Congress talks transforming finance in digital age
The 48th World Chief Financial Officers (CFO) Congress opened in Ho Chi Minh City on November 15, focusing discussion on transforming finance in the digital age.
In his opening speech, Nguyen Ngoc Bach, Chairman of the Vietnam CFO Association and head of the organising board, said the event, held for the first time in Vietnam, is a great opportunity for business leaders to gather, exchange and directly share their knowledge and practices, their intensive financial management skills with experienced finance leaders from other continents.
“International financial experts will talk new trends and provide insights into the future of the financial sector and the challenges that business leaders and financial professionals are facing in this technological era,” he said.
Nguyen Thien Nhan, member of the Politburo and Secretary of the HCM City Party Committee, said Vietnam and HCM City in particular are focusing on implementing measures to improve productivity through technology and modernisation of business-level management.
The city is investing more in upgrading technology, applying modern financial management structure and new tools, creating investors and financial organisations to build suitable investment and financial plans and raise productivity in different fields, he said.
He revealed that HCM City is carrying out a project to build itself into a smart city in the 2017-2020 period with vision toward 2025, along with the establishment of a highly interactive innovation area which aims to combine R&D and human resources training centres.
The two-day congress is the most important summit of the International Association of Senior Finance Managers, and is organised by the Vietnam CFO Association and the Japan Association of CFOs.
Its agenda focuses on a balance between policy considerations driving (or hindering) global and Asian growth and the transformative potential of digital technologies in responding to the opportunities and challenges they present.
Cybersecurity, blockchain technology, big data, and artificial intelligence (AI) are some of the key topics discussed at the event, which sees over 500 business leaders, CFOs, directors, and finance professionals from across the world taking part.
PENM III Germany raises US$19.2 million from offloading shares of Hoa Phat Group
The transaction has generated double profit for PENM III Germany with share price of VND41,000 (US$1.76) apiece.
Private Equity New Markets Germany III (PENM III Germany) raised VND447 billion (US$19.24 million) by offloading 10.9 million shares or 0.51% stake in Vietnam’s top steelmaker Hoa Phat Group, according to Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange (HSX).
The transaction period was scheduled from October 5 to 10 through order matching and put through.
PENM III initially planned to sell 20 million shares or 0.94% stake in Hoa Phat Group, for which the private equity company cited the low market price was the main reason for its unexpected result.
After the transaction, PENM III currently holds 49 million shares or 2.31% stake at the Vietnamese steel producer.
PENM III bought in shares of Hoa Phat Group last March with the price of VND20,000 (US$0.86) apiece.
Previously, Bao Viet Securities Company (BVSC) cut forecast for Hoa Phat Group`s after-tax profit by 10% to VND11.7 trillion (US$502.79 million) in 2019. However, the Vietnamese steelmaker’s profit growth can still reach 28% in 2019.
Hoa Phat Group’s profit in the third quarter of 2018 is estimated at VND2.25 trillion (US$96.73 million), up 5% year-on-year.
In 2017, Hoa Phat Group’s revenue reached VND46.8 trillion (US$2 billion) and its after-tax profit VND8 trillion (US$351.2 million), up 38% and 21% year-on-year, respectively.
Nghi Son refinery to contribute over 342 million USD to State budget
The Nghi Son refinery plant in the Nghi Son Economic Zone of the central province of Thanh Hoa, is expected to contribute about 8 trillion VND (342.6 million USD) to the State budget in 2018.
After six months of operation, the plant produced 12 types of products, meeting the technical standards for domestic consumption and export.
The products of Nghi Son Refinery have been supplied to the market, including RON 92, RON 95, jet fuel, benzene, polypropylene, diesel, sulfur, and others.
Earnings from the plant’s exports reached 204 million USD in the period.
Nguyen Van Thi, head of the management board of Nghi Son Economic Zone and Thanh Hoa industrial parks, said the plant will be officially put into commercial operation with a designed capacity of 10 million tonnes of crude oil/year (or 200 barrels of crude oil/day) from November 15.
The plant’s products are expected to meet 40 percent of domestic demand, contributing to ensuring national energy security, creating incentives for attracting investment to the industry and service, especially supporting industry for the oil refinery sector.
The Nghi Son project has a total investment capital of over 9 billion USD. It is invested by a consortium of Kuwait International Petrochemical Company (KPC, 35.1 percent), and the Japanese firms Idemitsui Kosan (IKC, 35.1 percent) and Mitsui Chemicals (MCI, 4.7 percent). The rest is contributed by the state-run Vietnam Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam).
In the coming time, the KPC will invest over 5 billion USD to extend the project and build a crude stockpile as well as other important projects in Thanh Hoa.
Agriculture sector targets 3 pct annual growth by 2020
Vietnam’s agriculture sector is aiming for annual growth of a minimum 3 percent, with labour productivity improving 3.5 percent a year by 2020, said Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Ha Cong Tuan.
The ministry has also set a goal of having 15,000 effective agriculture cooperatives, increasing the rural population’s income by 1.8 times compared to 2015 and half of communes meeting ‘new rural’ criteria, Tuan said during a conference reviewing the agriculture restructuring plan held in Hanoi late last week.
To achieve these results, the agriculture sector would need to review and build three product lines: the national key product group, the provincial key product and products under the model “one commune, one product,” said Tuan.
Speaking at the conference, Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung called for efforts to restructure and build a modern, smart agriculture sector that is globally competitive.
The sector must also enhance its climate resilience and take into account sustainable development, Dung said.
“Economic restructuring, especially in the agriculture sector, is a constant struggle and a long-term duty. We must conduct further assessment to make plans based on each locality’s advantages, with consideration towards market demands, in order to produce large and high-quality output,” the Deputy PM said.
At the conference, he also stressed the central role of the people – as both the recipients and the conductors – of restructuring.
Businesses should be the driving force of the process, as they have the budget, science and technology, breeds and the capacity to organise production and look for consumption markets, he said.
After five years, Dung said the agriculture restructuring plan has brought a marked shift in awareness of both the people and the leadership of all levels on the need to reform and correct inherent weaknesses of the agriculture sector, raising incomes and improving quality of life for farmers.
In the past five years, the sector’s growth rate reached an average of 2.55 percent a year, with the figure for 2018 being 3.4 percent. Labour productivity in the sector has also improved, having increased by 6.67 percent a year, nearly double the target of 3.5 percent.
Average annual rural income has reached 130 million VND (5,570 USD), up 1.71 times compared to 2012 and surpassing the target, he said.
Despite these achievements, Tuan said the restructuring of agriculture has encountered obstacles that must be addressed.
Increasing added value in animal farming and boosting the area of plantations using water-conserving irrigation technologies and the number of livestock establishments with high-grade wastewater treatment facilities would require large investment and proper instructions.
Lack of planning and haphazard production, without input from market demands, is common in various localities, leading to production excesses that can’t be sold, burdening already struggling farmers, heard the conference.
Vietnamese agriculture products are not as competitive as they could be, despite improvements lately, experts said, attributing the issue to predominantly small-scale production, sluggish industrialisation and modernisation, and insufficient investment in the sector.
According to Deputy PM Dung, the agriculture sector needs to secure traditional markets while being able to expand to new markets.
At the same time, the domestic market with a 90 million population must not be abandoned, he said.
“The Vietnamese people have to have the best, highest quality products,” the Deputy PM said.
Jan-Oct tra fish exports exceed total exports of 2017
Significant growth in the January-October period has helped tra fish exports exceed last year’s figures, data from the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) showed.
According to a VASEP report, tra fish exports in October were estimated at US$255 million, up 54% against the same period a year earlier. This has brought tra fish exports during the year to date to US$1.8 billion, marking a year-on-year rise of 24.1%, higher than last year’s US$1.78 billion.
The growth of tra fish exports during this year’s early months is attributed to the recovery of major markets such as the United States and the European Union and growth maintained in Asian markets, according to VASEP.
In particular, tra fish exports to the United States picked up 43% to nearly US$370 million. As for the EU market, while last year saw an export decline against the previous year, exports over the past three quarters rose by 14.6% to US$176 million, putting an end to the downward trend in this market over the past three years.
Though the growth of the Chinese-Hong Kong market has slowed down, third-quarter exports were recorded at nearly US$377 million, up 31% year-on-year.
Besides the market recovery, according to VASEP, the rising tra fish price is another reason for the high export turnover.
The 24.1% rise in the January-October period has made tra fish the seafood product with the highest growth.
Shrimp exports in the 10-month period were US$2.975 billion (down 5.7%). Meanwhile, the country exported nearly US$536 million worth of tuna (up 9.9% ).
Property firms propose lifting seven barriers
Real estate firms have called for the HCMC government to address seven bottlenecks hindering their business activities, heard attendees of a meeting with HCMC Chairman Nguyen Thanh Phong last week.
At the meeting, Le Hoang Chau, chairman of the HCMC Real Estate Association, noted the seven existing obstacles impeding property enterprises’ business were procedures permitting investment plans, site clearance, collection of land use fees, the absence of regulation on using land to pay for build-transfer contracts, project transfers, credit and administrative procedures.
Nguyen Xuan Quang, chairman of Nam Long Investment Corporation, said the corporation had difficulty applying procedures permitting investment plans and accepting investors for real estate projects. Typically, the firm failed to be licensed for investment as part of the land being cleared was agricultural land.
Besides this, unreliable methods and processes of calculating fees for land use create an ask-give mechanism, causing delays and losses for enterprises and the State budget.
Speaking at the meeting, Nguyen Dinh Trung, chairman of Hung Thinh Real Estate Business Investment Corporation, remarked that the rapid growth of the population was also a hindrance to urban refurbishment projects and had lowered the feasibility of these projects.
In addition, land value appraisals remain illogical in terms of administrative procedures for the collection of land use fees, lengthening the time needed to invest, causing some firms to miss investment opportunities.
Further, procedures for the issuance of apartment ownership certificates are lengthy, jeopardizing buyers’, sellers’ and investors’ interests.
Trung proposed the HCMC government assign authorities of districts to issue the certificates and remove barriers to the issuance of land use rights certificates for foreigners.
Commenting on obstacles hindering the collection of land use fees, Le Huu Nghia, director of Le Thanh Company, proposed the municipal government set a collection time until June 2019 to completely resolve delayed payments for land use, adding funds to the budget and helping enterprises deploy projects quickly.
In response to firms’ proposals, the HCMC chairman said the city would address the difficulties being faced by real estate enterprises within the city’s capacity and would propose the relevant ministries deal with problems beyond the city’s authority.
Mekong Delta’s regional connectivity remains limited
Regional connections are considered a driver of growth in the Mekong Delta region, but it remains weak in terms of both quality and quantity, Bui Quang Tuan from Vietnam Institute of Economics said at a seminar held in the Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap today, November 8 .
Tuan noted that the execution of the Government’s Decision 593/QD-TTg on a scheme to pilot connectivity programs for the socioeconomic development of the Mekong Delta region in the 2016-2020 period is still lagging behind schedule.
“After more than two years of the implementation of the pilot scheme, the result fell short of expectations and promotion for the scheme was limited,” Tuan said.
Tuan attributed the slow execution of the scheme and its poor performance to four factors: undetermined purpose of connectivity, unclear connectivity mechanism, inefficient regional connectivity monitoring apparatus and a lack of financial resources for connectivity.
Tuan explained that 12 out of 13 provinces and cities in the region are financially weak and reliant on the central State coffer.
Besides this, Tuan remarked that there are no policies in place for localities to contribute to a combined budget, especially for investment projects. In addition, regarding the connectivity plan for key economic zones, financial issues have yet to be discussed.
As a result, regional connectivity is facing various bottlenecks, Tuan stressed, presenting four solutions to boost connectivity in the Mekong Delta region. The four solutions involve determining the priority needs of connectivity, building and completing a connectivity system, securing financial sources and enhancing information data for better connectivity.
Tuan also proposed setting up a council led by the deputy prime minister or assigning the Ministry of Planning and Investment to monitor connectivity.
However, Truong Hoa Chau, director of the Dong Thap Department of Planning and Investment, noted that it is necessary to add a third option, which is to allow provinces to take turns monitoring connectivity operations and require them to work with each other to decide what should be prioritized for investment.
Chau also stated that the option to assign the Ministry of Planning and Investment to monitor the scheme was unfeasible as the ministry did not fully understand the characteristics and features of the region and suggested weighing the option to establish a council.
Regarding financial solutions, Chau proposed accessing official development assistance loans, as it is difficult to find private investors for infrastructure projects.
Firms should focus on local market: government official
A senior official from the Ministry of Industry and Trade has urged local firms to make the most of the domestic market, which has a large population of over 90 million, instead of only paying attention to international markets, heard a forum on international economic integration.
The event called, “HCMC International Economic Integration Forum 2018: Trade Facilitation and Enhancing Competitiveness,” was held in HCMC yesterday by the HCMC Institute for Development Studies, the HCMC International Integration Support Center, and the Central Institute for Economic Management (CIEM).
The forum gathered some 300 delegates, including officials from the HCMC government, ministries, international organizations, enterprises, universities and research institutes from the city and other neighboring provinces.
Trade facilitation is not only a commitment of Vietnam when joining free trade agreements (FTAs) but also a measure to enhance businesses’ competitiveness and the efficiency of their import and export activities, according to many delegates.
They further commented that FTAs may have significantly reduced import tariffs on Vietnamese goods in many markets. However, administrative reform, reduction in trading costs and improvements in the business environment are key to raising the nation’s competitiveness.
Nguyen Anh Duong, head of the Macroeconomic Policy Department at CIEM, said Vietnam’s trade facilitation ranking is far below those of neighboring countries such as Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore.
In the World Bank’s trading across borders rankings, Vietnam ranks 94th out of 190 economies; in the World Economic Forum’s enabling trade index, it is placed 73rd out of 136 economies, and it stands at 64th out of 160 in the World Bank’s logistics performance index.
Ngo Chung Khanh, deputy head of the Multilateral Trade Policy Department at the trade ministry, told the delegates of the forum that FTAs have helped enhance the competitiveness of the domestic business community through market access and increased exports.
He noted that FTAs have promoted the Government’s administrative reform, improved infrastructure facilities, ensured equality in accessing resources for development, removed barriers to market access and simplified business conditions.
Such trade pacts also provide assured market access since the World Trade Organization is facing various challenges. Vietnam’s FTAs are active across five continents, thereby helping curb these risks.
Khanh said FTAs have opened up ample opportunities for local firms to join global supply chains. For example, some 200 local firms are supplying parts for South Korea’s Samsung.
Given increased protectionism around the world, the country should find ways to speed up its administrative reform and improve its business environment to overcome emerging challenges, according to the senior official.
At the forum, the Vietnam information trade portal at http://vietnamtradeportal.gov.vn was launched, covering information and regulations on merchandise export, import and transit.
MPI to expand eco-industrial park model
After a pilot program to deploy an eco-industrial park model and the launch of policies and regulations on eco-industrial park projects, the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) is expected to expand the model to enhance the efficiency of resources, protect the environment and develop the model system sustainably.
Speaking at a two-day seminar held in HCMC, which concludes today, November 9, on the eco-industrial parks in Vietnam, Vu Quoc Huy from the ministry’s Economic Zone Management said that after some four years of running the pilot program in three industrial zones in Ninh Binh Province and Danang and Can Tho cities, some 72 participating enterprises in the three zones effectively applied the solution of “Resource Efficient and Cleaner Production,” helping save VND75 billion each year from a reduction of 17.8 million kWh of electricity, 429,000 cubic meters of water and large amounts of other materials.
The program benefited the environment with the elimination of 24.9 tons of carbon dioxide, four tons of chemicals, 3,335 tons of solid waste and 429,000 cubic meters of wastewater each year, Huy said.
Tran Duy Dong, a senior official from MPI, said that the program had brought about a host of positive effects: raising awareness of eco-industrial parks, fostering the development of participating firms and efficiently utilizing energy resources.
As such, the ministry will roll out the model across the country and transform existing industrial parks into eco-industrial ones, Dong noted.
Dong also underscored the Government’s efforts to issue Decree 82/2018ND-CP, dated May 22, on the management of industrial and economic zones to introduce regulations on eco-industrial parks in Vietnam.
At the seminar, international experts praised Vietnam’s policies on developing the eco-industrial park model for the first time.
According to the Ministry of Planning and Investment, as of end-2017, Vietnam was home to 326 industrial parks and processing areas. However, industrial manufacturing operations are posing multiple challenges for the environment and residents’ health as some 13% of operational industrial parks have yet to build a wastewater treatment plant and 20% of industrial waste is toxic.
Green construction incentives needed: experts
The government should offer preferential policies for property firms which develop green urban areas, said Do Viet Chien, General Secretary of the Vietnam Real Estate Association.
Speaking at a forum held recently in Hanoi, Chien said green construction development in Vietnam had a lot of potential but also posed challenges for the building industry as it was still a new concept.
“Vietnam lacks technical solutions and green materials, while facing weak management in operating green constructions. The country’s legal framework does not have incentives for green building development,” he said.
Chien added that the participation of financial institutions and energy saving funds to encourage green building was still limited.
“From a practical point of view, green development is a growing trend, which is the way we have to go,” he noted.
He suggested that the government should encourage investors to develop green buildings. Borrowing and investing in such constructions should be made easier. It should also be made mandatory to develop green buildings. For example, on areas of 20 hectares, developers must set aside 5-7 percent of land for green buildings.
Nguyen Hong Thuc, Director of the Research Institute for Resettlement of Vietnam, said the first new urban area in Hanoi was built in 1996. At that time, people were still unsure of apartments and preferred low-rise accommodation.
After many years of urbanisation, apartment buildings have become increasingly popular. As urban areas spread, the city faces a crisis.
“Now, we are in the midst of an urban crisis, which is a living environment crisis. So, to build a good urban area, we need the participation of not only the government, but also professionals, people and businesses,” Thuc said.
However, she said Vietnam was in the early stages of green construction which could not catch up with rapid urbanisation.
To improve quality of life, she said that more green buildings were needed. However, in order to do this in Vietnam, there was a need for social consensus. Therefore, it was necessary to improve awareness of green buildings and green urban areas.
“In my opinion, three important factors for a green building include fuel saving, open space and mindset changing,” she added.
From the view of a property firm developing green buildings, Tran Nhu Trung, Deputy General Director of Capital House, said they looked forward to developing green buildings that bring benefits to their customers.
“However, we are facing difficulties. Not only us, but many companies in the south also encounter the same situation. Businesses want to make more green constructions as one building can’t make the whole city green.”
Banks key in country’s green growth strategy
The banking sector plays a key role in “green” investment, including directing credit flow into environmentally-friendly sectors and restricting flow into projects which might have negative impacts on the environment.
This was highlighted at a conference about developing green banking in Vietnam organised by the Banking Strategy Institute in Hanoi last week.
The conference aimed to enhance awareness and corporate responsibility in the banking sector of environmental protection, responses to climate change and gradually making banking activities more ‘green’.
Focus would be placed on directing credit flow into eco-friendly projects, boosting green production and services as well as clean and renewable energy so as to contribute to promoting green and sustainable growth.
Deputy Director of the Banking Strategy Institute Pham Xuan Hoe said that as Vietnam faced a number of environmental problems, including climate change, natural disasters, drought, floods and pollution, the goal over the next two decades would not only be achieving rapid growth but also sustainable economic development.
Hoe said to successfully implement the national green growth strategy in 2011-20, the banking sector played a very important role in promoting the transition towards sustainable growth though credit policies which target environmentally-friendly projects.
The banking sector was the bridge connecting depositors and borrowers and also participated in project risk management, including environmental risks. At the same time, banking activity can also promote
environmental protection through the application of e-banking and non-paper policies.
“The banking sector plays a significant role in green investment and directing credit to eco-friendly sectors,” Hoe said, adding that credit policies which prioritised environmentally-friendly projects would encourage borrowers to implement green projects rather than those that damage the environment.
Green credit policies were also key to saving energy, reducing emissions and directing the economy towards green growth, Hoe said.
The Governor of the State Bank of Vietnam issued Decision No 1640/QD-NHNN approving the scheme on green bank development in Vietnam on August 7.
The scheme aims to gradually increase the lending to green industries and sectors while accelerating the application of new technologies and environmentally-friendly practices among bank clients, promoting e-transactions, new services and modern payment instruments.
Under the scheme, by 2025, all banks in the country would develop their internal regulations on environmental and social risk management in their lending activities. In addition, all banks would conduct the assessment of social and environmental risks in their lending activities and apply environmental standards for all projects receiving loans from the banks.
The environmental risk assessment will be integrated as part of the banks’ credit risk assessment.
As part of the scheme, 10 to 12 banks would establish specialised units for social and environmental risk management and at least 60 per cent of the banks would have access to green capital resources and provide green credit.
Vietnam targets effective ODA use, management
Vietnam will focus on handling bottlenecks and promoting the disbursement and effective use of official development assistance (ODA) and preferential loans from donors between 2018 and 2020, per a plan recently approved by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.
The plan details the orientations for the attraction, management and use of ODA and preferential loans from foreign donors for 2018-2020 with a vision for 2021-2025.
According to the plan, the country will continue to select and prepare good public investment projects based on their economic, social and financial efficiency, which need capital disbursement after 2020 for ODA investment.
Budget overspending and public debt safety should be kept within limits, according to the document.
Loans will be funneled into key areas and projects that are beyond the capacity of the domestic public and private sectors, such as river and sea ports.
At the same time, Vietnam will work on mechanisms to help businesses access loans from the World Bank (WB) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and preferential loans from other donors without the Government’s guarantee to implement projects and programmes on renewable energy and climate change response.
The ODA and preferential loans will only be spent on development, not regular expenditures.
Non-refundable grants will be used for poverty reduction, social affairs, building policies on institutions and human resource development, knowledge and technology transfer, mitigating natural disaster risks, adapting to climate change, and infrastructure projects with complicated technologies.
Priority areas for ODA loans include healthcare, education, vocational training, adapting to climate change, environmental protection, and essential and large-scale transport infrastructure without possibility of generating revenue.
Meanwhile, preferential loans will be prioritised for large-scale infrastructure projects that can generate revenues.
The PM will consider allocating preferential loans to specific programmes and projects that are unable to generate profits.
During the 2021-2025 period, the foreign loans will be channeled into projects with high economic-social efficiency, helping spur growth in tandem with sustainable development, such as those in infrastructure and smart agriculture.
Priority will be given to projects on climate change response and the improvement of the quality of environment, education, healthcare and technology.
Workshop highlights role of enterprises in realising SDGs
Experts gathered at a workshop in Hanoi last week to discuss measures to raise the role and responsibility of businesses in realising sustainable development goals (SDGs).
Speaking at the event, Le Xuan Dinh, Editor-in-Chief of the Ministry of Planning and Investment’s Economy and Forecast Review, the Government has issued a national action plan to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Accordingly, all parties concerned have responsibilities for implementing the SDGs from the centrally-run to local authorities, including the National Assembly, the Government, ministries, agencies, social organisations, business community and the people.
To reach SDGs, Vietnam has also set up tasks to be implemented in 2017-20. They include completing a system of institutions on sustainable development and improve the effectiveness of State management on sustainable development, he said.
However, he noted that during the implementation process, the country has faced many challenges regarding social and environmental matters, climate change response, financial sources, connectivity among agencies and sectors, and statistical capacity.
According to Pham Quang Vinh, Deputy General Secretary of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), to achieve SDGs, Vietnam will carry out the national action plan to promote sustainable economic growth together with implementing social justice and protection of the ecological environment, as well as to effectively manage and use natural resources and respond to climate change.
He said according to a survey conducted by an agency under the UN, 80 percent of surveyed enterprises in Vietnam know 17 goals of the country’s sustainable development goals (SDGs) so they have put the goals at their business and competitive strategies. Meanwhile, 63 percent of the enterprises have implemented programmes of sustainable development, such as responding to climate change.
In previous years, enterprises participating in the survey on sustainable development were mainly foreign-invested enterprises while now, there are more local enterprises joining this survey.
Since 2015, Vietnam has had a corporate sustainability index (CSI), with 131 indicators to assess economic, social and environmental aspects. The indicators have become an important tool for enterprises to set up corporate governance strategies.
There are now indicators for seafood processing enterprises and by the end of this year, there will be more for footwear and leather bags. Indicators for other sectors are still being established, Vinh said.
VNA holds 60 % market share in passenger volume from London to VN
The national flag carrier- Vietnam Airlines (VNA) yesterday reported that visitors were especially interested in its products and services at the World Travel Market (WTM 2018), which is one of the biggest annual tourism fairs having been taken place recently in London’s International Convention Center, ExCeL.
According to the Vietnam Airlines’ information, the flag carrier currently maintains seven flights a week between London and Vietnam.
Since the beginning of the year passenger volume has grown 5 percent and its market share has held 60 percent of total passengers from London to Vietnam.
Sugarcane farmers suffer loss of $643 per hectare
These days, sugarcane farmers have harvested 3,600 hectare; averagely, a farmer suffers loss of around VND15 million ($643) per hectare.
Nguyen The Tu, Deputy Head of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development in Phung Hiep district in the Mekong delta province of Hau Giang, said yesterday that a sugarcane fetched VND500- 650 a kilogram while production cost is VND715 a kilogram; accordingly, a farmer sold at a loss of VND15-20 million ($643-$858).
This year flood came back early in the delta , hence, sugarcane quality of sugarcane in the region were badly being affected. Farmers are speeding up harvesting when flood ebbed.
All sugarcanes in 7,500 hectares will be harvested in December.
Can Tho Sugarcane Company said its two plants in Vi Thanh and Phung Hiep have been buying 5,000 tons of sugarcanes a day.
Presently, the company is buying sugarcane quickly as its plants just are operating at 80 percent of its full capacity; however, there is a severe shortage of workforce in the field.
Since consumption of sugarcane declines, the city agricultural department decided to cut growing land from 10,600 hectare to 6,000 hectare for the next crop. Low-lying, inundated lands will be for growing more profitable trees than sugarcanes.
Vietnam needs urgent strategy for Industry 4.0
There have been many local conferences lately on the topic of Industry 4.0 to present tough challenges as well as valuable opportunities of Vietnam. Therefore, the Prime Minister has instructed public agencies and organizations to increase the ability of approaching this revolution via appropriate strategies, action plans, and focused goals.
However, after one year and a half, many ministries and local authorities have only been successful in organizing various meetings, yet neither comprehensive nor specific plans are created, which result in difficulties for educational institutes in designing their own training programs for necessary human resources as well as economists in preparing budget allocation plans for each local area and industry.
No comprehensive national strategy on production and social service development also means trouble in promoting the strengths of any specific area since management are still waiting for a systematic and synchronous plan.
Take agriculture as an example. Until now, there is no fixed strategy between the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Ministry of Education and Training. Therefore, the necessary human resources for smart agriculture in each local area are insufficient, leading to the lack of the staff to monitor different agricultural stages of harvesting, preserving, processing, and then distributing produce. This signals a sad negative result in the upcoming time.
A detailed economic – social development strategy in the age of Industry 4.0, along with the growth planning, is critical for the mobilization and distribution of various resources, including human factor. From this strategy, educational institutes will be able to form a clear direction for new training majors to best serve the digital agriculture of the near future.
All in all, a timely strategy is vital for human resources development, which is a major factor in Industry 4.0.
Digital lending platform to be developed for Vietnamese SMEs
Vietnam-based AsiaInvest sealed a deal with Singapore’s MoolahSense Group in Ho Chi Minh City on November 15 to develop a digital lending platform for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Vietnam.
The signing was part of events for the 48th CFO World Congress held in the southern economic hub from November 14-16 under the theme of “Transforming Finance in the Digital Age”.
This year’s CFO World Congress is held by the International Association of Financial Executives Institutes (IAFEI), the Vietnam Chief Financial Officer Club (VCFO), and the Japan Association for CFOs (JACFO). It will bring together about 500 business leaders, global CFOs, financial directors and other finance executives from around the world.
The agreement has outlined a roadmap for the establishment of a joint venture between AsiaInvest and MoolahSense to bring together each side’s strengths in providing high-tech financial solutions for Vietnamese SMEs.
Founded in 2008, AsiaInvest is now an international investment corporation that focuses on emerging markets in Asia. In Vietnam, AsiaInvest has been working with its partners to invest in a number of real estate and technological projects.
MoolahSense was founded in Singapore in 2013 as the country’s first digital lending platform awarded with a Capital Market Service (CMS) licence by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). According to the firm’s co-founder and CEO Lawrence Young, it has so far provided more than 700 million SGD (508,000 USD) for about 600 enterprises in the form of lending packages ranging from 50,000 SGD to 2 million SGD.
The company also offers comprehensive solutions for business lending and borrower-lender cooperation, using the latest technologies such as microservices architecture, blockchain, machine learning, and artificial intelligence.
Vietnam Cycle 2018 introduces latest motorbike, bicycle models
The sixth Vietnam International Bicycle Exhibition (Vietnam Cycle) 2018 opened in Hanoi on November 15, introducing over 100 of the latest bicycle models and spare parts produced by Vietnam and other countries, including Malaysia, Thailand, and China.
Trinh Xuan Tuan, Deputy General Director of the Vietnam Trade Fair and Advertising Company, said that the exhibition is organised annually in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City with an aim to develop the bicycle production sector of Vietnam.
According to Nguyen Huu Son, Vice President of the Vietnam Motorcycle and Bicycle Association, the total number of electric motorbikes and bicycles in Vietnam has reached about 500,000 – up 30 percent compared to 2016, the highest rise amongst all kinds of transport vehicles.
Notably, electric motorbikes and bicycles have drawn a large number of students, stay-at-home mothers, and shippers thanks to their small size and reasonable price.
At the same time, some companies joining the event, including Malaysia’s Tanlan and Thailand’s Lotus N Lotus, have introduced unique models that stand out from other popular ones, with the hope of drawing attention from importers and consumers in Vietnam.
The Vietnam Cycle 2018 is expected to bring new experiences for visitors and provide an ideal space for enterprises and the public to interact, said Son.
Son noted that this year the exhibition sees the participation of more spare part suppliers, including BQL and Emotovn. Ancient bike clubs have also contributed interesting models to the event, he added.
During the event, the organiser has also arranged direct meetings between producers, distributors, and retailers in the northern region and a number of big importers from Ho Chi Minh City, thus increasing their connectivity and enhancing the efficiency of business activities to boost the growth of the sector.
The exhibition will last until November 18.
Technology key to agricultural production: forum
Global start-up contest for Vietnamese launched
VietChallenge, a global entrepreneurship competition for Vietnamese, was launched in Hanoi on November 14.
The contest is jointly organised by the Association of Vietnamese Students in the US and the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union – Hanoi chapter.
Speaking at the launching ceremony, Phan Zymaris Mai, President of the Association of Vietnamese Students in the US, said the judges of VietChallenge 2019 will include leading investors and consultants in both the US and Vietnam.
VietChallenge 2019 begins receiving applications from November 15. A winning team of the nine-month competition will take 25,000 USD, while the runner-up receives 5,000 USD. Four third place teams will be granted 2,000 USD each.
The contest is designed to realise business ideas tackling challenges of the world and Vietnam in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and connect Vietnamese start-ups with US experts.
In additional to financial assistance, this year, participating teams will receive guidance from experts in their respective fields, including computer science, artificial intelligence, automation and big data.
In three previous editions, VietChallenge attracted more than 500 entries of Vietnamese from 21 nations.