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Social News 20/4
Belgian Ambassador visits Nghe An province
Ambassador H.E. Jehanne Roccas (sixth from left) met with Nghe An province's leaders (Photo from baonghean.vn)
Within the framework of activities celebrating 40 years of Belgian development cooperation in Vietnam (1977-2017) and 45 years of diplomatic relations between Belgium and Vietnam (1973-2018), Ambassador H.E. Jehanne Roccas paid an official visit to north-central Nghe An province on April 17 and 18.
Belgium is proud to have been among the first Western countries to establish diplomatic relations with Vietnam upon the signing of the Paris Peace Agreement in 1973. Over the last four decades the Belgian government has supported Vietnam in a number of areas through ODA resources, from infrastructure-focused projects to poverty reduction and social development programs in the 1990s.
With Vietnam’s “doi moi” policy and the opening up of its economy, Belgium set a priority to support the country in education, public health, and water and sanitation, to tackle possible social vulnerabilities appearing in the process of economic reform.
The last bilateral cooperation program of Belgium focused on the areas of governance, water management, and urban planning in the context of climate change and green growth in Vietnam.
Nghe An province has been selected by Belgium for development cooperation since 2002, first with a program for multi-sector rural development in Quy Chau district (2002-2007) that contributed a great deal to poverty reduction, improving infrastructure and also the quality of life in communes and villages.
Since then, Nghe An province has continued to receive ODA grant support from Belgium in the following projects: Poverty reduction through institutional strengthening at the provincial (Nghe An) and district (Quy Chau) levels in 2009-2014; Support for Responsive Accountable Local Governance (RALG) from 2017 to June 2019; Enhancing the capacity to develop competency-based teacher training curriculum for managers at Vinh University from January 1, 2018 to February 28, 2019, and a grant agreement within the framework of the “Facility for Capacity Building (FCB)” project from 2014 to June 2019.
Ambassador Roccas attended a meeting with the provincial leadership and delivered an address at the opening of the “Public Administration Reform towards Improving the Business Environment and Attracting Investment in Nghe An Province” workshop organized within the framework of the RALG-Nghe An project.
She also met with the Project Management Unit (PMU) of the “Waste Water Treatment Plant for Cua Lo Town” project, supported by Belgian ODA concessional loans, to check the implementation progress committed to by both parties.
Ambassador Roccas then visited the railway company of Vinh City to see the remaining Belgian diesel locomotive D18E, which were super “ambassadors” of Belgian support (a State to State loan) for a reunified Vietnam in 1978.
She and the accompanying delegation also visited the homeland of President Ho Chi Minh and the Kim Lien Museum in Nam Dan district.
The ambassador is looking forward to positive changes being brought about by Belgian-funded projects as well as close and effective cooperation among authorities at all levels in Nghe An province in implementing the projects. This will contribute to further strengthening the Vietnam - Belgium friendship.
Activities held to foster effective cooperation between Vietnam, Italy
Padua city in Veneto region, Italy.
A string of activities were held in Italy’s Padua city on April 18 by the Vietnamese Embassy in Italy, the Italy-Vietnam Friendship Association-Veneto region chapter, and Padua authorities to foster the friendship and cooperation between the two countries.
At a conference on trade and investment promotion that took place at the headquarters of the General Confederation of Italian Industry (Confindustria) – Padua city chapter, Vietnamese Ambassador Cao Chinh Thien affirmed that intensifying the bilateral trade and investment ties is the most effective measure to step up the political and diplomatic relations.
Vietnam will continue creating the most favourable conditions for enterprises in Veneto region in particular and Italy in general to do business in the country, he added.
Marco Stevanato, member in charge of international cooperation of Confindustria Padua, said that the signing of a memorandum of understanding on friendship and cooperation establishment between Vietnam’s southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau and Veneto region in January has opened up more collaboration opportunities for the two countries’ businesses.
This conference is also a chance to Padua city’s firms to exchange experience and learn about Vietnam’s investment environment and legal framework, he added.
On the same day, Ambassador Thien and the city’s Governor Sergio Giordani opened an exhibition on the Italy-Vietnam solidarity movements during 1960-1970.
On display are over 40 documents, photos and posters showing Italy’s support for Vietnam’s struggle for national liberation in the previous century.
The Vietnamese diplomat also had a meeting with Professor Rosario Rizzutto, Rector of the University of Padua, during which they discussed the possibility of boosting sustainable cooperation between the University of Padua and a university of Vietnam.
With its strengths in agricultural development studies, the University of Padua wants to step up student exchange and training programmes in issues related to food security and climate change adaptation, Sergio Giordani stated.
Earlier, on March 30, the Vietnamese Embassy in Italy held a ceremony to mark the 45th anniversary of the bilateral diplomatic ties in Rome.
Documentary on Vietnamese war to be screen
At the ceremony on April 18
Ho Chi Minh City Television, the Military Broadcasting Centre and the Media 21 Communication Joint Stock Company signed a media cooperation agreement and launched a series of documentary films entitled ‘Vietnam War: National Interest’, at a ceremony in Hanoi, on April 18.
The ‘Vietnam War: National Interest’ is the first documentary film about the Vietnam War, aiming to clarify Vietnam's important policies on the war and on the Cold War overall.
The film was produced by Ho Chi Minh City Television and the Media 21 Communication Joint Stock Company, consisting of three episodes, totaling 90 minutes, with exclusive footage and in-depth interviews with insiders and many scholars from Vietnam, Russia, China, the US and Australia.
The film is expected to be broadcast on HTV9 at 9:00 pm on April 24, 25 and 26, on the occasion of the 43rd anniversary of the Southern Liberation and National Reunification Day.
Falling from 12th floor, a worker dies
Ambulance arrives at the scene to take the victim's body
While working at the 12th floor of a construction site at the corner of Le Duan Street - Ngo Gia Tu Street in Hai Chau District, Danang, an unlucky worker fell to the ground and died on the spot.
According to the initial information, on the noon of April 18, the accident happens at a constructing site of a high-rise building at the corner of Le Duan - Ngo Gia Tu street (Hai Chau district, Da Nang), which claimed the life of a worker.
The victim was then identified as P.V.L (22 years old, from Quang Nam province).
Some workers said that while he was in a toilet in the elevator of the 12th floor, L. suddenly fell off and died at once.
After the incident, the authorities came to the scene for investigation and carried out legal procedures.
At 15pm 45, the victim's body was removed from the scene.
The case is being investigated by the authorities.
Chairman of Vietnam Fatherland Front works with the Diocese of Xuan Loc
President Tran Thanh Man visits and works at Xuan Loc Peace Vocational College. (Photo: daidoanket)
On the afternoon of April 18, the delegation of the Central Committee of Vietnam Fatherland Front led by President Tran Thanh Man had a meeting with the Archdiocese of Xuan Loc (Dong Nai Province).
At the meeting, Mr. Tran Thanh Man briefed on the achievements of the country's economic and social development in 2017 and the first quarter of 2018. He stressed that despite many difficulties, under the leadership of the Party, Vietnam achieved great achievements in economic and social.
The dignitaries Xuan Loc have encouraged all Catholic followers to effectively carry out the patriotic emulation movement, to live under the slogan "good life, good religion", contributing to the development of the country.
The president of the Central Committee of the Vietnam Fatherland Front wished the bishops, priests, dignitaries and staffs continue to pay attention to the patriotic emulation movements and mobilize the followers faithfully to carry out the policies, lines and regulations set out by the Communist Party and the State.
Bishop Dinh Duc Dao of the diocese of Xuan Loc, replied the Chairman that with the care of the Party and the State, during the recent years, the material and spiritual life of Dong Nai's Catholics have been lifted up. Catholics in Dong Nai actively participate in patriotic emulation movements, building new rural areas, contributing more and more to the development of Dong Nai in particular and the country in general.
Previously, on April 18 morning, the delegation visited, presented gifts to Catholic and revolutionary families in Ho Nai district and worked with Xuan Loc Hoa Binh College (Trang Bom district, Dong Nai province) which is the first Catholic college in our country.
This institution was established to accept students who have completed the 9th grade but are unqualified to enter 10th grade and those who finish the 12th grade and unable to study in university, regardless of their religion.
This school permits orphans not have to pay tuition fees, providing them with school accommodation, food. Although newly established, Hoa Binh College is currently training thousands of students in many fields. 98% of graduates manage to find jobs. In addition, the school also links with prestigious institutions around the world, bringing many students to study abroad.
According to Mr. Tran Thanh Man, Hoa Binh vocational College is a model of good education and the point that worths highlighted is that the school not only focuses on the quality of teaching for students, but also helps them on building and developing living skills.
Discover Hà Nội with FVH walking tour
A French-style building in the Chu Văn An School. The FVH walking tour on Friday will start at this school, which is one of Việt Nam’s most beautiful schools. — Photo worldkings.org
The Friends of Vietnam Heritage (FVH) will host a walking tour to discover the Ba Đình area and the ‘French Colonial Quarter’ tomorrow.
This English-speaking walking tour gives an overview of the changes to Hà Nội that started in the French period (1869-1954). The tour will touch on the development of the education system, town planning and architecture and other aspects of past and present Hà Nội.
Starting at Chu Văn An School (established by the French and now one of the oldest high schools in Indochina), tourists will make their way to Hà Nội’s iconic Ba Đình Square and focus on a few of the Government buildings in the area, including the Central Committee of the Vietnamese Communist Party – formerly the Lycee Albert Sarrault High School, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Then along Chùa Một Cột Street and strolling the surrounding avenues passing former villas now home to embassies, the walk will take the group to Điện Biên Phủ Street and into Hoàng Diệu street before ending the tour at Cửa Bắc (The North Gate) and Cửa Bắc Church on Phan Đình Phùng Street.
Those who would like to stay for lunch after will be taken to nearby Ngũ Xã Island for some phở cuốn.
The tours costs VNĐ70,000 (excludes refreshments and lunch if you decide to stay on for a bite to eat) with a limit of 12 people. Contact Stella firstname.lastname@example.org for reservations. The tour will start at 9.30am and finish about noon.
More mobile libraries for remote areas
People in remote areas will benefit from better access to English and Vietnamese books, online and multimedia facilities.
People in remote areas will benefit from better access to English and Vietnamese books and online and multimedia facilities, as the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism granted mobile libraries to eight provinces on April 18.
Each truck carries six internet-connected computers, one projector, 4,000 books, a television, teaching tools and some devices for sightless readers.
These trucks will go to provinces of Lạng Sơn, Điện Biên, Hòa Bình, Ninh Bình, Nam Định, Quảng Bình, Lâm Đồng and Cà Mau.
The project began in 2016 to bring knowledge and information to people including sightless people in remote areas which are difficult to access, according to Vũ Dương Thúy Ngà, head of the ministry’s Library Department.
The mobile trucks will travel to different schools in the mountainous regions, border posts, orphanage and prisons in these provinces to serve readers.
Tràng An Ninh Bình enter semi-final
Tràng An Ninh Bình vs Sanet Khánh Hòa at National Volleyball Championship held in the northern province of Hải Dương’s Gymnasium on April 17. - Photo volleyball.vn
Tràng An Ninh Bình beat Sanet Khánh Hòa 3-1 on the fourth day of the National Volleyball Championship held in the northern province of Hải Dương’s Gymnasium on Tuesday.
Tràng An Ninh Bình won 25-21, 25-21, 19-25, 26-24.
This win has secured the team’s entry to the event’s semi-final.
In other matches, Tiến Nông Thanh Hóa lost to Information Lienvietpostbank 2-3 (25-19, 25-20, 19-25, 12-25, 12-15); Military Zone 4 defeated Bến Tre 3-0 (25-17, 25-19, 29-27) and HCM City won against Vĩnh Long 3-1 (23-25, 25-16, 25-23, 25-20).
Keeping a win in mind, Vietinbank played decisively with their best line-up. They easily defeated Quảng Ninh 3-0 (16-25, 17-25, 12-25).
Ten male and 10 female teams will compete in the first round of the tournament until April 21.
The winners and runners-up in each group will compete in the Hùng Vương Cup to be held in the northern province of Phú Thọ from April 24-27.
The second round of the championship will be held from December 25-28 this year.
The event will have a total prize money of VNĐ432 million (US$18,780). The best players will be selected for the national team to play in international matches.
HCMC announces public holidays for April
People will enjoy 4-day holiday during Reunification Day.
The People’s Committee of Ho Chi Minh City yesterday announced the public holidays for April.
As planned, Government workers will enjoy one off day for Hung King Dead anniversary which falls on the 10th day of the third lunar month (on April 25); and 4-day holiday marking 43 years of the South Liberation and National Reunification Day (April 30) and the 132nd May Day (May 1) from April 28-May 1.
The city Government asked agencies and units to arrange work based on their plans during the holidays to ensure the fulfillment of their tasks and serve the people.
In addition, the committee requires organizations, businesses, hospitals, armed force units and households to fly the national flag in the holiday.
Korean volunteers build houses for the poor in Thai Nguyen
South Korean volunteers from Seoul Guarantee Insurance are building a house for a poor family in Thai Nguyen
Forty-one South Korean volunteers from Seoul Guarantee Insurance (SGI) have joined forces with Habitat for Humanity Vietnam national director Kelly Koch, SGI VIPs, director of KOCHAM Hanoi Young Chul Kim, and government officials on the occasion of a dedication ceremony to open new houses for four poor families in Khoi Ky Commune, Dai Tu District, Thai Nguyen Province.
With SGI funding, Habitat Vietnam’s community project supports families to have a decent place to live. In total, this project directly supports 10 families with four new houses, two renovated houses, and four household water and sanitation facilities, while about 250 primary school children will benefit from one latrine for better hygiene practice and one water-sanitation-hygiene campaign for raising awareness on these issues.
“For Koreans, the meaning of house is special. A house is not just a place for meals and sleep, but a place of hope, good memories and security,” said Se Joon Huh, SGI managing director.
At the ceremony, construction on one house was completed and handed over to a family while three other houses are still under construction for completion in May.
During her speech, Kelly Koch, national director of Habitat for Humanity Vietnam, shared deep gratitude toward the SGI team: “Your commitment and dedication to work alongside the families is helping to build up this beautiful community. I believe that each of you will be returning home with such special memories of these days together just as your homeowner families will also cherish their memories with you.”
This year, SGI and Habitat Vietnam have partnered to implement the community development project from January 2018 to June 2018. For the second year in a row, the partnership between SGI and Habitat Vietnam aims to help low-income households improve their degraded and substandard housing conditions.
Currently, Habitat Vietnam is present in Hoa Binh, Thai Nguyen, Phu Tho, Thai Binh provinces in the north, Quang Nam and Ha Tinh provinces in the central region, and Dong Thap, Long An, Tien Giang provinces in the south. It has also launched disaster response projects in Phu Tho, Dong Thap and Quang Nam provinces.
As of December 2017, Habitat for Humanity Vietnam has supported more than 14,000 low-income families to access housing support services. In addition, it has trained more than 110,000 individuals in financial education, disaster preparedness and hygiene practices.
Danang hotel room prices skyrocket during fireworks festival
Room rates at hotels on Tran Hung Dao Street in Son Tra District, Danang City overlooking the grandstand of the Danang International Fireworks Festival 2018 are expected to double or even treble during the event.
As observed by the Daily on April 14, prices of hotel rooms in the city center range from VND1.5 million to VND5 million (US$220) per night during the period of the fireworks displays, between April 30 and June 30. The prices otherwise range from VND500,000-2.1 million (US$22-92) per night on other days.
The problem is that while these hotels release their prices for normal days, they do not list them publicly for the nights of the festival. For example, the three-star Mimosa Hotel has their standard double rooms at the price of VND500,000 on normal nights, but it surges to VND1.4 million on fireworks nights.
The Blossom City Hotel, just opposite to the stage of the fireworks event, charge VND5 million per night on their four-guest rooms, instead of VND2 million on normal days.
Notably, these hotels also claim to collect the “so-called” fireworks sightseeing fee. Despite such price turbulence, local authorities remain inactive.
Nguyen Ha Bac, deputy director at the Danang Department of Industry and Trade, told the Daily that he has yet to receive any complaints about the inflated prices of hotel rooms on the occasion of the fireworks festival.
He stressed that the department will prevent exorbitant prices for hotel rooms and services during the event. If local residents and tourists encounter the situation, they can immediately report it to the switchboard 1022 or the municipal market surveillance agency, or can reach him on 0905131555.
According to the organizer, the Danang International Fireworks Festival 2018 will take place along the banks of the Han River on some nights from April 29 to June 30. The main stages will be located on Tran Hung Dao Street and in the yard of Olalani Riverside Towers.
The Vietnam and Poland teams will perform on April 30 while the France and U.S teams’ performance will be on May 26, followed by the teams of Italy and Hong Kong on June 2. Finally, the shows by the Sweden and Portugal teams will be taking place on June 9.
The final round and the award ceremony are slated for June 30.
Danang tightens food safety control
The central coast city of Danang has launched numerous activities to strengthen food safety, focusing on both large-scale food processors and street eateries, on the occasion of Action Month for Food Safety 2018 in Danang.
The Action Month for Food Safety 2018 in Danang will take place from April 15 to May 15, featuring a series of major activities like inspection and fostering awareness among food traders in a bid to minimize food poisoning risks.
In addition, the Danang Food Safety Management Board was just established early this year under the Danang government with an aim to control food safety, said Nguyen Tan Hai, head of the board. He said the board in collaboration with relevant agencies will conduct snap inspections of these units alongside regular checks at wet markets in the future.
Hai also mentioned that food samples will be taken from plants and factories processing food, especially tofu and vegetables, and bottling water. The factories not up to standard will be dealt with by the municipal government.
In addition, the board will launch a pilot program to promote food safety for the first time, calling for voluntary participation from manufacturers and processors.
BOT booths may remain open during upcoming holidays
To ease traffic congestion during the upcoming public holiday, toll booths may be opened for free.
Toll booths have been requested to remove their barriers in case of traffic congestion during the upcoming public holidays for Reunification Day (April 30) and International Labour Day (May 1).
The request was made by the Directorate for Roads of Việt Nam aimed at meeting the high travel demands of people and ensuring traffic safety.
The directorate has asked related agencies and build-operate-transfer (BOT) project investors to implement effective measures to ensure the continous operation of toll booths to prevent traffic congestion.
Regarding toll booths at high risk of congestion, in the gateway areas of Hà Nội and HCM City, for example, booth management boards have been asked to create favourable conditions for vehicle owners to buy tickets as well as remove barriers or open gates for free in case of heavy traffic congestion.
This year, in celebration of Reunification Day and International Labour Day, Vietnamese people will enjoy a four-day public holiday from April 28 to May 1. During this time, the traffic influx from and to Hà Nội and HCM City is expected to increase sharply, posing huge pressure on traffic infrastructure and severe risks of accidents.
Bookmobiles granted to people in remote areas
The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism on April 18 presented bookmobiles to eight provinces across Vietnam to boost the provision of information and knowledge for people in far-flung areas.
The localities include the northern provinces of Lang Son, Dien Bien, Hoa Binh, Ninh Binh and Nam Dinh, the central province of Quang Binh, the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong, and the southernmost province of Ca Mau.
Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyen Ngoc Thien said that this is a practical project that contributes to developing the reading culture in the society as part of a project on the reading culture development approved by the Prime Minister.
He asked the provinces to supplement more books to these mobile libraries in order to better serve locals.
Each bookmobile is equipped with more than 4,000 books, six computers, one server, one projector, and one television. In addition, the ministry’s Library Department also called for donation to provide the mobile libraries with electronic library and document management software, and books for the disabled.
The multi-media bookmobile project has been carried out since late 2015. In October 2016, the VinGroup presented five mobile libraries to Son La, Nghe An, Quang Nam, Gia Lai and An Giang provinces.
After one year of operation, these bookmobiles served over 985,000 readers.
Meeting marks Vietnam Day for Persons with Disabilities
Teaching braille for blind people
The Vietnam Federation for the Disabled (VNFFD) held a grand meeting in Hanoi on April 18 to mark the 20th Vietnam Day for Persons with Disabilities.
VNFFD President Dang Huynh Mai said that over the past years, the Party and State have issued a lot of policies to support people with disabilities as well as organisations that work for the rights of the disabled.
With the purpose of helping the disabled implement their rights and duties, the VNFFD was set up in 2010. The federation now has 62 chapters providing legal assistance for and introducing jobs to disabled people.
Speaking at the event, permanent Vice President of the Hanoi Disabled People Association Phan Bich Diep said that Vietnam Day for Persons with Disabilities is significant to nearly 7 million disabled people living across Vietnam.
This is an opportunity for them to show their aspirations for an equal integration into the community, thus contributing to national construction.
Since 2012, the association has coordinated closely with the Bank for Social Policies in preferential loan disbursement with a total amount of over 40 billion VND (1.75 million USD), helping generate jobs for over 2,000 people with disabilities.
Đà Nẵng organises Education Day for kids
Primary school students play games, which teach them proper nutrition and physical activities on Education Day in Đà Nẵng. - Photo Courtesy of FrieslandCampina Việt Nam
More than 2,000 primary school students in Đà Nẵng City last Saturday attended Education Day which is held every year and offers them a chance to both play and learn.
It is also a chance for them to show off their knowledge in maths, history and Vietnamese through a contest.
Outstanding students were commended. The event was organised in co-operation with FrieslandCampina Việt Nam, which gave rewards to the contest winners and more than 4,000 glasses of milk, and provided consultancy on proper nutrition and physical activities for students through games and other events.
Former head of intelligence department arrested
Phan Huu Tuan, former deputy general director of the General Department of Intelligence at the Ministry of Public Security, was detained on April 17 in connection with a case involving local property magnate Phan Van Anh Vu, alias Vu Nhom. Two former leaders of the central coastal city of Danang were also implicated in the case.
The Ministry of Public Security said in a notice on its website on April 17 that its investigators had detained the 63-year-old Phan Huu Tuan on alleged charges of deliberate disclosure of State secrets.
Another senior official of the ministry, Nguyen Huu Bach, 55, was also put in police custody for the same reason as Tuan. Both reside in Hanoi City.
Earlier on the same day, State President Tran Dai Quang stripped Tuan of his “People’s Police” title. Meanwhile, Minister of Public Security To Lam did the same to Bach.
Police also detained the 63-year-old Tran Van Minh, who served as chairman of Danang City in the 2006-2011 tenure, for allegedly violating regulations on management and use of State assets which resulted in losses and wastefulness, and State rules on land management.
Another former chairman, Van Huu Chien, 64, was put under house arrest for the same charge as Minh. He led the city in the 2011-2014 tenure.
Investigators at the Ministry of Public Security last September launched a probe into irregularities regarding nine property projects and 31 public land lots and houses in Danang City which have been transacted since 2006. Two of the land lots under investigation were used to build a home and a company office which both belong to Phan Van Anh Vu.
Vu was chairman of three companies – Bac Nam 79 Construction JSC, Nova Bac Nam 79 JSC, and The Sunrise Bay Danang. He also acquired stakes in several other entities such as Seaprodex and DongA Bank.
The 43-year-old business tycoon fled his residence in Danang to hide in Singapore after the ministry issued an arrest warrant for him last December. He was later deported for violating Singapore’s immigration regulations, and was arrested upon arrival at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi City in January.
One month later, police launched legal proceedings against Vu for deliberately disclosing State secrets, evading taxes, and abusing his position and power while on duty. He is being held in custody for four months pending further investigation.
As the investigation is being widened, police on April 17 ordered that the 60-year-old Nguyen Dieu and the 61-year-old Tran Van Toan, who were former director and deputy director of the Danang Department of Natural Resources and Environment, not leave their residences for alleged violations of land management rules.
Le Canh Duong aged 43, director of the Danang Investment Promotion Agency, was in the same boat as the two aforesaid leaders.
Investigators at the ministry are expanding the case to establish violations of relevant individuals which will be strictly handled in a legal manner.
Exhibition on S’tieng ethnic group opens in HCM City
Visitors of the exhibition on the culture of S’tieng ethnic group
An exhibition on the culture of S’tieng ethnic group opened at the Museum of Vietnamese History in Ho Chi Minh City on April 19.
The event is to celebrate the Vietnam Ethnic Group’s Culture Day (April 19) and the International Museum Day (May 18).
On display are about 120 exhibits reflecting the culture of S’tieng people through tangible and intangible heritages, including their houses, costumes, literature, production and hunting tools, jewellery and musical instruments, among others.
A highlight of the exhibition is a set of S’tieng people’s traditional gong, a notable cultural trait of the ethnic group which has been passed down to many generations.
S’tieng is an ethnic group living in Southeast Asia, mainly in Vietnam and Cambodia. In Vietnam, the group resides in the provinces of Dong Nai, Lam Dong, Binh Duong, Binh Phuoc and Tay Ninh.
The southern province of Binh Phuoc has the highest number of S’tieng people with nearly 100,000.
The exhibition runs until August 19.
U19 player, Xuân injured in match with Mexico
Midfielder Lê Văn Xuân (middle). - Photo thanhnien.vn
Midfielder Lê Văn Xuân of the Việt Nam national U19 team was injured in a match against Mexico at the Suwon JS Cup 2018 in South Korea on Wednesday.
According to coach Hoàng Anh Tuấn, Xuân needs at least four weeks to recover from his injury.
Xuân’s back was hurt seriously after a defender from the Mexican team kneed his back. Xuân was sent to the hospital immediately.
Head Coach of Việt Nam national senior football team Park Hang-seo attended the game and said he would ask his friends to ensure that Xuân is taken care of as best as possible.
Việt Nam lost to Mexico 0-4. Việt Nam will face Morocco today at 6pm, and South Korea on April 22 at 4pm.
BUSINESS IN BRIEF 22/4
Vietnam to attend China International Import Exposition
Vietnam will display various kinds of products such as farm produce, processed food, consumer products and trade services in 60 pavilions at the China International Import Exposition (CIIE) 2018 which is scheduled to take place in Shanghai city from November 5-10.
The Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency (VTPA) under the Ministry of Industry and Trade introduced the event during a press conference in Ho Chi Minh City on April 13.
VTPA Director Vu Ba Phu said the expo will create an excellent opportunity for Vietnamese businesses to make inroads into the market, helping narrow the trade gap with China, as well as expand cooperation with Chinese partners and hundreds of other participating economies.
To boost exports to China, businesses need to increase the quality of products, build brand names, and improve packaging and designing. At the same time, they need to update information about the market, import-export policies, and customers’ demand in different Chinese localities.
More than 100 countries are expected to join the CIIE 2018 with over 150,000 customers in and outside China. The business exhibition area of the expo will cover 210,000 square meters, consisting of two sections: goods and services.
The goods section will feature high-end intelligent equipment, consumer electronics and appliances, automobile, apparel, accessories and consumer goods, food and agricultural products, medical equipment and medical care products.
Meanwhile the services section will comprises tourism services, emerging technologies, culture and education, creative design and service outsourcing.
Phu Tho Province calls for more Japanese investments
The northern province of Phu Tho hopes Japanese businesses will continue to invest in the Vietnamese locality and commit to create favourable conditions for their operation.
Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Bui Minh Chau said this at a conference in Tokyo, Japan, on April 12 to promote Japanese investments in Phu Tho.
The event was co-organised by the Vietnamese Embassy in Japan, Japan External Trade Organisation and ASEAN-Japan Centre. More than 50 Japanese businesses and investors participated in the event.
Chau highlighted the province’s advantages, such as its proximity to Ha Noi’s Noi Bai International Airport as well as a modern and synchronous port system and socio-economic infrastructure.
The province has great potential in manufacturing, assembling industry, construction material production, hi-tech agriculture and forestry, he said.
There is also room for tourism development as Phu Tho is home to two world cultural heritage recognised by UNESCO---worshipping of Hung Kings and traditional “xoan” singing, he added.
The chairman said Japanese firms were currently running seven projects in the province worth nearly US$40 million, mainly in the fields of wood processing, garment-textiles and footwear.
According to Vietnamese Ambassador to Japan Nguyen Quoc Cuong who was also present at the event, relations between Viet Nam and Japan are at their peak and thriving in all spheres, particularly economy, trade and investment.
Apart from large companies, small-and medium-sized enterprises from Japan are increasing investments in Viet Nam, he said, noting that 1,800 Japanese businesses have registered to partake in the Japan Business Association in Viet Nam, making it the largest association of its kind in the world.
The ambassador hoped that the conference would encourage Japanese enterprises to choose Phu Tho as a reliable investment destination.
Binh Duong shortens duration of business registration
The southern province of Binh Duong will shorten the time for enterprises to start up their business in a bid to improve the province’s investment and business environment, said Tran Thanh Liem, provincial People’s Committee chairman.
Specifically, the committee will process enterprises’ application for business certificates in a maximum of two working days. It will also reduce by half the time for granting investment registration certificate as well as link the tax, labour and insurance procedures.
According to Liem, to reduce the legal compliance costs for enterprises, the committee will review, cut and simplify administrative procedures; reduce some kind of charges and eliminate some unnecessary fees as well as publisise 100 per cent of the procedures related to business registration and investment and the planning of the province on the website.
In the first quarter of 2018, the province had 788 newly established businesses, with a total registered capital of more than VND7.91 trillion (US$347 million). Of this, 755 were domestic enterprises, with a total capital of nearly VND4.47 trillion, and 33 were foreign direct investment ones, with a total capital of over VND3.44 trillion.
Ford Vietnam gets 37th dealership
Ford Vietnam has a new authorised dealer in the northern province of Thai Nguyen, its 37th in the country so far.
The 10,000sq.m showroom in Thai Nguyen city displays all segments of vehicles Ford sells in the country.
Ford Thai Nguyen has a maintenance area of 5,000sq.m that can service 100 cars a day.
Elsewhere, Ford has moved its Dong Nai dealer to Amata trade centre in Bien Hoa City.
The new showroom cost VND135 billion.
The company said the two dealers provide a complete range of services including buying and selling second-hand cars, selling parts, doing repairs and servicing, and consultancy.
They all meet the company’s international standards, it added.
After 22 years in Viet Nam, Ford has many segment-leading cars in its line-up.
Tra Vinh to aid coconut producers
Coconut producers have been given a timely boost after plans were revealed to offer more support to those who work in the industry.
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) operating in the Mekong Delta province of Tra Vinh received the welcome news this week from To Ngoc Binh, deputy director of the provincial Department of Planning and Investment and director of SME Tra Vinh project.
Coconut growing is a big deal in Tra Vinh as it’s the second largest plantation in the Mekong Delta with near 20,000ha.
According to the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD), in order to upgrade the value chain of the industry, the province will focus on strategic solutions such as improving technologies and techniques; replacing coconut cultivars; mechanising transportation; preliminary processing and packaging of coconut fiber industry and diversifying products from coconut fiber and coconut peat.
Tra Vinh will also focus on improving the capacity of corporate management and market access, establishing a satellite network to supply coconuts to processing plants, increasingly promoting trade and supporting enterprises.
A recent survey in two districts with the largest area of coconut in the province (Cang Long and Tieu Can) revealed companies operating in the coconut industry in the province mainly use coconut fiber as materials to produce nets, coir, mat and activated carbon. Meanwhile other materials such as copra and coconut milk are made use of by traders and processors outside the province.
It’s hoped in the future local traders and farmers will be able to expand their business to get the best prices for the fruit.
Relevant units will now spend time assessing and analysing the business and propose better solutions to the problems many farmers face, said Pham Minh Truyen, vice director of the provincial DARD.
Currently, there are six enterprises operating in the coconut industry of Tra Vinh. The province strives to more than double that to 15 by the year 2020, with at least four of them exporting directly.
And it wasn’t just coconuts that came under the spotlight.
On Wednesday, Tra Vinh’s DARD and SME project management board also organised a conference to seek solutions for enhancing peanut’s value.
Currently, peanut planting productivity in the province reaches the highest in the country with more than five tonnes per ha.
Peanut from this area are known for being top quality, with big seeds, bright shells and low impurities.
They are considered perfect for processing and export. But despite all their good points, the industry has suffered a number of blows.
Right now, the sources of seed supplied by local people only meet about 20 per cent of the demand, 80 per cent of the remaining peanuts are imported from other provinces.
There is also lack of peanut processing enterprises in the province, causing obstacles for consumption market. Hence, the upgrading of the peanut industry’s value chain to reduce costs and increase profits is an urgent task, Truyen said.
But there is light at the end of the tunnel, as DARD is in the process of testing new types of peanuts that can be grown in the rainy season. If successful, these peanuts will be rolled out and put into use.
The Tra Vinh SME project, carried out during 2014-20, is sponsored by the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade with a total investment of 12.1 million CAD (US$9.8 million), with 11 million CAD being non-refundable aid.
The provincial People’s Committee has also issued a policy to provide financial support to cooperatives and their alliances when joining the large-scale field model, which is being implemented in the locality.
Under the policy, farmers who are growing rice, fruit trees, and coconuts will be provided with VND840,000 (US$36.84) per ha for the first crop and VND560,000 per ha for the second crop.
Farmers join the large-scale field model will also receive subsidy of 30 per cent of seed or sapling costs for the first crop.
Land prices in Danang continue rising
Investors have been rushing to buy land in the central city of Danang, pushing land prices in the city up even further.
Land prices in new urban areas in the north-west of the city have increased by 30-50% compared to late 2017.
Nguyen Hoai Anh, a member staff from a real estate company in Danang said that these days his company serves dozens of customers daily.
Truong Thi Trang from another real estate firm in the city said that up to 80% of customers who come to buy land in Danang are from other localities, including Hanoi and HCM City. Most of them just want to buy land for speculation.
Land in many projects in the south and western north of the city have been sold out.
“The demand for land plots in the city is very high and there’s no new land available. At this time, we’ve mainly traded land which is just changing hands for speculation,” Trang added.
According to Tran Van Nguyen, an investor from the central province of Quang Nam, claimed Danang had announced some property projects recently, which was among the reasons for higher land prices in the city.
Dam Quang Tuan, chairman of Danang Real Estate Association alleged that this was a good sign for the city’s property market, but poses a high risk for investors. Investors need to carefully study municipal planning.
Lazada hit again by investigation over complaints of poor-quality items?
A customer bought a new electronic item on Lazada.vn which absolutely cannot be used.
According to a feedback from consumer Trinh Xuan Dieu to newswire ICTnews, Dieu ordered a wireless HDMI equipment AnyCast M2 Plus in black at the price of VND249,000 ($11) sold by Hola Hola company in Ho Chi Minh City.
Dieu said this item is new but faulty, and can not be used. Dieu claimed: “After I complained, Lazada.vn told me to return the item and promised to pay my money back. However, after more than two weeks and after five complaints, Lazada has yet to return the amount that I paid for this poor-quality item.”
In the last few years, ICTnews said it has been receiving many feedbacks and complaints from Lazada.vn’s customers. They were made angry enough by the slow and irresponsible service at Lazada to send letters to the Vietnam Competition Authority (VCA) of the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT). This authority also confirmed receiving numerous letters related to Lazada’s quality of goods and services.
The complaints focus on delays in delivery, the items being different from the advertisement, delivery of used items, cancellation of orders, and price fraud. Therefore, MoIT has conducted an investigation to determine whether the platform observes the law on commerce and protects consumers’ interests. The results will be announced in the coming time.
Workshop discusses sustainable lobster farming in central Vietnam
Workshop on sustainable lobster farming took place in Nha Trang city, the central coastal province of Khanh Hoa on April 13, bringing together policymakers, researchers, business representatives and farmers from central provinces of Quang Ngai, Phu Yen, Khanh Hoa, Ninh Thuan and Binh Thuan.
The attendees focused their discussion on lobster farming-related policies, post-disaster support for the aquaculture industry, new lobster farming techniques and how to prevent the spread of diseases on lobsters.
According to the Directorate of Fisheries, the number of lobster cages in Vietnam rose from 49,000 in 2010 to 83,000 in 2017. The country’s lobster output was estimated at about 1,530 tonnes last year, mostly from Khanh Hoa (984 tonnes) and Phu Yen (500 tonnes). However, lobster price fell from 2.5 million VND (110 USD) in 2014 to 1.6 million VND (70.4 USD) this year.
Speaking at the event, Tran Cong Khoi from the Directorate of Fisheries said the unsustainable development of lobster farming will result in a low and unstable yield. Despite high economic value, the sector faces many challenges in planning and management, he noted, adding that the increase in the density of lobster cages and the expansion of lobster farming in tourist and industrial areas are among the sector’s problems.
He also named other issues like old and non-ecofriendly farming practices and lack of links between farmers and traders.
Khanh Hoa is home to over 40,000 lobster cages while Quang Ngai has started breeding lobsters in recent years with about 400 cages over an area of 2,000 sq.m.
Phu Yen is one of the biggest lobster breeders in Vietnam and the success of the lobster industry here has helped improve incomes of local farmers.
Bidding documents for My Thuan – Can Tho highway to be sold
The Transport Ministry’s Thang Long project management board will sell bidding documents for My Thuan – Can Tho highway project from April 15 to May 15.
Nguyen Danh Huy, head of the Public-Private Partnership Department, said the ministry has decided to raise investors’ capital to 20 percent of the total.
The 23.6m-long My Thuan – Can Tho highway will start at the National Road No. 80 intersection in the southern province of Vinh Long and end at Cha Va – National Road No.1 intersection.
During the first stage, the highway will be built with four lanes and designed vehicle speed of 100km per hour. The Build-Operate-Transfer project will be carried out in public-private partnership model at a total cost of over 5.4 trillion VND (211.7 million USD).
On March 29, the Government Office issued Notice No.2893/VPCP-CN on accelerating the progress of investment projects, including asking the Transport Ministry to take synchronous measures to build roads in the Mekong Delta, firstly Trung Luong – My Thuan and My Thuan – Can Tho highways.
Cooperatives, clean farming methods help farmers raise the bar
More and more farmers in Vietnam are discovering the benefits of working with cooperatives and export companies and using clean farming methods to ensure high-quality produce.
In places like Tien Giang and Dong Thap provinces there are many agricultural cooperatives that comply with VietGap standards and sell their produce to exporters like Vina T&T.
For example, all 28 large dragon fruit farmers in Tien Giang are members of cooperatives which instruct them to use clean farming methods and avoid certain chemicals.
They sell their entire output to export companies and not to traders. They thus have a reliable buyer whereas selling to traders often leaves them at their mercy.
The cooperatives schedule the cultivation and harvest of its members to ensure the harvest is spread throughout the year to ensure supply and thus prices do not fluctuate.
Huynh Van Quyen, a dragon fruit farmer said: “I have been working with the local co-operative and Vina T&T for around five years. I have been learning a lot from other farmers and the cooperative staff, who are very helpful and clear in their instructions. My fruit output, quality and income also saw great improvements.”
Vina T&T and the cooperatives it works with assign area codes for each farmer as required by the US when it imports fruits.
The dragon fruits are also exported to markets like Germany, and since they meet international quality standards, are very well received there.
Since the cooperatives work closely with their farmers, the product quality is consistent throughout the entire province, making it easier to export.
Longan farmers in Dong Thap are also instructed by their cooperative and Vina T&T not to use chemicals to match international standards, which greatly boosts the quality of their fruit.
Le Thanh Loc, a longan farmer in Dong Thap’s Chau Thanh district, said: “Earlier Chau Thanh farmers would use their own individual methods without caring much for clean farming, so our output was not that high and some were even affected by plant diseases. After working with a farming expert, Dr Nguyen Dang Nghia, locals have realised the importance of clean farming and changed their ways.”
Overall, farmers improve quality and output when they join cooperatives and adopt clean farming practices, according to insiders.
In the past they would follow their instincts or simply copy from others, some switching between crops regularly depending on what is popular at the time.
Now more and more farmers around the country have greater awareness and are seeing the big picture, realising the benefits of organised work, clean farming and export.
Ho Chi Minh City supports agricultural start-ups
The agricultural start-up forum, themed “Incubating Vietnamese businesses”, took place in Ho Chi Minh City on April 13.
The event aimed to encourage start-up movement and establish young agricultural firms using modern technology to develop clean and safe farming.
Speaking at the event, Deputy Director of the municipal Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Tran Tan Quy said the city strives to record 500,000 firms by 2020, at least 1,500 of them operate in agriculture in accordance with the government’s Resolution No.35 on supporting and developing enterprises.
Over the past two years, up to 300 agricultural firms have been established, bringing the total to nearly 1,300, he said, adding that the city is willing to offer more preferential loans to them and encourages the establishment of agricultural cooperatives.
The municipal People’s Committee issued a decision guiding the enforcement of Resolution No.10/2017/NQ-HDND dated December 7, 2017 of the municipal People’s Council on encouraging switch of urban agriculture structure for 2017-2020. Accordingly, the city will offer zero-interest loans to high-tech agricultural projects.
Prof. Phan Van Truong, head of the Vietnamese agricultural start-up club, suggested that young people initially invest in profitable fields and then call for investment. Once they are financially strong, it will be easier to lure investment.
Speakers inspired young people with “start-up mindset” and pointed out challenges to agricultural start-ups to seek proper measures.
The organising board introduced incentives and training courses to create a driving force for start-ups and connected businesses with start-up ideas.
Government raises 61.5 million USD from SOE divestment
The Government raised more than 1.39 trillion VND (61.5 million USD) by divesting its stake in State-owned enterprises (SOEs) in the first quarter of this year, according to the Ministry of Finance.
During this period, authorities also approved the equitisation plans of two SOEs - Phuoc An-Dak Nong Coffee Company and Van Tuong Company - at a total value of 987 billion VND, of which 187 billion VND is State capital.
The first quarter also saw several equitised SOEs complete initial public offering (IPO) auctions, such as Binh Son Refinary, PV Oil, PV Power and Vietnam Rubber Corporation.
According to data of StoxPlus Company, Vietnam’s stock markets raised 21.3 trillion VND through the IPO auctions of 12 SOEs in the first quarter, equal to the total IPO value of the previous four years.
Experts attributed the high growth to a wave of equitisation of many large SOEs in recent times, especially in the field of energy.
Vietnam considers 2018 a key year in the country’s restructuring plan for SOEs, targeting to divest State capital at 181 SOEs and equitise at least 86 SOEs throughout the year, with 64 being large ones. The target is tough, but experts believe it is feasible, thanks to many favourable conditions, including high economic growth and macro-economic stability.
Investors are waiting for IPOs of large companies in the trade and services sectors, such as Mobifone, Ben Thanh Group, Satra and Saigon Tourist, or in the real estate and construction sectors, such as Investment Corporation and Hanoi Housing Development Corporation.
Last year, the Government raised over 144.5 trillion VND by divesting its stake in SOEs. The proceeds were 2.41 times higher than the target of 60 trillion VND set by the National Assembly.
Made-in-Vietnam products dominate supermarket shelf in HCM City
Domestically-made goods occupy between 65-95 percent of shelf space at many retail chains in Ho Chi Minh City, a result attributable to the campaign “Vietnamese use Vietnamese goods”.
A report of the city’s steering committee for the campaign said the ratio of Vietnamese goods range from 90-93 percent at Co.opmart stores; 90-93 percent at Satra supermarkets, 96 percent at Vinmart’s and 95 percent at Vissan stores.
A conference reviewing the three years of implementing the campaign in Ho Chi Minh City on April 13 heard that positive changes have been seen in public awareness and consumption habit.
The campaign also contributed to raising domestic firms’ awareness about the importance of the domestic market. Around 1,000 enterprises in HCM City have earned the title “High-quality Vietnamese goods” for their products.
Tran Tan Ngoi, Standing Vice Chairman of the HCM City chapter of the Vietnam Fatherland Front, said the combination of the campaign and a programme to build safe food product chains has helped win more public attention and approval.
HCM City intends to push forward with the campaign in 2018-2020 along with providing assistance for local enterprises in enhancing production capacity and product quality to better meet local consumption demand and change consumers’ habits.
It is also necessary to intensify market management to prevent fake products from marring the prestige of high-quality Vietnamese goods, according to the steering committee for the campaign “Vietnamese use Vietnamese goods”.
Vice President of the Vietnam Fatherland Front Central Committee Truong Thi Ngoc Anh suggested that the city continues to implement the Government’s scheme on developing the domestic market in combination with the campaign “Vietnamese use Vietnamese goods”.
The scheme calls for moves to develop distribution channels for domestic commodities, tighten market management, encourage producers to improve their products’ competitiveness and develop Vietnamese brands.
The campaign “Vietnamese use Vietnamese goods” was first launched in 2009 by the Party’s Politburo. On April 10, 2015, the Party Central Committee’s Secretariat issued a conclusion requiring stepping up the Party’s leadership of the implementation of the campaign.
Vietnam to attend China International Import Exposition
Vietnam will display various kinds of products such as farm produce, processed food, consumer products and trade services in 60 pavilions at the China International Import Exposition (CIIE) 2018 which is scheduled to take place in Shanghai city from November 5-10.
The Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency (VTPA) under the Ministry of Industry and Trade introduced the event during a press conference in Ho Chi Minh City on April 13.
VTPA Director Vu Ba Phu said the expo will create an excellent opportunity for Vietnamese businesses to make inroads into the market, helping narrow the trade gap with China, as well as expand cooperation with Chinese partners and hundreds of other participating economies.
To boost exports to China, businesses need to increase the quality of products, build brand names, and improve packaging and designing. At the same time, they need to update information about the market, import-export policies, and customers’ demand in different Chinese localities.
More than 100 countries are expected to join the CIIE 2018 with over 150,000 customers in and outside China. The business exhibition area of the expo will cover 210,000 square meters, consisting of two sections: goods and services.
The goods section will feature high-end intelligent equipment, consumer electronics and appliances, automobile, apparel, accessories and consumer goods, food and agricultural products, medical equipment and medical care products.
Meanwhile the services section will comprises tourism services, emerging technologies, culture and education, creative design and service outsourcing.
Czech Republic wants to boost business ties with VN
Many Czech firms are looking for investment opportunities in Viet Nam and Viet Nam could do more to show that it is looking to do business with them, the Czech Republic’s Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Vladimir Bartl has said.
Speaking at a conference in HCM City yesterday attended by Czech business delegations seeking customers and partners in Viet Nam, he said the Czech Republic has invested US$90 million in 36 projects in Viet Nam.
Viet Nam and the Czech Republic have been partners for nearly 70 years, and his country ranks Viet Nam among its most important business partners in Asia and ASEAN, he said.
But more can be done to reach their full bilateral trade potential, he said.
Czech businesses can invest in fields such as infrastructure, energy, insurance and environmental protection, he said.
“We are also very competent in city planning, transport, public transport and traffic control. Those are the references we have in many countries, and we can bring that to your region.”
The Vietnamese Government and businesses need to give a clearer signal that they are looking for investment and business opportunities, he said.
"The Vietnamese Government should continue to create a good business environment and strive to wrap up the EU-Viet Nam Free Trade Agreement as soon as possible," he said.
Vo Tan Thanh, deputy chairman of the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, invited more Czech businesses to invest and do business in Viet Nam, especially HCM City, adding that Vietnamese firms should be more pro-active and network with their Czech counterparts.
Statistics from the General Department of Customs revealed that bilateral trade turnover reached more than $257 million in 2017, representing a modest yearly increase of 3 per cent. Of the sum, Viet Nam exported $151 million worth to the Czech while its imports hit $106 million.
Price-stabilisation efforts a hit
Ninety companies have signed up for HCM City’s price stabilisation programmes this year and the 2019 Lunar New Year, two more than last year, according to the city Department of Industry and Trade.
Speaking at a meeting on Thursday, Nguyen Nguyen Phuong, head of the department’s trade management division, said: “Though the number of participating firms increased by just two compared to last year, the supply of goods will be 30-35 per cent higher than last year.”
The city is simultaneously implementing four programmes to stabilise the prices of essential foods and foodstuffs, school supplies, dairy products, and medicines for a year starting on April 1.
The products will account for 25-40 per cent of market demand, an increase of 15-35 percentage points from last year.
For instance, under the programme for essential foods and foodstuffs, 10 groups of goods -- rice, sugar, cooking oil, poultry and cattle meat, poultry eggs, processed foods, fruits and vegetables, seafood, and spices – are sold at stabilised prices.
This year, for the first time, spices are included in the list of essential goods.
The products will meet 25-35 per cent of demand, rising to 30-40 per cent during Tet.
In the school supplies programme, 103 types of products (22 more than last year) are covered, with over 17 million notebooks, 570,000 uniforms, over 1.86 million schoolbags and backpacks and 920,000 pairs of shoes set to be sold.
The two remaining programmes stabilise the prices of formula milk for babies and pregnant women, milk powder and milk fortified with micronutrients, 21 medicine groups, 176 active ingredients, and 383 items, accounting for 50 per cent of the market for essential drugs.
All products are sold at 5-15 per cent lower than market prices.
This year 12 banks have signed up for the programmes, three more than last year, and they would lend VND19.65 trillion (US$861.8 million) to the participating companies at interest rates of 5.5-7 per cent for short-term loans and 9-10 per cent for medium- and long-term loans, Phuong said.
The State Bank of Viet Nam has said the banking sector would continue in the programme next year.
This year the SBV and the department would strengthen the programme that brings banks and businesses together for the latter to borrow for production and distribution, thus enabling a stable source of supply of goods for the city, he said.
A HCM City Export Processing and Industrial Zones Authority official said workers in industrial parks have great demand for price-stabilised products, and called for more mobile sales trips to these areas.
Nguyen Quynh Trang, deputy director of the department, said the department would work with businesses every year to ensure the products they supply to the market are of high quality and preferred by customers.
“We hope that through the programme businesses will focus on improving their production capacity and product quality.”
The programme has benefited both consumers and producers in the past, and more and more firms are signing up.
They have contributed greatly to developing distribution channels for Vietnamese products and the “Vietnamese people give priority to using Vietnamese goods” campaign, controlling inflation and ensuring social security, the department said.
There were 10,602 outlets selling price stabilised goods by the end of last year, an increase of 1,397 compared to 2016.
HCM City reviews programme to promote local goods
A campaign aimed at getting locals to buy locally produced goods has yielded positive results.
The “Vietnamese give priority to using Vietnamese goods” campaign took place in HCM City between 2015-17.
Speaking at a meeting in HCM City on Friday to review the campaign, Vice Chairman of the HCM City Fatherland Front Committee Tran Tan Ngoi said many activities like trade fairs and marketing campaigns were organised to promote the use of local products.
"Companies’ awareness of the importance of the domestic market has improved and they now pay attention to local customers’ tastes and seek to expand their distribution networks, even to remote areas," he said.
"Vietnamese goods now account for a large proportion of sales in the city’s wholesale and retail system," he said.
At the end of last year the city had 239 traditional markets, 207 supermarkets and 43 shopping malls.
Most large distribution systems in the city actively participated in the campaign. The ratio of domestic goods sold at supermarkets is now between 65-95 per cent, he said.
At Co.opmart, Vietnamese goods account for 90-93 per cent, and the company organised mobile sales trips to take them to rural areas, he said.
According to permanent Deputy Secretary of Saigon Co.op’s Party Committee Quach Cuong Saigon Co.op [which runs Co.opmart] has more than 300 outlets selling essential products and fresh foods, all of which meet safety standards.
It has invested in co-operatives and businesses to produce and supply more high-quality products to consumers.
It has also invested directly or indirectly in other provinces and plans to invest more to develop an organic agricultural model to better meet market demand.
Meanwhile Tran Tan Ngoi admitted that despite achieving encouraging results the campaign had shortcomings because some localities in the city had not implemented it well.
“Most businesses were small or medium-sized with limited competitive capacity, so they faced difficulties in competing with imported products, especially amid deeper international integration,” he said.
Though official agencies had made efforts to regulate quality and prices, a large number of fake and poor quality goods were still sold in the market, affecting the prestige of Vietnamese goods as well as causing difficulties for domestic businesses in expanding their production and trading, he added.
“A certain segment of consumers, especially those with high incomes, preferred imported goods to those made domestically,” he said.
The campaign continues, and in the next three years the city plans to enhance it to increase consumption and boost the production of high-quality goods to meet domestic and export market demands.
Vo Thi Dung, Deputy Secretary of the city’s Party Committee and head of the campaign’s steering committee, urged relevant agencies to review their publicity methods to improve efficiency.
They should “intensify checks to prevent fake goods” since they threaten consumers’ health. They also need to increase consumer confidence in local products, she said.
Enterprises should focus on improving their production technologies to produce consistently high quality products, she said.
At the meeting 68 businesses and organisations and 25 individuals received certificates of merit from the city People’s Committee for their contributions to the campaign.
Quang Tri attracts investment in economic zones
The central province of Quang Tri is offering many preferential policies to investors in the East South Economic Zone (EZ).
These include preferential land lease, corporate tax incentives and spending over VND1 trillion (US$44 million) on constructing infrastructure in this EZ.
This was announced by Nguyen Quoc Tuan, deputy director of QuangTri’s Department of Planning and Investment.
Besides attracting domestic investors, the economic and industrial zones of Quang Tri Province are attracting many major investors from Japan, Singapore, South Korea and Russia. These firms are interested in areas such as energy, infrastructure and hi-tech agriculture.
To lure more investments in economic and industrial zones, the province has incorporated policies to create the most favourable conditions for enterprises, including preferential land lease and simplification of administrative procedures.
As of April 12, the province’s economic and industrial zones attracted 149 investment projects, with a total registered capital of more than VND98 trillion. Of this, 88 projects have become operational, 50 are under construction and 11 are awaiting investments.
Quang Tri Province has two economic zones (East South and Lao Bao) and three industrial parks (South Dong Ha, Quan Ngang and West North Ho Xa).
At present, the province is focused on attracting strategic investors to the East South Economic Zone, which has an area of nearly 24,000ha spreading across 17 coastal communes in the three districts of Hai Lang, Trieu Phong and Gio Linh.
Last year, the industrial production value of industrial and economic zones combined reached over VND4 trillion, accounting for 40 per cent of the province’s total industrial production value, contributing more than VND350 billion to the State budget and creating jobs for some 5,200 workers.
HCM City to promote trade, investment in Cuba
The Investment and Trade Promotion Centre (ITPC) of HCM City will send a delegation to study the market and promote trade and investment in Cuba from April 15-24.
The delegation will include representatives of local producers and exporters in food processing, consumer goods, construction and services.
Cuba is pursuing more open economic policies while amending many old ones to integrate with the global economy. The country has been boosting trade and calling for investment to improve the competitiveness of its economy.
It has particularly focused on constructing new sea ports and railways, developing information technology infrastructure and reforming metallurgy and mining industries while giving priority to food processing and beverages.
Cuba wants to export goods such as pharmaceutical and biological products and services in tourism and healthcare.
Meanwhile, Viet Nam holds the advantage in exporting textiles and garments, footwear, handicraft, agriculture and aquaculture. The country has been looking for investments in construction, energy, industry, hi-tech agriculture, education, healthcare and tourism.
These factors leave enormous potential for enterprises of both sides to satisfy the needs of the Cuban market and to cooperate in trade and investment.
The Vietnamese delegation’s visit to Cuba aims to seek a market for building material, handicraft products, textile-garments, footwear, food, mechanical and electronic products, and plastics.
The delegation will introduce to Cuban investors HCM City’s business climate and some key projects in transportation, infrastructure development, education, healthcare and hi-tech agriculture.
According to Pham Thiet Hoa, ITPC director, trade between Viet Nam and Cuba has increased significantly in recent years but remains modest compared to the potential. Bilateral trade amounted to US$250 million in 2016, with Viet Nam’s exports to Cuba accounting for $240 million.
Petrolimex loses 24% in post-tax profit in 2017
The Vietnam National Petroleum Group (Petrolimex) has reported that its audited combined post-tax profit for 2017 had dropped by more than VND1.23 trillion (nearly US$55 million) compared to 2016.
Petrolimex recorded VND3.9 trillion in its audited combined post-tax profit for 2017, down 24 per cent from the previous year.
The reason was that the growth of cost of goods sold or cost of sales had exceeded its revenue growth by five per cent due to the rapid increase in crude prices.
Cost of goods sold or cost of sales is an accounting term that refers to the direct costs attributable to the production of goods in a company.
This amount includes the cost of raw material to produce the goods along with the direct labour costs. It excludes indirect expenses such as distribution costs and sales force costs.
Global oil had a successful year in 2017, with Brent crude rising by a total of 17.7 per cent to end the year at $66.87 per barrel compared to the 2016-end level of $56.82 per barrel. The figure for US crude West Texas Intermediate was 12.5 per cent.
In addition to this, Petrolimex also noticed its gross profit margin pulled down as the average import duty, based on which the base petrol prices are calculated and adjusted, was lower than the actual import duty for petrol products in some periods of the year.
The group recorded that some of its associate companies had to make corporate tax payments, which were extracted from their tax incentive differences in the previous years, thus reducing Petrolimex’s post-tax profit.
Petrolimex started listing more than 1.29 billion shares on HCM Stock Exchange on April 21, 2017, under code PLX at VND49,390 ($2.2) per share.
The company’s shares have risen strongly since then, peaking at VND93,100 per share on January 25, 2018. PLX closed today down 4.4 per cent at VND76,500 per share from the previous day’s price.
Automechanika HCM City to begin on April 25
Automechanika HCM City (AMHCMC), the business exhibition for the automotive services sector in Viet Nam, will be held at Saigon Exhibition and Convention Centre (SECC) from April 25 to 27.
The 2018 edition of the exhibition will again connect local and international industry players in the automotive sector, including around 360 exhibitors and 8,500 visitors from around the world.
Held in a 9,200sq.m area of exhibition space, AMHCMC will showcase the latest trends and industry developments, as well as an unmissable fringe programme.
Reflecting its vital role in empowering local industry players to upgrade and overcome their challenges, the programme’s Automechanika Academy, Repair and Maintenance Workshop and Product Presentation will be held concurrently with the show.
This year’s Automechanika Academy will provide a range of opportunities for its participants to share, network and adopt the latest industry trends, as well as with extended opportunities through a comprehensive agenda.
Led by experts from major organisations and institutions, consultants and leading market players, six free seminars will be held on 25th April. Topics will range from the latest policies, auto industry developments, material innovation and technological advancements.
Potential highlights of the exhibition’s 2018 edition include Viet Nam’s auto industry related policies, the latest trends and insights, the country’s first locally-branded cars and a new generation of lubricant technologies.
The Repair and Maintenance Workshop, which will be held on the second day of the exhibition on 26th April, with provide its attendees the opportunity to acquire advanced knowledge on collision repair and an understanding of international standards.
AMHCMC is one of 17 Automechanika fairs that are held in Africa, Asia, Europe and North, Central and South America.
Social News 22/4
Binh Thuan tourism eyes strong growth
Beautiful beaches in Bình Thuận Province attract tourists on holidays.
The central province of Bình Thuận received 1.35 million tourists in the first quarter of the year, a jump of 14 per cent compared to the same period last year.
Of the figure, there was a year-on-year rise of 17 per cent of international tourists.
According to the province’s Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, tourism revenue reached more than VNĐ3.1 trillion (US$136 million) in the first quarter, up by 15 per cent against the same period last year.
The province has 475 accommodation facilities with nearly 14,300 guest rooms, including about 350 five-star hotels.
There are also about seven international travel companies, 24 domestic travel companies and 27 tourism representative offices.
Bình Thuận tourism has many advantages such as well-known resorts, natural landscapes, beautiful beaches and sand dunes in the Phan Thiết City’s Mũi Né area, as well as high-quality tourism services and tasty cuisine.
A large number of visitors come during public holidays and the Tết (Lunar New Year) holiday, thanks to better promotions and activities.
Hot-air balloon rides for sightseeing, a Fishermen Show at Làng Chài (Fishing Village) Theatre, and a sand sculpture park attract thousands of visitors.
The province also requires all hotels to be transparent about service price, and ensure food safety and security.
Fairs and festivals in the country and abroad are also held to build an image of a safe, friendly, attractive tourist destination.
The province, which aims to become a National Beach Sports Centre, plans to open more inter-provincial tours and improve tourism infrastructure.
Last year, the province attracted 5.7 million tourists. Of these, about 670,000 were foreign tourists.
Working group to monitor treatment of oil-contaminated wells
Water from a well belonging to a family in Tân Phúc Village turns yellow and smells of oil.
Vice chairman of the central Hà Tĩnh Province’s People’s Committee Đặng Ngọc Sơn has signed a decision to establish a working group that will be responsible for guiding, inspecting and supervising the treatment of oil-contaminated wells in Hương Trạch Commune’s Tân Phúc Village under Hương Khê District.
The 16-member working group, chaired by Phan Lam Son, deputy director of the provincial Department of Natural Resources and Environment, will be tasked with guiding and coordinating directly with the People’s Committee of Hương Khê District to work out plans for treating the contaminated wells.
On April 8, Nguyễn Xuân Hải, a resident of Tân Phúc Village, noticed the smell of oil in his well. A day later, six other families in the village found their wells contaminated with oil. Two of them were severely polluted.
Immediately after receiving the news from the local residents, Hà Tĩnh Province officials went to the village to investigate the matter.
To ensure the safety of the water resources, local authorities have asked the affected families not to use the contaminated water and to have measures in place to prevent fire and explosion. Local authorities will also support the people in accessing safe water.
The provincial Department of Natural Resources and Environment has requested Hương Khê District People’s Committee to take measures to absorb the water in the contaminated wells to limit water pollution and prevent the oil from spilling into the surrounding areas.
Two stations of Metro Line No.1 expected to complete before April 30
Binh Thai station under construction
The HCMC Urban Railway Management Unit has made every possible effort to finish two stations of the Ben Thanh-Suoi Tien Metro Line No 1 , including Binh Thai and Hi-tech Park before the National Reunification Day, April 30.
Every station has two storeys and a length of 137 meters connecting with pedestrian overpass over the Hanoi highway.
The line No. 1 consists of 11 stations, including Van Thanh, Thao Dien, Rach Chiec, Phuoc Long, Binh Thai, Thu Duc, High-tech Park, Suoi Tien, Tan Cang, An Phu ...
Metro Line No. 1 runs abut 20 km from Ben Thanh to Suoi Tien, passing through Districts 1, 2, 9, Binh Thanh, and Thu Duc in Ho Chi Minh City and Di An district in Binh Duong.
The line is expected to open in 2020, including 2.6 km of underground line with three stations and over 17 km of elevated line with eleven stations with total capital of US$2.49 billion.
Ministry of Health warns about high risk of new measles outbreak
The Ministry of Health warns that families should have their babies vaccinated as scheduled in the National Expanded Immunization Program
Due to a gradual increase of measles cases, the Ministry of Health yesterday asked the People’s Committees of all provinces and cities nationwide to have a closed eye on measles prevention in order to avoid any possible outbreak.
Accordingly, the ministry requested the local authorities to direct the cooperation between their departments of health and related agencies in checking for anyone who has not been injected with measles vaccine in the local areas; carrying out immunizing them against measles; monitoring any area that has wild fluctuations of population as well as remote areas and ethnic communities; strictly performing the task of vaccinating enough dozes to all children as scheduled in the National Expanded Immunization Program (accounting for at least 95 percent children of all wards).
It also asked all hospitals to be well-prepared for emergencies, organize the flows of patients sensibly, arrange isolated units for the effective treatment of measles patients in order to minimize fatal cases, strictly implementing the task of controlling cross infection inside the hospitals, and limit the transference of patients to higher-leveled hospitals if not necessary.
Meanwhile, epidemic fighters in local areas have to try their best to timely discover suspicious cases of measles and quickly cope with the cases. The local authorities should also propagandize the risk of measles and prevention against the disease. In minor cases, children are advised to stay at home.
Statistics of the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology show that since the beginning of 2018, there have been around 100 cases of measles in Vietnam, an increase of more than 30 percent compared to the same period last year. In the whole year of 2017, there were only 141 measles cases found nationwide, mostly in the northern region.
It is noticeable that among the cases of measles this year, 54 patients are babies of under 9 months old (accounting for 38.3 percent). The National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology has warned about a high risk of measles outbreak this year in accordance with the rule of an outbreak every four years. In the years of 2013-2014, there were more than 5,000 cases of measles in the northern region, 100 of whom regrettably died.
Worryingly, the rate of immunization in many remote areas, ethnic communities, and industrial parks is very low, leading to an even higher risk.
HCMC to pilot 24 district medical centers offering family medicine services
At a meeting yesterday, Deputy Director of the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Health Tang Chi Thuong announced that the city will open medical centers in 24 districts offering family medicine services
Dr. Thuong said that 24 medical centers piloting the model are centers in crowded districts where workers reside but just having few infirmaries. These centers will provide healthcare services to laborers as well as help reduce pressure on big hospitals.
These centers will provide first aid and emergency treatment, treatment for health insurance card holders; receiving test results transferring from big hospitals, traditional medicine.
Additionally, these centers will treat special patients at homes and supply medications as prescriptions and provide basic healthcare services.
Moreover, medical workers in these centers will inject vaccine according to the National Expanded Immunization Program, keep track on diseases and locations which are vulnerable for diseases, manage patients living with tuberculosis, HIV, mental diseases and sifting non-communicable patients.
Along with opening medical centers in districts offering family medicine services, the Department encouraged grass-root hospitals to establish satellite clinics in medical centers which play a role as ‘helpers’ for districts hospitals.
Decree on development of rural sectors issued
The Government has issued Decree No. 52/2018/NĐ-CP on the development of rural sectors and traditional craft villages.
The Decree applies to all domestic and foreign organizations and individuals directly investing in production, business and services for rural sectors including small and medium-sized enterprises, co-operatives, households and traditional villages.
Seven rural sectors consist of agricultural-aquatic-forestry processing and production, handicraft production, material production serving for rural sectors, furniture, rattan, ceramics, glass, textiles, yarns, embroidery, knitting, small mechanics, production and trading of pet animals; salt production; services for production and rural living.
According to the Decree, the State encourages and facilitates individuals and organizations operating in rural sectors to launch trade promotion based on current regulations of the national trade promotion program.
They will be provided with consultancy and direct support from the State and local budgets for trade promotion activities and construction of infrastructure for traditional villages.
Road safety campaign for kids launched in HCMC
A parent learns how to install a child safety seat in a car at the launching ceremony of the Protect Your Precious campaign in HCMC
General Motors Vietnam (GM Vietnam) and AIP Foundation, in collaboration with Vietnam’s National Traffic Safety Committee (NTSC) and Ministry of Education and Training (MOET), have kicked off a “Protect Your Precious” campaign in HCMC to promote the use of child safety seats and the importance of seat belts for children.
The launching ceremony was attended by more than 100 teachers, parents and students from primary schools in the city. Similar campaigns were carried out in Hanoi on April 1 and Danang on April 8.
At the event, parents and their children actively participated in road safety games for kids and a knowledge-sharing workshop run by NTSC experts. In addition, a viral video and a campaign song named “The Precious”, composed by musician Doan Nhuoc Quy, helped actively spread the message and remind parents of ensuring safety for their children.
“GM Vietnam is conducting this campaign to join the Government’s effort for ensuring the safety of young vehicle passengers through 2018 National Traffic Safety Year, whose theme is Traffic Safety for Children,” said Ian Nicholls, president of GM Southeast Asia.
With the theme “Back seat. Buckled up”, the Protect Your Precious campaign is aimed at preventing unnecessary deaths and injuries among children by raising public awareness of the significance of child safety seats and seat belts as well as emphasizing parents’ responsibility for keeping their children safe when traveling by car.
According to AIP Foundation, road crashes in Vietnam cause around 22,400 fatalities and more than 453,000 injuries a year, which result in an annual loss of an estimated US$3 billion.
Children are particularly vulnerable. In Vietnam, 2,000 children die from road crashes a year. This is the second leading cause of death for Vietnamese children between the ages of five and 14.
For children, wearing a seat belt is the most effective way to prevent deaths and serious injuries in a vehicle crash. People not wearing a seat belt are 30 times more likely to be ejected from a vehicle during a crash. More than 75% of people who are ejected during a fatal crash die from injuries.
“As Vietnam’s economy continues to grow, so too will the number of families who own cars and use them as their main mode of transport. In order to protect our children and continue promoting a culture of road safety, we must encourage safe habits for all road users, whether it’s wearing a helmet or buckling a seatbelt,” said Greig Craft, president of AIP Foundation.
With the support of the U.S. Embassy and Government agencies, the campaign is expected to include the participation of more than 700 parents in the three cities and benefit more than 76,000 people across Vietnam.
Flower parades planned at Danang fireworks festival
An artist’s impression of a Vietnamese ﬂower ﬂoat which represents the Dragon Bridge in Danang
Twelve vehicles decorated with or covered in flowers will participate in flower parades during the Danang International Fireworks Festival (DIFF) 2018 slated for April 29-June 30 in the central coastal city of Danang.
The flower floats will travel at an average speed of 15 kilometers per hour on the route: Asia Park – Hai Thang Chin Street – Bach Dang Street – Ba Thang Hai Street – Thuan Phuoc Bridge – Le Duc Tho Street – Hoang Sa Street – Vo Nguyen Giap Street – Nguyen Van Thoai Street – Tran Thi Ly Bridge – 2/9 Street – Asia Park.
The parades will take place on May 5, May 12, May 19, June 16, June 17, June 23, and June 24, with each lasting two hours and a half.
The flower floats will represent famous bridges of the countries and territories such as Long Bien, Han River, Dragon, Tran Thi Ly and Thuan Phuoc bridges in Vietnam, Swietokrzyski Bridge in Poland, Tournelle Bridge in France, Brooklyn Bridge in the U.S., Rialto Bridge in Italy, Tsing Ma Bridge in Hong Kong, Oresund Bridge in Sweden, and 25 de Abril Bridge in Portugal.
Greater job opportunities at French job bazaar
Jobseekers are interviewed at the France-Vietnam Job Fair 2016 in HCMC
Students fluent in the French language or having studied in France will have greater opportunities to land a job at the France-Vietnam Job Fair 2018 due to kick off in Hanoi on May 5.
The event, jointly held by the French Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Vietnam, France Alumni Vietnam, and the French Embassy in Vietnam, will feature 35 French and Vietnamese enterprises, with over 200 vacancies up for grabs in numerous sectors such as commerce, banking, accounting, auditing, communications, education and computing.
The event will provide Vietnamese students and graduates, especially those furthering their studies in France, a chance to get various jobs and learn about recruiters while employers are expected to meet with and recruit skilled and experienced workers at the fair.
The job bazaar is scheduled to incorporate some seminars with diverse topics in an effort to boost students’ communication skills so as to encourage them to find good jobs.
The France-Vietnam Job Fair was first held in Hanoi in November 2014, then in HCMC in April 2015. The annual event then took place in both cities in 2016, and was repeated in HCMC in 2017.
Fishery association, ministry at odds over wastewater standards
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment has rejected petitions to lower the standards of wastewater regarding nitrogen and phosphoric contents as proposed by the local seafood association, which insists the technical barriers are too high to surmount.
Deputy Minister Vo Tuan Nhan told a meeting with representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) in Hanoi on April 17 that the environment cannot be sacrificed for economic growth, Thanh Nien reports.
As such, the environment watchdog will not relax the standards, but may consider a roadmap so that seafood processors can gradually improve conformity, Nhan told the meeting that was convened for authorities to hear complaints about national regulations on environmental protection that are said to spell great trouble for seafood processing enterprises.
Nguyen Hoai Nam, deputy secretary general of VASEP, said at the meeting that regulations under the National Standards 11:2015 set too stringent standards on the amounts of nitrogen and phosphorus in wastewater at seafood processors, which will push conformity costs to preventively high levels. Other countries do not set such high standards, Nam said.
Phosphorus is a chemical used by most seafood processors, which results in the high amount of the chemical in wastewater, Nam said, adding that despite applying new technology, the amount of phosphoric content after treatment still exceeds the limit at 20-30mg per liter.
Even neighboring countries like Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia do not have regulations on phosphoric quantity in effluents. Therefore, VASEP requested the ministry to remove the current regulation on this chemical.
For nitrogen, the current technology to treat nitrogen and ammonia in effluents has failed to meet standards as only the biological method is available for wastewater treatment when microorganisms are in the state of being average and weak.
Nam said that most seafood processors are small- and medium-sized enterprises, which dump a small amount of wastewater into the environment, so it is not necessary to impose so stringent environmental regulations.
In response, Deputy Minister Vo Tuan Nhan said that the ministry would not let the environment take a backseat for the sake of economic development.
Nhan said the ministry understands how stressful enterprises are when seeking to cut costs for raising the competitiveness of their exports. However, after consulting scientists, the ministry decided to keep regulations on the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus unchanged, Nhan asserted.
In reality, these chemicals are involved in eutrophication, a phenomenon in which the nitrogen and phosphorus amounts exceed the allowed limits, causing fish die en mass in recent years. In short, the regulations will remain unchanged, but the ministry will introduce a roadmap for seafood processors to gradually replace their technology, said Nhan.
Kid riders to race in short track
Kids will join a bike race in Hà Nội, Đà Nẵng and HCM City from May 6-20. - Photo courtesy Việt Nam Cycling and Sport Motor Federation
Kids aged from one to six years old will race in a bicycle race in Hà Nội, HCM City and Đà Nẵng on May 6-20, Việt Nam Cycling and Sport Motors Federation said.
Kids will join a 150m leg-push race with small bicycles (without pedals) in Hà Nội on May 6, in Đà Nẵng on May 13 and HCM City on May 20.
They will compete in four age groups (each group will comprise of 12 riders) in two rounds.
Competitors can ride with their own bikes or bikes provided by the race organisers.
The qualifying round will select the top three finishers for the final round.
In Hà Nội, competitors will race in a track at LeParc by Gamuda in Yên Sở Park from 8am to 5pm, at Đà Nẵng’s Asia Park from 8am to 12am and at a track in HCM City (specific location to be determined) from 8am to 5pm.
The race, which is held by the federation and Kids&Family TV channel (VTC11) of Digital VTC Television, aims to help kids starting with bicycle riding, balance skills and speed.
Prizes and awards will be given to riders at the races.
Changes expected to expanded vaccination programme next June
Next June several new vaccines will be used in the 2018 expanded vaccination programme.
The national expanded vaccination programme in 2018 will witness several changes come June, with a new vaccine replacing the 5-in-1 Quinvaxem, the polio vaccine to be deployed through injection, and the use of a Vietnamese-made measles-rubella combined vaccine.
The changes were announced by the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology under the Ministry of Health (MOH) at a conference discussing the application of new vaccines held in Da Nang on April 17.
Accordingly, the Indian-produced ComBe Five vaccine, which was licenced by the MOH in May 2017, has been chosen to replace the previous Quinvaxem vaccine. The new vaccine is similar to Quinvaxem, being effective against diphtheria, tetanus, hepatitis B, and pneumonia/meningitis due to Hib bacteria.
Meeting the strict requirements of the World Health Organisation, ComBe Five has been deployed in more than 43 countries around the world with over 400 million doses used. Its safety and effectiveness is similar to that of other 5-in-1 vaccines of the same composition.
In order to maintain the results of eliminating polio during the past 17 years, along with continuing to use three oral doses of polio vaccine, children at five months of age will be given an additional injection of polio vaccine under the regular immunisation programme from 2018.
Accordingly, from June this year, children nationwide will be given an injection of IPV polio vaccine manufactured by France’s Sanofi. The vaccine is offered by the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisations and the United Nations Children's Fund. Partners will provide the IPV vaccine to Vietnam in two batches in March and August 2018 providing more than 1.9 million doses. From June, the vaccine will be deployed in four provinces and cities, including Vinh Phuc, Da Nang, Gia Lai, and Vinh Long, before being expanded to other locales across the country.
Currently, Vietnam has ensured its active self-production of the measles-rubella combined vaccine on the basis of technology transfer from Japan. The vaccine has initially replaced the previous imported one, to provide injections of nearly 8,000 doses for children aged 18-24 months since February 2018, with no serious reactions recorded.
Assoc. Prof., Dr. Tran Dac Phu, Head of the MOH’s Department of Preventive Medicine, said that Quinvaxem would continue to be used for children under one year of age in the expanded immunisation programme until it is replaced by the new vaccine to ensure children are fully immunised.
The MOH recommends that parents continue to fully vaccinate their children in accordance with the vaccination schedule to prevent the spread of dangerous infectious diseases.
Railway passengers provided with more e-payment options
Railway passengers are now able to buy tickets and pay fares using electronic wallets Payoo and MoMo, two of the main e-payment solutions popular among youngsters nowadays.
Accordingly, passengers need to visit the Vietnam Railways Corporation (VNR)’s website at dsvn.vn to book their tickets as usual and can then make payment via their Payoo wallet.
They can also buy tickets and pay fares by logging into their account on MoMo's mobile wallet application, where they can select the option of making train reservations and follow the instructions.
The rollout of two more payment options aims to provide a feasible way for train passengers to make reservations and payments, helping them reduce transaction time, and avoid long queues at ticket counters.
Launched in 2008 by VietUnion Online Services Corporation, Payoo is an online payment service platform for e-commerce in Vietnam.
Developed and managed by the Online Mobile Service Jsc (M_Service), the MoMo app, MoMo offers a one touch payment service through its smartphone application.
Over 4,500 laborers in Dong Thap Province work abroad
Locals in Dong Thap are at a training course before going to Japan
According to People’s Committee in the Mekong delta province of Dong Thap, over 4,500 residents in the province have being worked overseas so far.
From the beginning of the year, more than 503 locals sought an overseas job mostly in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan (China)
The province has taken the lead in labor export in the Mekong delta region. Through study, Dong Thap residents working in the field of food making, agriculture, mechanics, automobile technology, construction have good income of around VND28-35 million monthly a person; these persons have sent money home to support their family; accordingly many households have escaped poverty.
Moreover, Japanese enterprises are favor of laborers from Dong Thap because Vietnamese workers are industrious, and well skillful. Japanese enterprises receive over 200 laborers in Dong Thap monthly.
Director of the province’s employment service center Nguyen Thi Minh Tuyet said the province authority defined labor export as a key mission, aiming to develop the economy and improve the quality of life. In reality, the province yields fruitful results.
However, lately, some locals have been ripped off by bad men who swindled their money; therefore, related agencies warned people to register in the government’s employment service center not to listen to anyone.
Dong Thap People’s Committee assigned the employment service center to provide vocational training courses and send laborers abroad.
HCMC takes heed welfare for senior people
A group of people visit Thi Nghe house where many elderly pepole reside
Speaking at the seminar named ‘Solutions and models of taking care of elderly people”, Dr. Pham Quang Huy from the National Academy of Public Administration proposed the government setting up a medium –term strategy to ensure senior citizen’s income including pension and welfare to protect them.
The meeting was yesterday held by the HCMC Institute for Development Studies (HIDS) and the welfare caring association for elderly and disabled people in Asia and Japan.
Participants said that there are the number of important things that Ho Chi Minh City authorities have to take into consideration such as building community-based houses for caring senior people, developing more care home that specialized in looking after elderly as well as training people to look after elderly people at homes.
With the elderly population of 460,000 people in Ho Chi Minh City accounting for 5.4 percent of the whole population, the city is encountering social security problems for senior people, said Le Van Thanh from HIDS
Vietnamese elderly people dislike to be sent to an old people’s house but if they stay at home, nobody take care of them because their children must go out to work.
Mr. Thanh said that some senior people accumulate not enough for spending when retiring while there are more and more old people in the city, which is a burden for young people. This leads to difficulties for their children.
At present, some elderly people still work while others live on social welfare.
Thanh said that covering all expenses including money for their old parents are a headache for all families especially those are in low-income group.
As many as ageing people are not eligible for social insurance; therefore, they encounter risks in economy and health problems.
Le Chu Giang, former head of the HCMC Department of Labor, Invalids and Social Issues' Social Services Section, the city has 11 houses sponsored by organizations and individuals to freely look after 700 difficult elderly people while 300 senior people are residing in other pay five houses.
Elderly people live in an old’s houses only when their children have no choice. Additionally, charge of VND5 million per month is a problem for these poor families who want to send their parents to the special house.
Accordingly, many elderly people still stay with the children at homes. As per Vietnamese old people’s thinking, they want to connect with kids hence, the authorities should pay attention to build community-based old houses.
Dr. Nguyen Thi Hoai Huong from HIDS informed the meeting that care services for senior residents as per demand such as talking to old people, buying food, making food, feeding, bathing , walking old people, in HCMC have been started.
Ms. Huong thought that community-based caring models should be expanded because elderly people can stay at their homes.
Accordingly, lecture of Cadre training institute Trinh Thi Hien said that it is urgent to develop social work for looking after elderly people.
The Medicine University Hospital in HCMC’s district 1 take the lead in setting up a department to take care of elderly patients. Hospital managers have planned to expand the caring service for these citizens at homes.
National-scale art programme to mark establishment of Dai Co Viet dynasty
A performance during the Hoa Lu Festival in Ninh Binh
A national-scale ceremony and art programme entitled 'Shining epic on Dai Co Viet' will take place from April 24-27, to mark the 1050th anniversary of the establishment of Dai Co Viet, the first imperial dynasty in Vietnam.
The programme will feature profound implications, contributing to affirming the role and important values of the Dai Co Viet dynasty, the first centralised feudal state in Vietnam during the process of national construction and defence, while highlighting the role of Emperor Dinh Tien Hoang in the process of national reunification.
The art programme will see the participation of hundreds of artists and athletes from the Hanoi Vietnam Tuong Theatre, Hanoi Cheo Theatre, Ninh Binh Cheo Theatre, Viet Bac Art Troupe, Bac Ninh University of Physical Education and Sports, and others.
The highlight of the programme will be a string of 47 events to be held in Ninh Binh province to celebrate 1050 years since Dinh Bo Linh ascended to the throne and set up the Dai Co Viet State, which laid the foundations for the prosperity of many subsequent dynasties in the history of the nation.
Artist Le Quy Duong will be the general director cum screenwriter of the programme and the programme will also receive consultancy from historians Truong Dinh Tuong and Dr. Tran Dinh Ngon.
Dai Co Viet (Great Viet) was the first centralised feudal state in Vietnam which existed from 968 to 1010 AD. It was also the first capital of the country until King Ly Thai To moved the capital to Thang Long (the former name of Hanoi) in 1010.
3 SEZs to cost Vietnam whopping $70 billion
Experts have voiced concern about the huge amount of capital, VND1,570 trillion, needed to develop three special economic zones (SEZs), saying this will put a heavy burden on the economy.
Vietnam needs huge amount of capital to develop three SEZs
The Ministry of Finance (MOF) estimates Vietnam will need capital, equal to US$70 billion, to develop the three SEZs – Van Don, Bac Van Phong and Phu Quoc.
Of this, VND270 trillion would be allocated to Van Don SEZ in 2018-2030, while VND400 trillion would be reserved for Bac Van Phong in 2019-2025 and the remaining VND900 trillion would be spent in 2016-2030, to develop Phu Quoc Island into a busy SEZ in which domestic capital would account for 59 percent and foreign capital 41 percent.
Huynh The Du from the Fulbright Economics Teaching Program (FETP) said the investment capital of tens of billions of dollars would burden the national economy. It is necessary to examine whether the benefits brought by the SEZs are higher than the costs.
Du, speaking to Tuoi Tre reporters, mentioned the necessity of making hefty investments in Hanoi and HCMC to improve the competitiveness of the national economy. In the context of global integration, Vietnam needs to create internationally competitive urban areas, which attract talented people.
If Vietnam wants to attract international corporations, Du believes that the eastern part of HCMC, including Thu Thiem area, plus districts 2 and 9, would create a more effective special zone.
According to Du, Phu Quoc SEZ can develop tourism, while Van Don would have great development opportunities if it links with the Chinese economy.
Meanwhile, it is still unclear what could be the ‘key economic branches’ for Bac Van Phong.
Nguyen Dinh Cung, head of the Central Institute of Economic Management (CIEM), doubts that the three SEZs would succeed in developing hi-tech industries, saying that even Hanoi and HCMC, which have the greatest advantages, still cannot do this.
Sharing the same concern, Nguyen Mai, an expert on foreign investment, noted that Samsung turned down land plots in Dong Anh and Hoa Lac Hi-tech Park offered by the Hanoi People’s Committee to set up an R&D center with 3,200 engineers.
Samsung said that hi-tech engineers preferred to work in the central area of Hanoi.
MOF has been warned that balancing receipts and expenditures would be a heady issue for the ministry because provincial authorities have also asked for the same measures.
Quang Ninh, where Van Don SEZ is located, for example, has proposed retaining 100 percent of local tax collections until 2030.
Mai Chi, VNN
Social News 23/4
Four die in motorbike accident in Quảng Trị
Four people died when a motorbike slammed into a truck parked along a road in the central province of Quảng Trị on Saturday evening.
Hồ Văn Vinh, 16, and three other boys, including Hồ Văn Xếp, 15, Hồ Văn Hoài, 14, and Hồ Văn Đao, 13, were riding on the motorbike while traveling from mountainous Tà Rụt Commune in the province’s Dakrông District to National Highway 9, prior to colliding with the parked truck.
Witnesses said the motorbike was traveling at a high speed and lost control before the accident occurred.
Xếp, Hoài and Đao died at the scene, while Vinh died after being rushed to a hospital.
Hồ Sĩ Nhung, head of the district police, said the investigation at the accident scene was completed in the evening, after which the dead boys were handed over to their families for funerals.
Boys in Việt Nam are not allowed to drive until they reach 18 years old, when they must pass a test of their driving skills. The four dead boys apparently violated the under-18 driving ban, as well as exceeded the maximum number of passengers allowed on a motorbike.
Police did not report whether the victims were wearing helmets, though it was noted that they were driving at a speed faster than is allowed on country roads.
Couple rescued from landslide
Neighbours and rescue workers try to pull out the two victims from underground.
A local couple in the Central Highlands province of Lâm Đồng was rescued on Thursday after being buried for an hour by a landslide.
Nguyễn Duy Trinh, 50, and his wife, Phạm Thị Thời, 42, of Lộc Thành Commune were buried two metres underground by a landslide of soil when they were repairing a water pipe in their garden late on Thursday.
The accident was discovered by the couple’s neighbours, who immediately dug up the earth with makeshift tools to rescue them and informed the commune’s authorities.
It took half an hour to pull out Thời and another 15 minutes to rescue Trinh.
Both are undergoing treatment at Bảo Lộc General Hospital II.
The landslide was reportedly caused by heavy downpour in the commune.
Aviation fuel thieves put in jail
The People’s Court of HCM City on Friday announced sentences for 25 defendants accused of stealing 500,000 litres of airplane fuel from the National Airlines of Việt Nam (Vietnam Airlines).
Twenty five defendants were sentences to years in jail for stealing 500,000 litres of airplane fuel from the National Airlines of Việt Nam. - Photo plo.vn
According to the indictment, Việt Nam Air Petrol Company (Skypec) is in charge of transporting jet fuel from a number of warehouses managed by Nhà Bè Oil and Gas Company to a number of airports – Tân Sơn Nhất International Airport, Cần Thơ Airport, Buôn Ma Thuột Airport and Liên Khương Airport.
Skypec signed a contract to hire tanker trucks from four different companies to do the work.
Some drivers conspired with Đoàn Anh Dũng, Đoàn Anh Vũ, Đoàn Anh Kiệt, Huỳnh Minh Dũng and Nguyễn Thị Ngọc Tuyền to steal some of the fuel they were charged with transporting.
From 2016 to March 2017, Huỳnh Minh Dũng and Nguyễn Thị Ngọc Tuyền and some drivers stole 218,310 litres of fuel and sold it to Trần Văn Tình for more than VNĐ3.5 billion (US$155,000).
Đoàn Anh Dũng, Đoàn Anh Vũ and Đoàn Anh Kiệt stole 190,000 litres of Jet-A1 fuel and 66,000 litres of DO oil and sold it to Nguyễn Quang Đức for VNĐ4 billion ($177,000).
Also during this time, 12 drivers stole tens of thousands of litres of fuel on a number of occasions.
In total, some 500,000 litres of aviation fuel was stolen.
Đoàn Anh Dũng was sentenced to 12 years in jail for theft of property; Đoàn Anh Vũ six years, Đoàn Anh Kiệt seven years, Nguyễn Quang Đức 12 years, Huỳnh Minh Dũng 10 years and Nguyễn Thị Ngọc Tuyền seven years, for the same crime.
Nineteen other defendants in the ring were sentenced to between one and eight years in jail.
They were also instructed to return the financial proceeds from the crime to the State.
Boats seized for illegal fishing, oil trading
Border Guard inspects oil transfer equipment.
Many fishing boats were seized by Cà Mau Province Border Guard on Thursday for illegally transferring oil in Cà Mau Province sea.
The boat owners could not present the required bills, certificates and permissions for the transportation and trade of oil.
The provincial law enforcement agencies are completing dossiers and investigating the matter further.
According to the Vietnam News Agency, fishing boat numbered CM 99658 TS was caught selling oil. The boat belongs to Kiên Giang Province-based Trần Tấn Hải and is captained by Trần Thanh Phong, who admitted that Hải had directed him to trade oil seven times since February.
The boat is not used for fishing as registered with the local authorities. Instead, it buys oil from foreign ships and resells it to other boats 15-20 nautical miles away from Hòn Chuối Island.
Cà Mau Province’s Sông Đốc Town Border Guard also arrested two other fishing boats, numbered KG 92909 TS and KG 91441 TS, for illegal oil trading in the sea.
Meanwhile, Trà Cổ District Border Guard in Móng Cái City in the northern province of Quảng Ninh captured five boats for illegal fishing. These boats belong to Hà Tĩnh Province-based Nguyễn Xuân Bắc, Thái Văn Thi, Thái Văn Vượng, Thái Văn Lâm and Thái Văn Giang.
The Border Guard also seized five air compressors, five diving suits, five diving goggles, five fishing plumb bobs and a 250m gas pipe.
Quang Nam, Laos’ Sekong province to deal with illegal migration, marriage
Leaders of the central province of Quang Nam and the Lao neighbouring province of Sekong will meet in the second quarter of this year to discuss specific cases of illegal migrants and marriage along the shared border.
The information was released during a meeting in Quang Nam on April 19 between a supervision team of the National Assembly’ Committee for External Affairs led by Nguyen Van Giau and Quang Nam authorities on the outcomes of the agreement between the governments of Vietnam and Laos on the settlement of illegal migration and marriage along the shared border, particularly the section between the two provinces.
Quang Nam has the two border districts of Tay Giang and Nam Giang, as well as the Nam Giang - Dak-Ta-Tooc and Tay Giang - Ka Lum border gates.
According to Director of the provincial Department of Foreign Affairs Nguyen Thanh Hong, eight illegal Lao migrants are living in Quang Nam, along with 15 illegal marriage cases of Lao people.
Meanwhile, there are three Vietnamese households and 21 illegal marriages in Sekong.
In the upcoming meeting, leaders of the two localities will made decisions on each cases in line with the agreement between the two countries’ governments in the field.
Chairman of the National Assembly’ Committee for External Affairs Nguyen Van Giau said that in the coming time, Quang Nam should coordinate closely with Sekong in coping with arising problems during the implementation of the agreement.
He also asked the border districts of the province to strengthen communications on law among the community to end illegal migration and marriage.
Over the past years, Quang Nam has delivered 2,000 Vietnamese-Lao bilingual handbooks to locals to update them on laws related to nationality, citizen status, migration and marriage along the border.
Quang Tri: Memorial service held for remains of soldiers
Scene at the event (Photo: dantri.vn)
The central province of Quang Tri’s People’s Committee, in coordination with relevant agencies, held a memorial service and re-buried nine martyrs’ remains at the Huong Hoa martyr cemetery on April 19.
Local officials and people laid wreaths and offered incense at the ceremony, held solemnly to remember the merits of heroes and martyrs who fell for the cause of national liberation.
A search at a deep of 80 – 100 cm in Sa Nghet ravine of Huong Hoa district discovered their remains accompanied by many relics, such as knives, shirt buttons, shoes and hammocks.
Major Tran Manh Ha, leader of the search team, said seven of the nine remains were found with gravestones, of which only four can be read.
Three families in Ha Tinh, Hai Duong, and Nghe An have contacted the team to carry out ADN tests in search of their lost members, Ha said.
Bac Ninh holds job fair for workers returning from RoK
Nearly 400 of job seekers, who had worked in the Republic of Korea (RoK) under the Employment Permit System (EPS) programme, took part in a job fair in the northern province of Bac Ninh on April 19.
At the fair, held by the Job Service Centre under the provincial Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, job seekers from across the northern region had a chance to access employment opportunities in 21 RoK firms in Vietnam.
Participating companies mostly operated in the manufacturing sector and were in need of interpreters, office staff, electricians and mechanical workers.
Dinh Van Duyet, director of the Bac Ninh Employment Service Centre, said RoK firms in Vietnam have high demand for employees, particularly Vietnamese once working in the country.
Vietnamese returning from the RoK boast good skills, discipline, and training suitable to these companies, he added.
He said the salary paid by RoK firms is high in comparison to that of other foreign-funded businesses in Bac Ninh. According to him, the monthly wage is between 8 and 12 million VND (352 – 528 USD) for unskilled workers and about 20 million VND (880 USD) for posts requiring qualifications like interpreters, accountants, or human resources staff.
Through the eight events of this kind in Bac Ninh so far, thousands of labourers found jobs.
Workshop looks into int’l cooperation in improving traffic safety
The site of a car crash on Phap Van Expressway
A workshop was held in Ho Chi Minh City on April 19 to look into international cooperation in seeking ways to improve traffic safety in Vietnam.
Chairman of the Vietnam Traffic Safety Association Nguyen Hong Truong said nearly 9,000 people lose their lives to traffic accidents nationwide each year, causing economic losses equivalent to 2.5 – 3 percent of the country’s GDP. To solve this challenge, cooperation among the State, scientists, businesses and organisations in ensuring traffic safety is very important.
He appreciated cooperation efforts by Belgian and Vietnamese scientists in finding out traffic accident causes and reviewing domestic and international experience to propose feasible solutions to traffic safety in Vietnam.
Tran Huu Minh, Deputy Chief of Office of the National Traffic Safety Committee, pointed out challenges in terms of road users’ awareness, habits and behaviours.
Local authorities should step up communications to raise public awareness as right awareness will bring about changes in behaviour, he noted, adding that strict penalties are also necessary to deter road users from violations.
Prof. Geert Wets from Belgium’s Transportation Research Institute shared studies on traffic safety policies in northern regions of his country. He noted that influential educational programmes could be used as effective tools to encourage young people to have safe behaviours.
Talking about Vietnam’s traffic safety strategies until 2020, Tran Huu Minh said the country needs to perfect the law system on traffic safety such as the Law on Road Traffic and the Law on Railway, improve manpower quality, and enhance institutional capacity. Local administrations should boost technology application and regularly deploy patrol forces to ensure traffic safety.
Participants at the workshop also asked the Ministry of Education and Training to reform communication methods and soon include traffic safety education in school curriculum.
In the first quarter of 2018, Vietnam recorded 4,674 traffic accidents that killed 2,149 people and injured 3,627 others. Compared to the same period last year, traffic accident numbers fell by 2.89 percent but fatalities rose 1.66 percent, according to the National Traffic Safety Committee.
France-Vietnam job festival to be held in Hanoi, HCM City
At a press conference on the France-Vietnam job festival (Source: qdnd.vn)
A France-Vietnam job festival will be held at Pullman hotel in Hanoi on May 5, while a similar event will be organised at Novotel Saigon Centre in Ho Chi Minh City on May 12, according to the organising board.
The events, which will be jointly organised by the French Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Vietnam (CCIFV), the France Alumni Vietnam and the French Embassy in Vietnam, will offer over 200 employment opportunities.
As many as 35 Vietnamese and French firms in various fields from trade, banking, distribution, accounting-auditing, communications, education, IT, construction, hotel, and tourism, have confirmed their participation.
According to CCIFV Director Guillaume Crouzet said that the events aim to create chances for enterprises and recruiters to seek high quality human resources, while giving opportunities for Vietnamese youngsters, especially those who were trained in France and under French programmes in Vietnam.
Crouzet said that workshops will be held to develop capacity for and exchange experience with applicants.
Vietnam works to reduce mortality among mothers, newborns
The Vietnam Gynaecology and Obstetrics Association and Can Tho Gynaecology and Obstetrics Hospital held the third conference in the field with nearly 500 leading professors and doctors taking part.
The association reported that despite progresses in health care and treatment, there remains gap in mortality among children below one month old in regions. Therefore, the conference aims to update skills of medical staff and prevent complications during pregnancy.
Participants delivered 34 reports on breast cancer treatment, pre-birth screening, pregnancy among old women, menopause, breastfeeding, blood disorder during pregnancy, among others.
Nguyen Huu Du, Director of Can Tho Gynaecology and Obstetrics Hospital, said the annual event enables leading doctors, scientists and experts to meet and share experience in reproductive health care, contributing to building a growing network.
35 books win first National Book Awards
Three books winning Prize A in good content category of the National Book Awards (Source:http://baochinhphu.vn)
Twenty-two books with good contents and 13 others with good designs have been honoured with the National Book Awards, the first of its kind in Vietnam, at a ceremony at the National Library in Hanoi on April 19.
Prize A in the category of good contents came to three works of the Publishing House for Sciences and Technology, the Ho Chi Minh City General Publishing House and The Gioi (World) Publishers.
Prize B was presented to nine books, while 10 others received Prize C.
Meanwhile in the category of good design, three books won the first prize, while five others were honoured with second and five with third prizes.
Addressing the event, Deputy Minister of Information and Communications Hoang Vinh Bao said that the first National Book Awards drew 514 titles of books in different fields of 40 out of 59 publishing houses in the country.
The award is part of activities to develop reading culture among society, while encouraging the development of publishing houses, he said.
The annual National Book Awards, developed from the Vietnam Book Awards, aims to honour books with outstanding values in politics, ideology and knowledge, while acknowledging the contributions of authors, translators, scientists, publishing houses, printing houses and distributors.
Dong Nai: Catholics donate 700 billion VND to charitable activities
Scene at the congress (Photo: nhandan.org.vn)
Catholics in the southern province of Dong Nai donated more than 700 billion VND (30.8 million USD) to charitable activities from 2012 – 2017.
The information was released at the 7th congress of Catholics in Dong Nai province on April 19. The event was attended by President of the Vietnam Fatherland Front Central Committee Tran Thanh Man, provincial leaders and 300 delegates who represent more than 925,000 Catholics in the province.
According to the Committee for Solidarity of Catholics of Dong Nai province, the Xuan Loc Diocese is running 30 charitable medical clinics and establishments caring for disabled children and lonely elderly people. The medical clinics provide free checkups and treatment for thousands of poor patients per day.
Dong Nai is leading the country in new-style rural area building, with 8 out of its 11 districts meeting the criterion. The achievements saw significant contributions of the local Catholic community, who had donated money and land for the construction of rural roads and other public infrastructure.
The local Catholic community built 36 schools, over 100 kindergartens, and a vocational training school, the first of its kind in Vietnam run by Catholics.
The committee affirmed that it will continue encouraging Catholics to promote national solidarity, obey the law, and follow the ideology and lifestyle of late President Ho Chi Minh.
Nguyen Quoc Vu, head of the provincial Committee for Religious Affairs, praised the Dong Nai Committee for Solidarity of Catholics’ efforts to encourage local Catholics to participate in patriotic emulation movements and contribute to the province’s social-economic development.
The Party Committees, administrations and organizations at all levels of Dong Nai province have paid attention to activities of the Catholic community, he said.
At the congress, Priest Tran Xuan Thao was re-elected as Chairman of the Dong Nai Committee for Solidarity of Catholics.
HCM City urges IT, telecom sector to take part in smart-city development
The city, which covers more than 2,000 square kilometers, with a population of 10 million, would develop the smart city plan in gradual phases.
Secretary of the HCM Party Committee Nguyễn Thiện Nhân has called on the IT and telecommunications sectors to work closely with local agencies in smart-city development.
“Traffic congestion and floods continue to occur. We need smart city forecasting and solutions,” Nhân said at a meeting with the city People’s Committee and members of the IT and telecommunications community held on Wednesday.
The city planned to carry out simulations on urban traffic, the economy, and floods, he added.
Under the smart urban area project, there will be four centres. One will be a shared database and open database eco-system and another will integrate all the city’s information sources and databases from various departments and district committees.
The others will be used for simulations to forecast socio-economic strategy, and on information security.
Trần Vĩnh Tuyến, deputy chairman of the city People’s Committee, said that students at schools would be taught about smart city issues.
Nhân said the city should learn from other countries but that products and technologies for the project’s implementation should be from Vietnamese.
The city, which covers more than 2,000 square kilometres, with a population of 10 million, would develop the smart city plan in gradual phases.
The city’s eastern region including District 2, 9 and Thủ Đức would be given priority, he added.
The region is near the city’s centre and has land for new infrastructure and facilities. The area also has a buffer zone to encourage innovation and startups.
“This would be the first smart urban centre, which will help speed up the project,” Nhân said.
He instructed all city departments to assess the development of IT and telecommunications industries with detailed figures.
The city has nearly 80,000 people working in these industries, accounting for 1.86 per cent of its total labour force.
“This is too low,” Nhân said.
Việt Nam National University- HCM City said it would train more IT students in coming years.
Many enterprises and startups have asked the city to give them preferential treatment so they can be part of the smart city project.
Phí Anh Tuấn, vice chairman of HCM City Computer Association, said that preferential tariffs or other preferences should be provided to enterprises that use software produced by local companies.
MoU signed for treatment of rare diseases
The Medical Services Administration, under the Ministry of Health (MoH), and Shire Singapore Ltd signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) today.
The health ministry’s Medical Services Administration and Shire Singapore today sign of a joint Memorandum of Understanding on improving diagnosis, treatment and management of rare diseases in Việt Nam.
Under the deal, the two parties will collaborate on improving the diagnosis, treatment and management of rare diseases in Việt Nam until 2023.
“Việt Nam has a population of more than 90 million, but only few of the rare diseases have specific treatment. To improve their diagnosis and treatment, there is a need to work with an industry leader to create positive changes for patients in future. This will also facilitate the introduction of ‘orphan drugs’ provision policies in Việt Nam where there is a significant unmet need,” said LươngNgọcKhuê,director of the Medical Services Administration.
The agreement is also expected to help support professional medical education in the country and develop a management programme for rare diseases.
“Haemophilia and Primary Immune Deficiency (PID) are complex rare disorders and require continuous medical research and innovative approach to ensure positive outcome for patients. This MoU is the first-of-its-kind for Shire in Asia Pacific, and we aim to not only shorten the time for diagnosis but also ensure that patients are well supported with adequate access to therapy and management over the course of their life-long conditions,” said Linda Seah, head of Southeast Asia Cluster at Shire.
During the first stage, MoH and Shire will work together to develop a national guideline to improve the quality of diagnostics, treatment and management of Haemophilia and PID as well as to support policy development on rare diseases in Việt Nam.
According to the World Health Organisation, there are approximately 100 rare diseases reported in Việt Nam. It is estimated that almost one in 15 persons, or approximately six million people in the country, suffer from a rare disease. Việt Nam has more than 6,000 haemophilia patients, but only 2,400 have been detected their disease situation, while PID remains common and adversely affects the prognosis of these patients.
Tâm wins stages and yellow jersey in HCM City cycling event
Nguyễn Thành Tâm (middle) celebrates winning the 20th stage of the HCM City Television Cycling Tournament yesterday. - Photo vov.vn
Nguyễn Thành Tâm of Gạo Hạt Ngọc Trời An Giang won the 20th stage of the HCM City Television Cycling Tournament yesterday.
Tâm finished first in the 51km race around Xuân Hương Lake in Đà Lạt City, Lâm Đồng Province.
It is the sixth time Tâm has won stages of the annual event which has the total bonusses of VNĐ2.2 billion (US$99,000).
Tâm also held onto the yellow jersey for the best overall time after 20 stages.
Lê Nguyệt Minh, who was the runner-up of this stage, won the green jersey for the best sprinter with 225 points.
The white jersey for the best young cyclist was held by Ngô Văn Phương of An Giang Plant Protection, while Loic Desriac of Bike Life Đồng Nai won the red jersey for the King of the Mountain.
The cyclists will continue competing today in the 110km stage from Đà Lạt to Bảo Lộc City.
2018 Vietnam Ethnic Groups’ Cultural Day opens
At the opening ceremony
The 2018 Vietnam Ethnic Groups’ Cultural Day was officially opened on April 19 at the Vietnam National Village for Ethnic Culture and Tourism in the Dong Mo tourism area of Son Tay town, Hanoi.
The event was attended by Politburo member, Standing Vice Chairwoman of the National Assembly Tong Thi Phong; Vice President Dang Thi Ngoc Thinh; Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyen Ngoc Thien; and Deputy Head of the Party Central Committee's Commission for Mass Mobilization Dieu K’Re; as well as leaders of ministers and branches, along with patriarchs, artisans, and people from 30 ethnic minority groups across the country.
Addressing the event, Vice President Ngoc Thinh highlighted the importance of organising the Vietnam Ethnic Groups’ Cultural Day (April 19) under Decision No. 1668 / QD-TTg of the Prime Minister, dated November 17, 2008. Over the past 10 years, Vietnam Ethnic Groups’ Cultural Day has become a great festival of the 54 ethnic groups, and is an opportunity for ethnic people to meet and exchange, helping to promote and honour good cultural values, while enriching the spiritual life of the people, she said.
She called for all-round efforts to preserve and uphold the treasured cultural value of Vietnamese ethnic groups, to promote the “unity in diversity” of Vietnam’s cultural identity, and increase cultural exchanges with the world in order to enrich the national culture.
Under the theme of “National cultural identities contribute to building and developing the Vietnamese culture and people to meet the demand of sustainable national development”, this year’s event features a gala of ethnic culture, ethnic cultural days, and an exhibition and review of the ten years of implementing the Prime Minister’s decision on the holding of Vietnam Ethnic Groups’ Cultural Day.
The highlight of the event will be the gala of ethnic culture, including performances imbued with the Vietnamese national identities, in honour of the country’s rich ethnic culture.
Vietnam to launch project to help autistic children
An event to raise awareness of autistic children in Bac Ninh province
A project to enhance awareness of children with autism is expected to be of benefit to about 4,000 Vietnamese children suffering from the disorder over the next five years.
The information was announced at a workshop on the issue jointly held by the Ministry of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) and the National Assembly’s Committee for Social Affairs on April 19.
The project is to be carried out by the National Fund for Vietnamese Children and the Phu Nhuan Jewellery Company from 2018 to 2022.
It aims to enhance public awareness and encourage the community to join hands in supporting autistic children, while laying the foundation to formulate a policy regarding the issue.
Under the project, a book on autism will be published, while information on the disorder will be provided to 10,000 parents, and assistance offered to 10,000 teachers and social workers responsible for autistic children.
It is estimated that 4,000 children with autism will benefit from the project.
According to MOLISA Deputy Minister Nguyen Thi Ha, autism is becoming more widespread with more and more children being diagnosed with the condition.
In Vietnam, no official research has been conducted to determine the number of autistic children but a MOLISA estimate puts the number of autistic people in Vietnam at approximately 200,000.
According to Professor Pham Minh Muc from the Vietnam Institute of Educational Sciences, the number of autistic children visiting the National Children’s Hospital in 2007 saw a 50 fold increase compared to seven years earlier.
Autism is a developmental disorder characterised by difficulty in social communication, social interaction, and restricted or repetitive patterns of behaviours and interests.
Measures stepped up to reinforce dyke system ahead of rainy season
Workers fortify a section of the dyke along the Pho Day River in the northern province of Vinh Phuc. (Photo: baovinhphuc.com.vn)
Localities across the nation are stepping up their efforts to ensure the safety of dyke systems as the rainy season approaches.
At present, there are about 2,055 landslide sites along dyke systems nationwide with a total length of more than 2,710 km, including 91 critical sites stretching over 218 km.
Recently, the dyke system has received investment and been upgraded in all key positions, especially the dykes in the upstream of the Red and Thai Binh Rivers and several important sea dykes.
However, limitations in the forecast of heavy rainfall events lead to difficulties in the management of flood prevention and ensuring dyke safety. Several dyke sections are not secured due to degradation.
In addition, the natural disasters of recent years have tended to be more extreme and are increasing in intensity and frequency, happening without any rules and causing great economic losses as well as affecting dyke safety.
In 2017, both the river and sea dyke systems were severely affected by strong storms and floods, leading to a range of incidents. Typhoon Doksuri combined with high tides caused major floods and rough seas that damaged sea dykes from Hai Phong to Thua Thien-Hue with a total length of more than 55 km.
Along with that, in mid-November, the Day, Hoang Long, and Ma Rivers suffered unusual flooding leading to 242 dyke incidents at many key sites that threatened dyke security.
Localities have been urged to boost the renovation and maintenance of local dykes so as to actively minimise the damage caused by floods and storms to dyke systems during the 2018 rainy season.
Local authorities should soon finalise any construction works related to dykes before the rainy season hits and rigorously fix the dykes damaged by storms and floods last year, while working out plans for the protection of key and crucial dyke sections in the rainy and flood season this year.
At the same time, localities should mobilise all resources to take initiative in handling incidents before and during floods and storms, with plans to ensure the safety of facilities in case of incidents.
They should also step up the inspection and evaluation of the quality of works under dykes so as to detect inadequate or damaged culverts requiring temporary or permanent repair, as well as obstructions in sluice gates which fail to ensure dyke safety.
In addition, corresponding dyke protection plans should be developed to suit each dyke and each key area, in close coordination with the local armed forces and the sufficient preparation of reserve supplies for further dyke maintenance.
Da Nang hosts first consultation on gender violence against people with disabilities
People with disabilities are at higher risk of violence than other groups due to their limited ability to communicate. (Photo courtesy to UN Women)
Gender-based violence against people with disabilities (PWDs) was the main topic of the first consultation on the issue held in the central coastal city of Da Nang on April 19.
Co-organised by the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), the Centre for Inclusive Development Action and the Da Nang Association for the Handicapped (DAH), the workshop saw the participation of more than 50 local PWDs.
It aimed to identify prominent issues related to gender-based and sexual violence against PWDs, as well as highlighting the barriers they face, especially women and girls with disabilities, in accessing preventive and supportive services.
The consultation is one of the activities held in response to the Vietnam Day of PWDs (April 18) and to raise awareness among the community and stakeholders, especially local authorities, in efforts to prevent gender-based violence against PWDs.
According to UN research, women and girls with disabilities are twice as likely to experience domestic violence as other women. In Vietnam, there is no official study on the status and extent of violence against PWDs.
Elisa Fernandez, Head of the UN Women Office in Vietnam, emphasised that gender stigma and disability status puts women and girls with disabilities at a higher risk of being victims of violence, including isolation and systematic violence and being prevented from the use of drugs and other aids. In particular, women and girls with disabilities are at risk of being coerced into treatment and reproductive health care without their consent.
To achieve the goals of sustainable development in Vietnam, it is necessary to make a systematic commitment to ensure that "no one is left behind," she said, adding that comprehensive and sensitive policies should be set forth with thorough consideration of the needs of PWDs, including women and girls with disabilities.
Truong Cong Nghiem, Chairman of the DAH, said that the city has a range of good programmes and policies to help prevent gender-based, domestic, and sexual violence, however, there are not many programmes for PWDs so far, while this unfortunate group of people is at higher risk of violence than others due to their limited ability to communicate.
The seminar provided practical information for PWDs in preventive measures against violence, as well as offering reliable addresses to help PWDs who suffer from gender violence.
National Radio Broadcasting Festival to be held in Vinh
At the press conference in Hanoi on April 19
The 13th National Radio Broadcasting Festival 2018 will be held from May 3 to 5 in Vinh city, Nghe An province, according to a press briefing in Hanoi on April 19.
This year’s works reflect the comprehensive reform of the country in all fields, including politics, economy, society, culture, and national security protection; as well as communicate ethnic policy, foreign policy, and the integration of the country in the new period.
From the submissions, 216 works were selected from 257 entries to progress to the final round, including 31 ethnic language programmes, 33 radio stories, 65 reports, 53 mixed programmes, and 34 live programmes.
Seventeen gold, 47 silver, and 84 bronze prizes, as well as 87 consolation prizes will be presented to the best works. For the first time, this year’s festival will also honour the programmes’ arrangers.
The festival offers an opportunity for radio journalists to meet, share professional experiences, and enhance co-operation, as well as further studying the modern communication technologies of Vietnam and the world.
Barge collision happens in Sai Gon River
No casualty was reported in the barge collision taking place yesterday in Sai Gon River.
At 1am yesterday, a 29 meter long barge No. 14139 carrying 224 tons of cement from the southern province of Dong Nai to An Ha bridge in Ho Chi Minh City’s Cu Chi district was collided with a barge No. SG 6939.
The collision resulted in sunk barge No.SG 6939 in the upper reaches of Phu My river in district 7.
As per crew Nguyen Van Mua of barge No.14139, there were three people in SG 6939 barge; luckily, they escaped death because they jumped to the river.
Immediately, river cops arrived in the scene to handle the incident.
On the same day, the retrieval of the sunken barge was conducted.
Further investigation will be carried out.
BUSINESS IN BRIEF 23/4
Vietnam Airlines rearranges check-in areas for priority passengers
The national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines announced on April 20 that it will rearrange check-in areas for priority passengers.
They include business and premium economy-class passengers, and members of the Golden Lotus programme and SkyTeam alliance who will do check-in procedures in counters exclusively designed for them.
The move aims to improve its four-star services up to Skytrax standards.
Accordingly, new priority check-in areas will be available in Hanoi’s Noi Bai international airport, Ho Chi Minh City’s Tan Son Nhat international airport, and Da Nang, Cam Ranh (Nha Trang) and Vinh airports, and foreign airport in Frankfurt (Germany), Moscow (Russia), Tokyo (Japan), Sydney and Melbourne (Australia), Seoul (the Republic of Korea), Taiwan, Hong Kong (China), Siem Reap (Cambodia), Bangkok (Thailand), Singapore, Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) and Jakarta (Indonesia).
On April 9, the world’s largest travel review website TripAdvisor named Vietnam Airlines as one of the best airlines in Asia in the annual Travellers’ Choice Major Airlines – Asia 2018 awards.
National, Asia-Pacific quality awards bestowed on 77 firms
A ceremony was held in Hanoi on April 22 to honour 77 enterprises which won the 2017 National Quality Awards and International Asia Pacific Quality Award (IAPQA).
The National Quality Awards is the only one of its kind approved by the Prime Minister and included in the IAPQA system by the Asia-Pacific Quality Organisation. It is an annual award to honour businesses with outstanding operations in boosting the quality and competitiveness of products and services amid regional and global integration.
Up to 73 enterprises won the 2017 National Quality Awards. Among them, 15 received the National Quality Gold Awards, including Binh Minh Plastic JSC, Binh Dinh Pharmaceutical and Medical Equipment JSC, and Fico Tay Ninh Cement JSC, while 58 took the silver awards.
Four IAPQA winners of the year were Ton Dong A Corporation, Khanh Hoa Salangane Nests Company, Viet Duc Steel Company, and Long Hau Corporation.
Minister of Science and Technology Chu Ngoc Anh said in a bid to optimize the national award’s impacts, firms should be encouraged to consider it a performance assessment tool for comprehensive improvement and increased competitiveness.
He said technological innovation and modern management systems are also key to boosting business productivity and competitiveness, adding that the Vietnamese Government will build policies and programmes on quality-productivity, technology transfer, and intelligent assets development.
By 2017, 1,842 enterprises won the National Quality Awards and 44 others obtained the IAPQA.
Vietnam, Malaysia seek to boost livestock product import-export
Measures to promote import-export of livestock products between Vietnam and Malaysia was the focus of a seminar held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on April 21.
The event saw the participation of representatives from the Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD); the Vietnamese Embassy and Commercial Affair in Malaysia; Malaysia’s Ministry of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry; and those from leading enterprises in processing, exporting and importing livestock products of the two countries.
In his opening speech, Deputy Minister of MARD Tran Thanh Nam said the livestock cooperation between Vietnam and Malaysia still remains modest compared to the potential, and opportunities and mechanisms for businesses of the two sides to strengthen links is limited.
He hoped that through the seminar, authorities and enterprises of the two countries would understand more about each other's situation and abilities, thus proposing ways to enhance cooperation between the two countries in the field.
Vietnamese enterprises such as Vinamilk and Minh Dang Groups introduced their activities and products. They said their products could meet the demand of the Malaysian market, expressing their wish to set link-up with Malaysian partners, towards exporting their products to the country in the near future.
Meanwhile, Malaysian businesses expressed their interest in some Vietnamese products such as beef, milk, dairy products, and animal feed.
They revealed that Malaysian dairy and beef firms respectively meet only about 60 percent, and 23 percent of the domestic market demand.
The Malaysian side affirmed it would consider the possibility of collaborating with Vietnamese partners to import those products in the coming time.
Malaysian enterprises also said they could cooperate with Vietnamese firms through providing technologies of processing and preservation of livestock products, and veterinary medicine.
Previously, on April 20, Nam had a working session with representatives from the Malaysian Ministry of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry, during which the two sides discussed measures to boost their agricultural and breeding collaboration.
T&T Group violation may fetch $44,052 fine
T&T Group may be fined for up to VND1 billion ($44,052) for constructing three additional floors to its high-end trade and service building in the central province's Nghe An's Vinh city.
T&T Group’s high-end trade and service building located in Vinh city received the building permit in early 2017 from the Nghe An Department of Construction with the approved detailed construction plan of 86.75 metre overall height, including 25 apartment floors and one technical floor.
According to Article 13(8) of Decree No.121/2013/ND-CP, for the acts specified in clauses 3, 5, 6 ,and 7 of this Article, after repeated aministrative violations, depending on the degree of violation and the scale of works, a fine between VND500 million ($22,026) and VND1 billion ($44,052) shall be imposed and the building permit shall be withdrawn.
When the construction was at the 17th floor, T&T Group sent a document to the Nghe An People’s Committee to adjust the building height’s from 25 to 28 floors. Accordingly, in May last year, the Nghe An Department of Construction issued Document No.1069/SXD–QLHDXD providing instruction on procedures for adjusting the building’s height.
However, despite the local Department of Construction’s guidelines, T&T Group simply went ahead adding the floors without finishing the necessary procedures.
On June 12, 2017, the Nghe An Department of Construction inspected the project, then discovered that the 26th floor was being constructed.
Shortly afterwards, the department ordered T&T Group to stop construction and only continue after receiving authorization from relevant authorities.
Vinh city’s urban management authorities on June 27, 2017 discovered that T&T Group has been ignoring the department’s orders and was constructing the 28th floor already.
According to Phan Thanh Son, leader of Vinh city’s Urban Inspection Team, after the Vinh City People’s Committee issued Decision No.4078/QD-UBND to issue administrative sanctions against T&T Group for intentionally violating its building permit licensed by the Nghe An Department of Construction on January 6, 2017, T&T Group only paid a fine of VND40 million ($1,762). However, to date, there are no plans to resolve this case satisfactorily.
Meanwhile, an inspector of the Nghe An Department of Construction said that if the province initiated proceedings on this violation on construction regulations, T&T Group may be fined up to VND1 billion.
Vietnam, China businesses partner in watermelon consumption
Nearly 100 Vietnam and China businesses have signed a cooperation deal to sell water melon and some other special farm produce from the central province of Quang Ngai
At a signing ceremony in Quang Ngai on April 17, vice chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Nguyen Tang Binh asked the Chinese businesses to provide essential information regarding the setting up of a stable distribution and circulation network for agricultural products, thereby helping them become a reliable partner of local farmers.
Head of the Domestic Market Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade Tran Duy Dong said China has traced the origin of Vietnamese fruits since April 1, 2018.
The Ministry urged all relevant businesses and agricultural co-operatives to meet requirements of a safe production process to boost their sales of farm produce in the market.
The Ministry also asked local authorities to guide agricultural production according to plans and minimize spontaneous production, which has recently resulted in a supply surplus, said Mr Dong.
Last year, Vietnam’s total water melon output reached 1.5 million tons with an export value of more than US$95 million, of which China made up nearly 90%.
Canada offers huge opportunities for Vietnam wood processing sector
Vietnam is Canada’s fourth largest supplier of wood furniture with a market share of 12.9% of the country’s total wood furniture imports.
The Industry and Trade Information Centre (VITIC) under the Ministry of Industry and Trade says the wood processing sector is advantageous in product supply and demand in the Canadian market.
According to Statistics Canada, the country’s furniture imports hit US$184.5 million in January, up 14.2% against the same period last year with major markets as China, the US and the EU.
Vietnam exported US$23.76 million worth of furniture products to the market in January, a year-on-year rise of 30%.
Canada’s wood furniture imports are increasing sharply as the domestic industry has reduced production which is uncompetitive against that in lower cost countries, including Vietnam.
In addition, many tax lines will drop to zero after the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), of which Vietnam and Canada are members, comes into effect.
Canada wood industry is very strong with an annual productivity of 600 million cu.m. There are huge opportunities for Vietnamese businesses to import wood materials and boost exports of wood products to the market if they can take advantage of CPTPP tariff preferences.
Da Lat targets breakthrough in flower export
Flower farmers in Da Lat City, located in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong, are overcoming technical challenges to produce export-quality flowers.
Situated in a plateau around 1,500 meters above sea level, Da Lat enjoys year-round cool weather which stands in contrast to Vietnam's tropical climate, making the city ideal for growing high-value flowering plants originating in temperate countries.
Da Lat is one of Vietnam’s biggest flower-growing regions, producing around three billion flowers every year, 10% of which are exported to foreign markets including Japan, the Republic of Korea (RoK), Taiwan, Australia and China.
In recent years, small and medium-sized flower farms in Da Lat have joined bigger, foreign-invested firms in exporting floricultural products, which contributed to the city’s remarkable flower export growth.
Between 2015 and 2017, Da Lat reported a yearly increase of 18-30 million in exported flowers.
Japan is the city’s largest flower market, importing around 60% of its production, with Australia, (RoK), Belgium, Thailand, the Philippines, Singapore, Russia and Cambodia being other major markets.
According to Pham S, deputy chairman of Lam Dong Province, there is around 9,000 hectares of flower-growing land in Da Lat, capable of meeting the city’s goal of shipping 400 million flowers yearly over the next five years.
However, as Da Lat’s floricultural industry grows, plant variety rights are quickly becoming a “deadly weakness” for small exporters, said Phan Thanh Sang, president of the Da Lat Flower Association.
Plant variety rights, or plant breeders’ rights, are rights granted to the breeder of a new variety of plant that give the breeder exclusive control over the propagating material and harvested material of a new variety for a number of years.
90% of household flower growers in Da Lat are using seeds that violate these protected rights, which hurts their chances of exporting harvested products to developed markets, Sang said.
In reality, many opportunities to export flowers to Japan have been missed when farmers were unable to answer questions regarding the breeder of their flower variety posed by officials from the Japan Externaal Trade Organization (JETRO).
Meanwhile, farmers are still having difficulties getting access to flower varieties that are no longer protected by breeders’ rights, said Vo Quoc Khoa, director of flower company Dalat Green.
To cope with this setback, the administration of Lam Dong Province has introduced a model where major companies partner with local farmers by providing them with quality flower seeds and growing techniques, in exchange for harvested crops.
The province is looking to launch a flower exchange and online platforms where foreign importers can place orders for Da Lat-grown flowers online.
Vietnam spends over VND52 billion on daily imports of pesticides
Vietnam spends more than VND52 billion importing pesticides every day, with more than 50% of that money going to China, according to the latest statistics from the General Department of Vietnam Customs.
Despite a decline compared to the same period of last year, pesticide imports hit over US$208 million during the first quarter of this year. Imports from China fell off by VND3 billion per month but the high import value of the sensitive product remains a matter of concern.
It’s noteworthy that eco-friendy pesticides are incapable of competing with Chinese products in terms of price due to the price subsidy policies, and the presence of counterfeit brands and packaging of foreign products.
The Plant Protection Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development reports that Vietnam has around 1,700 pest control chemicals used in 4,080 products.
However, in addition to pesticides, the agricultural industry has to import fertilisers from other countries. Up to the end of March, Vietnam imported more than 940,000 tons of fertiliser worth over US$262 million, of this, 309,000 tons were bought from China at a value of US$78 million.
73 enterprises to receive National Quality Award 2017
Seventy-three enterprises will be honoured with the National Quality Award for their outstanding performances in 2017.
The announcement was made at a press conference to introduce the awards on April 17.
Of the 73 enterprises, 15 received National Quality Gold Awards, while 58 others secured Silver.
Speaking at the conference, Deputy Minister of Science and Technology Tran Van Tung said the National Quality Awards are the only awards of their kind approved by the Prime Minister and included in the International Asia Pacific Quality Award (IAPQA) system by the Asia-Pacific Quality Organisation.
The annual award aims to honour enterprises for their outstanding operation in boosting the quality and competitiveness of their products and services amid regional and global integration, he noted.
Four Vietnamese enterprises also received the IAPQA award in 2017.
The ceremony to honour the 2017 winners of the annual National Quality Awards and International Asia Pacific Quality Award (IAPQA) is scheduled to take place in Hanoi on April 22.
Trung Luong-My Thuan Expressway to get funds for construction in May
The investor of the Trung Luong-My Thuan Expressway project is in talks with five banks to take out funds next month for developing the long-delayed project, heard a meeting between the investor and authorities last weekend.
Vu Tuan Anh, deputy director of the Public-Private Partnership Department under the Ministry of Transport, told the meeting that the lack of capital is the biggest problem arising in the execution of the project. The problem is to be smoothened out soon as the investor is in talks with banks for the needed capital, Anh told the meeting between the project investor, the Ministry of Transport and Tien Giang Province’s government.
The project requires a total investment of nearly VND9.7 trillion, or some US$426 million, and the investor has secured VND1.5 trillion, with most of it for site clearance.
The investors expect to conclude negotiations with lender banks by the middle of May, and credit agreements are expected to be signed prior to May 31 to secure capital for the project.
Phan Anh Dung, director of BOT Trung Luong-My Thuan JSC, said that to lessen the burden of capital cost in mobilizing capital, the investor has signed an agreement with HCMC Infrastructure Investment JSC (CII) for a loan of VND958 billion. CII has had VND300 billion and is raising VND658 billion from a bond sale to the State Capital Investment Corporation (SCIC).
The remaining VND7.2 trillion is expected to come from Vietnam Bank for Industry and Trade (VietinBank), Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV), Vietnam Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Agribank), Vietnam Prosperity Commercial Bank (VPBank) and Military Bank (MB).
As for the project progress, 13 out of 21 packages have already been commenced.
Deputy Minister of Transport Nguyen Nhat said the project was launched in 2015, but it was later adjusted with the road widened to 17 meters to accommodate four lanes and fit the North-South Expressway, instead of two as originally planned.
Nhat has urged the investor to accelerate the project implementation. The project is expected to be opened to traffic in 2020 to facilitate traffic on a section from Cai Be District to Trung Luong T-junction of National Highway 1A.
Trung Luong-My Thuan is part of HCMC-Can Tho Expressway which has three sections, namely HCMC-Trung Luong, Trung Luong-My Thuan and My Thuan-Can Tho.
Trung Luong-My Thuan Expressway will stretch 51 kilometers plus 4.5 kilometers of access road. It will start from the intersection of Than Cuu Nghia T-Junction and HCMC-Trung Luong Expressway and end at the crossroads with National Highway 30.
According to the initial plan, the expressway would be divided into two phases. In the first phase, the expressway would have two lanes plus emergency lanes and will be implemented under the build-operate-transfer (BOT) format. It would be then expanded to six lanes using official development assistance loans in the second phase.
The expressway was initially scheduled for completion at the end of this year, but due to the capital shortage, the project has not got off the ground.
The expressway, when in place, will substantially reduce traveling time between HCMC and the Mekong Delta.
HCM City departments join forces to seek funds for tourism startups
A cooperation program to be held this year between the Department of Science and Technology and the Department of Tourism will help raise funds of up to VND20 billion for tourism startups.
The two departments, on the occasion of launching the Ho Chi Minh Innovative Startups in Tourism contest, signed a memorandum of understanding on Sunday to rally support for startups in tourism, and raise funds for viable projects.
Under this agreement, the two sides will call for enterprises, colleges, institutes and investors to jointly work toward promoting innovation in tourism, gather and arrange mentors for startups, and organize events to connect experts and investors with such startups. The two departments also target to create a fund of VND20 billion for startup projects.
The startup contest is specially designed for startup projects nationwide so as to discover those having sound solutions, feasible products and high technological contents aligned with the city’s tourism development. The contest will last from this month to November 2018 with four rounds, comprising of the preliminary selection, the competition among projects, mentoring, and the finale being an award ceremony to honor outstanding projects.
The finale is scheduled to take place in October 2018 to coincide with the HCMC Innovative Startups Week which will be organized by the HCMC Department of Science and Technology.
Projects or startup ideas enrolled in the contest will receive training, mentoring to perfect business models, develop products, approach investors, and have a chance to receive funding worth VND2 billion from SpeedUp, the city’s fund for supporting startups projects.
In late 2016, the HCMC Department of Science and Technology announced a program to support Innovative Startups from 2016 to 2020. SpeedUp, as part of the program, will fund VND2 billion per viable project registered for business in the last five years but yet to have financial support from the State.
The program lasting from 2016 to 2020 aims to connect businesses, colleges, institutes, and training centers to boost the development of an innovative startup ecosystem in the city.
Da Nang joins national efforts to tackle IUU yellow card
The central city of Da Nang is stepping up the dissemination of legal regulations on offshore fishing activities to curb illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing in order to tackle the European Commission’s IUU yellow card.
Dang Duy Hai, deputy head of the city’s Fisheries Sub-department, said the municipal Department of Agriculture and Rural Development has worked with relevant offices to instruct fishermen to conduct legal fishing by organising classes on relevant laws.
To date, seven classes have been held, attracting representatives from 20 export enterprises and nearly 400 fishermen who are ship owners or captains.
However, Hai said that the declaration of seafood origins is facing many difficulties, as some fishermen want to hide their fishing grounds and locations.
Stressing the importance of origin declaration, Nguyen Lai, a representative from the city’s Tho Quang Navigation Lock And Fishing Port Management Board, said the management board has taken measures to trace seafood origin and punish violators.
Since the beginning of this year, Tho Quang market has conducted 6,996 origin declarations on a total of 24,500 tonnes of seafood of all kinds, Lai added.
Fisherman Nguyen Vu said that he has got used to keeping track of his catches, because when the EU tightens regulations on businesses, businesses will tighten regulations on fishermen.
Therefore, if fishermen do not provide a fishing diary, firms would not purchase their seafood, Vu said. He added that there should be closer links between fishermen, local authorities and businesses to facilitate the granting of certification for seafood catches.
In September 2017, the European Commission issued a yellow card warning Vietnam for failing to progress in fighting IUU fishing.
The EU will assess Vietnam’s efforts to fight IUU fishing in late April. The "yellow card" is followed by a "green card" if the problem is resolved or a "red card" if it isn’t. A “red card” can lead to a trade ban on fishery products.
Together with Da Nang city, localities along the Vietnamese coast are exerting efforts to fight IUU fishing.
Ambassador affirms Japanese investors’ interest in Mekong Delta
Many Japanese investors are keen on investing in the Mekong Delta, Japanese Ambassador to Vietnam Umeda Kunio affirmed at a conference in Can Tho city on April 18.
The conference, aiming to connect Japanese partners with the 12 provinces and Can Tho city of the Mekong Delta, drew more than 160 Japanese businesses, more than 50 of which came to Vietnam for the first time.
Cooperation potential in transport infrastructure development was among the main issues attracting participants’ attention.
Luu Quang Khanh, Director of the Ministry of Planning and Investment’s Department for Foreign Economic Relations, said the Mekong Delta has a favourable intra-regional transport system helping connect many localities within the region and support development. This system also links the Mekong Delta, located in the southwest of Vietnam, with the southeastern region, especially Ho Chi Minh City, and other regions in Vietnam and neighbouring countries.
He noted despite those advantages, the Mekong Delta hasn’t attracted much investment from Japan due to asynchronous infrastructure linking the whole region with other regions and linking production areas with consumption markets.
Konaka Tetsuo, Chief Representative of the Japan International Cooperation Agency in Vietnam, said to help southwestern localities solve transport problems, research organisations of Japan are ready to transfer bridge and road models using Japan’s high-quality materials and advanced technologies to the Mekong Delta.
Japan will also help local authorities seek capable investors to partner in developing arterial transport projects like My Thuan – Can Tho Expressway, Trung Luong – Can Tho Expressway and the National Road 30 expansion, he added.
Regarding tourism cooperation, Takahashi Ayumi, Chief Representative of the Japan National Tourism Organisation (JNTO) in Vietnam, said the number of Vietnamese tourists to Japan and vice versa has grown strongly over the last 10 years, about 30 percent year on year.
However, Japanese arrivals in the Mekong Delta remain modest, partly because tourism promotion activities of the localities have yet to truly access tourists. Most Japanese tourists just visit big cities like Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang.
He said to address this problem, the JNTO will work with local administrations to hold cultural exchanges with arts programmes and exhibitions of the Mekong Delta’s traditional products to introduce local culture to the Japanese. It will also connect the local tourism sector with the Japan Association of Travel Agents to share information about tourists’ taste.
On agricultural ties, Takimoto Koji, Chief Representative of the Japan External Trade Organisation in HCM City, pointed out that although the Mekong Delta boasts many advantages of agricultural and aquatic products, cheap land prices and low labour costs, it lacks effective connectivity among localities.
He said the region lacks suitable development strategies to optimise production chains, boost product quality and productivity, and diversify products to meet demand.
Appreciating Koji’s opinions, Director of the Department for International Cooperation of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development Tran Kim Long said Vietnam is working to turn the Mekong Delta’s agriculture into a smart and sustainable one.
The country hopes for assistance from Japanese partners in applying new technologies, especially bio-technology, in aquaculture, rice cultivation and fruit farming to enhance product quality and value. Vietnam also wants help to adapt agriculture to climate change, the official noted.
Asazuma Shinichi, envoy of the Japanese Embassy in Vietnam, said many agricultural businesses of Japan are seeking cooperation with Vietnamese firms, including those in the Mekong Delta.
Leaders of the region need to understand investors’ demand and improve the local investment climate. The Japanese Embassy will support the organisation of annual conferences to introduce the Mekong Delta’s investment environment to foreign investors.
Northern provinces propose promoting litchi, longan exports
The northern provinces of Bac Giang, Hung Yen, Hai Duong and Son La have proposed boosting exports of litchi and longan to foreign markets, including China.
The proposal was the key topic of discussion at an annual conference in Hanoi on April 18 on the production and distribution of these two main fruit products in northern areas.
Per the request, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), Ministry of Industry and Trade and Ministry of Foreign Affairs will arrange talks with their Chinese counterparts to promote Vietnamese fruits’ entrance into the country, via negotiation, plant quarantine agreements and removing technical barriers.
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong expressed determination to help the provinces sell their products at home and abroad.
Nguyen Hong Son, head of the MARD’s Crop Production Department, said domestic litchi and longan consumption accounts for about 50 percent of output, albeit this number is on the rise, mainly in urban areas.
Therefore, it is necessary to focus on these markets, by connecting producers with chain distributors and wholesale markets, while keeping current importers satisfied, such as China, the US, Japan and Australia.
He said that Vietnamese agricultural products are still accepted in China with little obstacles regarding regulations on origin and plant quarantine.
Hoang Trung, Director General of the MARD’s Plant Protection Department (PPD), said this year, his unit will conduct its first on-site tests for litchi and longan crops during the harvest season in the provinces.
The PPD will arrange mobile quarantine rooms in concentrated areas to issue certificates on the spot for exporting enterprises, instead of doing so at the border. This will help reduce congestion and shorten clearance time at the border, said Trung.
The department has also been negotiating for higher fruit exports quota to Japan and the Republic of Korea, as many Japanese and Korean companies are keen on importing these fruits.
Meanwhile, Nguyen Thi Thu Ha, Vice Chairwoman of Bac Giang provincial People’s Committee, said her constituency considers litchi the key driver for economic development.
As current local production accounts for nearly 29,000 hectares, 2018’s output is estimated at 150,000 to 180,000 tonnes, nearly double last year’s number, said Ha.
Such abundant yields, coupled with short harvesting time, storage and transportation difficulties, have pressured the province to find an appropriate consumption market.
At present, the Chinese province of Guangxi has requested proof of traceability for Vietnam’s agricultural products, which means the province must negotiate with Chinese partners to resolve any remaining difficulties.
On the same note, Tran Cong Truong, Vice Chairman of the Lang Son provincial People’s Committee, said China had asked his province to impose tighter controls on agricultural goods entering China via Lang Son border gate.
Starting May 1 this year, farmers will be required to provide proper packaging and product labels in order to export to China.
To meet the requirements of traditional export markets and to expand to new markets for fruit and nuts, Vietnam needs to improve its activities in terms of quality, design and food safety.
Dinh Cao Khue, General Director of the Dong Giao Foodstuff Export Joint Stock Company, said that his company has about 5,000 tonnes of processed litchi ready for export, with prospects for fresh exports as well.
Khue was confident that Vietnamese products are strong enough to compete with other countries’, though they still need promotions abroad.
Litchi and longan are the two main fruit-bearing crops in northern provinces, with a total area of 98,000 hectares, accounting for 27 percent of total agricultural harvest, whose accumulated output is estimated to exceed 217,000 tonnes in 2018.
Leading brands join HVACR Vietnam 2018
More than 200 brands and companies from 12 countries and territories are showcasing their products at the 12th International Exhibition on Heating, Ventilation, Air-Conditioning, Air Filtration & Purification and Refrigeration System (HVACR Vietnam 2018), which opened in Hanoi on April 18.
The exhibition, held by the Informa Exhibitions and VINEXAD, features an extensive variety of products and technologies from local and international exhibitors from mainland China, India, Malaysia, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, Taiwan (China), Thailand, Turkey and the US.
At the opening ceremony, Le Hoang Tai, Deputy Head of the Trade Promotion Agency under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, noted that freedom of trade and economic integration requires high-tech products and modern management and production processes.
Thus, the exhibition offers good opportunities for domestic and foreign producers and businesses to exchange experience and expand cooperation in applying technology in production to improve their competitiveness, contributing to developing the industry sector and accelerating Vietnam’s economic integration, he noted.
Meanwhile, General Manager of Informa Global Exhibitions Asia Jack Wei said the event is expected to bring stable business value to the supply chain while creating momentum to develop green building and enhance energy efficiency.
HVACR Vietnam is a trusted exhibition for heating, ventilation, air conditioning, air filtration and purification and refrigeration technology systems. To date, there have been 11 editions, all in HCM City.
This is the first time the exhibition has been held in Hanoi. To cater to the demand of the local market, the organisers have decided to rotate the exhibition between the two cities, with Hanoi hosting it on even-numbered years and HCM City on odd-numbered years.
The exhibition will run until April 20 at the National Exhibition Construction Centre, No.1 Do Duc Duc Street, Hanoi.
Myanmar’s regulations hinder trade with Vietnam
Many Vietnamese firms have shifted their focus to new markets like Myanmar but doing business in the once-isolated nation is not easy, largely due to its poorly-crafted business regulations.
Vietnam is one of the first countries to promote trade with Myanmar, said Vu Cuong from the Ministry of Industry and Trade, adding that made-in-Vietnam goods are popular among Myanmar consumers due to their quality and prices.
However, Vietnamese exporters have experienced bumpy rides shipping their products to Myanmar. According to Cuong, in addition to high transportation costs, Vietnamese products are facing stiff competition from similar ones from countries such as China and Thailand.
Legal issues remain one of the biggest barriers for doing business in Myanmar, said Nguyen Thanh Nam, director of Viettel Myanmar. Military-run group Viettel is the largest Vietnamese investor in Myanmar with total committed investment of approximately 1.4 billion USD to develop a mobile network joint venture.
In Vietnam, building a base transceiver station only requires two or three permits from the local departments of information and communications and construction. But to do this in Myanmar, a company must apply for up to seven permits, from local people to authorities at different levels, Nam explained.
Even after getting approval from the government, ministries and other public agencies, a foreign firm must continue working with state and district governments to complete a number of other administrative steps, he added.
As Myanmar has just started opening its economy, it has to regularly amend the legal system. Hence, firms have to be active to keep abreast of changes, the director noted.
Echoing Nam’s view, Dang Hai Nha, Director of the Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV), Yangon branch, said many legal documents in Myanmar are too general and briefly explained, making them difficult for businesses to comprehend.
Cuong from the Ministry of Industry and Trade suggested the Vietnamese producers put more efforts into improving the quality of their products and studying local consumer culture. They must also invest in branding and label their products in Myanmar or English languages to better inform customers.
According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, trade between Vietnam and Myanmar has grown steadily in recent years. Two-way trade expanded at an average pace of 27.3 percent annually from 2010-2016. The two countries saw a year-on-year surge of 50.9 percent in trade to 828 million USD last year.
Since 2012, Vietnam has enjoyed a trade surplus with Myanmar which was estimated at 375 million USD in 2017. But trade with Myanmar only accounted for 0.2 percent of Vietnam’s total foreign trade and less than 2 percent of Vietnam’s trade with ASEAN nations.
Vietnam mostly exports telephones and accessories, iron and steel products, vehicles and parts and machinery to Myanmar while main imports include fruits and vegetables and maize.
Short-term deposit rates drop
Some commercial banks have revised down rates for short-term deposits, which is quite unexpected compared to forecasts of rate hike pressure for this year, according to Nguoi Lao Dong.
Techcombank announced the newest rates applicable from this month, with short-term deposit rates continuing to decline. The bank is now offering a rate of 4.8% per year on deposits of one to two months, 4.9% on three to five-month deposits and 6% on six to eight-month deposits.
Earlier this month, Techcombank twice revised down short-term borrowing rates, with the new rates dropping considerably in comparison to those in January. Deposits of nine to 11 months have seen rates falling by 0.3-0.5 percentage point to 6.2% per year.
Deposit rates at VPBank have similarly gone down. The bank adjusted short-term rates thrice last month with reductions of 0.2%-0.3 percentage point per year. The rates of one to two-month deposits and three to five-month deposits are now 4.8% and 4.9% per year respectively.
Similarly, short-term deposit rates have declined at other banks like SHB, VIB and MB.
VietinBank has brought down borrowing rates, with deposits of six to nine months reduced by 0.5 percentage point against the end of last year to 5.2-5.3% per year.
Nguoi Lao Dong newspaper quoted a banker in HCMC as saying that deposit rates have been revised down to cut capital costs after the Lunar New Year holiday. The mobilization amount, after some promotion programs having expired, is quite high compared to initial targets, whereas credit activities must adhere to the central bank’s instructions.
Another banker in HCMC said his bank has adjusted down the one-month rate due to abundant liquidity. Liquidity of short-term deposits is good, but banks always need to mobilize medium- and long-term capital. This helps explain why short-term deposit rates have declined but rates of longer terms at some banks have picked up to attract capital.
Specifically, the rate of 18- to 36-month deposits at Eximbank is now 8.2% per year. Sacombank has issued certificates of deposit in dong with a minimum value of VND1 million and a rate of 8.5% per year for seven-year certificates to attract long-term capital.
Financial expert Can Van Luc said that there are many reasons for banks’ mobilization rate cuts, including reducing the ratio of short-term capital used for medium- and long-term lending to 45% this year and 40% next year in accordance with Circular 19/2017/TT-NHNN of the central bank.
Data from the National Financial Supervisory Commission showcased capital mobilization in the first quarter inched up 3% against late last year and 2.6% against last year’s corresponding period. Meanwhile, credits last quarter were estimated to increase by 3.5% and 4.3% respectively.
In addition, the ratio of medium and long-term credits to total outstanding loans has risen to 53.2%, which is attributed to banks’ increased long-term mobilization rates.
According to Luc, deposit rates are unlikely to decline in the long run, especially due to this year’s rising inflation. In addition, as other investment channels such as gold, real estate and stock have been appealing to investors, mobilization rates need to be attractive enough to attract depositors.
Government News In Brief
Social News 24/4
Korean charity to gift 10,000 books to HCM City primary schools
Officials from Korea’s HansaeYes24 Foundation and the HCM City Department of Education and Training at a ceremony last Wednesday to start a programme that will gift 10,000 children’s books to primary schools in the city’s outlying districts. — Photo courtesy of HansaeYes24 Foundation
The HansaeYes24 Foundation will donate 10,000 children’s books to primary schools situated in HCM City’s outlying districts for them to celebrate Việt Nam Book Day on April 21.
The programme seeks to give young students useful books on various subjects like science, culture, history and children’s stories and 100 bookshelves to 100 primary schools at the end of this month.
The foundation said it was committed to carrying out the annual programme, which was launched last year, in the next few years to encourage and develop a reading culture among young students and raise public awareness of the importance of reading for school-aged children.
The foundation was established in 2014 by the South Korea-based Hansae Co. Ltd.
Hung Kings’ death anniversary observed in Czech Republic
Offerings presented to Hung Kings
More than 1,000 overseas Vietnamese living the Czech Republic and other European nations were brought together at a ceremony in Prague on April 22 to celebrate the death anniversary of Hung Kings, the legendary founders of the Vietnamese nation.
The event, the seventh of its kind, featured 20 exhibition pavilions set up by Vietnamese people associations and businesses across Czech localities.
Visitors could enjoy traditional folk songs like Quan ho Bac Binh – which were inscribed in 2009 on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, and Then singing – the quintessence of ethnic culture in Vietnam’s northern province of Thai Nguyen.
They were able to taste Vietnamese special dishes and partake in a ‘chung’ cake wrapping contest.
A photo exhibition highlighting Vietnam’s sovereignty over seas and islands was held as part of the event.
Worshipping rituals were carried out to demonstrate the nation’s solidarity and tradition of paying tribute to ancestors.
Vice President of the Vietnam Fatherland Front Central Committee Nguyen Huu Dung said the success of the event was attributed to the presence of overseas Vietnamese from nearly 20 European nations.
Meanwhile historian Duong Trung Quoc hailed the active participation of Vietnamese expatriates in the Czech Republic to strengthen national solidarity and commemorate the Hung Kings.
Legend has it that the Hung Kings ruled Vietnam from 2879 BC until 258 BC and are considered the founders of the nation. To honour the Kings, the tenth day of the third lunar month serves as the national commemorative anniversary for them.
The worshipping rituals of the Hung Kings was recognised as UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2012.
BIDV donates 1 billion VND to Hue Festival
The signing ceremony of the sponsorship (Source: http://tintuc.hues.vn)
The Bank for Investment and Development (BIDV) will donate 1 billion VND (43,700 USD) to activities within the framework of the Hue Festival 2018, becoming the bronze sponsor for the event.
The signing of the sponsorship took place in Hue city, the central province of Thua Thien - Hue on April 23.
In recent times, BIDV’s branch in Hue has funded many social programmes in the locality. Notably, it provided two ambulances worth 2.5 billion VND (109,250 USD) for the Hue Central Hospital and the Hue University of Medicine and Pharmacy.
According to Nguyen Dung, Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee and also head of the Hue Festival organising board, the 10th Hue Festival themed “Cultural heritage with integration and development, Hue - one destination, five world heritages” will take place from April 27-May 2.
A wide range of activities will be held as part of the event including a Buddhism cultural programme, a national festival of “Hat Van” or “Chau Van” (a traditional art form that combines singing and dancing), a music show featuring songs of late musician Trinh Cong Son, a scientific festival, an international trade fair, a cuisine fair and a poem festival.
The festival aims to enhance cultural exchange and international cooperation, promote Vietnamese and local cultural identities in particular to international friends, thus fostering tourism and service development towards stronger socio-economic development of the locality.
The event has so far attracted 21 international art troupes from 20 countries worldwide, including France, the Republic of Korea, the UK, Mongolia, Japan, Thailand, Russia, Belgium and China.
Hue, which was the imperial capital of Vietnam for hundreds of years, is home to five heritages recognised by UNESCO, namely the Hue ancient citadel relic complex – a World Cultural Heritage site; Nha Nhac (Hue royal court music) - an intangible cultural heritage item; Nguyen Dynasty’s wood blocks – a documentary heritage item; Nguyen Dynasty’s Chau ban (royal administrative documents) – part of the Asia-Pacific Register of UNESCO’s Memory of the World Programme; and literature on Hue royal architecture - a documentary heritage.-
Sông Lam Nghệ An must win today for next berth
Sông Lam Nghệ An will put their trust on young players in the Group H match against Johor Darul Ta’zim at the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup in Malaysia today.
Phan Văn Đức (left) is one of Sông Lam Nghệ An’s young players to face Johor Darul Ta’zim in AFC Cup match today. - Photo VTC News
Sixteen players will represent Việt Nam in the match in Johor Bahru. Veteran players such as Ngọc Toàn, Quế Ngọc Hải, Thế Cường and goalkeeper Nguyên Mạnh will not compete due to injuries. Foreign striker Olaha Michael is rested at home while national U23 star Phạm Xuân Mạnh has been sidelined because of two yellow cards.
This leaves young players such as Hồ Tuấn Tài and Phan Văn Đức to take charge.
In Group H, Sông Lam Nghệ An rank second with as many as 10 points as leader Persija Jakarta of Indonesia who have better goal difference.
To ensure their berth in the knockout stage, Sông Lam Nghệ An must win today against Johor Darul Ta’zim.
“We do not have key players for the match, but Sông Lam Nghệ An will give their best,” coach assistant Nguyễn Huy Hoàng said at a press briefing yesterday.
The former V.League champions have not shown impressive performance in the local leagues. Although they have won four matches in a row, their scoring skills and defence are not up to the mark. In the last six matches, they netted seven times while also missing seven goals.
In the AFC Cup, Sông Lam Nghệ An made 54 finishes, but only 22 were on target of which six converted into goals.
On the home front, Johor Darul Ta’zim are in third place and still have the chance to go to the next round as the best runner-up if they beat the Vietnamese team with at least four goals or more.
Forward Syafiq Ahmad said his team would fight till the end to ensure victory.
“This is one of our main games this season, and we are eager to put up a resounding performance to qualify for the knockout stage,” Ahmad was quoted by FOX Sports Asia.
“We have been training hard for this. We haven’t had much rest after the Pahang game, but our mental strength will overcome tired legs,” he said.
He acknowledged that Sông Lam Nghệ An were a physical side with tall and well-built players. But Johor Darul Ta’zim will not be intimidated, he said, adding that the key was to clinch the game from the start and score an early goal.
In their local tournaments, Johor Darul Ta’zim were disqualified from the FA Cup but are on top of the Super League.
In the latter event, they recorded two wins, two losses and one draw recently.
In the AFC Cup’s first-leg match of the two teams on February 28, Sông Lam Nghệ An won 2-0 with goals by Đức and Mạnh.
The match against Johor Darul Ta’zim will start from 7pm Hà Nội time and will be aired live on Fox Sports.
Vietnam participates in culinary festival Delicanto in Berlin
Johannes Selle, Member of the German Parliament, is about to enjoy Vietnam's "pho" during the international culinary festival “Delicanto – Here the world eats” in Berlin, Germany, from April 21 - 22.
The Embassy of Vietnam was among 35 embassies taking part in the international culinary festival “Delicanto – Here the world eats” at the FEZ Centre in Berlin, Germany from April 21 - 22.
Welcoming representatives from participating diplomatic missions from 35 countries to the event, Johannes Selle, Member of the German Parliament, said Delicanto is a good opportunity to connect different cultures all over the world. It also provides a platform for the countries to promote their images as well as distinctive culinary cultures to international friends, he noted.
He added that in this event, embassies will meet and exchange information to boost their solidarity and deepen mutual understanding on other countries’ culture, food and people.
Visitors to the festival acquainted with a variety of traditional foods and drinks as well as folk music and dances of many cultures.
“Delicanto – Here the world eats” is held biennially by the non-profit institution City Foundation Berlin and patronised by Member of the German Parliament Johannes Selle. It gathers a number of diplomatic missions in Berlin who take the chance to showcase their culinary specialties and culture.
Vietnam’s practical activities in response to Earth Day
Volunteers collected waste at public places in HCM City on April 22 in response to Earth Day 2018.
Nearly 2,000 volunteers collected waste at public places in Ho Chi Minh City on April 22 in response to Earth Day 2018 which has the theme of “End Plastic Pollution.”
The campaign was jointly launched by the organisation “Vietnam Clean and Green” and HCM City’s Youth Federation.
A survey conducted by the HCM City Department of Natural Resources and Environment found that the volume of plastic trash in the city is just behind food waste, with an estimated 250,000 tonnes of plastic waste discarded each year.
According to HCM City’s waste recycling fund, if 48,000 tonnes of plastic waste, which are buried in the southern metropolis each year, are recycled, the city can save about 15 billion VND (660,000) annually.
The same day, more than 500 representatives from businesses, organisations, clubs and volunteer groups and locals in the central city of Da Nang also joined hands to clean up beaches, classify rubbish and organise a range of activities aiming to raise public awareness of plastic pollution as well as environmental protection.
Earth Day 2018 was also observed in other localities across the country, including the capital city of Hanoi, the central province of Thua Thien-Hue and the island district of Phu Quoc in the Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang, drawing the participation of more than 4,000 volunteers.
According to earthday.org, 8.3 billion metric tonnes of plastic has been produced since plastic was introduced in the 1950s. The amount of plastic produced in a year is roughly the same as the entire weight of humanity. 91 percent of plastic waste isn’t recycled. And since most plastics don’t biodegrade in any meaningful sense, all that plastic waste could exist for hundreds or even thousands of years.
Of note, 8 million metric tonnes of plastic winds up in the oceans each year. That’s enough trash to cover every foot of coastline around the world with five full trash bags of plastic compounding every year.
A recent international survey revealed that Vietnam is one of the five countries in the world discharging the most plastic waste, with about 1.8 million tonnes dumped each year.
The Military Institute of Traditional Medicine in conjunction with the Border Guard Command of the northern mountainous province of Lang Son provided free medical consultations and medicines for needy people in Xuat Le and Mau Son communes of Cao Loc district.
Institute provides free medicines for poor people in Lang Son
The programme benefited nearly 700 people who are social policy beneficiaries, revolution contributors, poor people and ethnic minorities, with a total fund of 112 million VND (4,900 USD).
More than 30 doctors and nurses of the institute participated in the programme.
Besides, the institute also presented five gift packages, including medicines and money, to families of social policies in extremely difficult circumstances, along with medical equipment worth nearly 50 million VND (2,200 USD) to the health centre of Xuat Le commune and the medical department of the Lang Son Border Guard Command.
This is one of the activities marking the 40th founding anniversary of the institute (July 4), contributing to social welfare and public health care in border areas.
Students get scholarships from Dong Hanh Foundation in Singapore
A performance act at the gala night
Dong Hanh Foundation in Singapore hosted a gala night in Singapore on April 21 to raise funds for disadvantaged Vietnamese students in the home country.
As many as 10,350 SGD donated at the event will be used as scholarships, worth 4 million VND (175 USD) each, which will be granted to needy students at the University of Economics and Law in Ho Chi Minh City and University of Engineering and Technology under the Vietnam National University, Hanoi, in 2018.
Speaking at the gala, Dinh Hoang Linh, Minister-Counsellor at the Vietnamese Embassy in Singapore, said the embassy supports the development of the foundation, which he considered a source of encouragement for needy Vietnamese students and demonstration of overseas Vietnamese’s assistance to fellow countrymen.
Nguyen Duy Anh, President of the Dong Hang Foundation in Singapore, said the organisation not only offers financial aid but also helps students open English clubs and other clubs to overcome difficulties and learn from each other.
He unveiled the fund’s goals for 2018, which included offering scholarships for students of one more Vietnamese university, besides providing 40 scholarships for Vietnamese students annually, and connecting with English centres in Vietnam for their scholarships.
The Dong Hanh Foundation in Singapore has been granting scholarships to needy students since 2014, with 146 scholarships worth 28,000 SGD (21,271 USD) in total.
In 2017 alone, the foundation granted 42 scholarships for poor students at the University of Economics and Law in Ho Chi Minh City and the University of Engineering and Technology in Hanoi.
Culture Festival of Vietnamese Ethnic Groups held in HCM City
An art performance at Culture Festival of Vietnamese Ethnic Groups (Source: congan.com.vn)
A Culture Festival of Vietnamese Ethnic Groups took place at Hoang Van Thu Park in Ho Chi Minh City on April 22, aiming to honour the groups’ cultural values.
Ho Tan Dat, Vice President of the Ho Chi Minh City Youth Federation – the festival’s organizer - said that the event looked to inspire local youths’ national pride and responsibility for maintaining and promoting the cultural identity and strengthening the national great unity.
This was also a chance for young people of the ethnic groups to join in exchanges, he added.
The event attracted the participation of nearly 1,000 young people of different ethnic groups who are living and learning in the city in art performances and an online contest on history and cultures of Vietnam’s ethnic groups.
An exhibition showcasing traditional music instruments was held within the framework of the festival, together with folk games and a cuisine festival.
On this occasion, the Ho Chi Minh City Youth Federation complimented 40 outstanding ethnic minority youths, and presented scholarships worth 2 million VND (88 USD) each to 33 poor ethnic minority students with good study achievements.
Vietnamese in Europe discuss ways to preserve national culture
The Union of Vietnamese Associations in Europe established at the first congress in 2016
The Union of Vietnamese Associations in Europe on April 21 held its third conference in Prague, the Czech Republic, with the participation of representatives from the Vietnamese communities in 14 European countries.
The union’s president Hoang Dinh Thang delivered a report reviewing the union’s activities since the beginning of 2017 and planned activities for 2018 and 2019.
He stressed the three petitions sent to the Vietnam Fatherland Front (VFF), the State Committee for Overseas Vietnamese Affairs and Vietnamese ministries and sectors involved, which mentioned the official recognition of the union, the coordination between the union and ministries and sectors in organising cultural activities in Europe, and policies to encourage younger generations to participate in social works to build a united, integrated and developed Vietnamese community.
At the conference, the delegates discussed how to attract more youths to join the union’s activities and measures to preserve national culture, including Vietnamese language among younger generations.
Vice President of the VFF Central Committee Nguyen Huu Dung said that the petition for the official recognition of the union is reasonable.
He promised to report the petition to the VFF Central Committee’s Standing Board and relevant agencies for further consideration.
The union, set up in Prague in October 2016 with 16 members, has gained initial achievements in gathering and exchange experiences between the Vietnamese communities in Europe.
Currently, the union has 17 members and plans to expand the network to all European countries.
Vietnam joins ASEAN bazaar in Argentina
Vietnamese ao dai presented at the bazaar
The Vietnamese Embassy in Argentina, in collaboration with diplomatic agencies of Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines and Indonesia, organised an annual bazaar on April 21 to promote cultural exchanges and introduce the nations’ images and people.
The bazaar featured a wide range of traditional handicrafts, costumes, food and musical performances of the ASEAN countries.
Vietnam brought to the fair lacquer paintings, silk products, conical hats, and local cuisine, with its Wushu performance and an “ao dai” (Vietnamese traditional dress) fashion show receiving the applause from visitors.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Malaysian Ambassador to Argentina Mod Khalid Abbasi Razak said this was an opportunity for the participating countries to introduce its own images and cultural identities.
He stressed that solidarity and cooperation within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as reflected through the organisation of such annual event.
Argentine Deputy Foreign Minister Guillermo Raimundi thanked the ASEAN nations for their initiative to hold the annual bazaar, which has helped Argentinians learn more about the region’s history, culture, people and landscapes.
He said the fair demonstrates close collaboration and friendship between Argentina and the bloc.
The ASEAN now groups 10 member nations, namely Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
Hanoi studies Canada’s experiences in smart city development
A delegation of the Hanoi People’s Committee visited Canada from April 18-20 to learn about the operation of people-elected agencies and development of smart cities in the North American country.
The Hanoi officials had various activities in Ottawa to promote the friendship between the two capital cities in particular and Vietnam and Canada in general, including the sharing of working experiences of people-elected agencies, the organisational model of urban administration, investment promotion and public service supply.
While in Toronto city, they sought to step up bilateral cooperation in potential areas such as high-tech agriculture, financial investment, education-training, trade, services, renewable energy, urban infrastructure and tourism.
The two sides also shared experiences in urban administration organisation and smart city development.
Vice Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Nguyen Ngoc Tuan, who led the delegation, had a meeting with Allan O’Dette, Chief Investment Officer of Ontario province.
Tuan told his host that Hanoi always wishes to enhance cooperation with Ontario, one of the biggest provinces of Canada, with substantial potential for development.
The official expressed his hope that the two sides will deepen the bilateral collaboration practically and concretely on the basis of commitments made during the visit to Hanoi last year by Ontario Governor Kathleen Wynne, as well as demand and potential of both sides.
Hanoi will create the best possible conditions for Canadian investors to run long-term, stable business in the city, he pledged.
For his part, Allan noted his optimistic views on prospects to increase investment ties between the two sides from the present 3 billion USD.
Allan, who accompanied Governor Kathleen Wynne to Hanoi and Ho Chi Min last year, said that the exchange of delegations will create a foundation to beef up bilateral trade ties and cooperation in such major areas like infrastructure, IT, agriculture and production.
Statistics show that in 2017, Hanoi attracted five Canadian foreign direct investment (FDI) projects, raising the accumulated FDI from the country to 29.2 million USD.
Export turnover between Hanoi and Canada in the first nine months of 2017 reached some 267 million USD, nearly doubling the average of the previous years.
Hanoi aims to attract more Canadian investments in development investment, health care, high-tech agriculture and finance-banking, while intensifying people-to-people and cultural exchanges and trade promotion.
Nam Dinh has four more new-style rural districts
Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue addresses the ceremony
Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue, head of the Steering Committee for National Target Programmes, has handed over the Prime Minister’s decisions recognising four districts of the northern provinces of Nam Dinh as new-style rural areas.
The recognition of the four localities – Nghia Hung, Xuan Truong, Truc Ninh and Giao Thuy – has raised total new-style districts and cities of Nam Dinh to five out of total 10. Hai Hau was the first one receiving the title in 2015.
At the same time, the province currently has 200 out of 209 communes and towns recognised as new-style rural areas.
Addressing the ceremony to hand over the certificates on April 21 in Nam Dinh city, Deputy PM Hue suggested that Nam Dinh province should focus on building socio-economic infrastructure to make it more modern and convenient.
The province should also pay more attention to boost production by strengthening the application of advanced technology in agriculture, while protecting the environment.
The locality is striving to become a new-style rural province in 2020. To this end, the province will speed up the project to restructure its agricultural sector to enhance added value and sustainable development of the sector, while building high technology agriculture models.
Along with State budget, the province will also mobilise social resources to develop its socio-economic infrastructure to improve locals’ living conditions.
In the 2011-2017 period, Nam Dinh spent nearly 16.5 trillion VND in new-style rural building programme, of which only 27.7 percent came from the State budget.
Locals donated nearly 3,000 hectares of farming land and over 200 hectares of building land for road and irrigation expansion as well as public works.
The national target programme on building new-style rural areas, initiated by the Vietnamese Government in 2010, sets 19 criteria on socio-economic development, politics, and defence, aiming to boost rural regions of Vietnam.
The list of criteria includes the development of infrastructure, the improvement of production capacity, environmental protection, and the promotion of cultural values.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, so far, Vietnam has 2,853 recognised new-style rural communes, accounting for 31.96 percent of total communes. Of which, 295 communes fulfilled all criteria of the programme’s new standards for the 2016-2020 period.
Pho Hien folk cultural festival kicks off in Hung Yen
A palanquin procession in the Pho Hien Folk Cultural Festival (Source: thanhphohungyen.gov.vn)
The Pho Hien Folk Cultural Festival opened in the northern province of Hung Yen on April 21.
The festival is the largest cultural event in the province this year, in response to the 2018 National Tourism Year Ha Long - Quang Ninh.
During the festival, a series of activities will be organised, including traditional rituals, lion dance festivals, a palanquin procession, folk games, singing contests and an exhibition.
The cultural activities will re-enact images of Pho Hien in the 16th and 17th centuries, where it was once a bustling commercial port on the Red River. They will be organised mainly in the Pho Hien relic complex, including Hien communal house, Mau, Tran and May temples, Xich Dang literature temple and Chuong pagoda, among others.
An area introducing local specialties such as longan, lotus seed, honey, frankincense and silver jewellery, will be set up at the event.
Pho Hien was second only to the Imperial capital city of Thang Long as a trading point in Vietnam. It was well-known among foreign traders, especially those from the Netherlands, Japan, Spain, Portugal and China.
The Pho Hien Folk Cultural Festival takes place in the Pho Hien relic complex in the third lunar month every year. It features traditional rituals, games and art performances, and culinary art, bringing alive the history, spirituality and culture of the land.
It allows tourists to get insight into the culture and history of the ancient river port. The event also helps promote the locality’s potential in tourism and service development and serves as an attractive spiritual and religious tourism destination.
Hung Yen boasts more than 1,200 relic sites and more than 400 local traditional festivals.
It is also the homeland of a number of national heroes and cultural celebrities, such as King Trieu Viet Vuong, who reigned from 548-571; Pham Ngu Lao, a general in the Tran dynasty in the 14th century; Hoang Hoa Tham, who led the Yen The rebellion against France in between 1884-1913; and late General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam, Nguyen Van Linh, who initiated the nation’s successful reform period.
Bus library launched in HCM City
The book bus was launched in Ho Chi Minh City on April 21
A “book bus”, a mobile book service, was launched in Ho Chi Minh City on April 21 to mark Vietnam’s 43rd National Reunification Day (April 30) and the fifth Book Day (April 21).
The bus, with the “A journey of knowledge and future” slogan, runs between District 8’s station and Thu Duc University Village, a route familiar to many local students. It serves as a mini library with wooden shelves, tables and chairs for passengers.
Along with the bus, the “Knowledge bus stop” and the city’s first Electronic Information Display at bus stop were launched, which provide information on books and activities of the Book Street and the city’s bus lines.
Speaking at the event, Deputy Director of the municipal Transport Department Vo Khanh Hung said the department will build an area in the Book Street to raise children’s awareness about traffic safety.
Hoang Sa, Truong Sa documents come to rural people in Hai Duong
The fifth Vietnam Book Day and the exhibition on ancient maps and documents on Hoang Sa and Truong Sa islands open in Hai Duong on April 20.
More than 2,000 book titles and hundreds of precious photos and documents on Vietnam’s seas and islands are on display at the fifth Vietnam Book Day and an exhibition on the Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagos in the northern province of Hai Duong.
The fifth Vietnam Book Day and the exhibition of ancient maps and documents providing historical and legal evidence to affirm Vietnam’s sovereignty over Hoang Sa and Truong Sa Islands opened at Ninh Giang High School in Ninh Giang, a rural district of Hai Duong, on April 20.
The exhibits include ancient documents in Nom (Vietnamese ideographic script) from Le to Nguyen dynasties (about 15th to 19th century) and the royal records of Nguyen Dynasty (1802-1945), which showed Vietnam early established and exercised sovereignty over Hoang Sa and Truong Sa.
There are also photos of Hoang Sa and Truong Sa archipelagos under the times of French domination and the Republic of Vietnam as well as the daily life of soldiers and people in the islands today.
The exhibition also showcased photos and documents on Hai Duong’s efforts to protect the national sea and island sovereignty.
The book day and exhibition will open to public until April 24 with free admission and tour guides. They are held by the provincial Departments of Information and Communications and Culture, Sports and Tourism in partnership with Ninh Giang district.
In 2014, the Prime Minister decided to take April 21 as Vietnam Book Day in connection with the debut of the Book “Duong Kach Menh” (The Revolutionary Path) by President Ho Chi Minh, the first work written in Vietnamese and printed by Vietnamese workers (April 21, 1927).
On April 18, the national-scale fifth Vietnam Book Day was launched at Thong Nhat Park in Hanoi, featuring over 100 pavilions of nearly 80 publishers nationwide and showcasing 50,000 book titles of various genres.
Singaporean company helps Vietnam with rare disease treatment
At the signing ceremony
Shire Singapore PTE. Ltd. (Shire) will help Vietnam improve the quality of diagnosis, treatment and management of a number of rare diseases in the country for the 2018-2023 period.
A memorandum of understanding (MoU) to this effect was signed by representatives of the Medical Services Administration under Vietnam’s Health Ministry and Shire Vietnam in Hanoi on April 20.
Under the MoU, the Singaporean company will also support Vietnam in improving professional knowledge, implementing policies on rare disease management and ensuring policies on rare medicine supply in the country, said Luong Ngoc Khue, Director of the Medical Services Administration.
During the first stage, the two sides will work together to develop a national guideline to improve the quality of diagnosis, treatment and management of Haemophilia and Primary Immune Deficiency (PID) as well as to support policy development on rare diseases in Vietnam.
Linda Seah, head of Southeast Asia Cluster at Shire, said Haemophilia and PID are complex rare disorders that require continuous medical research and innovative approach to ensure positive outcome for patients.
The MoU is the first of its kind for Shire in Asia Pacific, aiming not only to shorten the time for diagnosis but also ensure that patients are well supported with adequate access to therapy and management over the course of their life-long conditions, she said.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), there are approximately 100 rare diseases reported in Vietnam. It is estimated that almost one in 15 persons, or approximately six million people in the country, suffer from a rare disease. Vietnam has more than 6,000 haemophilia patients, but only 2,400 have been detected their disease situation, while PID remains common and adversely affects the prognosis of these patients.
Vietnam hands over simulation training centre to Laos
Simulation training at the centre
The Vietnamese Defence Ministry on April 20 handed over a simulation training centre to Laos’ Ministry of Defence as a gift of the ministry’s Technical Application and Production Ltd. (TECAPRO).
The centre include emulating systems for training on handgun, AK, B41 and 12.7mm guns, aiming to develop reaction and skills of trainees before they go on live ammunition practice on training ground, thus enhancing efficiency and safety of training in drill-ground.
The software applied in the centre allows trainees to choose virtual training sections in 3D environment, imitating line of fire and sound effects. They can also decide suitable training level.
Addressing the event, Major General Kilakon Bounnaphon, head of the Lao Defence Ministry’s Department of Technology, lauded TECAPRO’s capacity in researching and applying advanced technology in training.
He stressed the significance of emulation training in enhancing skills of trainees and preventing accidents in training process, thus saving budget and help modernize Laos’ army.
He affirmed that the support of the firm is a good start for cooperation between TECAPRO and Lao Defence Ministry’s Department of Technology.
Major General Kilakon Bounnaphon noted that over the past years, the Ministry of Defence of Vietnam has effectively assisted Laos in building forces, developing infrastructure as well as human resources training, greatly contributing to the growth and modernization of Laos’ army.
He thanked TECAPRO and Vietnam’s Ministry of Defence for the great support, while pledging to manage and operate the centre in an efficient manner.
Stock market expected to be upgraded to emerging by 2020
If everything goes smoothly, the Vietnam stock market may be upgraded to an emerging market by 2020.
Vietnam hopes its stock market would be upgraded to an emerging market by 2020
The Saigon Securities Incorporated (SSI) March financial and monetary report showed that the stock market scale has grown rapidly with value reaching $191 billion by the end of the first quarter of 2018, equal to 95 percent of 2016 GDP, an increase of 24.7 percent compared with the end of 2017.
The scale is approximate to that of the UAE stock market ($245 billion), the Philippines ($270 billion), and higher than that of many emerging markets, including Qatar ($131 billion), Pakistan ($82 billion) and Egypt ($58 billion).
The market liquidity has also increased to VND8.8 trillion per trading session, rising by 80 percent in comparison with the average level of 2017.
According to SSI, there are five stocks which can satisfy all the requirements set by MSCI and they may be added into the Emerging Markets Indexes if Vietnam’s stock market is upgraded.
The securities firm predicted that another nine stocks would satisfy the requirements in the near future.
The stocks all have capitalization value of over $2 billion and strong liquidity, but still cannot meet the requirement in terms of transferrable capitalization value due to the low free-float ratio.
In the future, with the accelerated state’s capital divestments and possible ceiling foreign ownership ratio lifting, the nine stocks will be potential choices for MSCI to add to EM Indexes.
Vietnam has satisfied quantitative conditions related to market scale and trading scale to be eligible for the upgrading.
Quantitative requirements are the final barrier for MSCI, like other institutions such as FTSE and S&P, to consider market upgrading.
The technology platform and infrastructure have been improved with great efforts by state management agencies.
The launch of the derivatives market has provided investors with the necessary instrument to prevent risks. Meanwhile, information exposure in English has not been a big barrier.
Analysts say in the best scenario, Vietnam may get the upgrading by 2020.
MSCI will need at least one year to collect opinions from the international investors’ community. It will also take investment funds one year to prepare for changes and restructure their investment portfolios.
MSCI is expected to release an annual report on market classification assessment and prepare a list of markets to be consulted for the next review period.
By the end of the first quarter of 2018, Vietnam’s P/E had caught up with the P/E of the US stock market, and was higher than the P/E in Thailand, China and Malaysia.
Kim Chi, VNN
BUSINESS IN BRIEF 24/4
HCM City calls on FDI firms to support local sustainable development
Leaders of Ho Chi Minh City recently held a meeting with foreign-invested (FDI) businesses, calling on them to work side by side with the southern metropolis of Vietnam toward the goal of fast and sustainable development.
The event on April 21 drew representatives of foreign businesses’ associations and nearly 200 FDI companies in HCM City.
Secretary of the municipal Party Committee Nguyen Thien Nhan said over the past years, HCM City has made efforts to improve investment climate, step up administrative reforms, streamline procedures, increase transparency and boost IT application in the settlement of administrative procedures to enhance the attractiveness to foreign investment.
As a result, the city attracted 6.6 billion USD in FDI in 2017, surging over 90 percent from the previous year. In the first quarter of 2018 alone, the figure stood at 1.37 billion USD, compared to 5.8 billion USD of the entire country.
However, he said, HCM City is also facing an array of challenges typical of a big city such as outdated transport system, and overloading in infrastructure, hospitals, schools and housing due to rapid population growth. Meanwhile, heavy climate change impacts and risks of serious flooding have also negatively influenced local people’s life and businesses’ activities.
Secretary Nhan called on FDI enterprises to take part in key socio-economic development projects, noting that the city particularly encourages them to suggest measures and share experience in building a smart city.
He affirmed that HCM City considers businesses and people’s satisfaction as the meter of the development and efficiency of its administrative apparatus’ performance.
At the meeting, many FDI companies described HCM City as a dynamic city with fast growth rate and a destination drawing foreign investors’ interest. However, they also said to attract foreign capital for fast and sustainable development and smart city building, the city will have to tackle policy and human resources problems.
A representative of the European Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam (EuroCham Vietnam) said European companies wants HCM City to put forth more open and transparent policies. The legal system regarding investment activities needs to be consistent in both theory and practice. It is also necessary to improve the quality of human resources, not only manual workers but also middle- and high-level manpower, in order to meet foreign businesses’ demand.
Sharing the same view, Saranya Skontanarak, Chairwoman of the Thai Business (Vietnam) Association, said manpower quality not only affects the attractiveness to foreign investment but also serves as a decisive factor of smart city building success.
She added HCM City, and on a larger scale, Vietnam, no longer has labour cost advantages. Therefore, the city must have solutions to promote labour productivity and quality. Building a smart city requires not only modern technology but also capable personnel to operate the system and enjoy the benefits it will generate.
Seck Yee Chung, Vice President of the Singapore Business Group - HCM City Chapter, said HCM City and many other cities in Vietnam want to build smart cities, which is a necessary step toward modernising cities and solving hot issues pertaining to transport infrastructure, environment and database.
Singapore is experienced in smart city building and technology-based development, and it is ready to help HCM City and Vietnam. However, he said, the country needs policies which are more open to investment in technology services.
Sabeco agrees to pay back VND2.7 trillion to State budget
Saigon Beer-Alcohol-Beverage Corporation (Sabeco) has asked for guidance to pay over VND2.7 trillion for the State budget as requested by the State Audit Office of Vietnam and the Ministry of Finance.
According to a Thanh Nien news report, the Ministry of Industry and Trade has told Sabeco to pay VND2.79 trillion, or roughly US$124 million, in undistributed profit to fulfill tax obligations and administrative penalties concerning taxes.
Following the trade ministry’s instruction, Sabeco has written to the HCMC Tax Department seeking advice on how to proceed with the payment.
The Ministry of Finance earlier told the trade ministry to instruct the representative of the State shareholding at Sabeco to handle violations mentioned in an auditing report and immediately pay taxes and make other mandatory payments. The trade ministry and Sabeco were requested to report on the matter to the finance ministry’s Department of Corporate Finance by the end of the month.
Thanh Nien reported last month that the State Audit Office informed the trade ministry of the financial situation and activities concerning the management and use of State capital in 2016 at Sabeco and requested a clarification of responsibilities of violating organizations and individuals.
According to the report of the State Audit Office, Sabeco’s profit after distribution near the end of 2016 was over VND2.8 trillion. The parent company distributed almost VND76 billion of 2016 profit in 2017’s first quarter. Sabeco’s remaining profit from 2016 backwards was more than VND2.7 trillion.
The State Audit Office requested Sabeco to pay nearly VND2.5 trillion of profit from 2016 backwards, equivalent to 89.59% of State capital at the firm as of December 31, 2016.
SHS reports triple post-tax profit in first quarter
Sai Gon-Ha Noi Securities Joint Stock Company (SHS) has reported that its post-tax profit in the first quarter of 2018 tripled from a year ago to VND136 billion (US$6 million).
The company recorded higher growth in all segments, with a total revenue of VND365 billion in the first quarter of this year – 2.5 times the revenue earned during the same period in 2017.
Of the total revenue, earnings from proprietary trading accounted for VND164 billion, revenue from margin lending reached VND95 billion and revenue from brokerage was VND79.4 billion.
The figures were up 6.3, 1.6 and 1.8 times, respectively, the earnings in the same period last year.
The increase in earnings in the first quarter also helped the firm’s four-quarter accumulated earnings-per-share ratio reach VND4,366 (19 cents) per share, equivalent to a trailing price-to-earnings ratio of 5:1.
In the first four months of 2018, SHS launched two corporate bond issuances worth VND1.15 trillion to provide additional capital for margin lending.
The company made the first corporate bond issuance in February 2018 under private placement, raising VND500 billion.
SHS plans to raise VND650 billion from the second corporate bond issuance in the second quarter of this year.
According to data of the HCM City and HaNoi stock exchanges, SHS ranked sixth on the southern bourse and fourth in the northern market in terms of market shares. The figures were 4.15 per cent and 8.62 per cent, respectively.
SHS is listing 100 million shares on Ha Noi Stock Exchange.
2,000 female entrepreneurs to receive startup support
The Peoples' Committee of Ho Chi Minh City has launched a project giving start-up support to 2,000 female entrepreneurs in the 2017-2025 period.
The grant is awarded to women, especially ethnic minority, disadvantaged and disabled people.
The program will also provide consulting services to 4,000 new startups founded by women; 15 cooperation units and 10 cooperatives that will be managed by women.
The projetc aims to raise women's role in the economic development and help them implement their creativity, start and grow their businesses.
The municipal goverment has asked the Department of Science & Technology, the Department of Planning and Investment, the Department of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs and the city Women's Union to coordinate to study policies supporting women-led businesses.
HDBank shareholders approve PG Bank acquisition in all-stock deal
Shareholders of the HCM City Development Joint Stock Commercial Bank (HDBank) have approved a plan to acquire the Ha Noi-based Petrolimex Group Commercial Joint Stock Bank in an all-stock deal.
At the HDBank annual general meeting held on April 21 they approved taking over PG bank by paying 0.621 share for every share of PGBank.
They also approved a strategic co-operation programme with the State-owned Viet Nam National Petroleum Group (Petrolimex) to exploit the advantages offered by the country’s biggest petroleum retailer.
Shareholders of PG Bank also agreed to the takeover by HDBank at its annual general meeting on the same day. The bank has already wrapped up the formalities.
Following the takeover, HDBank will have a charter capital of VND12.81 trillion (US$564.32 million).
It will have 15,371 employees, 73 branches and 235 transaction offices.
PGBank had a small capital base, which made it difficult to meet borrowers’ increasing credit needs.
The acquisition by HDBank is an effective outcome for PG Bank since its biggest shareholder, Petrolimex, has had to draw up a roadmap for reducing its ownership of the lender.
HDBank was responding to the Government’s appeal to participate in the banking sector restructure to help consolidate weak banks.
The acquisition will help it develop its retail segment, thus diversifying its products and easing its reliance on credit growth.
The two banks will be able to expand their scale of operations, particularly in the lucrative retail segment thanks to their large combined retail network, and also their financial resources, thus developing and improving the quality of their existing products and services.
The HDBank shareholders meeting also saw the tabling of a report on its record high profit in 2017, which made it one of the most profitable lenders in the country.
The bank’s pre-tax profit surged by 110.6 per cent to VND1.282 trillion (US$51.9 million).
For the past five years HDBank has been reporting high profits following its acquisition of DaiABank and Société Générale Viet Finance (SGVF) a few years ago, listing on the stock market and strategic sales of its stocks to foreign investors early this year.
Its assets at the end of 2017 were up 26 per cent to VND189.334 trillion.
Its non-performing loans were down to 1.51 per cent.
It had deposits of more than VND100 trillion, up 27 per cent from 2016, and credit growth was 17 per cent.
Based on the solid performance, the bank is set to pay dividends of 35 per cent, 15 per cent in cash and 20 per cent in the form of stocks, for 2017.
In 2018 HDBank targets increasing its assets to VND242.865 trillion and pre-tax profits to VND3.921 trillion, up 62.2 per cent.
It expects to keep bad debts under 2 per cent.
HCMC hotel room rates pick up
Room rates at three- to five-star hotels in HCMC have inched up for the first time in three years, buoyed by an upsurge in international tourist arrivals.
According to Savills Vietnam, average occupancy at such hotels was 74% in quarter one, up six percentage points against the same quarter a year earlier. Room rates averaged out at US$83 per night, a year-on-year increase of 4%. This is the first hotel room tariff rise in three years.
Hotel representatives told the Daily that hotels of three to five stars in the city performed well last quarter, particularly last month, and achieved higher-than-expected room occupancy. On many days in March the hotels were full.
Room rates at some hotels have edged up by just a couple of U.S. dollars per room but one five-star hotel in District 1 quoted a new rate of US$180 per night last month compared to its previous rate of US$120.
Lam Quang Huy, deputy general director of the five-star Grand Hotel Saigon on Dong Khoi Street, said the hotel’s average occupancy was 92% in January-March, the highest in three years.
According to Huy, the hotel recorded an occupancy rate of 98% last month. Though April is the beginning of the low season for international tourist arrivals, but occupancy this month may still range from 75% to 80%.
The five-star Rex Hotel’s occupancy in quarter one was 89% on average, whereas it was 84% in last year’s same quarter.
The four-star Nhat Ha 3 Hotel has also reported a high occupancy rate of 94% in recent months. Even in February when Asian tourists returned home for the Lunar New Year, the hotel was still crowded, said general director of the hotel Nguyen Thanh Tung.
According to the HCMC Department of Tourism, international visitor arrivals in the city were nearly two million in the first quarter, up 16% year-on-year. The city expects 7.5 million foreign arrivals in all of 2018.
Vietjet’s profit hits new heights in 2017
VietJet Aviation Joint Stock Company (HOSE code: VJC) recorded a strong yearly increase of 103 per cent taking its 2017 after-tax profit to more than VND5 trillion (US$223 million).
This profit also surpassed by 150 per cent the target set earlier, according to its 2017’s audited consolidated financial results released on Saturday.
During the year, the company’s net revenue stood at VND42.3 trillion, an increase of nearly VND45 billion while cost of sales decreased from VND36.3 trillion to VND35.75 trillion.
Profit attributed to shareholders of the parent company increased from VND4.52 trillion to more than VND5 trillion, equivalent to an increase of VND546 billion. Earnings per share (EPS) stood at VND11,356, an increase of 73 per cent year on year.
With an increase of profit attributable to shareholders of the parent company, VietJet’s unallocated profit up to December 31, 2017 topped VND5.8 trillion.
Previously, the company raised its 2017 dividend payout from 50 per cent to 60 per cent due to the positive business results. VietJet advanced the 2017 cash dividend payment at the rate of 30 per cent and planned to pay the other 30 per cent dividend by shares.
Bangladesh – promising market for Vietnamese travel firms
Vietnamese travel companies should pay more attention to the Bangladeshi market, while fostering cooperation with Bangladeshi partners to design tours suitable to both Vietnamese and Bangladeshi people, thus increasing the number of visitors to each other’s country, said Vietnamese Ambassador to Bangladesh Tran Van Khoa.
The diplomat said that leaders of Vietnam and Bangladesh have agreed to open a direct air route linking the two countries and the plan is being considered by relevant agencies.
Bangladesh, with a population of over 160 million, rapid economic growth and an increasing number of people with high incomes, is becoming a promising market for Vietnamese tourism companies.
However, the number of enterprises entering this market has remained few. According to Nguyen Hong Van, Director of the ATE Vietnam Ltd., one of the reasons behind this fact is high prices of tours due to the lack of a direct air route between the two countries as well as information about the market.
She said that as part of efforts to penetrate the market, ATE Vietnam participated in the Bangladesh International Travel and Tourism Fair 2018, which ran from April 19-21 in Dhaka.
Many visitors showed their interest in the Vietnamese booth which introduced Vietnam’s popular tourist destinations such as Ha Long Bay, Ninh Binh, Sa Pa, Nha Trang and Mui Ne.
Muhammad Rezaul Karim, General Director of Bangladesh’s Sky Holidays Company, said that he traveled to many places in Vietnam such as Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang and he was the most impressed at the UNESCO-recognised heritage site of Ha Long Bay.
Vietnamese firms have great business opportunities in Bangladesh as Bangladeshi people have warm sentiments towards Vietnam, he said, adding that more Bangladeshi people are travelling abroad.
The International Travel and Tourism Fair is the biggest of its kind in Bangladesh, which is held annually. This year, the event was participated by travel firms from various countries including China, India, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Maldives.
PNJ to expand retail system, online sales
Phú Nhuận Jewelry Joint Stock Company (PNJ) has said it will further expand its retail network and online sales and carry out customer segmentation to offer tailor-made designs meeting the needs of every customer.
Speaking at the company’s annual general meeting in HCM City last Saturday, chairwoman Cao Thị Ngọc Dung said the company targets VNĐ14.195 trillion (US$662.58 million) in revenues and VNĐ882 billion ($38.68 million) in net profits, 30 per cent and 22 per cent higher than last year.
Revenues from online sales are expected to rise five-fold to VNĐ150 billion this year and at least VNĐ1 trillion by 2021.
The company would also open at least 40 stores this year to increase the total number to more than 300, she said.
Two subsidiaries, PNJ Production and Trading Ltd and Customer Era Ltd, would be set up for trading jewellery, precious metals, precious and semi-precious stones, gold bars, souvenirs and gifts, import and export gold jewellery and import and distribute watches, eyewear and fashion accessories, she said.
PNJ plans to issue bonus shares this year at the ratio of 2: 1, increasing its charter capital to VNĐ1.621 trillion.
It will also make a 3 per cent ESOP, equivalent to 4.86 million shares, at a par value of VNĐ20,000 to members of the board making outstanding contributions and the most competent staff at PNJ and its subsidiaries.
The meeting also voted two new members of the board of directors.
Lê Trí Thông, vice chairman and general director, said last year was a successful one for PNJ, with sales growing by 28 per cent to VNĐ11.049 trillion, and jewellery retail sales accounting for nearly VNĐ5.78 trillion.
Its consolidated pre-tax profit was 54 per cent up at VNĐ908.11 billion, he said.
He attributed the company’s success to its investing in modern production and managment technologies, human resource development, risk management and development of its brand and retail network.
According to the World Gold Council, demand for jewellery gold in Việt Nam increased by 7 per cent last year to 16.5 tonnes. The demand is expected to keep increasing.
VCSC focuses on investment banking
Viet Capital Securities Company (VCSC) will focus on investment banking in 2018, a sector expected to contribute VND458 billion (US$20.3 million) to the firm’s total post-tax profit this year.
VCSC targets VND1.7 trillion in total revenue this year and VND1 trillion in pre-tax profit, a yearly increase of 11 per cent and 26 per cent, if the benchmark VN Index ended above the 1,000-point level at the end of this year.
If the VN Index falls below 500 points, VCSC would record VND250 billion in pre-tax profit, the firm’s management board said at the annual shareholder meeting this week.
Besides investment banking, other core sectors that VCSC will focus on include trading brokerage (VND491 billion), stock investment (VND444 billion) and proprietary trading (VND324 billion).
The company forecast its pre-tax profit in the first quarter of 2018 at VND400 billion, 40 per cent of the full-year prediction. VCSC will make a 15 per cent dividend payout for its performance in 2018.
Foreign ownership lifted off
VCSC also plans to remove the cap of foreign ownership, allowing foreign investors to purchase up to 100 per cent of the company’s shares.
The brokerage company also plans to sell all treasury shares to its current employees for VND20,000 per share, and offer employee-stock-ownership-plan shares to its employees for a similar price level.
The company will also issue 42 million tradable bonus shares for its existing shareholders at an issuance ratio of 35 per cent.
VCSC expects the share sales and issuance will help increase its charter capital to VND1.63 trillion and reduce its bank debts in 2018.
The company also hopes to rank among the top five brokerage firms with the largest market share in 2018, improve its position in the derivatives market and provide secure, financially-healthy instruments for its clients.
Int'l cafe show brings buzz to City
The Viet Nam International Cafe Show 2018 will take place in HCM City next month, attracting more than 200 booths from 100 exhibitors and brands from 12 countries.
The third annual show will take place from May 3-5 at the Sai Gon Exhibition and Convention Centre in District 7.
The event is one of the largest coffee shows of the year with the presence of major coffee brands such as Trung Nguyen and King Coffee, as well as famous coffee machines and accessories brands. Exhibitors will also display desserts, raw materials and ingredients.
There will be a space devoted to new products and services in the Vietnamese food and beverage industry.
In addition, a coffee training station will offer visitors a chance to experience cupping and brewing under the guidance of professionals.
A class for cafe owners, consultants and R&D staff to learn about recipes from experts will also be held, while baristas will serve free cups of coffee to visitors.
The final round of the Viet Nam National Barista Championship, which will take place from May 3-5, will determine the winner representing Viet Nam at the World Barista Championship to be held in June in Amsterdam.
The Viet Nam Signature Battle, a competition to promote innovative beverage and spirit recipes, will also return during the show.
The winner will receive a prize of US$5,000 and have an opportunity to join professional training courses and compete at the World Signature Battle 2018 in Seoul.
With rapid development of the beverage market, especially coffee, the show has attracted attention from enterprises, farmers, manufacturers, distributors and related services.
Last year, the show had 150 booths from 10 countries and more than 18,000 visitors and buyers.
Launched in 2002 in Seoul, the Cafe Show has steadily grown and established a foothold in the South Korea and Asian coffee market.
This year, around 580 exhibitors from 40 countries and 151,000 visitors from 76 countries and boasts the biggest scale among specialised coffee events in Asia.
Total coffee consumption in Viet Nam between 1990 and 2016 rose 20 times from 6,789 tonnes to 138,000 tonnes, according to Statista, an online statistics, market research and business intelligence portal.
During the 2012-2016 period, Viet Nam ranked fourth among the world’s fastest growing coffee retail markets, according to Statista.
Vinaconex to make second attempt at divetment
After failing to go above the initial offering price and selling only 6 per cent of the shares on offer in last December, will the divestment of Vietnam Construction and Import-Export JSC (Vinaconex) this year be successful?
At the annual general shareholders’meeting, Nguyen Duc Chi, chairman of the Board of Directors of Vinaconex, released two scripts for divestment this year.
Accordingly, Vinaconex will put either the entire state-owned stake (57.79 per cent) or the unmarketable stake left from the first auction on sale this year. State Capital Investment Corporation (SCIC), which represents the state-owned stake in Vinaconex, will select the final divestment plan.
Earlier on December 8, SCIC auctioned off 96.24 million shares in Vinaconex, equal to a 21.79 per cent stake on the HNX with the minimum bidding price of VND25,600 ($1.12) apiece.
At this price, the state investment company expected at least VND2.46 trillion ($108 million) in proceeds while retaining a 36-per-cent stake in the company.
However, in reality, only 5.35 million out of the 96.24 million on offer were sold, leaving 94 per cent of the shares unmarketable.
Only three investors, including one organisation and two individuals joined the auction.
After the auction, SCIC acquired VND137 billion ($6.03 million) from selling the stakes at the price of VND25,600 ($1.12, the initial offering price), decreasing its holdings in Vinaconex to 52.2 from 57.79 per cent.
Vinaconex specialises in property development, design consultancy, industrial production, financial investment, education and training, and commercial activities, among others. It currently manages nine subsidiaries and affiliates.
In 2017, Vinaconex reported a revenue of VND10.89 trillion ($478.2 million) and an after-tax profit of VND1.63 trillion ($71.5 million), signifying on-year increases of 127.5 and more than 228.6 per cent, respectively.
The divestment from its subsidiary Viwasupco resulted in soaring revenue and after-tax profit figures for Vinaconex.
This year, the firm set the target to reach VND4.49 trillion ($197.2 million) in revenue and VND491 billion ($21.6 million) in after-tax profit.
Kido to take majority interest in Golden Hope
After acquiring majority stakes in large vegetable oil manufacturers Vocarimex and Tuong An, Kido Corporation (Kido) has completed the procedures to purchase a 51 per cent stake in Golden Hope Nha Be Edible Oils Co., Ltd.
Golden Hope is a 51-49 joint venture company between Sime Darby Plantation from Malaysia and Vocarimex. Kido will take over the 51 per cent held by the foreign firm, according to Bizlive.
Despite Golden Hope’s bleak business results, Kido still decided in favour of the deal hoping that they can help Golden Hope overcome its difficulties and then utilise it to gain control over the cooking oil market segment.
According to Kido general director Tran Le Nguyen, with the firm’s financial potential and managing experience, Kido will restructure the operations of Golden Hope and turn a profit.
Nguyen added that Golden Hope’s case is similar to Tuong An Vegetable Oil JSC. After being merged with Kido, Tuong An got a new lease on life with increases in both revenue and profit.
Previously, Nguyen released that Kido has completed the negotiations for the purchase of a food manufacturing and processing firm which has an annual revenue of VND1.6-2 trillion ($70.4-87.9 million). In late May 2017, the company wrapped up the purchase of more than 32.8 million shares of Vocarimex, increasing its total stake to more than 62.1 million, equal to 51 per cent.
Besides, in November 2016, Kido spent more than VND1 trillion ($43.9 million) to buy 65 per cent of Tuong An Vegetable Oil JSC.
The highlight in Kido’s business results in 2017 was the soaring revenue thanks to the contribution of the two newly acquired cooking oil producers.
Notably, Kido reported a net revenue of over VND7 trillion ($308.2 million), doubling the 2016 figure with a gross profit of VND1.49 trillion ($65.6 million) and pre-tax profit of VND569 billion ($25.05 million).
It set the revenue target of VND10 trillion ($440.3 million) this year.
To reach this, Tuong An conducted wide restructuring, refocusing manufacturing and distribution activities towards the high-end segment. Besides, the company extended its product portfolio by adding packaged products in manufacturing, contributing to expanding its operations in general.
Long-delayed Tan Mai pulp and paper mills revoked
The Tan Mai pulp and paper mills complex located in Quang Ngai province’s Binh Son district had its investment certificate revoked after long delays in construction.
At present, the Quang Ngai Department of Planning and Investment, in collaboration with relevant authorities, has completed the procedures to withdraw the investment certificate of the Tan Mai pulp and paper mills complex, according to the assignment of the Quang Ngai People’s Committee.
In 2009, Tan Mai Group received the investment certificate for these projects. According to the initial plan, these projects would have a total investment capital of VND1.95 trillion ($85.6 million) with an annual pulp capacity of 130,000 tonnes and the annual high-end paper capacity of 200,000 tonnes.
The construction, covering an area of 45 hectares in Binh Son district, was expected to be kicked off in October 2009 to come into operation in 2011.
During the construction process the investor proposed the Quang Ngai People’s Committee to adjust the investment capital as well as the construction’s deadline no less than five times. However, the province only approved adjustments for the first three times. Accordingly, the investment capital was increased to VND5.01 trillion ($219.5 million) and the deadline for completing the construction of the pulp mill was adjusted to December 2012 and the paper mill to December 2013.
However, the construction was only kicked off in July 2010 and was suspended in December 2012. At the time of suspending the construction, the investor had only completed the environmental impact assessment report, the detailed construction plan, and took over the land to implement the project.
If a sufficient number of investors express intention to develop projects on the plot, the district People’s Committee will organise an auction for the land use right.
According to the conclusions of the province’s inspection team, the investor committed numerous violations between 2009 and May 2017.
Notably, Tan Mai failed to comply with the investment process, including failing to prove its financial potential for the added investment capital and delaying in the implementation of the construction.
Besides, the province completed the site clearance and handed over the land for the investor in May 2010, however, it was not until May 2017 that Tan Mai completed the procedures for the certificate of land use right.
In addition, the investor violated the construction schedule by being 52 months late with the pulp mill and 40 months late for the paper mill compared to the deadlines approved after the third adjustment.
According to the Quang Ngai People’s Committee, the investor’s lack of financial potential was the major cause behind the long delays. Thus, the investor will have to bear the entire responsibility for the incident.
Most recently, the Quang Ngai People’s Committee assigned the Quang Ngai Department of Planning and Investment in collaboration with the Quang Ngai Department of Natural Resources and Environment and other relevant authorities to revoke the investment certificate of these projects.
Tran Hoang Vinh, the representative of the Quang Ngai Department of Planning and Investment, told VIR that the department has completed the procedures for the revocation and will send the decision to the investor and wait for their response. Since the construction was suspended, the investor has yet to announce whether it will resume the projects or withdraw.
“In case the projects are officially revoked, the Binh Son District People’s Committee will take over the management of the land which was handed over for these projects. If a sufficient number of investors express intention to develop projects on the plot, the district People’s Committee will organise an auction for the land use right,” Vinh added.
UNIQLO visit may turn fashion retail up-side-down once more
A delegation of UNIQLO has just visited to look for investment opportunities in Texhong Hai Ha Industrial Park and discover avenues of co-operation with Hualida Garments Co., Ltd.
Texhong Textile Group started to build Hai Ha IP in November 2014, which is the largest foreign-invested project in Quang Ninh with the total registered capital of $450 million and taking up an area of 660 hectares.
For the operation of the IP, the group has received extensive support from Quang Ninh province to complete investment procedures, land clearance, and the construction of the transport and power systems.
Thereby, 6-kilometres of internal road, a transformer station system, and a wastewater treatment plant with the capacity of 6,000cu.m per day have been built. It is expected to put another 10,000cu.m wastewater treatment plant into operation in this June.
There are five secondary investors operating in the fields of yarn, dyeing, and textiles and garments at Texhong Hai Ha IP, creating over 6,000 jobs for locals.
While visiting the IP, UNIQLO’s delegation was impressed by the development and scale of investment of Texhong Textile Group Limited and the secondary investors at the park. They expressed optimism about prospects of actually bringing a project to the IP.
UNIQLO, which is wholly-owned subsidiary of Fast Retailing Co., Ltd., is a Japanese casual wear designer, manufacturer, and retailer. This is the fourth largest fashion brand in the world, and is one of the highest tier stocks on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.
UNIQLO has a thousands of stores in its distribution chain in numerous countries across the globe, such as the US, Australia, UK, France, China, and South Korea.
During the visit, the UNIQLO delegation has paid much attention to the production line of Hualida Garments Co., Ltd. (also in the IP), which is promising news for both the IP and Hualida Garments.
Does UNIQLO’s visit signify a potential foray to the Vietnamese market by the Japanese fashion retailer? In case UNIQLO has designs that extend over utilising the country as an affordable manufacturing hub with great export ties to global markets and plans to open official stores in Vietnam, fashion giants Zara, H&M, and newcomer Superdry are looking at heightened competition at a market that is already throwing sparks.
EY: Local fintechs hold competitive advantage in region
Vietnam ranks second in the number of incubator, accelerator and innovation labs in the region, behind only Singapore, according to the latest “ASEAN FinTech Census 2018” released by Ernst & Young (EY); an optimistic sign for the development of fintech in the country.
Vietnam also has an advantage in being a young and digitally-savvy economy. As per another EY report, around 90 per cent of payments are still made in cash. For this reason, Vietnamese fintech startups had a strong focus on payments (47 per cent), ranking highest in the region.
There are also some fintech associations in Vietnam, where fintech startups can gather together to update and improve their knowledge, seek support, share experience, and develop a legal framework for the industry.
“Fintech companies are still small in scale and the policies and regulations for these companies are still limited,” said Ms. Duong Nguyen, EY Vietnam Partner and Leader of Financial Service Organizations and IT Advisory Services, and Vice President of the Vietnam Fintech Association (VietFinTech). “Many banks are still cautious in their decision to cooperate with fintechs. They don’t realize that there are people who have never opened a bank account but the number of smartphone users is increasing. Fintech is the bridge that helps banks bring more services closer to more people.”
Apart from funding issues, talent shortages and a lack of government support policies and regulations are other major challenges fintechs in Vietnam as well as the region must face. According to Mr. Brian Thung, Managing Partner of ASEAN Financial Services, governments play a vital role in shaping a conducive fintech ecosystem that helps to attract and develop the right talent pool and promote innovation, collaboration and healthy competition.
According to the Tracxn, investment in ASEAN fintechs has surged, jumping 45 per cent year-on-year to $366 million in 2017. Little has been discussed and published about the opportunities and challenges facing the fintech industry in the region, however.
To understand the key factors shaping the industry and bring to forefront the voice of fintechs in the region, EY undertook this research initiative and surveyed more than 250 fintechs in early 2018. Participants included fintechs primarily from ASEAN countries as well as outside of ASEAN who are looking to enter the region.
The census results show that fintechs are optimistic about the future growth of the sector, with a record number (89 per cent) believing that customers are open to adopting fintech services, 61 per cent seeing revenue growth as an immediate future goal in the coming 12 months, and 87 per cent planning to expand beyond home or their current market in the coming 12 months. Besides Southeast Asia, fintech’s preferred destinations for growth and expansion are the US, the UK and China.
Funding remains an issue for the fintechs surveyed despite their strong ambitions. With most in the earlier stages of development, more growth-stage equity and capital are needed, and 60 per cent of respondents expect their next round of funding to be more than $1 million.
Vietnam raises US$1.95 billion from G-bond so far this year
The State Treasury of Vietnam mobilised over VND44.4 trillion (US$1.95 billion) via Government bond (G-bond) auctions in the Hanoi Stock Exchange (HNX) since the beginning of 2018.
According to the HNX, the latest auction was held by the State Treasury on April 18, offering a total of VND3.5 trillion (US$154 million) worth of G-bonds with different maturities.
Three tenures were offered at the HNX, including seven-year and 20-year bonds valued at VND1 trillion each (US$44 million), and ten-year bonds valued at VND1.5 trillion (US$66 million).
A total VND1.35 trillion (US$59.4 million) were raised after the auctions which fell below the issuer’s expectation.
Of the three types, the auction of seven-year bonds drew the attention of 15 investors. VND200 billion worth of bonds were sold at the average yield rate of 3.43% per year. The rate was the same as that during the previous auction on April 4.
Two auctions of ten-year bonds attracted 16 investors. A combined VND1.05 trillion worth of bonds was sold at the average yield rate of 4.1% per year, 0.05% higher than that on April 11.
Some six investors attended the auction of 20-year bonds which raised VND100 billion at the average interest rate of 5.12% per year, an increase of 0.02% from that of the March 28 auction.
The National Financial Supervisory Commission has predicted that the G-bond market in 2018 will see modest changes against last year, thanks to the economic growth of more than 6.7% and inflation of below 4%.
The value of G-bonds issued in 2018 is estimated at some VND180 trillion (US$7.92 billion), with the focus being on long-term maturity and keeping the interest rate at low levels.
G-bonds worth VND159.9 trillion (US$7.03 billion) and having an average maturity of 13.52 years, up 4.81 years against 2016, were issued last year. The bonds had an average annual interest rate of some 6.07%, down 0.2 percentage points against 2016, according to the Ministry of Finance.
Condo builders rush to acquire modern fire fighting systems
Investors of apartment buildings are seeking to attract home buyers back by investing heavily in modern fire fighting and prevention systems as an inferno at the HCMC-based Carina Plaza condo complex that killed 13 late last month has scared people away from high-rise buildings.
My Xuan Housing JSC, a member of Phuc Hung Holdings Construction JSC, on April 17 introduced Florence complex at 28 Tran Huu Duc Street in Hanoi which is expected for completion late next year. The complex including offices, apartments and a commercial center has a floor area of nearly 65,000 square meters.
Apartments of the complex have been put up for sale at VND27 million per square meter or above. The complex has 480 units of between 75 and 124 square meters with two to four bedrooms.
However, instead of boasting modern facilities and furniture of apartments at the condo project, the investor tried to attract the attention of potential homebuyers to the complex’s fire fighting and prevention system.
The complex is equipped with what is claimed as the most modern fire alarm system imported from Group of Seven (G7) countries. Ventilators will absorb smoke in case of fires to ensure that smoke will not spread to emergency-exit staircases, said the investor.
In addition, surveillance cameras are installed at doors in the complex. The investor also provides each apartment with a mask, a 30-meter rope and tools to aid easier escape.
Cao Tung Lam, chairman of Phuc Hung Holdings, the investor, said the blaze at the Carina Plaza condo building has made home buyers hesitant to make buy decisions. However, the apartment segment will continue to dominate the local real estate market due to reasonable prices.
Many other investors of condo buildings across the country have also invested in new fire-fighting systems lately, said Nguyen Thu Hang at real estate services provider Savills Vietnam. She said homebuyers now would carefully learn about apartment buildings, especially fire fighting and prevention solutions.
Berjaya D2D Co Ltd has recently invested VND80 billion in a modern fire alarm system and an automatic sprinkler system for the Topaz Twins project in Bien Hoa City in the southern province of Dong Nai. A 100-cubic-meter water tank is also built inside the high-rise building just in case of blaze.
Meanwhile, Hung Loc Phat Real Estate Service JSC has poured hundreds of billions into the fire fighting and prevention system of Detox & Healthy apartments at Green Star Sky Garden project. The project is equipped with heat and smoke sensors and smart faucets which will automatically spray water if room temperatures increase suddenly.
Government News 24/4
Deputy PM welcomes officials from Singapore’s Ministry of Home Affairs
Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh (R) receives Permanent Deputy Minister for Home Affairs of Singapore Pang Kin Keong
Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh hosted a reception for officials from Singapore’s Ministry of Home Affairs led by Permanent Deputy Minister Pang Kin Keong in Hanoi on April 23.
The guests are visiting Vietnam to attend the annual meeting at the deputy ministerial level and the fifth sports exchange between Vietnam’s Ministry of Public Security and Singapore’s Ministry of Home Affairs.
The two ministries have actively contributed to the sound cooperative relations between Vietnam and Singapore in all fields, especially after their establishment of strategic partnership, Binh said.
They have carried out a number of cooperation activities such as high-level delegation exchanges and enforcement of law in combating and preventing crimes, fires and promoting search and rescue efforts, thereby ensuring security and order in the respective countries as well as peace and stability in the region, he added.
The Deputy PM affirmed that Vietnam and Singapore have gained positive outcomes in coordination at regional and international arenas. The Vietnamese Government always supports and creates the best conditions for the two ministries to enhance collaboration in the fields of their responsibilities.
He asked the two sides to step up cooperation and maintain delegation exchanges at all levels, especially among high-ranking officials, to share information on the region and beyond as well as reinforce their political trust.
He hoped the two ministries will increase mutual consultations to reach consensus in addressing issues of mutual concern including the prevention of hi-tech crime, economic crime, drug crime and terrorism.
Pang Kin Keong agreed with Binh’s viewpoints and hoped the two ministries will continue working together in these fields, particularly taking drastic measures to prevent drug crime and enhancing public awareness of the harms of drug abuse.
He called on ASEAN member nations to strengthen solidarity and join hands to address regional and international issues of shared concerns because solidarity is an important factor to help the bloc overcome challenges ahead.
Sri Lankan Parliament Speaker begins Vietnam visit
Speaker Karu Jayasuriya of the Sri Lankan Parliament started his official visit to Vietnam on April 23.
The five-day visit is made at the invitation of National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan.
Vietnam and Sri Lanka established diplomatic relations in 1970. The two countries are targeting 1 billion USD in two-way trade by 2020.
Vietnam, Laos beef up legislative ties
Vice Chairwoman of the Vietnamese National Assembly Tong Thi Phong (left) and Chairwoman of the Lao National Assembly Pany Yathotou
Vietnam persistently treasures and gives the top priority to consolidating and enhancing the traditional friendship, special solidarity and comprehensive cooperation with Laos, said Vice Chairwoman of the Vietnamese National Assembly Tong Thi Phong.
The legislator made the statement at a meeting with Chairwoman of the Lao National Assembly Pany Yathotou on April 23 as part of her official visit to Laos from April 23-25.
Vietnam will do its utmost, together with the Party, State and people of Laos, to preserve and foster the special relationship, which is a valuable asset of the two nations, she said.
Phong briefed the host on outcomes of her talks with Vice Chairman of the Lao National Assembly Sengnoun Sayalat.
For her part, Pany Yathotou said Phong’s visit will significantly contribute to intensifying relations between the two countries in general and their legislative bodies in particular.
Earlier, during their talks, Phong and Sengnoun Sayalat reviewed cooperation between the two legislatures in 2017 and discussed cooperation orientations in time to come.
They exchanged operational experience of each legislative body, while seeking measures to boost coordination at multi-lateral inter-parliamentary forums in the region and the world as well.
The two sides agreed to continue exchanging high-ranking delegations, implementing reached agreements, joining hands in personnel training and sharing experience, especially in institution and law building, and law enforcement monitoring.
They will also closely coordinate with each other to supervise the building of the house of the Lao NA, which is the present of the Party, State and people of Vietnam to Laos.
Later the same day, Phong and her encourage made a field trip to the construction site of the house.
NA Vice Chairman hosts Ukrainian parliamentarians
Vice Chairman of the National Assembly Do Ba Ty (right) received a delegation of the Ukraine-Vietnam Friendship Parliamentarians Group led by its Chairwoman Yurynets Oksana Vasylivna.
Vice Chairman of the National Assembly Do Ba Ty received in Hanoi on April 23 a delegation of the Ukraine-Vietnam Friendship Parliamentarians Group led by its Chairwoman Yurynets Oksana Vasylivna.
The Vice Chairman affirmed Vietnam always attaches importance to strengthening and developing friendship and multi-faceted cooperation with traditional countries, including Ukraine.
He highly valued close coordination and mutual support between the two countries at recent international organisations and forums, including Ukraine’s commitment to supporting Vietnam’s candidacy for a non-permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for 2020-21 tenure.
He asked the parliaments and parliamentarians of both countries to continue maintaining and increasing coordination and supporting each other at multi-lateral inter-parliamentary forums that Vietnam and Ukraine are members.
Vice Chairman Ty proposed the Ukrainian parliament and concerned agencies continue creating favourable conditions for the Vietnamese community in Ukraine to live, study and work stably.
Chairwoman of the Group Vasylivna expressed her wish that both countries’ parliamentarians will promote their role as representatives of regions and localities to boost cooperation connectivity between Ukraine and Vietnam in the field of economy, trade and investment.
Earlier, the Vietnam-Ukraine Friendship Parliamentarians Group led by deputy head of the NA Finance - Budget Committee Dinh Van Nha hold talks with their Ukrainian counterpart.
During the talks, both groups’ leaders expressed their joy with thriving economic cooperation of the two countries, while affirming visits and contacts between the two countries’ parliamentarians are good opportunities for the two legislative bodies to exchange information, experience in making laws and supervising issues of shared concern.
The Ukraine-Vietnam Friendship Parliamentarians Group delegation is on a working visit to Vietnam from April 23-28.
Belgium-Vietnam ties develop fruitfully, says King Philippe
The relationship between Belgium and Vietnam is developing fruitfully, Belgium’s King Philippe told Vietnamese Ambassador to Belgium Vu Anh Quang who came to present his credentials.
The King recalled his visits to Vietnam in 1994, 2003 and 2012, and his meeting with General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Nguyen Phu Trong in Brussels in 2013.
Lauding Vietnam’s high economic growth rate, King Philippe said Vietnam and Belgium could benefit from economic cooperation.
He suggested Vietnam pay attention to Belgian pharmaceutical products which are highly valued in Europe.
Apart from agricultural cooperation, the two countries should join hands in climate change response, noting that Vietnam is one of the countries hardest hit by climate change while Belgium has strength in this field.
For his part, Ambassador Quang said Vietnam and Belgium have substantial potential for cooperation in both the federal and local levels, particularly in agriculture, clean energy and seaport.
The diplomat pledged to do his utmost to contribute to the bilateral ties, helping elevate the relationship to a strategic partnership in a number of economic sectors, for the sake of the two countries’ people.
Vietnam and Belgium set up diplomatic ties in 1973. The two countries have held high-level meetings and visits regularly, while supporting each other at international forums.
Economic and trade cooperation has played a key role in bilateral ties. In 2017, two-way trade reached nearly 2.5 billion USD. Belgium is currently running more than 60 projects worth about 600 million USD in Vietnam.
Chairman of Party’s economic commission hosts int’l energy experts
Scene at the meeting
Chairman of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) Central Committee’s Commission for Economic Affairs Nguyen Van Binh received a delegation of energy experts from the global management consulting firm McKinsey&Co in Hanoi on April 23.
The experts delivered a report on initial outcomes of the company’s research on the Vietnamese energy sector with recommendations for the industry’s sustainable development. The research was part of cooperative activities within the framework of Vietnam Business Forum organised by the commission.
Binh lauded the report’s quality, which would offer an objective view to help Vietnam develop its energy sector.
The official considered the research a reference document for Vietnam in implementing projects that summary outcomes of the 10th Politburo’s Resolution 18-NQ-TW issued in 2007 on the national energy development strategy by 2020 and a vision to 2050, and the 9th Politburo’s Conclusion 26-KL/TW issued in 2003 on planning strategy for Vietnam electricity development.
Details of the report will be announced for comments from other agencies, sectors, institutes, universities and enterprises in the field at a conference by the commission in Hanoi on April 24.
Vice President urges RMIT to expand cooperation with Vietnam
Vice President talks with Vietnamese students at RMIT University
Vice President Dang Thi Ngoc Thinh called on Australia’s Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT University) to expand its links with educational institutions in Vietnam in the spheres of experience sharing, scientific research cooperation and student exchange.
She made the appeal at a meeting with Vice Chancellor Martin Bean and other leaders of RMIT University in Melbourne on April 23 as part of her trip to Australia to attend the 28th Global Summit of Women (GSW).
Vietnam always appreciates educational achievements Australia has recorded and stands ready to create the best possible conditions for Australian educational institutions, including RMIT University, to step up cooperation with Vietnam, she said.
Thinh stressed that education-training is one of the important cooperation pillars between Vietnam and Australia, adding that about 30,000 Vietnamese students are studying in Australia and more than 1,000 Australian students came to Vietnam under the New Colombo Plan.
On this occasion, the official talked with nearly 1,000 Vietnamese students at the university.
She said the establishment of the Vietnam-Australia strategic partnership has created a premise for the two countries to step up their collaboration across fields, including education-training.
The Vice President asked the students to study hard to contribute to the homeland after graduation.
She also lauded Vietnamese students in Victoria state for their activities aiming to preserve Vietnamese traditions, expressing her hope that Vietnamese students in RMIT University in particular and Victoria state in general will become ambassadors of the Vietnam-Australia friendship.
As the third oldest university in Victoria, RMIT University ranks 13th among the top universities of Australia. With branches in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, the university has contributed to personnel training in Vietnam.
On April 23 morning, Vice President Thinh visited a high-tech tomato farm of a Vietnamese investor named Thai Ngoc Nha, who was urged to share his success experience with Vietnamese businesses.
Later the same day, Vice President Thinh met a delegation of the Vietnamese businesses’ association in Australia led by President Tran Ba Phuc. She also attended a launch ceremony of a club of Vietnamese businesswomen in Australia.
Hanoi welcomes Swedish investors
Participants of the meeting (Photo: hanoimoi.com.vn)
Vice Chairman of the Hanoi People’s Committee Ngo Van Quy received a visiting Swedish business delegation on April 23 to discuss cooperation potential across fields.
Stressing the long-time relations between Vietnam and Sweden, Swedish Ambassador to Vietnam Pereric Hogberg said the visit of Swedish firms is among activities in celebration of 50 years since Vietnam and Sweden established diplomatic relations.
Encouraging trade-investment figures recorded between the two countries recently have laid a basis for future cooperation between Sweden and a potential market like Hanoi, added the diplomat.
Welcoming the delegation, Quy said collaborative activities between Vietnam and Sweden as well as Swedish localities and Hanoi are on the rise but still fall short of potentials.
The official called for Swedish investments in local high-tech and eco-friendly projects in building smart city and infrastructure, particularly public transport.
PM asks for increased export for sustainable development
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has affirmed that controlling markets is a way for the Vietnamese economy to take off.
He made the statement during a national conference in Hanoi on April 23 discussing comprehensive measures to boost exports hosted by the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
The PM said successful countries and businesses consider the world as a market to expand their reaches, thereby seeking ways to improve their competitiveness.
The domestic market with a population of nearly 100 million is important, but it is necessary to look at the global market to achieve sustainable growth, he said.
The leader noted that though administrative procedures have improved, they remain below expectation. He expressed his wish to listen to policy feedback of localities and associations to increase added value of exported commodities, thus making it easier for Vietnamese firms to join the global value chain.
He underscored the need to update Vietnamese exporters about market information and legal regulations abroad, opportunities and risks, and orientations to manufacturing and exports.
Leaders of localities and ministers were required to look towards export to contribute to sustainable growth. Based on public feedback, the PM will issue a Directive on measures to boost manufacturing and exports.
Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh said the country’s exports grew by 15.8 percent last year, exclusive of cell phones, computers and electronic spare parts.
Exports still predominantly rely on foreign-invested enterprises, which contribute over 70 percent.
Though tariff has been cut to zero percent, Vietnam’s farm produce such as milk, pork, fruits and vegetables still find it hard to enter foreign markets, he said
The Ministry of Industry and Trade proposed three major measures to sustainably step up exports, including restructuring agriculture, closely controlling supply, and gradually improving the quality of agricultural and aquatic products.
It will also work to maintain stable export markets, improve the efficiency of trade promotion, and cope with trade defence and protectionism that are not in line with international commitments.
At the same time, the ministry will step up institutional reform, refine legal corridor for export activities, accelerate administrative reform, and clear barriers to payment and credit to ensure sufficient capital for manufacturing and export, the minister added.
Endangered macaque to be released to wild after 17 years of captivity in Vietnam
The stump-tailed macaque kept for 17 years in Ben Tre Province, Vietnam, is perched in a cage. Photo: Tuoi Tre
A macaque raised in captivity by a resident for nearly two decades in southern Vietnam has been handed over to local authorities who plan to free it to the natural environment.
VND9.8 trillion to be invested into Tan Son Nhat Airport
Social News 26/4
Deputy PM launches Can Giuoc-Can Gio ferry service
At the inaugural ceremony for the Can Giuoc-Can Gio ferry.
Permanent Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh and leaders of Ho Chi Minh City and Long An province attended an inaugural ceremony for the Can Giuoc-Can Gio ferry in Long An’s Can Giuoc district on April 21.
The Can Giuoc– Can Gio ferry service was constructed at a total cost of VND56 billion (US$2.45 million), it comprises two ferry terminals, two 30-tonne and 60-tonne ferries, and a system of technical infrastructure.
The 178m-long roadway to Tan Tap ferry cost VND5.8 billion (US$254,330) – with VND2 billion being provided from the Long An provincial budget and VND3.8 billion from investors. Meanwhile, the 863m-long roadway to Can Gio ferry cost VND15 billion (US$657,750), with the funds being sourced from Ho Chi Minh City’s budget.
The construction of the Can Giuoc-Can Gio ferry aims to meet the demands of automobiles travelling from National Highway 50 (in the provinces of Long An and Tien Giang) to Can Gio district (HCM City), and vice versa. The ferry will help to shorten the distance of the existing routes by 11-49 kilometres.
Earlier the same day, Deputy PM Truong Hoa Binh attended a ceremony to announce the recognition of ten tamarind trees in the campus of Rach Nui Pagoda in Dong Thanh commune, Can Giuoc district, as Vietnam Heritage Trees.
At the headquarters of the Can Giuoc district police, Politburo member Binh presented 100 scholarships worth VND1 million each to poor students, and ten houses of gratitude worth VND40 million each to needy families in the locality.
Hanoi kicks off construction of Ring Road No. 2
Building site of the Ring Road No. 2
The construction of the Ring Road No. 2 linking Vinh Tuy with Nga Tu So Ward has been kicked off on April 22 in Hanoi.
The road has a total length of 43.6km road, including a 5-km flyover connecting Vinh Tuy- Nga Tu So Ward and 3-km section from Vinh Tuy to the Vong Intersection.
The new 6-lane road will be 53.5 to 63.5 meters wide with an estimated cost of more than VND 9,400 billion (US$408.6 million), including a total capital for site clearance of VND4,000 billion and construction cost of VND3,000 billion.
The project built under BT (Build-Transfer) form is expected to be completed in four years.
Hai Chau book fair attracts children
Children read books at Hai Chau book fair
Hai Chau book fair on the western bank of the Han River in Danang City from April 18 to 22 attracted hundreds of students from the city’s kindergartens and primary schools.
The fair was the first in a series of monthly book shows organized in different districts this year by the Danang City government.
Held in a spacious area near the western end of the Dragon Bridge and also the Cham Museum and APEC Park in Hai Chau District, the book fair featured nearly 200 booths, with a wide range of books in literature, art, science and technology, among others.
The books were published and distributed by Phuong Nam Book, HCMC Book Distribution Corporation (Fahasa), Danang Publishing House, Vietnam Education Publishing House, and others.
The book fair also featured community activities like a marathon for book donation and a ceremony co-held by ICT Danang online magazine and Mmost Vietnam Education Center to give books and scholarships to poor children with outstanding performance.
Various activities to commemorate Hung Kings
The banh chung (square glutinous rice cake) and banh day (round glutinous rice cake) making contests
A series of celebratory activities are taking place in northern Phu Tho Province to commemorate the Hung Kings, the legendary founders of Van Lang – the first known State of Vietnam.
A palanquin procession and ritual offerings were held at the Hung Kings Temple historical site, on April 23 (the eighth day of the third lunar month), to commemorate the Forefather of seven communes, wards in the vicinity of the relic zone, including Chu Hoa, Hung Lo, Kim Duc, Van Phu, Hy Cuong (Viet Tri city), Tien Kien, and Hung Son (Lam Thao district).
On the same day, the organising board of the Hung Kings Temple Festival opened the banh chung (square glutinous rice cake) and banh day (round glutinous rice cake) making contests. The contests drew the participation of 14 teams.
Earlier, a book festival and an artistic photo exhibition were also launched at Van Lang Park’s Square, Viet Tri city. The book festival features 16 booths of 13 units, showcasing publishing houses, book companies, and a book publishing company, with nearly 15,000 book titles. Meanwhile, the exhibition displays more than 100 art photos with the theme ‘Phu Tho province’s landscape and people’.
Traditional boat race livens temple festival
Athletes spare no efforts in the race.
A traditional boat race was organised early morning on April 24, which added to the bustling atmosphere of the ongoing Hùng Kings Temple Festival in northern Phú Thọ province.
Hundreds of local people and tourists gathered on the banks of Lô River to cheer up nearly 200 athletes from six teams, namely Bạch Hạc 1, Bạch Hạc 2, Dữu Lâu, Phượng Lâu, Trưng Vương and Sông Lô.
Bạch Hạc 1 won the race, while Bạch Hạc 2 and Sông Lô secured the second and third positions, respectively.
Traditional boat race is a custom reflecting the artful practice of navy troops under the rule of the Hùng kings.
According to historical documents, during the Trần Dynasty (1225-1400), Trần Nhật Duật (1255-1330), who was the sixth son of King Trần Thái Tông and younger brother of Trần Thánh Tông, was assigned to train navy forces in Bạch Hạc River.
Thirty years later, with his strong defence system in Tam Giang-Bạch Hạc, Duật led his navy troops to historic victories over foreign invaders, including a three-time victory against Yuan Mongol invaders.
A traditional boat race has been held every year since then to remind the Vietnamese people of their heroes.
Nguyễn Thu Hiền, head of Việt Trì City’s Deparment of Culture and Information, said the purpose of continuing the race in the present time was to preserve the traditional sport and promote a sense of patriotism.
“Besides being a key part of Hùng Kings Temple Festival, the race will also be proposed to be recognised as the national intangible cultural heritage,” she said.
On the same day, at the Hùng Kings Temple Relic Site, the festival organisers presented offerings to ancestors sent from Hà Nội and Thái Nguyên cities and Phú Thọ province.
At 8pm on April 24, the Hùng Vương Cup Volleyball Tournament will be kicked off at Việt Trì City Gymnasium.
The festival will conclude on April 25 and is expected to receive eight million visitors in four days.
Viet Nam, South Africa eye expansion of ties
HCM City wants to enhance co-operation with South Africa in trade, investment, education, science and technology, hi-tech agriculture and other spheres, according to its Department of Foreign Affairs.
Speaking at a ceremony held on April 21 to celebrate South Africa’s 24th Freedom Day, Le Quang Long, the department’s director, said: “With open policies, HCM City always welcomes and facilitates foreign enterprises, including those from South Africa, to do business.”
The South African ambassador to Viet Nam, Mpetjane Kgaogelo Lekgoro, said: “In recent years we have enjoyed high-level visits from both sides. Our trade grew from just over US$700 million in 2012 to over $1.5 billion in 2017.
“The tourism footprint is continuing to grow between the two countries as both South Africans and Vietnamese begin to discover one another’s traditional, cultural and historical heritage.”
Long said the two sides have expressed determination to increase trade to $2 billion a year soon.
At the ceremony, South Africa’s honorary consul in HCM City, Do Thi Kim Lien, donated over VND5 billion ($219,300) to the provinces and cities of Hau Giang, Tay Ninh, Ben Tre, Hoa Binh, Dien Bien, HCM City, and Ha Noi for building houses for poor people and social welfare beneficiaries and a kindergarten and a cultural house, providing scholarships to disadvantaged children and supporting underprivileged people.
This year also marks the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
Vietnamese Talent Awards 2018 to encourage digital technology
The annual Vietnamese Talent Awards 2018 has just been launched with a focus on digital technology.
Editor-in-chief of Dantri/Dtinews Newspaper speaks at the launching ceremony of the Vietnamese Talent Awards 2018 on April 23.
The awards will honour outstanding information and technology (IT) products which have led to a successful digital transformation and have benefited different areas in people’s lives, with a priority on products developed by start-ups businesses.
The IT category will be divided into three groups given to promising digital products, IT products from start-ups, and mobile connectivity products.
First, second, and third prizes worth VND200 million (USD8,820), VND100 million, and VND50 million will be presented to the winners of each group.
In addition to the main prizes for IT products, the organising board will also honour talented individuals and organisation in other fields, including science and technology, medicine, and the environment, with top prize in each category worth VND200 million.
Meanwhile, the talent incentive category encourages talents who have overcome difficulties and promoted the spirit of self-study in order to successfully implement projects that have benefited their residential communities and the surrounding areas.
The Vietnamese Talent Awards were launched in 2005 by the Vietnam Association of Promoting Education in coordination with Vietnam Post and Telecommunications, Vietnam Television and Dan Tri Online Newspaper.
Water purification systems to be built in Quang Nam schools
Former President Truong Tan Sang during the visit (Source: Internet)
Water purification systems up to the quality standards of Pasteur Institute in Ho Chi Minh City will be built as gifts to two elementary schools in Nui Thanh district, the central province of Quang Nam.
The decision was made during a fact-finding trip by former President Truong Tan Sang and a working delegation of the Ho Chi Minh City Sponsoring Association for Poor Patients and philanthropists on April 23.
The model will be piloted at Le Quy Don elementary school in Tam Hiep commune and Ngo Quyen elementary school in Tam Nghia commune. If effective, it will be spread to other schools to improve health of pupils and teachers.
At current, pupils and teachers at the two schools mostly use well water and bottled drinking water.
Per academic year, each pupil drinks nearly nine large bottles with a capacity of 20 litres each, costing 90,000 VND.
According to the Nui Thanh district Office of Education and Training, there are around 25,000 pupils in 64 schools, from kindergarten to secondary level, in the locality. The number of schools with standard water purification systems accounts for nearly 10 percent.
On the occasion, the association and philanthropists donated 800 million VND (35,500 USD) to the construction of Vang Anh kindergarten in Tam Hiep commune, Nui Thanh district.
Cuban hero’s paintings, poems introduced in Hanoi
Cuban Hero Antonio Guerrero Rodriguez addresses the event (Source: dangcongsan.vn)
A painting exhibition was held in Hanoi on April 24 to introduce the Cuban identity through butterflies’ image and a poem collection by Cuban Hero Antonio Guerrero Rodriguez to Vietnamese people.
The event drew Cuban Ambassador to Vietnam Lianys Torres Rivera, deputy head of the Communist Party of Vietnam’s Central Committee for Commission for External Relations Nguyen Tuan Phong, representatives from the embassies of some Latin American countries, and the Vietnam-Cuba Friendship Association, and Cuban alumni.
According to Vice President of the Vietnam-Cambodia Friendship Association Nguyen Duy Cuong, the event aims to introduce paintings and poems of Cuban authors to Vietnamese people, thus increasing Vietnamese people’s understanding of the land, culture and people of Cuba as well as the friendship and solidarity between the two countries.
Cuong said that Antonio Guerrero Rodriguez is one of the five anti-terrorism heroes of Cuba. In the jail, he composed poems and painted. He has published five collections of poems, many of which were translated into many languages, including the “The truth names me” collection.
He has also organised 13 painting exhibitions with various themes, including the “Cuban identity though butterflies’ image” which features 12 paintings of some typical butterflies of Cuba.
Addressing the event, Antonio Guerrero Rodriguez said that thanks to the Vietnam-Cuba friendship and solidarity founded by Presidents Ho Chi Minh and Fidel Castro, he has a chance to introduce his art works in Vietnam.
He said that painting butterflies reminds him of his childhood and butterflies he saw on Santa Maria beach, which makes he feel free and full of love for his country and people. Butterflies have also inspired many artists of Cuba, he added.
Vietnam studies Germany’s experience on 4.0 industrial revolution
At the workshop
Germany’s experience in implementing the 4th Industrial Revolution was shared with Vietnam during a workshop held by the Vietnamese Embassy in German on April 23.
The event was held in the framework of the Embassy Day Asia-Pacific, which is part of activities within the Asia Pacific Week in Berlin (APW) 2018 opened in Berlin on the same day.
Themed “Startups in the context of the 4th Industrial Revolution: Experience from Germany and lessons for Vietnam”, the workshop drew many experts, scholars, and representatives from Germany’s enterprises, who gave valuable suggestion and advices for Vietnam on how to gain successes in the new field.
Participants to APW 2018 focused their discussion on digitalisation, which is an overwhelming trend in the 21st century.
Initiated in 1997 and annually held from 2015, APW is a forum for countries in Asia Pacific and Germany to discuss important topics, from economy, politics, to science research, and socio-culture.
Digitalization, with the focus being the 4th Industrial Revolution, is impacting on and spreading to all areas of life. In 2017, as the chair of the group of 20 developing nations (G20), Germany had made digitisation a focus in the agenda of the group.
Digitalization creates great opportunities, but it also comes with many challenges.
Through APW 2018, Germany wants to discuss the issue with its partners in Asia-Pacific, which is considered the most dynamic development area in the world, thus seeking better cooperation opportunities among parties in this new field.
Quang Binh calls for Cuba’s continued support in health care
Cuban Ambassador to Vietnam Lianys Torres Rivera visits patients at Vietnam-Cuba Friendship Hospital in Dong Hoi city.
Chairman of the People’s Committee of central Quang Binh province Nguyen Huu Hoai called on Cuba to continue support for the locality in health care at a reception for Cuban Ambassador Lianys Torres Rivera on April 25.
The official briefed Ambassador Lianys on Quang Binh’s potential and strength in socio-economic development, stressing that with potential in caves and marine tourism, the province will be an ideal destination for Cuban tourists.
He recalled the valuable sentiments of late Cuban President Fidel Castro towards Quang Binh people, highlighting the building of the Vietnam-Cuba Friendship Hospital in Dong Hoi city following the leader visit to the newly-liberated areas of Quang Binh and Vinh Linh in 1973.
At the meeting, Ambassador Lianys informed her host that the Cuban Ministry of Public Health decided to send experts to work at the hospital, and continue to support and transfer technologies to the hospital.
On this occasion, the diplomat presented gifts to a number of patients at the hospital.
Vietnam works towards sustainable, responsible fisheries
April 23, 2018 marked the deadline of the six-month period given to Vietnam to improve performance in preventing illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing under the European Commission (EC)’s yellow card warning.
During the period, the Government and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) along with the business community and parties involved in the seafood production chain have taken synchronous measures from perfecting the legal framework, tightening the management over fishing vessels, increasing punishments on illegal fishing, and improving the awareness of fishermen and businesses of IUU fishing.
All these activities are aimed at regaining the EC’s green card and developing sustainable and responsible fisheries, said Nguyen Quang Hung, deputy head of the MARD’s Directorate of Fisheries, in an interview granted to the Vietnam News Agency.
According to the official, the EC’s yellow card has affected the export of Vietnamese seafood. Examinations on material origin were conducted on all consignments to the EU, which caused a loss of around 7,000 EUR per container.
The warning has had negative impact on the prestige of the Vietnamese fishery sector as Europe is one of the largest importers of Vietnamese seafood, he added.
Therefore, Vietnam has taken national efforts to have the yellow card removed, which brought about positive outcomes.
Hung noted that there is only one case of illegal fishing by Vietnamese fishermen in island states in the Pacific, while 11 other cases happened in bordering waters that are yet to be delimited between Vietnam and other countries.
The official highlighted the actions taken by the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers, which has called on enterprises not to purchase products exploited illegally, and issued a white book naming violated fishing vessels so that processors and exporters do not buy these vessels’ products.
Hung continued by saying that the warning from the European Union creates pressure for Vietnam to improve its fishery sector.
All the nine recommendations made by the EC are significant to the sector, he said, adding that the recommendations were put into the Law on Fisheries which will become effective in January 2019.
The Prime Minister also signed Decision No.78 approving a national action plan on preventing, reducing and eliminating IUU from now to 2025.
For long-term measures, Hung stressed the need to tighten management over fishing vessels, especially those operating offshore, review the development plan for the domestic fishing fleet in alignment with the seafood reserves, and intensify the enforcement of seafood origin and fishing diary declarations in line with regional and international regulations.
In September 2017, the European Commission issued a yellow card warning Vietnam for failing to progress in fighting IUU fishing.
After April 23, the EU will assess Vietnam’s efforts to fight IUU fishing. The "yellow card" is followed by a "green card" if the problem is resolved or a "red card" if it isn’t. A “red card” can lead to a trade ban on fishery products.
Hoa Lu Festival on way in Ninh Binh
The traditional Hoa Lu Festival will take place from April 24 to 27 in Hoa Lu, Vietnam’s first capital, in the northern province of Ninh Binh.
This year’s festival marks the 1050th anniversary of Emperor Dinh Tien Hoang naming the country Dai Co Viet, in 968AD; the first feudal state with central power. There will be a fireworks display in celebration.
Together with familiar ceremonies, the 2018 festival also includes cultural exchanges between former Vietnamese capitals and other provinces as well as with Asan city in South Korea and Oudomxay province in Laos.
There will also be a photo exhibition on the beauty of the local people and landscapes, a music and dance program, various temple festivals, and folk games.
A workshop will also be held on the role of the Dai Co Viet Empire in Vietnam’s history.
For the first time, Ninh Binh province will also organize a tourism week to promote the Trang An Scenic Landscape Complex, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
After Dinh Bo Linh defeated 12 warlords he ascended the throne in 968 and named the country Dai Co Viet, meaning A Great Viet. Hoa Lu, the homeland of Dinh Bo Linh, was selected as the capital and existed as such for 41 years (968-1009), including 12 years of the Dinh Dynasty and 29 years of the Le Dynasty. In 1010, Emperor Ly Thai To moved the capital from Hoa Lu to Thang Long, today’s Hanoi.
Hoa Lu Ancient Citadel has become a popular destination for tourists with a host of historical and cultural attractions, such as palaces built by emperors and temples worshiping Dinh Bo Linh and other emperors and Gods within the beliefs of local people.
The citadel retains the ancient fortress built by the Dinh Dynasty more than 1,000 years ago. The imperial palace is three meters underground. The perimeter is built based on natural advantages: the nearby mountains provide a good background, the deep valley act as a “basement”, and the rivers supplied water and were a hazard for any enemy to cross. Tourists can also see old items used by the royal family in ancient times.
The Hoa Lu Festival (also known as the Truong Yen festival) last for three days, from the 10th day of the third lunar month.
The festival includes two parts: worshiping with a water procession at the Truong Yen water station on the Hoang Long River and worshipping at the two temples of Emperor Dinh and Emperor Le. Entertainment includes folk music, a Chinese Han script writing competition, chess, dragon dances, a beauty contest for Hoa Lu women, and folk games. It brings back memories of olden times and helps young people get to know more about the traditions of their ancestors.
Tân wins stage, still leads cycling tournament
Nguyễn Thành Tâm celebrates at the finish line. - Photo of the organisers
Nguyễn Thành Tâm won the 25th stage, his seventh win, of the HCM City Television Cycling Tournament yesterday.
The cyclist of Gạo Hạt Ngọc Trời An Giang completed the 35km tour around Cần Thơ City with a time of 49.21min.
He was followed by green jersey holder Lê Nguyệt Minh of Minh Giang-HCM City and veteran Mai Nguyễn Hưng of VUS-HCM City.
With the win, Tâm stays the tournament leader with a total time of 63:33.29.
The second place goes to Ali Khademi of Bảo Vệ Thực Vật An Giang while Huỳnh Thanh Tùng of the Military Zone 7 is third.
VUS-HCM City are on top of the team ranking. Gạo Hạt Ngọc Trời An Giang and Domesco Đồng Tháp are second and third, respectively.
The next stage will be from Cần Thơ to Cà Mau City on 167km.
Thirteen fishermen rescued from distress at sea off Nghe An
The rescued fishermen were then brought to Nghi Son seaport at 10.30pm on April 23 before being rushed to hospital.
A group of thirteen fishermen on board the fishing vessel coded NA 90773 TS were rescued, and their boat towed to safety, after they had drifted into distress on rough seas off the coast of Nghe An province on April 23.
According to the Vietnam Maritime Search and Rescue Coordination Centre (Vietnam MRCC), the fishing boat is owned by Pham Van Dung from Quynh Long commune, Quynh Luu district, Nghe An province.
The boat’s engine had broken down approximately 90 nautical miles to the north east of the central province of Nghe An. The weather conditions were dangerous with strong winds and rough seas.
The centre immediately sent its rescue ship SAR 411 to the location to undertake the rescue mission.
The rescued fishermen were then brought to Nghi Son seaport at 10.30pm on March 23 before being rushed to hospital.
100 students to get scholarships at Liberation Day event
An art performance titled ‘Vietnamese youth – the story of peace’ will be held on the Nguyen Hue pedestrian street in Ho Chi Minh City on April 21 to mark the 43rd anniversary of Liberation Day (April 30).
The program will feature many famous singers such as Cam Van, Hong Nhung, Doan Trang, Phuong Linh, Uyen Linh, Dong Nhi, Vu Cat Tuong, Hoang Yen Chibi, Phuong Ly, and Ha Anh Tuan.
Through five times held across HCM City, Hanoi, Japan’s Tokyo, and Truong Son National Martyrs' Cemetery in Quang Tri, the ‘Vietnamese youth – the story of peace’ program has become a communal music brand which symbolizes the peace loving nature of young people, especially Vietnamese students and youth.
On the occasion, the program will present 100 scholarships worth VND1 billion to poor students with excellent academic records in HCM City and southeastern provinces.
To be in with a chance of receiving the scholarship, students must compose a 1,500 word letter describing their living conditions, their efforts to succeed and aspirations for the future, and should also focus on their desire for peace and the role and responsibility of the country’s youth in national development.
The program has so far granted 154 scholarships worth VND1.54 billion to Vietnamese students, including 84 scholarships for the children of soldiers, policemen, coastguards, families of social policy beneficiaries, and Truong Son veterans.
The Nam Hai Hoi An introduces Hue specialties’ recipes
Four Seasons Resort The Nam Hai Hoi An’s cooking academy shows how to cook some Hue specialties such as goi tien vua (dragon fruit leaf salad), nem lui (Hue-style lemongrass skewers), goi Cung dinh (Imperial salad), banh xeo (Vietnamese crepes) and bun bo Hue (Hue-style beef noodle soup) in the Festival Hue 2018.
For example, with goi tien vua that was used to serve kings, you need 30 grams of fried tofu, 150 grams of dragon fruit leaves, 20 grams of salad, 6 grams of mint, 4 grams of basil, 2 grams of coriander, 25 grams of thinly sliced spring onion, 2 grams of crushed peanut, two spoons of soy sauce, 10 grams of sugar, 10 grams of lemon juice, 5 grams of chopped red chili and 5 grams of chopped garlic.
You need three steps to make the dish: Cut the dragon fruit leaves into 5-7 centimeter slices and slice fried tofu; combine the leaves, tofu, carrots, spring onions in a bowl and mix with soy sauce, sugar, garlic and lemon juice; and arrange on a plate and garnish with fresh herbs, chili and peanuts.
The Nam Hai cooking academy is offering the daily cooking class with different courses for adults. Classes for children from five to 12 are free.
Japan’s Peace Boat docks at Cai Lan port
The Peace Boat of Japan has docked at Cai Lan Port in the northeastern province of Quang Ninh, carrying nearly 1,000 crewmembers and tourists from Japan, Germany, the US, the UK, Singapore, and Taiwan (China).
Visitors on board the Peace Boat will have two days to visit the many beautiful landscapes of the province before continuing on its 97th voyage around the world.
A Vietnamese representative was appointed to board the vessel and introduce passengers to the land, people, and culture of the country.
Over the course of its voyage, the Peace Boat calls on all nations around the world to cut their spending on weapons and to raise funds for disadvantaged people.
Previously, the Peace Boat has made several visits to Da Nang and Vung Tau and joined a parade in support of Vietnamese Agent Orange/Dioxin victims.
Quang Nam seized 2 tonnes smuggled timber
The smuggled rose wood.
The Market Management Department of the central province of Quang Nam yesterday seized two tonnes of rosewood (Dalbergia cochinchinensis) without clear origin from a truck.
The department stopped the truck when it was travelling in Nguyen Hoang Street in the province’s Tam Ky City.
Hoang Van Tung, 36, the truck driver, failed to show legal documents to prove the origin of the timber to the department. He also admitted that he was on the way to transport the timber from HCM City to Hanoi for sale.
Local police co-operated with the local forest management department to further investigate the case.
The rosewood tree is listed as an endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and is prohibited from being exploited, traded or transported in Viet Nam.
Indie band launches music movie
Cá Hồi Hoang toured Hà Nội, Huế, Đà Nẵng and HCM City last year. — Photo Vnplus
After releasing the music video Có Thể (Possible) in February, HCM City indie band Cá Hồi Hoang continues the run with Hết Mực (Run Out of Ink) early this month, as they make plans for a full-length music movie project later this year.
The video was co-made by Nguyễn Viết Thành and Tuấn Anh. Thành is a multinstrumentalist and the band’s leading vocalist, while Tuấn Anh is cameraman with experience shooting music videos. Despite its catchy, strong and fast rhythm, the song is still fairly experimental.
"We wanted to question ourselves and our audiences about what we would do when we run out of ink—buying a new pen or buying ink," said Thành.
"Most people are just concerned about the result, not the process. Sometime we have limited time and we are influenced by different ways of thinking to experiment with music. That is why I wrote the song." He focuses on harmonising his music and lyrics.
Cá Hồi Hoang is one of HCM City’s most popular indie bands. It was founded in 2013 by Thành and Nguyễn Thanh Minh. After releasing their debut album Chapter II in 2014, Thành went to Czech Republic for further music study.
In 2015, the band was reunited with Thành’s return and recruited a third member, bass guitarist Bùi Khắc Đạt. The band had its first performing tour in 2016 with The Livin’ Tour through Hà Nội, HCM City, Đà Lạt and Cần Thơ. Their second album Giấc Mơ Giấy (Paper Dream) was released in July of the same year.
Last year saw a drastic rise in the popularity of the country’s indie bands, including Cá Hồi Hoang. About 400 of the 1,000 copies of the third album Gấp (Hurry) were sold during the Gap Tour 2017 in Hà Nội, Huế, Đà Nẵng and HCM City.
When the album’s name is written in without Vietnamese diacritics, as “Gap”, its English meaning is space-the space in which Cá Hồi Hoang has become more mature and grappled more seriously with the choices between life, career and passion for music.
"The originality and the narration of Cá Hồi Hoang have made impression to me," said musician Thanh Bùi, who made the top eight in the 2008 Australian Idol competition and now runs the music school Soul Academy in HCM City.
Gap is also the name the band has chosen for its music movie project which will be launched this June. The movie will combine some songs from Gấp album and some others by the band members’ friends, according to the band manager Nguyễn Thanh Phước.
"The movie script is written by Thành telling a story about a musician," said Phước. "The story will focus on the psychological development of the musician. We want to make an arthouse movie not for commercial purposes. We hope to screen the movie at arthouse movie cinemas in Hà Nội and HCM City."
Vietnamese, Lao provinces enhance medical cooperation
A patient has his eyes checked (Illustrative photo: VNA)
The Hue Central Hospital has attached much importance to its cooperation with the health sector of Lao border provinces, said vice director of the hospital Hoang Thi Lan Huong.
As many as 781 Lao patients received treatment at the Hue Central Hospital’s International Medical Centre from the start of 2018, she said.
The cooperation saw remarkable progress after a visit by the hospital’s leaders to the Lao provinces of Salavan, Sekong, Savannakhet, Champasak and Attapu in April 2017.
The sides signed agreements in various fields such as science and technology transfer, medical diagnosis, remote medical training and health checks-up and treatment.
In accordance with the agreements, Lao patients from those provinces who have introduction letters from local health departments will receive the same treatment and hospital fees with Vietnamese patients.
Xongdet Samay, a 13-year-old patient from Savannakhet province, was admitted to the centre when he was paralysed and puffed with oedema while losing a huge amount of blood. After two years of treatment in Laos and Thailand, he was brought to the Hue Central Hospital. His health has currently been stable and he could walk normally.
More than 20 Lao medical workers are receiving free training at the hospital, as well as free accommodation during their stay in the province.
In addition, the Hue Central Hospital have handed over cardiovascular intervention and endoscopy techniques to health workers of the Lao provinces and is expected to transfer obstetrical techniques in the coming time.
BUSINESS IN BRIEF 26/4
Vietnamese firms attend FHA show in Singapore
Vietnamese enterprises operating in food and hospitality are attending the trade show, Food and Hotel Asia (FHA) 2018, in Singapore. The event will conclude on April 27.
This is the first time Vietnamese firms have participated in Asia’s largest exhibition in the food and hospitality sector. There are 14 Vietnamese enterprises featuring products in the Viet Nam Food Pavilion, which covers an area of 200sq.m.
Through its 40 years of development, FHA has grown in tandem with Asia’s food and hospitality industry and has earned itself the reputation of being the most comprehensive premier international food and hospitality trade show in the region.
This year’s event is expected to attract over 4,000 businesses from more than 70 countries worldwide.
Some 50,000 enterprises have registered to visit the show and sign contracts, according to the organising board.
Tran Thu Quynh, trade counsellor at the Vietnamese Embassy in Singapore, said together with several businesses which had export activities and commercial presence abroad, such as TH True Milk, Co May and Trung Nguyen Coffee, the trade office prioritised introducing small- and medium-sized start-ups operaring in intensive agricultural processing field, especially in coffee, cocoa, cashew nut, fruits, rice and seafood.
The office will help connect Vietnamese enterprises with others through the Vietnam Food Pavilion, Quynh said.
Ho Si Bao, director of Amazon Vietnam Food Company, said the trade show offered a good opportunity for participating companies to introduce their products and learn about international tastes to build an appropriate marketing strategy to increase their exports.
This year, the company plans to increase its capacity to produce cocoa and sochola to five tonnes per month to meet local demand and exports.
Việt Nam rice exports face uncertain Q1
Viet Nam’s rice exports faced an unpredictable first quarter this year, increasing in January, declining in February and recovering in March, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
An estimated 524,000 tonnes of rice were exported in January, with a total value of $249 million, reported the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, representing a 49 per cent rise in volume and 51.3 per cent in value compared to December 2017. After declines in February, exports rose steeply in March, jumping 93.9 per cent in volume and 100 per cent in value to US$338.44 million month-on-month. The rice export price also surged in March by 3.3 per cent to $513.7 per tonne.
The country’s overall rice exports in the first quarter of this year increased by 15.5 per cent compared to the same period in 2017. The average rice export price in the first quarter of the current year rose by 14.2 per cent year-on-year to $501 per tonne, reported cafef.vn.
The rice export price was higher against most export markets during the same period last year, with the highest price reaching $834.5 per tonne for rice exported to Chile, a year-on-year increase of 114 per cent. However, rice exports to this market fell sharply by 95 per cent in volume and 90 per cent in year-on-year value.
China has remained the largest export market for Vietnamese rice, accounting for 27.7 per cent of total volume during the first quarter of the current year.
During the first quarter of 2018, 40 per cent of Viet Nam’s major rice export markets saw a surge in terms of both volume and value, while 60 per cent saw a reduction in rice exports.
Viet Nam’s rice exports to Bangladesh increased 89 times in volume and 59 times in value. A similar but smaller-scale trend occurred in rice exports to Turkey, Iraq, Malaysia and France.
However, rice exports to markets such as Argentina, Chile, Ukraine, Angola, Singapore, South Africa and the Netherlands plunged between 60 to 95 per cent in both volume and turnover over the same period last year.
According to experts, Viet Nam will have greater opportunities when the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) comes into effect, helping rice exporters increase exports to countries that joined the agreement and demand high quality and food safety standards, such as Japan, Australia and New Zealand.
Viet Nam’s structure for exporting rice products has shifted to reducing middle and lower quality rice products while increasing high quality rice products annually.
As a result, from the end of 2017 to the current period, Viet Nam’s rice export prices have increased to $50 to $100 per tonne against its competitors, such as Thailand, Pakistan and India.
TTC Sugar purchasing treasury shares
The Thanh Thanh Cong - Bien Hoa JSC (TTC Sugar, stock code: SBT) began to purchase shares on April 18 to increase its treasury share (TS) holding and capital surplus, via order matching at market prices. It expects to continue to do so until May 17.
The number of shares projected to be bought is 83,552,800, or 15 per cent of the total issued. The target purchase price is expected to be under VND30,000 ($1.30) per share and the total value of TS being purchased will not exceed VND2.506 trillion ($110 million). MB Securities Company has been appointed as the agent to conduct the transactions.
The move also reflects its management’s commitment to complying with a resolution approved by the annual general meeting in terms of applying its operational strategy. Management is also optimistic about the development, growth scenario, and future potential of the company.
SBT’s share has recently traded under its real value. The company has expressed confidence in positive business performance in 2017-2018 and plans to utilize free cash flows to invest in profitable investments in the future.
In a report released in the first quarter of 2018, FPT Securities (FPTS) recommended purchasing SBT shares at VND30,000 ($1.30) per share, based on analysis of growth motivation, profitability, management assessments, and stock evaluation.
After 23 years of operations, SBT has upgraded its total capacity from 8,000 tons of sugarcane to 48,600 tons per day, making it the leader in Vietnam’s sugarcane industry. It is making significant changes in production capacity and increasing efficiency by mechanization as well as the capacity of raw sugar refining.
The company is also expanding in both domestic and foreign markets. Its gross profit margin is expected to improve annually, to 17 per cent by 2020, while its ROE is to reach 15 per cent in 2021 after M&As. Pre-tax profit from 2018 to 2022 will increase at 30 per cent per annum. FPTS claims that SBT is in a period of both revenue and profit growth.
The company has announced plans to 2020, including selling 1.1 million tons of sugar, increasing export volumes, and growing the market share in both the institutional and individual segments. After the recent merger, the company’s production and business operations have been growing and expanding, gaining economies of scale and enhancing value chains.
The company possesses an in-depth and strategic orientation and has changed its organizational model in accordance with international management standards. It is currently being consulted and advised by the Big 4 global audit companies and the IFC on corporate governance and also strengthening its cooperation with international institutional investors in the industry.
SBT’s market capitalization on April 17 stood at $458 million, accounting for 0.3 per cent of total market capitalization. It is the leader in Vietnam’s sugar industry, accounting for approximately 42 per cent of the sugarcane industry’s market capitalization and is 16 times larger than the second-largest company in the industry.
Sao Do breaks through with brand power
From a small business with charter capital of approximately VND6.8 billion ($298,480) in 2002, Sao Do has become a conglomerate and listed among the “trillion dong” businesses in Vietnam. The point that piques many people’s curiosity is how Sao Do has achieved such spectacular success during its 16 years.
Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Sao Do Investment Group, Mr. Tran Van Thang, said that one of the most important things that helped Sao Do achieve rapid growth is adopting the right business strategy and having the ability to seize an opportunity. For a private enterprise like Sao Do, the difficulties following establishment and in the early stages of development were by no means small. If the company was unable to resolve problems and identity the most appropriate path towards development, the possibility of failure was very real.
Now with a multi-sector business focus, in its early stages Sao Do was almost exclusively involved in real estate. It then used its position and profile in the sector to move into other associated business fields. This approach also contributed to limiting the dispersion of investment capital, as all activities are conducted within a single project site.
After its establishment, Sao Do embarked on investment in and the construction of two urban area projects: Sao Do 1 and Anh Dung 2. Both were completed quickly and soon became model projects in the northern port city of Hai Phong, featuring all the key items found in the real estate industry: houses, villas, public works, trees, sports areas, and shopping centers. Seventy security cameras were installed, and each urban area had its own security and sanitation team.
So it was unsurprising that the two projects won a Gold Medal for infrastructure planning at an international exhibition held in Hai Phong in 2004 as well as a Gold Medal for beautiful architecture.
The early success of the young business created momentum for Sao Do on its path towards development. Having gained the trust of customers and partners, it began to be involved in a series of large projects, expanding its scope of operations and business fields.
Sao Do is now a multi-sectoral private conglomerate with four subsidiaries: the Sao Do Petrol JSC (Sao Do Petrol), the Sao Do Construction JSC (Sao Do Construction), the Sao Do Materials Co. (Sao Do Materials), and the Hai Phong Port JSC. Sao Do also has holdings in companies such as the Nam Dinh Vu Port Company, the Nam Dinh Vu Power Company, and the Nam Viet Environment Treatment Company.
In 2017, the Sao Do Group recorded total production value of over VND1.3 trillion ($57.06 million). Revenue reached over VND724 billion ($31.7 million) and profit over VND70 billion ($3.07 million), while more than VND75 billion ($3.2 million) went to State coffers.
“Outstanding success like this doesn’t come easily,” said Mr. Nguyen Thanh Phuong, General Director of the Sao Do Group. Vietnam’s market economy and ongoing integration means local enterprises will probably face relatively tougher challenges in the years to come.
Interestingly, the key to success for the company is its brand. At its inception, Sao Do determined that its brand development strategy, with branding at the core, was the foundation for promoting the development of the business.
Mr. Phuong believes that its brand is not a tangible asset. A brand grows from prestige, product and construction quality, investment efficiency, and customer satisfaction. To achieve all these, every job must be done well.
In recent years, Sao Do has worked hard on specific tasks such as studying and evaluating scientific projects, investing in designs suitable to each project, surveying and offering reasonable quotes, and honing and improving the skills of its sales staff to advise and attract customers.
“When it comes to building or participating in major projects such as the Hanoi - Hai Phong Highway (material supply) and the Nam Dinh Vu Industrial Park and Nam Dinh Vu Port, customers fully support the company,” he said. “Even in the construction phase of the Nam Dinh Vu Industrial Park, Sao Do attracted businesses to lease out more than 33 ha. I think the success Sao Do has found will continue to benefit from the company’s development strategy and from the brand values Sao Do’s employees have created.”
VND20 trillion in credits for HCMC’s 2018 market stabilization
Twelve credit institutions participating in the market stabilization program this year have agreed to set aside VND19.65 trillion to make low-interest loans for enterprises.
The Government news website quoted Nguyen Duc Lenh from the central bank’s HCMC branch as saying that the program has attracted three more credit institutions to participate. Total credits registered by the 12 lenders are VND1.48 trillion higher than last year.
Last year’s short-term interest rates for the program ranged from 5.5% to 7% per year.
Regarding development orientations of the 2018 program, Nguyen Huynh Trang, deputy director of the HCMC Department of Industry and Trade, said HCMC will continue to expand the program.
HCMC plans to coordinate with other localities to support enterprises in joining connectivity programs monthly as well as help enterprises expand their sales networks.
Goods supplies in this year’s program, including the 2019 Lunar New Year holiday period, are expected to satisfy 25-40% of market needs and pick up 15-35% from last year’s results, Trang said.
According to the city’s trade department, enterprises participating in the market stabilization programs have always prepared bountiful goods supplies and offers prices which are 5-10% lower than market levels.
The number of selling points of the market stabilization program in HCMC is now 10,602, making it easy for city residents, particularly those working at export processing zones and industrial parks, to buy quality products at reasonable prices.
Taxi operators want ride-hailing cabs to change number plate color
The taxi associations of Hanoi, Danang, and HCMC have proposed the Ministry of Public Security issue yellow number plates for ride-hailing cabs like those of Grab to make them easily recognizable, instead of white plates for private cars.
Leaders of the associations requested that the number plates of vehicles of nine seats or fewer used for ride-hailing services should be in yellow and the letters and numbers in black, news site Dan Tri reports.
The color change, if approved, should be simplified and free, and the numbers should remain unchanged, according to the associations. When a vehicle is no longer used for transport service, the plate color would return to its original state.
Recently, the number of vehicles for ride-hailing services has soared fast, at nearly 100,000 units. For now, they are currently in the pilot period and there is no way to identify them, said a source from the associations.
Consequently, too many problems have been arising like traffic jams, unfair competition with traditional taxis and budget losses. Moreover, traffic cops have trouble regulating traffic and tackling violations.
Earlier, traditional taxi operators had been constantly objecting to ride-hailing companies like Uber and Grab as the latter recognized as private vehicles was given more priority than the former seen as transport service. As a result, the traditional taxi firms including Vinasun reported a sharp decrease in incomes of drivers.
In addition, they had suggested authorities improve the transparency of operations from companies like Uber and Grab, so that all taxi operators could compete with each other on a level playing field and help minimize traffic jams. They had proposed that Uber and Grab vehicles must be self-equipped with banners as identity signs like traditional taxi cabs.
HCMC taxman asks Grab to pay Uber transfer tax
Following Grab’s acquisition of Uber’s Southeast Asian business, the HCMC Tax Department has ordered GrabTaxi Co Ltd to file and pay tax on the Uber transfer in line with the Law on Tax Management and relevant regulations.
Tuoi Tre Online reports that Grab has been told to submit the contract and other related documents on the transfer of Uber business and market share in Vietnam to Grab no later than mid-April.
According to the HCMC Tax Department, the transfer of Uber is subject to corporate income tax in Vietnam.
Moreover, Government’s Decree 218 stipulates that foreign firms’ revenues stemming from service supply and capital contribution in Vietnam will be subject to tax.
Moreover, organizations and individuals receiving capital from foreign firms must file and pay the corporate income tax on behalf of the foreign firms as stated in Circular 156.
The HCMC Tax Department also reminded Grab of Uber’s tax arrears of VND53.3 billion (US$2.3 million).
On April 5, Grab affirmed it would not pay the tax arrears that Uber owes to the HCMC Tax Department as Uber had committed to fulfilling its tax obligations in Vietnam.
Ministry explains delay in announcing RON 95 petrol base price
The Ministry of Industry and Trade has given an explanation for its delay to publicize the RON 95 gasoline base price said to be a factor behind fuel traders’ price manipulation, according to Nguoi Lao Dong newspaper.
After a meeting of the Ministries of Industry and Trade and Finance on March 28, the Ministry of Industry and Trade sent a report on the calculation of base prices of fuels to Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue, head of the steering committee for price management. The report was expected to set the base price for this high-quality fuel.
However, on April 11, the ministry was asked to continue consulting relevant agencies about the base prices of fuels. Therefore, the ministry is consulting relevant agencies and will submit results to the Prime Minister for consideration and approval soon.
Deputy Prime Minister Hue earlier assigned the ministry to coordinate with the Ministry of Finance and relevant agencies to closely monitor sales of E5 bio-fuel and RON 95 gasoline in the first quarter of this year. After that, they will work together to calculate the base prices of fuels in accordance with market conditions and prevailing regulations.
Earlier this year, Deputy PM Hue directed the ministry to publicize the RON 95 gasoline base price right after the first quarter of the year following complaints by consumers over the high price of RON95.
However, the ministry has not set the base price as a regulatory frame. Instead, at the latest price adjustment period, the ministry only advised fuel traders not to raise the selling price of RON 95 by more than VND526 per liter.
Da Lat flower growers need help: experts
Around 300 million flowers from Da Lat are exported to markets such as Japan, South Korea and China every year, but experts say that more active networks among growers and buyers could help the industry reach its full potential.
Da Lat has 9,000 hectares devoted to growing flowers, with many farmers using glasshouses which have increased output and profits, up to VND5 billion (US$220,000) per ha annually.
According to Lam Dong Province’s People’s Committee, flower exports from the city saw major growth in the last three years, and exports are forecast to rise by 15 per cent over the next five years.
However, only around 10 per cent of Da Lat flowers are exported. To save money, many farmers in the city are growing flowers that are not officially licensed. This makes them more difficult to export.
The lack of licensing is a major deterrent to foreign business partners, according to the Da Lat Flower Association.
In addition, Da Lat flowers have to be shipped to HCM City before they can be transported to foreign markets. Most flower businesses have small orders and cannot afford direct transportation.
Nguyen Phuc Huy, director of the Florian Co.Ltd, a trader of agricultural products, said that if flowers were transported directly from Da Lat, expenses would fall, which would enhance their competitiveness in foreign markets.
Also, many Da Lat farmers have not networked with foreign businesses since most foreign markets set high standards for flower quality and the farmers are afraid that their products would not meet the standards.
To satisfy the city’s goal of increasing flower exports by 20 per cent of the city’s annual output by 2020, the Da Lat Flower Association is importing licensed flower seeds that are popular in foreign markets.
Farmers have also been urged to work closely with export companies and to form co-operatives so they can fulfill bigger orders.
Bahrain to import more VN goods
Members of the ASEAN Bahrain Council (ABC) have expressed interest in importing more textile and wood products from Viet Nam to Bahrain, Vo Tan Thanh, director of HCM City-based Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said.
Speaking at a meeting between the ABC and Vietnamese enterprises held on Monday in HCM City, Thanh said: “Bahrain has a large demand for imported textiles, footwear, seafood and agriculture, all of which are Viet Nam’s strengths.”
Bahrain is currently importing these products from other countries, but would prefer to import more of them from Viet Nam, he said.
Viet Nam’s current export value to Bahrain is modest at US$20 million.
Bahrain’s main exports to Viet Nam of chemicals and petrochemical products, among others, are expected to increase.
Sheikh Duaij bin Isa Al-Khalifa, chairman of the ASEAN-Bahrain Business Council who led the delegation to Viet Nam, said the trip would promote the Vietnamese and Bahraini business communities and help achieve economic growth and prosperity across ASEAN and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
Established in 2017, ABC wants to be the premier advocacy organisation for Bahraini corporations within ASEAN, serving as the leading voice for the Bahraini private sector in promoting mutually beneficial trade and investment relationships between the Kingdom of Bahrain and ASEAN.
“We plan on playing our part in increasing trade, investment, tourism and cultural relations, while developing our local economy and enhancing mutual consultative relations,” Khalifa said, adding that Bahrain wants to be a regional hub for the ASEAN countries.
ABC has been at the forefront of creating a business friendly climate for investors from the ASEAN region to invest in Bahrain and vice versa, according to the chairman.
On May 4, it will launch the ASEAN Bahrain Portal which will serve as a platform to exchange, market and display products.
ABC plans to set up two permanent offices in Ha Noi and HCM City which will help cater to the needs of businesses interested in expanding to the Middle East and North African region, using Bahrain as a hub.
Bahrain provides 100 per cent of repatriation of capital, zero income tax, and no import duties on raw materials and machineries imported to set up manufacturing bases in Bahrain.
It is the financial capital of the GCC countries and has direct access to the US and UK for all businesses setups in the Bahraini Emirati.
Khalifa stressed the need for more participation from the Vietnamese business community in the budding business environment of Bahrain.
Transport must be sustainable: experts
More than 100 scientists, researchers and practitioners from 12 nations are taking part in the three-day International Conference on Sustainable Development of Civil, Urban and Transportation Engineering (CUTE) 2018, which opened in HCM City on Tuesday.
“CUTE 2018 provides an international forum on the latest technologies and research in these engineering fields,” Prof Le Vinh Danh, president of Ton Duc Thang University, the organiser of the conference, said in his opening speech.
Prof Geert Wets, from Belgium’s Hasselt University, said that sustainable development was an “urgent demand” and that civil engineering has a significant impact on the environment.
“It is reported in numerous studies that civil engineering is responsible for several important problems such as energy consumption, CO2 emissions and natural resource depletion,” he added.
Alternative solutions have been sought in the last decades to reduce environmental impacts in the civil engineering sector, he said.
Different proposals include reducing energy consumption by using low-embodied energy materials (“eco-materials”); developing energy-efficient buildings with high thermal isolation; and using renewable energy (solar, wind, geothermal) and eco-architecture principles to optimize energy consumption of the buildings.
“Today, sustainable development in civil engineering is not restrained at a building scale. The city scale should be considered: transport of occupants between their residences and their work sites, and the energy losses in the energy distribution network,” Prof Woloszyn Monika, from Savoie Mont Blanc University in France, said.
“There are a combination of different approaches which can contribute to sustainability of the civil engineering sector: investigations of sustainable materials; intelligent principles in architecture design; and different tools for analysis and assessment of energy performance, at a building scale and also at a city scale,” she added
Scientists and professionals at the conference plan to discuss construction techniques, sustainability in transportation techniques and sustainable trends in urban master planning and architecture.
Presentations will include design of green buildings, foundation engineering, nanotechnology in civil engineering, green highway design and maintenance, sustainable airport planning, operation and management, and transformation of old craftsman villages into new economy areas.
CUTE 2018 helps connect Vietnamese universities, research institutions, foreign universities, and researchers, with the aim of developing new projects and applying research to practical urban planning, architecture and transportation proposals.
The conference has received 100 papers, and after a comprehensive evaluation process by internationally recognised experts, the organising committee chose 79 papers on construction, roads, bridges, urban development and architecture.
Attendees are from Australia, Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Italy, Malaysia, Poland, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand and Viet Nam.
The conference is co-organised by Ton Duc Thang University (Viet Nam), Hasselt University (Belgium), Technical University of Ostrava (Czech Republic), Savoie Mont Blanc University (France), University of Trieste (Italy) and Wroclaw University of Science and Technology (Poland).
The first CUTE was organised in 2016 in HCM City.
WB: Growth expected to ease
Growth in developing East Asia and Pacific (EAP) is expected to remain strong and reach 6.3 per cent in 2018, according to the latest World Bank economic report on the region. “Enhancing Potential”, the April 2018 edition of the World Bank East Asia and Pacific Economic Update released last week, underscores that even with favorable prospects, policymakers in the region will be well advised to recognize and address emerging challenges.
Attending to the short-term risks associated with a faster-than-expected rise in interest rates in advanced economies and the possible escalation of trade tensions will require tighter monetary policy and larger fiscal buffers. To raise growth in the longer term, boosting public and private investment, productivity growth, and human capital will be key.
“Robust growth has underpinned the region’s tremendous gains in reducing extreme poverty,” said Ms. Victoria Kwakwa, World Bank Vice President for East Asia and the Pacific. “To build on this success and improve the prospects for the large share of the population who remain economically insecure will require sustaining growth over the longer term. Policymakers need to focus on addressing risks to economic stability while taking steps to enhance longer-term growth potential.”
After growing faster than anticipated in 2017, China is expected to slow moderately to 6.5 per cent in 2018 as its economy continues to rebalance away from investment and towards domestic consumption with policies that focus more on slowing credit expansion and improving the quality of growth.
Excluding China, growth in developing EAP is expected to remain stable in 2018 at 5.4 per cent, reflecting continued robust domestic and external demand. Growth in Indonesia and Thailand is expected to strengthen in 2018, with improved prospects for investment and private consumption. In the Philippines, growth is likely to remain stable in 2018. In Malaysia and Vietnam, growth is expected to ease, as public investment moderates in the former and agricultural production stabilizes in the latter after rebounding in 2017.
Prospects for several of the smaller economies are generally favorable, in part due to higher commodity prices. In Myanmar, economic growth is projected to rise in 2018, although investment prospects could deteriorate with the ongoing developments in Rakhine State. Mongolia’s higher growth is predicated also on continued macroeconomic stabilization. Papua New Guinea could experience a cyclical recovery as commodity prices rise, although the recent earthquake could hurt prospects. Growth in Cambodia is expected to pick up slightly, while Laos will likely see stable growth.
In related news, the IMF’s World Economic Outlook (WEO), Chapter 1, April 2018: Global Prospects and Policies, released on April 17 shows that growth elsewhere in emerging and developing Asia is expected to remain strong. India’s economy is projected to grow at 7.4 per cent in 2018 and 7.8 per cent in 2019, up from 6.7 per cent in 2017. The forecast is unchanged from the October WEO, with the short-term firming of growth driven by a recovery from the transitory effects of the currency exchange initiative and implementation of the national goods and services tax and supported by strong private consumption growth. Among the ASEAN-5 economies (Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam), broadly stable growth is projected for the group, at 5.3 per cent in 2018 and 5.4 per cent in 2019 (compared with 5.3 per-cent in 2017).
Experts: Banking sector to enjoy another strong year
The banking sector will enjoy another strong year in 2018, experts told a seminar in Ho Chi Minh City this week.
Speaking at Fiinpro Talk 6 on “Vietnamese banking stocks: investment opportunities and risks,” Nguyen Anh Tu, Deputy Director General of the State Bank of Vietnam’s Monetary Policy Department, said banking stocks did well in 2017 thanks to a favourable economic environment with a positive outlook for growth, well-anchored inflation, improved management of banks, better supervision by the Government, and a decrease in non-performing loans.
With economic growth expected to be even better this year, it would be another good year for the banking sector, he said.
Banks are more likely to make a profit on the back of a strong economy since it stimulates demand for credit, and Vietnam is a bank-based economy with 92 percent of capital in the economy provided by banks according to the National Financial Supervision Council, he said.
Retail lending is increasing due to demand from newly-established small businesses and SMEs, which have traditionally found it difficult to get corporate loans from banks, and increasing consumption by individuals due to positive expectations from the economy and rising affluence, he said.
According to a report from the Boston Consultant group, the size of the middle- and upper-income classes in the country will reach 33 million by 2020, creating huge demand for financial and insurance services.
According to data compiled by StoxPlus from 18 banks, who account for 60 percent of the country’s loans, retail loans are growing at double the rate of corporate loans, and increased their share to 37 percent of total loans.
“Consumer finance has been growing rapidly and playing a part in the parent banks’ story,” Nguyen Quang Thuan, CEO of financial and business information provider StoxPlus, said.
He cited the example of FE Credit, the consumer finance arm of Vietnam Prosperity Joint Stock Commercial Bank (VP Bank), which accounts for the majority of its parent company’s loans and helps VP Bank improve its earnings.
Similarly, HDBank owns HD Saison, a growing consumer finance company.
Besides, lenders like Techcombank, Sacombank, VP Bank, SHB, and Military Bank have posted significant commission incomes from their partnerships with life insurers last year, he added.
Speaking about banking stocks, he said: “[They] still have some room to play.”
He said banks are buying back their bad debts from the VAMC to collect them while their income from lending would remain at around 3 percent.
Fees earned through partnerships with third party financial services providers would drive the earnings growth of banks, especially those with large customer bases, he added.
Lam Dong works to build Da Lat potato brand
The Central Highlands province of Lam Dong has approved a programme to build Da Lat potato brand to prevent farmers from selling cheap Chinese potatoes disguised as potatoes from Da Lat, which are more expensive.
In the near future, the province plans to spend around 1 billion VND (44,000 USD) to print around 200,000 packages that will be provided during a pilot run to several Da Lat potato farmers and businesses. Around 700 tonnes of potatoes will be packaged in 2 and 5 kilo packages.
The packages will feature the logos of the Da Lat brand (the provincial brand for produce and products made in Da Lat), and will be designed in ways that make it difficult to imitate. This will help customers tell the difference between the two types of potato.
Traders often import cheap potatoes from China, cover them with red dust, and sell them as Da Lat potatoes, which are four to five times more expensive, and are regarded as having higher quality than Chinese potatoes.
Nguyen Hong Phong, Director of the Phong Thuy Agriculture Manufacturer and Trade Ltd, said that while Da Lat’s potato output is relatively high, its supply can fall during the rainy season, so some traders import Chinese potatoes and sell them as Da Lat potatoes.
During transportation, inspections and other procedures, the fake Da Lat potatoes are registered and referred to as Chinese potatoes. Many customers in other provinces and some in Da Lat fell for this trick, since it is hard to point out fake Da Lat potatoes without careful examination.
Tran Huu Tho, a potato farmer, said that he looks forward to be part of the branding programme because he believes customers might one day reject the Da Lat potato due to fraud.
After the programme takes effect, individuals and organisations who package Chinese potatoes as Da Lat potatoes will be disciplined and charged with fraud.
Reforms should ease credit access
Micro, small and medium enterprises businesses are defined as the engines of growth and innovation in the APEC region, alongside the two important areas of agriculture and innovative startups (Photo: ipsard.gov.vn)
More efforts should be made to boost administrative reform in the banking system to further facilitate access to credit for micro, small and medium enterprises.
This was the consensus at the conference titled “Reforming administrative procedures – improving credit access” held on April 20 by the State Bank of Vietnam and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI).
According to VCCI data, 97 percent of the 500,000 enterprises operating in Vietnam are small and medium sized (SMEs). Of these, 85-90 percent is micro and small companies.
Bank capital has contributed significantly to the development of the private economic sector, especially the SMEs. This was demonstrated in the rapid improvements of both the overall business environment and the credit ranking of the country.
Vietnam’s business climate ranked 68th out of 190 economies surveyed in the World Bank’s Doing Business Report 2018, a jump of 14 ranks against the previous year – a record improvement. Its Getting Credit Index was among the top 30 economies, with the 29th position.
VCCI Chairman Vu Tien Loc said that the banking sector’s contributions to the economy are more than the numbers, particularly given that about 55 percent of medium- and long-term capital is being provided by bank credit.
At present, about 80 percent of credit is channeled into the production sector while the capital supply for the Building-Operate-Transfer (BOT) tends to decline, Loc said. However, he pointed out that a number of enterprises have still found it difficult to access bank credit.
“Some businesses told me that they have thousands of hectares of farmland for production, but bank regulations require the mortgage of workshops to get loans. This is not to the advantage of agricultural enterprises,” Loc said.
In fact, this type of businesses is often small-scale, lacks collateral assets and management experiences and is vulnerable to market changes, all of which make it difficult for them to gain credit from banks.
“We need to change the method of giving credit so that farmers can use their own land as the mortgage to get capital to grow their businesses. This is not the responsibility of the banking industry, but the Government,” Loc said.
Micro, small and medium enterprises, as well as women-owned businesses, are defined as the engines of growth and innovation in the APEC region, alongside agriculture and innovative startups, in which additional investment is urged.
One of the critical issues for their development is financing, and the Government should improve credit access for these targeted enterprises, especially reforming lending procedures for agricultural and startup businesses, Lộc said.
Dao Minh Tu, Deputy Governor of the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV), said Vietnam has created a legal framework to build a truly equal credit relationship between banks and businesses. Banks have cut back a wide range of cumbersome procedures, as well as provided diversified products.
At present, SBV has built a big database on credit information, which helps assess the performance of enterprises, their creditworthiness and financial capability. Businesses also know the banks’ information.
Saigon Securities Inc targets 15 percent rise in profit
Saigon Securities Incorporation (SSI) targets pre-tax profits of 1.615 trillion VND (70.8 million USD) on revenues of 3.41 trillion VND (149.56 million USD) this year, year-on-year increases of 12 percent and 15 percent.
At its annual general shareholders meeting in Ho Chi Minh City last week, the company also laid out its medium- and long-term business strategies for each of its areas of business like securities services, treasury, investment banking, and asset management.
Shareholders approved a change in the company’s name to SSI Securities Corporation.
The company’s rationale was that SSI was a well-known brand in the domestic and international financial markets.
Last year it was selected by Forbes Vietnam as the only securities company among Vietnam’s 40 Most Valuable Brands, with its brand valued at 26.5 million USD.
Nguyen Hong Nam, the company’s deputy general director, said SSI achieved high growth last year, with revenues rising 19.8 percent to over 3.04 trillion VND.
Its pre-tax profit was more than 1.4 trillion VND, a 23 percent rise, he said.
Its revenues from securities services were 1.328 trillion VND, a year-on-year increase of 53 percent and accounting for 43.5 percent of total revenues, he said.
SSI retained its position as the leading brokerage on both the HCM City and Hanoi exchanges with a 15.26 percent market share compared to 13.04 percent in 2016.
Vietnam’s GDP growth rate is expected to be 6.7 percent this year, and investment from the private and foreign sectors is expected to increase sharply, he said.
This year is also forecast to be the peak year for divestment and equitisation, he said.
These are positive factors that would boost the securities markets this year, he added.
Sacombank vows to finish settling bad debts in five years
The Saigon Thuong Tin Commercial Joint Stock Bank (Sacombank) has pledged to finish settling all of the 100 trillion VND (4.38 billion USD) of its bad debts in five years, instead of 10 years as stated in the restructuring plan approved by the State Bank of Vietnam.
At the annual shareholders’ meeting in Ho Chi Minh City on April 20, Chairman of Sacombank’s board of directors Duong Cong Minh said the bank has handled nearly 20 trillion VND (876 million USD) of the bad debts so far.
Over the last couple of years, Sacombank did not give dividend payments to its shareholders because it was being restructured and had to increase provisions, he said, noting that it is speeding up restructuring and expects this process will finish in three years in minimum and five years in maximum.
If this process is smooth, Sacombank is able to pay dividends to its shareholders in 2018 or 2019, with the central bank’s approval, he added.
Sacombank reports that its combined assets were worth about 368.45 trillion VND (16.14 billion USD) at the end of 2017, up 11 percent from the year’s beginning. The bank posted an 11-percent rise in capital mobilisation to some 338.43 trillion VND (14.82 billion USD) and a 12.5-percent increase in credit outstanding balance to around 225.59 trillion VND (9.88 billion USD). The ratio of non-performing loans was 4.59 percent.
The bank plans to cut the bad debt ratio to under 3 percent and continue to shorten the restructuring road map in the time ahead.
In 2018, it targets total assets at 430.9 trillion VND (18.87 billion USD), mobilised capital at 399.5 trillion VND (17.5 billion USD), credit outstanding balance at 255.2 trillion VND (11.18 billion USD), and pre-tax profit at nearly 1.84 trillion VND (80.59 million USD).
Vinh Tan 4 thermal plant ensures environmental protection standards
Construction of the Vinh Tan 4 thermal power plant in the southern province of Binh Thuan is on schedule and has met both international and Vietnam’s standards on environmental protection, announced the Electricity of Vietnam (EVN).
At a ceremony held at the plant on April 19 to mark it as a project to celebrate the 60th Traditional Day of Vietnamese construction sector (April 29), Deputy Minister of Construction Le Quang Hung noted that the large-scale plant is the first of its kind designed by Vietnamese experts. It also has a high rate of local content, at nearly 26 percent.
The same day, the plant received approval for official operation.
The Vinh Tan thermal power plant, on the list of urgent construction projects in 2013-2020, is invested by the EVN.
The plant has two turbines with a combined capacity of 1,200 MW and was built at a cost of more than 40 trillion VND (1.76 billion USD), which was mainly sourced from preferential loans from the Republic of Korea and Japan, while the remaining came from EVN’s reciprocal capital.
Construction of the plant began in March 2014, with the first turbine completed in late 2017 and the second one is set to finish in June 2018.
In full operation, it is expected to generate about 7.2 billion kWh each year. It is the first large-scale coal-fuelled thermal power plant in Vietnam using the supercritical steam generator.
The plant is also hoped to contribute to socio-economic development in the South Central Region and raise the stability and economic operation of the national grid.
Hanoi targets 12.7 billion USD in exports
Hanoi has set a target of earning about 12.7 billion USD from exports in 2018, a rise of about 8 percent over the previous year.
To this end, the capital city will continue speeding up administrative reform, focusing on strengthening IT application in administrative procedure settlement.
Meanwhile, the city will design policies to improve production and exports, while enhancing competitiveness of local enterprises and foster labour supply-demand connections, and attracting more investment in infrastructure development and services.
The municipal People’s Committee has assigned the Hanoi Department of Taxation to coordinate with relevant agencies to implement projects in modernising tax management and applying IT in all stages and steps of tax management in order to create favourable conditions for enterprises, ensuring transparency and reduce cost.
The Hanoi Customs was asked to pilot a management and supervision system of goods transported through Noi Bai International Airport, measure clearance time for import-export goods, and conduct a survey on enterprises’ satisfaction in 2018.
The city will also issue certificates of origin (C/O) through its online public services, while joining the national and ASEAN one-door mechanism in granting C/O in line with commitments of the Government to ASEAN.
The city will also apply measures to increase business’ access to credit by connecting them with banks and credit institutions, while holding training courses to upgrade enterprises with information on foreign markets, free trade agreements and new policies and laws related to import-export activities.
As of the end of the first quarter of 2018, Hanoi’s industrial production expanded 8.5 percent, a rise of 3.4 percent year on year. Total retail and service revenue was estimated at 617.49 billion VND (27.16 million USD), up 12.4 percent year on year. The city’s exports fetched 155 million USD, up 16.9 percent year on year, while social investment attraction rose 9.5 percent.
At the same time, foreign arrivals to Hanoi hit 1.13 million.
Vietnam promotes seafood exports to Europe
Vietnamese aquatic products are being introduced at the Seafood Expo Global, the biggest event of its kind in the world, which takes place in Brussels, Belgium, from April 24-26.
This is the 20th time Vietnam has taken part in the event. Over the past five years, the Vietnamese corner is one of the ten biggest in the expo.
This year’s event brought together more than 1,850 units from 79 countries and territories worldwide. It is expected to draw over 28,000 visitors, including European seafood distributors and processors who come to seek business opportunities.
At the opening ceremony, Vietnamese Ambassador to Belgium Vu Anh Quang visited Vietnamese booths, pledging that the Vietnamese Embassy will try its best to facilitate the access of Vietnamese products to the European market.
To Tuong Lan, Deputy Secretary General of the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), told the Vietnam News Agency that the expo is very useful as it helps businesses promote their products and explore the taste of consumers, urging Vietnamese enterprises to grasp market trends in order to introduce suitable products.
Statistics show that Europe was Vietnam’s biggest seafood importer in 2017 with a turnover of 1.5 billion USD. 2018 is expected to be a promising year for Vietnam’s shrimp exports.
In September 2017, the European Commission issued a yellow card warning Vietnam for failing to progress in fighting illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.
After April 23, the EU will assess Vietnam’s efforts to fight IUU fishing. The "yellow card" is followed by a "green card" if the problem is resolved or a "red card" if it isn’t. A “red card” can lead to a trade ban on fishery products.
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Vice President meets Vietnamese expats in Australia
Vice President Dang Thi Ngoc Thinh at the meeting with OVS in Australia
Vice President Dang Thi Ngoc Thinh visited the Vietnamese Consulate General and met with representatives of Vietnamese in Sydney on April 25 as part of her trip to Australia to attend the 28th Global Submit of Women.
She informed the expatriates about Vietnam’s socio-economic development, stressing that despite difficulties and challenges, the Vietnamese Party, State and Government are resolved to fulfil development targets set for 2018.
The Vice President highlighted the strategic partnership between Vietnam and Australia, which was established during Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s visit to Australia last March.
The upgrading of the bilateral relationship has opened up new cooperation opportunities for the two countries, while contributing to peace and development in Asia-Pacific, Thinh said, lauding significant contributions of the Vietnamese community in Australia to the relations.
She urged the overseas Vietnamese (OVs) to make greater efforts in order to further contribute to the development of Vietnam and Australia, as well as their friendship.
On this occasion, the Vice President cleared up the expatriates’ concerns regarding policies of the Party, State and Government towards OVs in general and Vietnamese in Australia in particular.
Vietnam always treasures all-round ties with Morocco
The fourth meeting of the Vietnam-Morocco Joint Committee in Hanoi
Vietnam and Morocco held the fourth meeting of their Joint Committee and the fifth political consultation between the two foreign ministries in Hanoi on April 23 and 24, during which the Vietnamese side reiterated that it always treasures the comprehensive cooperation with Morocco.
The events were co-chaired by Vietnamese Deputy Foreign Minister Vu Hong Nam and Moroccan Secretary of State to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Mounia Boucetta.
At the fourth meeting of the Vietnam-Morocco Joint Committee, Mounia Boucetta highly valued the development achievements of Vietnam.
Meanwhile, Deputy Minister Nam expressed his delight at the sound development of the countries’ relations, adding that the visit to Vietnam by President of the Moroccan House of Representatives Habib El Malki in December 2017 and the trip to the North African nation by Vice Chairman of the Vietnamese National Assembly Phung Quoc Hien in July 2017 set up close parliamentary ties.
Vietnam thanked Morocco for supporting its candidacy for non-permanent membership of the UN Security Council for 2020-2021. Morocco also appreciated Vietnam’s support for its participation in the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia.
Regarding economic links, the two sides agreed to boost bilateral trade and investment by increasing mutual visits by their businesses to explore markets and join hands in projects in other African countries.
They said current bilateral trade, estimated at 170 million USD in 2017, remains modest compared to the countries’ potential and political cooperation.
To enhance connections in this field, Morocco asked the two sides consider reactivating the bilateral business council and promoting relations in complementary areas like fertilizer and pharmaceutical production, aquaculture, and rice trading.
The countries also affirmed that they will continue graduate and postgraduate scholarship programmes and step up ties in education and training through signing cooperation deals between their research establishments, organising mutual visits between researchers, and holding symposiums.
Vietnam welcomed Morocco’s sending of Maghreb Arab Press (MAP) correspondents to Vietnam and establishment of the Morocco-Vietnam Friendship Association to boost people-to-people exchanges.
The two sides will also promote pairing Vietnamese and Moroccan localities, including Nha Trang and Agadir, Ho Chi Minh City and Casablanca, and Da Nang and Tangier.
At the meeting, a memorandum of understanding on cooperation was signed by Vietnam’s Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs and Morocco’s Ministry of Labour and Professional Integration. Vietnam’s Maritime University and Morocco’s Institute of Maritime Studies also inked another memorandum.
At the two foreign ministries’ political consultation, the officials discussed regional and international issues of shared concern such as cooperation within the framework of the UN, ASEAN and the African Alliance, the situation in the Asia-Pacific and the North Africa, climate change prevention, and sustainable development.
They also voiced concern about the escalation of conflicts and instability in some regions around the world. They said disputes must be resolved by peaceful means, through negotiations and on the basis of international law and the UN Charter.
Vietnam shares experience in ensuring indigenous peoples’ rights
A session of the United Nations
The Vietnamese Permanent Mission to the United Nations (UN) is attending the 17th Session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII), which takes place from April 16 to 27 at the UN Headquarters in New York.
In a speech, a representative of the mission said the country is home to 54 ethnic groups living in solidarity and mutual assistance.
Vietnam also shared its ethnic policies at the session, including the policy on socio-economic development for ethic minority groups in mountainous and remote areas, infrastructure investment for impoverished families, as well as afforestation and environmental protection, among others.
The Vietnamese delegation also underlined the preservation of ethnic groups’ languages as a priority in education policy, while sharing experience in piloting the cooperation between Vietnam’s Ministry of Education and Training and UNESCO, bilingual programmes in three provinces with the highest density of ethnic people, the Vietnam News Agency’s release of bilingual publications and increase of ethnic language-speaking programmes of television and broadcasting stations at national and local levels.
The 17th Session of the UNPFII saw the participation of UN members, relevant agencies and more than 1,000 indigenous rights organisations. It discussed the challenges, experience and good practices in ensuring indigenous peoples’ collective rights to lands, territories and natural resources.
Also on the agenda is the implementation of six mandated areas of the Permanent Forum with reference to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, including social development, cultural, environment, education, health and human rights, especially language preservation towards the 2019 International Year of Indigenous Languages.
Vietnam intensifies coordination with US parliamentarians’ offices
At the reception
The Vietnamese Embassy in the US will continue its cooperation with US parliamentarians’ offices, for the interests of both countries, said Ambassador Pham Quang Vinh.
The diplomat made the remarks at a reception for consultants and assistants of parliamentarians’ offices and major committees of the US’s Senate and House of Representatives on April 23.
He praised the role played by the consultants and assistants as well as their contributions to promoting the comprehensive partnership between Vietnam and the US across fields over the past time.
Vinh noted his hope that the relationship will be consolidated and enhanced following high-level visits, especially the official visit to the US by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc in May 2017, and President Donald Trump’s State visit to Vietnam and his attendance in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Meeting in November 2017.
The ambassador said he wishes to welcome the delegations of parliamentarians and parliamentarians’ assistants in Vietnam, expressing his hope that the visit will contribute to fostering the Vietnam-US relations in all fields, both bilaterally and multilaterally, for the sake of the two countries, and for peace and stability in Asia-Pacific.
At the meeting, the US consultants and assistants affirmed the support of the US Congress and ruling parties for the bilateral relationship.
They also applauded socio-economic achievements Vietnam has recorded as well as its role in region, saying they will work harder to contribute to boosting the relations across fields from politics, diplomacy, economic-trade, national defence-security, education, science-technology and people-to-people exchange, to regional and international issues.
Incense offering ceremony held in honour of Hung Kings
PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc and delegates offer incense at Thuong Temple at the Hung Kings Temple Relic Site.
An incense offering ceremony was held at the Hung Kings Temple Relic Site on Nghia Linh Mountain in the northern midland province of Phu Tho on April 25 or the tenth day of the third lunar month to commemorate the national founders, Hung Kings.
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, head of the Party Central Committee’s Economic Commission Nguyen Van Binh, representatives of ministries and agencies, and leaders of Phu Tho and Thai Nguyen, Quang Nam, Binh Duong and Kien Giang provinces, which joined hands to organise the event, offered incense to the national founders.
Chairman of the People’s Committee of Phu Tho province Bui Minh Chau delivered a eulogy praising the Kings for founding and protecting the nation, affirming that Lac Hong descendants will unite together, under the leadership of the Communist Party of Vietnam, to overcome difficulties and seize opportunities to build a prosperous and civilised nation, making contributions to peace and friendship in the region and the world as well.
PM Phuc and delegates laid wreaths and offered incense and flowers in tribute to the Hung Kings and other ancestors at the main temple.
They also offered incense at the tomb of the 6th Hung King and paid tribute to late President Ho Chi Minh and martyrs at the relief featuring the late leader’s talk with soldiers from the Tien Phong Vanguard Division stationed at the complex.
Following the incense-offering ceremony, millions of Vietnamese people across the country and abroad paid homage to the national founders at the temple complex.
The same day, provinces and cities nationwide held a wide range of activities in commemoration of the Hung Kings.
Ruling the country through 18 generations (2879–258 BC), the Hung Kings taught locals how to grow wet rice. They chose Nghia Linh Mountain, the highest in the region, to perform rituals devoted to rice and sun deities to pray for lush crops.
The worshipping rituals of the Hung Kings are closely related to the ancestral worship traditions of most Vietnamese families, an important part of people's spiritual life. It was recognised as UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2012.
Viet Tri city, which was the first capital of Vietnam under the Van Lang administration, still owns many archaeological and historical relics related to the Hung Kings’ reign.
Vietnamese acrobats likely to pull out of Britain's Got Talent
The Giang brothers besides the three judges at the Britain's Got Talent 2018
The Giang brothers perform a head-to-head balance stunt at the Britain's Got Talent 2018 on April 21
Social News 27/4
Deputy PM: Police stations to be built at airports
Deputy PM Truong Hoa Binh speaks at an online conference on aviation security on April 24.
At an online conference on aviation security on April 24, Deputy PM Truong Hoa Binh, who is also chairman of the Civil Aviation Security Committee, asked the Ministry of Public Security to build police stations at airports to ensure the aviation safety and security.
The ministry should enhance inspection and supervision of the civil and military areas at the airports and launch security measures to deal with illegal acts as well as establish the Aviation Security Ensuring One member co., Ltd under the Airports Corporation of Vietnam (ACV), the deputy PM added.
The Ministry of Public Security asked ACV to pour money to installation projects of latest facilities, equipment and other necessary factors for ensuring aviation safety and security at airports and terminals, such as anti-Terrorist supplies, systems of cameras, X-ray systems, automatic barrier gates preventing the illegal entering.
HCMC marks anniversary of country’s founding fathers
Party and State leaders offered incenses and flowers to commemorate Hung Kings.
An anniversary celebration commemorating the nation's founders - Hung Kings was held at the National Historical- Cultural Park in Long Binh Ward, District 9 in HCM City’s district 9 on April 25, the 10th day of the third lunar month of the year.
Attending at the event were former PM Nguyen Tan Dung; Politburo member, Secretary of the HCMC Party Committee Nguyen Thien Nhan; former Secretary of HCMC Party Committee Le Thanh Hai, Standing Deputy Secretary of the HCMC Party Committee Tat Thanh Cang; Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Nguyen Thanh Phong, Chairwoman of the HCMC People's Council Nguyen Thi Quyet Tam, Deputy Secretary of the HCMC Party Committee Vo Thi Dung, Chairwoman of Vietnam Fatherland Front Committee in Ho Chi Minh City To Thi Bich Chau and a huge number of people in the city.
The delegation joined a processions and offered incenses and flowers to commemorate the Hung Kings.
On the same day, the city’s leaders also offered incenses and flowers to the founder of Saigon-HCM City, high-ranking general Nguyen Huu Canh. Nguyen Huu Canh (1650-1700) was a famous army commander and an excellent administrator. He founded the city in 1698.
Expressing her proudness of the sacred origin of the nation and of a thousand-year-culture of the country, Chairwoman of the Fatherland Front Committee of HCMC To Thi Bich Chau stated: HCMC compatriots volunteer to maintain and cultivate patriotic tradition and cultural values of the nation, raising the awareness of self-reliance. The sons and daughters from the land of Saigon - Gia Dinh - HCMC continue the guideline of "with the whole country - for the whole country". They are striving to build and develop HCMC in the new period and the final result, the most important meaning are the living condition of the people, raising the intelligent content in the public social services to the resident.
Quang Binh Cuisine Festival kicks off
Visitors to the festival
The Quang Binh Cuisine Festival 2018 was officially opened at Nhat Le Beach in Dong Hoi city of the central province of Quang Binh on April 24.
The event is organised as part of the Culture and Tourism Week of Dong Hoi city which runs from April 24-30.
Visitors to the festival can experience local cultures while joining in with the cooking process.
According to the provincial Tourism Department, Quang Binh has stepped up activities to stimulate tourism demand, and is aiming to welcome 3.5 million tourists this year.
The province’s tourism sector has improved and diversified its products, developed human resources, upgraded infrastructure, and boosted regional and global connectivity to attract visitors.
In the first quarter of this year, up to 727,000 holidaymakers visited Quang Binh, up 12% annually, 33,000 of them were foreigners, up 8% year-on-year.
Thua Thien - Hue Museum receives over 260 antiques
At the ceremony
The ThuaThien - Hue Museum of History in the central province of ThuaThien - Hue on April 24 received more than 260 antiques donated by 56 collectors from UNESCO Vietnam's Centre for research and conservation of antiquities.
According to Cao Huy Hung, director of the Thua Thien - Hue Museum of History, within less than two months of the opening letter of the Museum, collectors of antiques from many organisations donated more than 260 artefacts of various types.
The artefacts are of great value for research and preservation, offering cultural and historic researchers and students in the province a chance to understand Vietnam’s cultural characteristics at different stages during the course of history, he noted.
Also on the occasion, the Museum organised an exhibition featuring more than240 artefacts, mainly pottery from Vietnamese feudal dynasties dated from the 18th to the 19th century.
Infamous poet’s 100th birthday marked in Hanoi
Poet Nguyen Binh Hong Cau, the daughter of famous Poet Nguyen Binh. (Photo: VOV)
The Vietnam Writers’ Association (VWA) joined Poet Nguyen Binh’s family and poetry lovers to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the famous poet’s birth (1918 - 2018) in Hanoi on April 24.
At the event, VWA Chairman, Poet Huu Thinh, affirmed that commemorating the centenary of Nguyen Binh's birthday is to remember a very enthusiastic person in the revolutionary poetry movement, who was also a pioneer in seeking ways to promote the original national values.
Nguyen Binh, whose real name was Nguyen Trong Binh (1918 - 1966), was a native of Nam Dinh province. At the age of 13, Nguyen Binh soon revealed his poetic talents when he won the first prize at a local competition. His works are mostly love poems but with separate and distinct rural colours that have enthralled vast amounts of readers since the early 20th century.
During his career of over 30 years of writing, Nguyen Binh wrote 22 collections, including 14 poetry collections, eight prose poems and five theatre scripts, as well as short stories and novels.
During the celebration of the 100th anniversary of his birth, Nguyen Binh’s daughter, Poet Nguyen Binh Hong Cau expressed her sincere gratitude to generations of readers who have given their love to her father’s poetry, making his career live along with the nation’s development.
At the ceremony, poets and researchers presented studies on Nguyen Binh’s life and career, as well as his great contributions to the nation’s literary development.
Seminar introduces sustainable energy solutions for community
Low-cost models and sustainable energy solutions applied for the community in rural and mountainous areas were introduced at a recent seminar in Hanoi, which was jointly held by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), Live & Learn and the French Cultural Centre (L’Espace) in Hanoi.
Among the solutions were wind-power generators using recycled materials for the community living on Red River’s sand-bank, renovated cooking stove for rural and mountainous households, and air filter using solar power.
Nguyen Tuan Anh, Director of the The he xanh (Green Generation) JSC, held that using traditional stoves of Vietnam is harmful for both human health and the environment.
Therefore, the company has developed new models of cooking stoves to save materials and protect people’s health and the environment by reducing carbon emissions.
As the company’s calculation, the model will save 50-60 percent of firewood and reduce one tonne of CO2 each year as well as 85-90 percent of dust. The model is suitable to rural and mountainous areas, which will be multiplied in the future, he said.
Meanwhile, the Green ID Vietnam also proposed the speeding up of projects to develop socio-economic benefits of developing renewable energy, including activities to popularize knowledge related to renewable energy and climate change response among policy-makers.
The using of traditional fuel such as fossil coal and oil has been popular in Vietnam, which caused environmental pollution and affected people’s health. In that context, renewable power development plans and solutions have been implemented throughout the country through Government’s programmes and efforts of social organisations and private firms.
Midwifery, maternal, family planning reports launched
Representatives attend the reports launching ceremony.
Accessing quality healthcare is a basic human right, and greater investment in midwifery is key to making this right a reality for all women everywhere.
This is stated in the first-ever “National Midwifery Report of Việt Nam” and the report on “Exploring barriers to accessing maternal and family planning services in ethnic minority communities”, which were launched in Hà Nội on Tuesday by the Ministry of Health (MoH), with technical and financial support from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFP) in Việt Nam.
According to the reports, Việt Nam has made substantial progress in strengthening safe motherhood and health services for infants. However, there are still significant differences in maternal and child healthcare between those living in river deltas and those living in mountainous areas, with a higher maternal mortality ratio in remote and ethnic minority areas.
The overall modern contraceptive prevalence rate among ethnic minorities was 57 per cent, similar to the national average. However, there was wide variation between provinces and ethnic minority communities, with the rate being 75 per cent in the Central Highlands province of Kon Tum compared to 45 per cent in Gia Lai Province; 41-42 per cent for Ba Na and Gia Rai groups compared to over 70 per cent for Tày and Se Đăng groups.
Data reveals a significant shortage of skilled birth attendants in hard-to-reach regions and a significant difference in the competency of birth atendants in the lowlands and highlands. As many as 94 per cent of practising midwives are trained up to the secondary level, and only 0.8 per cent has a bachelor’s degree.
Nguyễn Đức Vinh, director of the Maternal and Child Health Department under MoH, said, “Midwifery and midwifery practice plays a crucial role in Việt Nam’s maternal and infant healthcare system.”
A skilled midwifery workforce with high competencies, motivated and supported by the healthcare system, is key to successfully reducing maternal and infant mortality and contributing to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, he said.
Astrid Bant, UNFP representative in Việt Nam, said, “As the country continues to progress socially and economically, we must recognise that we cannot achieve sustainable development without promoting the health, especially reproductive health and rights, of women and girls throughout their life.”
She said UNFP in Việt Nam was fully committed to supporting the government and people to ensure that universal access to healthcare, including sexual and reproductive health, would become a reality for all.
Training programme starts in Hà Nội on eco-industrial parks
An industrial park in the southern city of Bình Dương. Illustrative Photo.
The second training programme on eco-industrial parks was held yesterday in Hà Nội, as part of a US$53-million project to set industrial production in Việt Nam on the path of sustainable development.
Nearly three decades since the country’s Đổi mới (reform), the contributions of industrial parks to the growing economy of Việt Nam is indisputable. However, they are also responsible for many environmental issues that adversely affect the public and even offset their own economic achievements. This is why the Vietnamese Government has considered the study and implementation of eco-industrial parks – whereby environmental quality and economic development can go hand-in-hand – “an urgent matter.”
The efforts were materialised by the Prime Minister-approved project "Implementation of Eco-Industrial Park Initiative for Sustainable Industrial Zones in Việt Nam", launched four years ago with the help from the United Nations’ Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO). The initiative aimed to convert traditional industrial zones (IZs) into eco-industrial zone (EIZs). Pilot models are currently deployed in four cities and provinces – Hà Nội, Ninh Bình, Đà Nẵng and Cần Thơ, with the goals of cutting 182,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases and 6 million cu.m of wastewater per year.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the training course, Dr Bùi Nguyên Khánh, deputy director of the Graduate Academy of Social Sciences, stressed the importance of education and training in the implementation of eco-industrial park models in Việt Nam. He said the academy will arm trainees with in-depth knowledge on sustainable development, efficient management and use of resources, and social affairs.
Trần Duy Đông, director of the Department for Economic Zone Management, under the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI), expects the training course to disseminate the fairly novel concepts and practices of eco-industrial zones, to help ease the implementation of such zones in the future.
During the training course, discussions on theoretical and practical issues on the conversion to eco-industrial zones in Việt Nam will be prominent, with topics ranging from engagement between businesses and the local community to help drive down production costs and alleviate environment stress, to live demonstrations of green and low-emission technologies in industrial zones.
The trainees will also take part in a field trip to Hải Phòng, one of the major industrial areas in the north, to gain hands-on experience in the operations of industrial zones, and especially the greening technologies being implemented at the Đình Vu industrial zone.
According to the Asian Development Bank’s eco-industrial park handbook for developing economies, the design of an eco-industrial park requires integration into natural systems, efficient energy systems, efficient materials flow and waste management, efficient use of water flows, effective management, consideration of the environment during construction and rehabilitation work, and integration into the host community.
RMIT University team to represent Vietnam at HSBC competition
A team from RMIT University Vietnam will represent Vietnam at the HSBC Business Case Competition in Hong Kong after winning the local round against two other finalists and taking home VND50 million ($2,220) in cash and the championship trophy.
Members of the winning team, the Outliers - Nguyen Hoang Yen Khanh, Luu Thai Quang Khai, Tran Vo Thanh Tu and Rahul Ravindranath - will now represent Vietnam at the regional finals in Hong Kong from June 5 to 8.
HSBC Vietnam partnered with Junior Achievements Vietnam to organize the HSBC Business Case Competition in Vietnam, the local round of the HSBC/HKU Asia Pacific Business Case Competition.
The competition provides students with the opportunity to foster analytical thinking, creativity, innovation, communication and presentation skills, all of which will be valuable assets when they enter the workforce upon graduation.
The competition has been developed since 2008 by the renowned Asia Case Research Center of the Faculty of Business and Economics at the University of Hong Kong (HKU), the region’s largest producer of business cases and over the years. In that time, the competition has had 600,000 students from 130 universities around the world participating and 800 business executives across 12 countries volunteering as judges.
The Vietnam round saw 48 students from ten local universities compete in business strategy-making and presentation to earn a spot to compete in Hong Kong against students from top universities in Asia-Pacific.
After a final round featuring three high-quality presentations from two teams from RMIT University Vietnam and one from the Foreign Trade University in Hanoi, the judges thought long and hard before selecting a winner.
Finishing behind the Outliers were Revolution from the Foreign Trade University in Hanoi and #WonderKids from RMIT University Vietnam. Teams were given an unpublished business case developed by HKU and needed to develop a solution and implementation plan for the case and prepare a presentation of their solution within three hours. The solutions were presented to a panel of judges followed by a 15-minute Q&A session.
Mr. Pham Hong Hai, CEO and Chairman of Corporate Sustainability Committee at HSBC Vietnam, said that the judges were all greatly impressed with each teams’ analysis and the clarity of their arguments. “I would like to congratulate the winners and all of the runners up for a very exciting final,” he added. “I believe every team participating in this year’s competition have gained valuable experience that will give them great confidence when they start their careers.”
The Regional HSBC-HKU Asia Pacific Business Case Competition will be held at the University of Hong Kong with 24 teams from regional universities pitting their wits against each other to try and land the champion’s prize of $10,000.
“It’s an amazing chance to meet, and compete against, the top students from right across Asia and impress over 80 senior business executives serving as volunteer judges,” said Mr. Hai. “I really hope the Vietnam team will represent Vietnam well and have the chance to win.”
By creating a platform that encourages employment-focused skills development in the community, HSBC aims to assist the young generation to fulfil their potential.
The HSBC Business Case Competition engaged both HSBC Vietnam staff and its corporate clients to share their career experiences, knowledge and skills with students in Vietnam so that these talented and capable students can thrive in an international arena and excel in their future careers.
The HSBC Business Case Competition is one of many HSBC projects that aim to increase levels of employability and financial capability in accordance with the bank’s latest Environmental, Social, Governance report released in early April.
Recent related projects include JA More than Money for 50 students at SOS Village Go Vap and the Maker Academy project, bringing an advanced learning method in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) to 250 orphans in Ho Chi Minh City and Ben Tre and Ba Ria Vung Tau provinces.
Taste of Australia 2018 comes to Danang
Participants pose with the symbolic map of Australia at Taste of Australia 2018 in Danang.
The Australian Consulate General in HCMC hosted the annual Taste of Australia Danang Family BBQ, a public outdoor barbecue conducted for the general public, Australians, Australian alumni and their families on April 22 at The Ocean Villas Danang.
More than 600 people including expats and locals living in Danang and Quang Nam joined Taste of Australia 2018.This is part of a wide range of events held nationwide in the Taste of Australia 2018 program hosted by the Australian Government to celebrate the 45th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Australia and Vietnam.
Australian Consul-General Karen Lanyon said: “The event offers delicious Australian foods, premium Aussie beer and wines along with fantastic live entertainment, including a performance by Australian singer-songwriter Nick Barker. Moreover, there are numerous activities for kids, including a bouncy castle, slip and slide and cricket, and finally (they can also) watch Taste of Australia Ambassador Luke Nguyen and celebrity chef Ngo Thanh Hoa battle it out in an Aussie BBQ challenge.”
ASEAN trade and culture exchange event launched in HCMC
A trade and culture exchange program of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) took place at September 23 Park in HCMC’s District 1 from April 18 to 22 as part of celebrations to mark Vietnam’s 43rd Reunification Day (April 30) along with the third founding anniversary of the ASEAN Economic Community.
Addressing the opening ceremony, HCMC Vice Chairman Le Thanh Liem said that over the past 50 years, ASEAN has become a unified community with a common vision and identity. He hoped ASEAN and the other international enterprises taking part in the program would create more business opportunities and support each other to promote made-in-ASEAN products.
The ASEAN trade and culture exchange program featured more than 150 booths, including 110 trade pavilions and over 40 food stalls selling traditional food of the ASEAN and other countries like Japan, South Korea and Japan.
The exhibitors introduced a wide range of products such as food, jewellery, cosmetics, information technology solutions, electronic products, wooden products and travel services.
In addition, there were several cultural activities like ASEAN artistic performances, martial arts, folk games and friendly sports events.
The event offered a chance for people in ASEAN to introduce their cultural and historical values to international allies, promote common understanding, solidarity and sharing for a sustainable, self-strengthening and dynamic ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community.
Leow Siu Lin, Singapore Consul General to HCMC, said despite differences in size, language, race and religion, the 10 members of ASEAN have collaboratively obtained honorable development and prosperity since the association was founded in 1967. Taking on the Chairmanship of ASEAN in 2018, Singapore hopes the association will continue to reinforce its strength and promote creativity.
Labour confederation wants bigger role in supporting overseas workers
Vice Chairman of the VGCL Mai Duc Chinh speaks at the workshop (Photo: laodong.vn)
The Vietnam General Confederation of Labour (VGCL) has proposed amending the law on Vietnamese workers working abroad under contracts to give trade union organisations direct participation in protecting overseas labourers.
The confederation made the proposal at a workshop held in Hanoi on April 26 on trade unions’ role in supporting Vietnamese working overseas.
Vice Chairman of the VGCL Mai Duc Chinh said the organisation has so far worked to protect Vietnamese working overseas in the form of providing them with information and advice while cooperating with trade union organisations in host countries such as the Republic of Korea and Malaysia to protect the rights and interests of Vietnamese workers in those countries.
Delegates from labour federations in Thanh Hoa and Phu Tho provinces shared their views on the role of labour unions in helping workers before they leave for overseas jobs and after they return home.
Many voiced the concern that many guest workers did not join labour unions, which is a major obstacle for the unions in protecting their rights and interests.
According to Mai Duc Chinh, Vietnamese working abroad send home more than 2 billion USD each year. In 2017 alone, a total of 137,751 Vietnamese worked abroad.
Chinh said besides the gains, Vietnamese working abroad face many risks. Due to a lack of information, many had to pay high fees for intermediaries, or were deceived to work illegally. There are also cases of workers abused by employers.
He asked the International Labour Organisation and the Asian Fund to help the VGCL in conducting talks and signing memorandums of understanding on labour cooperation with other countries.
Exhibition features HCM City history, development
Visitors at the exhibition
History and the development of Ho Chi Minh City have been highlighted at an exhibition opened in four locations – Nguyen Hue and Dong Khoi streets, the opposition area of Chi Lang Park and Labour Culture Palace in District 1 of the city on April 26.
Themed “Ho Chi Minh City – Aspiration for Rising Highly”, the exhibition in Nguyen Hue street displays 84 photos featuring the struggle of the army and people for liberation of the South and national reunification, as well as the strong growth of the city in the past over four decades.
In Dong Khoi street and Labour Culture Palace, the exhibition also showcases 50 photos on the activeness and renovation of workers in Ho Chi Minh City, along with nearly 70 photos on the promotion of patriotism of the working class during national moderniation and industrialisation.
The photos revived the patriotism movements of Sai Gon – Gia Dinh – Cho Lon workers during the war against the US under the leadership of the National Front for Liberation of the South, liberating the south and reunifying the country.
The event, part of activities to mark the 43rd South Liberation and National Reunification Day and the 132nd May Day, will last until May 4.
Exhibition showcases efforts to revive land polluted by UXO, chemicals
Visitors at the exhibition
An exhibition themed “Revival of dead lands” is going on in Ho Chi Minh City to showcase efforts to clean up remnants of chemical warfare and wartime unexploded ordnance and revive life in the contaminated lands.
With 190 items, documents and images, the exhibition gives insights into the consequences of bomb, mine and toxic chemicals used by the US during the war on Vietnamese people.
The event, held on the occasion of the 43th anniversary of the Liberation of the South and National Reunification (April 30), the 60th founding anniversary of the Chemical Force (April 19) and the World Day of Bomb and Mine Prevention (April 4), also aims to call for joint efforts in overcoming war aftermaths to build and develop the country.
Addressing the opening of the exhibition, Colonel Truong Minh Ly, Director of the Chemical Force’s Museum, said that over the past years, the force discovered and handled nearly 4,000 tonnes of toxic chemicals, explosives with toxic chemicals and hundreds of thousands of cubic metres of land polluted by chemicals.
The work contributed to cleaning up the environment and helping local residents in central, Central Highlands and southern regions stabilize their daily life, he said.
Meanwhile, Simon Rea, National Director of the Mines Advisory Group in Vietnam, said that although the war ended more than 40 years ago and the Vietnamese Government worked hard with the support of international bomb and mine organisations, Vietnam is still suffering from severe pollution of unexploded ordnances. Rea stressed the need for more efforts in cleaning the polluted land areas.
Phu Yen Culture-Tourism Week opens
Yen Islet in Phu Yen province
The central province of Phu Yen kicked off a Culture-Tourism Week on April 25 night, which is designed to introduce the unique local culture and promote tourism potential of Phu Yen, thus attracting more investments in the locality.
This is also one of the events marking the death anniversary of Hung Kings (the 10th of the third lunar month, which falls on April 25 this year) and the 43rd anniversary of the Liberation of the South and National Reunification Day (April 30).
The programme, to last until May 1, will take place in Tuy Hoa city, Song Cau town and Tuy An district with ten major activities, including a tour to Dai Lanh Cape, the easternmost point of the country which is the first place in Vietnam to see the sun rise, and a Bai Choi singing festival.
On this occasion, ceremonies will be held to receive the title of Special National Relic Site granted to Hon Yen (Yen Islet), and announce Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s decision on the master plan for Xuan Dai Bay national tourism site.
Phu Yen is one of the most beautiful provinces in the central region of the country. It has nearly 190km of coastline bordered with zigzag mountains and dotted with many bays, lagoons, cliffs and reefs.
One of the best known destinations in the province is Dai Lanh Cape, which offers visitors a special feeling. There, one side is the green mountains and forests while the other side is the deep ocean with its blue colour combined with the light blue colour of the sky as well as multi-shaped vertical cliffs. Under the cape is Mon Beach, a very clean and stunning beach where freshwater flowing from high mountains creates a lovely picture.
Another favourite place for visitors is Da Dia Reef which was recognised as a national heritage site. Looking like an orderly beehive, the reef is made of thousands of pentagonal rocks, causing passers-by to stop and contemplate the unusual and magnificent work of nature.
The province has many large and small beaches that are described as primitive. Some beaches untouched by visitors are where local fishermen set sail to catch fish. Long Thuy Beach has swaying coconut trees while a fishing village is located in Vung Bau Beach. Bang Beach runs along the rock reef.
Phu Yen also offers visitors unique dishes using local food, such as the signature Ninh Hoa Nem (Ninh Hoa meat roll), girdle-cakes served with muong fish, O Loan cockles and Phu Yen steamed savory rice cakes. All these dishes have unique flavours of Phu Yen province where human and nature are closely bonded.
Vietnamese students in Russia hold cultural exchange event
Vietnamese students perform traditional dance at the event
Vietnamese students at the Financial University, one of the most prestigious universities in Russia, held a cultural exchange event on April 25 to mark the 100th year of the school, the alma mater of many high-ranking officials of Vietnam’s banking sector.
Lauding the university’s stronger cooperation with Vietnam over the years, Professor Ekaterina Kameneva, Vice Rector for Educational Programme Development and International Cooperation said about 140 Vietnamese students are studying at the university.
Letters of Vietnamese alumni were read at the event, expressing their warm sentiment for the university and teachers.
Participants of the event were also charmed by the students’ performances, which introduced Vietnam’s traditional dances and instruments.
Cambodia inaugurates Vietnam-funded radio station
An FM radio station built by the Voice of Vietnam (VOV) with the use of Vietnamese non-refundable aid was inaugurated in Kampong Speu province, Cambodia on April 25.
The radio station in Kampong Speu Province is one of a range of projects which are being implemented within the framework of an economic, cultural, education, scientific, and technological cooperation agreement between Vietnam and Cambodia.
cambodia inaugurates vietnam-funded radio station hinh 1 Addressing the ceremony, Men Som Nuon, director of the provincial Department of Information, expressed her sincere thanks to the Vietnamese Government and VOV for the support they have offered to the Cambodian broadcasting sector in recent times.
It is a high quality station with a wide range of coverage, said Mrs Nuon, adding that it will contribute to disseminating information, the Party’s policies and guidelines, laws, and the State’s socio-economic development plans to the country’s citizens.
First international fireworks team arrives in Da Nang
A pyrotechnics team from Poland have arrived in central Da Nang City to prepare for their fireworks display on the opening night of the 2018 Da Nang International Fireworks Festival (DIFF) on April 30.
They are the first of the seven invited teams to compete at the DIFF.
They have made thorough preparations for their performance, which will mark the start of a chain of five nights of fireworks displays running from April 30 to June 30.
Jaroslaw Daniel Suzdalewicz, head of the Poland team, highly rates the ability of the host team, Vietnam, and said his team have prepared carefully since late last year to make sure they can put on an impressive display to light up the Da Nang sky.
BUSINESS IN BRIEF 27/4
Viet Nam climbs up on UL safety index
Viet Nam is becoming a safer nation relative to many others, and once again improved its safety ranking in 2017, according to the latest report released by Underwriters Laboratories (UL), a global safety science company.
In the latest UL Safety Index, Viet Nam moved up 11 places to 76th.
The overall injury rates in the country decreased sharply last year, with drowning deaths falling by 15 per cent, poisoning by 14 per cent and transport deaths by 8 per cent, according to the report.
“Our mission is to help advance safe living and working environments for people in Việt Nam and around the world, and contribute to the discourse on public health and safety,” David Wroth, director, Data Science– UL, said.
“The findings from the study this year illustrate that Việt Nam is performing better in its overall efforts to improve safety.”
The index attributes the improvement to certain indicators like strong economic growth and rise in individual incomes.
Besides, education standards have improved significantly since 2000.
Lastly, Viet Nam also improved its technology utilisation to better manage public safety, identify hazards and communicate about intervention programmes, thus reducing fatalities.
UL predicted the country would continue to progress, with opportunities remaining to further enhance safety.
Specific actions to improve safety performance include addressing the rate of drowning incidents, falls among older adults, and transport injuries, where Việt Nam ranks among the lowest tier of countries in Asia.
The index provides a snapshot of a country’s relative safety performance based on three measurable drivers of safety: institutional drivers like economics and education, safety frameworks and safety outcomes.
Enterprises ignore online-tourism
The HCMC Department of Tourism and Vietnam E-commerce Association (VECOM) co-organized yesterday the conference themed “the 2018 Online-Tourism Trend” in HCMC.
Many participants said domestic enterprises have not yet paid attention to e-tourism model and state-enterprises have not applied new technologies in e-tourism while small medium-sized enterprises have not had enough capital to invest in.
As a result, around 80 percent of e-tourism products in Vietnam have been hold by foreign enterprises such as Agoda,com, Booking.com…
In Vietnam, some famous companies such as Gotadi.com, Tripi.vn, Ivivu.com attract only local clients. Representatives of Nielsen Vietnam, Facebook Vietnam shared travel agencies should have detailed plan to attract more domestic and foreign clients.
FLC to upgrade Dong Hoi Airport
The central province of Quang Binh has approved in principle real estate developer FLC Group to invest in and upgrade Dong Hoi to an international airport.
In document No 533/UBND-KTTH, the provincial People’s Committee said the upgradation project would be implemented under the public-private-partnership (PPP) model.
According to the document, the Dong Hoi Airport is under the management of Airports Corporation of Viet Nam (ACV) and Ministry of Transport. Therefore, Quang Binh Province has asked FLC to work with the ministry and ACV. The province, on its part, has promised to provide favourable conditions for the group to implement the project.
On April 7, 2018, FLC submitted a proposal to relevant ministries and agencies on investment to upgrade the airport.
Meanwhile, the Government has asked the Ministry of Transport to consider a master plan for upgrading the airport so that it can receive larger aircraft and meet higher demand for air travel.
Once approved officially, FLC Group will strictly go through the investment and operation procedures in line with the prevailing regulations, the company said in its proposal.
FLC signed a memorandum of understanding with Airbus last month to purchase 24 A321neo aircraft for its start-up carrier, Bamboo Airways.
Bamboo Airways is expected to begin operations late this year, with aircraft to be leased from third-party lessors before taking delivery of the aircraft under the deal with Airbus.
The airline will focus on bringing domestic and international tourists to some of the country’s increasingly popular destinations, such as Quy Nhon, Quang Ninh, Hai Phong, Thanh Hoa and Quang Binh.
“With a strategic location in the north-central region, Dong Hoi Airport has been important for Quang Binh to connect to world heritage sites in the central region while providing a convenient transit for many flights nationwide,” FLC said.
The potential of the airport has not been fully tapped, and there is a lot of scope for the growth of tourism in the province.
“The upgradation of the airport to welcome the increasing number of tourists to Quang Binh Province should be implemented soon. Dong Hoi Airport will also be one of the key operation areas for Bamboo Airways in the central region,” said Dang Tat Thang, deputy general director of FLC cum general director of the airline.
Thang added that FLC would begin the project as soon as it received formal approval and expected it to be complete by the end of 2019.
FLC Group has invested VND20 trillion (US$527 million) in the 2,000ha FLC Quang Binh Beach and Golf Resort Complex. This is the largest tourism project in the central region to date.
The project is expected to fuel the province’s tourism development as well as socio-economic growth.
Branding critical amid FTAs
National branding must accommodate international integration and sustainable export development, according to experts at the annual brand forum organised on Friday by the Viet Nam Trade Promotion Agency (VIETRADE) under the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT).
Vu Ba Phu, VIETRADE’s director, said the forum was a good opportunity to discuss branding trend development and the benefits of sustainable exports to foreign markets as many Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) are implemented.
Phu commented that Viet Nam’s current brand competition strategy has been strongly implemented at the local, national and international level, though businesses still hope for further state guidance on branding related issues in the import and export sector.
Ngo Chung Khanh, deputy director general of the MoIT’s Multilateral Trade Policy Department, said that the signing of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) has made national branding more urgent than ever.
By opening up of the domestic market and reducing many tariff lines to 0 per cent, the CPTPP will grant a plethora of prestigious imported products access to Vietnamese consumers, causing some local brands to lose on their own turf.
Khanh suggested that Vietnamese businesses step up their branding strategy to combat foreign competition.
Nguyen Quoc Thinh, advisor for the National Trademark Programme, also emphasised the importance of brand identity in the integration period.
According to Thinh, the process of brand building relies not only on product quality but also on customer service, as nowadays buyers have hundreds of different reasons to choose or reject a product.
As such, he advised that since customers tend to pick products with the most reliable information and standardised quality, domestic firms should aim to establish such credibility.
The forum commemorated notable national brands including the Hanoi Trade Corporation (Hapro), Chu Dau ceramics, Hanoi Trading Service Fashion Jointstock Company (Hafasco) and the Thuy Ta Joint Stock Company.
Nguyen Tien Vuong, Hapro’s Deputy General Director, expressed his delight in seeing the company affirmed as one of Ha Noi’s leading brand names, in both its main areas of import-export and domestic trade, ranging from convenience stores, electronics, clothing to dining services in nearly 80 countries and regions around the world.
Vuong said that in order to expand and develop its brand name in foreign markets, Hapro has been actively participating in trade fairs, market surveys and other promotion activities, which he recommended to other firms.
Across the world, over 80 countries are actively implementing national branding programmes to promote local brands in overseas markets, said Phu.
This year’s Vietnam Branding Forum focused on solutions for brand development in foreign markets, as well as its role in market expansion and an overview of the National Trademark Program with practical experiences from local businesses.
Established in 2003, the Vietnam National Trademark Program has been the sole State-sponsored only programme for the promotion of national goods and services branding.
Since 2008, April 20 has been the official Vietnam Trademark Day to acknowledge domestic businesses, promoting noteworthy local brand names in both Vietnamese and international markets.
Women’s leadership means leading one’s self first, overcoming social prejudices
A female leader needs to first lead herself, before thinking about leading others, said Ha Thu Thanh, CEO and Chairwoman of the audit firm Deloitte Vietnam.
Also, a woman needs to be confident and passionate enough to overcome the prejudices set by her family, friends, relatives and society, and seek the best inside of herself to advance in her own life and work, Thanh said at a conference on Thursday.
The conference was co-organised by the US Embassy in Ha Noi and the Vietnam Executive MBA Programme in Ha Noi, University of Hawaii (VEMBA Programme).
Thanh has held the position as the chair of Deloitte Vietnam since 1998. She was the only chairwoman among Deloitte’s 152 branches throughout the world prior to 2014.
A woman must be mentally strong, be aware and have the desire to rise, Thanh said. “Therefore, a woman needs to lead herself, before leading others.”
Women need to be provided with fair and equal opportunities so they can have the same chance as men do to prove their abilities and rise above social prejudices about women, she said.
“A woman also needs to struggle with her own issues and overcome them, and she should ask on her own for opportunities to work and prove her capabilities.”
Women are often disregarded in every culture and society, even in the Western world and developed countries, she added.
The biggest challenge for Vietnamese women to overcome is prejudices, she added.
Families should not be among those who place prejudices upon Vietnamese women, and it must be their own motivation that assists Vietnamese women in overcoming and advancing as they accomplish their own achievements, Thanh said.
“When given an opportunity, it’s not the matter of gender, it’s the matter of you being able to do a job well, or not.”
She urged all Vietnamese women to seek better educations, improve their skills and conduct themselves with good manners and professionalism so that they become exceptional, compared to others in the same organisation.
“In addition, they should be passionate enough about their job. Passion creates more and more energy for a person to keep working daily, improving her abilities and skills, and motivates her to do her job better day after day, in order to serve the common goals of the organisation and her own desires.”
Nguyen Phuong Mai, managing director of the head-hunting firm Navigos Search, said female managers seem to excel at solving problems.
According to a recent Navigos survey, which has been carried out since March and is still ongoing, 48 per cent of respondents – both male and female managers – thought gender diversification seemed to help their firms better resolve problems.
Thirty-six per cent of respondents thought a mixture of both male and female managers would enable firms to work with a diversity of customers, while 23 per cent of answers indicated that female managers would help businesses conduct better recruitment and retention of employees.
In all industries, human resources management and finance were the two positions handled by most of the mid-level and senior female managers (56-70 per cent for HR and 43-61 per cent for finance), while manufacturing was the lowest (12-30 per cent).
That also indicated that the percentages of female leaders in banking-finance and services were the highest (41 per cent and 38 per cent, respectively) while it was the lowest in the manufacturing sector (3 per cent).
The research also pointed out that there remains a lack of family and social support for women, as well as unfair evaluations, treatment and opportunities, along with gender discrimination and a lack of empowerment, which were the factors that prevent women from reaching great achievements in their careers.
Foreign firms keen on traffic projects in Vietnam
Multiple foreign companies have explored the possibility of getting involved in traffic infrastructure projects in Vietnam.
Early this week the Ministry of Transport met with three foreign firms – Greenland Holding Group, Vision Transportation Group and Vietnam Infrastructure and Property Development Group (VIPD) – over a couple of projects in the nation.
Deputy Minister of Transport Nguyen Nhat told representatives of these firms that the traffic infrastructure sector is open to private investors.
By 2020, the ministry plans to open some 2,000 kilometers of expressway to traffic. Of which, 654 kilometers would be built under public-private partnership (PPP).
For railways, the ministry will pass a project to develop an express railway connecting the country’s north and south to the National Assembly for approval next year. Two sections of the rail line – Hanoi-Vinh and HCMC-Nha Trang – will get underway first.
The country has international seaports able to receive vessels of more than 100,000 DWT such as Lach Huyen in the north and Cai Mep-Thi Vai in the south. A plan is underway to modernize international seaports and connect seaports with the national road network and regional logistics centers.
Regarding aviation, the Long Thanh International Airport project with an annual capacity of 100 million passengers and five million tons of cargo is being carried out in Dong Nai Province. In addition, existing international airports such as Noi Bai, Tan Son Nhat, Danang, Can Tho and Cam Ranh will be upgraded.
Moreover, the sector will develop the waterway traffic system in the Mekong Delta, connecting to Cambodia and Cai Mep-Thi Vai Port.
Nhat said there are many potential projects in which international investors can participate. Vietnam always needs investors to get involved in traffic projects in the country, so mechanisms and policies for PPP projects have been improved to attract more domestic and foreign investors.
At the meeting, representatives of the three firms asked about investment procedures, policies, profitability and capital recovery, among others.
Mao Juncai, executive vice president of Greenland Holding Group, said foreign investors were interested in traffic infrastructure development projects in Vietnam.
The firms also proposed the Ministry of Transport and relevant agencies support and provide them with necessary information about particular projects.
Property firm Nam Long to auction 40 million shares to raise capital
Housing developer Nam Long Investment Corporation (HOSE: NLG) approved a plan at its general meeting held over the weekend to auction off as many as 40 million shares, equivalent to 21.2 per cent of its outstanding shares, to raise capital.
The plan, which received support from about 80 per cent of its shareholders, has made the group the first listed firm in the country to raise capital by a share auction.
The auction is widely open for domestic and international investors who are keen on NLG stock.
The starting price is set at VND22,300 (98 US cents) per share, equal to 120 per cent of its book value as of the end of 2017.
The group’s board of directors set the bidding price at 30 per cent of the average opening price of NLG stock in the last 60 trading days on the southern bourse.
NLG stock closed at VND40,600 on Friday, down nearly 0.5 per cent from the day before.
Nguyen Thanh Huong, Investment and IR director of the group, told the general meeting that the share auction was meant for shareholders’ best interest as they would be the ones who decided the winning price. Meanwhile in private offering, the selling price of shares is set by the issuer.
“The auction is a way to find the best price for the company’s shares in a fair way. And with it, the door is open for both existing shareholders and new investors.
“The company strongly believes in the success of the auction as it is expected high revenue and profit growth rates from now to 2020,” she said.
Nam Long is expected to raise as much as VNĐ1 trillion from the auction. The money will be used for its existing projects as well as buying land in HCM City and Hà Nội.
It will resume the Water Point Long An project this year. Covering an area of 355 hectares, the project is expected to be a model urban area of the province and serve as a gateway between HCM City and provinces in the Mekong Delta.
The group now still has a land bank of 399ha and aims to buy around 20-25ha in big cities to develop more strategic product lines under the brand name of Ehome, Flora, and Valora.
It also plans to build more facilities for its housing projects such as kindergarten, schools, shopping malls to generate more stable income, which it expects to reach $5 million by 2022.
In the long run, return from this investment is expected to account for 30 per cent of its profit by 2030.
Nam Long reported a post-tax profit of VND756 billion last year, nearly double the amount in 2016, beating the yearly target by 15 per cent.
Its net profit attributable to the shareholders was VND535 billion, up 55 per cent from 2016.
NLG stock enjoyed a robust year in 2017 as its value has gone up by 35 percentage points and its EPS was up 53 per cent.
As of the end of last year, the group’s total asset was worth VND7.9 trillion, up VND1.7 trillion from the beginning of the year.
At the general meeting, Nam Long set a revenue target of more than VND3.8 trillion and a net profit of VND614 billion, up 22 per cent and 15 per cent respectively compared with 2017.
HCMC sees 10,000 apartments for sale in Q2
The real estate market in HCM City will continue to grow in the second quarter of this year, with particularly strong supply of apartments as about 10,000 apartments are open for sale.
The growth forecast was made by the Viet Nam Association of Property Brokerage, under Viet Nam Real Estate Association (VNREA).
The market tends to develop low-cost condominiums in the surrounding districts, while apartment prices in the central areas continue to rise due to limited supply.
By the end of the first quarter this year, the number of apartments for sale advertised by investors was nearly 34,000 units (of which nearly 19,370 units have not officially opened), nearly equal to the number of apartments offered for the entire year of 2017.
It is expected that in the second quarter, about 10,000 apartments will be officially offered to the market. Apartments in the east and south of the city accounted for a large proportion of supply.
Mid-range apartments will remain dominant in the market. The supply of townhouses and villas shows signs of decline.
According to real estate experts, there are some factors that may affect the supply of apartments offered for sale in the second quarter in HCM City, as the State Bank of Viet Nam may respond to recent increases in inflation by limiting credit. The Carina apartment fire incident also caused some anxiety for purchasers.
Some land real estate investors have taken advantage of this opportunity to leverage the media and promote free-standing homes, which are often more expensive but regarded as safer especially in the wake of the Carina apartment fire. However, the real demand for this type of housing is not high because affordable options far from the city centre often lack infrastructure and transportation access.
Talanx AG seeks controlling stake in PVI
Vice President of Talanx AG Group Christian Hinch has proposed to the Vietnamese Government to raise the ownership ratio of foreign investors at PetroVietnam Insurance (PVI) to 49 per cent.
Hinch, who is also chairman of HDI Global SE, which owns over 47 per cent stake in PVI, said his group wanted to hold controlling stake in the enterprise, which is a member of the Vietnam Oil and Gas Group (PVN), to meet the interests and requirements of PVI shareholders who were interested in expanding the scope of its activities to the ASEAN market.
Hinch proposed this at a meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue in Ha Noi on Thursday.
Hue said the market for life insurance and non-life insurance in Viet Nam was growing rapidly, but the scale was still modest compared to the country’s GDP (gross domestic product).
“The Government will restructure to develop the insurance market in Viet Nam. Talanx’s intention of expanding investment in the country is in line with Viet Nam’s policy of restructuring the financial and credit system, including the insurance market,” Hue said.
As a major shareholder, Talanx has helped PVI improve its management capacity and enhance its human resources, said Hue.
He added that the Vietnamese Government plans to withdraw PVN’s capital contribution from PVI.
Hue said the Government would assign the Ministry of Industry and Trade to set up a divestment roadmap and determine methods of capital withdrawal and selling prices in line with PVI’s previous commitments with PVN.
Office rent in HCMC mounts
The demand for office space in HCMC leaped while the availability of office buildings for lease was limited in quarter one this year, resulting in a slight uptick in office rent, the website of Nguoi Lao Dong newspaper reports.
According to several market research companies, office space was in short supply in HCMC in the first quarter. In the last few months, no new office buildings, including grades A and B, have been put into operation, hence a slight increase in rent.
The average offered rent has continued to climb over the past four years and reached a record high in the first quarter of 2018.
According to property market consultant CBRE, office rent in the Grade A segment averaged out at US$39.71 per square meter, up 7.4% against last year, whereas Grade B also hit US$22.35, up 1.8% against 2017.
Statistics from Cushman & Wakefield, meanwhile, shows that Grade B currently accounts for 80% of the total floor area leased in this quarter. Some 60% of total transactions go to office buildings in District 1.
Apart from the new buildings that set high rent, existing towers may also to revise up rent due to the limited availability of buildings at prime locations. It is forecasted that the uptrend will likely continue in the short and medium terms due to the undersupply.
Alex Crane, general manager of Cushman & Wakefield Vietnam, said offered prices are still on the increase, partly because investors have reduced incentives for clients.
The robust demand for office space is attributed to strong economic growth and rising foreign direct investment.
Following Vietnam’s impressive achievements in 2017, the macroeconomy is predicted to remain stable this year with gross domestic product (GDP) growth predicted at between 6.5% and 6.8% this year, and inflation below 4%. Meanwhile, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) said in its latest report that Vietnam’s GDP growth is forecast to accelerate from 6.8% last year to 7.1% this year.
In the first two months of 2018, total foreign direct investment (FDI) approvals reached over US$3.3 billion. In addition, over 18,700 new businesses were established, fueling the demand for office space.
BIDV plans to raise chartered capital by 28% this year
The Bank for Investment and Development of Việt Nam (BIDV) has proposed a plan to its shareholders to increase its chartered capital this year by 28 per cent, compared to the end of 2017.
In the plan which was unveiled at the bank’s annual general shareholder meeting on April 21, BIDV proposes to add VNĐ9.45 trillion (US$418.2 million) to its chartered capital, so the figure would reach VNĐ43.65 trillion by the end of 2018.
Specifically, BIDV will issue 965 million ordinary shares with a face value of VNĐ10,000 per share. Of the total, more than 171 million shares will be sold to the public through an initial public offering or private placement, 603.3 million shares to be sold to foreign strategic investors under private placement, and over 171 million shares sold under the Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP).
The increase in chartered capital is part of BIDV’s plan to increase its equity to meet the minimum capital adequacy requirement set by the State Bank of Việt Nam, which is aligned with Basel II.
The move is also expected to help the bank improve the credit rating results of international institutions, enhance prestige in its business operations, and improve its financial capacity and competitiveness, in both domestic and international markets.
Also, the bank commits to use added capital in the business areas of BIDV, with reasonable guidance to ensure the capital is used with efficiency and maximises benefits to shareholders.
Cash dividend payment
Regarding the profit distribution plan in 2017, the Board of Directors has submitted to shareholders to approve the cash dividend payment plan at the rate of 7 per cent. The total amount of dividends is nearly VNĐ2.4 trillion. The remuneration of the Board of Directors and Board of Supervisors in 2018 will be, at maximum, 0.44 per cent of the profit after tax in 2018.
In 2018, BIDV sets the target of credit growth of up to 17 per cent; before-tax profits of VNĐ9.3 trillion; a bad debt ratio below 2 per cent; and a dividend payout ratio is expected to range from 5 to 7 per cent.
At the meeting, BIDV General Director Phan Đức Tú said that in 2017, BIDV continued to be the market leader, maintaining its position and market share in the industry. Accordingly, its total assets reached over VNĐ1.2 quadrillion, up 19.5 per cent, compared to 2016. Total deposits of the bank reached VNĐ 1.12 quadrillion, up 19.7 per cent over the beginning of the year.
The consolidated profit before tax was VNĐ8.6 trillion, up 13 per cent year on year, exceeding the target set by the General Meeting of Shareholders in 2017, with a return on assets reaching 0.63 per cent and a return on equity (ROE) of 5 per cent.
Soc Trang province attracts clean energy investors
A lot of investors operating in the fields of wind power, solar power and agriculture have recently come to the Mekong Delta province of Soc Trang to seek investment opportunities.
Earlier, the Ministry of Industry and Trade approved 22 locations with potential for wind power development in the province.
These locations cover a total area of 35,740 hectares with plants holding a combined designed capacity of 1,470MW.
To date, 19 investors have made fact-finding tours and mapped out projects at the planned locations. Among those, two have completed procedures and were granted with investment decisions.
Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Tran Van Chuyen said that the province always creates favourable conditions for enterprises and will choose the most competent investors to promote the efficiency of the projects.
The province is speeding up the drafting of a master plan on wind power, he added.
An investment promotion conference in Soc Trang will be organised in May, during which the province will grant investment decisions, investment licences, and memoranda of understanding on investment cooperation to 47 projects, with a total investment of nearly 123 trillion VND (5.4 billion USD).
Transport ministry suggests solutions to Cai Lay Tollgate impasse
Vehicles are seen passing Cai Lay BOT Tollgate without having to pay toll fees following protests by drivers over the location of the tollgate
Five capital recovery plans for the controversial Cai Lay Tollgate in the Mekong Delta of Tien Giang have been forwarded to the Prime Minister for consideration, heard a meeting between the Transport Ministry and Tien Giang authorities last week.
The operator of Cai Lay tollgate, National Highway No.1 Tien Giang Investment Co Ltd, built a 12-kilometer road bypassing Cai Lay Town, and gave a facelift to a 26.5-kilometer section of National Highway 1 which runs through Cai Lay town in Tien Giang under the build-operate-transfer (BOT) format. The company set up a tollgate on National Highway 1 to recover roughly VND1.7 trillion of investment, but since toll collection started, drivers had staged strong protests, repeatedly paralyzing the tollgate’s operation.
Drivers reason that the investor built the bypass, so it only had the right to collect tolls on those vehicles using this road section. It was unreasonable to charge vehicles running on National Highway 1A, let alone the toll fee was too high, almost the same as the fee for using the 40-km HCMC-Trung Luong Expressway.
Following such protests, the Government ordered the tollgate be suspended, and the Transport Ministry look for solutions.
At the above-mentioned meeting, the ministry floated five options, including fare reductions and tollgate relocation.
In the first solution, the ministry suggested keeping the tollgate at the current site and offering 30% discounts for all kinds of vehicles. The ministry also suggested fare reductions and exemptions for nearby households.
Regarding the second option, the ministry proposed building another tollgate on the bypass alongside the current one on National Highway 1A. Fares of a standard vehicle will be VND15,000 and VND25,000 per trip on the national highway and the bypass respectively.
However, the new tollgate will cost an additional VND90 billion for construction. In addition, road users will likely travel on the national highway due to lower fares, thereby causing traffic jams. Therefore, the plan could have a knock-on effect on other BOT road projects.
The third plan is to keep the location of the tollgate and the current fare of VND25,000 per trip. If chosen, the plan will be financially viable, as it will not tap the State budget. However, it will be faced with public opposition.
The fourth plan is to relocate the tollgate to the bypass. The Government will spend VND1.25 trillion from the State budget to support the investor. Certain types of vehicle will be forced to travel on the bypass, so they will likely object, given higher fares.
The fifth plan is to remove the current tollgate. The Government will make annual payments of about VND2,026 billion (US$88.8 million) to the investor for a period of seven years and seven months.
Deputy Minister of Transport Nguyen Nhat said the approved plan should be carefully weighed so that it would not affect other BOT projects and the investment environment, especially the execution of the North-South Expressway project.
Garment exports to US surge in first quarter of 2018
Vietnam’s textile and garment exports to the US reached approximately 3.14 billion USD in the first quarter of this year, marking a year on year increase of 13.2 percent – the highest pace in the last three years, according to statistics from the General Department of Customs.
The Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association (VITAS) attributed this positive export growth to the rebound of the US economy, which has fuelled its textile and garment imports. During the period, the US imported an estimated 25.29 billion USD worth of textile and garment products from foreign markets, up 4.2 percent year-on-year.
According to Vitas, the US trade tension with China beginning in March was one of the main factors affecting the global textile picture in 2018. If the US extended curbs on Chinese garments and textiles, Vietnam could export more to the world’s largest economy, the association said.
Vitas forecast that Vietnamese apparel exports to the US would likely hit nearly 13.84 billion USD in 2018, 11 percent higher than 2017.
Vietnam earned a total turnover of 7.83 billion USD from textile and garment exports from January to March, surging 15.4 percent over the same period last year, mainly thanks to the country’s participation in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and its efforts to speed up exports to China.
Besides the US, Vietnamese shipments of textile and garment products to the three major markets of Japan, the Republic of Korea and China also experienced encouraging respective growths of over 27 percent, 22.3 percent and 26 percent, reaching 958 million USD, 896 million USD and 832 million USD.
Meanwhile, exports of these items to the EU – another important outlet – saw a modest yearly rise of 1 percent to 1.13 billion USD, according to the department’s statistics.
With a positive performance in the first quarter, Vietnam’s textile and garment industry is striving for a year-on-year increase of 10 percent in export value, to 34.3 billion USD for the whole of 2018, Vitas said.
Relaxed visa policy could be ‘magic wand’ for Vietnam’s tourism
Relaxing its visa policy could be Vietnam’s ‘magic wand’ to attract more foreign visitors and transform itself into a top regional and global destination, experts say.
Nearly 13 million foreign tourists visited Vietnam in 2017, a year-on-year growth rate of almost 30%.
Experts attribute the remarkable growth to the country’s visa waiver program for citizens from five European countries – Germany, France, the UK, Italy, and Spain.
First launched in July 2015, the visa-free policy immediately boosted tourism from these countries by 13.8%-29% over the following year.
The yearly growth rate was maintained at levels between six and 20% in 2017.
“Such growth is rare if not unprecedented, especially for tourists from countries as geographically distant from Vietnam as Western Europe,” said Nguyen Van Tuan, director of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism.
“It shows that the visa waiver program positively impacted Vietnam’s tourism.”
Since Vietnam implemented a visa-free policy for Japanese passport holders in July 2004, the number of annual tourists from Japan has increased threefold, from 267,000 in 2004 to nearly 800,000 in 2017.
Japan is now Vietnam’s third-largest market for foreign tourists.
The numer of visitors from the Republic of Korea saw a tenfold rise from 233,000 in 2004 to more than 2.4 million in 2017, following the introduction of a visa waiver program for Korean citizens in 2004.
Similar results were seen for visa exemptions given to Danish, Norwegian, Finnish, and Swedish nationals in 2005 and Russian nationals in 2009.
“The fee for a single-entry tourist visa to Vietnam is currently US$25, a minimal fee compared to how much a tourist spends during their stay,” said Nguyen Thi Huyen, CEO of local tour operator Vietrantour.
“A tourist from Europe spends an average of US$100-US$130 a day, and they tend to stay in the country for seven to ten days. It benefits the community by boosting the GDP and creating jobs for locals.”
Despite the benefits, Vietnam only offers visa exemptions for citizens from 23 countries and territories as of April 2018.
In comparison, other popular tourist destinations in Southeast Asia, such as Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines, have visa waiver policies for between 160 and 169 countries, even though not all of them hold bilateral visa waiver agreements.
Vietnam’s e-visa and visa-on-arrival policies are also considered less competitive than emerging regional markets such as Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar.
Tour operators complain about the fact that some visa waiver programs, such as the one for citizens from five Western European countries, need to be renewed yearly, leaving travel agencies walking a thin line when targeting those markets.
These drawbacks contribute to Vietnam’s rank of 116 out of 136 countries in terms of visa requirements, according to a 2017 tourism competitiveness report published by the World Economic Forum.
“For tourists from developed countries, what troubles them is not the visa fee but the arduous process of applying for a visa,” said Dr. Luong Hoai Nam, deputy general director of Vietstar Airlines.
Vietnam reported tourism revenue of VND510 trillion (US$22.36 billion) last year, a much larger number than the revenues it generated from visa fees, Nam said, citing statistics from the tourism administration.
With more relaxed visa policies, Vietnam’s tourist industry could be freed from its chains and become a popular destination, capable of competing with others in the region, experts say.
Production costs need to be lowered to spur exports
PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc is seen on the podium at a national teleconference on how to boost exports in Hanoi on April 23.
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, speaking at a national teleconference on how to boost exports in Hanoi City on April 23, urged solutions to reduce production and service costs, and improve the quality of goods to prop up export growth.
The 2017 export growth, excluding phones and electronic accessories, could reach a mere 15.8%, said Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh.
Vietnam made a record high of US$200 billion in merchandise exports last year. Though this was a positive result, Minister Anh cautioned, the foreign direct investment (FDI) sector accounted for more than 70% of the nation’s outbound sales.
Last year’s strong export growth played a vital part in the country’s higher-than-expected gross domestic product (GDP) growth. It helped improve the balance of payments, stabilize the macro economy, bolster production, create jobs, and raise incomes of millions of workers, according to Minister Anh.
However, he pointed out some shortcomings in the 2017 export performance. The export sector was more dependent on electronic products than crude oil as the former made up 33% of total exports. If phones, computers and electronics were excluded, the country’s export growth would be a mere 15.8%.
He also noted manufacturing activities of foreign-invested companies have long been dependent on regional and global supply chains. The country’s export growth would be adversely affected if there emerge external shocks like trade war or global supply chain changes.
Some types of agricultural and seafood products are mainly exported to Asia. Items such as cassava, rubber and dragon fruit go to a single foreign market, according to the minister.
Small-scale production makes the quality of agricultural and seafood products inconsistent, he noted, so food safety remains an issue to be solved and it is hard to apply international criteria for tracking the origin of goods.
He said there is some improvement in food safety but it is not sustainable. Some export shipments have been returned to the country for failure to meet food safety criteria, damaging the reputation of Vietnamese products.
It would be easy to ship products of high quality. Product quality control must be tightened, said Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.
Phuc said some legal documents should be amended to boost exports and create favorable conditions for the business community. He will directly inspect the reform of administrative procedures in the customs sector.
High costs will cut into the competitiveness of Vietnamese products, he noted, calling for reductions in logistics costs, procedures and informal fees.
Market research should be done before production by further updating producers on what is happening on the market, he said.
He said Vietnam should further strengthen international cooperation to secure sustainable export markets to increase export volume and value by 15-20%. At the same time, the country should diversify its export markets and increasingly join export networks and global value chains.
He noted there should have a comprehensive strategy for bolstering exports. Thus, local companies should be supported to cooperate with foreign partners, thereby helping them join global value chains.
As much as 75% of export revenue is contributed by the FDI sector. If the link between local and foreign firms is formed, Vietnamese products will have higher added value, according to the PM.
He requested relevant agencies to remove obstacles related to taxes, fees, surcharges, customs procedures, specialized inspections, and production and business costs. Besides, he added, the country should develop a modern logistics system to make local products more competitive in price.
Government News 27/4
PM visits Vietnam’s pavilion at Food & Hotel Asia 2018 in Singapore
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc visits the Vietnamese section at the Food & Hotel Asia trade show.
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc visited the Vietnam Food Pavilion at the Food & Hotel Asia (FHA) 2018 in Singapore on April 26.
More than 4,000 enterprises from 70 nations and territories are participating in the biennial event, the biggest international food and hospitality trade event in Asia.
This is the first time Vietnam has set up a booth on an area of nearly 200 square metres, featuring Vietnamese food.
Apart from introducing businesses which have trade activities abroad like TH True Milk and Trung Nguyen, this year, Vietnam prioritised promoting small-and medium-sized enterprises and start-up companies in processed farm produce such as coffee, cacao, cashew nuts, fruits, rice and seafood.
TH True Milk, one of the biggest dairy producers in Vietnam, took this occasion to introduce its products.
From 2015, the company’s products were sold in China, Cambodia, the Philippines and other nations.
The same day, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and a high-level Vietnamese delegation laid flower wreaths at the statue of late President Ho Chi Minh in the campus of the Asian Civilisations Museum.
PM attends VN-Singapore Business Forum
PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc attends the Viet Nam-Singapore Business Forum, April 26, 2018
Viet Nam welcomes more Singaporean investment and expects to learn start-up experience from Singaporean partners, affirmed PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc at the Viet Nam-Singapore Business Forum on April 26 within his official visit to Singapore from April 25-27.
Speaking at the forum, the PM highlighted that Singapore poured more than US$43 billion in nearly 2,000 projects in Viet Nam. In 2017, the two-way trade value reached US$8.3 billion.
Viet Nam has invested in 93 projects in Singapore, with the total capital investment of US$235 million.
In 2017, 280,000 Singaporeans visited Viet Nam and around 400,000 Vietnamese travelled to Singapore. Currently, around 10,000 Vietnamese students are studying in Singapore.
These active achievements have helped the nation be determined to establishing a Government of integrity and creativity serving the people and businesses, striving to improve the improve the business environment to be listed among top ASEAN countries and heading to standards of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), he said.
The nation heads to reduce business expenditures, especially expenditures on administrative procedures and logistics, improve the growth quality based on capacity and renovation as well as take advantages of the fourth industrial revolution and harmoniously connect the State sector with foreign-invested one for a more sustainable development and higher economic growth, the PM asserted.
PM Phuc stressed that Viet Nam now has 52 million people getting access to the Internet, accounting for 54% of the total population and ranking fifth in the Asia-Pacific region and around 55% of Viet Nam’s population are using smart phones, supposing that these help investors to bring their products and services to the huge number of customers in Viet Nam.
Viet Nam encourages investment funds to provide sponsors for start-up enterprises and enhancing creativity, he asserted.
The Vietnamese Government commits to supporting and facilitating start-up initiatives, protecting intellectual property rights within the framework of the Intellectual Property Law and realizing commitments on intellectual property rights within Free Trade Agreements the nation has joined, PM Phuc added.
The Vietnamese leader expected that the forum will open more cooperative opportunities for the two nations’ businesses for the comprehensive development of both sides and the region.
Singaporean Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong expressed his hope that through the forum, the two sides will strengthen connection to seek for partners, bringing benefits for both.
At the forum, PM Phuc witnessed the exchange of 16 memorandums of understanding and cooperative documents.
The forum, jointly organized by the Vietnamese Ministry of Planning and Investment, Vietnamese Embassy in Singapore, Singapore Business Association and Singapore Manufacturing Federation, attracted the participation of more than 700 delegates from the two nations’ large corporations.
French Communist Party leader welcomed in HCM City
Vice Secretary of the Ho Chi Minh City Party Committee Vo Thi Dung (R) received Jean Charles Negre, Politburo member and former standing member of the French Communist Party (PCF) Secretariat on April 26
Vice Secretary of the Ho Chi Minh City Party Committee Vo Thi Dung on April 26 received Jean Charles Negre, Politburo member and former standing member of the French Communist Party (PCF) Secretariat, who is visiting the city.
The municipal official said that the cooperation and friendship between Vietnam and France have seen strong development, especially after the establishment of the Strategic Partnership in 2013.
As the two countries celebrate the 45th anniversary of their diplomatic ties and the fifth year of the Strategic Partnership, the recent visit by General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) Central Committee Nguyen Phu Trong to France has enhanced relations between the two countries and communist parties in particular, Dung added.
While informing her guest that HCM City has developed cooperation with many French localities, including Lyon city, she expressed her hope that Jean Charles Negre will create favourable conditions to foster the city’s relationship with French localities.
In reply, Jean Charles Negre stressed that France always wishes to bolster cooperation with Vietnam for the sake of people of the two countries.
He also suggested the CPV and the PCF hold more cooperation activities in the coming time in a bid to raise their position in each country’s social development.
ASEAN countries seek to foster mutual legal assistance in criminal matters
Participants at the meeting (Source: anninhthudo.vn)
The eight meeting of the senior officials of the agreement on mutual legal assistance in criminal affairs among ASEAN countries opened in Hanoi on April 26.
This is the second meeting hosted by the Ministry of Public Security of Vietnam and the first one organised since the formation of the ASEAN Community on December 31, 2015.
Addressing the two-day event, Deputy Minister of Public Security Le Quy Vuong highly valued the outcomes of the agreement in particular and activities on legal assistance in criminal matters among ASEAN countries in general.
However, he pointed to a number of difficulties in the implementation of the agreement, including a narrow scale of the treaty, while the agreement has yet to be recognised as an official document of the ASEAN.
Vuong said that he hopes participants will share information as well as scientific and realistic issues of their country, thus recognising difficulties and problems in the implementation of the agreement and seek adequate solutions.
Participants were delivered with reports of 10 ASEAN countries on the results of the agreement after the seventh meeting in 2014. They discussed ways to enhance the role of central agencies in strengthening the enforcement of the deal as well as issues related to the approval and implementation of the deal.
International experts at the event shared their experience in various maters, including gathering electronic evidence of the US, and evaluation of the UNODC on existing and emerging challenges.
They are scheduled to discuss the upgrade of the agreement into an official document of ASEAN as well as Kazakhstan’s request for joining the agreement, as well as time and venue for the next meeting.
Vietnam’s hosting of the event showed the country’s willingness to cooperate with other ASEAN countries in mutual legal assistance in criminal matters.
Singaporean media spotlights Vietnamese PM’s visit
Vietnam's PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc (L) shakes hands with his Singaporean counterpart Lee Hsien Loong ahead of their meeting at the Istana in Singapore on April 25, 2018
Singaporean newspapers have ran articles highlighting the ongoing official visit to Singapore by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc from March 25-27, and specific outcomes reached during talks between the two countries’ Prime Ministers.
Straits Times, Singapore’s leading daily newspaper published in English, said Singapore and Vietnam signed many agreements to strengthen bilateral ties on environmental protection, banking supervision, fintech, renewable energy, liquefied natural gas (LNG) and trade rules.
According to the article, Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his visiting counterpart Nguyen Xuan Phuc toasted the close partnership between their countries, which celebrate 45 years of diplomatic ties this year, at an official dinner at the Istana on April 25’s night.
It quoted PM Lee as saying that Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang of Vietnam will be part of a network of smart cities of ASEAN being proposed by Singapore.
More details on the network, which aims to better connect digital infrastructure and services like e-payments across the region, will be announced at the 32nd ASEAN Summit from April 27-28.
Meanwhile, an article on Singapore's Channel News Asia online newspaper highlighted that the signing of six agreements between Vietnam and Singapore is an important result in the first official visit of PM Phuc to Singapore since he took office.
“One of the agreements will see the two countries collaborate on LNG development in Vietnam, which entails the exchange of information, sharing of best practices and building of technical capacity between the private and public sectors of both countries. This will enable Singapore companies to better understand the needs of the LNG sector in Vietnam and seize more partnership opportunities”, the article said.
At the same time, the agreement on financial innovation will facilitate joint projects between the two countries, help FinTech companies in one jurisdiction better understand the regulatory regime and opportunities in the other, as well as encourage the sharing of information on emerging FinTech trends and developments, it added.
Channel News Asia also mentioned the talks between the two PMs, during which both leaders said that extensive investment and trade ties form a key pillar of Singapore-Vietnam relations, and agreed that measures such as enforcing regulations as well as strengthening business-to-business links were important in creating a pro-business environment.
The newspaper quoted PM Lee as saying that the partnership between Vietnam and Singapore goes beyond economic cooperation as the two sides are working closely on sustainable development.
HCM City hopes for Ukraine's engagement in urban development
Scene at the meeting (Photo: hochiminhcity.gov.vn)
Ho Chi Minh City welcomes foreign businesses, including those from Ukraine, to engage in the city’s urban building and development, said a municipal official.
At a reception for vi