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New training plan to improve healthcare
A new training programme to improve the quality of healthcare employees will be set up by the Ministry of Health in co-operation with the Ministry of Education and Training and Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs.
Deputy Minister of Health Le Quang Cuong said that laws on education, higher education, and health exams and treatment would be amended to meet the real needs of training, including more emphasis on practical application.
Cuong, who spoke at a conference on training healthcare staff held last weekend by Hong Bang International University in HCM City, said that it was also important to audit the training programme.
Dr Tran Diep Tuan, rector of HCM City University of Medicine and Pharmacy, said that by 2020 medical training establishments that do not have audits of quality would not be allowed to be on the list of the World Federation for Medical Education.
Salaries for doctors who study for six years would be raised, according to Cuong.
The Ministry of Health will also create new standards for human resources capacity in the sector, he said, adding that medical doctors who want to practise will have to take tests from a national medical council as other countries do.
According to Nguyen Minh Loi of the Science, Technology and Training Department under the Ministry of Health, the country has 196 universities, colleges and vocational schools that provide training in healthcare.
Their enrollment quotas are around 16,500, which will meet demand for human resources in this sector until 2020.
Tuan said that hospitals and other facilities had not closely worked with training facilities.
Many training facilities offering healthcare majors were teaching outdated medical knowledge, he said.
New training programmes would be needed to meet the challenges to provide quality healthcare services in the 21th century.
Three SEZs expected to attract more investors
Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung said the plan on setting up three special economic zones (SEZs), including Van Don in Quang Ninh province, Bac Van Phong in Khanh Hoa and Phu Quoc in Kien Giang, would be submitted to the National Assembly for approval by the end of the year.
Investments are expected to boom in the following years, Dung said on Reuters.
The three SEZes, in the northern, central and southern parts of the country, will offer unprecedented incentives and looser restrictions, and therefore, will attract a lot of big investors, especially foreign.
The Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) hopes that from 2020, they will make up billions of dollars to GRDP (gross regional domestic product), and from 2030, thanks to SEZs, the average income of locals will be between $12,000-13,000 per annum.
Currently, Vietnam has 18 SEZs and 325 IZs which also offer investment incentives at different levels. However, the SEZs to be set up will be larger and have special policies.
It is expected that the head of the SEZs will have more power than chairs of provincial people’s committee and SEZs will be central units.
A series of investment incentives in banking & finance, land, transport, tax rates and employment are being considered.
Vietnam may allow the establishment of specific monetary institutions and banks and the diversification of the types of transactions in line with international practices. SEZs may be allowed to use some free convertible currencies alongside with the local currency.
Businesses in the SEZs would be able to enjoy the preferential tax rate of 10 percent for 30 years, tax exemption for 4 years and 50 percent tax cut in the next nine years since the day they have taxable income.
A 17 percent tax rate would be imposed on income from investments in real estate projects.
Analysts are cautious about the prospect of SEZs in Vietnam. A WB report showed that 50 percent of SEZs in the world have sustained failure. However, they think that Vietnam has reasons to be optimistic about the SEZs, especially Phu Quoc.
The face of Phu Quoc has changed rapidly in the last few years. From a pristine island, Phu Quoc has become one of the most active tourism areas in the country and the region. 254 investment projects capitalized at $16.7 billion hade been registered on the island as of early 2017.
Mai Chi, VNN
Meet the foreign war veteran who cleans Hanoi’s walls
Paul George Harding removes a poster from a wall in Hanoi.
His mission to rid Hanoi of advertisements posted illegally on public walls has inspired local youths and hundreds of his students to do the same.
Over the past month, residents of Nguyen Ngoc Vu Street in Hanoi’s Cau Giay District have spotted a strange ‘Westerner’ diligently removing posters from local walls, regardless of the weather.
The man’s name is Paul George Harding, a 69-year-old American who has found purpose in his new home, in a country he once fought against.
His mission is simple: if every Hanoian spend some time to remove a single poster every day, the city’s walls would be beautiful in no time.
Paul first came to Vietnam in 1969 as a soldier during the American war in Vietnam, where he served for four years.
After returning home having experienced the full brutality of war, Paul became an anti-war activist, working to end it.
What led to his decision to return to the country in 2014 was the book,, a story based on the diary kept by 27-year-old Vietnamese army doctor Dang Thuy Tram.
The diary was Tram’s personal account and reflection on the cruelty and ruthlessness of the war, which she kept in detail until her death while trying to defend her patients.
Paul said coming to Vietnam was his way of apologizing for the suffering his country had caused to the Vietnamese people.
Upon seeing the walls of the Vietnamese capital littered with posters and flyers, Paul decided that he had to act.
The American has so far invested VND10 million (US$441) in tools and paints to re-paint the walls after ridding them off the intruding posters.
Paul’s work has inspired over 440 students who take his English classes to pick up the same course of action.
Paul said he was particularly impressed by one female student who persisted with the poster removal until 3:30 am, despite having to work in the morning.
The Vietnam veteran regards the work a battle to raise Hanoi resident’s awareness of how such posters litter the city.
Shoulder and wrist pains, as well as the odd cut and bruise are the most common injuries of his day-to-day, given that significant force is required to completely remove the posters, and ladders are needed to reach high spots.
The job is at times discouraging he admits, especially when a wall is filled with posters having been cleaned only a day earlier.
Despite the constant advice that what he and his students were doing was pointless given the immense number of postered walls in the city, Paul said he had no plans to give up any time soon.
From the initial five or six volunteers who joined him on his early missions, he said, his team had now expanded to over 440 regular people and inspired several others to take action.
Paul said he believed they were on the right track to make Hanoians realize how beautiful their streets could be without the ugly posters.
He hoped to ultimately attract the attention of local authorities and get them to step in for the common benefit of all Hanoi residents.
Aside from cleaning walls, for the past three years Paul has been running English classes to help improve the communication skills of Vietnamese.
The idea for his class came to Paul after he did some research and discovered that the cost of learning English in Vietnam was remarkably high compared to average local incomes.
Despite no prior experience or qualifications in education, Paul said he was confident of his teaching ability thanks to his parents being both teachers.
At first, Paul’s English classes were offered for free to those in need with the local administration providing him with a venue.
However, as the classes expanded, the small room he was given was no longer large enough to host all his students, forcing him to associate with a local English center and rent a venue.
Paul now charges his students a symbolic tuition fee of VND150,000 ($6.61) per month to cover that rent and other operational costs.
Nevertheless, Paul said his students had been incredibly supportive and more than willing to pay the fee.
The one thing Paul said he was impressed about Vietnamese students were their diligence and perseverance, which helped them achieve their desired goals.
Less than four months away from his 70th birthday, Paul said he could not believe he was already so old, as on the inside he still felt like a 30-year-old.
The secret to his eternal feeling of youth? A body full of energy and a mind full of hope, he said.
TUOI TRE NEWS
Lack of viable alternatives sees vendors remain on HCM City streets
An official in HCM City's District 1 said it was difficult to persuade street vendors to change jobs as working on the pavement is a lucrative job that is not bound by countless regulations.
Street vendors earn huge profit
Luu Le Bich Phuong, chairwoman of Nguyen Thai Binh Ward gave her opinion on the situation during a meeting about social order in District 1 in the first five months of 2017. According to Phuong, the sellers only need to work three to four hours a day to earn VND9m (USD397) to VND15m profit.
"The highly-mobile sellers only have to work for a short time and they are not bound by various regulations. They can open and close the businesses in a blink and make large profits. That's why it is difficult to persuade them to change business," she said.
More importantly, the career alternatives they are offered aren’t very diverse. There are only 12 to 13 jobs offered and most of them aren’t considered attractive such as knitting and weaving. Phuong said they would try to reorganise the use of the pavements to minimise the number of shops and kiosks.
"The kiosks, chairs and tables will be foldable and the sellers will work based on designated shifts. We can't let dozens of them on the pavement at the same time," Phuong said.
Tran The Thuan, chairman of District 1, said in the first five months, they had had 725 inspections and fined over VND3.2bn (USD141,000) for 7,000 cases where vendors or businesses obstructed pavements. The local authorities also persuaded the people to remove 3,447 obstructing objects. Other 1,924 were removed by force.
Most wards still carry out inspections but the pavement encroachment occurs on many streets such as Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Nguyen Hue, Hoang Sa and Pho Duc Chinh.
After a movement to clear the pavement in February, HCM City’s pavements have returned to how they were before. The street vendors have said this is unsurprising as the government haven't offered any effective alternatives.
District 1 has implemented various measures such as offering free vocational courses to street vendors or helping them get other jobs, but they are considered unattractive. A plan to hold markets with by-the-hour pitch rentals hasn’t been realised.
Japanese company seeks opportunity in Can Tho infrastructure
A delegation of the Eight-Japan Engineering Consultants Inc. (EJECT) met authorities of the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho on June 13 to discuss joint local infrastructure projects.
Vo Thi Hong Anh, Vice Chairwoman of Can Tho People’s Committee, said the city needed consultation from Japan to implement several urgent infrastructure projects funded by the World Bank.
The projects include building dykes along the Can Tho River and two bridges.
EJECT has more than 50 years of experience in providing consultation on infrastructure development, with a strength in urban planning and cityscape.
According to the company’s representatives, EJECT has participated in a planning contest for Han River in the central city of Da Nang.
The company is carrying out a project on garbage collection and sorting in HCM City.
Internet TV: challenge and opportunity
It is golden time for transfering tradition television to internet television, said Internet TV Phan Thanh Gian, managing director of Clip TV at a seminar under The Vietnam International Exhibition on Film and Television Technology (Telefilm), organized by the Television Advertising and Services Center (TVAd).
The number of internet users in Vietnam is around 47 million people, accounting for half of the country’s population including 39.7 million mobile internet users; accordingly, it is golden time for transfering from traditional television to internet television.
While traditional television is facing difficulties in attracting viewers, internet television becomes a new trend; however, it is both opportunity and challenge for people working in the field. With the rapid development of internet services, especially the transmission speed, and the growing tendency of watching films on demand, the online TV market has become bustling in Vietnam, Gian said.
2016 is the year which has seen the transmission. Director of Bac Dau Star Pham Thanh Nam concurred with because he said internet users are transfering to the second screen, an independent equipment with television and it is becoming one of integral part of the experience.
Pham Anh Chien - Managing Director of Vietnam Television Digital Center (VTV Digital Center) said that people spend less time to watch programs on traditional television while more people are attracted by online television.
At present, not only television broastacaters but also telecommunications service providers such as YouTube, Netflix, Iflix, VTV Go, FPT Play, Danet, ZTV, Clip TV, My K+, Daily motion. Founder amd manager of Umbala Nguyen Minh Thao said that the company wants offer playing ground for normal people especially teenagers.
Phan Thanh Gian said that the company has lost million of dollar through five years yet the company will continue maintaining the operation because he believes that Over-the-Top content, a term used in broadcasting and technology business reporting to refer to audio, video, and other media transmitted via the Internet as a standalone product, that is, without an operator of multiple cable or direct-broadcast satellite television systems will have place in Vietnam. Shaun Ray Mr. Shaun Ray, Head of Architecture AWS, SouthEast Asia Amazon said it is the fast and cheap way to access viewers.
As per Pham Anh Chien’s statistic, digital advertising turnover in 2016 in Vietnam reached $58 million and it is expected to surge to $76 million in 2017 and $171 million in 2020. Accordingly, Pham Thanh Nam said that online television development is a chance for broadcasters to increase income. In addition to maintaining the faithful viewers, broadcasters should attract new viewers on OTT to maximize its turnover as advertising on internet is skyrocketing. Braodcasters need to prepare good content.
The current challenge for internet television providers are to attract more customers and measures how long viewers spend time on television. VTV Go has planned to have staffs for OTT; accordingly viewers will have more choices, said Gian while Thao and Chien stressed on interaction with viewers to offer attraction.
Producers admitted that many program on OTT are poor quality in Vietnam. Moreover, there has been not much series of film produced for OTT only while foreign company like Netflix seemed to be more efficient.
Vietnam House to relaunch next month
Vietnam House Restaurant will reopen its doors early next month to serve Vietnamese cuisine with a modern twist at the heart of HCM City.
The new Vietnam House is set to bring back the nostalgia and charm of the storied street corner when it relaunches on July 4.
Through a unique partnership between Australian-born Vietnamese celebrity chef Luke Nguyen and Windsor Property Management Group Corporation (WMC Group), the restaurant returns to its former location with fully renovated interiors and a façade accenting the historic building on the corner of Đồng Khởi and Mạc Thị Bưởi.
The restored colonial building housed the famed Café L’Imperial in the early 1900s, and was a popular destination for the city’s affluent business class. The new Vietnam House is set to bring back the nostalgia and charm of the storied street corner.
Its menu will span the country with classic dishes selected from north to south delivering a traditional style while reflecting modern trends with culinary impressions from Chef Luke Nguyen.
With experience and knowledge gained by travelling throughout Việt Nam, Chef Luke invites diners to a rich gastronomic journey with unique presentations of classic recipes.
Open for lunch and dinner, Vietnam House presents a curated menu of the country’s favorite dishes.
The signature flavours of Vietnam House revolve around the fresh, high-quality produce elegantly prepared and presented in a modern style.
Chef Luke and his culinary team scour local markets daily to ensure only the freshest fruits and vegetables are used in the kitchen, and use cooking methods that retain and enhance the flavours of the ingredients and spices.
The rebirth of Vietnam House takes inspiration from the storied corner of Dong Khoi and Mac Dinh Chi streets, but inspires guests with a dining experience that complements their unique lifestyle, dining at the highest level with world-class service delivering the best of Vietnamese gastronomy in the heart of Saigon.
American investment in Vietnam: $10 billion in value, with other benefits
$10.2 billion is the total value of US foreign direct investment (FDI) in Vietnam, but the figure does not represent everything the US contributes.
General Electric (GE) initially focused on selling valuable products, such as aircraft engines, turbines for wind power plants and medical equipment, worth hundreds of millions of dollars or $1 billion a year.
Two years ago, GE still thought Vietnam was just a market to sell products, and it did not appreciate the stability of Vietnam’s policies and the transparency of the investment environment.
However, during the recent visit to the US by Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, GE Power’s CEO said Vietnam is an attractive investment destination.
Vu Tu Thanh, SE Asia deputy director of the US-ASEAN Business Council, said the Vietnamese market, in the eyes of GE, has been upgraded to a new level.
In 2010, GE invested $61 million in a plant that makes wind power turbines in Hai Phong City, and three years later, it raised investment capital to $100 million.
The number of workers at the plant has increased from 600 to 2,500. Most recently, GE has decided to join forces with PetroVietnam to develop a gas power plant in the central region.
GE’s President, in his latest visit to Vietnam in April, revealed GE’s long-term investment plan in Vietnam, saying that GE is eyeing the energy, aviation and healthcare sectors.
“$100 million is a small figure for a corporation with revenue equal to Vietnam’s total GDP and $100 million is nothing compared with the total US FDI value of $10.2 billion. However, this is an important exploration step,” Thanh said.
Not only GE, but other US large corporations have been flocking to Vietnam in the last half year, despite the demise of TPP, considered an important link for the US and Vietnam.
In March 2017, a group of representatives from 29 US businesses came to Vietnam to seek business opportunities in Vietnam. These included well-known names such as Google, Uber, Apple, Amway, Coca-Cola, Exxon Mobil, Ford, General Motors, MasterCard and Visa.
During the Vietnamese PM’s visit, about 20 cooperation agreements and MOUs between Vietnamese and US businesses were signed with the total value of $15 billion. Most of them were agreements on Vietnam’s equipment imports from the US. With Vietnam’s high demand for machinery from the US, the US trade deficit of $30 billion in trade with Vietnam will probably be reduced.
Pham Huyen, VNN
Carlsberg faces penalty for adding beer bottle images to Vietnam’s historic sites
The Huda beer bottles of Carlsberg Vietnam are added to famous sites of Hue ancient citadel in an advertisement posted on the brand’s Facebook page.
Authorities in Hue City, the capital of the north-central province of Thua Thien- Hue, are determining a suitable punishment for Carlsberg Vietnam after the company appeared to deface the country’s historic sites in an online ad.
Le Si Minh, director of the provincial Department of Information and Communications, confirmed on Thursday afternoon that the agency was working with its culture counterpart to issue a final decision.
In a photo ad posted to the Facebook page of Huda Beer, a beer brand owned by Carlsberg Vietnam, several images of the beverage appeared to have been stamped on Hue’s well-known historical sites, namely Ngo Mon and Truong Tien Bridge.
Built by the Nguyen Dynasty who ruled Vietnam between 1805 and 1945, Ngo Mon serves as the south gate of the Hue Royal Citadel and is now considered a relic of the ancient Capital of Hue recognized by UNESCO’s World Cultural Heritage.
The Truong Tien Bridge, built in 1899, crosses over the famous Huong River.
The photos were part of an ad campaign launched by the beer manufacturer showing the beer bottles stamped on the wall of the Ngo Mon Gate and the piers of the Truong Tien Bridge.
Such images violate regulations in the Vietnamese law on advertisement, Minh said, adding that the Department of Information and Communications had ordered the removal of the photos.
Carlsberg Vietnam shall be asked to make a public apology and agree not repeat the offense, the official continued.
“The firm is also expected to be slapped with an administrative fine of between VND10 million [US$440] and VND20 million [$880] in accordance with the law,” he added.
Having entered Vietnam in 1993 through a joint venture company, Carlsberg now operates two breweries in Hue and Hanoi which produce Huda, Huda Gold, Halida, Tuborg, and Carlsberg beer.
TUOI TRE NEWS
Binh Duong real estate market stagnant
Poorly-planned projects have led to large housing inventory and a stagnant real estate market in Binh Duong Province.
Real estate lending disguised as consumer lending
The increasing interest rates on house buying and housing repair loans at commercial banks raise worries about the liquidity of the Vietnamese economy.
Real estate credit is higher than the initial estimates
True volume of housing loans
According to the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV)’s Deputy Governor Nguyen Thi Hong, the growth of the credit balance in the real estate industry has slowed down compared to 2016, thanks to SBV’s efforts to control credit risk, balance out funding sources, as well as interest rate in the short, medium, and long term, and loans in risky fields like real estate and build-operate-transfer (BOT) transportation projects.
Not only credit balance growth, but the proportion of real estate credit in the total credit balance also decreased to eight per cent.
However, a recent report released by the National Financial Supervisory Commission (NFSC) reveals that this proportion is higher than 8 per cent.
In particular, according to the report, as of the end of May 2017, consumer lending was estimated to have increased about 29.7 per cent compared to the end of 2016. Of the total, housing repair loans and home loans increased by 38.4 per cent and this amount accounted for 52.8 per cent of the total consumer lending. At the end of 2016, the amount of housing repair loans and home mortgages accounted for 49 per cent of total consumer lending.
Currently, consumer lending accounts for about 12 per cent of the total credit balance. Thus, by the addition of real estate consumer loans, the proportion of real estate credit will be 14 per cent, not 8 per cent as reported.
A previous report published by NFSC made the same assessment and warned, “Consumer lending sharply increased, and about 50 per cent of it went into real estate. Real estate credit should be closely monitored and assessed.”
The form of lending to the field of real estate are changing. At present, 38 per cent of total real estate loans were taken up by developers of real estate projects, and the rest by homebuyers.
The fact that real estate credit is increasing while manufacturing and business credit are recovering only slowly raises concerns for experts.
State treasury pushing up liquidity
Currently, the liquidity burden on banks’ has been lightened, as demonstrated by the loan to deposit ratio. As of May 2017, the ratio of the whole banking system was about 87 per cent. Interbank interest rates also declined to 4-4.2 per cent, instead of the 5 per cent in previous months.
Nevertheless, high liquidity in this case does not mean that commercial banks’ liquidity has been strengthened. According to NFSC, the higher liquidity was brought about by the sharp growth of VST deposits. This supported commercial banks’ liquidity, especially when the disbursement of public investment was slow. As of the end of April 2017, VST deposited about VND122 trillion ($5.4 billion) in banks, an increase of 28.4 per cent compared to the beginning of 2017.
In addition, the credit to GDP gap (the indicator of risk in the banking system) has been on a continuous upward trend since the fourth quarter of 2015, climbing to 11 per cent in the first quarter of 2017. This was the second highest gap during the last nine years, slightly behind the record high of 13 per cent in the first quarter of 2011, the period when the whole Vietnamese banking system was in a liquidity crisis.
A source of VIR revealed that at present, some commercial banks are having trouble with liquidity and their bad debts are much higher than reported.
Real estate loans will not be a concern if they can meet actual needs. However, according to some experts, the increasing loans can cause a real estate bubble. Thus they forewarn of danger, for example, for the unusually high demand for real estate in Ho Chi Minh City. Additionally, commercial banks’ practice of finding loopholes to increase their real estate loans contains too many risks.
Currently, Vietnam’s growth model is based too much on credit, a problem which is hard to solve. By the end of the first quarter of 2017, the banking sector was the main source of capital for the Vietnamese economy, accounting for nearly 60 per cent of the total capital supply.
By Thuy Lien
Unsatisfactory GDP leaves Vietnam in middle-income trap
The low GDP growth rate of 5.1 percent in the first quarter of the year, the lowest rate in the last two years, has made it more difficult to reach the 6.7 percent GDP growth rate target for 2017.
Tran Thi Phuong Hoa, a NA deputy, pointed out that if Vietnam cannot obtain 6.7 percent growth rate, it will for the second consecutive year fail to implement the economic development plan. If so, the 5-year plan will be more challenging.
“In a long-term plan, if Vietnam’s economy cannot have average GDP growth rate of 7 percent per annum in 2016-2035, and the GDP per capita cannot reach 6 percent per annum, Vietnam will have no more opportunities to escape from the middle-income trap,” Hoa said.
Hoa suggested applying necessary measures to increase total demand. For example, Vietnam can increase the money supply. A 2 percent additional credit growth rate would not lead to high inflation because the core inflation is low, at 1.66 percent in the first quarter of the year.
However, in order to curb inflation, Hoa said, the government must not raise the electricity price and other public service fees, including healthcare and education, from now to the end of the year.
Lecturer of the Fulbright Economics Teaching Program, Nguyen Xuan Thanh, also pointed out that if Vietnam continues accepting low GDP growth, it will lag behind.
“Since 1960, no country can escape poverty, become middle-income and then high-income if they do not have high GDP growth rates of 6 percent or higher for a long time,’ he explained.
“Low growth rates show inefficiency in using resources, direct and indirect,” he added.
Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung, speaking before the National Assembly on June 9, mentioned the possibility of exploiting 1 million tons of oil to serve economic growth.
“It is good for the economy. We won’t overexploit, which leads to natural resources exhaustion,” he said, adding that the crude oil price has recovered in the world market.
However, NA deputies don’t agree. Pham Phu Quoc, a NA deputy from HCMC, said that the plan to exploit 1 million tons of oil showed unhealthy reliance of the economy on natural resources.
Dinh Duy Vuot, a NA deputy from Gia Lai, said that additional oil exploitation should be reconsidered.
“If Vietnam does not grow rapidly, it will lag behind other regional countries. In some aspects, we already lag behind, and we have to speed up,” said Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung.
He said he agrees with economists that it is necessary to stabilize the macroeconomy and curb inflation. However, once Vietnam does this, it needs to accelerate development.
Thanh Lich, VNN
BUSINESS IN BRIEF 20/6
Vietnam’s support industry viewed as boasting huge potential
Chief Representative of the Hanoi Office of the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) Kitagawa Hironobu said Vietnam’s support industry has huge potential during the Vietnam Support Industry Forum in Hanoi on June 15.
According to the JETRO, Vietnam’s manufacturing currently ranks second in ASEAN, notably electronics.
Major electronic groups such as Intel, Panasonic and Microsoft have moved to Vietnam while domestic rivals continue winning new orders. Imports tripled from 2011 to 2016 while exports surged nearly five-fold from 12.8 billion USD to 65.8 billion USD in 2015.
Over the past years, exports of mobile phones accessories have greatly contributed to reducing Vietnam’s trade deficit. This year, Vietnam plans to earn more than 40 billion USD from electronics export.
Speaking at the event, Hironobu said Japan is interested in Vietnamese market, evidenced by more than 570 projects in 2016. However, the rate of locally-made materials and spare parts is only 34 percent, forcing Japanese firms to import them from neighbouring countries like Thailand and China.
He suggested Vietnamese firms raise added values for spare parts so that they could catch up with Japanese partners in the global supply chain.
President of the Vietnam Electronic Industries Association Luu Hoang Long said Vietnam is gradually becoming a new manufacturing centre with qualified workforce costing lower than Indonesia’s and only half of Thailand’s.
According to him, Vietnam’s electronic industry will still face challenges in the future.
India is Vietnam’s biggest rival in terms of foreign investment attraction due to its government and federal incentives, low salaries and high technology, he said.
The event was co-hosted by the JETRO and the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Trade Promotion Agency.
Bank stocks rise on coming bad debt resolution
Shares ended June 19 on a positive note as banks reacted to information that the new bad debt settlement resolution will likely be approved by the National Assembly this week.
The VN-Index on the HCM Stock Exchange increased 0.73 percent to close at 766.83 points. The benchmark southern index expanded 1.5 percent last week.
On the Hanoi Stock Exchange, the HNX-Index gained 1.12 percent to end at 99.41 points. The northern market index rose 1 percent a week ago.
Bank stocks were the major contributor to the market rise as all nine listed lenders on the two exchanges gained value.
Nam Viet Bank (NVB), the smallest capitalised bank among nine listed banks, hit the maximum daily rise of 10 percent for a second session on the Hanoi Stock Exchange, closing at 10,300 VND a share. These shares have climbed 110 percent since early this year.
Other banks such as Sai Gon-Hanoi Bank (SHB), Military Bank (MBB) and Sacombank (STB) increased 4.1 percent, 2.7 percent and 1.8 percent, respectively. These shares have also increased substantially since the beginning of 2017.
Sai Gon-Hanoi Bank has gained 64 percent compared to December 30 last year; Sacombank, up 50 percent; and Military Bank up 48 percent.
Three biggest listed banks including Vietcombank (VCB), Vietinbank (CTG) and BIDV (BID) rose by a more modest 0.5-1.5 percent each.
According to Bao Viet Securities Co, the National Assembly will likely approve the new bad debt settlement resolution this Wednesday. Only one issue remains unresolved surrounding the time frame, on which there are currently two perspectives. One is dealing with non performing loans (NPLs) ending December 31, 2016 and the other is applied to bad debts arising before 2016 as well as during the period in which the bad debt settlement resolution takes effect.
“With the high possibility that the resolution of bad debt will be approved, we think that the banking stocks may continue to gain momentum in the next two sessions. As a result, the overall performance of the indices will likely also receive substantial support,” Tran Hai Yen, a stock analyst at Bao Viet Securities Co, wrote in a report on June 19.
Apart from banks, many other large-cap stocks picked up and contributed to the market rise, including Vinamilk (VNM), brewery Sabeco (SAB), Petrolimex (PLX), VinGroup (VIC), Saigon Securities Inc (SSI) and PV Gas (GAS).
“From our view, the overall market outlook is positive in the short-term,” Yen said, but warned about rising profit-taking pressure on large-cap stocks lacking supportive information.
Liquidity was positive with a total of 265.3 million shares worth a combined 5.1 trillion VND (224.1 million USD) traded on the two markets.
Ho Chi Minh City’s economy grows 7.76 percent in six months
Ho Chi Minh City’s gross regional domestic product grew by 7.76 percent in the first half of this year, higher than the same period in the past two years.
It was unveiled during a meeting of the municipal People’s Committee on June 15 to discuss the city’s socio-economic-cultural performance and the budget expenditure and spending in the first half of the year, and major tasks for the remaining months.
With this growth, the city is likely to fulfill the set growth of 8.4 – 8.7 percent this year, said Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Nguyen Thanh Phong, adding that the total State collection hit 173 trillion VND (7.52 billion USD), or 49.5 percent of the yearly target.
The services sector grew 7.38 percent while industry and construction expanded by 7.17 percent and agriculture up 5.93 percent.
Pham Thanh Kien, Director of the municipal Department of Industry and Trade, said the six-month industrial development index rose 7.5 percent year-on-year, the highest in the past five years.
During the period, there were more than 18,000 new businesses with a total registered capital of upwards 227 trillion VND. The total registered and additional capital topped 492 trillion VND, marking a 2.2-fold increase annually.
The city also licensed 340 foreign-invested projects, mostly in the processing and manufacturing industries, which doubled the city’s capital attraction of the previous period in 2016 to 2.15 billion USD.
In order to achieve set targets this year, the municipal authorities asked departments and localities to clear obstacles to businesses by improving business climate, reforming administrative procedures regarding taxation and customs while perfecting start-up ecosystem and promoting start-up innovation.
The city will also promote programmes on supply-demand, business-bank connectivity, demand stimulation, and market stabilisation.
Exhibitions to promote Vietnam’s support industry
Three exhibitions introducing auxiliary products for industries will be held concurrently in Hanoi from September 13-15, as part of activities to realise commitments of the Japanese Government to assisting support industry development in Vietnam.
The events are the seventh Vietnam-Japan Support Industry Exhibition, an expo on equipment and technology and support industry for the electronic industry and an expo on Vietnamese support industry products.
They will be co-hosted by the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) in Hanoi, Reed Tradex Co., Ltd of Thailand, the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency and the Vietnam Electronic Industries Association.
Speaking at a press conference in Hanoi on June 15, Director of the Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency Bui Huy Son said the events are hoped to offer exhibitors opportunities to seek partners, thus promoting investment and trade cooperation between Vietnam and Japan.
Son said the Vietnamese Government is proactively assisting firms operating in the support industries in applying modern quality management systems, improving the quality and reliability of products, thus enabling them to join global production and supply chains.
Through the exhibitions, Vietnamese firms will be supported to increase the ratio of local contents in electric products and support industries.
Hironobu Kitagawa – Chief Representative of JETRO said the organisation published a book listing outstanding Vietnamese firms working in the manufacturing industry.
This will be a useful reference for Japanese enterprises and those from other countries, which are exploring opportunities to pour investment into Vietnam, he added.
Hironobu Kitagawa said the Vietnam-Japan Support Industry Exhibition will display the Pre-matching system for the first time, which allows enterprises to connect and exchange in a more effective way.
Suttisak Wilanan – Deputy Managing Director of Reed Tradex stressed that the organisation of the three exhibitions at the same time and same location will help increase business opportunities by three times and raise localisation index for Vietnam’s electronic industry.
Attended by over 200 leading brands from 20 countries and territories worldwide, the events will help Japanese manufacturers to meet and tighten links with local spare part manufacturers.
After the press conference, the organisers signed an agreement on cooperation to enhance the localisation ratio, promote the support industry in Vietnam.
Ways to ensure sustainable economic growth in mid term sought
Removing business barriers, clarifying responsibility of management units and dealing with bad debts are among solutions raised at a workshop in Hanoi on June 15, aiming to ensure the rapid and sustainable economic growth in the mid term.
Nguyen Anh Duong from the Central Institute for Economic Management (CIEM), said Vietnam’s economic growth has remained sluggish over the past years, suggesting a close and flexible combination between fiscal year and capital and monetary markets.
It is necessary to take into account the greatest benefits while engaging in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement and materialsing free trade agreements in general.
Other delegates at the even proposed the Government well implement its commitment to building a facilitating Government that supports businesses.
They also called for efforts to curb with bad deeds like corruption, wastefulness and group interests to ensure a fair and transparent business environment.
The Government should consistently pursue its viewpoints on sustainable development and manage the economy on the basis of market rules, they said.
Dr. Dang Thi Thu Hoai, from the CIEM, said reforming the growth model is an urgent task to serve the target of rapid and sustainable growth in the context of integration.
She underscored the need to identify both opportunities and challenges facing the economy.
Hoai noted that it is necessary to improve added values of products, especially those belonging to promising sectors, and quality of human resources, looking towards higher productivity.
“The Government should take measures to ensure equal access to resources of businesses, avoiding wastefulness, conflicts or overlapping of interests,” she said.
Mechanical machines, equipment displayed in Hanoi
The latest equipment and technologies for the manufacturing, engineering and electronics industries are being showcased at the CA-MEXPO Vietnam 2017 which opened in Hanoi on June 15.
On display at the exhibition, the second of its kind in Vietnam, are industrial machines, vehicles, agricultural machines, wood processing machines, mining machines, security devices, household appliances and energy-saving equipment.
The three-day event, jointly held by the Trade Promotion Agency under the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the secretariat of ASEAN-China Expo, drew the attraction of over 100 prestigious producers and exhibitors from China, including firms in China’s Top 500 list.
The CA-MEXPO is a significant trade promotion activity which helps Vietnamese and Chinese enterprises further enhance business cooperation as well as facilitate the transfer of advanced technology between firms from both sides, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Quoc Khanh said at the opening ceremony.
The organising board expects that the CA-MEXPO 2017 will continue to serve as a catalyst for the development of enterprises in both countries.
Last year’s event saw the participation of over 100 enterprises from 10 Chinese provinces and cities, attracted thousands of visitors while tens of contracts were signed.
China is currently Vietnam’s leading trade partner. Last year, two-way trade experienced a yearly rise of 2.5 percent to more than 98 billion USD.
US trade mission targets higher seafood exports to Vietnam
The Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute in collaboration with a group of other US fish and seafood advocacy organizations are gearing up for a trade mission to Southeast Asia later this year, according to multiple sources.
Hannah Lindoff, program director for the Institute, said this is the second such mission to Asia, which hopes to build on the prior success and make further inroads into cracking the yet largely untapped market.
The first trip, which was led by Food Export Northeast and principally focused on China, was positive and now the Institute is looking to double its efforts and concentrate more on exploring markets in Southeast Asia.
Food Export Northeast, is a non-profit trade group that promotes the export of food and agricultural products throughout the globe from states in the northeast region of the US such as Maine.
Industry members have been urging the Institute to spearhead more aggressive attempts to pursue market share in Southeast Asia, noted Ms Lindoff, particularly those lucrative markets in Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand.
The trade mission will take industry members for a bevy of seminars and meetings this September 10-14 with representatives from Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand.
Southeast Asia represents an emerging market that is large and diverse, driven by consumers with a hunger for fish and seafood who are predisposed to favour products from the US due to their superior reputation for quality and safety.
Southeast Asia has a lot of potential as an end and reprocessing market, so we have several interests in mind, Ms Lindoff continued, noting the US brand really stands for quality and commands consumer attention.
Particularly in high-end markets like Singapore and emerging ones like Vietnam, consumers are developing a taste for top-shelf products like sockeye salmon, king crab and spot prawns.
Interest in salmon and salmon heads is also prevalent in other countries such as Thailand and Indonesia, but Ms Lindoff said consumers need to be coached on the differences between wild and farmed salmon and why wild-caught are the tastier and healthier choice.
Land pooling policies urged
The Government needs new policies on land pooling and accumulation, as well as credit, to develop the farm economy, delegates said at a forum held in HCM City on Thursday.
The country has 31,717 farms, of which 16,523 are animal breeding farms. Farmland covers a total of 133,826ha, accounting for 0.6 per cent of the country’s total agricultural land.
Nguyen Van Tien, head of the Central Economic Committee’s Agriculture and Rural Department, said although there has been a rapid increase in the number of farms, they are mainly household farms, with an average scale of just 4.54ha.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the farm economy is an advanced form of the household economy, bringing higher economic efficiency since farms are applying new technologies and expanding markets for their products.
Vu Trong Khai, an agricultural expert, said the shift from smallholder production to large-scale and modern agricultural production would ensure a safe and sustainable agriculture.
The Government in the past issued many policies to develop farms, but few farmers and businesses benefited from these policies, he said.
Farm owners have encountered difficulties in accumulating land as well as accessing credit to expand their scale, he said at a forum held by the Viet Nam Farms and Agricultural Enterprises Association and the Department for Economic Co-operation and Rural Development.
Vo Mai, vice chairwoman of the Viet Nam Gardening Association, said capital sources for the agricultural sector remained low compared to actual demand.
As of June 2016, total outstanding loans in the agricultural sector reached an estimate of VND886 trillion, accounting for 18 per cent of total outstanding loans in the economy.
Customers in the agricultural sector have faced difficulties in accessing bank loans due to credit regulations, she said.
For instance, the Government’s Decree 55 stipulates that customers involved in the agriculture and rural development sector can obtain loans at credit institutions without mortgaged assets, but the decree also stipulates that customers must submit their land use certificates to credit institutions when they apply for loans.
They still had to guarantee assets when applying for loans, she said.
Khai said that domestic agriculture was still small-scale and underdeveloped, which does not ensure efficiency, so banks are anxious to offer unsecured loans.
Vo Quan Huy, director of Huy Long An Co Ltd, who has a large banana farm in the southern province of Long An, said his company had to mortgage assets to obtain a loan, but he said the assets were priced by the banks at a level which is too low compared to the market price.
Similarly, Doan Minh Chien, owner of a general farm in the southern province of Binh Duong, said “Each hectare of my farm is valued at VND7-8 billion at the market price, but the bank values it at just VND300 million.”
Huy and Chien suggested that the Government and central bank reconsider amending the asset valuation policy.
Tien said household and farm economies would continue to be the base of the country’s agricultural production.
The Government should develop policies to encourage pooling and accumulating land to expand production scale, and develop linkages in agricultural production.
Delegates at the forum said the Government should complete financial and credit policies in the agricultural sector that support individuals and organisations in pooling land. Developing insurance models in agricultural production is also important, they said.
VN eyes export boost through Chinese border
Viet Nam should implement polices to increase its export volume through its border gates with China by taking advantage of the Viet Nam-China Border Trade Agreement, experts said.
The agreement has created favourable conditions for Viet Nam’s border provinces to change reasonably their economic structure, experts said.
However, many experts were of the opinion that Viet Nam should limit shipments of small volume of exports without legal contracts, and promote large volume of exports, as small-scale exports did not provide enterprises with incentives to improve the quality of their goods and competitive ability.
Nguyen Van Hoi, deputy head of the Border and Mountainous Trade Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT), said the trade agreement was signed in September 2016 with 16 articles to ensure an annual growth of 30 per cent in the trade value of goods exported through the border gates between Viet Nam and China.
The agreement will contribute partly to the socio-economic development and improvement of the living standards of the people in the border areas, he said. Viet Nam’s major export goods to China include farming, forestry, seafood and fresh fruit products.
Dinh Van Thanh, former head of the MoIT’s Trade Research Institute, said the agreement was applicable for trading via border gates and border markets in seven provinces of Viet Nam, including Cao Bang, Quang Ninh, Lang Son, Ha Giang, Lao Cai, Lai Chau, Dien Bien, and two China’s provinces of Yunnan and Guangxi.
Nguyen Van Son, chairman of the People’s Committee of the northern mountainous province of Ha Giang, said the development of border gate economy and border trade is the key to economic development in Ha Giang Province.
To promote border trade development, Ha Giang has received recommendations from enterprises to improve infrastructure, reform administrative procedure and create favourable conditions for attracting enterprises’ investment in border trade activities.
Thanh said the infrastructure at border gates was limited owing to the lack of investment, and the two countries have not had specific management policies for border trade activities because of which those activities had not developed strongly.
There are not enough warehouses at the border gates between Viet Nam and China to meet the demand of trading activities, especially cold storage system, which has not got any investment to be built.
Meanwhile, some kind of farming and fresh fruit products of Viet Nam have been exported to China, but they were not exported under contracts.
Pham Van Truong, a MoIT expert, said Viet Nam should restructure the production of farming products and goods to ensure the quality of those products and promote exports with large volume. This would help avoid "saving" farm produce from plummeting prices that happened over the past time, partly due to small-scale and lack of legal contracts.
The State should have specific solutions to provide market and capital support to enterprises, said Truong, adding that the State should continue negotiations with China to expand the market for Vietnamese goods by facilitating contracts for large exports .
Thanh from the Trade Research Institute said Viet Nam should establish a border business association to protect the interests of local enterprises engaged in trading activities with China, as well as other countries.
The Government needs to upgrade infrastructure for trading activities at border gates, creating favourable conditions for border trade development, he added.
On the other hand, he said Viet Nam must diversify its forms and methods of trade promotion with neighbouring countries and perfect a database of information on border trade activities for managing those activities.
CBRE Vietnam wins three 1st prizes at Asia Pacific Property Awards
CBRE Vietnam was honoured at the 2017 Asia Pacific Property Awards with three first prizes in important categories. The company won for “Best Real Estate Agency in Vietnam,” “Best Lettings Agency in Vietnam” and the “Property Consultancy Award” at a ceremony held in Bangkok earlier this month.
Meanwhile, Le Trong Hieu, director of CBRE Vietnam’s advisory and transaction of office services, won the award for “Best Real Estate Agent in Vietnam.”
With these achievements, CBRE Vietnam has become the only real estate consulting and management firm in Vietnam to win three first prizes in the nine-year history of the Asia Pacific Property Awards.
The Asia Pacific Property Awards, part of the International Property Awards, honours leading companies in all fields of the property industry world-wide. This year CBRE Vietnam has surpassed other leading firms in the industry to achieve the ‘five-star’ prizes.
Furthermore, CBRE Vietnam as the Best Letting Agency will compete against other winners from Africa, Arabia, Europe and America for the title of “World’s Best Letting Agency.”
The prizes prove CBRE Vietnam’s qualifications and professionalism in providing real estate services and customer care in highly competitive markets like the Asia Pacific and Vietnam.
Recently CBRE Vietnam was chosen as the exclusive management and leasing agent of Viettel’s head office and the Viettel Shopping Center.
The firm has continued to strengthen relations with many customers, and is the management agent for the Jamila project developed by Khang Dien and Hado Centrosa Garden and Hado Garden Villas of Ha Do Group.
In addition, CBRE has been selected as the lead agent for the Waterina, the first project in Vietnam by Japan’s Maeda Group, which is the management unit for the underground construction for the metro line No. 1 (Ben Thanh-Suoi Tien) in HCM City’s District 1.
In Hanoi, the firm is the exclusive agent for Central Field, a project by 19-12 Bac Ha Co Ltd, and the managing agency for Richy Tower and Sun Square buildings.
Dang Phuong Hang, managing director of CBRE Vietnam, said it is a pleasure to work with the CBRE Vietnam team to achieve these goals.
“We will do our best to develop CBRE Vietnam and achieve more success in the near future. Moreover, to meet the increasing demand of the real estate market, we introduced hotel services to provide advice and expertise in the hotel industry, sustainability services to provide solutions for green building, and leasing services to help investors with apartment leasing.
“With integrated real estate services, CBRE Vietnam is confident of generating benefits for customers.”
In the past CBRE Vietnam was the only property consultant in the country honoured at the Golden Dragon Awards. In addition, the company was listed among FORTUNE’s Most Admired Companies for five consecutive years.
CBRE Vietnam was also named the Best Property Consultant Agent in Vietnam for the fifth time by the Euromoney Awards.
Direct Da Nang-Incheon flight route launched
Eaststar Jet of Korea has begun operating a new daily direct flight from Da Nang to Incheon, using the Boeing B737-800 aircraft with 189 seats.
The airline said at the launching ceremony on June 14 that the new route would help boost tourism and facilitate travel between Da Nang and Korea.
It said Da Nang is the third city in Viet Nam, after HCM City and Ha Noi, from which the airline is operating direct flights to Incheon.
According to the Da Nang tourism department, nearly 200,000 South Koreans visited the city in the first quarter of this year, a 90 per cent growth over the same period last year.
The department said eight airlines – Korea Air, Asiana Airlines, Vietnam Airlines, Vietjet, Jeju Air, Jin Air, T’way and Eaststar Jet – now operate a total 56 flights per week connecting Da Nang with Incheon, Busan, Daegu and Muan in Korea, with total capacity of more than 8,000 passengers.
It said Da Nang and world heritage destinations in central Viet Nam could promote tour exchanges between Jeju Island, Incheon and Seoul.
More than 443,000 Korean tourists – nearly 20 per cent of foreigners – visited the city last year.
At Co.opmart, the more customers buy, the more benefits they get
Besides having close co-operation with suppliers and together foregoing profits to offer discounts on farm produce during the rainy season, starting this week Co.opmart and Co.opXtra supermarket chains nation-wide are offering huge discounts when customers buy the second, fourth and sixth items of certain products.
Until June 25, under the “Buy more, get great incentives” programme, which is part of the supermarkets’ 2017 Green Consumption Month, the price of a 40g pack of strawberry/chocolate cream-flavoured biscuit sticks is cut from VND9,900 to VND4,900 for the second item, that of a 62g paper box of egg buttermilk cake is cut from VND10,400 to VND7,500, that of a food wrap film pack is cut from VND19,900 to VND 9,900, and that of an 800ml pack of apple-scented dishwashing liquid is cut from VND16,500 to VND 9,900.
The price of an 80-piece pack of baby wet tissues is reduced from VND28,800 to VND14,800, that of a 650ml bottle of Men Classic perfumed shower cream is reduced from VND87,900 to VND37,900, that of an SGC animal-shaped bolster pillow is reduced from VND71,900 to VND39,900, and that of an SCG vacuum-packed pillow is reduced from VND96,900 to VND49,900.
Meanwhile, under the Good Price Promotion Programme, customers can buy many essential items at discounts of VND16,000-VND400,000.
For instance, two 16-sachet boxes of peach tea is sold at just VND27,000, a nine-kilogramme pack of detergent is discounted by VND40,000 to VND155,500, an SGC 37cm x 105cm vacuum packed bolster pillow is reduced by VND164,000 to VND109,000, a 360 degree aluminum floor cleansing stick is discounted by VND30,000 to VND94,000, a set of SGC 1.6x2m blanket, bed cover and pillow cases is reduced from VND1.079 million to only VND679,000.
Also under the 2017 Green Consumption Month programme, Co.opmart and Co.opXtra will present four to seven times higher than normal bonus points on customers’ loyalty/VIP cards when they buy major brands of liquid detergents, fabric softeners, coffees, biscuits, and other products from Unilever, Trung Nguyên, Vietnamcacao, Oreo, LU, and others.
Policies key to attracting foreign investment
Places with stable and favourable policies which promote business linkages are magnets for foreign investment, said Chairman of the Japanese Business Association in Vietnam Sagara Hirohide.
Sagara Hirohide, also Co-Chairman of the Vietnam Business Forum (VBF) Consortium’s Management Board, made the remark at a press conference held on June 15 on the threshold of the VBF 2017.
He lauded Vietnam’s efforts to improve its business climate, especially the recently passed Law on Support of Small-and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs). He said the move will encourage the development of private businesses.
Vietnam boasts huge potentials to attract foreign investors, he stressed, adding that both large enterprises and small-scale firms from Japan can set up business relations in Vietnam due to the favourable business climate and simple and transparent legal procedures.
Business links will aid the Vietnamese industrial sector, particularly the support industry, he said.
For his part, President of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Co-Chairman of the VBF Consortium’s Management Board Vu Tien Loc, said that measures to connect domestic and foreign firms, especially SMEs, would be discussed at the VBF 2017 on June 16.
Enterprises must set up business cooperation and the Government will provide them with favourable policies and conditions, Loc stressed.
Luc Ngan lychee week opens in Hanoi
A Luc Ngan “Thieu” lychee week, the second of its kind, opened on June 16 at Big C Thang Long shopping centre at 222 Tran Duy Hung, Cau Giay district, Hanoi.
During the week-long event, big supermarkets and wholesale markets will sign contracts with Luc Ngan businesses, cooperatives and farm owners to buy lychees.
According to the Department of Commerce and Industry of the northern province of Bac Giang, this year’s lychee production is estimated to hit 100,000 tonnes, equivalent to 70 percent of the previous year’s output. Of them, there are 26,000 tonnes of early-ripening lychees and 74,000 main-crop lychees.
About 40,000 tonnes of fresh lychees are expected to be shipped to China, representing 80 percent of this year’s lychee exports, said the department.
Apart from China, the province has also expanded consumption markets to the US, the EU, Japan and the Republic of Korea.
Binh Duong real estate market stagnant
Poorly-planned projects have led to large housing inventory and a stagnant real estate market in Binh Duong Province.
Tran Khanh Quang, director of Viet An Hoa Company, said there were no new projects in Binh Duong. The real estate market had grown recently but not as much as the markets in Long An and Dong Nai provinces.
According to Quang, existing projects still have many empty apartments which was why investors were reluctant to start new projects. Moreover, because of excessive supply, prices won't increase. There are demands from Di An Commune and the areas near HCM City but the demand is small and most customers just want to buy plots of land.
Quang said Binh Duong once had like thousands of real estate products and housing units at good prices five years ago and attracted a huge number of customers. But then those homes are sold and resold, investors can't find customers.
A leader from the HCM City Real Estate Association said while the real estate market in Binh Duong had slowed because of excessive supply, Dong Nai was having a huge boost from planned Long Thanh Airport and highways. Long An Province was neglected before so it is attractive to investors now.
Nguyen Van Duc, deputy director of Dat Lanh Company said the authorities in Binh Duong was too ambitious and had miscalculated.
"They relocated their administrative centre to the new urban area, hoping that their officials would also move there but they were wrong. It's not easy to motivate people to relocate, they need long-term policies," he said.
Binh Duong authorities want to establish a similar urban area like Phu My Hung in southern HCM City. However, they set the prices too high, offering people to make an instalment payment in 20 years and no one wanted to move in. Now the area looks deserted.
A square metre of land in the urban area cost VND30m (USD1,300) while the land 100 metres away costs just VND3m per square metre.
Tran Khanh Quang, director of Viet An Hoa Company suggested lowering the prices. The province has a population of over one million, with a few hundreds of thousands of migrants from other provinces, and many of them are poor workers.
Duc also agreed that lowering prices was necessary as they need a breakthrough to deal with the high inventory.
Meanwhile, Nguyen Vu Huy, director of Ban Viet Company said Binh Duong authorities should invest in small urban areas with affordable land lots before investing in luxury projects.
Le Hoang Chau, chairman of HCM City Real Estate Association, said customers were reluctant to move to new urban areas as Binh Duong Province's infrastructure was still weak.
Hanoi tax department publishes debtors
The Hanoi Department of Taxation has recently released a list of 72 enterprises with outstanding tax, fee, and land rental debts totaling nearly VND86 billion ($3.8 million).
Six enterprises owed land rentals of VND27 billion ($3.8 million), of which the largest debtor was the Cau Giay Investment Trading Service Joint Stock Company, with over VND22 billion ($970,000).
Regarding taxes and fees, 66 enterprises owe a total of over VND58 billion ($2.55 million). The largest debtor, with nearly VND7.4 billion ($330,000), is the Ha Thanh One Member Limited Liability Company. Thirteen companies owe tax debts of over VND1 billion ($44,000).
Other large tax debtors include the Atesco Industrial Feed Joint Stock Company (VND4.4 billion ($200,000)), the VNC Construction Joint Stock Company (VND3.5 billion ($150,000)), the Thang Long Tourism and Import-Export Joint Stock Company (VND3.5 billion ($150,000)), the Tien Hung Construction and Trading Company Limited (VND3.4 billion ($150,000)), and the Havico Joint Stock Company (VND3.3 billion ($145,000)).
The department previously published the debts of 720 enterprises and projects totaling nearly VND2.7 trillion ($2.55 million). After the disclosure, 209 paid over VND69 billion ($3 million) to the State treasury.
Support to grow
The Daiwa-SSIAM Vietnam Growth Fund II, co-managed by Daiwa Corporate Investment under Japan’s Daiwa Securities Group, last month became a new investor in the Pan Farm JSC, the agriculture arm of Vietnam’s Pan Group. Along with Daiwa, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, and SSI Asset Management under Saigon Securities also purchased an 18 per cent stake in Pan Farm. Earlier, DEVNET International, a Japanese organization providing development information, revealed there would be about 3,000 companies, mainly Japanese agricultural cooperatives, established in Vietnam over the next few years.
Agriculture brings many cooperation opportunities for both Vietnam and Japan given that foreign investment capital in the sector remains limited, according to Mr. Fumiyasu Akegawa, President of DEVNET. “I think it is a good idea to quickly and skillfully combine Japanese companies’ technical ability and information resources with potential markets such as Vietnam to promote the development of agricultural production chains,” he said.
The model of coordination between Vietnamese and Japanese enterprises in agriculture has borne positive results in recent years. In addition to direct investment, many Japanese enterprises also choose to cooperate with Vietnamese enterprises to establish fruit and vegetable farms around the country. Figures from the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) in Vietnam show there are 42 direct investment projects in Vietnam’s agriculture sector. “Most projects are direct investment, but there are also many established under cooperation between enterprises from the two sides,” said Mr. Hironobu Kitagawa, JETRO Hanoi’s Chief Representative.
Deputy Director of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s International Cooperation Department Nguyen Anh Minh told a workshop on opportunities in agriculture and investment cooperation between Vietnam and Japan in February that the number of Vietnamese firms attending the workshop this year increased five-fold compared to last year, which proves that local businesses are very much interested in seeking cooperation opportunities with foreign partners. “Local firms are seizing the opportunity to collaborate with Japanese businesses, learn from their experiences and high-tech farming techniques, develop production bases for material supplies, and secure high-tech farming equipment and agricultural machinery from partners,” he said.
Meanwhile, in order to cement investment opportunities in Vietnam, Mr. Hiroto Okabayashi, Chairman of Japan’s New Gate Co., said he is looking for a partner in Vietnam to invest 500 million JPY ($4.49 million) into energy, machinery and equipment for agricultural production in the country. A representative from Japan’s JC Service Co. said it is also seeking partners in the field of biomass power plant construction, which takes advantage of the inherent strengths in Vietnam’s agriculture sector.
Most Japanese investors and organizations in Vietnam’s agriculture sector hope to take advantage of the country’s favorable natural conditions, climate, and large consumption market, said Mr. Kitagawa. Japanese businesses, he went on, believe that Vietnam is yet to have a complete cold storage system and form a global food value chain. Increasing value added in agricultural products is also not fully developed.
While Vietnamese farmers cultivate onions and then sell those onions, he said by way of example, Japanese farmers process their onions to increase added value. Japanese investors therefore expect that Vietnam’s agricultural output will meet that value requirement. Incomes in Vietnam are also gradually improving, which increases demand for safe fruit and vegetables. “I also look forward to Vietnamese enterprises actively inviting cooperation from Japanese partners to create a win-win situation,” he said.
Cooperation with organizations such as Daiwa and the IFC will help Pan Farm not only regarding capital but also present opportunities for it to expand cooperation with the broad global network of the two, said Pan Group Chairman Nguyen Duy Hung. Pan Farm will expand its production scale and improve corporate governance and financial potential, gradually implementing its strategy to become a leading company in the field of agriculture in Southeast Asia. Mr. Tatsuyuki Ota, Chief Representative of Daiwa Corporate Investment in Vietnam, said that Daiwa will help Pan Farm seek markets and partners in Japan and provide support in technology and experience.
It’s clear to see that the need among Japanese enterprises to seek business cooperation opportunities in Vietnam is increasing, but for these to work effectively the Vietnamese Government must continue to create a friendly business environment for investors. “A transparent business environment is the key factor attracting foreign businesses,” said Mr. Akegawa. “The exchange rate also is a matter for the government to pay attention to.”
Moreover, it is difficult for foreign enterprises to acquire large parcels of agricultural land at a reasonable price, which makes it difficult to apply advanced technologies, according to Mr. Kakioka Naoki, Senior Representative at JICA Vietnam. “Agriculture contracts have not yet become common practice for farmers in Vietnam,” he said “Contracts are easily breached, which seriously affects the business of foreign enterprises and mutual benefit.”
Completing value chains
The food value chain was expected to address shortcomings in Vietnam’s agriculture sector, including modest productivity levels and quality and the lack of proper cold storage facilities and a frozen food distribution network. According to Mr. Irie Yasuo, Chairman of Japan’s Tanka Co., which specializes in preserving fruit and vegetables, preservation methods are important for transporting vegetables from Da Lat to Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City. Tanka therefore wishes to cooperate with Vietnamese companies to apply Japanese methods to increase the effectiveness of storage systems.
The two governments are also working together on agriculture projects, selecting certain localities in Vietnam to conduct pilot programs addressing specific shortcomings. For example, north-central Nghe An province has received assistance to boost productivity and added value in its farming products. The central highlands province of Lam Dong is being assisted in developing key products and food processing. Outlying districts of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City are being helped to improve cold storage and frozen food distribution systems, while Mekong Delta provinces are being aided in adapting their farming to the impacts of climate change.
Compared with other ASEAN countries, Vietnam’s agriculture infrastructure has been well developed. Water and electricity supply and roads, which are the most important factors in the establishment of food value chains, are all in good shape, according to Mr. Naoki, However, he also pointed out that there are many lingering shortcomings, such as unsafe crop production from the incorrect use of pesticides, insufficient post-harvesting, unclassified produce, a lack of safe vegetables in markets at good prices, complex distribution channels, and poor competition, and many other issues.
In addition, productivity is not high and Vietnamese farmers do not have sufficient knowledge and techniques to improve productivity and produce safe agricultural products. To increase agricultural productivity, the use of machinery is crucial. “Used machinery can still ensure production capacity, but the government has not adopted policies to import such equipment from Japan and facilitate access by farmers,” Mr. Kitagawa said.
In August 2015, the Vietnamese and Japanese Governments agreed to encourage private sector investment in the agriculture sector in order to establish agriculture food value chains in Vietnam. Many Japanese companies have visited Vietnam seeking opportunities under the agreement. Actual investment in the agriculture sector has only just begun, however, and with JICA’s support is gradually increasing. “We believe Japanese investment can help to not only drive Vietnamese agriculture but also improve hygiene and safety,” Mr. Naoki said.
Workshop promotes digitalisation in SMEs
Measures to involve Vietnamese small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the global market through digital solutions was discussed at a workshop held by the US-ASEAN Business Council and the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) in Ho Chi Minh City on June 15.
Sanket Ray, CEO of Coca-Cola Vietnam, said the workshop serves as a forum for US multinationals to share experience with Vietnamese SMEs in digital marketing.
Vo Tan Thanh, VCCI’s Director in Ho Chi Minh City suggested the State renovate policies to improve the business climate, especially programmes to support enterprises in increasing investment for science and technology, human resources development, renovation and creativeness and economic digitalisation.
According to Thanh, the Government has made every effort to improve the business climate.
The VCCI worked with Microsoft Vietnam to deploy a project to support Vietnamese SMEs in sustainable development, aiming to help enterprises access new business opportunities and cope with sustainable development challenges, he noted.
The project focuses on assisting firms operating in materials, service and trade, he added.
Experts said the retail is a promising sector in Vietnam thanks to the increasing income of the middle-class and consumer confidence.
Effective use of technology and cooperation with experienced logistics suppliers will help Vietnamese SMEs in Asia and globally, they said.
Daryl Tal, CEO of UPS Vietnam Company said online customers in Asia have a deep understanding of technology and can catch up with technology trends very quickly, so it is necessary to optimise the electronic supply chain to attract more customers.
In 2017-2018, Vietnam is aiming to keep pace with other ASEAN nations in improving its business climate and promoting international integration in the context of the 4th industrial revolution and economic digitalisation.
Slow disbursement of public investment constrains economic growth
Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue and Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung, have both accepted responsibility for the sluggish disbursement of public investment, resulting in lower than estimated economic growth.
At the National Assembly Q&A session on June 15, Minister Dung claimed responsibility for the weaknesses in the management of public investment and the inadequacies in the implementation of the Public Investment Law that has caused the slow disbursement of public investment.
Giving an additional explanation for Minister Dung, Deputy PM, Vuong Dinh Hue said, although the disbursement of public investment in 2016 and in the first five months of 2017 was higher than the same period in previous years, public investment has yet to be fully disbursed as estimated.
"The Government takes responsibility towards the National Assembly to do better in the future," said the Deputy PM. He admitted that slow disbursement of public investment is "one of the causes of unsuccessful economic growth", combined with ineffective use of capital.
Hue affirmed that the Prime Minister and the Government have made every effort in order to accelerate the disbursement of public investment. The disbursement rate in the last five months of 2016 was seven times higher than the rate in the first seven months of 2016. In 2017, the disbursement rate in the first five months has reached 24.7% of the plan, up nearly 4% over the same period last year. However, this result is still considered slow, he added.
The Deputy PM noted that the Government has worked out some specific solutions to this problem, such as requiring ministries and local authorities to continue inviting bids for construction projects, promoting decentralisation, accelerating land clearance, reviewing the inadequacies in guiding legal documents and applying disciplinary measures on officials causing slow disbursement, among others.
Nevertheless, the Government expects more regular attention and supervision from the NA, the Deputy PM said.
Explaining for the delay in disbursement of public investment, Deputy PM Hue identified two reasons, he said that one of the goals of the Public Investment Law is to avoid losses and over-diversification, therefore several regulations in the law are impeding the disbursement.
In addition, the decentralisation from ministries to local branches and governments is limited, also resulting in the slow progress of investment disbursement.
The deputy PM also confirmed the harassment and irresponsibility of certain public officials in the process of public investment disbursement.
At the same time, ministries are taking time to scrutinize priorities to cut down public project items and subprojects, thus slowing down the disbursement progress, He noted.
Promoting geographical indication of Dak Lak coffee
The Central Highlands province of Dak Lak boasts the country’s largest coffee-growing area, with a total area of over 200,000 hectares, producing up to 450,000 tonnes of coffee beans annually. However, in order to improve its competitiveness, as well as to protect local products, it is necessary for Dak Lak to manage and develop the geographical indication of “Buon Ma Thuot Coffee”.
According to Chairman of the Buon Ma Thuot Coffee Association, Trinh Duc Minh, a certificate of geographical indication (GI), for the Buon Ma Thuot coffee trademark in Dak Lak, has helped to increase the value of coffee beans shipped abroad.
Protected geographical indication (PGI) for Buon Ma Thuot coffee was registered in Vietnam in 2005. The province has completed the necessary procedures to gain PGIs in 15 countries and territories around the world and as many as 11 coffee producers in the province are entitled to use the GI. They are managing a combined coffee growing area of 15,300 hectares, yielding around 47,500 tonnes of coffee beans annually.
To ensure the quality of coffee products, in line with the requirements of the international market, management agencies and coffee producers have instructed local growers to follow standardised coffee-growing models, so that their products may obtain certifications granted by UTZ Certified and Rainforest Alliance, the two organisations tasked with promoting sustainable farming.
The local authorities have also encouraged coffee processing enterprises, which are allowed to use the GI, to label their products with the Buon Ma Thuot coffee trademark and inform customers in more detail about the distinctive characteristics of certificated coffee products.
Coffee growers in the province have also applied internationally-recognised programmes on sustainable coffee production to raise their incomes, according to the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. More than 40,500 coffee farming households in Dak Lak are producing coffee in line with programmes such as UTZ certificates, Common Code for Coffee Community (4C) and Rainforest Alliance Certified Coffee (RFA). They have produced 226,000 tonnes of coffee beans on a combined area of 65,000 hectares each year, accounting for over 50% of the annual output.
All 11 units granted with the Geographical Indication of Buon Ma Thuot coffee have also joined certified coffee production programmes. In Cu M’gar district, the main coffee growing locality in Dak Lak, almost 10,000 coffee farming households have taken part in certified coffee production programmes on an area of 15,000 hectares, making up 45% of the district’s total coffee area.
These households have been provided with techniques in growing, caring, watering, fertilising, harvesting, processing and preservation and have also been instructed on how to reduce production costs and use fertilizers in order to minimize impacts on the environment.
Dragon fruit exports to China surge through Lao Cai
Thanks to the Noi Bai - Lao Cai Expressway the journey to Kim Thanh Border Gate, in the northern mountainous province of Lao Cai, has become more convenient than ever before, with traveling time cut by half, thus facilitating exports of Vietnamese vegetables and fruits to China, including dragon fruit.
According to the Lao Cai Customs Department, for the first time dragon fruit exports to south-western China, via the province’s border lines, reached tens of thousands of tonnes, with a value of more than US$20 million.
Since the end of April, the department has prepared customs clearance procedures for more than 4,000 tonnes of the fruit through Kim Thanh Border Gate, with support from an e-customs service, to ensure a convenient and safe declaration and shorten clearance time.
The volume of fruit mainly originated from the central and southern provinces. This is the first time Lao Cai recorded a large quantity of exported dragon fruit through Lao Cai border gate.
The Chinese side has agreed to allow Vietnamese dragon fruit containers to run across the Kim Thanh Bridge to China without tranship. It is a convenient and important way to ensure the quality of dragon fruits (not being bruised during transport).
Previously, dragon fruit was usually exported to China through border gates in Ha Giang and Lang Son provinces.
Currently, there are about 400-600 tonnes of dragon fruit exported through the Kim Thanh Border Gate. Customs staff and other specialised forces at the gate has strengthened efforts and prioritised making clearance early in the morning to ensure the timely delivery and quality of dragon fruit exports.
Statistics from the General Department of Customs show that China continues to be Vietnam's largest trading partner in the first five months of 2017, with two-way trade reaching US$ 32.8 billion, up 23.6% over the same period last year.
In particular, some products have recorded increasing imports from Vietnam such as vegetables, fruits and seafood. In terms of fruit and vegetable exports, as of the end of May, China remained the leading market for fruit and vegetable consumption in Vietnam, with US$1.06 billion, up 51% and accounting for 75% of the total value of export vegetables and fruits.
In a joint statement made during a recent visit by President Tran Dai Quang to China, the two sides agreed to speed up the completion of market opening legal procedures for a number of fruits from Vietnam to China. These legal procedures are expected to give a further boost to Vietnamese fruits and vegetables exports to the Chinese market.
Hoa Binh Hydropower Plant recognised as project of national security
The Hoa Binh Hydropower Plant, located in the northern province of Hoa Binh, was recognised as an important project with relation to national security, according to the Government Decision signed on January 20, 2017.
A ceremony to announce the decision was held in Hoa Binh on June 14, by the Electricity of Vietnam (EVN), in co-ordination with the Ministry of Public Security and Hoa Binh province.
The Hoa Binh plant is the second largest hydropower plant in Vietnam, after the Son La Hydropower Plant, with an annual electricity output of over 10 billion kW/h.
In accordance with the decision, the protection of the plant is determined as an important task of the public security force and related ministries and sectors.
Meanwhile, Hoa Binh province is assigned the task of developing a master plan to ensure security of the project and to co-ordinate with the EVN to define the protection corridor of the reservoir area and the entire plant.
In addition, the province should ensure social welfare for local households who have had to relocate to resettlement areas, in order to serve the construction of this important project.
Director of Hoa Binh Hydropower Company, Nguyen Van Minh, said that the Hoa Binh plant has taken on several important tasks, including ensuring flood and drought prevention for the downstream area, providing electricity to the national grid and improving waterway transport, as well as ensuring local socio-economic development.
Particularly, the plant will be expanded in the future, with the installation of two more turbines that will raise the total capacity from 1,920 MW to 2,400 MW by 2022, equivalent to the capacity of Son La Hydropower Plant, contributing to ensuring national energy security, Minh noted.
Thus, the Hoa Binh Hydropower Plant was listed as one among seven projects of significant importance to national security, pursuant to the Government decision, Minh added.
HCMC tax agency inspects over 7,200 businesses
The HCMC Taxation Department reported that its divisions had inspected 7,230 businesses in the first five months this year and imposed penalty on tax dodgers and tax liability companies.
The inspection helped collect nearing VND1,754 billion ($77.29 million), a year on year increase of 37.19 percent.
Businesses’ loss amount decreased VND5,041 billion and value added tax deduction reduced VND175.5 billion.
In the upcoming time, the agency will focus on inspecting large-scale groups with high revenue; businesses in fields of multi-level marketing, petrol and medicine; companies receiving tax refund; loss making firms with signs of transfer pricing; those who have not been inspected for many years and enjoying tax incentives.
Banks’ registered loan for hi-tech agriculture reaches $5.29 billion
Eight banks have attended a credit package of VND100 trillion in the hi-tech agriculture field with the total registered capital of VND120 trillion (US$5.29 billion).
According to Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong, VND30 trillion of the funds has been disbursed with loan interest rate being 0.5-1.5 lower than normal.
The package was launched in March by the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) and the ministry, initially providing funds for businesses granted with hi-tech agriculture investment certificates.
Afterwards, SBV has made Decision 813 to bolster hi-tech and clean farming.
At present, the Ministry of Planning and Investment is building a draft decree encouraging businesses to invest in agricultural and rural field over large scales, attend in value chains and develop areas specialized farming zones applying modern technologies with the financial assistance of VND200 million to VND10 billion a project.
Vietnam consumes $2 billion cosmetics a year
The Vietnamese market consumes about US$2 billion of cosmetics per year, reported deputy chairman of Vietnam Association of Oil, Aromas and Cosmetics Nguyen Van Minh.
Consumption of cosmetics products strongly increases amongst the middle income consumers, forecast to reach 33 million customers by 2020.
In related news, nearly 200 businesses from Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong and India will attend Mekong Beauty Show 2017 at Saigon Exhibition and Convention Center, District 7, HCMC from June 15-17.
At the event, they will seek importers and trading opportunities in the potential cosmetic market of Vietnam.
SOE divestment seen bringing US$15-20 billion
Divestment from State-owned enterprises (SOEs) will bring US$15-20 billion in the 2016-2020 period if the Government is firm on its SOE equitization plan, said Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung said in a report.
Among 240 SOEs to be restructured between 2016 and 2020, the State will retain full ownership of only 103, maintain ownership of more than 50% at 31 and selling all stakes at the remaining 106. Proceeds from the sale of SOEs will be used to finance development investment, not regular spending.
According to the report sent to National Assembly deputies who are meeting in Hanoi at the moment, the nation’s total investments are expected to make up 32-34% of gross domestic product (GDP), or VND9,000-10,000 trillion. State investments, including those by SOEs, will fall sharply.
State investments in 2016-2020 would decline to 31-34% from 39.1% in 2011-2015 while non-State sector investments, especially private enterprises, are estimated to surge from 38.3% to 48%.
To meet funding demand for development investment, the Government will continue speeding up economic restructuring as envisaged in the economic restructuring plan from 2016 to 2020, Dung said.
The minister mentioned the issues that led to wastefulness in public investment projects. For instance, some projects were approved but their investment principle was not suitable with development goals of sectors or localities, resulting in low efficiency and inaction.
Besides, some investors failed to make good financial calculations and ensure feasibility. Therefore, they did not finish projects on schedule, and struggled with enormous cost overruns.
Domestic businesses cause steep trade deficit in Jan-May
Foreign-invested enterprises continued generating a trade surplus in January-May but their domestic peers caused a trade deficit of a whopping US$9.31 billion, resulting in the country’s trade deficit amounting to US$2.5 billion.
Data of the General Department of Vietnam Customs showed that the nation’s total export and import turnover in May was US$36.4 billion, a 4.3% rise against the previous month. This took total import-export turnover in the first five months of 2017 to nearly US$162.5 billion, up 21.5% against the year-earlier period.
The foreign direct investment (FDI) sector posted total import-export turnover of US$106.5 billion in the first five months, increasing by 23.7% or US$20.4 billion compared to the same period last year. In particular, the sector exported US$56.66 billion worth of goods in January-May, a 20% increase against the same period last year, and imported over US$49.84 billion worth of goods, a 28.1% year-on-year increase. Therefore, its trade surplus was upwards of US$6.8 billion in the first five months of 2017.
However, the domestic sector posted a trade deficit of US$2.13 billion in May, bringing its January-May trade deficit to US$9.31 billion.
According to the General Department of Vietnam Customs, China remained the country’s biggest trading partner with import-export turnover in the five-month period totaling US$32.76 billion, up 23.6% over the same period last year. Meanwhile, South Korea emerged as the second biggest trading partner of the country with bilateral trade soaring 45.2% year-on-year to nearly US$24 billion.
The U.S. fell one notch, becoming Vietnam’s third largest trading partner with total turnover of US$19.96 billion, up 12.9%. The EU came in fourth with bilateral trade reaching US$19.66 billion, a year-on-year increase of 13.3%.
In January-May, Vietnam had trade surpluses with only three countries among the top 10 trading partners. The U.S. remained the key market for Vietnamese exporters, with a trade surplus of US$12.07 billion in favor of Vietnam, followed by the EU with US$10.03 billion and Japan with US$152 million.
In the first five months, Vietnam had the largest trade deficit with South Korea, with US$12.96 billion. China followed with US$11.5 billion, slipping from its No.1 spot in previous years, and Taiwan with US$3.9 billion.
The period saw 17 of 54 commodities having import turnover of more than US$1 billion each.
Imports of ten key commodities totaled nearly US$54 billion, accounting for 65.5% of the country’s total imports in the year to end-May.
Specifically, imports of cashew nuts increased by a sharp 125.3% over the same period last year, crude oil 120.3%, rubber 90.1%, vegetables 79.1%, metal junk 79.1%, coal 58.3% and cotton 49.9%.
Fujitsu picks Digiworld as strategic partner
Fujitsu Vietnam announced on June 14 that Digiworld Joint Stock Company had become a strategic partner responsible for distributing Fujitsu products in Vietnam.
This marks Fujitsu’s comeback to the Vietnamese market, focusing on information technology solutions and devices.
Digiworld is responsible for distributing Fujitsu laptops. On this occasion, Fujitsu Vietnam and Digiworld launched new laptops of Lifebook U-series.
Fujitsu has brought a new look to their laptops, which are designed for a wide range of customers.
Nguyen Quang Tuyen of Fujitsu Vietnam said the company’s products feature advanced security and storage technology. Fujitsu is now the information technology solutions and devices provider of many enterprises, Government agencies and banks in Vietnam.
Fujitsu’s high-grade laptops such as Lifebook U937 and 747 come with a highly reliable biometric authentication system based on palm vein pattern recognition technology. Fujitsu also offers medium-grade products that are affordable for most Vietnamese.
In 2017, Fujitsu focuses on devices such as laptop, scanner, printer and storage devices, as well as application software for healthcare, education and business management, security technologies and smart solutions for transport, healthcare and environmental protection.
Coffee, pepper exports to India plunge
Vietnam’s coffee and pepper exports to India dipped in the first five months of the year although the two sides had lifted their bans on imports of agricultural products from each other, said the General Department of Vietnam Customs.
January-May saw Vietnam’s merchandise exports to India reaching nearly US$1.4 billion, up nearly 41% year-on-year. Among 28 items exported to India in the period, coffee and pepper were the only two which fell in export value.
Pepper edged down 38% to US$31 million and coffee decreased 16% to US$27.2 million over the same period last year.
Pepper and coffee were among the agricultural products of Vietnam of which India suspended imports in retaliation for a decision of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of Vietnam to stop importing groundnuts, cocoa beans and haricot beans from India over concerns about the beetle Caryedon serratus Olivier, a major insect pest.
However, the two nations agreed in March to remove the import bans on agricultural products from each other, citing negative effects on business activities of enterprises of both sides.
India agreed to lift the suspension on six agricultural products of Vietnam including coffee and pepper. In return, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development revised Decision 558/QD-BNN-BVTV in a way that products from India are closely monitored for pests, instead of being suspended from import.
Cashew nut imports from Vietnam which were not banned India grew 23% in January-May.
In 2016, bilateral trade between the two countries was balanced. According to the customs, Vietnam spent US$2.7 billion importing Indian goods and earned the same amount from exports to the Indian market. Vietnamese items of high value exported to India included phones, electronic parts and farm produce.
Seafood processors guzzle energy
Seafood processing enterprises are energy guzzlers, said Nguyen Thanh Tung, head of the Technical and Application Division of the Can Tho Energy Conservation Center.
To process a kilo of tra fish or shrimp, for example, they need over 1.5 kWh or even 3 kWh of electricity although they have options to use 20% less energy.
At a seminar “Technological and financial solutions for shrimp farming and processing” in Can Tho City on Tuesday, Tung cited data of 20 tra fish and six shrimp processors in the city as saying that 1.55 kWh of electric power is needed to process a kilo of tra fish while shrimp processing requires 1.53 kWh.
Thanks to new technologies and production processes, some enterprises consume less than one kWh for tra fish and shrimp processing. But others may guzzle up to 3 kWh, Tung added.
A statement of the International Finance Corporation (IFC) under the World Bank said only 40% of 21 seafood processing plants in the Mekong Delta have taken energy-saving measures.
According to the Energy Conservation Center HCMC (ECC HCMC), seafood processors should apply energy-saving technology at stages that need a lot of energy.
ECC HCMC said T8 bulbs can be replaced with 18W LED bulbs to save 60-65% of energy and compact bulbs replaced with LED downlight bulbs to save 50-55% of energy.
Heavy-duty refrigeration systems, instead of low-duty ones, can help save 10-30% of energy. Air-conditioners of low efficiency should be replaced with inverter machines to save 30-40% of energy.
Energy saving will help reduce selling prices to increase the competitiveness of local seafood products.
Midterm Vietnam Business Forum opens in Hanoi
The midterm Vietnam Business Forum (VBF) 2017 opens in Hanoi on June 16 in the presence of Government and ministries officials, and representatives from international organizations, trade associations and businesses.
The forum serves as a bridge connecting foreign direct investment (FDI) and local enterprises, contributing to sustainable development and improving the quality of the national economy.
Participants discussed solutions to help small-and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) connect with FDI enterprises and join regional and international production networks towards eliminating national bounderies in production.
Vu Tien Loc, Chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry and chairman of VBF, said the forum focuses on enhancing the link between foreign and domestic sectors in the new context of the world economy, especially SMEs towards ensuring equal development of the two sectors and avoiding the situation of one country, two economies.
It is also a high-level public-private policy dialogue between the government, domestic and foreign business communities, and donors and diplomatic agencies, aiming to improve the business environment in Vietnam, attract investment from the private sector to response impact of global policies like TPP, EVFTA, RCEP and Industry 4.0.
The organizing board said so far this year VBF has received nearly 1,000 suggestions from businesses and associations sent to the Government and administrative agencies.
The forum includes four sessions, focusing on employment, development of the support industry, investment into infrastructure, the fourth industrial revolution, or industry 4.0, free trade agreements, elimination of non-tariff barriers, attracting investment from the private sector and improvement of the effectiveness of law enforcement.
Grim future awaits Vietnamese railway sector
Contrary to the robust growth of the road and air travel sectors, Vietnam’s railway industry has been gradually losing market share, easing into a reputation as a less attractive option for individual passengers, and logistics and transportation companies alike.
The situation only seems bleaker after a plan calling for private investment to revitalize the railway sector went largely ignored.
In 2013, rail travel accounted for 3.61% of the country’s passenger transport market share, and 1.82% of the cargo market.
Since then, that number has been in continual decline, slipping to only 1.98 percent of the passenger market, and 1.33% for cargo in 2016.
Le Van Phuoc, director of a handicraft maker in Ho Chi Minh City, said there is in fact a real demand for transporting goods by train thanks to stable costs and low risk of damage during delivery.
Doan Minh Tai, deputy director of a fertilizer company, said one of the biggest problems of road transportation is the chronic traffic jam at the entrances of major cities.
“Regular traffic congestion results in late delivery, something we don’t worry about if we transport by train,” Tai said.
But Phuoc and Tai, as well as many other local businesses, do not turn to the railway sector for logistics services.
The train sector has missed the opportunity to grab demand for safe, affordable cargo transportation from local businesses, and they can blame no one but themselves, according to critics.
“While road transportation companies are active in seeking customers and offering incentives to attract orders, the railway sector still thinks that they do not have to ‘serve’ anyone,” one businessman explained.
Nguyen Manh Sinh, a business owner in Ho Chi Minh City, said the railway sector is only responsible for bringing goods from A to B, and does not care what will happen next.
“Businesses have to hire a third-party service to continue carrying the goods to their final destination once the cargo is unloaded [at the train station],” Sinh said.
Other industry insiders said another disadvantage of the railway system in Vietnam is that it does not connect with the country’s seaports.
“Businesses will have to pay for intermediary services to bring their goods from the seaport to the train station,” Do Dinh Duoc, deputy general director of the Saigon Railways, admitted.
Vietnam’s railway system, most notably the north-to-south route connecting Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, is overseen by state-run Vietnam Railways.
In 2014, the Ministry of Transport approved a master plan to solicit investment from the private sector to help develop the railway sector, hoping to attract non-state capital to upgrade rail tracks, renew stations and improve service quality.
One of the core aspects of the plan involved seeking private operators for 13 train routes.
If proved effective, the plan will be expanded in a way that the entire railway system would be transferred from the state to the private sector.
However, even the initial goal has not been met.
“Few private investors have shown interest in the railway sector,” Deputy Minister of Transport Nguyen Ngoc Dong admitted.
Some major corporations, both local and international, have signaled plans to invest in the Hanoi or Saigon train terminals, but eventually decided to back off, according to the deputy minister.
Dong added that the ministry is seeking investors for a project to build a railway route connected with Hai Phong Port, an international gateway in northern Vietnam, but the call has so far gone unanswered.
“The initial investment needed for the project is US$1.55 billion in phase one alone,” Dong explained.
Huge investment cost is the main reason why the call for the private sector to join in developing Vietnamese railways is not responded, the deputy minister said.
“We cannot apply the BOT [build-operate-transfer] scheme as the cost to develop a railway route is considerably larger than a roadway,” he said.
NEPCON Vietnam 2017 set to open in Hanoi in Sept
Vietnam Exhibition on SMT & Testing Technologies, Equipment and Support Industries for Electronics Manufacturing (NEPCON Vietnam) will be held at Hanoi International Center of Exhibition at 91 Tran Hung Dao St on September 13-15, said a press conference on June 15.
The event, which is expected to attract 200 exhibitors from 20 countries in the world aims to accelerate the development of the support industry in Vietnam, complete the production line of the electronics industry and connect trade opportunities between Vietnam and Japan.
A representative from the Japan External Trade Organization, Mr. Hironobu Kitagawa said the exhibition serves as a unique platform for Japanese technology providers to meet local manufacturers to jointly drive the growth of the electronics industry in Vietnam and attract global electronics investment.
Two other exhibitions, Industrial Components & Subcontracting Vietnam 2017 and Vietnam-Japan Supporting Industries Exhibition, will also take place coinciding with NEPCON Vietnam.
Addressing the press conference, Head of the Trade Promotion Agency Bui Huy Son said the important event aims to support Vietnamese businesses in enhancing production capacity and connecting Japanese partners. It is part of activities to realize Japan’s commitment to help Vietnam’s support industry within the framework of the bilateral Economic Partnership Agreement.
At our event, you will meet thousands of future customers and business partners in the country’s only electronics manufacturing exhibition. It will offer an ideal marketplace to present a comprehensive range of technologies for SMT line manufacturing, from feeder to testing, from leading brands to over 10,000 visitors, Son said.
Therefore, this will be a good opportunity for you to present innovative technologies to electronics manufacturers, meet with potential buyers, and network with local manufacturers for the opportunities of future order, he added.
LOTTE sets up training centre for retail industry
The LOTTE-KOICA-IUH Service Training Centre for retail industry training was launched in HCM City at the Industrial University of HCM City on Wednesday.
Set up by the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Korea International Co-operation Agency (KOICA), Lotte Group, Korean Re-shaping Development Institute (ReDI), the centre will offer short- and medium –term training courses to meet an increasing human resource demand in the retail industry in the city and surrounding areas.
The centre is one of the components of a KOICA-LOTTE project to develop Vi?t Nam’s retail industry.
The trainees will be taught foreign languages, sales service, warehouse management, hygiene and food safety management, and others.
After completing the training, they will have the opportunity to work at LOTTE Group companies.
The project is expected to train 1,200-1,500 people a year.
In another development, on June 15 LOTTE Group opened an R&D centre in Bình Duong Province to ensure the quality of LOTTE Group’s products in Vi?t Nam.
Ben Tre: New cooperatives to form agricultural value chains
From now to 2020, the Mekong Delta province of Ben Tre plans to set up 27 agricultural cooperatives which will partner with businesses to form value chains for eight key agricultural products.
The targeted agricultural products are coconut, green-skin grapefruit, rambutan, longan, ornamental flowers, pig, cattle, and saltwater shrimp.
Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Nguyen Huu Lap said to improve the effectiveness of cooperatives’ activities, Ben Tre will develop cooperatives in line with the 2012 Law on Cooperatives.
It is going to help them apply scientific and technological advances in production and business activities so as to increase productivity and product quality. They will also be assisted to promote trade and seek markets.
Lap said since the Cooperative Law was enforced three years ago, a number of cooperatives operating in various spheres have been established in the province. Linkages among cooperatives and between cooperatives and other economic organisations have started to develop.
The capacity of cooperatives’ managers has also been enhanced, thus raising their operation efficiency.
Chairman of the Ben Tre Cooperative Alliance Phan Chanh Thi said 65 cooperatives and one cooperative union have been licensed in the province, gathering 30,139 members.
The cooperatives provided jobs for more than 1,260 people whose annual per capita income is about 42 million VND (1,850 USD). Each of them gained 2.5 billion VND (110,170 USD) in average revenue.
However, he also admitted certain shortcomings in local cooperatives such as irregular popularisation of knowledge about cooperative economy and cooperatives, limited capacity, and a shortage of skilled managers.
Samsung Viet Nam to prioritise pork use
Samsung Vi?t Nam on Thursday officially launched the food campaign prioritising the use of pork in meal for all its 142,000 workers.
The campaign is aimed at responding to the call of the Vietnamese Government to support farmers in overcoming difficulties due to the fluctuation of pork prices since May. It contains a series of practical activities such as increasing the pork consumption in daily meal by 60 per cent for workers, providing nearly VNÐ800 million to purchase pigs in northern B?c Ninh, Thái Nguyên and B?c Giang, organising the ’Pork Day’ and recommending to employees to use pork in their meal.
Accordingly, since May, all Samsung factories have prioritised dishes processed from pork for three meals per day. Within a month of its implementation, the amount of pork consumption in the five factories has increased by nearly 60 per cent, from 6.2 tonnes to 10.4 tonnes a day.
In addition, the Pork Day programme has strengthened the effectiveness of the campaign. Accordingly, Samsung Vi?t Nam will spend one day per week to put pork on the entire menus of its factories.
Samsung Vi?t Nam has officially deployed groups to purchase directly from pork supplying units that meet general standards, including B?o Nguyên Company, Sông C?u Company, Ðông Bình Agriculture Service Co-operative and Thanh Th?o Pig Farm. Samsung Vi?t Nam has offered these units leftovers of Samsung Electronic Vietnam EV and Samsung Vietnam Thái Nguyên employees for farming. All the pigs bought will be gifted to 55 agencies and schools within the three provinces, including Social Protection Centre, Nursing Centre for People with Merits and Boarding Ethnics School.
Samsung Vi?t Nam will proactively carry out the communication campaign for all employees to raise awareness on collaborating and supporting Vi?t Nam’s breeding and farming sector.
In the upcoming period, Samsung Vi?t Nam will continue to work with the food supplier to create more menus using pork daily for the employees. It is expected that this action will contribute practically to help Vi?t Nam’s breeding households surpass the difficult period.
Shim Wonhwan, Samsung Vi?t Nam’s president, said “As a member of the Vietnamese society, Samsung Vi?t Nam has been conducting massive pork consumption campaign to ease the difficulties Vietnamese farmers are facing. Many of our employees, including South Korean expatriates and I, are actively participating in the campaign as family of farmers, and I think it makes it more meaningful to be able to donate the pigs that have grown up on the leftovers of our canteen.”
China buys over 9,500 tons of lychees
China remains a traditional and important market for Vietnamese lychees, according to the Bac Giang provincial Department of Industry and Trade.
The province has, so far this year, sold more than 22,000 tons of lychees at average prices of US$.65-US$1.95 (VND15,000-45,000 a kilo). Of which, Yen The district sold 12,000 tons, Luc Nam over 2,000 tons , Luc Ngan over 5,500 tons, and Yen The over 800 tons .
Bac Giang lychees were consumed both in the domestic and foreign markets. More than 9,500 tons were shipped via Lang Son and Lao Cai border gates to China.
This year, China remains an important market of Bac Giang lychees. The province is expected to export around 50,000 tons, including 40,000 tons to China.
It’s noteworthy that this is the first time Vietnamese lychees have been exported to three new markets – Middle East, Canada and Thailand.
The first shipment of Luc Ngan lychees is expected to arrive in Thailand on June 20, opening a huge opportunity for the fruit to enter the potential market, especially after import duties are removed.
The provincial lychee output is estimated to reach 100,000 tons this year, which equals to 70% of that last year. Forty thousand tons of which met VietGap and the remaining 1,600 tons met GlobalGap standards.
Surprising reasons Vietnam can’t develop ability to compete globally
The competitiveness of the Vietnam private sector is at a crossroads, said speakers at a recent conference sponsored by the Ministry of Industry and Trade in the capital city of Hanoi.
Private sector businesses are slowly coming to the full realization that they cannot develop the ability to compete in the international marketplace, a fact that has far reaching implications.
The signs of the problem had been visible for some time. Almost all the economic growth the country has experienced over recent years has been created by the foreign sector, principally by companies such as Samsung and LG Electronics.
The same is true for job creation. While it is accurate that some of the new jobs have been created in government, healthcare and retailing, these are areas of the economy that are not exposed to international competition.
If one looks at the jobs created by the domestic private sector in manufacturing, which is exposed to competition from foreigners, the results can be described as lacklustre at best, a sure sign Vietnamese businesses are not developing an ability to compete.
Vu Thi Kim Hanh, chair of the Business Association of High Quality Vietnamese Products told the audience at the conference that she believes there is a generic problem with the strategies being pursued by domestic private sector businesses.
Business leaders, she said, generally try to place the blame for their failures on the government, foreign tariffs, other non-tariff barriers, the legal system, K–12 education, and fiscal or monetary policy.
In other words, the inability to compete isn’t the business leaders’ fault— it’s always the fault of someone else and not them. When in fact management is all about the art and science of getting things done and overcoming constraints, whatever they happen to be.
In other words, Ms Hanh is saying that we often hear Vietnamese agricultural businesses complain about problems they encounter with shipments of product being rejected by the US Food and Drug Administration.
The problem doesn’t lie with the USFDA, according to Ms Hanh, but with the Vietnamese business leaders who don’t have the ability to channel their company’s resources to meet with the exacting standards and requirements for safe food.
Through globalization, it has become possible and attractive for local businesses to operate in far more countries.But going international requires a monumental and fundamentally novel way of leading and managing a business.
It requires business leaders to shift from the old management style of controlling individuals to organizing teams of workers;a change from coordinating work by hierarchical bureaucracies to dynamic linking;anda move from top-down communications to horizontal conversations.
Dealing with competitiveness thus implies a revolution in the way private sector businesses are run. To be sure, improvements in the tax code and streamlining regulations will help. But ‘business leaders’ need to start acting like true managers and draw on the long tradition of can-do management on which the country was built.
More now than ever in the history of the country, there is a need for a wider embrace of the ethos of imagination, exploration, experiment and discovery.Now to compete, businesses have to excel with their customers on a global basis.
Today to become successful, businesses need to continuously delight their customers with innovative and creative new products, said Ms Hanh. Whereas in the past just being a bit more efficient than the local competitor might have been enough to get by.
Most importantly Vietnamese business leaders have yet to step up and meet the challenges presented by globalization and the new age consumer demand for quality products— and discard the outdated concept that cheap is best, Ms Hanh concluded.
Vietbuild Construction Exhibition to open in Ho Chi Minh City
More than 800 exhibitors from 27 countries in the world will take part in the Vietbuild Construction International Exhibition (Phase 1) in Saigon Exhibition and Convention Centre on June 23-27.
The exhibition will be held in 3 phases. The first phase, themed Construction – Building Materials – Real Estate & Interior - Exterior Decoration, has been the largest so far with more than 2,500 pavilions displaying materials, machinery and equipment along with technologies for the construction industry.
In addition to world leading brands, many notable construction groups and businesses in Vietnam like Viglacera, Prime, Phuc Khang, An Cuong, Hoa Sen, Secoin, Vicostone, Austdoor, and SCG will also join the exhibition.
They will introduce their latest products, equipment, technologies, and services in line with the themes of sustainable development and environmental protection.
Vietbuild Exhibition 2017, phase 2 will be held in late September under the theme ‘Real Estate - Architecture & Exterior-Interior Decoration’. In this exhibition, 800 businesses from 24 countries will showcase their products in 2,450 pavilions. Phase 3, themed ‘Housing - Home Decoration & Household Appliances’ will take place on December 14-18 with 2,450 pavilions from 12 countries.
Vietjet Air to offer promotional tickets on Vietnam-Myanmar flights
To celebrate the summer, Vietjet Air is to organise a series of activities at Myanmar Plaza, looking to offer its visitors exciting performance and opportunities to buy super promotional tickets.
The event’s participants cannot only enjoy playing games for lovely gifts, but also have chances to buy over 1,000 promotional tickets priced from only 0 USD, applied for Ho Chi Minh City-Yangon route for flight time being from July 10 to December 20, 2017 and Hanoi-Yangon for flight time from September 6 to December 20, 2017.
Also, people visiting the site can enjoy exciting performances, try their luck with lucky wheel games and take photos with flight crew.
With its high-quality services, special low-fare tickets and diverse ticket classes, Vietjet offers its passengers enjoyable flights with dynamic and friendly flight crew, comfy seats, amazing hot meals, special surprises from the airline’s inflight activities and amazing ticket fares through “12pm, It’s time to Vietjet” promotion.
Vietjet Air is the first airline in Vietnam to operate as a new-age airline with low-cost and diversified services to meet customers’ demands. It provides not only transport services but also uses the latest e-commerce technologies to offer various products and services for consumers.
Vietjet Air is a member of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) with the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) certificate. The airline was also named as one of the Top 500 Brands in Asia 2016 by global marketing research company Nielsen and “Best Asian Low Cost Carrier” at the TTG Travel Awards 2015, which compiles votes from travelers, travel agencies and tour operators in throughout Asia. The airline was also rated as one of the top three fastest growing airline brands on Facebook in the world by Socialbakers.
Currently, the airline boasts a fleet of 45 aircraft, including A320s and A321s, and operates 350 flights each day. It has already opened 63 routes in Vietnam and across the region to international destinations such as Thailand, Singapore, the Republic of Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, China, Myanmar and Cambodia. It has carried nearly 35 million passengers to date.
Looking ahead, the airline plans to expand its network across the Asia Pacific region. To prepare for this plan, Vietjet Air has signed agreements with the world’s leading aircraft manufacturers to purchase more brand-new and modern aircraft.
Vietnam’s steel exports face tough trade barriers
Steel manufacturers are facing bigger barriers, trade remedies and measures to restrict imports from major markets. However, exports are expected to reach $3 billion this year.
The Vietnam Steel Association (VSA) has asked domestic steel manufacturers to diversify export markets instead of focusing on certain markets, which causes sharp increases in exports to those markets.
The request has been made as Vietnam’s steel industry is facing lawsuits and investigations for trade remedies by Australia, the US, Thailand and Malaysia, which will affect Vietnam’s steel exports in the time to come.
“The pressure put by lawsuits on exports will be tough,” said Nguyen Van Sua, VSA’s chair.
According to the Ministry of Industry & Trade (MOIT), Australia initiated an anti-dumping investigation against rod in coil imports from Vietnam with the plaintiffs accusing Vietnam of a dumping margin of 30.6 percent.
The ministry’s website showed that the period subject to the anti-dumping investigation was from April 1, 2016 to March 31, 2017, while the period under damage enquiry was from January 2013 to now.
Prior to that, the US Department of Commerce (DOC) initiated an anti-dumping and anti-countervailing investigation against steel nails imported from Vietnam and later released a decision on imposing anti-dumping and anti-countervailing duties on the products.
However, in the latest news, DOC has announced its preliminary conclusions and partial rescission of the antidumping duty, as they have conducted an administrative review of certain steel nails from Vietnam.
However, Vietnam still hopes it can export 4 million tons of steel this year with export turnover of $3 billion. In 2016, despite great efforts, Vietnam could only obtain export turnover of $2.5 billion.
In the first five months of 2017, Vietnam exported 1.4 million tons of steel products of different kinds, an increase of 35 percent over the same period last year.
Not only targeting South East Asian markets, Vietnam has begun exporting products to markets such as the US and EU. In late May, a big steel manufacturer exported a consignment of 12,000 tons worth $9 million to the EU.
Meanwhile, steel consumption in the domestic market in the first five months of the year was not as high as expected. The total output was 7.9 million tons, an increase of 12 percent over the same period last year, but consumption increased by only 7.2 percent.
Vietnam is imposing a safeguard duty of 23 percent on ingot steel and the duty will be cut gradually by 1-2 percent every year over a four year period. By March 2020, the import tariff on ingot steel imports will be cut to zero percent.
Thanh Lich, VNN
Social News 20/6
First national press award on children launched
The first national press award on children is inviting entries from reporters, journalists, collaborators and press agencies across the country from now until March 5, 2018, according to the co-organisers - the Vietnam Association for Protection of Children’s Rights (VAPCR) and the Vietnam Journalist Association (VJA).
Speaking at the launching ceremony in Hanoi on June 16, VAPCR President Nguyen Thi Thanh Hoa said the press plays an important role in bringing the State’s policies and the government’s laws to people, including the Law on Children. It helps translate the law into reality, contributing to child care and education and creating a safer environment for children, she added.
Hoa hoped that the press award on children will provide an opportunity for the media, child-related social organisations, VAPCR and VJA to enhance cooperation in child protection.
The biennial award is designed honour reporters, journalists and press agencies who dedicate themselves to child care, protection and education through their publications.
Entries must cover different aspects of pressing issues on children, their aspirations and the implementation of the Law on Children, and speak out against violations of children’s rights. They may also introduce outstanding individuals with good practices and experiences in child care, protection and education.
The entries might be a single article or broadcast or a series of related articles or broadcasts as a unit published or broadcast on TV or radio in Vietnam from October 12, 2016 to March 5, 2018.
Each contestant is allowed to submit no more than five entries.-
Australian police arrest Vietnamese nationals in cannabis farming investigation
Police in Perth in western Australia have arrested four Vietnamese nationals and frozen bank accounts containing more than US$760,000 as part of an investigation into a cannabis-growing syndicate.
The Australian Association Press reported that a 44-year-old man and a 36-year-old woman are awaiting trial after being charged with dealing in property linked to criminal activity.
Police froze their bank accounts and made the arrests after spotting suspicious financial transactions, it said.
Search warrants carried out at their residences found more than $7,600 in cash.
Two other Vietnamese nationals were also arrested for delivering money to one of the houses. They face deportation for staying in Australia without valid visas.
Australia is fairly relaxed about cannabis. Late last year the Federal Government passed laws to legalize medicinal cannabis to treat patients with painful and chronic conditions with products imported from overseas.
It has also given the green light for licensed companies to legally import, store and sell the drug until domestic production meets local needs.
Binh Phuoc reburies remains of 122 volunteer troops
The southern province of Binh Phuoc on June 9 held a ceremony to rebury remains of 122 volunteer soldiers, who laid down their lives in wartime in Cambodia, at the provincial martyrs' cemetery.
2,223 martyrs’ remains reburied in 2016
The search for the remains of martyrs in battlefields and the repatriation of remains of fallen Vietnamese volunteer troops and experts in Laos and Cambodia to the Motherland have been especially cared by the Vietnamese Party, State, Government and army.
The search for the remains of martyrs in battlefields and the repatriation of remains of fallen Vietnamese volunteer troops and experts in Laos and Cambodia to the Motherland have been especially cared by the Vietnamese Party, State, Government and army.
So far, search team K72 of the Binh Phuoc Military Command has collected and reburied 10,018 sets of remains of fallen troops in many cemeteries in Binh Phuoc province.
Among them, 1,600 sets of remains were found inside the country and 2,392 sets of remains were repatriated in Cambodian; 5,869 sets of remains have been identified while 4,149 sets of remains have yet been named. The province’s search team K72 has also handed over 979 remains to the martyrs’ relatives or their home villages.
Besides, generations of officers, soldiers and people of Binh Phuoc province have been carrying out "gratitude" activities to help ease the pain and improve the material and spiritual lives of the martyrs’ relatives, Vietnamese Heroic Mothers and wounded solders.
Photojournalists’ exhibition opens at capital
A photo exhibition titled “Impression” was co-organised by the Hà N?i Photo Journalist Club and the Hà N?i Journalist Association on the occasion of Vi?t Nam Press Day’s 92th anniversary (June 21, 1925-2017).
135 photos from 38 journalists from across the country captured major political, social and cultural events of the nation during the last 10 years.
Notably among them were Ði?n Biên Ph? Victory 60th anniversary military parade, legendary Gen. Võ Nguy?n Giáp funeral day, the historic flood of Hà N?i in 2008 as well as everyday life moments through the lens of the journalists.
Nguy?n Xuân Chính, a representative from the journalist club, said while some of the photos were not taken by professional photographers all of them were taken by journalists who are working day and night to bring the news to the public.
The exhibition will last until next Monday at 29 Hàng Bài, Hà N?i.
Hai Duong spends over 3.1 trillion VND on building new rural areas
The Red River Delta province of Hai Duong has sped up a national programme on building new-style rural areas with estimated funds of 3.17 trillion VND (140 million USD).
Of the sum, 121 billion VND (5.3 million USD) was sourced from the State budget and the remainder mobilised from social resources.
Hai Duong province aims to have all communes meeting 17 criteria of the programme by the end of 2017. It also aims to have at least 30 new communes satisfying the criteria, raising the total number to 132 communes, or 58.4 percent.
This year, 38 communes in Hai Duong have registered to meet new-style rural area criteria, including six in Thanh Ha district, five in Ninh Giang district and four in Chi Linh district.
To meet the target, apart from stepping up communication campaigns, the province has frequently monitored the programme in all localities to promptly address difficulties.
Hai Duong has also focused on agricultural development projects, boosting local products and providing vocational training on technology for rural labourers.
In addition, the province has been working to link farmer households and businesses to bolster family-based and farming economies.
All localities were also asked to complete essential infrastructure such as irrigation construction and clean water supply and raise public awareness about garbage and wastewater treatment.
By April 30, 102 communes in Hai Duong had been recognised as new-style rural areas, accounting for 45.1 percent of the total number.
WB-funded agriculture project emphasizes on real-life effectiveness
The World Bank-funded project “Vietnam Sustainable Agriculture Transformation” (VnSAT) has quality over quantity in farming since it started two years ago.
The project aims to improve farming practices and value chains in rice and coffee farming in the Mekong Delta and the Central Highlands, the two major good commercial production areas in Vietnam and promote institutional strengthening of public agencies to help implement the country’s agricultural restructuring plan.
After two years of implementation, the project has established a complete organisational structure from central to grassroots levels and carried out a range of tasks.
By May 2017, the VnSAT had assessed 75 farmer organisations with a total of 2,785 households growing rice and 776 others planting coffee that were provided with training on new cultivation techniques – “three reductions, three gains (3R3G)” and “one must, five reductions (1M5R)” a year ago.
3R3G refers to reductions in seed, chemicals, and water and gains in productivity, quality, and economic efficiency while 1M5R means using registered seeds and reductions in seed, chemical fertiliser, pesticide, water use and post-harvest losses.
The results show that some 36 organisations, or 48 percent, have more than 50 percent of their households or growing areas using the practices.
The Mekong Delta province of Tien Giang, and the Central Highlands provinces of Dak Lak and Lam Dong led the way with all of their farmer organisations achieving positive results.
The majority of organisations in Mekong Delta provinces have seen lower prevalence of the new techniques due to local tradition of sowing by hand that did not allow peasants to effectively control the number of seedlings planted on each hectare. As a result, the number was usually above the project’s requirements.
In the Central Highlands, most organisations have not met criteria in terms of shade tree, organic fertiliser and production recording.
The VnSAT also evaluated the capability of the organisations to measure their needs of investment in warehouses, drying yards, pumping stations and roads.
The workshop to review the implementation of the project during the first half of 2017 proposed the organisations buy sowing machines and teach farmers how to use them effectively.
Sergiy Zorgya, a senior agricultural economist from the World Bank, said to effectively carry out the project, it is necessary to learn from the real demand of farmers to design effective support for them.
HCMC petitioned to get tough on overloaded trucks
The HCMC Goods Transport Association has proposed the HCMC Traffic Safety Committee ask the city government to take tough measures against overloaded trucks.
Overloaded trucks are not an uncommon sight in the city, said Nguyen Van Chanh, general secretary of the association, and this is unfair for trucking companies that strictly observe load limit regulations. Therefore, the association’s proposal for strict measures is aimed at creating a healthy business environment.
Chanh said overloaded trucks could be found in some areas in District 2, such as Minh Viet weigh station and the area in front of Storehouse C of Cat Lai Port; Nguyen Van Linh Parkway in District 7; and Phu Huu Port in District 9.
The city’s traffic inspectors have handled over 1,700 cases involving overloaded trucks and imposed fines of more than VND17.7 billion in the first half of the year, according to data of the HCMC Department of Transport.
The Ministry of Transport is coming up with a master plan to set up weigh stations by 2020 with a vision towards 2030. There will be 28 stations in the next four years.
Order restored on 116 downtown streets
Law enforcement officers of District 1 in HCMC have restored sidewalk order on 116 out of 134 streets in the city center, said Tran The Thuan, chairman of the district.
The district conducted 46 inspections from mid-January to mid-April and fined owners of 203 cars, towed away six vehicles and 245 motorbikes, and removed 812 sidewalk obstacles. Fines amounted to VND3.2 billion.
Households did away with 3,500 sidewalk obstacles on their own at the request of local authorities.
Thuan added the district plans to allow poor households to sell goods in designated areas on Nguyen Van Chiem Street, multiple streets in Da Kao, Ben Thanh, Nguyen Thai Binh, Nguyen Cu Trinh and Cau Ong Lanh wards, and Bach Tung Diep Park.
However, chaos has relapsed on many sidewalks after the recent urban order restoration campaign, such as Hoang Sa and Ba Le Chan streets, a Nguyen Dinh Chieu Street section between Hoang Sa and Nguyen Binh Khiem streets, Ton Duc Thang Street, Nguyen Hue Boulevard, Children’s Hospital 2, Tu Du Hospital, Ben Thanh Market and Saigon Square, Le Thi Hong Gam Street, Nguyen Thai Binh Street and Pho Duc Chinh Street.
In the coming time, District 1 will establish two teams to check and restore urban order on 116 streets that have been cleared.
Book Street in HCMC attracts huge crowd
The number of book lovers visiting Nguyen Van Binh Book Street in District 1, HCMC soared in the first half of 2017.
According to the Southern Representative Office of the Vietnam Publishers Association, there were 5,000-6,000 visitors coming to the Book Street on any weekday. At weekends or on special occasions, the number of visitors rose to 10,000 a day.
In the first six months of 2017, the Book Street attracted more than 1.2 million visitors, a sharp increase compared to 2016 with an average number of 4,000-4,500 visitors a day and 1.5 million visitors in the whole year.
Le Hoang, director of the Southern Representative Office of the Vietnam Publishers Association, said book sales have increased significantly. In the first quarter of 2017 alone, the Book Street gained revenue of about VND11 billion (about US$485,000), equal to the revenue of the whole second half of 2016.
Along with Vietnamese readers, the Book Street has lured a large number of foreign visitors. However, according to the HCMC Book Street Company Limited, there are just a few booths selling foreign language books. Therefore, book publishers should select appropriate Vietnamese books and translate them into foreign languages to serve foreign readers.
Besides, the company has made the Book Street more attractive and spacious by adding more green spaces and rearranging the booths.
To meet the high demand of readers, the HCMC Department of Information and Communications has plans to open more book streets in the city, with each able to cater to the citizenry of two or three districts.
IFEZ to support HCM City to become smart city
Chairman of the People’s Committee of Ho Chi Minh City Nguyen Thanh Phong hosted a reception for Director General of Incheon U-city Corporation Park Byeong Cheul on June 14.
The local government has completed the project on building the city into a smart one in the 2017-2025 period and with a vision towards 2030, said the chairman.
He hoped to receive advices, technical plans and financial solutions from Incheon Free Economic Zone (IFEZ)’s experts on the basis of the conditions of the city.
His counterpart, Park Byeong Cheul said that IFEZ would coordinate with Ho Chi Minh City to establish a group of experts to plan this project, choose operating units as well as giving human resource training support.
Incheon U-city Corporation is a private- public partnership in order to secure funding for system operation through effective business model. The company develops and manages U-City projects for public and private sectors in South Korea and internationally. It offers general system construction, maintenance business, and international consulting business for countries to create smart cities. Incheon U-city Corporation develops and manages Incheon Free Economic Zone (IFEZ).
Bilingual street signs in HCM City
In an effort to become more friendly to international visitors, HCM City has added English to its safety signs.
The Sài Gòn River Tunnel is one of the first places to go bilingual, with an overhead electronic board having information also in English.
The route is popular with people living in District 2, the main expat area.
But typos and grammatical mistakes have sparked criticism.
Last year the city received 5.2 million foreign tourists and expects 6 million this year.
At the end of 2015 the city had 110,000 foreigners registered as temporary residents.
Last year Vi?t Nam was ranked one of the best places for expats, according to a HSBC survey.
In Asia, it came after only Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan, with very high satisfaction about integration, making friends and social life.
Water project benefits 160,000
Nearly 160,000 residents of eight H?ng (Red) River Delta provinces benefited from a programme for rural water supply and sanitation during the past four years.
The information was reported by Nguy?n Xuân Tùng, deputy director of the National Centre for Rural Water Supply and Sanitation, at a conference held this week in Hà N?i by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) and the World Bank.
A total of 48 water supply projects were set up to provide clean water for more than 132,700 households. The projects were managed well, providing sufficient clean water reaching regulated norms for residents’ daily lives, said Tùng.
By the 2019 end of the programme, as many as 60 water supply projects will have been be completed, bringing clean water for more than 224,700 households.
In the 2013-16 period the fund disbursed more than VNÐ2.5 trillion (US$110.2 million), making up more than 60 per cent of the programme’s total. This year more than VNÐ540 billion ($23.8 million) will be used, making up more than 13 per cent of the programme’s total fund.
However, several provinces implemented the programme slowly and might not complete the scheduled plan, and need stronger instruction from provincial authorities, he said.
Ð? Van Thành, head of the Rural Water Supply Programme’s Management Board under the MARD, said most provinces followed the regulations and plans.
Several provinces and cities including Vinh Phúc, Thanh Hóa and Hung Yên met difficulties in clearing the ground so the projects could be completed late, he said.
Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Hoàng Van Th?ng said the programme for rural water supply and sanitation needed co-operation among different sectors and much remains to be done. He warned provincial authorities to pay more attention to proper use of the capital provided.
Sustainable forests project launched
A project on sustainable forests, jointly implemented by the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), has officially launched.
The project, entitled ’Promotion of Sustainable Management of Production Forests by Forest Companies in Vi?t Nam’, will be carried out in the period between 2017 and 2019, with a total funding of 692,185 euros (US$772,000) and a counterpart fund of 55,000 euros ($61,000).
The project was assigned to the Vietnamese Academy of Forest Sciences (VAFS), as the project owner, and DFS and HessenForest (Germany), as consultants to provide technical support.
The three main objectives of the project are strengthening sustainable forest management in the selected State forest companies; establishing a training centre for sustainable forest management and forest certification, and replication of capacity building for forest companies and related agencies through training courses.
Currently, sustainable forest management and forest certification is one of the top priorities in the forestry sector in Vi?t Nam, according to forestry experts on Wednesday.
The Forestry Development Strategy 2006-20 has set a target of having at least 3 per cent of production forest areas certified as managed in a sustainable fashion by 2020, the experts said.
However, the implementation of sustainable forest management and forest certification in Vi?t Nam was far behind the expected targets.
To promote sustainable forest management and forest certification in Vi?t Nam, one of the current priorities was to build the capacity of forest owners and stakeholders for sustainable forest management.
With the support of the project, the training centre for sustainable forest management and forest certification will be established to deliver the training courses to forest owners across the country from 2018.
This is a first model of training centre in Vi?t Nam on sustainable forest management and certification that will be built on a joint co-operation between forestry research institute and forest companies (for demonstration activities).
It is expected to make significant contribution to capacity building for the stakeholders in the field of sustainable forest management in Vi?t Nam, contributing to the implementation of forest sector restructuring project.
As of 2016, about 205,000ha of forest are certified for sustainable forest management.
Yesterday, the project launch workshop was held in Ðông Hà City of Qu?ng Tr? Province with the participation of representatives from Vietnam Administration of Forestry, International Cooperation Department, and Agriculture and Rural Development departments of Qu?ng Bình, Qu?ng Tr? and Th?a Thiên-Hu? provinces and project partners.
U15 national contest to open in August
Hosts Tây Ninh will play Hoàng Anh Gia Lai in a Group A opener of the National U15 Football Championship.
The draw for the tournament to be held in Tây Ninh Province was held in Hà N?i yesterday.
The tournament, known as the Thái Son B?c Cup, will field eight teams who qualified in April.
The teams, divided into two groups, will compete in a round robin format from August 2. Two top teams from each group will advance to the semi-final round. The winners will walk away with VNÐ50 million (US$2,200) after the final on August 12.
It is the second year in a row that the Thái Son B?c Electric Equipment Trading Company is sponsoring the tournament.
Bùi Ðình T?, Thái Son B?c director, said the sponsorship was part of the company’s support for youth football in the country. He said he believed it would help strengthen and develop the game in the country, especially after the recent success of the U20 team.
Firms reject clean production initiative
Many businesses have refused to join a clean production and energy efficiency project because they don’t find attractive enough incentives, experts said at a conference on June 15.
The conference was held to review implementation of the five-year Vietnam Clean Production and Energy Efficiency Project (CPEE) that closed this month.
“To encourage firms and to reach a more ambitious goal, more attractive incentives are needed,” Nguyen Dinh Hiep, vice chairman of the Vietnam Energy Conservation and Energy Efficiency Association, said at the conference.
The World Bank-funded CPEE project aimed to strengthen capacity for effective delivery of the national energy efficiency programme in key industrial sectors. This would improve energy efficiency and reduce associated greenhouse gas emissions.
The project had set goal of improving energy efficiency to more than 360,000 TOEs (tonnes oil equivalent) and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 1.25 million TCO2 (tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent) by 2017.
“However, only 70 per cent of the goals have been met,” said a representative from the Department of Science, Technology and Energy Efficiency under the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
The department estimated that the project would help save 249,000 TOEs of energy and reduce emissions by 933,000 TCO2 this year.
To date, about 89 per cent of the project’s investment has been disbursed, and disbursement of the remaining funds would continue, officials said, without elaborating.
The World Bank estimates that Vietnam can effect energy savings of 11 per cent with proper investment in energy consumption.
Experts also said that Vietnam needs more policies that encourage firms to save energy and promote energy efficiency in the long term.
Programme gives free genital reconstruction surgery to 230 children
Doctors from the US and Italy have provided free genital regeneration operations for 230 Vietnamese children, and given free consultation and check-ups to 800 other patients since August 2011 under a programme entitled “Thien Nhan and Friends”
The information was released at an event in Hanoi on June 15 held by Kim Dong Publishing House and the programme, which was launched six years ago by the Asia Injury Prevention Foundation.
On the occasion, the publishing house introduced the book “Journey of love, diary of Thien Nhan”, which notes difficulties in the journey to reconstruct genitals for Phung Thien Nhan, a young boy with genital problems whose story of overcoming a difficult past after being abandoned by his natural mother and attacked by wild animals inspired the whole nation.
The publishing house’s editor-in chief Vu Thi Quynh Lien said all money collected from selling the book will be provided for the programme, supporting genital regeneration surgery for kids with genital defects.
Since 2011, the “Thien Nhan and Friends” programme has coordinated with many hospitals in Vietnam in conducting genital examinations and reconstruction operations for poor Vietnamese children suffering from severe genital birth defects or loss of genitals from accidents twice a year.
In the framework of the programme, Vietnamese pediatric urologists will attend a workshop in Italy in October this year to learn experience from their Italian colleagues in the field.
The programme was inspired by Thien Nhan, an infant discarded at birth and left to die in a jungle. He suffered total loss of genitals and loss of one leg from a brutal mauling by wild animals. He has since been adopted by journalist Tran Mai Anh and lives happily with his new family in Hanoi. He is the official Goodwill Ambassador.
BarCamp Mekong 2017 to be held in Can Tho
The BarCamp Mekong 2017, the first event of its kind in the Mekong Delta region, will be held in Can Tho city on June 18, expected to draw at least 30 speakers and 500 listeners.
BarCamp is an open workshop where all people can register and present any topics they like and feel useful. Therefore, the BarCamp Mekong 2017 is described as a “party of ideas” serving the community.
According to Lam Sieu Hai, a representative from the organiser ETM Vietnam, the new feature of this event is that topics which are voted most will be presented first.
The organising board has prepared three well-equipped presentation rooms and listeners can move freely among the rooms to get topics of their concern, he added.
The BarCamp Mekong 2017 aims to connect and share ideas, especially those on start-ups, as well as create a venue for young people to show off themselves, said Nguyen My Thuan, Vice Chairwoman and General Secretary of the Can Tho Business Association.
The organising board has to date received 43 topics in various fields such as online business, students’ start-ups, English and effective learning methods, body language, health, technology, and soft skills, she revealed.
Vietnam sends heartfelt condolences to British fire victims’ families
Spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry Le Thi Thu Hang on June 15 extended the deepest condolences to the UK government, people and families of the victims of the recent fatal fire.
During the ministry’s regular press conference in Hanoi on June 15, Hang said the fire is a regrettable and heart-rending incident.
She said there has been no information about Vietnamese people falling victim to the fire.
The fire occurred in a high-rise apartment building in west London at 12:54am on June 14, killing at least 17 people and injuring dozens others, but the death toll is expected to rise.
Hanoi pilots free swimming class for children
Given increasing incidences of drowning, the Hanoi Red Cross Society has opened a free swimming class for children in suburban districts to equip them with skills to prevent drowning.
At the class, teachers provide basic knowledge about prevention of drowning as well as first-aid skills. After theory work, children practice swimming. After the class which is scheduled to last 15 days, learners are expected to know how to swim and first-aid skills.
This programme was piloted in Dan Phuong district, and then expanded to all other suburban districts.
Statistics from the Ministry of Labour, Invalids, and Social Affairs show that 6,400 people die of drowning every year, with more than 50 percent being children and juveniles. This implies that such free swimming classes are critical to reduce drownings.
HCM City customs officials bust marijuana smuggling cases
Customs officials at Tan Son Nhat international airport in Ho Chi Minh City seized nearly 12kg of marijuana smuggled from the US to Vietnam in May and June.
The traffickers used new and sophisticated methods by hiding marijuana in dried fruits bags and boxes of clothes, canned food and confectionery.
Since 2014, customs officials in the airport have uncovered 26 cases of drug trafficking, with a combined total of more than 100 kg of cocaine, heroin and methphetamine and more than a tonne of Khat leaves.
Nhon-Hanoi Station metro project from vanguard to turtle
After seven years of construction, Nhon-Hanoi Railway Station metro rail project has been delayed many times and so far completed only 35 percent of work volume with investment capital increasing by half.
According to the latest adjustment, the project will be completed in 2021, meaning six years behind plan.
For the last many years, residents living along the route have to suffer dust, traffic jam and unsafety conditions. Xuan Thuy street, home to many universities, is nearly congested every day because of the project’s road works.
85 year old Hoang Anh Tuan says that local people want the project to soon complete so that their life can return back to normal but they have seen only few workers on the construction site or even no workers in some stretches.
After a worker carelessly dropped a five kilogram steel pipe on the nearby pavement, worrying locals, Hanoi Urban Railway Management Board and French Systra consultant company asked contractors to stop construction and review labor safety operations.
Previously, the project was halted after two consecutive labor unsafety cases, threatening passers in 2015. Of these, a crane suddenly fell onto two houses in Cau Giay street, hurting two people. A 10 meter iron beam fell in front of the house at number 265 Ho Tung Mau street, Tu Liem district, Hanoi. Fortunately, no one was injured.
Nhon-Hanoi Railway Station metro line was initially expected to be the first urban railway project coming into operation to contribute in reducing traffic jam in Hanoi. Still it has become one of the most sluggish disreputable works in the capital city.
Starting in 2006 with the total capital of EUR783 million from official development and reciprocal funds, the project was scheduled to be built in 2010.
However, the work was put off and restarted in September 2010. Afterwards, it continued deferring until 2015. Price escalation has rocketed investment capital by EUR393 million to EUR1,176 billion.
Another credit agreement with French Development Agency was signed in 2016 to supplement an extra of EUR69 million for the project, raising the total amount to EUR1,245 billion. The deadline to complete the project was lengthened to 2018 and recently to till 2021.
Site clearance and slow construction of main bid packages have been believed to be the top reason for the sluggish progress and capital skyrocket.
The investor of the bid package no.1 has many times changed construction firms for poor capacity. The contractor of the third package has demanded US$40 million in contract cost raise due to slow site clearance. Sytra consultant required an extra of $23 million to extending contract time.
Deputy chairman of the Hanoi People’s Committee Nguyen The Hung admitted that the project’s capital skyrocket has been because the project’s unexperienced and unqualified investor has much depended on foreign consultants who have not had profound understanding of Vietnam’s regulations.
According to head of the Hanoi Urban Railway Management Board Nguyen Cao Minh, the Hanoi People’s Committee has made drastic instructions in site clearance after deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung required to speed up the project to solve traffic jam inner the city.
Some bid packages have showed positive changes but some have still been slow because of problems in bidding process and assessment, technical design approval and estimates.
So far, only 40 percent of work on stations on the ground has completed while underground stations have not started construction. Ngoc Khanh station alone faces residents’ objections because of substandard designs.
The Government’s inspectorate has decided to launch an overall inspection over the project from May 16 to June 26. With current problems, experts worried that the project will continue delaying after 2021.
Film studio combined with ecotourism to be built in Bu Dang
People’s Committee in the southern province of Binh Phuoc has just approved the project of Trang Co Bu Lach tourism complex development covering an area of 348ha in Bu Dang Distict.
As per the project, a film studio combined with ecotourism in Trang Co Bu Lach Complex will include space of cultural village where exhibits cultural artifacts of ethnic minority in the province.
A 40 hectare wildlife reserve area; resort; entertainment area and exhibition area of agricultural produces are designed in the project.
Binh Phuoc Province People’s Committee Chairman Nguyen Van Tram said that the project will combine with other nearby complexes such as Ba Ra Mountain Complex, cultural conservation area S’Tieng Sok Bom Bo, historical monuments of the wartime’ region headquarter Ta Thiet to make the province’s specific complexes.
Apple snails attack rice crop in Quang Tri
Farmers in central Qu?ng Tr? Province is struggling to cultivate rice in the summer-autumn crop season due to the outbreak of apple snails, an invasive species that attacks rice plants.
A report by authorities in the province’s Cam L? District said apple snails have eaten newly-sowed rice in 50 hectares of the district.
Farmers in Cam L?, a week ago, discovered their rice plants had been eaten. They later found many apple snails in the paddies, with hundreds of snails per one square metre.
Some farmers did their re-sowing, but the plants continued to be eaten. The farmers are waiting for support from the local authorities to stop the outbreak of the snail attacks. They made several efforts, including chemical spraying, but failed to kill the snails.
Experts said the high frequency of rains this summer reduced the time for the soil to dry, before cultivation, and this created favourable condition for the growth of apple snails.
The snail, which has the scientific name of Pomacea canaliculata, is an invasive species to Vi?t Nam. The country’s agricultural authorities, four decades ago, mistook the snail’s economic effect and imported the snail for breeding around the country.
Condolences sent to Portugal over forest fires
President Tran Dai Quang on June 19 sent a message of condolences to his Portuguese counterpart Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa over human and property losses caused by forest fires in central Portugal.
The same day, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh also extended his sympathies to Portuguese Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva over the disaster.
The devastating forest fires broke out on June 17 in Pedrogao Grande city, about 200km south-east of Lisbon capital city, killing at least 62 people and injuring over 60 others, five of them seriously.
The combination of high temperatures and strong winds appeared to have contributed to the rapid spread of the fires. Portugal is suffering a severe heat wave with temperatures exceeding 40 degrees Celsius in many areas.
More than 1,000 firefighters are still battling the blaze, which spread to neighbouring regions of Castelo Branco and Coimbra on June 19.
Earlier, Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa announced three days of national mourning for the victims of the forest fires.
In 2016, many fires ravaged the country with 40 homes being destroyed and 5,400 hectares of land burned.
Remains of two American servicemen repatriated
Việt Nam has repatriated remains believed to be of US soldiers who died during the Việt Nam War.
At a ceremony at Đà Nẵng International Airport on Sunday, Việt Nam handed over boxes containing two sets of remains, one set submitted by locals and the other found by a Việt Nam-US team during their 127th joint search between April and June 2017.
The remains have been examined by Vietnamese and American forensic specialists, who concluded they could belong to US servicemen who went missing during the war. They recommended the remains be brought back to Hawaii for further review.
The ceremony marked the 141th handover of missing American soldiers’ remains since 1973.
The previous repatriation was also held in Đà Nẵng in April, during which three sets of remains were transferred following a joint search between February and April this year.
Hà Tĩnh road named after first journalist martyr
A plaque marking the naming of a road after legendary journalist Trần Kim Xuyến was unveiled at a solemn ceremony in the central province of Hà Tĩnh on Saturday.
Xuyến, known as Việt Nam’s first journalist martyr, was the first leader of Vietnam News Agency (VNA).
Trần Kim Xuyến Road runs through Phố Châu Town in Hương Sơn District.
Born in 1921 in Hương Sơn, Xuyến was appointed Deputy Director of the Ministry of Home Affairs’ Việt Nam Information Department after the 1945 August Revolution. He was directly in charge of the Vietnam News Agency at the time. He was also a deputy of the first National Assembly.
He laid down his life on March 3, 1947, at the age of 26, becoming the first revolutionary journalist to die in battle.
The Trần Kim Xuyến road, more than 2km long and 20m in width, runs from the Phố Châu intersection to Hồ Chí Minh Road.
Underlining the significance of the event, VNA General Director Nguyễn Đức Lợi said that it reflects the national philosophy: “When drinking water, remember its source.”
It was also a tribute to Xuyến by the Party, State, Hà Tĩnh authorities and people, as well as VNA staff, he said.
The event is an acknowledgement of the VNA, the first press agency nationwide that was awarded the titles of “Hero of the People’s Armed Forces” and “Labour Hero in the Reform Period,” he said.
During the wars against French and US forces, generations of VNA journalists and technicians were present at all battlefields, Lợi said, adding that more than 260 of them sacrificed their lives for the nation.
Speaking at the event, Võ Hồng Hải, Vice Chairman of the Hà Tĩnh People’s Council, called on Party committees, authorities and organisations of Hương Sơn District at all levels to set up communications and popularise the life and career of Xuyến.
Thailand’s Supreme Patriarch greets Vietnamese ambassador
The Supreme Patriarch of Thailand His Holiness Somdet Phra Arayawongsakhatayan said the relationship between the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha (VBS) and the Thailand Buddhist Sangha (TBS) has made noted strides over the past time.
At a reception for outgoing Vietnamese Ambassador Nguyen Tat Thanh on June 18, the Supreme Patriarch reviewed the warm welcome of President Tran Dai Quang and other high-ranking Vietnamese leaders for a delegation of Thai and Annam-nikai Buddhists during their first-ever visit to Vietnam last March.
He said the VBS plays an important international role, which has been demonstrated through Vietnam’s hosting of the United Nations Day of Vesak (Buddha's Birthday, Enlightenment and Passing Away) in 2008 and 2014 and its bid to host the next event in 2019.
The Thai royal family has always paid attention to the Annam-nikai sect which has greatly contributed to the development of Buddhism in Thailand, he said, recalling its contributions to the requiem for King Bhumibol Adulyadej on March 21.
The host also highlighted activities organised by Vietnamese pagodas in Thailand, which, he said, have helped bring pragmatic ties to the public.
For his part, Ambassador Thanh congratulated Somdet Phra Arayawongsakhatayan on his appointment as the 20th Supreme Patriarch of Thailand and his upcoming 90th birthday.
He thanked the support of Thailand’s royal family, Buddhist Sangha and Government for Vietnamese pagodas in the host country.
The diplomat noted his hope that the TBS will continue to create favourable conditions for Vietnamese Buddhists to learn at Buddhism schools in the country, contributing to enhancing mutual understanding between the two countries and tightening relations between their Buddhists.
Khanh Hoa: More than 25 million USD for flooding, erosion prevention
The central coastal province of Khanh Hoa plans to spend more than 580 billion VND (25.52 million USD) on 60 infrastructure projects to prevent flooding, river erosion and saltwater intrusion in 2017-2018.
The investment includes more than 360 billion VND (15.84 million USD) sourced from state budget while the province and its districts will invest 99 billion VND (4.35 million USD) and 114 billion VND (5 million USD), respectively.
Erosion at the riverbank is endangering hundreds of households in Dien Khanh District and Nha Trang city. The most serious case is the riverbank along Cai River in four communes in Nha Trang city that needs almost half of the total investment, or 250 billion VND (11 million USD), to build embankments.
The erosion has affected 150 houses in which 600 people reside in Vinh Thanh Commune and more than 350 houses inhabited by 1,000 people in Vinh Trung, Vinh Phuong and Vinh Ngoc Communes.
It has also hit the banks of the Dau Stream in Dien Thanh Commune, the Cho River in Dien Xuan Commune, Dien Khanh District and the riverbanks of Lop River and Dinh River in Ninh Hoa town and Can River in Cam Ranh City.
It was estimated that floods at the end of 2016 caused landslides along 5.3 kilometres of riverbank in Khanh Hoa.
Lowlands in Cam Thinh Dong Commune, Cam Ranh City face serious flooding with water 0.5 – 1 metre deep in the wet season and saline intrusion in the dry season that affects up to 100 hectares of farm lands.
According to the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, the area is home to about 750 households with 3,000 people.
Some 100 billion VND will be used to build canals and dykes in Cam Thinh Dong while 70 billion VND will be spent to construct canals in Dien Dien and Dien Khanh Communes, Dien Khanh District to prevent saltwater intrusion.
Bac Ninh provides HIV/AIDS health insurance support
The northern province of Bac Ninh has become the first locality nationwide to provide health insurance support to all people living with HIV/AIDS and taking antiretroviral (ARV) treatment.
The assistance is part of the province’s efforts to fulfil the UN 90-90-90 goal, which targets 90 percent of all people living with HIV knowing their HIV status, 90 percent of all people with diagnosed HIV receiving sustained antiretroviral therapy and 90 percent of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy achieving viral suppression.
The support is sourced from the leftover funds from the 2016 health insurance fund.
According to the provincial Centre for HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control, as of the end of April 2017, the province had 2,448 HIV-infected patients and more than 1,000 people living with AIDS, while 958 had died from AIDS.
In the first four months of this year, Bac Ninh recorded 58 new cases of HIV infection.
Since 2015, Bac Ninh has welcomed two projects for HIV/AIDS prevention, including a Global Fund project to supply free ARV to HIV/AIDS patients. However, the supply will be cut off from July 1, 2017 when ARV will be covered by health insurance. This will pose difficulties to the needy, most of whom are living in poverty.
Along with strengthening communications on HIV/AIDS prevention, the province plans to popularise the rights of health insurance card holders, especially among high-risk groups.
However, many HIV/AIDS patients still struggle to buy health insurance due to a lack of legal documents.
Quang Nam: Free cataract surgeries for policy beneficiaries
As many as 500 policy beneficiaries and poor people in the central province of Quang Nam received free cataract surgeries at the provincial General Hospital on June 18.
The programme was jointly held by the National Institute of Ophthalmology (VNIO), the Vietnam Youth Federation and the Vietnamese Young Doctors Association as part of the activities to mark the 70th anniversary of Vietnam War Invalids and Martyrs’ Day (July 27).
The operations were carried out in a mobile eye surgery coach, which is equipped with modern eye examination devices and equipment like ophthalmic ultrasound scanner and ophthalmology surgery microscope.
VNIO Director Dr Nguyen Xuan Hiep said Quang Nam province has a high rate of blindness caused by cataract. The mobile cataract surgery campaign would make significant contributions to bringing light to the blind in the locality, he said.
The VNIO’s statistics show that 70 percent of Vietnamese in rural areas and poor people have eye-related diseases but they could hardly get access to healthcare services. The mobile cataract surgery campaign, launched in 2007, has improved eye care for tens of thousands of patients in impoverished regions.
Start-up competition for students held in Da Nang
The final round of the Da Nang Startup Runway 2017 took place in the central city on June 17 with the participation of 10 outstanding teams.
The competition, which jointly held by the University of Economics – the Da Nang University and Cork Academy of Ireland as part of a project sponsored by the Irish Aid, drew more than 80 teams in the qualifying round.
The C-Tek group won the first prize with the combination of a coat and a sleeping bag. The team received a cash prize worth 10 million VND (440 USD) and a training course at the Rubicon start-ups centre of the Cork Academy.
TOMATO group came in second with online fashion shopping app EZCLO and WHATEVER group finished third with pet care app Petla.
All the three teams come from the University of Economics - the Da Nang University.
Assoc. Prof. Dr Nguyen Manh Toan, Rector of the University of Economics, said the competition offered opportunities for students to sharpen their skills and practice foreign languages. It also enhance the start-up spirit among university students in Da Nang in particular and Vietnam’s central region in general.
Responsive activities to climate change in agriculture
Measures to tackle climate change’s impacts were the main theme of a recent conference on the agricultural sector in the context of implementing the Paris Climate Accord.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development reported that the agricultural sector has committed to reducing greenhouse gas emission by eight percent and even by 20 percent if receiving support from the international community.
Data has shown that climate change has caused negative impacts on agriculture, especially through erosion of river banks, estuaries and coastal areas.
In 2015, Việt Nam joined the Paris Agreement Accord with roughly 200 other countries to begin implementing national plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
The ministry has devised an action programme to deal with climate change in 2016-20, targeting reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 20 per cent every 10 years.
President meets former volunteer soldiers in Cambodia
President Tran Dai Quang on June 17 met with Vietnamese former volunteer soldiers who helped Cambodia in the 1979-1989 period.
At the meeting, the President said he was moved to meet the Vietnamese volunteer soldiers, who stood side by side with the Cambodian people in the struggle against the genocidal Pol Pot regime, helping the neighbouring country gradually revive and develop.
He praised achievements recorded by the Vietnam-Cambodia Friendship Association over the past time as well as the initiative to admit the veterans to the association, contributing to enhancing the traditional friendship and comprehensive cooperation between the two countries.
The Cambodian State and people as well as the Vietnamese Party, State and people have appreciated great contributions and sacrifice of the volunteer soldiers, the leader stressed.
He urged the Vietnam-Cambodia Friendship Association to further spread information about the fine bilateral relations among Vietnamese and Cambodian people, especially on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the two countries’ bilateral ties.
President Quang tasked authorities of different levels with supporting the association in organising the Vietnam – Cambodia Friendship Year 2017.
He assigned the presidential office to work with relevant agencies to ensure welfares for former Vietnamese volunteer soldiers, who helped Cambodia during its past struggle against the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime. The office was also demanded to propose authorised agencies commend and reward units and individuals that are yet to be honoured.
He also urged organisations and businesses to help former volunteer soldiers in Cambodia visit the country this year on the occasion of 40 years since the end of the genocidal regime in Cambodia.-
NGOs urged to unite to protect kids
Many public organisations and NGOs operate in the field of children protection in HCM City but do not work closely with one another, according to experts.
Speaking at a workshop on the child abuse and trafficking situation and ways to combat them held on June 16 by the HCM City Child Welfare Association, they said these organisations should collaborate to develop a common strategy and action plan to improve the effectiveness of measures to safeguard children from abuse and trafficking.
Without such cooperation, they could well duplicate each other’s work, leading to a waste of human resources, they said.
Ly Thi To Mai, a member of the HCM City Association for Child Rights Protection’s lawyers panel, said not only girls but also boys face a grave risk of abuse and trafficking.
“The latest case, which I do not know how to resolve, involves a 12-year-old boy in District 9 who was seduced by a 28-year-old man. The boy dropped out of school to go and live with the man.”
When Mai met the boy and asked him if he was seduced, he denied it.
“How to protect such boys?”
Nguyen Van Tinh, deputy head of the children protection and care division of the city Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, said many families with boys are not aware of the risks and allow them to stay at others’ places overnight.
In the city, there have been 100 cases of child sex abuse and violence in the last 18 months, he said.
But in reality, many more are unreported by victims’ families for various reasons, he added.
Nguyen Minh Giang, programme manager at anti-trafficking NGO Pacific Links Foundation, said Vietnam is a country with a high incidence of trafficking.
“Of the victims aged less than 18 trafficked in the UK, the number of Vietnamese is the highest.”
Colonel Phan Van Tang of the HCM City Police’s criminal police division admitted the police are yet to uncover a single child in the city trafficked to other countries.
According to Mai, social organisations in the city should have programmes to propagate the skills and knowledge required to prevent children abuse and trafficking.
More mock courts should be held in schools, she added.
Pham Dinh Nghinh, head of the Social Welfare Centre for Children, said such courts should also be held in residential areas and industrial parks to warn people.
Hanoi values contributions of news agencies
Hanoi authorities had a meeting with representatives from central-level and Hanoi news agencies on June 17 on the occasion of the 92th anniversary of Vietnam Revolutionary Press Day (June 21, 1925 – 2017).
Chairwoman of the municipal People’s Council Nguyen Thi Bich Ngoc acknowledged the press’ role in capturing Hanoi’s growth progress and building the image of a dynamic capital city.
She expected the news agencies to continue covering the local political and socio-economic affairs as well as reflecting the voice of the city’s residents, organisations and businesses, which could be conducive to its policy making and management.
Participating journalists took note of the city’s prompt disclosure of pressing issues, but urged local authorities to be more open to the public.
Previously, as the press day came closer, leaders from the municipal Party Committee, People’s Council and People’s Committee visited and congratulated journalists at the Vietnam News Agency, the Radio Voice of Vietnam, and People’s Army Newspaper, among others.
Gala promotes Vietnamese culture in Cuba
Vietnamese culture has been introduced to Cuban friends at a gala night in Havana University held by the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union’s chapter in Cuba.
With 12 performances, the Alma Vietnam 2017, featured Ao Dai (Vietnamese traditional long dress) and traditional dances, along with songs depicting the spiritual life of Vietnamese people as well as praising heroic mothers and soldiers who laid down their lives for the nation.
This year’s event also saw the participation of Cuban artists.
First held in 2015, the annual programme has helped intensify the solidarity among Vietnamese students in the Caribbean country.
Can Tho in merry mood with Yoga Day
More than 1,500 people in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho took part in the third International Yoga Day on June 17.
The mass yoga practice is part of the series of activities to mark the 45th anniversary of diplomatic ties between Vietnam and India and 10 years of their strategic partnership.
Addressing the event, Vice Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Le Van Tam said it is a people-to-people exchange activity that aims to boost mutual understanding between Vietnamese and Indian people.
Can Tho and India have worked together in various projects in agriculture, information technology, and human resources training, he said, wishing for more joint cultural exchanges between the sides in the future.
Can Tho hopes to welcome art troupes, investors and tourists from India, the official stressed.
Smita Pant, Indian Consul General to HCM City, said yoga is a key to a healthy and balanced body and mind.
She said she hopes the day will help increase the population of Yoga practitioners in Can Tho.
The event is scheduled to run in Hanoi, Vinh Phuc, Vinh, Da Nang, Nha Trang, Long An, Can Tho, and Dong Nai from June 17 to July 2, and finally reach Ho Chi Minh City on June 25.
Thanh Hoa busts smuggling of 1,200 synthetic pills
Police in the central province of Thanh Hoa, on June 15, captured a man for transporting 1,200 synthetic pills.
Ho Van Po, born in 1962, was caught red handed on the 15C national highway’s section in Nhi Son commune, Muong Lat district.
Po currently resides in Laos’ Houaphan province.
The case is under investigation.
Over 394 billion VND spent on gifts for revolutionary contributors
A budget of over 394.6 billion VND (17.36 million USD) has been earmarked for gifts to revolutionary contributors in celebration of the 70th anniversary of the War Invalids and Martyrs Day (July 27, 1947-2017).
Under a plan submitted to the President, there will be two categories of gifts, with those for heroic mothers and seriously injured war invalids worth 400,000 VND (17.6 USD) each, and those for war invalids with less severe injuries and martyrs’ families, worth 200,000 VND (8.8 USD) each.
The Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA) is in charge of the tribute programme.
According to MoLISA Minister Dao Ngoc Dung, the country has over 9 million people recognised as having rendered service to the revolution and the country, making up nearly 10 percent of the total population. More than 1.4 million of revolutionary contributors and their families are receiving monthly allowances.
Photo contest on climate change launched
A photo contest themed “People and nature in the context of climate change for sustainable development” was launched on June 16 by the National Hydro-meteorological Service (NHS) under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment in conjunction with the Vietnam Pictorial of the Vietnam News Agency.
The contest forms part of activities marking the 50th anniversary of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP)/World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) Typhoon Committee and the 50th session of the committee to be held in Vietnam in 2018.
It also aims to promote Vietnam’s contribution to multilateral international cooperation while affirming the country’s position as one of the 14 members of the UNESCAP/WMO Typhoon Committee.
Since Vietnam officially joined the committee in 1979, the country has received support from the committee as well as the WMO and the UN Economic Commission for Asia and Far East (UNECAFE), the predecessor of UNESCAP, in research and training, thus serving the hydro-meteorological forecasting in the country.
The UNESCAP/WMO Typhoon Committee is an intergovernmental organisation established in 1968 under the auspices of the UNECAFE and the WMO in order to promote and coordinate the planning and implementation of measures required for minimising the loss of life and material damage caused by typhoon in Asia-Pacific.
NHS Deputy General Director Tran Hong Thai, who is also head of the photo contest’s organising board, said the event is due to raise public awareness of natural disaster prevention and mitigation, and promote the role of the hydro-meteorological sector in managing and exploiting the hydro-meteorological forecasting network to serve the country’s sustainable development.
The contest will last from June 16-September 30, 2017, calling for the participation of professional and amateur Vietnamese photographers both at home and abroad.
Topics will focus on impacts of the nature, people joining hands in the context of climate change, and efforts to mitigate natural disasters to serve sustainable development.
Children taught about participation rights
More than 40 children aged from 9 to 14 from south eastern localities including Ba Ria-Vung Tau, Binh Duong, Binh Phuoc, Dong Nai and Tay Ninh, were taught about the participation rights of children at a course in Binh Duong on June 16.
The course was held by Department of Child Care and Protection under the Ministry of Labours, Invalids and Social Affairs in coordination with Binh Duong province, with the aim of providing basic knowledge for children when joining group activities as well as how to notice signs of abused children.
The participants were taught skills to exercise their participation rights, skills in negotiation, planning and self-protection, among others.
The same day, a conference took place in Ho Chi Minh City to look for ways to prevent and stop the abuse and trafficking of children.
According to statistics of the city’s Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, there were 104 cases of child abuse reported in the city during 2016 and the first half of 2017.
Nguyen Van Tinh, deputy head of the Child Care and Protection Office under the Department said that many families of the victims did not report their cases to authorities, making it more difficult for investigation.
Lawyer Tran Thi Ngoc Nu stressed the necessity to raise awareness for women, as mothers should report and calmly gather evidence when there are signs that their children are victims of abuse.
Participants suggested that stricter penalty should be imposed on child abuse criminals while law enforcement agencies should be more flexible in collecting evidence. They also called for specialised training for female police officers on child abuse investigation.
Thai Binh University of Medicine and Pharmacy honoured by Cambodia
The Thai Binh University of Medicine and Pharmacy in the Red River Delta province of Thai Binh hosted a ceremony on June 16 to receive Friendship Orders bestowed by the Kingdom of Cambodia on the university staff and 12 lecturers.
Established in 1968 with its original name as the Thai Binh University of Medicine, the university was tasked with training human resources, transfer science-technology and provide public healthcare services and products to care for and protect people’s health.
In 1982, the university was entrusted by the State to train doctors for Cambodia.
Assoc. Prof. Dr Hoang Nang Trong, rector of the university, said over the past 35 years the university has always created the best conditions for foreign students, including those from Cambodia, to pursue their studies. It has trained 426 Cambodian students to become doctors, he said.
In the 2016-2017 school years, the university received 26 more Cambodian students, increasing the total number of Cambodian students studying at the university to 178, he noted.
Most of them pursue education under the signed agreement between the Vietnamese and Cambodian governments, he said.
Cambodian Ambassador to Vietnam Prak Nguon Hong spoke highly of the cooperation in medical training between the university and his country.
Many Cambodian doctors trained at the university have made active contributions to the country’s public healthcare, he noted, stressing that this demonstrates the deep friendship, solidarity and mutual assistance between the two neighbouring nations over the past five decades.
On the occasion, the Cambodian Embassy in Vietnam presented the friendship orders to the university staff and its 12 outstanding lecturers.
The same day, the university held a graduation ceremony for 31 Lao and Cambodian students.
Workshop discusses action plan for green growth in building sector
A workshop was co-held by the Ministry of Construction and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) in Hanoi on June 16 to implement the action plan for green growth in the building sector.
Speaking at the event, Le Trung Thanh, Director of the Department of Science Technology and Environment at the Ministry of Construction, stressed the side-effects of economic development which have caused pollution, resource exhaustion, and energy crisis over the past few years.
Vietnam is among countries suffering the most from impacts of climate change, for example, sea level rise, droughts and flooding so that the government has designed a national action plan for green growth from 2014-2020.
With support from the USAID’s “Vietnam Clean Energy Programme: Energy Efficiency Promotion”, the Ministry has formulated the action plan for the building sector by 2020 with a vision to 2030.
The program offers building owners free technical support to provide building energy simulations that can help them achieve substantial energy and Green House Gas (GHG) reductions for their newly-designed and retrofitted building demonstration projects.
It also offers training on integrated design, building energy simulation and incorporation of energy code requirements into construction processes. Furthermore, it provides urban managers and leaders with the expertise from American green building and sustainable urban energy development experts.
USAID Vietnam Director Michael Greene said Vietnam is among countries with the fastest urbanisation that leads to an increase in GHG. Energy consumption may triple between 2010 and 2020, he noted.
He underlined the necessity to integrate the Vietnam Energy Efficiency Building Code (VEEBC) into the building sector’s action plan for green growth.
So far, some 3,000 architects, engineers, project managers, government officials and practitioners from 40 provinces have benefited from the program’s training courses, receiving technical knowledge and skills to effectively enforce and implement the VEEBC. The program has surveyed 280 buildings to develop a national database on building energy performance.
President meets chiefs of Vietnamese representative offices abroad
President Tran Dai Quang presented the President’s decisions to appoint chiefs of Vietnamese representative offices abroad for the 2017-2020 tenure at a ceremony in Hanoi on June 16.
At a following reception, he asked them to continue fully grasping and effectively implementing the Party’s and State’s resolutions and decrees on external affairs and global integration, particularly the Resolution adopted by the 12th National Party Congress and the Resolution No.6 NQ/TW by the Party Central Committee (12th tenure).
They were requested to realize productively the key external relations tasks of maintaining a peaceful and stable environment and gathering foreign support; firmly safeguarding national independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity; and improving the country’s stature on international arena.
The host underscored the need to fully grasp comprehensive diplomacy, under which, political diplomacy should be soundly combined with economic, cultural, and national defence-security diplomacy.
He asked the diplomats to make the best use of opportunities and solve challenges to best serve the nation’s sustainable development and security goals.
As protectionism is emerging worldwide, the chiefs of Vietnamese representative offices should continue boosting global integration in ways that match the country’s conditions and interests, he said, adding that they are tasked with properly position Vietnam in the world’s mainstream that suits national interests.
He noted that they must properly settle border and territorial issues by pooling support of the international community in political and legal terms while mobilizing the Vietnamese nationals abroad to stay united and look towards the homeland.
On behalf of the diplomat, Vietnamese Ambassador to Cambodia Vu Quang Minh expressed honour to hold such noble responsibility and vowed to do the best to fulfill the missions entrusted by the Party, State and people.
Son La: illegal drug transporters arrested
The police of Song Ma district, the northern mountainous province of Son La, have detained two men for illegally transporting 10 cakes of heroin (about 3.5 kg).
The arrested are Song A Trang, 23, residing in Phieng Pan village, Mai Son district, and Giang A Tung, 20, in Na Nghiu commune, Song Ma district.
They were arrested in Le Hong Phong village, Na Nghiu commune, Song Ma district on June 19.
They confessed that they bought the heroin from a strange man in the border area and intended to sell to earn some profit.
The case is under investigation.
Son La borders Laos and is home to some ethnic minority groups.
Da Nang ensures power supply for APEC 2017
The central city of Da Nang has exerted efforts to ensure stable power supply for the socio-economic development of the city as well as activities of the APEC 2017 that the city will host in November this year.
According to the Da Nang Power Company, on June 17, the city’s commercial power production hit 10 million kWh per day.
The production rose over 8.3 percent over the peak figure in 2016 and 25 percent over the average daily production since early this year.
The city experienced a hot month in June with the record demand for power. The total power consumption on June 17 was 473MW, with daily use of 10.027 million kWh, the city’s highest figures so far.
Earlier this month, the city put into operation an upgraded transformer of the Hoa Khanh 2 110kV transformer station in Hoa Khanh industrial park, Lien Chieu district.
Gov’t jobs open to non-City residents
People who are not residents of HCM City can now apply for civil service jobs.
The chairman of the city’s People’s Committee, Nguyễn Thành Phong, officially announced that the criterion requiring household registration in the city for civil service applicants has been abolished.
Lê Hoài Trung, deputy director of the city’s Home Affairs said the move was expected to ensure fairness for all applicants, the Tuổi trẻ (Youth) online newspaper reported.
At present, almost all local State agencies only recruit candidates with household registration in the city. Trung said the city is in need of 500 civil servants this year.
He added that the Ministry of Home Affairs requires successful applicants to be qualified in both written tests and interviews, instead of only written tests as before. Thus, the city will apply the model to recruit civil servants this year, he said.
Huỳnh Thục Phương, a third-year student of the Foreign Trade University in HCM City, said the move was appreciated. “No one can choose where to be born, and using the criterion of household registration for employment creates a disadvantage for applicants living in other localities who want to work for State agencies in this city,” she said.
Đỗ Thị Ngọc Linh, a fourth-year student of HCM City University of Physical Education and Sports, said the decision opens up opportunities for migrants like her to get a Government job.
Nguyễn Quang Hiếu, a fourth-year student of Việt Nam National University in HCM City, said removing the residence criterion means local students will have to compete more fiercely to get a Government job.
Unlike HCM City, many localities in the country do not require household registration as a recruitment criterion for Government jobs, including Cần Thơ and Đà Nẵng. — VNS
More than $25 million planned for flooding, erosion prevention
The central coastal province of Khánh Hoà plans to spend more than VNĐ580 billion (US$25.52 million) on 60 infrastructure projects to prevent flooding, river erosion and saltwater intrusion in 2017-18.
The investment includes more than VNĐ360 billion ($15.84 million) sourced from State budget while the province and its districts will invest VNĐ99 billion ($4.35 million) and VNĐ114 billion ($5 million), respectively.
Erosion at the riverbank is endangering hundreds of households in Diên Khánh District and Nha Trang City. The most serious case is the riverbank along Cái River in four communes in Nha Trang City that needs almost half of the total investment, or VNĐ250 billion ($11 million), to build embankments.
The erosion has affected 150 houses in which 600 people reside in Vĩnh Thanh Commune and more than 350 houses inhabited by 1,000 people in Vĩnh Trung, Vĩnh Phương and Vĩnh Ngọc communes.
It was estimated that floods at the end of 2016 caused landslides along 5.3 kilometres of riverbank in Khánh Hòa.
According to the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, the area is home to about 750 households with 3,000 people.
Vietnam Electricity tops country’s debtor list with $9.7bn in liabilities
Vietnam Electricity, the country’s power monopoly, has been crowned a ‘champion title’ it can hardly take pride in – the biggest debtor among all state-run Vietnamese enterprises.
EVN employees read electricity meters in Hanoi.
In 2015 alone, EVN borrowed US$2 billion, pushing the power giant’s government-guaranteed debt upwards to a staggering $9.7 billion.
EVN accounts for 37 percent of all government-backed debts for Vietnamese enterprises, Nguyen Cao Luc, deputy chairman of the Government Office, stated as he chaired a meeting between government officials and the firm on Wednesday.
Speaking on behalf of Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Luc said EVN should begin taking measures to cut production costs and boost business effectiveness.
Responding to the government officials, EVN general director Dang Hoang An said the utility was able to ensure a reliable power supply during the first half of this year, despite a record hot spell in the Southeast Asian country.
An said EVN has been able to cut input costs by VND3 trillion ($132.16 million), but total operation expenses have increased by VND7.230 trillion ($318.5 million) due to rising coal and gas prices coupled with increasing foreign exchange rates.
The general director underlined that EVN is capable of ensuring a power supply for the rest of the year.
Luc, the Government Office deputy head, also requested that EVN pay close attention to ensuring safe operating procedures at the company’s hydropower plants.
In late May, seven schoolchildren in the south-central province of Phu Yen were swimming in a local river when the water level suddenly rose and washed four of them away.
The incident was caused by a scheduled release of water from the EVN-run Song Ba Ha Hydropower Plant and the four kids were later confirmed dead.
“[EVN] should not allow its water release to flood lower ground [like that case in Phu Yen],” Luc demanded.
“You cannot simply say that ‘the release is in line with protocols’ when such a terrible thing happened. Those protocols are problematic. Does EVN have a solution to fix them?”
The governmental delegation previously worked with Vinacomin, Vietnam’s largest coal producer, and heard its cry for help over an unsold inventory of 9.3 million metric tons of coal.
Vinacomin has attributed the unsold stock to a planned purchase cut of two million tons from EVN.
At Wednesday’s meeting with EVN, Luc said the trade ministry and its finance counterpart should work on a solution for the power utility to keep buying those two million tons of coal from Vinacomin.
“Buying Vinacomin’s coal is a way for EVN to help the government meet its economic growth target,” he explained.
TUOI TRE NEWS
VCAR - Vietnam Limousine for the Southeast Asian market
VCAR, a new generation Limousine of Vietnam, has been launched at a recent ceremony with the participation of nearly 300 businessmen and investors from many Southeast Asian countries like Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Singapore.
Since the limousine first appeared in Vietnam 5 years ago, thousands of limousines with luxurious and comfortable interiorshave been sold. To grasp this trend, Vinter Capital Group Corporation and its close joint venture partner, Dasan, has manufactured limousines with VCAR brand for the purpose of exporting to Malaysia and other Southeast Asian countries,with the support of the parent company Dynamic Investment Fund from Vinter Capital Group Corporation based in Malaysia, Vietnam and Thailand.
At the launching ceremony of the new model of limousine, Vinter and Dasan introduced the three versions of VCAR New Generation Limousines, includingVCAR VIP, VCARSolati and VCAR X with excellent and valuable interiors.
“VCAR Limousine brings about totally new experiences with luxury and comfortable interiors. I hope that the venture between Vinter Capital Group and Dasan will create and bring more versions of VCAR limousine, especially VCAR X to Malaysia in the coming time”, said a Malaysian entrepreneur at the ceremony.
"Limousine has beenfavored in Vietnam since the very first day. Six versions of limousine have been introduced in the market for the past 5 years. All the essentials of limousine in Vietnam are currently crystallized in VCAR X, a President's new generation version in Vietnam, produced by Dasan,” said Mr. Le Thanh Tuan, President of VCAR Limousine.
“The Malaysian market is hard-to-please and much larger compared to Vietnam. Even though the population of Malaysia is only one third of Vietnam, Malaysia’s GDP is three times higher than that of Vietnam. Malaysia’s total number of tourists and revenue from tourism are three times higher, and the income per capita is six times higher. The transportation infrastructure is also one of the best among ASEAN countries. Therefore, VCAR X with its outstanding features would be able to meet the best needs in Malaysia. We believe that the limousine, which is highly favored in Vietnam, could be developed in Malaysia,” Tuan said.
Dasan and Vinter Capital Grouphave conducted a lot of researches, improvement and investment in order to produce the VCAR limousine with the best standard and unique design to satisfy requirements of the Malaysian market in particular and the Southeast Asian markets in general.
President of Dasan, Mr. Dang Quang Khanh, said: “Dasan and Vinter Capital Group Corporation will promote operations and fully exploit the assembly and production capacity of factories in Malaysia and supply our products to Malaysia and ASEAN countries in the near future. We will constantly improve the technologies and designs to create more variants of VCAR limousine to satisfy and suit the market trend of Malaysia in particular, as well as other countries in general. Vinter Capital Group Corporation and Dasan expect thatVCAR limousine will be the first Vietnam car brand to reach out to the world".
“This event is the milestone of success and close joint venture between Dasan and Vinter Capital Group Corporation. We have committed strongly to support Dasan in expanding the market of VCAR limousine in Malaysia and other ASEAN countries as soon as possible,” said Mr. Elvin Chew Chee Wooi and Ms. Dolly Hoang Minh Tuyet, Chairman and General Director of Vinter Capital Group.
“Dasan and Vinter Capital Group had seriously prepared over a year to get this event done. We plan to let the first VCAR limousine to be driven in Malaysia within the next three months,” said Mr. Dang Quang Khanh.
VCAR X, a President's new generation version has included all the essentials of existing limousines in Vietnam. Besides strengths of "Ground Specialist", VCAR X also eliminates redundant and impractical items and overcomes inherent weaknesses of the President version (with two 180-degree-rotation seats), and adds unique interior features that are equipped for the President version.
With the overwhelming and positive respond by the entrepreneurs and investors from the ASEAN markets, Vinter Capital Group Corporation has committed to launch the limousine as soon as possible.
Not only manufacturing limousine, Vinter has also actively involved in several segments of business such as property development and investment, agriculture sector, legal and consulting services and resort and restaurant services. Investors and entrepreneurs can get more information and contact us by visiting to our website(www.vintercapitalgroup.com).
Some photos of the new model:
Hanoi to crackdown on fruit street vendors
The Hanoi's Department of Industry and Trade is targeting fruits and flower vendors as part of a pavement clean-up and food hygiene drive.
Street vendors will be forced to move indoor
A representative from the Department of Industry and Trade said Hanoians consumed 52,000 tonnes of fruits a month and the locally-grown fruits only met 18% of the demand. As most fruits are imported from other provinces and overseas, the city needs better management to prevent unsafe products and products with unknown origin.
The authorities aim to persuade all street vendors in the city to register for business within this year.
The street vendors will be forced to move indoors and be required to have a sign board, shelves and equipment to preserve the fruits.
The sellers must also have knowledge about food safety and hygiene.
The authorities will also apply a series of policies to control quality and origin of the fruits. The sellers must have detail information about their suppliers or active certificate from VietGap and GlobalGap.
Le Hong Thang, director of the Department of Industry and Trade, said they had divided the sellers into three groups including the supermarkets and shopping centres, the wholesale markets and flea markets and finally the individual street sellers on the pavements who are considered the most difficult ones to manage.
Thang said they would start to pilot a ‘management programme’ for the street vendors.
There are also opinions that the government should set standards for retail stores and issue official regulations if the pilot programme proves successful in the city centre.
The Department of Industry and Trade will continue to complete the plan. Vu Dinh Phu, president of Hanoi Supermarket Association, said unhygienic food had appeared in supposedly reputable supermarkets.
Phu also advocated tightened management over street vendors, which he described as ‘necessary’.
Former oil and gas officials: the path from high posts to prison
A number of bosses in the oil & gas sector have been charged by law enforcement agencies for unprofitable multi-trillion projects.
The list of high-ranking executives prosecuted and detained has grown.
The police have decided to begin criminal proceedings against five people in a case of “intentionally acting against state regulations on economic management, thus causing serious consequences”, which occurred at PVTEX (polyester manufacturer), PVC KBC (investment, construction & installation) and related units.
The investigation agency has ordered the arrest of four defendants and search warrants for five defendants, including Tran Trung Chi Hieu, former president of PVTEX, and Vu Dinh Duy, former general director of PVTEX.
Vu Dinh Duy, a well-known name in Vietnam, has fled the country to avoid the charge. Duy left Vietnam in October 2016 under the guise of having medical treatment overseas, but has not been found since then.
PVTEX is a subsidiary of state-owned PetroVietnam, the country’s oil and gas giant.
The three others include Vu Phuong Nam, chief accountant of PVTEX, Dao Ngo Hoang, former head of the trade division, and Do Van Hong, former chair and CEO of PVC KBC.
Duy was appointed to the post of general director of the plant in July 2009. In February 2014, he quit the post, leaving VND7 trillion in massive losses. In December 2014, Duy was appointed by the Hai Phong City People’s Committee as deputy director of the Hai Phong City Industry & Trade Department.
However, Duy was not at the post for long. Just six months later, in June 2015, the then Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang appointed Duy as deputy director of the Department of Safety Techniques and Industrial Environment. Later Hoang appointed him to the post of member of the board of directors of Vinachem, the chemicals group, in April 8, 2016.
The decision on the appointment was released just one day before Hoang left the post of minister. Within two years, the ex-chief of PVTEX was appointed three times to three different posts.
The Dinh Vu Polyester Manufacturing Plant is another project in the oil & gas sector which has leaders facing criminal charges.
Prior to that, in September 2016, police took criminal proceedings against 12 people for intentionally acting against the state’s regulations on economic management and property embezzlement. They became involved in a massive loss of VND3.3 trillion at PVC.
Trinh Xuan Thanh, former chair of the board of directors, one of the prosecuted, has fled the country.
Besides Thanh and Duy, another ex-official fled abroad - Le Chung Dung, who was the deputy CEO of PVC.
M. Ha, VNN
Social News 26/6
Vietnam traffic death toll remains a national disgrace
Over the last decade, hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent on campaigns to remind the public of the dangers of drinking and driving, failing to buckle up, not wearing helmets and using mobiles while on road.
Despite all that money, time and effort, the country doesn’t have much to show for it— as just about as many Vietnamese are dying on roads and highways this year as they did in prior years.
The latest unwelcome news in fatality estimates released by the National Committee for Traffic Safety show that 4,000 people died in traffic accidents involving motor vehicles in the first six months of 2017.
The number of deaths is 380 more than the target of 3,650 set by the Vietnam government for the 6-month period January 1-June 30, 2107. The government aims to reduce traffic deaths for 2017 to 7,300 or below.
Meanwhile, the number of serious traffic injuries for the period was estimated at approximately 8,000, which is statistically insignificant from the number of injuries for the first six months of last year.
Outcomes of project to send 600 intellectuals to communes
The Ministry of Interior has launched a program to send 600 young intellectuals to work as Vice Chairpersons of extremely poor communes in 64 districts nationwide.
The 5-year project has helped train young staff for local administrations and has boosted local socio-economic development.
The graduates worked in disadvantaged localities with responsibility and enthusiasm. An assessment report said that 97% of the young intellectuals have fulfilled their tasks and actively engaged in local socio-economic development and defense.
Ninh Thi Kim Thao, Vice Chairwoman of the Ban Xen commune People’s Committee, Lao Cai province, said “I had to learn about the customs of local ethnic people. I listened to their opinions and their situation before giving them new information and advice. Gradually they understood.”
The dynamism and enthusiasm of young graduates brought a fresh working style to the localities. Dien Bien province received 32 people to work as Vice Chairpersons of communal People’s Committees. The young officials got involved in farming and production and encouraged ethnic people to send their children to school, build a cultural lifestyle, and abandon backward customs. At the end of the project, 30 of them were offered new jobs.
Mua A Vang, Deputy Head of Dien Bien province’s National Assembly delegation, said “The young intellectuals have instructed people how to grow plants, raise animals, and develop their household economy. They introduced a professional working style to communal activities.”
Tran Cong Thuat, Vice Secretary of the Quang Binh provincial Party Committee, said the young deputy heads in Minh Hoa district, have fulfilled their tasks of updating local people on laws and policies concerning environmental protection and new rural development. “The 600 young intellectuals have capitalized on their strengths and practiced what they learnt at universities. The project has been judged successful and we hope it will continue."
Rare monkeys left to disappear in central Vietnam
People in the central province of Quang Nam fear that a group of rare douc langurs is being slowly wiped out from existence due to a lack of conservation efforts.
Locals said there were around 100 grey-shanked douc langurs (Pygathrix cinerea) in the province, but now only a few dozen can be spotted.
Nguyen Van Cuong, a farmer in the mountainous district of Nui Thanh, said around 10 years ago, many people in the area cleared forest to plant acacia trees for wood, driving the primates away.
Then poaching made it worse for the rare animals, he said.
“The monkeys used to jump around beautifully in this vast area of jungle. It’s very easy to recognize them as they would be making a lot of noise,” Cuong said of the animals, which he described as gentle.
The grey-shanked species, which has been listed as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, is native to Quang Nam and several other central provinces. Last year the Fauna and Flora International announced a discovery of more than 500 individuals in the region, bringing the group’s population worldwide to around 1,000 members.
Phan Minh Huan, a local officer in charge of forest protection, said his team has reported to the province government about the situation and organized campaigns asking locals not to harm the animals.
He said the poachers are people from outside the province.
Huan said there has not been any official plan to protect the monkeys, and conservation efforts will require money.
Phan Tuan, the province’s chief forest management official, only promised that a study will be conducted and there will be solutions.
Meet the Saigon man who is firefighter by night, test-taker by day
Trang Thanh Nam was among the firefighters dispatched to a severe blaze in Ho Chi Minh City on June 22 night, when it was only hours before his important national high-school examination.
The 21-year-old and 200 other firefighters had to work through the night to put out the raging inferno that engulfed a warehouse District 4, even though he was supposed to sit for the natural science test the following morning.
Vietnamese students began sitting for a three-day national examination, whose results are used for both high-school graduation and college entrance, on June 21.
Nam, a high school graduate who works at the Ho Chi Minh City fire department, attended the exam to use the result for his university admission.
“I knew I had to get up early to arrive at the test-taking venue on time,” the young firefighter told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper at the scene of fire, when the blaze was controlled at first light on Friday.
“However, the fire looked disastrous and I believed I had to stay with my colleagues to prevent it from spreading further.”
His colleagues did ask Nam to get back to the fire dept headquarters to take some rest before the exam, where students would sit for the physics and chemistry tests, but the young firefighter insisted on continuing his duty.
“I could not stand seeing my teammates were sweating to fight the fire when I myself did nothing to help,” he explained.
“I had decided that I would only leave the scene when the fire was killed.
“I’d rather skip the exam than seeing the fire sweep through other houses in the area.”
The blaze was completely extinguished at 5:00 am on June 23. Only by that time did Nam agree to get back to his unit, changing clothes and heading for the exam venue.
He arrived on time and told Tuoi Tre later that “[I] did my tests quite well.”
Nam’s story has won the heart of many Tuoi Tre readers, who all wish he would have good results for the most important test of Vietnamese students.
Others suggest some university grant a scholarship to him or accept him without waiting for the exam results.
Sunway Hotel Hanoi launches the project to support VN underprivileged youngsters
Sunway Hotel Hanoi launched a project aiming to support Vietnamese underprivileged youth on Thursday, giving kids an opportunity to earn regular income from quilling handicrafts products.
The hotel, part of Malaysia’s Sunway Group, held a signing ceremony to launch its collaboration with the Quỳnh Hoa Charity Vocational Training Centre. It is Sunway’s first project to support Vietnamese underprivileged youngsters.
It aims to offer the disadvantaged in the Quỳnh Hoa Centre a steady market for their quilling handicrafts from paper such as pictures, cards, jewelry boxes, etc. These products will be selected and presented as a souvenir to customers in the hotel and be displayed and sold at the hotel lounge.
“Social responsibility forms an integral part of Sunway Group’s business framework. In Sunway, we believe that human beauty is made of acts of kindness. Giving support to the disadvantaged both brings them a light of hope for a better life and improves the quality of the society in Việt Nam, where Sunway Group realises a full potential for tourism and service industries,” said Leslie Chiyoma, Sunway Hotel Hanoi’s general manager.
He added that the hotel is driven by the motto: “Giving a fishing rod is better than giving a fish”.
The Quỳnh Hoa Centre, part of the Organization for the Support and Education of Disadvantaged Children (OSEDC), was founded in 2007. It aims to provide vocational training, career orientation and job opportunities to underprivileged children from all over the country, including Agent Orange victims’ children, disabled and homeless children. All training courses are free, covering a broad range of skills such as sewing, embroidery, silk flower making, knitting, mat making, etc.
The centre’s director, Nguyễn Quỳnh Hoa, said at the event on Thursday that during its early years, the centre had to face lack of financial support, inadequate facilities, a lack of suitable jobs for the disabled, and a poor volume of sales. Later, thank to a strong determination to cope with difficulties of both teachers and children in the centre as well as the support from the authorities, charitable organisations, donors, companies, university students and media, the centre managed to overcome all the obstacles.
The centre houses 60 students.
In 2010, Quilling (Paper filigree) was added to the centre’s training curriculum and became a favourite skill of the disabled. They make the quilling products which have also become popular among both domestic and foreign customers. This helps them earn their own living.
Water discharge affects agricultural land in Cà Mau
Thousands of hectares of agricultural land in Cà Mau Province’s Thới Bình District have been affected after forest management companies opened sewer sluices and discharged floodwater.
U Minh Hạ and U Minh Thượng forest management companies in the southern provinces of Cà Mau and Kiên Giang, respectively, discharged sewer water as the melaleuca forest started flooding in May, but failed to do so in the time announced, the local People’s Committee said.
This has affected around 6,500ha of agricultural land in Biển Bạch Đông and Tân Bằng communes.
The communes’ people’s committees said the companies announced the discharge time but did not say when they would close the sluices. The sewer water has polluted the land and affected agricultural production and people’s lives.
The People’s Committee of Thới Bình District has proposed that the provincial People’s Committee ask the forest companies to share their schedules with locals to avoid this problem in the future.
American tourist stabbed to death on Saigon backpacker street
An American tourist was stabbed to death during a fight with a Vietnamese man in Ho Chi Minh City's backpacker district on Thursday night.
Police have identified the suspect, allegedly with a history of drug addiction, and are searching for him, HCMC Police’s news website reported.
An initial investigation found that Stephen Marshall Pendeeton had got caught up in a fight with a Vietnamese man on Pham Ngu Lao Street, a popular nighttime venue among foreigners.
The 22-year-old tourist reportedly tried to escape down an alley but was chased after and stabbed to death. His attacker then fled the scene.
The cause of their conflict is not immediately known.
Pham Ngu Lao is part of the city’s popular backpacker district with bars, spas and clubs staying open until late at night. It draws up to 2,000 foreign visitors every day.
Ho Chi Minh City is one of the top tourist destinations in Vietnam, welcoming more than five million foreign arrivals last year. But safety issues such as muggings and violent street attacks remain a concern for visitors.
Litchi in Bac Giang sold well
As many as 39,451 tonnes of litchi have been sold in the northern province of Bac Giang, equivalent to around 40 percent of the total production, said a local official on June 23.
Of the figure, nearly 30,049 tonnes are early-season litchi and the remaining are of main crop, according to Deputy Director of the provincial Department of Industry and Trade Dao Xuan Cuong.
Over 11,000 tonnes and 13 tonnes were shipped to China and Australia, respectively. Roughly 27,756 tonnes were sold nationwide, mostly in northern localities, Hanoi, the central city of Da Nang, the central province of Thua Thien-Hue, Ho Chi Minh City and several southern provinces.
In response to Luc Ngan – Bac Giang Litchi Week, 45 tonnes of Bac Giang litchi were supplied to Big C supermarket chain, and more than 3 tonnes went to Hapro and around 2 tonnes to Saigon Co.op chain, which all meet VietGap or GlobalGAP standards.
This year, litchi fetch 25,000-72,000 VND (1.1-2.6 USD) per kilogram, or 5-10 percent higher than last year, reported the department.
Mass yoga demonstration attracts crowds in Vinh Phuc
A mass yoga demonstration took place in the northern province of Vinh Phuc on June 24, attracting nearly 1,000 yoga lovers from Hanoi and the northern provinces of Hai Duong, Phu Tho, Bac Giang and Vinh Phuc.
In response to third International Yoga Day (June 21), the event also formed part of celebrations for the 45th anniversary of Vietnam-India diplomatic ties and the 10th anniversary of bilateral strategic partnership.
Speaking at the event, Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Le Duy Thanh said the event aims to further strengthen mutual understanding between the two peoples.
Indian Ambassador to Vietnam Parvathaneni Harish, for his part, expressed wish that via the event, more people in Vinh Phuc will practise yoga.
The event was a joint effort among the provincial authorities, the Indian embassy and Bao Viet Insurance.
SMEs assist disadvantaged households in Thai Binh province
The Vietnam Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (VASME) has committed to providing continuous support for disadvantaged and policy beneficiary families in the northern province of Thai Binh from 2017 - 2020.
The documents on cooperation in social welfares were signed between the VASME and authorities of Thai Thuy and Dong Hung districts of Thai Binh on June 22 and 23.
It was as part of activities to implement the joint Resolution of the Government and the Presidium of the Vietnam Fatherland Front (VFF) Central Committee on sustainable poverty reduction and the building of new-style rural areas and civilised cities.
Accordingly, the VASME will mobilise resources from its members and coordinate with the VFF to build houses for specially disadvantaged families and the families with people devoting to the nation in the two districts.
The association will ensure that assistance will be given to the targeted group in a timely and effective manner.
Addressing the signing ceremony, VASME President Nguyen Van Than said over the past years, the association has participated in the campaign for the poor and social welfare programmes in many localities across the nation.
From 2017 to 2020, the association will support five breeding cows to the targeted families in Thai Thuy and help build five houses for other households in Dong Hung each year.
Conference looks into people-to-people diplomacy
The Vietnam Union of Friendship Organisations (VUFO) and the ActionAid International Vietnam (AAV) organised a conference in Hanoi on June 23 to share information about people-to-people diplomacy.
Speaking at the event, VUFO Vice President and Secretary General Don Tuan Phong said over the past years, VUFO has made achievements in work regarding peace, solidarity and friendship; effective mobilisation, use and management of capital raised from foreign non-governmental organisations for socio-economic development, and information for external service.
In the near future, Phong called attention to personnel training, mechanism building to further improve mass organisations’ coordination in international activities, and communications to raise public awareness of global integration, particularly among young generations.
Speakers also talked about multilateral affairs, trend of foreign non-governmental work in Vietnam, among others.
AAV representatives updated participants about efficiency of the past and underway projects in Vietnam
Vietnam-Laos friendly sports exchange opens in Vientiane
A friendly sports exchange between the Vietnamese embassy in Laos and the Lao Presidential Office kicked off in Vientiane on June 23.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Deputy Minister-cum-deputy head of the Lao Presidential Office Kingmano Phommahaxay said the event is meant to celebrate the 55th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic ties and the 40th anniversary of the signing of the Vietnam-Laos Treaty of Amity and Comprehensive Cooperation.
Vietnamese Ambassador to Laos Nguyen Ba Hung said the event contributes to tightening solidarity and mutual understanding between Vietnamese and Lao representative offices, as well as between the two governments and peoples.
Participating in the exchange were four male table tennis duos and 18 male and female badminton duos.
EVN brings electricity to rural areas, islands
The Electricity of Vietnam (EVN) said it has continued investing in power projects in rural and remote areas and islands, especially localities with a low rate of rural households gaining access to electricity.
The group has called for official development assistance and preferential loans from international organisations such as the World Bank, Asian Development Bank and German development bank KfW.
Regarding a PM-approved programme on power supply for rural, mountainous areas and islands for 2013-2020, the EVN has worked closely with localities to set out priorities in line with annual funding from the State budget. Under the programme, projects designed for 2016-2020 need 13.72 trillion VND (603.68 million USD) while the State budget allocated for them only amounts to 1.14 trillion VND (50.16 million USD), equivalent to 10.6 percent.
During the 2011-2015 period, the EVN focused on connecting ethnic communities in the northern mountainous, Central Highlands and southwest regions to the national grid, with a total investment of over 794 million USD.
In 2016 alone, the group brought electricity to Lai Son and Hon Nghe island in the southern province of KienGiang and Cham islet in the central province of Quang Nam.
Currently, electricity has been available in 99.96 percent of communes nationwide, with 98.69 percent of rural households having access to power sources.
The EVN also supplies electricity for 11 out of 12 island districts.
Labour Confederation, Vietnam News Agency ink cooperation deal
The Vietnam General Confederation of Labour (VGCL) and the Vietnam News Agency (VNA) signed a cooperation agreement for 2017 – 2022 in Hanoi on June 23.
Addressing the signing ceremony, VGCL President Bui Van Cuong said the collaboration programmes between the two sides have been implemented effectively, including the Vietnam Trade Union Programme on the VNA’s Vnews TV channel.
Stories on the Vnews channel and other publications of the VNA have reflected the living and working conditions of Vietnamese labourers, particularly those working in industrial parks, export processing zones, as well as other issues like social insurance, health insurance, and housing, he said.
He calls on the Vietnam News Agency to build more programmes to meet the information demand of 10 million trade union members and nearly 20 million labourers across the nation, contributing to the development of Vietnam’s Trade Union and the working class.
VNA General Director Nguyen Duc Loi thanked the VGCL for assisting VNA reporters.
Agreeing with the VGCL’s suggestion to increase the coverage of the organisation’s activities on all VNA publications, he called on the confederation to provide early and full information for public news agencies including the VNA so that they can make quality press works.
On the occasion, the VGCL presented the insignia “For the cause of Trade Union” to five VNA leaders while VNA gave the insignia “For the cause of the VNA” to two VGCL leaders.
The State-owned VNA is a major news agency in Southeast Asia with more than 1,300 reporters and editors, and a network of representative offices in all 63 cities and provinces of Vietnam and 30 in foreign countries.
Besides the five main editorial departments, it runs a TV channel - the Vnews, an online newspaper – VietnamPlus in five languages-, and various publications.
Party chief updates Hanoi voters on NA session’s outcomes
Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong and other National Assembly (NA) deputies of Hanoi met with voters in Hai Ba Trung and Dong Da districts on June 23 to update them on the outcomes of the freshly concluded third session of the 14th NA.
At the meetings, most of local voters highly valued the outcomes of the third sitting, saying that question and answer (Q&A) sessions showed increasing democracy in the parliament’s activities while reflecting the public’s aspirations and concerns, as well as the sense of responsibility of deputies and heads of sectors.
Voters expressed their hope that heads of sectors will keep their promises, especially in settling public debts and ensuring food safety. They also asked the NA to strengthen its supreme supervision and ensure the strict enforcement of the Constitution and laws.
While applauding the initial encouraging outcomes in the fight against corruption which have helped regain the people’s trust, Hanoi voters also mentioned numerous issues of public concern such as State apparatus re-arrangement, gender equality, child protection, regional connectivity, illegal deforestation and sand mining.
Speaking at the meetings, Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong thanked voters for keeping a close watch on the third session, noting that the three-day Q&A activities focused on agriculture and rural development; culture, sports and tourism; health care; and planning and investment, clarifying shortcomings and measures to address.
The NA issued a resolution which will be a foundation for the Government, ministries and sectors to realise what cabinet members and heads of sectors had promised and for the supervision of this work, he noted.
The Party leader emphasised that the problem is how to realise and supervise the performance of the promises of ministers and heads of sectors, particularly in settling bad and public debt, ensuring food safety, preventing violence, protecting the environment, and preserving national cultural identities.
He thanked voters for recognising the recent efforts and outcomes in the fight against corruption, adding that many senior officials have been brought to trial.
Stressing the resolve to combat corruption and wastefulness, the Party chief said this is a common fight of the entire Party, people and army, expressing his hope that the people will always keep their trust, support and actively take part in building the Party and a pure and strong political system.
The leader also acknowledged their wholehearted and responsible opinions and support to NA deputies, which helped legislators to better fulfill their roles and tasks.
PM urges HCM City to create favourable start-up environment
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has asked the southern largest economic of Ho Chi Minh City to create a favourable start-up environment for those with great willpower.
At a working session with HCM City’s key leaders on June 23, PM Phuc said it is a must for the city to build an innovative economy, become a momentum for sustainable development and drive the country’s intensive international integration.
He emphasised core values the southern hub should look towards, including smart urban infrastructure, smart management, technocracy, inclusive growth and equal development opportunities for all people.
“HCM City’s key objective is to generate jobs with increasing incomes, create sustainable collection sources for State budget and leave no one behind development,” the Government leader stressed.
PM Phuc voiced his hope that HCM City will put forth long-term planning schemes which target sustainable development, and urged the locality to review its land use plan and report the results to the PM in August.
The PM requested HCM City to take the lead in terms of administrative reform, strive to enter the list of the five localities with the best provincial competitiveness index, and create new breakthroughs in private investment.
To that end, HCM City, together with the capital city of Hanoi, should pioneer in start-up and innovation and become an international centre of education and health care, he said.
The government leader asked the municipal Party Organisation and administration to focus efforts on removing bottlenecks hindering the city’s socio-economic development, especially in transport infrastructure, and renew thoughts. “The Government will accompany the city’s innovations,” he affirmed.
At the meeting, PM Phuc also praised the city’s contributions to the country’s GDP and state budget collection.
In the first half of this year, HCM City’s economy grew 7.76 percent as compared with 7.47 percent in the same period last year, with the best performers being services, industry, construction, and agriculture. It is a huge task for the city to reach the economic growth rate of 8.5 percent set for the last six months and the following years, the leader said.
PM Phuc also pointed out a range of limitations such as decreased competitiveness index and below-average readings of unofficial spending, equal competitiveness, legal institutions and systematic dynamism. At the same time, the city has to face with such problems as flooding, traffic jams and pollution, he said.
Regarding the expansion of Tan Son Nhat International Airport, PM Phuc urged relevant agencies and units to promptly seek experts and organisations to make scientific assessments so as to soon implement the project, explaining that the Long Thanh international airport project, which aims to reduce the overload of Tan Son Nhat airport, is scheduled to be completed in 2025-2027.
Representatives from ministries and agencies held that HCM City has become an attractive destination for investors and stressed the need for the locality to select suitable projects and prioritise urgent programmes in order to create impulses for its growth.
They also suggested HCM City intensify the decentralisation of management at different levels and finalise a legal framework, thus giving a facelift for the locality.
Speaking at the working session, Secretary of the municipal Party Committee Nguyen Thien Nhan said that HCM City commits to exert all-out efforts to complete socio-economic targets and overfulfill the target of State budget collection.
HCM City will continue with administrative reform and strive to launch the granting of investment licences under the one-stop model in September, in tandem with settling pressing issues like waste and traffic jams.
Quang Tri learns public administration experiences from RoK
Professors and experts shared their experiences and measures to improve public administration reform with the authorities of central Quang Tri province during a seminar held from June 20-23.
The seminar was part of a cooperation programme between Quang Tri province and the Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA).
The professors and experts, who came from universities of the Republic of Korea (RoK), delivered presentations on the programme’s targets and the application of e-government in direct foreign investment.
Representatives of provincial departments and agencies studied the feasibility of the proposed measures to improve provincial administration services and apply electronic services in State agencies in the province.
After two years of implementing the cooperation programme, a series of seminars and field trips to the RoK for provincial officials were organised, enabling them to get new approaches to state management in the RoK.
The province’s public administration reform has reaped encouraging outcomes, raising capacities and personnel management efficiency in state agencies of all levels and contributing to Quang Tri’s socio-economic development.
World Bank helps Vietnam improve transport connectivity, forest protection
The World Bank (WB) in Vietnam on June 23 announced that it has recently approved a 300 million USD fund to support Vietnam in enhancing transport connectivity in countryside and forest protection in eight coastal localities.
Two projects to receive financing include the Central Highlands Connectivity Improvement Project and the Forest Sector Modernisation and Coastal Resilience Enhancement Project.
Half of the funding (150 million USD) will be spent to the connectivity improvement project, which is designed to upgrade 142 kilometres of National Highway 19 and strengthen transport safety and resilience to national disasters.
Once the project is finished, communities in Binh Dinh and Gia Lai provinces will benefit from easier access to markets, reduced commuting time and better road safety. The upgraded highway is expected to serve up to 6,200 light motor vehicles per day.
The other half of the financing will support the management of coastal forests in Quang Tri, Thanh Hoa, Nghe An, Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Thua Thien-Hue, Quang Ninh provinces and Hai Phong city.
The project is hoped to create jobs for residents in more than 900 communities across 257 communes in eight benefiting localities while offering opportunities for ecotourism and aquaculture development.
Investing in environmentally-sustainable projects is investing in the future of Vietnam, said Ousmane Dione, the WB Country Director for Vietnam, adding that the WB fully supports Vietnam’s efforts to strengthen its resilience to climate change and to serve the needs of communities and businesses.
The projects are the most vivid examples of implementing the WB’s Country Partnership Framework that strengthens Vietnam’s sustainability and economic development in the long term, he noted.
Conference promotes rights of people with disabilities
International cooperation is crucial to successfully realising the rights of people with disabilities, heard a conference jointly held by the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA) and Caritas - a Catholic charitable organisation in Hanoi on June 23.
This is part of the activities in preparation for the country’s first report on the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) to the UN in the coming time.
The promotion and protection of the rights of persons with disabilities is a priority in Vietnam’s policies towards this disadvantaged group, affirmed participants at the event. They said it has been represented through a system of legal regulations and the country’s ratification of the UNCRPD in 2015.
In the past years, international cooperation in the field has been consolidated and promotion of disabled people’s rights has drawn attention from numerous international organisations and non-governmental organisations.
The attendants also shared experience in international collaboration at the event.
Some representatives asked the MoLISA to further support for localities in providing healthcare for the disabled. They also suggested that relevant branches set up specific support policies and encourage investment in rehabilitation centres for persons with disabilities.
Vietnam has around 7.2 million people with disabilities, accounting for 7.8 percent of the population, one of the high levels in the Asia- Pacific. More than half (58 percent) of the disabled population are women, 28.3 percent are children and 15 percent live in poverty, according to statistics in 2016 of the National Committee for People with Disabilities.
MoLISA’s statistics showed that around 900,000 people with disabilities are receiving monthly allowance. All centrally-governed cities and provinces have built rehabilitation facilities for the disabled. During 2011-2015, around 140,000 people with disabilities received vocational training and found jobs through State-sponsored programmes.
Vietnam Vovinam Federation holds third congress
The Vietnam Vovinam Federation held its third national congress in Ho Chi Minh City on June 22.
In the new term, the federation will continue to promote Vovinam to international friends and introduce the country’s image while working with World, Asian and ASEAN Vovinam Federations to hold international competitions.
The federation also aims to enhance Vovinam’s development in Vietnam, especially among students and people in remote and mountainous areas of the northern and central regions.
It continues piloting a project on adding Vovinam in the curriculum of schools in HCM City. Physical teachers in Thanh Hoa, Can Tho, Dong Thap, Binh Phuoc and HCM City have been trained as Vovinam instructors to make the martial art an official subject for students.
Vovinam has to date been practiced in more than 60 countries and territories, with millions of learners in thousands of Vovinam clubs. The sport was included in the 27th SEA Games in Myanmar and the fifth Asian Beach Games in Da Nang city.
Eco-friendly aquaculture model on Ha Long Bay proves fruitful
A pilot programme “Eco-friendly aquaculture on Ha Long Bay” launched in mid-2016 in the northern province of Quang Ninh, has been a success for local fishermen.
Conducted by the Centre for Marinelife Conservation and Community Development and partners, the programme is part of the “Ha Long – Cat Ba Alliance Initiative” for 2014-2017 funded by the US government.
In April 2016, the programme was launched in Vung Vieng fishing village on Vung Ha islands, Ha Phong ward, Ha Long city.
Under the programme, 32 boat houses and rafts will be installed for aquaculture and tourism between now and 2018, with seven of them already operating, attracting hundreds of tourists daily. Half of the funds funding for the programme are sourced from Van Chai cooperative, with the remainder from the project.
Beneficiaries only pay for breeding fish and after three years they can buy the boat houses if they wish.
According to planning for aquaculture on Ha Long Bay, each participating household will be provided 300sq.m of water area and 180 sq.m of boat houses.
Tang Van Phien, Director of Van Chai cooperative, said the first seven aquaculture farming households will raise money for a production fund.
He said the cooperative was born in 2008, offering rowing as a major tourist product with 60 small bamboo craft, 115 kayaks and five dragon-shaped boats, creating 115 jobs with monthly income of 5-6 million VND (217 – 260 USD).
Phien said the cooperative had outlined a plan to offer responsible tours to foreign visitors. In 2008-2013, responsible tours were held in Vung Vieng, benefiting village households to the tune of about 2 billion VND.
About 15,000 travel to the fishing village each month, even up to 21,000 during peak months, which has pressured the environment. The cooperative assigned two workers to collect garbage and equipped 60 small bamboo crafts with garbage collecting equipment.
The cooperative drew 5,000 VND per guest from service fees to renovate a lab facility.
Nguyen Van Cong, Director of the Quang Ninh Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, attributed the success of the programme to full awareness of responsible tourism of all participating stakeholders and tourists as well.-VNA
MoLISA’s conference discusses rehabilitation models
The Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA) held a conference in Hanoi on June 22 to discuss spreading successful drug rehabilitation models.
The event was part of Action Month for Drug Prevention and Control, International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking and the “Entire people fight drug” day.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Deputy Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Vu Trong Dam said as of late May, more than 100,000 drug abusers nationwide had undergone treatment, rehabilitation and post-rehabilitation supervision.
However, relapse rates remain high, even up to 90 percent after two years, partly due to social discrimination.
Director of MoLISA’s Department of Social Vices Prevention Nguyen Xuan Lap lauded new rehabilitation models such as social re-integration support clubs, voluntary care and consulting teams and community-based rehabilitation, which have prevented thousands of drug users from relapsing.
Participants discussed vocational training, loan supply and job creation for rehabilitated people and proposed initiatives to improve policy effectiveness.
In conclusion, Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Dao Ngoc Dung asked departments and agencies to step up communications to raise public awareness of rehabilitation and to reduce discrimination against drug users.
Foreign liner brings largest number of passenger landing Ba Ria – Vung Tau
Tan Cang – Cai Mep International Terminal in southern Ba Ria – Vung Tau province on June 23 welcomed the cruise ship Majestic, carrying the largest-ever number of passengers to land at the port.
The luxury liner arrived at the dock at 6:15 am with 1,532 crew members and 3,452 passengers, who will visit Ba Ria – Vung Tau and neighbouring provinces.
The province’s border guard force has sent staff to greet passengers at the dock and help them with customs clearance.
The ship travelled from Thailand to Vung Tau province and will depart for China this evening.
Da Nang seeks to prepare sufficient water for agriculture
The central coastal city of Da Nang is deploying a number of measures to ensure adequate water for agricultural production in 2017 as prolonged hot weather likely causes droughts.
The municipal People’s Committee has promulgated drought prevention solutions such as intensifying inspections of canals and rice fields, regulating water properly, and increasing operating hours of pumping stations.
The city has also built dams on the main irrigation axis, make full use of water from ponds, streams, and canals while shifting to grow drought-resistant crops, according to Deputy Director of the municipal Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Hoang Thanh Hoa.
Deputy Director of the Da Nang Irrigation Exploitation and Management Company Le Van Sam said the company is managing 19 water reservoirs, 16 dams and two pumping stations, which together work to water a total area of over 615 hectares.
The company is upgrading the irrigation system and dredging canals, while installing dams at Hoa Trung and Dong Nghe lakes to keep water for the lower regions.
In the summer-autumn crop 2017, the agricultural sector has grown 2,522 ha of rice, 129 ha of maize, 254 ha of sesame, and 142 ha of vegetables of all kinds.
Second ISSF spotlights Industrial Revolution 4.0, smart city
The second International Student Science Forum (ISSF) took place in Ho Chi Minh City on June 22, focusing on the Industrial Revolution 4.0 and smart city development.
The three-day forum attracts the participation of 108 students from 10 countries.
They are set to present opinions on the role of the Industrial Revolution 4.0 in global development and smart city models and solutions.
Smart city services and citizens’ roles are also part of the discussion.
Addressing the opening ceremony, Nguyen Duc Nghia, Vice President of the Viet Nam National University Ho Chi Minh City (VNUHCM), said the southern city is leading Vietnam in innovations for sustainable development and integration.
The forum helps Vietnamese students exchange views and learn from their international peers, he added.
On the sidelines of the forum, international students will visit the Ho Chi Minh City high-tech industrial park and take part in exchange activities with students from the VNUHCM.
HCM City speeds up school construction to meet demand
The HCM City People’s Council’s Cultural and Social Affairs Board has instructed the city’s Department of Education and Training to speed up school construction to meet the increase in the number of students.
As many as 1,497 new classrooms will be put into use in the 2017-2018 academic year, according to the department.
The number of students is expected to increase by 59,000.
For a number of years, an average of 25,000 students whose families do not have permanent residency status newly enroll in school. Most of them live in districts 12, Gò Vấp, Bình Tân, Bình Chánh and Củ Chi.
At a meeting between the board and the department held earlier this month, Lê Hoài Nam, the department’s deputy head, said the annual increase of students posed serious difficulties for HCM City.
The city’s policy is to ensure that all children attend school, Nam said.
The department has made a detailed construction plan for each district, and all districts should draw up detailed land plans, he added.
Đỗ Đình Thiện, deputy head of People’s Committee in Bình Tân District, told Việt Nam News that the district has 100,151 students this year, an increase of 6,928 compared to last year.
The district has allocated VNĐ12.43 billion (US$545,175) to upgrade and buy teaching aids. One new kindergarten and one new primary school are under construction.
“The district is also following the city’s policy to ensure that all children, including those whose family does not have permanent residency status, attend school, which has led to a high number of students in each classroom,” Thiện said.
At primary schools in the district, for instance, each classroom has 38 students on average.
To reduce the number of students in every classroom, the district must build 100 more new schools by 2020.
“That number is a dream number,” he said, adding that it would be difficult to reach.
The district does not have enough public land to build schools, he said.
It also needs VNĐ500 billion to VNĐ1,000 billion each year from the city’s budget for school construction, but the city’s budget is too limited.
The entire city needs more than VNĐ50,000 billion for 722 school projects with a total of 12,000 classrooms by 2020.
Cheap-price shelters for patients and family members inside hospitals
Hospitals in Hà Nội are in dire need of more accommodation for hospital patients and their relatives from outside the city.
Patients and health sector workers hope that in the future, patients will have one bed each and relatives who need it will have accommodation.
Big hospitals in the city, such as Bạch Mai Hospital, Việt Đức Hospital and Central Pediatrics Hospital every day receive thousands of patients from other provinces and cities.
Each patient often has one or several family members accompanying them.
It’s common to see patients’ relatives resting in corridors, under stairs, on benches or under shade of tress in hospitals’ premises in Việt Nam. They can’t afford to rent accommodation while their loved one gets treated, putting them at risk of theft.
Facing this situation, many hospitals have called for social investment to construct temporary accommodation for patients’ relatives.
Central Lung Hospital provided new accommodation for patients’ relatives at the beginning of this year. The accommodation area, located on the top floor of a newly-built six-storey building, has three rooms with a total 34 beds.
Phạm Thành Chung, a hospital social worker, said that the rental fee was VNĐ50,000/ per person per day, cheaper than renting houses in the areas around the hospital.
Also early this year, Hà Nội-based Cancer Hospital’s Unit No 3 in Tân Triều Commune, Thanh Trì District launched cheap accommodation for patients and their relatives, with financial support from several charitable organisations.
The area, at a cost of VNĐ3.3 billion, includes three fully-equipment buildings behind the hospital. The hospital offers a bed free-of-charge to patients for their first month in the hospital then VNĐ15,000/ person per day afterwards.
Nguyễn Văn Anh, a patient’s relative said the price was ten times cheaper than renting a house outside the hospital. However, demand was twice as high as the capacity of 240 beds.
The Hospital K in Hà Nội is also offering free accommodation for 300 patients.
Nguyễn Thị Dần, 60, a patient at Hospital K in Hà Nội said that she felt very good when she could avail of this facility.
“On the first day here, other patients and I enjoyed a sweet party,” she said.
Hồ Nguyên Hoàng, a patient suffering from esophagus cancer at Hospital K, said: “We do not have to spend on accommodation and can stay at a warm place. I hope all hospitals have shelters like this for poor patients to have a place to sleep when they are admitted to the hospital.”
Hospital K director Trần Văn Thuấn said that to meet the real demand of patients, following the urging of Health Minister Nguyễn Thị Kim Tiến, the hospital has co-operated with the Việt Nam CP Breeding Joint Stock Company to construct a residential complex for patients.
It will be offered for free at first, and later, the patients only have to pay VNĐ15,000 per person each day for electricity and water, he said.
Contest on new rural area, agricultural restructuring launched
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) has launched a promotional writing contest about new rural area development and agricultural restructuring during the 2017-2020 period.
The contest, an initiative by the MARD, in collaboration with the Ministry of Information and Communications and the Việt Nam Journalists’ Association, will begin this year, with awards to be gifted every year until it concludes in 2020.
Speaking at the launch ceremony held on Thursday, MARD minister Nguyễn Xuân Cường said the contest is aimed at increasing awareness of the press, creating a consensus and ensuring a social response to the new rural development programme and restructuring work of the agriculture sector.
The contest, according to Cường, will also help spread information on the Party and State’s policies and laws on new rural development, update the works of agricultural restructuring simultaneously, and recognise and encourage journalists, writers and individuals to actively participate and contribute to the promotion of the rural area development programme in association with agricultural restructuring.
Entries can be in four media disciplines -- video, audio, print and online papers. They should be news, inspective of whether they are reports, interviews, commentaries or feature stories, and should be qualified and accurately meet demands in terms of writing skill and design.
The awards will include one first prize worth some VNĐ15 million and two second prizes worth VNĐ7 million each.
Deputy Prime Minister Vương Đình Huệ, who also attended the ceremony on Thursday, emphasised that the construction programme of new rural areas in association with agricultural restructuring was a long-term policy of the Party and the State.
“We have gone five years and achieved certain results. But there are heavy responsibilities ahead requiring cooperation of both the political system and the participation of the media,” Huệ said.
The deputy PM also stressed on the meaningfulness of the contest and important role of the media, saying channel of communication and dialogue between local authorities and the people in the implementation of the programme was essential.
Sand exploitation vessels on Chu River a grave concern
Several illegal sand exploitation vessels have been found operating along Chu River in the central province of Thanh Hoá.
However, local authorised agencies are finding it difficult to deter vessels owing to inadequate and weak human resources.
As a result, banks along the river have suffered serious erosion, narrowing the cultivable area of residents and threatening people’s safety.
On the river between Thiệu Toán and Thiệu Vũ communes in Thiệu Hoá District, some vessels were caught exploiting sand from the riverbed. Upon being chased by the inspectors’ vessel, they sped away at their fastest speed.
In Thiệu Nguyên Commune, a similar problem has occurred.
Nguyễn Văn Thảo, deputy head of Thiệu Nguyên Commune’s sand protection unit, said the unit was only able to chase vessels violating rules to stop them from illegally exploiting sand, instead of imposing fines, due to a shortage of inspectors.
He said a collaboration was necessary between authorised agencies to deter violations.
Nguyễn Văn Thắng, chairman of Thiệu Nguyên Commune’s People’s Committee, said the committee has set up a protection team with 13 members, a vessel, a belvedere and two observatory places to uncover and crack down on illegal sand exploitation vessels.
Funds were allocated from the commune’s budget. The commune has spent hundreds of millions of đồng to solve the issue, he said.
However, most vessels sped to neighbouring communes to escape chasing inspectors.
Since early this year, the committee has uncovered three cases of illegal sand exploitation, imposing fines totalling VNĐ13 million (US$572).
Phạm Đình Lam, chairman of Thiệu Toán Commune’s People’s Committee, said the committee had not granted licences to any vessel.
Lam said there were only three polices in charge of nearly 5km of the river. Therefore, illegal sand exploitation continued to occur.
In April, the committee fined two vessels fines of VNĐ3 million ($132) each.
Three arrested for eight dialysis deaths
Police in Hòa Bình Province have arrested three people suspected to be responsible for the deaths of eight patients who underwent kidney dialysis treatment at a local hospital in May.
They are Bùi Mạnh Quốc, Trần Văn Sơn and Hoàng Công Lương.
According to investigators, they will be charged in a criminal case involving one of the most serious medical incidents in recent years.
Authorities have blamed the deaths on water used in the dialysis treatment and improper maintenance and operation of medical equipment.
Bùi Mạnh Quốc, 31, director of Trâm Anh Water Treatment Ltd Co, is being investigated for manslaughter following the violation of professional rules.
Trần Văn Sơn, 27, an employee of the medical equipment department at the local General Hospital, is being investigated in connection with his lack of responsibility, leading to serious consequences.
Hoàng Công Lương, 31, a nephrology doctor, has been arrested for medical violations.
On May 29, 18 patients underwent kidney dialysis treatment at the hospital. Some later reported nausea, abdominal pain and shortness of breath.
Eight died the same day due to suspected anaphylactic shock.
The remaining 10 patients were transferred to Hà Nội’s Bạch Mai Hospital and have recovered from the incident.
Meanwhile, Trương Quý Dương, director of Hòa Bình General Hospital, and two other employees have been suspended for further investigation into the negligence and irresponsible actions that led to the incident.
Doctors volunteer to work in poor localities
As many as 78 young doctors have been recruited for a pilot project on sending doctors to disadvantaged areas, including mountainous, border areas and islands, from June.
The doctors will receive intensive training before being assigned to work in 37 poor districts in 13 provinces, the Ministry of Health said at a press conference in Hà Nội on Thursday.
The health ministry will hold a ceremony on June 28 to send seven young doctors to Bắc Hà District of the northern mountainous province of Lào Cai. The pilot project, approved by the ministry in 2013, gives priority to 62 poorest districts.
It is aimed at creating more opportunities for the poor and needy to gain access to better medical services, reduce the unnecessary transfer of patients to higher-level hospitals and ease the overload at central hospitals.
Head of the Organisation and Personnel Department Phạm Văn Tác said public health facilities at these disadvantaged areas still faced shortage of equipment, infrastructure and especially human resources.
These poor districts need some 600 doctors, he said.
The ministry has partnered with the Hà Nội Medical University to devise a framework and detailed training curricula for doctors trained under the project. Tác said the ministry will continue working with hospitals to recruit qualified doctors.
Health ministry statistics show that the country currently has more than 16,200 doctors working at the district level, making up 30 per cent of the country’s total doctors.
However, many poor districts continue to face a shortage of skills. In northern provinces such as Hà Giang, Cao Bằng and Yên Bái, many district general hospitals have only 7-8 doctors.
Fire destroys 5,000sq.m. warehouse near Sài Gòn port
A huge blaze that broke out late on Thursday night destroyed some 5,000sq.m of a warehouse near Sài Gòn Port in HCM City’s District 4.
The fire began at the first store of the warehouse, owned by the South Logistics Joint Stock Company, at around 10pm, and then quickly spread to the remaining four stores. Locals heard loud blasts from the warehouse.
No fatality was reported.
The municipal Department of Fire Prevention and Fighting mobilised nearly 200 firefighters and tens of fire trucks to the scene to extinguish the fire, which was completely stamped out at 1am on Friday.
Lê Tấn Bửu, director of the department, said the fire was huge, making it difficult for firefighters to access the site. They had to use machines to pump water from Sài Gòn River to extinguish the fire.
The case is under investigation.
Gout Research Center works with French institute, local universities to improve care
Thousands of gout patients with serious complications have been examined at the Polyclinics of the Gout Institute over the past 10 years, pointing to an alarming situation, according to doctors at the French-Vietnamese Gout Research Center.
Rare in Europe and Northern America, severe gout appears frequently in Việt Nam and several other emerging countries.
In these countries, gout is seldom treated by lowering uric acid with hypouricemic drugs, but instead pain and inflammation are treated, Dr. Thomas Bardin, co-director of the French-Vietnamese Gout Research Center, said.
Gout is caused by an excess of uric acid, causing formation of crystals in the joints.
The crystals first generate acute excruciating pain episodes and will end in joint destruction as crystals infiltrate the joints of patients not treated with hypouricemic drugs, Bardin said at a meeting held on June 20 in HCM City.
If uric acid excess, the primary cause of the disease, is not dealt with, crystal deposits will grow heavier with time, leading to serious clinical consequences.
Crippling complications appear: joints are damaged and crystals accumulate in various parts of the body, especially the skin and the kidneys.
Health experts said that neglected gout leads to premature death. Gout is associated with hypertension, type 2 diabetes, cardiopathies, kidney failure, dyslipidemia and increased risk of cardiovascular death.
People generally think of gout as a disease acute in nature and untreatable, and generally address it with anti-inflammatory drugs harmful to the stomach, kidneys and heart.
Many patients use cortisol derivatives, which have anti-inflammatory effects but do not keep uric acid down and may cause many side effects, including obesity, diabetes, hypertension and osteoporosis.
In Việt Nam, patients sometimes use medicines from unknown sources. Despite their importance, recommendations about lifestyle such as physical exercise, weight loss, and restriction on alcoholic drinks.
The French-Vietnamese Gout Research Center is closely associated with the Polyclinics of the Gout Institute as there are numerous patients at the clinic whose conditions can be examined for research purposes.
The aim of the research is to improve gout care through optimising the gout treatment protocol, and to better understand the most serious complications of the disease, a goal that can only be achieved through cooperation at the university level between Việt Nam and France and, in the future, with other nations.
In 2011, the Gout Research Institute, now the French-Vietnamese Gout Research Center, was established with the purpose of improving gout management in interaction with the Polyclinics.
In 2014, the Gout Institute began a gout management programme by introducing EULAR (European League of Associations for Rheumatism) recommendations about hypo-uricemic treatment.
The management protocol, first developed by Vietnamese and then improved by French-Vietnamese cooperation, combines modern medicine with nonpharmacological therapies (diet, lifestyle changes, ailments), intensive follow-ups and full patient education.
On June 20, many cooperation agreements were signed at the Gout Institute.
The agreement between the French-Vietnamese Gout Research Center and University Paris 7 (also called Paris Diderot) officially recognised the French-Vietnamese Gout Research Center.
The agreement signed within the framework of health cooperation, an active field of France-Vietnam cooperation, will encourage bilateral exchanges between researchers on both sides.
An agreement between the French-Vietnamese Gout Research Center and the HCM City University of Medicine and Pharmacy was also signed for better cooperation between both sides and to assert the involvement of the Center in medical research in Việt Nam.
The agreement between the Polyclinics of the Gout Institute and Military Hospital 175-Defense Ministry will formalise the ongoing cooperation between the two health institutions in managing gout patients with serious complications.
This cooperation will help bring about a coordinated procedure which will provide better care for gout patients.
Conference focuses on teaching and learning in the digital age
The latest trends in language teaching and learning in the digital age will be the main topic of discussion at the Vietnam-USA Society English Centers’ annual Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) conference held on July 21 at the White Palace Convention Center in HCM City’s Phú Nhuận District.
The conference is expected to attract more than 2,000 English language teachers in Việt Nam and other countries in the region.
They will have an opportunity to hear about the latest teaching trends through presentations by leading English language teaching (ELT) experts from the City University of New York, Oxford University, Cambridge University, Griffith University, and from major publishers like Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press, Macmillan, Pearson, Cengage, and National Geographic Learning.
With the theme “Redefining English Language Teaching & Learning in the 21st Century Context”, the 12th TESOL conference features presentations and discussions on what it is like to teach and learn English today.
In the digital age, ELT curriculum and textbook design will have to be modified to meet the needs of a generation of e-learners.
The developing digital technology has produced a new breed of English learners who have become more autonomous but also more connected. Will “connectivism”, dubbed the learning theory for the digital age, be the up-and-coming trend in ELT?
This year, the Vietnam-USA Society English Centers (VUS) TESOL conference will explore 14 topics such as developing communication skills in the 21st century classroom; innovation, technology, and ELT: A Critical Look; re-defining the high-stakes, four-skill academic English proficiency testing with automated scoring technology; TED talks and more – achieving powerful communication in the classroom; creative assessments for Young Learners; and 21st century education and an employable graduates.