchen and dining room, offering an unforgettable dining experience,” said Mr. Franck Lafourcade, the Metropole’s General Manager. “We are excited to have Chef Christophe Lerouy with us and we’re looking forward to two special evenings of excellent food and wine.”
Part of the Metropole’s annual Les Arômes Festival, the dinners will see Chef Lerouy bring his eclectic Asian-inspired French fare to Hanoi for the first time. True epicureans can look forward to a four-course dinner on April 28, which will include such mouthwatering dishes as warm oysters, torched foie gras, apple wasabi puree, and Iberico ham stock.
The sensory explosion is set to continue the following evening, when Chef Lerouy teams up with the Metropole’s Chef de Cuisine, Olivier Génique, to cook a five-course feast. Both will prepare two courses, featuring such imported delicacies as seared Hokkaido scallops and Argentinian striploin, before joining forces for the final act: a surprise chocolate-infused dessert.
The dinner will also welcome Mr. Basile Guibert, owner of the widely-celebrated Languedoc wine estate, Daumas Gassac. For many, this estate needs no introduction. Brought to Hanoi by Red Apron, the world-famous red is an intriguing blend of Cabernet Sauvignon along with a mix of indigenous and more unusual varieties from the south of France, such as Grenache, Cinsault and Tempranillo. Mas De Daumas Gassac Blanc is a similarly fascinating blend of grape varieties, with Chardonnay and Viognier taking center stage.
With more than 20 years of experience in various Michelin-starred restaurants around the world, including Amador in Abu Dhabi and Jardin des Sens in Montpellier, Chef Lerouy was awarded his first Michelin star at Alma by Juan Amador in Singapore where he was Chef de Cuisine. After leaving Alma last year, 34-year-old Christophe launched his own restaurant, DSTLLRY par Christophe Lerouy in Singapore, serving French cuisine with subtle infusions of Asian techniques and ingredients.
Now in its eleventh year, the annual Les Arômes Festival has become one of Vietnam’s most anticipated culinary events, with a range of taste-bud tickling events, including gourmet dinners, wine tastings and auctions, as well as bread and chocolate-making classes.
Open to both hotel guests and non-hotel guests, each dinner is priced at VND1,800,000++ ($79) per person.
ICAP's delegation visits HCMC
Chairman of Ho Chi Minh City Union of Friendship Organizations Huynh Minh Thien yesterday received a delegation form the Cuban Institute for Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP).
Deputy Chairwoman of Vietnam- Cuba Friendship Association Marta Rojas Rodrigues led the delegation.
Attending in the welcome ceremony was Chairwoman of Vietnam- Cuba Friendship Association in Ho Chi Minh City Truong Thi Hien, Deputy Chief of ICAP Alicia Corredera Morales and Vice ambassador of Cuba in Vietnam Nancy Coro Aguiar.
At the meeting, Chairman Huynh Minh Thien announced activities of HUFO to the delegation.
In the previous time, HUFO and the Vietnam- Cuba Friendship Association closely collaborated with Cuba General Consulate in Ho Chi Minh City to kick off meaningful activities that contributed to strengthen friendship relations between Cuba and Vietnam, including Ho Chi Minh City.
On behalf of the ICAP delegation, Ms. Marta Rojas Rodrigues thanked Ho Chi Minh City for its meaningful activities and contributions in enhancing solidarity and friendships with her country.
Surgeons in province hospital remove 6kg ovarian tumor
Teams of surgeons in the Maternity Hospital in the northern province of Quang Ninh were successful in removing 6kg ovarian tumor for a woman yesterday.
The woman was hospitalized when she suffered pain in belly and her abdomen was big abnormally.
Through examining, doctors discovered a big tumor in her ovary; accordingly they asked the woman to stay in hospital for treatment. Scan and MRI results showed the woman has a tumor measured 35x25x35 cm.
An hour surgery was performed to remove the tumor.
She recovered after the operation.
Audio books on law for blind people launched
The Department of Justice in Ho Chi Minh City and Library for Blind People yesterday jointly organized a meeting about a program to introduce audio books on law for visually impaired people.
The program aims to increase information of law to people in the city especially people with visual impairment, people from ethnic minority groups, elderly people, housewives, fishermen, prisoners, people in rehabilitation centers and others in and outside the country who have demand to understand Vietnamese law.
The book program is under two forms; via the website of the library for blind people and CD-ROM named “Book on law” provided to associations and schools for disabled people who find reading a strain and others.
The Library for visually impaired people was set up in 1998. Until now, it has had over 1,300 books of various kinds to serve 90 centers for visual impaired or partial sighted people across the country and schools for special disabled people in HCMC.
From 2009, the library acttracted one million people who are difficult in reading and normal people.
It is scheduled in 2017, four audio books on law ( or four CD ) will be published on justice, law of Birth, Marriage and Death; law of Marriage and Family, and Law for Disabled People, Civil law, Labor law, Social Insurance law, Labor Safety law, National Defense – Security, Islands and Sea law.
In 2018, the program will further introduction of documents of law and the government’s policies.
Deputy Head of the municipal Department of Justice Le Thi Binh Minh presented 30 CD-ROMs to the association of the Blind to distribute to its sub-departments.
Poet Xuan Quynh bestowed Ho Chi Minh Prize
Vietnam's most famous modern woman poet, Xuan Quynh was awarded the Ho Chi Minh Prize in Literature and Arts, the highest prize of its kind in Viet Nam.
The decision No.602 was signed by President Tran Dai Quang on March 30 to present the title for her collections of poems, “Loi ru mat dat” (The lullaby of the earth) and children's poetry book “Bau troi trong qua trung” (The sky in an egg).
Poet Xuan Quynh (1942-1988) was born in the northern province of Ha Tay.Her husband is Luu Quang Vu, a poet and famous playwright. She is well-known for romantic poems, such as Song (wave), Thuyen va bien (Boat and sea), Tho Tinh Cuoi Mua Thu (Love Poem for End of Autumn).
Hot weather continues covering HCMC in next three days
The National Hydrology Meteorology Forecast Center yesterday issued the weather forecast news for next three days that the highest daytime temperature in Ho Chi Minh City will be up to 35- 36 degrees Celsius.
However, thunderstorm and lighting are warned to occur in the area of Ho Chi Minh City in the evening.
At present, a low depression zone appeares in the center East Sea. Its eye is at 16 degrees north latitude and 117.1 degrees east longitude, at around 560 kilometers of southeastwards.
The maximum wind speed near the center is below 40 kilometers an hour.
The low depression zone is forecast moving the north- northeastwards at 15 kilometers per hour towards the Philippines’s Luzong Islands which will cause showery weather over the southern region.
ASEAN Community exhibition to be held in Da Nang
Central Da Nang city will host the ASEAN Community Exhibition from May 19-25 to mark the 50th founding anniversary of ASEAN.
The Da Nang Museum, which covers 3,000sq.m, is home to 2,500 objects, photos and documents on culture of Da Nang and neighbouring central provinces.
In addition, the activities will be held in the city and the provinces of Ninh Binh and Thanh Hoa to celebrate ASEAN’s establishment (August 8, 1997) through May and June.
The museum, which was built on the old location of the Dien Hai Citadel under the Nguyen Dynasty in 1802-1860 in the 19th century, also preserves a collection of 11 cannons unearthed at the citadel from 1979-2008.
The exhibition, held in Viet Nam in 2015 and 2016, will feature 300 photos and 100 films and documents on land, people, environmental protection, climate change and nationalities in the ASEAN community.
Ministry implements seriously policies for revolutionary contributors
The Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs has been implementing seriously the preferential policies designed for people who made significant contributions to the cause of national revolution.
Minister Dao Ngoc Dung made the remarks at a hearing at the ninth meeting of the 14th National Assembly Standing Committee in Hanoi on April 18, which is the first time a Question-&-Answer session has been held by the current NA Standing Committee.
He said the ministry has coordinated with relevant ministries and departments to promulgate documents guiding the implementation of preferential policies on revolutionary contributors, under the Government’s Decree No.31/2013/ND-CP dated April 9, 2013.
The country has confirmed over 9 million revolutionary contributors, making up nearly 10 percent of the total population. More than 1.4 million of revolutionary contributors and their families are receiving monthly allowances, he noted.
The ministry reviewed the list of revolutionary contributors in 2014 and 2015, and found around 28,500 cases when self-claimed contributors have not received benefits. However, Minister Dung said the verification of those cases faces difficulties due to lack of documents as evidence, which is also the biggest problem in this field.
According to the minister, inspections so far also revealed the misapplication of preferential policies in 1,872 cases.
Regarding the preparation for the 70th anniversary of the War Invalids and Martyrs Day (July 27), Dung said various activities will be held to mark the event, including a meeting in Hanoi, a national conference to honour people who rendered services to the revolution, and commemorative and incense-offering ceremonies at cemeteries of fallen soldiers nationwide.
Seminar promotes introduction of ASEAN Community
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs hosted a seminar in Hanoi on April 18 to discuss measures to promotes the role played by communications agencies in popularising the ASEAN Community.
The event updated press agencies with ASEAN-related information, making it easier for them to have feature stories on specific benefits brought by the ASEAN Community, towards raising public awareness of the importance of the community.
In his opening remarks, Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Quoc Dung emphasised the role played by the communications circle in the work, saying that this is a crucial tool to introducing benefits of the ASEAN Community to the public.
Ministries and sectors should consider ASEAN cooperation promotion as a priority, and need to enhance links among various sectors in the process, he noted.
Representatives from a number of ministries mentioned issues concerning intra-bloc economic and tourism cooperation, incentives from tariff commitments; transport links within ASEAN; ASEAN integration initiatives; mutual recognition agreements in ASEAN’s sectors; and migrant labour in ASEAN.
The seminar heard that ASEAN member nations achieved hundreds of agreements and commitments to almost fields, especially those that bring direct interests to the people such as commitments to tariff and technical barrier removal; investment liberalisation and facilitation; agreements facilitating passenger and commodity transport, labour movement, and tourism, and education cooperation programmes.
On the occasion, speakers from ministries also gave reply to press agencies’ queries about the significance of free trade agreements within the bloc, and what Vietnam does to take advantage of opportunities in the integration process.