Articles on this Page
- 04/19/17--06:15: _Article 2
- 04/19/17--06:29: _Article 1
- 04/19/17--07:51: _Article 0
- 04/20/17--02:11: _Article 2
- 04/20/17--02:33: _Article 1
- 04/20/17--02:57: _Article 0
- 04/21/17--02:28: _Article 1
- 04/21/17--02:45: _Article 0
- 04/23/17--00:57: _Article 6
- 04/23/17--01:01: _Article 5
- 04/23/17--01:33: _Article 4
- 04/23/17--01:45: _Article 3
- 04/24/17--00:57: _Article 2
- 04/24/17--01:27: _Article 1
- 04/24/17--01:29: _Article 0
- 04/25/17--01:02: _Article 1
- 04/25/17--01:34: _Article 0
- 04/26/17--01:44: _Article 5
- 04/26/17--01:55: _Article 4
- 04/26/17--02:09: _Article 3
- 04/19/17--06:15: Article 2
- 04/19/17--06:29: Article 1
- 04/19/17--07:51: Article 0
- 04/20/17--02:11: Article 2
- 04/20/17--02:33: Article 1
- 04/20/17--02:57: Article 0
- 04/21/17--02:28: Article 1
- 04/21/17--02:45: Article 0
- 04/23/17--00:57: Article 6
- 04/23/17--01:01: Article 5
- 04/23/17--01:33: Article 4
- 04/23/17--01:45: Article 3
- 04/24/17--00:57: Article 2
- 04/24/17--01:27: Article 1
- 04/24/17--01:29: Article 0
- 04/25/17--01:02: Article 1
- 04/25/17--01:34: Article 0
- 04/26/17--01:44: Article 5
- 04/26/17--01:55: Article 4
- 04/26/17--02:09: Article 3
How should weak banks be restructured?
While the State Bank (SBV) has legalized the use of state money to support the restructuring of weak banks, it has not specified where the government will get the money to pump into the banks.
SBV is consulting with ministries and agencies on a draft law to support the reshuffling of credit institutions and settling bad debts.
Phan Minh Ngoc, an economist, in an article published in a local newspaper, said that the provisions in the draft laws have legalized the use of the state budget for settling bad debts.
Article No 31 of the draft law says that weak banks taken over compulsorily may receive refinancing from the government to increase their charter capital, or may receive preferential loans at the interest rate of zero percent.
Nguyen Tri Hieu, a finance and banking expert, emphasized that after being taken over by SBV at zero dong, the banks must have their charter capital supplemented.
In the case of the three banks which SBV bought at zero dong (Ocean Bank, CB Bank and GP Bank), their stockholder equity might have become ‘minus’’.
Meanwhile, under the Law on Credit Institutions, one bank must have charter capital of VND3 trillion at minimum. So if the banks have ‘minus’ chartered capital, SBV, as the holding company and the only investor, will have to pour more capital into the banks to ensure the minimum charter capital.
However, Hieu commented, no one knows how much capital the three banks have. SBV assigned VietinBank and Vietcombank – the two commercial banks in which the state holds controlling stakes – to support the operation of three zero dong banks.
However, VietinBank and Vietcombank can only help the three zero-dong banks by lending money, which the zero-dong banks use to pay to depositors or to relend to others.
Hieu believes that it would be better to skip the purchase of weak banks at zero dong.
After putting weak banks under special control, SBV’s inspectors will find out if the banks can recover. If ‘yes’, SBV will go directly to the final step – forcing the weak banks to merge with other banks, or selling the weak banks to investors. If no one wants to take over the weak banks, they must go bankrupt.
The central bank purchased weak banks two years ago at zero dong, avoiding a possible collapse of the banking system. However, Hieu doesn’t think the measure should be applied in the future.
Kim Chi, VNN
Provincial leader uses luxury car gifted by local bank in Vietnam's Central Highland
The Toyota Land Cruiser gifted by Agribank (R) and another Toyota that had accompanied a provincial deputy Party chief from his previous post in the central government, are parked at the Office of the Dak Lak Party Committee.
A Toyota Land Cruiser with license plate number 47A-001.07 currently used by Dak Lak’s Party Committee to shuttle its chief Y Phu E Ban, was a gift from the Dak Lak branch of state-owned commercial bank Agribank, the committee’s office has confirmed.
The market value of the Toyota Land Cruiser is VND3.65 billion (US$163,000) according to the Toyota Vietnam website.
The gratuity was the result of an “agreement” between the two bodies in 2016 for a “mutual purpose”, it said.
Party Committee is the leading organ of the Communist Party of Vietnam of each of the country’s provinces or cities.
Agribank, or Vietnam Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development, is a commercial bank fully owned by the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV), though a plan is currently in place to reduce the central bank’s capital ownership of Agribank to 65 percent by 2020.
According to the Office of the Dak Lak Party Committee, Agribank’s gifting of the luxury car was voluntary, and based on its available budget for social responsibility, and the province’s shortage of public cars at the time.
“The gift resulted from a discussion and agreement between the two parties,” a senior official at the Party Committee’s office said.
“Every year, Agribank puts aside funds for social programs, charity events, and investment in education in areas off the beaten track,” a leader at Agribank Dak Lak said.
“The provincial Party Office therefore suggested that we provide the province with a car to be used by provincial leaders for the same purposes.”
The office is also in possession of two other cars which are being used to shuttle two of its deputy party chiefs.
One of the cars, it said, had been passed on by a retired Party chief who had been entitled to the car as part of his multiple posts as Party chief, chairman of the Dak Lak People’s Council, and head of the provincial National Assembly delegation.
The other car used by the second Deputy Party Chief had come with him from his previous post in the central government, the office explained.
Early last month, authorities of central Da Nang City and southernmost Ca Mau Province have had to gifted by local businesses following an order by Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.
Both authorities had previously defended their reception of the luxury cars using similar lines of reasoning, saying the vehicles were of state ownership and were to be used for public purposes such as visiting drought-hit, flood-stricken and mountainous areas.
TUOI TRE NEWS
Honeywell unveils the power of the connected aircraft at Aircraft Interiors Expo 2017
High-speed connectivity combined with Honeywell technologies are taking the aerospace industry into the digital age and displaying the true power of being connected.
Honeywell (NYSE: HON) will be at the Aircraft Interiors Expo to showcase how connectivity impacts the aerospace industry well beyond passengers and the cabin. With thousands of its products on aircraft around the world, and more than 100 years of experience providing satellite communications, mechanics, engines, cockpit technology and more to the aerospace industry, Honeywell is well-positioned to lead the aerospace industry’s Connected Aircraft evolution. The company’s vast connectivity products and service offerings are opening up real-time data utilisation in new ways — fueling an aggressive shift of the aviation industry into the digital age.
“The aerospace industry is going through a monumental shift right now. Access to high-speed connectivity brought a revolution for passengers and their experience on a plane, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg,” said Kristin Slyker, vice president of the Connected Aircraft business at Honeywell Aerospace. “At Honeywell, we know the ultimate impact from connectivity will be felt beyond the cabin, unlocking critical data like weather information, engine usage, maintenance reporting and more that can be better shared and analysed to help airlines improve efficiency and reduce costs.”
From the cockpit to the cabin, Honeywell provides and is working on a unique suite of Connected Aircraft solutions for airlines, business jets, militaries, helicopters and enthusiast owners that spans satellite components and equipment to software and services. This broad product offering improves and, in some cases, redefines the flying experience.
Pilots now have more information about the flight environment than ever before. New technologies such as Honeywell’s GoDirect Weather Information Service with real-time weather updates, connected flight management systems, and other connected services deliver increased flight efficiency and improved flight planning while providing pilots with expanded situational awareness for better decision-making. GoDirect Weather Information Service may save airlines from $25,000 to $100,000 per aircraft annually through avoiding hazardous conditions, reducing delays and diversions, lowering anti-ice usage, and decreasing maintenance costs and downtime.
Before the aircraft lands, maintainers will be able to identify components that will require maintenance or replacement — and ensure spare parts are available and ready for installation when it touches down. Honeywell is improving predictive analysis by wirelessly connecting more mechanical systems. For example, capturing and analysing aircraft data on usage and wear will enable the connected auxiliary power units, environmental control systems, and wheels and brakes to be inspected more efficiently, undergo more rapid and streamlined maintenance processes, and realise lower costs.
Passengers now can benefit from truly global, high-speed inflight Wi-Fi. Enabled by the Honeywell JetWave satellite communications system, GX Aviation Ka-band service allows passengers to use their mobile devices while flying over land or oceans with speeds equivalent to their home and office. With 500 deliveries to date and nearly 1,000 upcoming, JetWave is taking in-flight Wi-Fi into the next generation.
Airlines can now improve operational efficiency as a result of better access to data. Real-time flight planning services help reduce flight time by up to 5 per cent while decreasing delays. Honeywell’s GoDirect Fuel Efficiency software collects data from airline IT systems to provide data analysis and reporting, identify operational savings opportunities, optimise fuel usage with as much as 5 per cent annual fuel savings, and drive reduced emissions.
The Connected Aircraft delivers safer, faster and more comfortable flights for passengers; reduces workload for pilots and maintainers; and reduces costs and increases ease of ownership for airlines.
By Hong Anh, VIR
Social News 20/4
PM inspects combat readiness of Binh Thuan-based missile brigade
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc inspected training activities and the combat readiness of Naval Region 2’s Coastal Missile Brigade in the south central province of Binh Thuan on April 19.
Writing in the brigade’s book of traditions, he expressed his hope that officers and soldiers of the Coastal Missile Brigade will maintain strict discipline and high combat readiness so as to timely respond to every situation, thereby firmly safeguarding the Fatherland’s sacred marine sovereignty.
Set up in 2006, the Coastal Missile Brigade of Naval Region 2 is tasked with protecting the sea and island sovereignty and the southern continental shelf of Vietnam.
The brigade’s officers reported to the PO that it has taken measures to develop into a professional and modern brigade, adding that all officers and soldiers are ready to take on and fulfill any assigned tasks.
Cooperation with other military units and local authorities has also been enhanced to be prepared in any circumstance. The brigade has made efforts to improve the leadership and combat capacity of its Party organisation.
Additionally, it has actively engaged in natural disaster prevention, search and rescue activities, and assisted local residents in coping with disaster consequences.
Vietnam chairs Asian-Pacific charity fair in Japan
Vietnam was the chair of the 41st Asia-Pacific Ladies Friendship Society (ALFS) Charity Bazaar, held in Tokyo, Japan, on April 19, which attracted the participation of 19 regional countries.
Two Vietnamese stalls at the fair collected an estimated over 2 million JPY (18,368 USD) for the ALFS, the second highest among participating countries, only behind Japan.
With nearly 5,000 visitors, the annual event raised between 22 and 23 million JPY from ticket sales (201,916 - 211,094 USD), the highest amount recorded in recent years.
ALFS President Haruko Komura said the total proceeds will be evenly distributed among participating countries, about 1 million JPY (9,178 USD) each, to finance humanitarian activities in their countries.
She lauded efforts made by Vietnam as chair of this year’s bazaar, which have significantly contributed to the success of the bazaar.
Vietnam will use half of the funds received from the event to pay for a clean water system for a high school in the central province of Ha Tinh in collaboration with the Japan International Friendship Association. The remaining is earmarked for supporting dioxin-affected children in the central region.
The ALFS was set up 49 years ago as an initiative of the spouse of the then Japanese Foreign Minister. It now has nearly 400 members, mostly spouses of Japanese politicians, CEOs of major Japanese businesses, female ambassadors and spouses of ambassadors as well as female embassy staff of the 25 Asia-Pacific countries in Tokyo. It operates under the sponsorship of the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and aims to foster regional cooperation and social welfare contribution.
Long An targets 89 new-style rural communes by 2020
The Mekong Delta province of Long An has set a goal of having 89 communes recognised as new-style rural areas by 2020, accounting for 53.6 percent of its total communes.
According to Deputy Director of the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Phan Van Liem, efforts will be made to further develop key infrastructure facilities, towards meeting requirements of production and daily activities of locals in rural areas, as well as build sustainable production models and create more stable jobs.
Average per capita income in rural areas in 2020 is expected to reach 56 million VND per year, 1.8 times higher than that in 2015.
To that end, the local authorities will focus on examining and making adjustments to new-style area building plans in accordance with the locality’s socio-economic development.
Attention will be paid to promoting high-tech agriculture development in connection with restructuring the agriculture sector, and making it easier for local residents to play their key role in the process.
The locality will give priority to urgent projects, thus solving difficulties and creating breakthroughs for socio-economic development, Liem said, adding that local residents will be encouraged to engage more actively in building new-style rural areas, he added.
Long An now has 57 communes recognised new-style rural areas. The programme has received great response from locals throughout the province.
The national programme on building new-style rural areas, initiated by the Government in 2010, includes 19 criteria on socio-economic development, politics and defence, aiming to boost rural areas of Vietnam.
The criteria cover infrastructure development, production capacity improvement, environmental protection and cultural value promotion.
National programme on 2017-2021 rabies control begins
A conference to launch a national programme on the control and elimination of rabies in 2017-2021 took place in the northern province of Thai Nguyen on April 18.
The programme aims for the rate of vaccinated pet dogs in communes, wards and towns to exceed 85 percent while more than 70 percent of provinces will record no incidents of rabies in pet dogs for two consecutive years.
By 2021, over 95 percent of communes, wards and towns are expected to provide lists of households with pet dogs, while the number of fatalities due to rabies is hoped to be reduced by 60 percent.
Pham Van Dong, Director of the Animal Health Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, said rabies claims more than 70 lives on average each year and nearly 400,000 people have to seek medical help after being bitten by dogs, costing the country about 800 billion VND (34.78 million USD) yearly.
Participants discussed building rabies-free zones, coordinating to control rabies, improving institutional capacity and inter-sectoral communications about the disease.
The country currently has more than 7.7 million pet dogs, but only 2.9 million of them are vaccinated.
Last year, more than 411,000 people were bitten by dogs and 91 were killed by rabies in 28 cities and provinces nationwide. In the first quarter this year, 12 fatalities due to rabies were recorded.
Part of the reason for the problem is poor management of pet dogs in many localities, especially in rural and mountainous areas, and a lack of canine vaccination.
Foreign workers may be forced to pay social insurance in Vietnam
Vietnam's labor ministry is seeking public opinion on a new rule that would require foreigners working in the country to pay social insurance, the ministry said.
foreign workers may be forced to pay social insurance in vietnam hinh 0 nder the draft decree on compulsory social insurance for foreigners, the basic package would cover sickness, maternity, occupational diseases and accidents, retirement and death, which is similar to that for Vietnamese workers. If approved, the decree will come into force from January 1, 2018.
According to the draft, employees would pay a monthly insurance premium of 8 percent of their income, which would go to the retirement and death fund.
Employers would contribute 18 percent of an employee's monthly salary, including 3 percent to the sickness and maternity fund, 14 percent to the retirement and death fund, and 1% to the occupational diseases and accidents fund.
Income subject to social insurance payment includes wages, allowances and supplements in accordance with Vietnamese law.
A foreign employee whose contract has expired and not renewed, or who is eligible for pensions or monthly allowances but no longer resides in Vietnam, could still receive a one-off payment from the social insurance fund if requested.
At present, Vietnamese workers are required to pay social insurance based on the wages and allowances stipulated in their labor contracts, while from 2018, payments will also be based on any supplements mentioned in their contracts.
Early retirement and lump-sum pension payouts have been eating into Vietnam's pension fund, while employers paying workers in increments has led to losses to the social insurance fund, officials have said.
Compulsory social insurance for foreign workers would put Vietnam on a par with Thailand and the Philippines, while Singapore only requires citizens and permanent residents to pay social security, leaving temporary residents exempt from the tax.
Vietnamese government wants homegrown social networks to replace Facebook
The Vietnamese government plans to work with Facebook to remove fake pages that purport to belong to state leaders as it pursues a social media cleanup campaign, Minister of Information and Communications Truong Minh Tuan told a parliamentary committee on April 18.
Vietnam has 49 million internet users, or more than half of population, and more than 45 million social media accounts, a space Tuan said is not always a good thing.
“There are good and bad people on social media,” Tuan said at a hearing of the National Assembly's Standing Committee. Distortions, defamations and fabrications mostly happen on international platforms such as Google, YouTube and Facebook, while most pages licensed in Vietnam comply with regulations, he said.
Tuan's ministry recently asked Google to block and remove 2,200 clips on YouTube that contained "slanderous" and "defamatory" content against Vietnamese leaders. Google had removed nearly 1,300 such clips as of April 12.
Tuan also called on the mainstream media and Vietnamese social networks to ensure speedy and accurate information.
“In the long term we need social networks provided by local businesses that can replace and compete with Facebook in Vietnam,” he said.
The government has been working hard in recent months to rein in the internet.
In January, the information ministry issued a circular asking Facebook and similar sites with a Vietnamese base of over one million users to “collaborate” with authorities to block “toxic information”, ranging from ads for banned products to anti-state content and state secrets.
Facebook is the most popular social network in Vietnam with around 35 million users, or 70% of the country's online community.
In recent years, the government has taken various steps to embrace the platform. Vietnam’s health minister launched her official Facebook page more than two years ago to provide health information and receive questions from the public. It was months before Vietnam's central government opened its own Facebook page in October 2015.
The then Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung urged government officials to embrace social networks, which "we won’t be able to ban".
Zachary Abuza, a Washington-based analyst who authored a 2015 paper about the media and civil society in Vietnam, made a similar point.
“The internet infrastructure developed far faster than the [Vietnamese] government’s ability to regulate and control it,” he told VnExpress International. “There is nothing the government can do to shut it down. And there are plenty of technical workarounds.”
‘Book city’ to open in Binh Duong mall
Local book producer Phuong Nam Corp (PNC) has teased the opening of a ‘book city’ inside a shopping center in Binh Duong, a neighboring province of Ho Chi Minh City.
The company has described their plan as a “dream project” at a recent conference of book publishers and producers in Ho Chi Minh City.
The book city will reside in what PNC described as a ‘grand and popular shopping mall’ in Binh Duong - its actual location remaining secret.
The description does hint however at the AEON Mall Binh Duong Canary, a 62,000-square-meter retail mecca on Binh Duong Boulevard in Thuan An District, where there is already a Phuong Nam bookstore.
The mall opened in November 2014 and is run by Japanese retail and services group AEON Group, based in Chiba Prefecture just outside Tokyo.
The proposed book city will boast the most titles gathered in one bookstore in Vietnam, PNC said on Tuesday, as well as various other services it says will keep shoppers and readers entertained for a full day.
Last year, PNC opened 13 new bookstores across Vietnam, raising its number of locations to 52 and bringing it closer to main rival Fahasa, the dominant bookstore chain in Vietnam, which has 94 locations nationwide.
On Vietnam’s book industry, PNC said that titles in the young adult genre continue to grow in popularity and make up the majority of the company’s sales.
“Sixty % of our revenue comes from young adult books, while 40% of our best-sellers target young readers,” PNC said at the recent conference.
At Fahasa, children’s books are their mainstay, comprising up to 25% of revenue last year, and sales growth of 18% from 2015.
That said, Vietnam’s book industry in general has been on the decline, with the number of copies-per-person dropping in 2016 to 3.6 from 2015’s 4.1, according to statistics from the Vietnam Publishers Association (VPA).
The digital market also saw little improvement last year, VPA pointed out, as out of 64,588 publication registrations in 2016, only 1,893 were published in digital format.
'Kong: Skull Island' director plans short film to promote Vietnam
Vietnam's tourism officials said "Kong: Skull Island" director Jordan Vogt-Roberts will make a short film to promote the country and encourage his Hollywood colleagues to make movies here.
The 32-year-old director, who was named Vietnam's tourism ambassador in March, has recently submitted his action plan including various projects to introduce Vietnamese scenery and culture to the world.
His recent blockbuster has also made a strong case for Vietnam as a filming location and the director plans to invite more Hollywood colleagues over.
“Kong: Skull Island” was filmed in February last year in the central province of Quang Binh’s colossal caves, the northern province of Ninh Binh and the world-renowned Ha Long Bay.
Vietnam provided the “perfect aesthetic” for the film, said Vogt-Roberts, who has been the only tourist to walk through the world’s largest cave Son Doong in Quang Binh to date.
“The look of Vietnam is gorgeous and otherworldly at the same time,” he said in an interview with Channel News Asia days before the movie premiere.
The movie hit local theaters on March 10, grossing VND150 billion (US$6.6 million) after two weeks.
A week ago, when the film hit the US$500 million mark at the global box office, Vogt-Roberts on Instagram sent his thanks to "everyone who went and supported the film (especially the people of Vietnam)."
Online trip planning market remains untapped in Vietnam
While a considerable number of Vietnamese travelers are planning their trips online, few local travel companies have tapped into this lucrative market, insiders said at a conference on April 18.
Websites or online services helping travelers to prepare for their trips via a mouse click is “a gold mine left unexploited” in Vietnam, experts have said at an event jointly held by Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper and Google.
Trinh Quang Chung, industry manager of Google Asia Pacific, said Vietnam currently has 47.7 million Internet users, most of whom search travel information, destinations and other related services as part of their daily habit.
Chung underlined this statistic with the fact that more Vietnamese are using mobile phones for their online trip planning than U.S. users.
Forty-eight percent of Vietnamese users search for hotel bookings on the Internet, compared to 18 percent in the U.S., according to the Google representative. Similarly, the ratio of Vietnamese and American users looking for travel information online is 42 percent and 25 percent, respectively.
However, Google experts told the conference that despite this great potential, it has yet to be taken advantage of by Vietnamese businesses.
Ha Lam Tu Quynh, Country Communications and PR lead with Google Asia Pacific, said that there are more than 260 million people in Southeast Asia with Internet access, all potential customers of travel companies.
“However, most Vietnamese companies have developed their websites with little attention to what the users really need, nor the platform’s information optimization or a user friendly experience,” Quynh explained.
Vietnamese travel websites takes an average of ten seconds to load, which Google suggested should be improved, given that a DoubleClick study recently revealed that 53 percent of visitors leave a site if its page-load time is longer than three seconds.
Chung, the Google expert, put the emphasis on the need for travel websites to go mobile.
“If a travel firm does not have a mobile presence, or delivering mobile users a slow experience, they are passing on the chance to create an advantage over their competitors,” Chung said.
Mobile platforms will allow even a small Vietnamese tour operator to reach customers worldwide. “This is why Google is offering tools and programs to help Vietnamese companies make the most use of mobile,” he added.
Quynh advised that local companies start by setting up a good website which meets three criteria: mobile friendly, fast page-load time and a good user experience.
With Google providing technical assistance to local travel firms, Tuoi Tre can alsot assist through effective media solutions.
Tuoi Tre will support travel firms by promoting them, especially those with eco-friendly tourism products, both in print and online editions, Deputy Editor-in-Chief Le Xuan Trung said at the conference.
The newspaper can also act as a bridge linking small to medium sized tourism operators with regulatory bodies, help them resolve bureaucratic difficulties and boost their overall development.
Child labour problem confounds Đắk Lắk
Lê Văn Hồng, a member of the H’Mông minority in Krông Bông District of the Central Highland province of Đắk Lắk, had decided to send his two sons, aged 10 and 15, to work for a garment factory in the south.
He accepted the fact that Lê Văn Cải and Lê Văn Khương would drop out of school so they could bring home a few million đồng and help ease the family’s hardship.
However, after two months Hồng had to borrow money to bring his kids home as they could not stand the harsh working conditions. The two have gone back to school in Hoà Phong Commune, but many other children aren’t as lucky.
Lê Văn Toả, another father from Krông Bông District’s Hoà Phong Commune told vov.vn that he was worried about his 13-year-old daughter working far from home. She called him several times, and spoke about the hard life she had to suffer.
“She told me that she worked from 6am to midnight, and had only two hours off for meals,” he said.
Nguyễn Văn Tâm, chairman of the Cư Pui Commune’s People’s Committee, said these ethnic minority students pay reduced school fees, but some parents let their children drop out of school to earn money.
Most of children have to work for a whole year to make VNĐ9 million (US$395), and only get the money once at the end of that year.
Trần Ngọc Hùng, deputy head of the district’s Division of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, said that since 2014 students were being sent to work at industrial zones or restaurants in the south. This year, as many as 135 students aged 12 to 16 had quit school and 42 of them were reportedly sent to work in HCM City.
Hùng said the division, in co-operation with local authorities, has disseminated informaton about child labour law and penalties for dropping out of school to all households in the district, but the problem persists.
In 2014, more than 20 ethnic minority people in Cư Kuin District were found working in recruitment of child labourers for enterprises in the south. As many as 206 students from primary and secondary schools in Krông Bông, Lắk, Cư Kuin and Krông Pắc District, dropped out of school to work.
Từ Thị Khanh, head of the provincial Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs’s Children Protection and Caring Unit said that most of the children were between 13 and 15 and were vulnerable to social evils such as prostitution, abuse, drug use and human trafficking.
540 litres of wine of unclear origin seized
Police from the northern province of Hưng Yên have seized over 540 litres of wine without clear origin papers in Toàn Thắng Commune’s Trương Xá Village.
The wine was confiscated after the police caught red-handed Cao Văn Nam, 30, on Tuesday, carrying 18 cans of wine to sell in the northern province of Quảng Ninh’s Móng Cái Town.
Nam admitted to the police he was hired to transport the wine. He failed to show documents proving where the wine came from.
The police are conducting an investigating to determine the place of origin of the wine.
Previously, between April 10 and 12, the police seized 1,400 litres of wine of unknown origin in the commune. According to the initial investigation, the wine was allegedly produced from industrial alcohol and spice.
Fun Beach Festival comes to Vũng Tàu
Fun Beach Festival, one of the country’s biggest music and camping festivals, will be held in the southern coastal city of Vũng Tàu on April 29 and 30.
The event, themed “Legend of the Sea”, will feature more than 100 local and international DJs and musicians, numerous camping activities, and seafood.
French singer Celine Farach will take part in the show.
The event will take place at the Biển Đông Tourism Area. Tickets priced from VNĐ310,000 can be bought at www.ticketbox.vn.
TPD to screen movies by Hanoians
On Sunday, the Centre for Assistance and Development of Movie Talents (TPD) will present a screening of five short movies by young filmmakers in Hà Nội.
Entitled The Window That Tells Hà Nội’s Stories, the screening will feature Ngoài Kia Có Gì (What’s Out There) which won the Best Short Film Award at the Hà Nội International Film Festival and the Golden Lotus Award in 2013; and Sắc Màu Dịu Êm (Soft Colour) which also won a Golden Lotus Award in 2014.
The programme will also present Chuyện Anh Hùng (Being a Hung), Thức Giả (The False Awakening), and Tất Tay (All In).
The screening will take place from 7.30pm to 10pm. TPD is at the fourth Floor, 51 Trần Hưng Đạo Street. The screening is free but donations are welcome.
Book festival opens
More than 80 pavilions from 24 domestic and foreign publishers displayed around two million books in the Book Festival on the Hàn River bank, near east side of the Rồng (Dragon) Bridge, Đà Nẵng today.
The festival will run through Sunday with various music performances, colouring contest for kids and talks with writers.
Local readers have the chance to hear from famous writers Nguyễn Nhật Ánh, Dr. Đỗ Hồng Ngọc, Lê Minh Quốc, Hamlet Trương, Trần Nguyên Vũ, Đoàn Thạch Biền, Bùi Tự Lực and Anh Khang.
Chef Alain Nghĩa will introduce his book at the festival.
Publishers will also offer discounts from 20 per cent to 50 per cent for some books, buy three get four books and sell old books for between VNĐ10,000 (nearly US$0.4) and VNĐ50,000 ($2.2) each.
In the first edition last year, 70,000 people visited the festival, and 100,000 books were sold.
According to the city’s Department of Culture and Sports, Đà Nẵng plans to open a book street.
Last year, Đông Á College also launched its first reading space, the Green&Brown Bookstore, comprising a library, a bookstore and a coffee shop on Trần Cao Vân Street, housing 10,000 books.
The city also hosted a regular book day event in three districts of Thanh Khê, Liên Chiểu and Sơn Trà to promote reading among youngsters.
The city in co-operation with the Korean International Co-operation Agency also inaugurated the first free public book park for the community in Sơn Trà peninsula last year.
Minh wins 10th stage of cycling event
Lê Nguyệt Minh of HCM City won the 10th stage of the HCM City Television Cycling Tournament yesterday.
Minh won the 88km stage from Ba Tơ District to Quảng Ngãi City in a time of 2:30.08.
It was a short race so many cyclists were in with a chance of winning, however, Minh sprinted the last kilometres to take the victory.
Lê Văn Duẩn of VUS-TP.HCM and Nguyễn Tấn Hoài of Domesco Pharmacy Đồng Tháp were the runners-up.
Minh holds the green jersey as the best sprinter with 60 points, followed by Hoài with 52 points and Huỳnh Thanh Tùng of the Military Zone 7 with 47 points.
Although not finishing in top three of this stage, Nguyễn Văn Dương of Bike Life ĐN still kept the yellow jersey for best overall time of 20.00.37 after 10 stages.
Military Zone 7 top the team rankings with the best overall time of 66:08.43. Domesco Pharmacy Đồng Tháp and Bike Life ĐN are second and third, respectively.
Today, cyclists will compete in the 179km 11th stage from Quảng Ngãi City to Quy Nhơn City.
Thái Sơn Nam beat Phú Nhuận at futsal tournament
Defending champions Thái Sơn Nam defeated Hải Phương Nam Phú Nhuận 7-2 in the National Futsal Championship yesterday in HCM City.
In the first half, Phú Nhuận were on the front foot from the first minute and opened the scoring through captain Đoàn Văn Định.
Minutes later, Phạm Đức Hòa levelled the score for Thái Sơn Nam before Trần Văn Vũ netted to take the lead.
In the last minutes of the first half, Vũ and Tôn Thất Phi scored to make the lead 4-1.
After the break, Thái Sơn Nam dominated and had three more goals thanks to Lương Thái Huy, Vũ and Lê Quốc Nam.
Mai Thành Danh Toại scored a consolation goal for Phú Nhuận, leaving the score 7-2.
With this win, Thái Sơn Nam lead the tournament.
Thái Sơn Nam’s coach Nguyễn Bảo Quân said his players listened to his tactics, played with focus and controlled the match.
“We had a good match. We played with focus to make it hard to score against us. Although we conceded early we stayed calm,” said Quân.
Coach Nguyễn Anh Tuấn of Phú Nhuận said his team has many young players who struggled to compete with Thái Sơn Nam’s many national team members.
“Psychology affected our players in the match today. We will make every effort and strengthen for the next matches with Sanna Khánh Hòa and Hoàng Thư Đà Nẵng,” said Tuấn.
In other matches, Thái Sơn Bắc beat Tân Hiệp Hưng 1-0 and Sanatech Khánh Hòa defeated Sanna Khánh Hòa 3-2.
Elsewhere, Sài Gòn FC vs Sanest Tourist Khánh Hòa, Cao Bằng vs Hoàng Thư Đà Nẵng (to be updated).
Bac Giang intensifies fight against corruption
The northern province of Bac Giang will continue enhancing the efficiency of corruption fighting in the second quarter of this year, Vice Secretary of the Provincial Party Committee Than Van Khoa has said.
Numerous measures have been devised to fight corruption and to enhance the quality of inspection work, with a focus on sectors prone to corruption.
Supervision will be strengthened to enforce the implementation of legal documents related to corruption, while local prosecutors will deal with corruption cases promptly.
The provincial Party Committee’s Board for Internal Affairs will work with relevant bodies to ensure transparency in the assets and income of local government officials and civil servants.
Communications will also be enhanced to raise awareness of fighting corruption, while enhancing the role of the People’s Council, all political and social organisations, press and people in combating corruption.
According to the provincial Party Committee’s Board for Internal Affairs, in the first three months this year, five corruption cases were detected, including a case causing losses of over 13 billion VND (571,000 USD) for a local branch of the Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Industry and Trade of Vietnam (Vietinbank).
Ten other corruption cases have been transferred to authorised agencies to be investigated.
PM okays irrigation project in Mekong Delta
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has approved a project to build the first phase of Cai Lon – Cai Be irrigation system in the Mekong Delta provinces of Kien Giang and Ca Mau from 2017-2021.
The project will be managed by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development with investment of more than 3.3 trillion VND (over 145 million USD).
It aims to control salinity in the two provinces and help develop local aquaculture.
The project will start this year with capital preparation, designing and land clearance.
Hue festival honours traditional crafts
The seventh Hue Traditional Craft Festival will be held in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue from April 28- May 2 to honour traditional crafts, promote socio-economic growth and develop traditional craft products along with tourism.
According to Nguyen Van Thanh, Chairman of the Hue city People’s Committee and head of the organising board, the opening ceremony on April 28 will include a special art programme.
The festival will feature a space for artisans and craft villages and exhibitions of art works and imperial artifacts.
Other activities to be held within the festival include a food festival, an Ao dai (traditional long dress) festival, film screenings and a balloon festival.
Some 54 traditional craft groups and villages across the country have registered to attend the festival, which will also see the participation of five cities and enterprises from China, Japan and the Republic of Korea.
Aiming to restore and branch out traditional crafts as well as diversify products for tourism, the festival has been held biennially since 2005.
HCM City leader meets US Consul General
Vice Secretary of the HCM City’s Party Committee Tat Thanh Cang hosted a reception for US Consul General to the city Mary Tarnowka on April 19.
At the meeting, Cang lauded the US Consulate General’s efforts to enhance relations between Vietnam and the US as well as HCM City and US states.
He affirmed the city’s continued support for the US Consul General for her work in Vietnam.
For her part, Tarnowka hailed the progress in cooperation between the city and the US and updated the Vice Secretary on the Consulate General’s plans in the fields of environment, climate change, education, trade and investment this year.
Ethnic group’s Culture Days promote Vietnam’s unique culture
The Vietnamese ethnic groups Cultural Days themed “Melody of mountain and forest” officially began in Hanoi on April 19, featuring cultural, arts and sport activities.
The opening was attended by Head of the Party Central Committee’s Commission for Information and Education Nguyen Van Thuong, representatives from Ministries, sectors and localities, religious dignitaries and outstanding individuals from ethnic minority groups nationwide.
In his opening speech, Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyen Ngoc Thien said the ministry worked with relevant ministries and sectors to build policies on ethnic and ethnic culture affairs.
He also pointed out challenges in preserving the traditional cultural identities of ethnic groups.
The traditional cultural identities of several ethnic groups are at risk of falling into oblivion, while conservation and development is not synchronous and the development of new culture values remains limited, he said.
Additionally, there is a shortage of funding to implement projects and programmes, and it is difficult to attract investment in mountainous and ethnic minority areas in preserving culture.
The situation demands more attention, and proper solutions from sectors to implement the Party and State’s policies in the work, contributing to strengthening national unity, he added.
After the opening ceremony, an art programme took place, featuring artists from 11 art troupes.
Visitors to the cultural event, which lasts through April 23, could take part in folk games, enjoy folk music and learn about and practice rites of some ethnic groups from the northern mountainous province of Ha Giang and the central province of Nghe An.
Formosa upgrades equipment after mass fish death disaster
Hung Nghiep Formosa Ha Tinh Steel Ltd. in Ha Tinh Province has buy two environmentally-friendly dry coking system from a Japan company to continue operation after the mass fish death in the central region last year.
Duong Tat Thang, vice chairman of Ha Tinh Province confirmed on April 19 that the Japanese Nippon Steel & Sumikin Engineering Co. will provide two systems to Formosa steel plant in Vung Ang Industrial Zone.
According to Thang, Formosa has been able to address 52 out of 53 violations accused by the inspector of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. The only violation left is changing its wet coking system to a dry alternative.
The Nippon Steel & Sumikin Engineering Co. has won the contract to provide Formosa with two dry coking systems in order to make the process more environmentally friendly. It is estimated that Formosa will start building the site on April 25 and complete it in 2019. The dry coking system won't have phenol, cyanide and other industrial compounds as by-products.
Formosa has also completed a treatment station to deal with wastewater from coking process.
Formosa discharged wastewater into the sea which caused mass fish deaths in four provinces in central region and badly affected the local tourism and lives of the fishermen last year. In early April, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment announced that the plant had met the requirements for test runs of its first blast furnace.
3,200 new jobs for workers returning home from Rok
Over 100 businesses announced recruitment of 3,200 employees who used to work in South Korea at the fourth HCMC Job Exchange 2017 on Wednesday.
The announcement was made by Mr. Nguyen Cao Thang, deputy director of Job Service Center under the city Department of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs.
The exchange has been organized for Vietnamese returning home after their labor export contracts to South Korea ended by the Job Service Center in coordination with Overseas Labor Center under the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs for the first time in HCMC.
Mr. Thang said that job seekers can access http://vlhcm.vieclam-vietnam.gov.vn and http://vieclamhcm.net to get more information or arrive at the headquarters of the HCMC Job Service Center at 153 Xo Viet Nghe Tinh, Binh Thanh to meet recruiters.
Vietnam receives warning of false heart medication
The Vietnam Drug Administration was warned of false heart medication Vastarel yesterday.
As per Les Laboratoires Servier Vietnam’s report attached with survey and chemical analysis, false heart medication Vastarel 20mg with registered number VN-16510-13 and production batch 9298852 is fake product.
Worse, the fake product is an impostor Les Laboratoires Servier - France.
Consumers can distinguish the fake easily because words in the product are blurred and difficult to read while words on the genuine are sharp.
Vastarel is a cytoprotective drug whose cardiovascular effectiveness, especially in patients with stable ischemic heart disease.
Emily Hong Nhung named ambassador for Hue Hot Air Balloon Festival
Emily Hong Nhung, top nine at Miss Tourism Metropolitan International 2016, has been designated as ambassador for the second International Hot Air Balloon Festival within the framework of Hue Traditional Craft Festival 2017.
The April 28-May 1 festival is expected to attract pilots and balloonists from 10 countries of the Netherlands, Belgium, Australia, Thailand, France, Malaysia, the Republic of Korea, Switzerland, Japan and Vietnam.
emily hong nhung named ambassador for hue hot air balloon festival hinh 1 Nguyen Dang Thanh, vice chairman of Hue City People’s Committee, said the event aims to promote images of Hue imperial city to both domestic and foreign visitors with a photo contest and a hot air balloon light show.
Wounded rare sea turtle rescued
A rare sea turtle with serious wounds was rescued by the Xuân Thủy National Park.
Fishermen fishing in Ninh Cơ River of Thịnh Long Township in Nam Định Province’s Hải Hậu District on Tuesday discovered a turtle drifted away from the sea.
The turtle weighs some 70kg and is 1.2m long, with major injuries on its two front legs.
The fishermen and soldiers of Hải Thịnh Port’s Border Guard, who were patrolling the area at the time, gave first aid to the animal and then sent it to the province’s Xuân Thuỷ National Park.
The turtle will be released to the sea when it recovers.
According to experienced fishermen, the turtle belongs to a rare species that has a long lifespan of some 100 years.
Central Highland province develops rural areas
The Central Highlands province of Dak Lak has mobilised more than 37.6 trillion VND (1.69 billion USD) to improve living standards for people in rural areas.
More than 500 billion VND (21.9 million USD) of the total money was sourced from the central budget to carry out a national programme on building new-style rural areas in Dak Lak, while nearly 800 billion VND (35.1 million USD) was contributed by local people to upgrading the transport and irrigation systems.
The province focused on allocating capital on poor communes, with investment four to five times higher than other communes.
Currently, 20 communes in the locality have been recognised as new rural areas.
Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Pham Ngoc Nghi said authorities will continue mobilising financial sources to build infrastructure such as transport, irrigation, schools, and electricity and clean water supplying network, prioritising particularly poor communes.
In 2017, the province aims to have more 10 new rural communes.
Initiated by the Vietnamese Government in 2010, the programme sets 19 criteria on socio-economic development, politics, and defence, with a view to modernising rural areas.
The criteria cover the development of infrastructure, the improvement of production capacities, environmental protection and promoting cultural values.
The country aims to have 50 percent of all communes nationwide meeting all the requirements by the end of 2020.
Vietnam’s footwear industry threatened by automation
After five years of implementing a master plan on the footwear industry by 2020, Vietnam still mostly does outsourcing for foreign partners.
The HCMC Industry & Trade Department, the Vietnam Leather, Footwear and Handbag Association (Lefaso) and the Shoe & Leather Association of HCMC last week sat together to review the five-year development of the footwear industry by 2020 and prepare for the next 10-year stage.
Vietnam strives to obtain export turnover of $24-26 billion by 2020, $35-38 billion by 2025 and $50-60 billion by 2035 with export turnover growth rate of 10-11 percent per annum in 2016-2020.
Lefaso predicted that the output would increase by 5 percent this year, while the export turnover would increase by 10 percent to $18 billion compared with 2016.
In general, basic goals set in the master plan have been achieved. The fulfillment of the state-owned enterprise equitization plan, plus cooperation among economic sectors all have helped enterprises in the industry develop well. Manufacturers have built many new large-scale factories with modern technologies which improve productivity.
By the end of 2016, Vietnam was listed among the top four footwear manufacturers in the world. It ranks fourth in the world, after China, India and Brazil in terms of export volume, but ranks third in value, after China and Italy.
Vietnam’s footwear products have reached 50 countries. Footwear remains a key industry of Vietnam which helps create jobs and improve people’s income.
In 2016, footwear manufacturers exported $16.2 billion worth of products, which accounted for 9.2 percent of total export turnover, an increase of 8.8 percent over 2015. Foreign invested enterprises made up 81 percent of the industry’s total export turnover.
However, as Nguyen Manh Khoi, deputy head of the Footwear Research Institute, pointed out, Vietnam still does the outsourcing for foreign partners, while it cannot make products of its own and export products under its brands.
Vietnamese enterprises always strive to export products under FOB mode, but they have been facing too many difficulties in production: they have to import input materials; their brands are unknown in the world market.
The modest locally-made content ratio of 35-40 percent, lower than the targeted 60-65 percent, has been cited as a failure of implementation of the footwear industry development plan.
According to Diep Thanh Kiet from Lefaso, in making sports shoes, Vietnamese enterprises can only undertake some work, including cutting, sewing and trimming.
By the time Vietnamese enterprises make six pairs of shoes, foreign invested enterprises will be making the 15th pair of shoes, thanks to automation.
Mai Chi, VNN
Human trafficking victims freed in Q1
HCM CITY – In 2016 and the first quarter of 2017, authorities uncovered 430 cases of human trafficking, involving 600 accused and 1,500 victims. Some 85 per cent of the victims were to be sold to other countries, mainly to China – in 195 cases – involving a total of 378 accused
Border guards arrest a ’professional’ human trafficker in northern mountainous provinces of Việt Nam. - VNA/VNS Photo Quang Duy
Foreign capital eyeing Vietnamese fintech
Foreign investment funds have expressed renewed interested in Vietnamese financial technology startups, despite a series of challenging setbacks that occurred in previous e-commerce deals.
An ideal market
Recently, two Korean investment funds, Korea Investment Partners (KIP) and Mirae Asset Venture Investment, began pouring capital into a Vietnamese financial technology (fintech) startup.
The burgeoning company, called Appota, is a startup that builds mobile apps. The $10 million investment from the Korean firms will prompt a new stage in Appota’s evolution, and its main priority will be financial technology.
Fintech has become one of the hottest global industries in recent years, and fintech companies have attracted billions of US dollars from investors. In 2016 alone, the fintech industry received over $20 billion.
The accounting firm PwC predicts that total fintech investment in the next three to five years will reach $150 billion globally. Vietnam, with a young population and a low adoption of financial services, will be an ideal market for both domestic and foreign fintech investors.
In 2016, M_Service, which owns and operates the mobile payment app MoMo, raised $28 million from the investment fund Standard Chartered Private Equity and the global investment bank Goldman Sachs.
Shortly after, the investment fund Champion Crest – which is owned by Credit China FinTech Holdings Ltd., a Hong Kong-based fintech firm – paid $12.73 million to buy a large portion of Amigo Technologies JSC (Amigo).
These moves demonstrate that big foreign investment funds are interested in Vietnamese fintech startups, despite a series of challenges seen in previous e-commerce deals.
Figures from Topica Founder Institute show that in 2016, the total value of deals related to fintech startups in Vietnam was $129 million, accounting for 63 per cent of all startup deals. This proves that Vietnamese fintech firms have great potential and Vietnamese fintech startups are capable of capturing the domestic market.
Pick and choose
One of the biggest fintech deals in recent history involves the mobile e-wallet app MoMo. Both Goldman Sachs and Standard Chartered picked MoMo because the company is led by professionals with experience in banking, telecommunications, IT, and advertising.
Both investors believe that MoMo’s business model is going to be highly profitable in the near future. MoMo’s e-wallet is the first payment app in Vietnam to be ranked number one in the finance category of both the iOS and Android app stores.
With over 2.5 million users, MoMo provides customers with a one-click payment option and over 100 features including money transfer, bill payment, and mobile e-commerce.
Besides online payment via their smartphone app, MoMo is also the conduit for a transaction system comprised of over 4,000 independent agents spanning 45 provinces and cities. The firms connected to MoMo’s network include EVN, VNPT, MobiFone, Vinaphone, Vietjet Air, Fim+, FPT, VTVcab, Home Credit, FE Credit, Prudential Finance, and many more.
Like MoMo, Appota is also rolling out their own electronic wallet app. Sang-Ho Park, executive director of the Investment Division of Korea Investment Partners – who joined Appota’s board of directors – said that Appota demonstrated its global competitive advantage through its impressive user base.
The company has built a mobile ecosystem with over 30-million users, with each product in the ecosystem complementing other products.
According to Do Tuan Anh, chief executive officer of Appota, the company launched their fintech initiative to achieve two main goals.
First, fintech will complement the Appota ecosystem to further serve its 30-million existing customers.
Second, Appota aims to differentiate its core fintech product – their e-wallet app – by including a cashback feature which allows users to withdraw physical currency from their accounts at hundreds of service points nationwide.
Along with MoMo and Appota, Amigo is another famous brand in the Vietnamese tech scene.
Amigo caught the eyes of many prospective investors in the past, but it was not until 2016 that they found a suitable partner with a complementary business approach – the Hong Kong investment fund Champion Crest.
“Champion Crest’s experience in providing technological services will benefit our fintech service,” said Nguyen Trong Hai Hoang, Amigo’s general director.
Vina Investment Development and Technology Transfer JSC (VINATTI), a subsidiary of Amigo, built the Paypost payment system for the Vietnam Post, the country’s state-owned postal service.
Paypost is one of Vietnam’s largest payment networks, connecting over 3,600 Vietnam Post branches and roughly 6,000 endpoint devices.
In search of a win-win business model
In Vietnam, the fintech industry has mushroomed in recent years with big names like MoMo, Moca, ECPay, Mobivi, VNPay, 123Pay, Payoo, Napas, Ngan Luong, VTC Pay, Smartlink, WePay, FPT Wallet, and many more.
These start-ups expect that fintech, a field that allows creative ideas and business model that utilise technology to deliver win-win products and services for everyone, will receive more investment in the near future.
Even though several companies have established dominant market positions, there is always room for new startups.
Being a first-mover is not necessarily a disadvantage. On the contrary, early entrants are responsible for educating the customers and changing the way they think, act, and behave. And by doing so, the pioneers carve out a name for themselves.
“We believe that the Vietnamese market pie is big enough for everyone. The important thing is that you need to differentiate your product and find a niche market,” said Do Tuan Anh, CEO of Appota.
Although the fintech market in Vietnam is in its infancy compared to other countries in the region, the potential for growth and expansion is enormous.
Only a quarter of the population has a bank account, and Vietnamese fintech startups have the opportunity to bring new financial products to benefit customers that banks have been unable to reach.
The influx of new fintech products and funding from major international investors threatens the livelihood of traditional banks, but according to Appota’s Do Tuan Anh, “fintech should be seen as a positive way to connect and deliver banking services to end users.”
According to him, banks have an edge due to their established branding, large capital reserves, and ridged structures, while fintech companies are stronger in technology, innovation, and the ability to capture niche markets that banks are unable to reach.
By working together, they could both become more profitable, because fintech not only enables digital payments, but also helps to spur potential consumer demand thanks to the latest data analysis technology.
Vietnam, China hold first fishery patrol in 2017
The coast guards of Vietnam and China conducted a joint fishery patrol on shared fishing grounds in the Tonkin Gulf from April 18-20, Quan doi Nhan dan (People’s Army) daily reported.
Ships coded 8004 of the Vietnam Coast Guard in the patrol
Ships coded 8003 and 8004 of the Vietnam Coast Guard joined Chinese ships coded 3301 and 3304 in the first patrol this year.
The Vietnamese and Chinese sides were led by Colonel Tran Van Tho, Deputy Commander and Chief of the Staff of the Coast Guard High Command Region 1 under the Vietnam Coast Guard, and Liu Tianrong, Deputy Head of the China Coast Guard’s Nanhai bureau.
They examined fishing boats working across nine locations in the countries’ shared fishing grounds.
Vietnam and China have held annual joint coast guard patrols since 2006, with this patrol the 13th. The activity aims to show that the Agreement on Fishery Cooperation in the Tonkin Gulf signed between the two sides in 2000 is an economic and technical agreement based on respect for sovereignty, sovereignty rights and jurisdiction of each nation.
The patrols reinforce relations and friendship between the two countries’ people.
The patrols also help enhance the efficiency of coordination in implementing an agreement on joint patrols with China, thus preserving and sustainably exploiting maritime resources in the shared fishing grounds.
In the framework of the patrol, the two coast guard forces met and joined exchange activities to share experience in monitoring fishing boats, search and rescue, protecting the maritime environment, ensuring safety of navigation, security and fishing.
They also informed violations of their countries’ fishing ships, and disseminated legal regulations to fishermen, aiming to promote economic development and safeguarde sea and island sovereignty.
A water reservoir at the Tan Hiep Water Supply Plant.(Photo sggp.org.vn)
HCM City - The Sai Gon Water Corporation (Sawaco) has asked the Ho Chi Minh City authority to build five reservoirs in the next eight years to ensure clean water supply for residents.
The quality of the water supply has worsened due to pollution and the effects of climate change, according to Sawaco, the largest tap water supplier in the city.
The five reservoirs will be located in Go Vap and Binh Chanh districts and in the central, southern and western parts of the city. The reservoirs will be able to store up to 373,000 cubic metres of water.
Sawaco said the cost of building the new reservoirs and upgrading old water towers would be 3.6 trillion VND (158.3 million USD), including 2.74 trillion VND (120.5 million USD) for the five reservoirs.
The first reservoir to be built will be located in Go Vap Park, while the rest will be completed by 2024.
The city’s reservoirs and water towers can store up to 720,000 cubic metres, which is about 43 percent of the total water consumed daily in 2016.
By 2025, Sawaco expects the total capacity of the city’s reservoirs and water towers to be upgraded to 1.2 million cubic metres, which is about 48 percent of the total water consumed on a daily basis.-VNA
BUSINESS IN BRIEF 23/4
Solar power plant nears go-ahead in Thanh Hoa
Hoàng Sơn Trading Investment Joint Stock Company will partner with Univergy Solar, a Spanish-Japanese joint venture, to develop a VNĐ2.6 trillion (US$118 million) solar power plant in the central province of Thanh Hóa.
Leaders of the local company and a representative of Univergy held a working meeting with the provincial government on Tuesday to discuss the project.
The solar power plant is designed with capacity of 90MW, covering an area of some 1.5 million sq.m in Ngọc Lặc District’s Kiên Thọ Commune. It will include a three-storey office building, warehouses, canteens for workers, sports facilities and other technical and supporting facilities.
At the meeting, CEO of Univergy Solar JSC Fernando Davila said the company is a developer of renewable energy -- solar power, wind power, small power stations and geothermal power -- in Japan.
In 2017, the company has placed emphasis on the development of solar projects in Việt Nam, he said, adding that Univergy Solar is providing technology and equipment for Hoàng Sơn to develop the solar plant project in Thanh Hóa.
Nguyễn Đình Xứng, chairman of Thanh Hóa People’s Committee, pledged to support and create favourable conditions for Univergy Solar in particular and other investors in general. He also asked relevant agencies to help the investor complete procedures as required by law.
Measures sought to promote Vietnam – Lao border trade
The Ministry of Industry and Trade continues implementing a master plan to develop the Vietnam – Laos border market network by 2020, while developing a master plan for border trade between the two countries to 2025, with a vision through 2035 as part of efforts to boost bilateral trade.
Besides, Vietnam and Laos will make proposals to each other’s Government on establishing and upgrading border gates and economic cooperation zones along the shared border.
By the end of this year, the two sides will implement the new trade agreement and the border trade agreement while making a plan for the Vietnam – Laos trade development from 2017 – 2026.
Measures will be sought to raise two-way trade value by 10 percent from 2016.
Delegation exchanges and business connections will be strengthened between the two nations to promote trade in border provinces.
Publicity campaigns will also be conducted to lure domestic and international resources for projects on border trade development, contributing to poverty reduction, and improving border residents’ living conditions.
According to experts, incentives should be devised to encourage different economic sectors to participate in border trade.
Vietnam and Laos share eight international border gates, seven key border gates, and 18 small border gates. Nine border-gate economic zones have been established, facilitating trade and service development between the two nations’ border localities.
According to the Ministry’s Asia – Pacific Market Development Department, Vietnam – Laos border trade has seen remarkable expansion.
Investment in infrastructure facilities has been increased in the border gates, while efforts have been made by localities to fight smuggling, trade fraud and other crimes.
According to the Ministry’s Import-Export Department, in 2016, two-way trade value between Vietnam and Laos reached 801 million USD. Vietnam imported 342 million USD worth of goods from Laos and shipped 459 million USD worth of goods to the neighbouring country.
Vietnam’s major exports are aquatic products, footwear, garment-textile and materials, steel and steel products, coal, oil and gas, fertilizer, equipment, electric wire cable and machines.
Meanwhile, Laos’ major exports to Vietnam are timber and wood products, metals, ore, and tobacco sub-products.
According to the Vietnam Trade Office in Laos, Vietnam ranked third among investors in Laos, with investment hitting 5.1 billion USD so far.
Schneider Electric inaugurates $45 million factory in HCM City
Schneider Electric, the global specialist in energy management and automation, inaugurated its US$45 million manufacturing plant in HCM City’s Sài Gòn Hi-tech Park on Tuesday.
The plant is one of the largest factories in Schneider Electric’s global network and has more than 200 production units.
Equipped with advanced technology, the plant will produce high-tech electronic products for smart homes, in addition to traditional wiring products that are being manufactured in Việt Nam since almost 20 years.
The plant uses LEAN manufacturing concepts and the group’s latest energy and process management solutions, which will allow it to flex and scale according to its customers’ buying behaviour.
“The world is moving beyond stand-alone devices into an era where everything is connected. In the recent years, with the rapidly-growing IoT, smart home devices are becoming more prevalent. With this new plant, we are seeing a great opportunity to proudly manufacture "Made in Vietnam" products and deliver solutions to customers in global markets. We aim to bring more smart home devices produced from this plant to million households not only in Vietnam, but also other countries, and help them experience the most advanced technology based on IoT and automation”, said Mr. Jim Tobojka, Senior Vice President, Schneider Electric Global Supply Chain, East Asia, Japan, and Pacific.
One of the plant’s highlights is its commitment to sustainable development in Việt Nam.
In order to meet future needs, Schneider Electric has been training human resources for the new plant, and has simultaneously employed skilful workers and engineers.
The local staff will be able to improve their technical skills through national, regional and global training programmes, as well as through opportunities to work in different countries and regions where the group has presence.
The investment into a manufacturing factory reinforces Schneider Electric’s long-term commitment to help Việt Nam grow in terms of technological advances and human resource development for efficient energy management.
Globally, the group offers integrated solutions across multiple market segments and has leadership position in non-residential and residential buildings, industries and machines manufacturers, utilities and infrastructure, data centres and networks.
In 1992, Schneider Electric Việt Nam participated in the national “500KV North-South Transmission Line” project. Since 1994, it has established three offices in Hà Nội, HCM City and Đà Nẵng.
CBU auto imports soar in first quarter
Vietnam’s completely-built-up (CBU) auto import volume increased sharply in the first three months of this year, helped by lower import duties.
In March, the country imported more than 11,000 autos valued at US$180 million, up 39.3% and 13.9% against last month respectively, said a report of the General Department of Customs. In the first quarter, auto imports amounted to nearly 26,500 units worth U$488 million, up 34.4% in volume and only 1% in value over the same period last year.
The number of under-nine-seat autos imported was 16,310, increasing 136% and accounting for nearly 62% of the nation’s total. Meanwhile, the country imported more than 8,800 trucks, down 10.2%; 170 over-nine-seat autos, down 10.2%; and 1,200 others, down 56.1% compared to the same period last year.
Imports of under-nine-seat vehicles alone amounted to US$236 million. With taxes excluded, the average auto price in Q1 was US$14,500 per unit while the level in the same period last year was US$24,600 per unit, meaning that most of the imported CBU autos of under nine seats were low priced.
Notably, imports of CBU autos originating in ASEAN countries in the first three months totaled 14,460 units, a year-on-year increase of 67.6%. Auto imports from Thailand reached 10,050 units, up 28.8% over the same period last year, while auto imports from Indonesia totaled 4,400 units, up 81.1%.
Auto imports from Indonesia and Thailand are predicted to continue growing in the near future as the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA) will send import duty on CBU autos from ASEAN countries falling to 0% in 2018 from 30% this year.
Vietnam imported nearly 4,800 CBU autos from India in January-March, a four-fold increase over the same period last year. The average price of Indian-made autos was the lowest, at US$3,800 per unit (about VND84 million).
Vietnam’s major auto exporters also include South Korea with nearly 2,970 units and Japan with more than 1,050 units.
Auto importers and distributors are slashing retail prices of domestic vehicles but these downward adjustments are not attractive enough.
Consumption of under-nine-seat autos is forecast to decrease this year because the duty on CBU auto imports from ASEAN countries will drop to 0% next year, leading to many consumers delaying their car purchase plans.
According to auto manufacturers, the auto market this year could contract 7-10% compared to 2016. For example, Truong Hai Auto Joint Stock Company (Thaco), the largest auto firm in the country by sales volume, looks to sell 58,384 units this year, down 8% from 2016 and accounting for 21% of Vietnam’s auto market.
The domestic auto manufacturer, assembler and dealer also plans to reduce auto prices by about 5% this year.
Hotel room shortage concern rises as MICE arrivals surge
MICE tourist arrivals to HCMC have recently soared, causing concerns among travel firms over possible shortages of hotel rooms and conference hall space.
Major hotels in the city said average room occupancy in the first quarter of 2017 was high. For instance, many hotels of 4-5 stars reported occupancy of over 80% or even 90% in February.
Many famous hotels are full, making it difficult for travel companies to arrange accommodations for guests of Meeting, Incentive, Conference and Event (MICE) programs. “There is a balance between demand and supply at the moment but if the MICE market grows further, the possibility of lacking hotel rooms for MICE tourists will be high,” said a source from Saigontourist Travel Service Company.
Since last year, MICE visitors to HCMC have increased steadily. Many companies have seen an increase of up to 20% in MICE guests. However, the city’s hotels and convention centers seem to be overstretched, tourism companies have had to move some groups to other cities and provinces.
“We have transferred some MICE groups to Danang and Nha Trang cities. HCMC holds great potential for MICE tourism growth but the city needs to invest more in infrastructure, hotels and convention centers,” said Nguyen Ngoc Chau, chairman of Ben Thanh Tourist.
According to the HCMC Department of Tourism, by February this year, the city had had 1,926 star-rated hotels with 48,182 guest rooms, including 116 hotels of 3-5 stars with 14,641 rooms. The average room occupancy rate of 3-5 star hotels was about 70%.
The department has asked the city government to offer incentives for projects to construct, expand and upgrade 3-5 star hotels.
Tourism enterprises have suggested the city build more exhibition and convention facilities. Currently, the city has only two exhibition and convention centers, namely GEM Center in District 1 and Saigon Exhibition and Convention Center (SECC) in District 7.
However, GEM is not big enough to accommodate large events while SECC is always full, with 56 large exhibitions already booked for this year.
Tech innovation must drive SMEs: experts
Domestic small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) should regard tech-driven innovations and digitisation as a guiding development trend when integrating into the global production and value chain.
Nguyen Hoa Cuong, deputy director of the Enterprise Development Department under the Ministry of Planning and Investment, made this remark at a seminar themed “Digitising the Vietnamese Economy: Empowering SMEs for the Global Market” held yesterday in Ha Noi.
The event, organised by the US-ASEAN Business Council (US-ABC) and the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), attracted 180 SMEs operating in many business sectors. They heard experts from multinational companies discussing new policies, experiences, tools and solutions to enhance SMEs’ capacity in exploiting the potential of the growing digital economy, so that they can participate more effectively in the global supply chain.
Sunil Singh, Chief Information Officer of the Coca-Cola Company Bottling Investments Group, said businesses could not develop without innovation, adding that Coca-Cola was devoting one-third of its capital to tech-driven innovation, with a focus on automation, digitisation and artificial intelligence.
“If firms don’t apply automation, digitisation to their business models, they will have a hard time competing with their rivals and will soon be eliminated from the market," said Singh, adding that digital transformation was a strategic priority.
Regarding supply chain management, Frank Weiand, General Director of Supply Chain Services International, said the supply chain cost in Viet Nam accounted for 20 per cent of GDP and may grow to 25 per cent in the next coming years, much higher compared to Laos, Thailand and China. “If businesses reduce about 10 per cent of the supply chain cost, they can save 1.5 to 2 per cent of GDP,” Weiand said.
He added that production costs of Vietnamese enterprises were 20 per cent higher than those of neighbouring countries, such as Thailand and China, because Vietnamese enterprises were not yet well integrated in the international supply chain in terms of procurement, operations and sales. They were also behind in the application of international standards to improve quality and production capability, and were disadvantaged due to the delayed implementation of the ASEAN economic blueprint.
Improvement of quality management systems and manufacturing processes can increase efficiency by up to 40 per cent and reduce costs. Optimisation of procurement processes offers cost reduction potentials of over 20 per cent, Weiand said.
During the seminar, representatives from Microsoft, MasterCard and other companies also shared their experiences in fields such as cloud technology, digital payment and business regulation.
Vinatex breaks ground on industrial park in Nam Dinh
The Vietnam Textile and Garment Group announced on April 18 that it has begun construction of the first phase of a US$400 million clothing and textile industrial park in the province of Nam Dinh.
The Rang Dong Industrial Park, located 140 kilometres from Hanoi, spans an area of 2,109 hectares. It will be built in two phases, with the first phase scheduled for completion in 2018.
Once completed, the IP will have a capacity to produce two billion metres of fabric per year and employ 60,000 people.
Govt sets solar power price at 9.35 cents
State utility Vietnam Electricity Group (EVN) is required to buy all output from solar power projects connected to the national grid at VND2,086 per kWh (9.35 U.S. cents), excluding value-added tax, according to a new decision of the Prime Minister.
The price might be changed based on the exchange rate, says the Prime Minister’s Decision 11/2017/QD-TTg which encourages development of solar power projects and takes effect from June 1, 2017 to June 30, 2019. Due to the lack of a pricing mechanism, investors have been reluctant to get involved in solar power generation projects. Investors said the solar power price should be set at 10 U.S. cents per kWh or higher to guarantee profitability for them.
Diep Bao Canh, general director of Red Sun Solar Energy JSC, told the Daily that 9.35 cents a kWh would allow investors to earn some profit as the solar power generation cost had declined. “In the past, about US$1.2 million was needed to invest in each megawatt of solar power but the cost has now edged down to US$1 million. Therefore, there are many projects in the pipeline,” said Canh.
The decision also mentions other incentives relating to capital, land, import tax and corporate income tax. For instance, solar power projects are exempt from duties on goods imported to create fixed assets.
These projects, along with power lines and transformer stations for transmitting electricity to the national grid, shall also enjoy exemptions or reductions of land use fees, land rent and water surface rent.
At a seminar on attraction of investment into solar energy in
HCMC late last year, Huynh Kim Tuoc, director of the HCMC Energy Conservation Center, said 2017 would see a surge in solar power development as many domestic and foreign investors are getting involved in solar energy projects with each having capacity of 30 to 100 MW.
Regarding the solar power price, energy experts said that in Southeast Asia, Vietnam cannot compete with Thailand or the Philippines. Solar power in Thailand costs 16 U.S. cents per kWh, so it is very attractive to investors. Indonesia, Malaysia and Bangladesh also offer higher solar energy prices.
Vietnam holds huge potential for solar energy development but the sector has remained underdeveloped.
Da Nang selects seven high-tech agriculture areas
The Da Nang City People’s Committee has approved seven locations under planning for high-tech agricultural production in the city.
The sites are all located in Hoa Vang district, with two high-tech agricultural areas growing vegetables, flowers and herbs in Hoa Ninh commune (40 ha) and Hoa Phu commune (50 ha), two high-tech closed farming areas in Hoa Khuong commune (30 ha) and Loc My village, Hoa Bac commune (230 ha), two safe vegetable production areas in Hoa Khuong commune (20 ha) and Hoa Phong - Hoa Khuong commune (20 ha), and a brackish water, shrimp and crab aquaculture area in Hoa Lien commune (50 ha).
The People’s Committee has assigned the Department of Planning and Investment and the Investment Promotion Department to call for investment. The Department of Construction will also complete procedures relating to land use planning.
Agricultural development projects are mainly concentrated in Hoa Vang district, where there are already a number of projects in the production of clean and high-tech agricultural products, such as a project producing safe vegetables in Nam Thanh village, Hoa Thanh commune, belonging to the Hapras Joint Stock Company and on an area of 7.5 ha, a project planting yellow turmeric and dace on the area of 10 ha belonging to the Danapha Pharmaceutical Joint Stock Company in Dong Lang village, Hoa Phu commune, and a project planting green grapefruit belonging to the Bach Phuong Company in Hoa Ninh commune.
The People’s Committee will hold a conference in the future on “Attracting Investment in High-Tech Agriculture in Da Nang City in Connection with Central Key Economic Provinces”, to analyze and assess the potential, advantages, and challenges in developing high-tech agriculture in Da Nang and neighboring provinces.
The conference will also promote and attract domestic and foreign businesses and investors as well as international organizations to draw attention to investment in the production, processing, and marketing of agricultural products.
Vietnamese milk fruit accepted in US
The US Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) under the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced that Vietnamese milk fruit can be imported into the country.
The US only allows the import of five types of Vietnamese fruit: dragon fruit, rambutan, canola, longan, and now milk fruit.
In addition to meeting general regulations such as the Law on Cost and Freight, Vietnamese milk fruit imported to the US also meets other regulations, such as the Code of Federal Regulations, being imported as commercial goods, and having quarantine certificates issued by the Plant Protection Department of Vietnam.
The US is also considering the importation of Vietnamese mangoes and will soon announce a decision.
The total value of Vietnamese fruit and vegetable exports was $2.4 billion in 2016, an increase of 30 per cent against 2015, and is expected to reach $3 billion this year. The value of such exports now exceeds the value of rice exports.
Vietnamese fruit and vegetables are exported to 60 countries and territories but trade promotion and steps to maintain product freshness have fallen short of expectations.
Early this year, Vietnamese dragon fruit were officially exported to Japan, the second fruit, after mangoes, to be exported to the country. Like mangoes, the red, fresh dragon fruit must be steam-treated before being exported, to counteract fruit flies.
Dragon fruit has the highest export value among Vietnam’s fruit and is expected to be one of nine key export fruits in the future. Export volumes to the US, however, remain small as a great deal comes from China via unofficial channels. Official exports account for 2-3 per cent of the total, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
Handbook helps banks weigh projects
The State Bank of Viet Nam has coordinated with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to prepare a handbook on social and environmental risk assessment for 10 economic sectors serving credit operations of commercial banks.
The manual can be considered a toolkit to help banks assess environmental and social risks of credit projects and assist credit officers appraise business plans, ensuring effective green and sustainable development.
The 10 specific sectors are agriculture, chemicals, construction and infrastructure, and energy, as well as food processing, textiles, petroleum and mining, along with non-metallic mineral products exploitation and waste treatment.
The handbook, expected to be issued in 2017, has three parts.
Part A will contain information on the businesses and projects that need credit grants. In this part, credit institutions need to ask their clients to provide information on issues such as compliance of the enterprise with respect to environmental, labour and social regulations and company’s ability to manage environmental and social risks.
Part B will focus on environmental and social impact of projects. This section lays out specific criteria to consider the potential and existing risks and impact of the projects on the environment (air, water, land and hazardous waste, as well as raw materials and energy consumption), on the workforce (working conditions and health safety), on health and the safety of people living around the project area, and on biodiversity and cultural heritage.
Part C will consist of recommendations that underpin the credit decision, the price and terms of disbursements in the credit agreements and the level of credit management and supervision of commercial banks.
According to IFC, green credit is the credit that banks give to projects that are less risky for the environment or to protect the environment.
In 2016, outstanding loans for green projects reached some VND84.781 trillion, up 19.7 per cent compared with the end of 2015, accounting for 1.5 per cent of total outstanding loans of the economy, with some 3.2 million credit contracts.
Credit granted to projects which have gone through environmental and social risk assessment reached some VND187.9 trillion, with more than 129,000 contracts.
According to the national action plan on green growth in the 2014-20 period, the Prime Minister assigned the SBV to review, revise and complete financial and credit regulations so as to be aligned with green growth objectives, organise training courses to strengthen the capacity of commercial banks and financial institutions in green credit activities and develop financial-banking services to support green growth.
The SBV, therefore, aims to guide credit institutions to develop business strategies in line with the State’s strategy on environmental protection and green growth. Accordingly, investment projects with the participation of bank credit must comply with regulations on environmental protection, social safety and energy saving.
This handbook will be a reference document. SBV encourages commercial banks to apply the guidelines.
Wood industry urged to develop more linkages
The various components of the woodworking industry’s supply chain need to establish close links to ensure the industry’s sustainable development, an expert has said.
Such linkages would bring many benefits, including efficient utilisation of resources, increase in specialisation, reduction in risks, more market opportunities and higher profits, To Xuan Phuc of the sustainable forestry NGO Forest Trends organisation, said.
He was speaking at a forum held in Ho Chi Minh City last week by the Vietnam Timber and Forest Product Association, the Handicrafts and Wood Industry Association of Ho Chi Minh City, Forest Trends, and the Forest Products Association of Binh Dịnh.
There are around 4,300 businesses in the Vietnamese woodworking industry employing thousands of workers, he said.
But vertical and horizontal linkages in the industry, including links between wood processors, timber suppliers and forest growers, and between firms in the same sector, remain weak mainly due to a lack of trust and fair sharing of benefits, he said.
It is one of the country’s key export industries, with export revenues going up every year and expected to continue rising in the coming time, he said.
“But there remain some systemic shortcomings that affect the sustainable development of the industry.”
Vietnamese companies tend to invest in the entire production chain, which often means the investment is spread too thin, technologies are mismatched, and there is no specialisation at any stage in the supply chain, he said.
Besides, there is no supporting industry for the woodworking industry, and as a result its productivity is much lower than in Thailand or Malaysia, he said.
A shortage of raw materials also threatens the sustainable development of the industry.
Dien Quang Hiep, chairman and director of MIFACO Co., Ltd, said: “A majority of firms in the industry are small or medium-sized, and if we do not link up we [cannot] compete with large foreign firms.
“These linkages would determine the very survival of the industry,” he said.
The businesses in the industry are scattered and so it is hard for them to link up and work together, he said.
The creation of a wood processing industry cluster would provide companies the opportunity to share information, resources and export orders, he said.
This needs support from the Government and localities, he said.
Vo Quang Ha, general director of Tan Vinh Cuu Joint Stock Company (Tavico), said to successfully forge linkages, enterprises must have the same direction and a common goal.
They need to discuss ways to develop linkages and avoid conflicts, he said.
The association must play a greater role as an intermediary to bring them together for mutual benefit, he said.
Companies should establish close links with households that grow forests to ensure a steady source of timber and reduce risks, delegates told the forum.
Nguyen Quang Vinh of the Vietnam Timber and Forest Product Association, said planted forests have become the main source of timber for Vietnam’s wood processing industry.
To develop a steady and legitimate source of timber, some linkages have been established between wood processing companies and households growing forests, he said.
For instance, companies making products for IKEA Group, one of the world’s largest wood products company -- such as Nam Định Forest Products JSC (NAFOCO), Woodsland JSC, and Scansia Pacific -- have tied up with households in Phu Tho, Tuyen Quang, Yen Bai, and Quang Triprovinces to grow forests certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, he said.
They use the certified sustainable wood to make products for IKEA, he said.
This model helps improve benefits for the households and ensure a steady supply of timber for the companies, he added.
Dragon Capital Group offsets entire annual emissions
Dragon Capital Group (DCG) announced that it has offset all of its annual carbon emissions by purchasing Voluntary Emission Reduction (VER) certificate from a Vietnamese rural biogas project.
The total 583.43 tonnes of CO2 emitted by the group this year was offset by green energy produced from the Biogas Programme for the Animal Husbandry Sector of Vietnam, launched in 2003 by the Livestock Production Department of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of Vietnam in corporation with SNV—an international development organisation established in the Netherlands.
The project provides farming families with access to renewable energy and improved hygiene through the development of a commercially viable biogas sector.
According to Gavin Smith, director of Dragon Capital Clean Development, “Offsetting Dragon Capital Group’s carbon emission through this project not only enhances our corporate social responsibility initiative but also encourages the development of small-scale biogas generation in Vietnam, providing rural farmers with a sustainable gas supply from farm waste.”
With the aim of becoming one of the leaders in promoting corporate sustainability and environmental responsibility in Vietnam, DCG is conscious of its consumption of natural resources and is committed to proactively manage its environmental performance. Part of this commitment, the company continuously keeps track of its carbon footprint and offsets unavoidable operational emissions to maintain its carbon-neutral status since 2008.
Hanoi real estate projects flout regulations
A local government inter-department inspection team has discovered many construction planning and land use violations at 50 real estate projects in Hanoi.
The team chose 50 random projects and found violations at all of them. Most of these projects have been completed and the buyers have moved in.
38 projects violated construction planning and standards such as the building's height and the number of floors exceeds the permitted or registered limit, incomplete construction planning forms and the apartments being used for the wrong purposes. 15 projects violated regulations on fire prevention and safety.
Many projects still have difficulties in paying land use fee or other financial duties. Some investors, where projects are built on state-owned land, illegally transferred the project to another party.
The apartment building project on 143, Alleyway 85 in Thanh Xuan District is owned by Vietnam Natural Resources and Environment Corporation and 135 Investment JSC and has been put into use.
However, the investors illegally increased the number of apartments by dozens and added another floor to the building. Moreover, its fire prevention plan hasn't been approved.
The Sakura Tower 47 project on Vu Trong Phung Street of Hung Tien Kim Son Company, the building project on 200 Quang Trung Street, Sai Dong urban area project are also accused of similar violations.
Hanoi 1 Equipment, Material and Urban Development Investment Company is the investor of a residential building on Nguyen Tuan Street. It illegally added an additional two more floors and failed to pay land use fees and its fire prevention plan hasn't been approved.
The inspection team suggested using strict punishments and measures to deal with stubborn violators who refused to follow the regulations and order to fix the violations.
The team proposed the Department of Construction and the Department of Planning and Architect to apply administrative fine to 38 project investors that had violated construction planning and standards.
If the investors fail to correct their violations within three months after the order from city authorities is issued, their bank accounts might be frozen and they won't be allocated land for other projects in Hanoi.
The rest will also face similar punishments. Their cases will be transferred to the fire department, the Department of Natural Resources and Environment and the Department of Finance.
Haiphong hub unleashes north’s growing potential
With the construction of the Lach Huyen International Gateway Port in the northern city of Haiphong and its related infrastructure, Haiphong is fast-tracking its industrial growth, catching up rapidly with the better-developed south.
Many industrial developers have decided to set up new factories in the nearby industrial zones, where prime industrial land is available adjacent to the new developments.
These locations benefit from highly improved maritime access and other trump-cards of the region such as the economic zone tax package, the abundance of competitively-priced labour, and reliable power. Among the nearly 500 projects committed to these industrial zones are those of major international firms like Bridgestone, LG, Knauf, and Flat Glass Group.
Several years ago, authorities realised that in order to attract more foreign direct investment (FDI), the infrastructure in the Red River had to be developed further.
The master plan consisted of a five-modal hub - comprised of road, rail, air, river, and deep-sea prongs - aimed at bringing the region to a new level. An airport system with close connection - between Noi Bai (Hanoi) and Cat Bi (Haiphong) - was established and has brought the region closer.
A new highway between Haiphong and Hanoi was put in operation in 2015, while highway connections between Haiphong, Halong, China, and Haiphong-coastal provinces are under construction. Last but not least, a new deep-sea port is currently nearing completion and will become operational no later than the second quarter of 2018.
The main difference compared to the developments in the southern region is the availability of prime industrial land in the middle of the spiderweb of new infrastructure developments, truly unlocking the potential of the north.
Called the “Gateway to North Vietnam”, the new deep-sea port will have, upon full completion in 2030, more than 14 kilometres of quays and handle more than 95 million tonnes of cargo.
The country’s economic growth is expected to increase the demand for container shipping in the northern area of Vietnam from 42 million tonnes in 2015 to 59 million tonnes in 2020.
With the new port, Post-Panamax vessels can make calls to northern Vietnam. This will help avoid the need for transhipment via other ports in the region and allow for direct shipment to the Americas and Europe, shortening lead times and increasing competitiveness.
The existing port of Haiphong has a draught between six and seven metres, and ships are limited to 20,000 deadweight tonnes (DWT). The new port will have a draught of 14 metres, allowing vessels up to 100,000DWT to berth, which will be a major game-changer for the entire region. This sea-change is expected to boost development and investment in the surrounding industrial zones and bring opportunities to the service industries and the supply chain. The first two container terminals are expected to become operational by the first quarter of 2018, and will be followed by one or more general cargo and bulk terminals.
Since construction started on the port and the highway, as well as other important infrastructure projects in Haiphong, FDI into northern Vietnam has increased remarkably.
Not only has the north attracted more FDI than the south over the last five years (US$59.19 billion against US$50.8 billion), 2016 was a record year for Haiphong in FDI attraction as the city attracted almost $3 billion, ranking first among all cities and provinces in Vietnam. In the first quarter of 2017, the coastal city attracted more than US$208.5 million in FDI, up 16% against the same period last year.
The economic zone tax package, the advantageous location, and proximity to China are only some of the reasons why companies are deciding to invest in the northern region.
Beluxcham, together with various authorities, Deep C Industrial Zones, and KPMG will be hosting an event that goes deeper into the appeal of the north – called “North Vietnam: How can you benefit from this mega infrastructure cluster” – on April 26 in Ho Chi Minh City.
Seafood exports up nearly 8% in first quarter
Aquatic product exports rose by 7.9% to US$1.51 billion in the first quarter of this year, according to latest statistics from the General Department of Vietnam Customs.
In the period, Japan surpassed the US to become the largest consumer of Vietnamese aquatic products with a revenue of US$252.9 million (up 29.5%), accounting for 16.7% of the country’s total seafood exports.
The US came second with a value of US$251.2 million (down 14.8% against the same period last year) and China ranked third with US$144.47 million (up 17.9%).
In general, seafood exports to global markets saw a decline compared to the same period last year, especially Kuwait (-48%), Romania (-39.5%), Iraq (-57.6%) and Turkey (-35.5%). However, exports to traditional markets still enjoyed a growth, even robust growth, namely Israel (+138.6%), Denmark (+107.2%), and Brazil (+75.1%).
The Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) has forecast that seafood exports is likely to increase by 5% to around US$7.5 billion this year. However, it is not an easy task for the seafood sector due to technical barriers to trade, unpredictable development of diseases and the shortage of raw materials for processing.
Meanwhile, the US still considers imposing anti-dumping duties on Vietnamese frozen fish fillets.
350 booths showcased at Vietnam Craft Village Fair 2017
Some 350 booths were featured at the Vietnam Craft Village Fair 2017, which opened on April 17 at Gia Dinh Park in Ho Chi Minh City.
200 booths displayed handicraft products, including wood sculpture, pottery and ceramic and local specialties like Ly Son garlic, Tan Trieu grapefruit and Thai Nguyen Tea.
Ho Chi Minh City set up a corner to show off its craft products and urban agriculture models at the fair, which was held by the Vietnam Craft Village Association.
The event aims to help craft villages and businesses exchange experience and link up, said Nguyen Huu Phuoc, Vice President of the Association, adding that it is hoped to help enterprises expand to markets with high demand for craft products such as the US, the European Union, Japan, the Republic of Korea and the ASEAN Economic Community.
He also noted that Vietnam is home to more than 5,400 craft villages, including 1,864 traditional craft villages.
The villages have provided jobs to some 11 million rural people.
Products from craft villages have been shipped to over 160 countries, he added.
The fair will run through July 23.
Central Highlands establishes itself as agricultural hub of Vietnam
The Central Highlands has become a major agricultural production hub of Vietnam, producing many high-demand products and bringing home multi-billion-USD export revenue.
The region, consisting of Kon Tum, Gia Lai, Dak Lak, Dak Nong and Lam Dong provinces, has a natural area of 54,637 sq.km (5,463,700 hectares). About 74.25 percent of the basalt soil area in Vietnam is in this region.
Annual crops cover 850,100ha of the region’s 2 million ha of farm land, and the remaining 1.15 million ha are perennial plants, according to the Steering Committee for the Central Highlands region.
With favourable natural conditions, the provinces have developed large-scale production areas specialising in coffee, pepper, rubber, cashew, tea, maize and cassava.
The Central Highlands is home to more than 576,800ha of coffee trees (or nearly 90 percent of Vietnam’s total coffee area). Dak Lak has the largest area (over 204,000ha), followed by Lam Dong, Dak Nong and Gia Lai.
Despite prolonged drought in the 2016-2017 crop, the region harvested 2.5 tonnes of coffee beans per hectare on average, three times higher than the world’s robusta coffee productivity. Its total output was over 1.3 million tonnes of coffee beans, 93.3 percent of national coffee production.
The five provinces have applied high technology in coffee production, developed geographical indicators for coffee and promoted connections between farmers and businesses.
Centralised rubber planting areas have also been developed in the Central Highlands. At least 192,207 tonnes of latex are extracted every year, 18 percent of Vietnam’s rubber latex output.
Over 71,000ha of pepper trees and 74,000ha of cashew trees are grown in the region, generating more than 120,877 tonnes of peppercorns and 67,276 tonnes of cashew nuts yearly.
The Central Highlands also posts annual tea output of over 228,000 tonnes, accounting for 24 percent of Vietnam’s tea production. It has also grown 235,226ha of hybrid maize, producing at least 1.3 million tonnes of corn each year or 25 percent of the country’s corn output.
Agriculture has contributed to local socio-economic development, political security and social order and safety and improving ethnic minorities’ living standards.
The Steering Committee for the Central Highlands said more and more successful agricultural production models have been developed in the region, generating from 500 million VND to billions of VND per hectare in income for farmers.
However, local agricultural advantages haven’t been fully tapped, Chairman of the committee To Lam said recently.
He pointed to low labour productivity, unprocessed products with low added value and competitiveness and the lack of science-technology in production, preservation and processing.
To Lam, also Minister of Public Security, asked the steering committee, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Ministry of Planning and Investment, the Ministry of Science and Technology, banks and the regional provinces to issue support programmes and favourable policies for hi-tech agriculture.
Businesses must play a central role in helping the region’s key agricultural products engage in the domestic and global value chains, he added.
He called for amendments to policies on land, investment and credit for agricultural development. Both domestic and foreign economic elements need to be encouraged to step up the processing of main products.
He also highlighted the need to strengthen human resources training for sustainable agricultural development.
VietinBank targets increasing before-tax profit
The Vietnam Commercial Bank for Industry and Trade (VietinBank) targeted increasing before-tax profit to 8.8 trillion VND (382.6 million USD) this year, up 231 billion VND (10.04 billion USD), during its annual shareholders’ meeting in Hanoi on April 17.
Speaking at the event, VietinBank General Director Le Duc Tho said the lender sets the goal of raising its total asset value to 1,081,634 billion VND, marking a 132,935-billion-VND increase from last year. The rate of bad debts will be below 3 percent while the total mobilised capital will reach 996,482 billion VND.
As of December 31, 2016, VietinBank recorded a net worth of 949 trillion VND, up 22 percent year-on-year and equivalent to 107 percent of the target, said Chairman of the VietinBank Board of Directors Nguyen Van Thang.
The before-tax profit hit 8,569 billion VND, or 108 percent of the plan. The dividend rate was 7 percent, amounting to nearly 2,606 billion VND.
By the year-end, VietinBank posted 60,339 billion VND worth of equity, 37,234 billion VND of which was chartered capital, or 94 percent and 76 percent of the plan set by the shareholders’ meeting.
On the occasion, Hiroshi Yamaguchi, deputy chief of the corporate client office from the Bank of Tokyo – Mitsubishi UFJ was elected as member of the VietinBank Board of Directors.
Dialogue focuses on urban development, management policies
The Ministry of Construction, in collaboration with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN–Habitat), held a dialogue on urban policies towards a new urban agenda on April 20 in Hanoi.
Participants shared experience and made proposals on feasible urban development and management policies.
Deputy Minister of Construction Nguyen Dinh Toan said that his ministry is completing institutions and a system of legal documents related to urban areas to ensure synchronous development. It also considers building the Urban Development and Management Law and a report evaluating Vietnam’s national urban policy.
Director of UN-Habitat in Vietnam Nguyen Quang said that the national urban policy must balance the demand for equal land access and sustainable environmental issues and effective land use in order to avoid binding agreements on land.
According to him, Vietnam is facing a challenge on land clearance and resettlement, land distribution and registration, together with complicated administrative procedures.
Therefore, it is necessary to define the role and legal responsibility of local authorities to ensure the feasibility of the policy, he said, suggesting the policy be in line with other development policy frameworks, including those related to energy, water, transport, and infrastructure.
The urban system in Vietnam has seen positive progresses over the past 20 years. Urban areas continue to play a core role in speeding up economic structure shifting and become a motivation for socio-economic development. Economic activities in urban areas have created millions of jobs for people nationwide.
Hanoi to host international trade fair for construction
The Vietnam International Trade Fair for Construction – Machinery, Equipment, Technology, Vehicles and Materials (Contech Vietnam 2017) will take place at the National Exhibition Construction Centre in Hanoi from April 25-28.
Vice President of the Vietnam Construction Association Thai Duy Sam told a press conference on April 20 that construction is one of the sectors with the growth rates of above 15 percent in Vietnam over the past few years. The robust growth has made the country a emerging attractive market for construction machinery and equipment in Southeast Asia.
The trade fair will provide a platform for exhibitors to not only introduce new technologies but also seek partners and promote technological transfer, he said, adding that through such interactions, more effective and environmentally-friendly construction solutions will be applied to improve businesses’ competitive advantages.
On display at the fair will be products and services for civil construction, industrial construction and infrastructure; building materials; and technologies, machinery and equipment of transportation and mining industries.
A series of conferences and seminars will be held on the sidelines of the event, including seminars on environmental protection technology in the mining industry, and green, energy-efficient building materials.
It is estimated that about 200 domestic and foreign exhibitors will participate in the fair, including those from the EU, Japan, Singapore, the Republic of Korea, Taiwan (China), Malaysia and China.
VIB records 14% rise in Q1 after-tax profit
Vietnam International Bank (VIB) posted after-tax profit of VNĐ126 billion (US$5.53 million) in the first quarter of this year, up 14 per cent year-on-year.
According to the bank’s business results, released today, its net interest income, net fee and commission income and gain from investment securities also experienced positive growth of 16 per cent, 31 per cent and 21 per cent, respectively.
Debts purchased from the Việt Nam Asset Management Company have been handled well, resulting in a decrease of 2.19 per cent in the bank’s non-performing loan ratio as of March 31, lower than the 2.58 per cent seen at the end of 2016.
Meanwhile, the bank’s provision cost dropped by 8 per cent compared with the same period last year.
VIB’s balance sheet reached nearly VNĐ106 trillion in the first three months, VNĐ 1.4 trillion higher than the same period last year, mainly thanks to good growth momentum of the lending portfolio, the latest data revealed.
Lending balance, including corporate bonds, reached VNĐ73.4 trillion. Of the total, loans to customers rose 5.7 per cent year-on year, or equivalent to VNĐ3.4 trillion.
From January to March, VIB also mobilised deposits worth more than VNĐ4 trillion, including certificates of deposit.
“We have made continuous improvements to our existing product portfolio, developed new products, and simplified processes to provide competitive financial services and products to best meet customers’ needs,” the bank said in its statement.
Is Vietnam’s agriculture suffering from "Dutch disease"?
Nguyen Duc Thanh from the Vietnam Institute for Economic and Policy Research (VEPR) believes that Vietnam’s agriculture is suffering from so-called Dutch disease. It is still fumbling for ways to develop, though it leads the world in the output of some products.
In 1959, the Netherlands discovered a natural gas mine with large reserves. The country’s exports soared after it decided to sell the natural resource, earning big money after the first export consignments.
However, the export made the Guilder, the then local currency, appreciate continuously. The other sectors of the economy became less competitive in the world market, while investments decreased dramatically.
The Netherlands had to maintain low interest rates in an effort to curb the rapid appreciation of the local currency. The Dutch government had to increase investments in many different fields to recover production.
However, it could not use money effectively. Some unprofitable business fields still received capital. As a result, the manufacturing sector suffered from serious decline. Many investors left the country.
The term ‘Dutch disease’ appeared in 1977. This is the name for a risk which occurs when the boost of export of natural resources leads to a decline in the manufacturing industry, a phenomenon that reduces industrialization.
It is used to indicate a risk that occurs when the dependence on external resources leads to a decline in domestic resources.
The concern about Dutch disease has been raised in the context of the national economy encountering difficulties after the 2008 global economic crisis.
In an article published on Thoi Bao Kinh Te Viet Nam in 2013, Huynh The Du, lecturer of the Fulbright Economics Teaching Program (FETP), commented that Vietnam suffered from Dutch disease.
While foreign direct investment (FDI) flows to Vietnam are massive, the domestic economic sector did not focus on production and business based on their advantages and shifted to property speculation.
Du said that Dutch disease seriously affected the competitiveness of the production sector and led to the bankruptcy of 50,000 businesses in 2012.
Le Xuan Nghia, former deputy chair of the National Finance Supervision Commission, said that Vietnam should give up the dream of becoming an industrial power, but it should gather strength to develop into a power in tourism and farm produce, because beautiful landscapes and tropical farm produce are the biggest advantages of Vietnam.
Thanh from VEPR said Vietnam’s agriculture is also suffering from Dutch disease.
"The fertility of the Mekong Delta for hundreds of years has saved our people from hunger. But it is also a curse for countries rich in natural resources,” he said.
“The places with too many favorable natural conditions seem to be unable to develop other qualities in terms of skills and different ways of thinking, " Thanh said.
Chi Mai, VNN
Volunteers fight fire in wake of karaoke disaster
After a fire in a karaoke bar in Hanoi's Cau Giay district killed 13 people last November, local officials knew they had to do something to prevent such nightmarish scenes.
Volunteer fire fighters prepare to tour around Cau Giay District to remind local residents of fire prevention steps.
Dich Vong Hau Ward’s People’s Committee decided to set up a team of cyclists to travel through the area spreading information on fire prevention, so that the tragic incident on Tran Thai Tong Street wouldn’t be repeated.
Now, between 6.30am and 7pm every day, a group of young people ride bicycles around the district to remind locals of the importance of fire prevention.
With bicycles equipped with loudspeakers, they broadcast essential information on fire prevention to residents in every corner of the district.
They are also equipped with fire extinguishers to be ready to fight fires around the clock.
Since its establishment last December, the team has helped local firefighting police raise public awareness of fire prevention and control.
According to Chairman of Dich Vong Hau Ward People’s Committee Nguyen Quang Thang, the deadly karaoke bar fire taught a painful lesson about the consequences of fire to authorities and local residents.
The volunteer firefighting team was established to strengthen local capacity in fire protection, he said.
Phan Thu Ha, chief administrator of Cau Giay District’s People’s Committee, told Economy and Urban Affairs newspaper that everyday members of the team rode bicycles with loudspeakers to remind people to turn off electronic devices and close the valve of gas canisters for safety.
Their works has helped minimise the risk of fire, she said.
During Tet (Lunar New Year) festival, a fire occurred at a house in Nghia Do District at about 7pm when its owner was away from home. After being informed of the fire, the team went to the house and forced open the door to get into the house and extinguish the fire.
A recent fire at a shop selling blankets and pillow on Xuan Thuy street was put out in quickly by the team. A representative from the Hanoi Fire Prevention and Fighting Police said if the team had arrived five minutes later, the fire would have been catastrophic.
Head of the team, Dao Duy Vuong, told An ninh TV (Public Security Television) that they had received a positive response from locals.
People were glad to be reminded of fire prevention tasks every day, he said.
Nguyen Thi Xuan Hong from Dich Vong Hau Ward said this way of spreading information was very effective.
“It’s like an alarm. Whatever we are doing, we will stop and check fire safety when hearing the reminder from their loudspeaker,” she said.
“Prevention is better than cure. I think it is really good to regularly remind residents of fire prevention,” she added.
According to the Hanoi Fire Prevention and Fighting Police, Hanoi recorded 831 cases of fire in 2016, with 19 people dieing.
Activists dedicated to conserving endangered doucs in Da Nang
Red-shanked doucs are pictured on Son Tra Peninsula in the central city of Da Nang.
GreenViet, a Vietnamese animal rights group founded in 2012, has been conducting research and raising people’s awareness of the biodiversity in the central region and the Central Highlands, particularly in conserving the red-shanked douc population on Son Tra.
The peninsula, known for its pristine beauty and vast expanses of natural forest, used to shield the city from typhoons, sustain eco-tourism and provide shelter for national defense.
Considered the ‘queen’ of the primate world, the red-shanked douc, or in Vietnamese, boasts a distinctive coat of five different colors.
The animal usually sports maroon-red ‘stockings’ from its knees to its ankles, and appears to wear white forearm length gloves. Its look is accentuated by black hands and feet.
The primate is listed in Vietnam’s Red Book and is on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species.
Spurred by nagging questions as to why Vietnam has perennially fallen back on support from international organizations in conserving its forests and wildlife, several young experts and volunteers have teamed up to form the GreenViet Biological Diversity Conservation Center.
Members have worked in a small, two-story house at the foot of Son Tra Mountain for more than five years now.
Bui Van Tuan, 31, head of GreenViet’s research department, revealed that the office is also his home.
The residence has become more and more cramped as it houses a growing number of animal conservation activities.
“We scientists wish to have our voices heard for the common sake, and hopefully our efforts will help turn Da Nang into a livable city conducive to sustainable tourism development,” Tuan said.
Red-shanked doucs are pictured on Son Tra Peninsula in the central city of Da Nang. Courtesy of Bui Van Tuan
Though the GreenViet founders have doted on the doucs as the main beneficiary of their conservation drive, they still focus attention on how to cushion the peninsula’s entire ecosystem and wildlife from harm.
According to the center’s statistics, Son Tra features one of the country’s most diverse and unique tropical ecosystems, with currently up to 985 species of plant, 287 types of mammal and 115 varieties of bird, along with a rich marine life.
GreenViet was founded in late 2012, and is managed by the Da Nang Union of Scientific and Technical Associations.
The center began with just five members, led by Tran Huu Vy, now its director; and Dr. Ha Thang Long, representative of the Frankfurt Zoological Society, an international conservation organization established in 1858 with headquarters in Frankfurt and Main, Germany.
“We are all dedicated to the job out of our love for animals. We sometimes work elsewhere to cover the center’s expenses in times of no funding,” Vy said.
The team tried hard to popularize the image of the red-shanked doucs to the owners of local hotels, restaurants and cafés, many of whom bluntly drove them away with excuses that the visual presentation of a monkey brings nothing but bad luck.
They also pitched tents on mountains for six months in order to keep close track of the primates.
The team’s hard-earned successes have exceeded their expectations, as residents and agencies have been increasingly aware of the doucs’ presence after only five years, whereas their original goal was the year 2020.
The municipal Party Committee has also decided to use the endangered red-shanked douc as the symbol for the 2017 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum it is hosting later this year.
The image of the cuddly primate has made its way to the city’s other major events, and was featured in interesting souvenirs for athletes after the 5th Asian Beach Games was hosted in Da Nang last year.
It was also seen on 25 bus stops and on 100,000 lucky money packs during the Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday.
Tuan, an active, long-standing member, is currently reviewing for a scholarship to Germany, where he will delve into the world of animal sounds.
The young scientist made a hard decision not to take up an internship program on doucs’ DNA in Germany in February 2016, when he and his colleagues ventured into forests to snap photos and meticulously record illegally felled patches of forest on Son Tra Peninsula, which he published in a series of revealing posts on Facebook.
The revelations caught local authorities’ attention and prompted them to take action.
Following a (Youth) newspaper article revealing the illegal tree-felling, several officials involved were removed from their posts while implicated staff were transferred to other locations.
Right after gaining the exposure, Tuan was constantly intimidated via text messages on his phone.
Courtesy of Bui Van Tuan
Tuan and other volunteers also went to great lengths to pick up doucs’ droppings in the forests for months.
“Some mischievous, frisky langurs even defecate and urinate on our heads and then quickly take flight,” Tuan said.
He has also painstakingly frozen the excrements at minus 190 degrees Celsius and completed complicated procedures to send them to the U.S. for detailed analysis.
After months of long hard work, the GreenViet researchers had an article published in a U.S. scientific journal.
Le Trang, a fresh graduate in waste treatment from a local university, is in charge of community education activities on wildlife protection.
She regularly screens documentaries featuring the doucs to school students and residents at the center.
The young engineer recently got the nod from the municipal Department of Education and Training to screen the documentary at local schools.
“Following recent incidents, we now have new partners, including the government, who are ready to take the necessary action, and of course many nature lovers,” Vy, GreenViet’s director, added.
According to the conservationists, the zoning plan for 2025-30 for Son Tra, which earmarks space for tourism projects and economic growth, will take a heavy toll on the peninsula’s wildlife.
“If project developers, local authorities, residents and scientists are willing to sit down and discuss, I’m positive they will come up with the best decision for Son Tra and the animals will survive,” he noted.
Late last month, the municipal Party Committee required a local firm to dismantle a resort project that had been built without proper permits on Son Tra Peninsula.
TUOI TRE NEWS
Private investors in infrastructure suffer disadvantages
According to the Asian Development Bank (ADB), emerging economies in Asia, including in Vietnam, will need $26 trillion from now to 2030 to develop infrastructure.
The figure is similar to recent estimates by the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) that Vietnam needs $480 billion more for infrastructure projects, including 11 power plants with total capacity of 13,200 MW and 1,380 kilometers of highway.
Vietnam has received invitations from ADB, the World Bank (WB) and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), the new lender, to borrow capital to develop the projects. However, analysts warned that Vietnam will have to pay the price for the loans.
Nguyen Tri Hieu, a renowned finance and banking expert, said in 2016, both Standard & Poor’s and Fitch gave a BB-/B credit rating to Vietnam, while Moody’s gave B1.
With the ratings, Vietnam will have to pay relatively high interest rates for loans from international institutions.
Meanwhile, the exchange rate fluctuations will increase Vietnam’s public debt burden. To date, the public debt has nearly hit the ceiling as per Vietnam’s calculation method and has exceeded the ceiling as per international practice.
Therefore, the government will have to think carefully before borrowing foreign money, even for infrastructure development.
While it is more difficult to look for capital from international institutions, mobilizing domestic sources proves to be a good solution.
In Vietnam, private investment in infrastructure projects just accounts for 10 percent of total investment, while the figure is 30 percent in India.
This is because investment in infrastructure, in private investors’ eyes, is unattractive with high risks, high site clearance and a long time needed to take back the capital.
Pham Tat Thang from the Trade Research Institute, pointed out that private investors are not interested in the infrastructure sector because they have few opportunities to develop foreign funded projects, while state-owned enterprises have better opportunities to access the projects.
Analysts cited official reports as saying that the investment rate in infrastructure in Vietnam is the highest in the world – VND215 billion per kilometer, or $10 million.
It is not an easy task for private investors to call for capital to develop infrastructure projects. Powerful commercial banks, mostly banks in which the state holds controlling stakes, won’t provide loans if they don’t receive guarantees in policies.
“The meat is not reserved for private investors, while no one is foolish to get bones,” an analyst commented.
Kim Chi, VNN
NA may strip deputy title over Formosa
Healthcare sector attracts more investments
Vietnam has been witnessing a new wave of investments in hospitals since 2015 after the government called for different sources of funding in the healthcare sector.
According to the HCMC Healthcare Department, in the 2016-2020 period, the city received 80 investment projects in the healthcare sector with total investment capital of VND14 trillion. These included 30 projects on upgrading existing hospitals and building new ones, of which 19 hospitals will be built from now to the end of 2018.
According to the Vietnam Private Medical Practice Association, many foreign investors have shown interest in the healthcare sector. In 2016, Bumrungrad Hospital from Thailand and Lippo Group from Indonesia expressed their intention to develop hospital chains in Vietnam.
Ravindran Govindan, president of Singaporean Mercatus, which has an investment fund in healthcare, also commented it is now the right time to invest in the healthcare sector in Vietnam.
In early 2016, VOF, managed by VinaCapital, announced it had acquired a 75 percent stake in Thai Hoa International Hospital in Dong Thap province with an investment deal worth $10 million. The fund is still seeking opportunities in the healthcare sector, including equitized hospitals.
In January 2014, Shangrila from Malaysia built the 320-bed Thanh Do International Hospital in Binh Tan district, HCMC, which was renamed City International Hospital (CIH).
Zakirul Karim, a medical quality consultant at Hanh Phuc Hospital in Binh Duong province, said that Vietnam is a magnet for investors, noting that the total spending of all Vietnamese on healthcare services accounts for 5.8 percent of GDP, the highest level in ASEAN.
Singaporean Temasek, at a meeting with the government, expressed its willingness to increase investments in Vietnam, including in private hospitals.
Meanwhile, the government of Vietnam welcomes investments from all sources into the healthcare sector, admitting that spending on public healthcare services is a burden on the state budget.
The government of Vietnam also wants to develop private healthcare, planning to have privately run hospitals account for 20 percent of total hospitals in the country by 2020.
Pham The Dong, president of Saigon ITO Hospital, said the demand for high-quality healthcare services in Vietnam has been increasing rapidly. Vietnamese spends $2-3 billion every year for healthcare services abroad.
In HCMC and Hanoi, the standard minimum floor area for one bed is 50 square meters. The state-owned hospitals in HCMC have become overloaded, so there is a growing tendency of relocating hospitals to the suburbs.
According to Dong, it takes four to five years on average to put one hospital into operation. The investment rate depends on the number of beds, about VND1.5-2 billion for one bed.
It takes five to seven years to take back the investment capital and if hospitals are managed well, the average profit would be 7-8 percent.
Thanh Lich, VNN
Banks’ listing enthusiasm simmers down
Banks are hesitant to go public over the persistent challenging business environment.
In early 2014, Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV), a leading state-owned bank, offloaded its shares onto the HCM City Stock Exchange (HoSE).
Since then, both the northern and southern bourses were yet to see a new bank listing until the end of 2016, though in the last two months of the year many banks were racing to complete listing procedures in conjunction with requirements set by the Ministry of Finance’s Circular 180/2015.
Under the circular, public companies are required to fulfil listing procedures either on the official markets (HoSE and HNX) or on UPCoM, the unlisted public company market.
“As banks are a sort of public companies, they must also adhere to the regulation,” said senior financial expert Nguyen Tri Hieu.
Privately-owned Kien Long Bank, based in the southern Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang, was reported to have received the stock registration certificate as well as its share code in December 2016.
Similarly, Ho Chi Minh City-based Orient Commercial Bank (OCB) and Hanoi-based Maritime Bank have closed the shareholder lists to become ready for stock registration.
Most recently, on January 9, privately-owned Vietnam International Bank (VIB) listed its more than 564 million shares on the UPCoM platform under the VIB ticker.
The remaining banks all have their own reasons why they still cannot go on the bourse or register for transactions on the UPCoM.
At the recent 2017 general shareholders’ meeting of Techcombank, chairman Ho Hung Anh told shareholders that they have submitted the listing dossiers to authorised management agencies and are currently waiting for approval to be able to list on the southern bourse.
Similarly, at their 2017 general shareholders’ meeting early last week, VPBank chairman Ngo Chi Dung said they had secured the shareholders’ approval to go on bourse in late 2016, but have encountered several problems in stock registration with Vietnam Securities Depository (VSD).
They have hired a securities company for listing consultation.
“VPBank committed to going on bourse, but progress depends heavily on management agencies. We will try our best to debut on the HoSE right in this second quarter,” Dung said.
According to economic expert Le Xuan Nghia, some banks face difficulties related to their capital size or bad debts, triggering the urgent need to raise chartered capital.
In the current context, they could hardly enrich their capital sources through support from local investors, as firms are also facing a multitude of difficulties.
“Going on bourse is a viable option for them to raise capital. Banks have missed their listing promises several times.
Therefore, a deadline must be considered to force banks to press on with listing, and this must be done immediately,” Nghia said.
Korea-ASEAN Digital Content Business Roadshow first held in Hanoi
Representatives from 60 Korean and Vietnamese businesses gathered at the first Korea-ASEAN Digital Content Business Roadshow in Hanoi on April 25 to seek trade opportunities.
The first Roadshow held by the Republic of Korea (RoK) Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning (MSIP) and the Korea Economic Daily at Lotte Hotel aims to create practical support and establish network for businesses from both sides and expand digital content exchange between the two countries.
At the show, a MSIP representative presented the development trend of the content industry and suggested fields that businesses from the two countries can collaborate such as games, animation, film and content.
Meanwhile, Pham Minh Tuan, Deputy Director at VNPT-Media Software, said 50.05 million out of 94.93 million Vietnamese people use the Internet (around 53% of population). With high Internet and mobile phone users, Vietnam is a potential market for foreign investors, especially Korean businesses.
Online shoppers use mobile phones more than computers
There are more people using mobile phones to shop online than those using desktops or tablets, reported Bizweb at a recent mobile e-commerce event.
Nearly 54 percent of online shoppers visited trading websites on mobile phones, higher than those accessing by desktop.
The data was created from a survey of more than 27,000 client websites of Bizweb, an online commercial solutions platform.
The results showed that 53.8 per cent of online shoppers visited trading websites on mobile phones, higher than those accessing by desktop (41.3 per cent), with the rest using tablets.
For mobile phones, iPhone was the most popular device, accounting for more than 30 per cent.
Mobile phones have become popular tools for shopping, meaning businesses and shop owners risk losing more than half of potential customers if the do not ultilise this channel, heard the meeting.
In order to avert the situation, businesses need strategies to maximise sale opportunities on mobile channels, said Tran Trong Tuyen, CEO of DKT Technology JSC.
Pham Thong, marketing director of Lazada Viet Nam, said that revenue from orders on mobile phones accounted for 70 per cent of Lazada’s orders.
Thong said that there has been a shift of consumer habits. “The majority of young people are accessing the Internet by mobile phones”.
Therefore, the development of e-commerce on mobile phones was indispensable, opening up opportunities for enterprises, said Thong.
However, the Lazada representative also pointed out challenges that businesses might encounter such as services, tools and even the knowledge of the salesman about trading on mobiles.
“Therefore, to succeed when selling on phones, businesses need to invest and have appropriate strategies for development,” he advised.
PM’s visit creates new momentum for Vietnam-Laos special ties
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s ongoing visit to Laos from April 26-27 is expected to create a new driving force for the enhancement of traditional friendship, special solidarity and comprehensive cooperation between the two countries.
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and his spouse at the Wattay International Airport on April 26
As the first official visit to Laos since PM Phuc took office, the two-day visit is an important diplomatic event to celebrate the 55th founding anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two nations and the 40th anniversary of the signing of the Vietnam-Laos Treaty on Amity and Cooperation.
Vietnam and Laos recorded fruitful development in their relationship in various fields in recent years, especially in politics.
They two sides have cooperated closely at regional and international forums, contributing to each nation’s development and maintaining peace, stability, cooperation and development in the region and the world.
Joint statements and high-level agreements reached by leaders of the two Parties and States have been implemented, with the two sides exchanging high-raking visits, helping to enhance mutual trust between the Parties, Governments and people of Vietnam and Laos.
Bilateral defence cooperation has also improved, while the two countries have built a Vietnam-Laos borderline of peace, stability and cooperation, and fought hostile forces and transnational and drug crimes.
The project to increase and upgrade border markers along the boundary of Vietnam and Laos was completed with an agreement and a protocol inked in March last year, laying a legal foundation for cooperation between the two sides in managing the border.
Vietnam now has 408 projects worth 3.7 billion USD in Laos, contributing to the country’s socio-economic development and creating jobs for many local labourers.
Trade promotion activities between the two nations have been increased and new bilateral trade agreements and border trade agreements were implemented by both sides.
Vietnam and Laos also cooperated in transport, education and training, and links among their ministries and sectors and border localities have been strengthened.
The two sides have fostered affiliation in science, technology, natural resources and environment, agriculture, telecommunications, labour, culture, museum and tourism, health care, and human resources development.
Vietnam’s official development assistance projects for Laos have benefited the country’s agriculture, broadcasting and television sectors.
At the 39th meeting of the Vietnam – Laos Intergovernmental Committee on February 8 in Hanoi, the two sides agreed to work to promote political, diplomatic, security and defence cooperation, as well as links in trade, investment, personnel training, infrastructure development, and in management and sustainable use of water and natural resources.
On the occasion, the two sides signed an agreement on cooperation between the two Governments in 2017, and another between the Vietnamese Ministry of Education and Training and the Lao Ministry of Education and Sports, among others, which aim to facilitate cooperation between the two nations’ sectors, localities and enterprises.