Organic farming on VN agenda
Viet Nam has been making efforts to foster organic farming, including a decree issued last August which should be implemented as soon as possible, experts told a forum in HCM City on Tuesday.
According to Le Thanh Hung of the Viet Nam Standards and Quality Institute, Viet Nam is relatively unfamiliar with the organic farming standards of the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements and its market for organic agricultural products is underdeveloped.
The government issued Decree 109/2018/ND-CP on organic farming regulations, procedures such as certification, traceability and inspections and supporting policies.
Besides, the national standards for organic agriculture are being adjusted for more clarity and specific standards for certain products such as rice, tea, shrimp, and milk.
It is crucial national standards match international standards to help farmers and businesses make appropriate adjustments to their production to enable exports.
The area under organic agriculture in Viet Nam was 118,000 hectares in 2016, according to the German-based Research Institute of Organic Agriculture.
According to Ha Phuc Minh, chairman of the Viet Nam Organic Agriculture Association, cities and provinces need to execute the decree and actively develop organic farming.
Meanwhile, farmers need to identify their markets and the standards they have to comply with, and the Government should encourage farmers to adhere to them and carry out stringent inspections, he said.
“Distributors and consumers also need to carefully examine the goods they buy,” he said.
The forum was organised by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Agro Processing and Market Development Authority.
Khanh Hoa tightens hotel rating
Khanh Hoa People’s Committee has requested a tightening of the hotel rating system in an effort to enhance management of the hospitality market in the central province.
Accordingly, the provincial Department of Tourism will carry out inspections and find a way to deal with hotels which advertise star ratings despite not yet being officially rated.
The Department of Finance will check ratings and price listings to ensure service quality matches the prices offered to customers.
The department said its initial inspection of ten hotels advertised to have from two to five star standards found that only half of them actually hold the advertised rating.
Hotels found to be misleading customers would be named on the websites of the provincial Department of Tourism and the Nha Trang-Khanh Hoa Tourism Association.
Statistics showed tourist arrivals to Khanh Hoa Province totalled more than 5.8 million from January to November, an increase of 114 per cent over the same period last year. Foreign tourist arrivals saw a rise of 139 per cent to 2.5 million. The central coastal province will host the National Tourism Year 2019.
The province estimated tourism revenue would reach VND21.5 trillion (US$934.8 million) this year, representing an increase of more than 20 per cent over last year.
In another move, Khanh Hoa Province also asked for an enhancement of tourism property project management, especially in the transfer of holdings at projects, amidst a boom of tourism property in the province.
Two months ago, Nha Trang proposed the provincial People’s Committee temporarily halt the approval of high-rise buildings in the city until an urban architectural plan could be issued.
The city said constructing high-rise buildings would create pressure on the environment and the area’s transport infrastructure system.
No pork shortage for Lunar New Year
There will be no shortage of pork in the months approaching the Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday despite an increase in demand, Nguyen Xuan Duong, acting Director of the Animal Husbandry Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development said.
Duong said that the market demand for pork regularly increased by 25 per cent ahead of the Tet holiday. If there were no sudden diseases or extreme weather conditions which might affect pork supply, the supply would meet market demand, Duong said.
The department’s statistics showed that pork output reached 3.81 million tonnes in 2018, an increase of 2.2 per cent over last year.
In some provinces and cities like Dong Nai, Ha Noi, Thai Nguyen and Ha Nam, pig husbandry has shifted from scattered scale to large-scale production.
Pork prices after tumbling to a ten-year low of VND35,000-38,000 per kilogramme (live weight) a year ago started to recover from April to VND50,000-58,000 in the third quarter of this year, then eased to currently VND44,000-50,000.
The department targeted to keep pork prices at around VND40,000-45,000 in 2019.
Duong said that disease prevention would be enhanced together with promoting safe pig raising and slaughtering.
Focus would be placed on developing pig production chains and gradually reducing scattered production to ensure food hygiene and safety and promote exports of high-value products.
TKV sets target of $5.49b for next year
Viet Nam National Coal and Minerals Group (Vinacomin or TKV) plans to earn VND128 trillion (US$5.49 billion) in 2019, of which nearly VND69 trillion will come from coal production.
The information was announced at a conference on implementing business plans for 2019 held in the northern province of Quang Ninh on Wednesday.
The group will focus on implementing underground mining investment projects. It will exploit about 40 million tonnes of raw coal and import about 4.6 million tonnes next year, while consuming about 42 million tonnes.
The amount of clean coal inventories by the end of next year is expected to be four million tonnes.
In order to achieve the above objectives, Vinacomin will continue to improve the management of coal consumption, specialising in areas of transportation, storage, ports, delivery and trading.
Vinacomin will strengthen management on natural resources, product quality, safety and environment. It will conduct concrete measures to protect coal from mining, transportation, storage to consumption, especially preventing trade frauds on quality and volume as well as theft of coal.
In terms of exports, Vinacomin will focus on manufacturing high quality coal to service traditional markets including Japan and South Korea. It has set a target to raise workers’ average salary to VND11.3 million per month per head, up 4.7 per cent compared with this year.
On the same day, Vinacomin signed 2019 mining contracts with its member companies.
Construction materials industry to maintain high growth
The building materials industry has grown at 8-12 per cent in the past three years and is expected to maintain good growth next year, a seminar heard in HCM City on Wednesday.
Pham Van Bac, head of the Ministry of Construction’s construction materials department, said this year most construction materials manufacturers operated at full capacity.
Demand for their products was very high, including overseas, with exports accounting for 30 per cent of total sales of certain materials.
Pham Thiet Hoa, director of the Investment and Trade Promotion Centre of HCM City (ITPC), said: “The construction materials industry has made remarkable progress both in terms of quality and quantity. Viet Nam, from being a country that had to import most construction materials, has become an exporter of some key items.”
He quoted figures from the General Department of Viet Nam Customs that show the country exported US$1.67 billion worth of materials to 120 countries and territories last year.
Increasing urbanisation and a building boom are set to boost domestic demand in the coming years, he said.
Bac said construction materials producers have increasingly adopted advanced technologies and focused on unbaked building materials to replace burnt-clay products in response to Government policies.
The Government has issued legal documents on researching, producing and using unburnt construction materials to boost the use of environment-friendly building materials, he said.
By 2020, it hopes unbaked construction materials would account for 40-50 per cent of the materials used, he said.
Unburnt bricks are made from coal ash discharged by thermal power plants, cement and some other materials, he said, adding that the country’s annual capacity is seven billion this year, rising to 12.5 billion in 2020.
Tran Ba Viet, vice chairman and general secretary of the Viet Nam Concrete Association, said: “Demand for construction materials is very high in Viet Nam because our country is in the development phase.”
Annual demand from the construction sector is 20 billion bricks, expected to rise to 42 billion by 2020, but to produce one billion burnt bricks requires 1.5 million cubic metres of clay, he said.
Thus, without a move towards non-fired bricks, the environment would face severe consequences, he said.
Viet Nam is still at the starting phase of using unbaked building materials, and authorities should compile a handbook on choosing suitable products and using them in the proper way, he said.
Bac said his ministry is working to complete and issue technical standards and production norms for non-fired bricks.
Hoa said the ITPC would promote consumption of new and environment-friendly building materials.
The seminar on “Developing new and eco-friendly building material market” was organised by the ITPC in collaboration with the city Department of Construction and the management board of the project on “Enhancing the production and use of unbaked bricks in Viet Nam” by the Ministry of Science and Technology.
The seminar also featured an exhibition on technology used in making unbaked construction materials and new and environment-friendly construction materials.
HCMC programme supports VN produce
The HCM City Department of Trade and Industry has launched a new programme called “Promotion of Vietnamese Goods” to support farmers’ produce, including vegetables, fruits, poultry, meat and seafood.
The programme aims for improvement of quality of goods under VietGap and HACPP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) standards, and investment in packaging, models, designs, brand registration and product traceability.
Higher standards and investments are expected to help bring more farm produce from Viet Nam to overseas markets.
Other localities that supply goods to HCM City will have to meet the same standards and conditions.
The city’s distribution system will be responsible for signing purchasing contracts with suppliers to ensure that it would receive goods meeting VietGap and HACPP standards of product safety, traceability and brand names.
Through this programme, the city aims to build a close association between producers, distributors and consumers, and to establish connections among localities.
Distributors will only accept goods which have brand traceability and meet the required standards, and they will also help producers improve the quality of packaging and models.
Producers, co-operatives, farms and farm households will be selected to join the programme, and they will pledge to produce goods with standards set by distributors.
Producers will be given help to build their brand names and connect with buyers, and city agencies will solicit programme membership from local wholesale markets and distribution systems.
Nguyen Ngoc Hoa, deputy director of the city’s Department of Trade and Industry, said the “Promotions of Vietnamese Goods” programme would support another project which aims to develop the domestic market through a campaign to encourage Vietnamese customers to use Vietnamese goods.
The campaign has raised awareness among local customers about the selection, purchase and consumption of Vietnamese goods.
However, it has focused on manufactured goods and paid little attention to the production and processing of other groups of goods, especially essential farm products, Hoa said.
HCM City, which has more than 10 million people, has the highest average per capita income in Viet Nam, with a high demand for goods, he said.
The HCM City Statistics Bureau said the city every year needs 660,000 tonnes of rice, 85,000 tonnes of sugar, 60,000 tonnes of cooking oil, 216,000 tonnes of pork, 130,000 tonnes of poultry meat, 132,000 tonnes of seafood, and nearly one million tonnes of fruits and vegetables.
Quang Ngai to have a $125m steel fiber factory
The central province of Quang Ngai has agreed in principle for Belgium’s NV Bekaert SA to build a steel fiber factory in the province.
The Bekaert Viet Nam-Dung Quat steel fiber plant has a total investment capital of more than VND2.9 trillion (US$125 million).
After completing the legal procedures, the project is expected to officially start construction in the third quarter of 2019 and go into operation in 2021.
In addition, the project will produce braided steel fibers, steel cords for reinforcement in tires and improved braided steel fibers for the automotive industry and other industries.
The factory can supply up to 75,000 tonnes per year of braided steel fibers; 1,000 tonnes per year of steel cords and 2,000 tonnes per year of improved braided steel fiber.
This is considered the second largest foreign direct investment (FDI) project in Quang Ngai Province, after the project of Doosan Heavy Viet Nam Co Ltd.
The steel fiber factor will cover an area of 40ha at VSIP Quang Ngai Industrial Park in Tinh Tho Commune, Son Tinh District.
The investment certificate for this project will be officially handed over to the investor next year.
Nearly 100 new procedures facilitate National Single Window in 2018
There are 145 administrative procedures by relevant ministries and agencies which have been connected to the National Single Window (NSW), according to the latest data from the General Department of Vietnam Customs.
Binh Duong faces employee shortage during holiday season
Local enterprises in southern Binh Duong province are facing a shortage of workers during the holiday season, according to the province’s Centre of Employment Service.
Businesses need more employees as production increases in the months before the Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday. The centre predicts that from now to Tet, businesses will need 21,100 unskilled workers and 6,300 skilled workers who can use modern machinery.
In addition, local industrial zones also need more employees, especially in sectors such as footwear, garments, wood furniture, mechanics, food production and beverages.
The centre has helped many enterprises recruit workers by promoting their recruitment information on social media, increasing the number of consultancies, and connecting with other labour supply enterprises and centres.
In the past two years, many people have gone to work in other cities, especially HCM City, or are working abroad.
Nguyen Thanh Phuong, deputy director of the centre, said the number of workers looking for a new job around the end the year would fall because they want to receive their year-end benefits at the current job.
During the period, a large number of students from universities and colleges, as well as older female workers seeking part-time work to supplement their income, apply for jobs, he said.
PM approves plan to develop Lang Co-Canh Duong national tourism site
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc recently approved a master plan to develop Lang Co-Canh Duong national tourism site in the central coastal province of Thua Thien-Hue.
Situated in the Chan May-Lang Co economic zone in Phu Loc district’s Loc Vinh commune, the nearly 9,500-hectare tourism site is set to be built into a leading destination in the central region with comprehensive and modern technical infrastructure by 2025. It expects to receive 1.5 million tourists, including some 600,000 foreigners, and earn around 3.4 trillion VND (145.9 million USD) in the next seven years.
Envisioned to become an international tourism attraction by 2030, the site eyes 2.5 million visitors, with 950,000 foreign people.
The tourism site will provide various products, with Lap An lagoon prioritising eco-tourism, entertainment and promotion of local cuisines; Lang Co beach focusing on community-based tourism; and the southern region of the Hai Van Pass organising adventure and sightseeing tours.
Regarding accommodation, the site will focus on developing four to five-star standard hotels as well as high-end resorts and villas in Cu Du-Canh Duong area, Lang Co beach, Ca beach, Chuoi beach and Lap An lagoon. Meanwhile, homestay services will be run in Lang Co town and Hoi Mit and Hoi Dua residential areas.
Solutions to helping end loan-sharking: conference
Increasing the limits of unsecured loans given by banks will prevent people from approaching loan sharks, an online conference hosted by the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) heard on December 26.
The conference focused on discussing the implementation of Decree 116 issued by the Prime Minister on credit policies for agricultural and rural development and measures to tackle loan-sharking.
Dao Minh Tu, the SBV’s deputy governor, said agriculture and rural development is a sector enjoying credit priorities since it plays a key role in socio-economic development.
By the end of last November, outstanding loans to agriculture and rural areas was worth 1.69 quadrillion VND (72.6 billion USD), or 24 percent of total outstanding loans in the banking system, according to the central bank.
The figure represents a 14.5 percent increase year-on-year, higher than the overall credit growth rate.
Some 70 credit institutions and more than 1,100 people’s credit funds and social policy banks lend to agriculture and rural areas.
The SBV has recommended that the Government should adopt policies to promote lending to this sector to enable the implementation of the 2013 agriculture restructuring plan under Decision 899.
For instance, Decree 116 dated September 7, 2018, which amended agricultural and rural credit policies, has helped farmers and other people in rural areas borrow from banks.
One of its major provisions is to double credit limits for farmers who seek loans without assets to mortgage.
Farming households and co-operatives in rural areas can now get unsecured loans of up to 200 million VND compared to the previous 100 million VND.
For those not living in rural areas but running farming businesses in rural areas, the maximum loan has doubled to 100 million VND.
Tu said: “Decree 116 together with mechanisms and solutions offered by the banking system has responded in a timely fashion to demand for capital for consumption, manufacturing and business activities from individuals and enterprises.
“It has also enhanced poor and low-income people’s access to credit in rural and remote areas, reducing the number of people looking for black credit.” Black credit refers to usury.
But loan sharks operate in a sophisticated manner in southern and central highlands provinces, which severely affects the socio-economic development of these regions, he said.
“If credit institutions do not strictly control and monitor customers’ use of loans, it might lead to them using the loans illegally, enabling black credit to increase and adversely affect the banking system.”
According to unofficial statistics from the Ministry of Public Security quoted at the conference, more than 7,600 crimes related to usury have been uncovered in the past four years, including 56 murders.
The police have busted 124 criminal gangs and arrested 831 people involved in loan-sharking and illegal debt collection.
Reports from the SBV show that the banking sector has found 218 cases of black credit involving 117 billion VND in 16 provinces and cities.
Tu said to prevent loan-sharking requires a coordinated effort by the banking system, authorities, local administrations and social organisations across the country.
The SBV has issued regulations for consumer lending by finance companies in rural and remote areas to prevent usury.
There are 27 non-bank credit institutions, including financial companies and finance leasing companies, with outstanding loans of more than 131 trillion VND, including 90 trillion VND worth of consumer loans.
The central bank also requires credit institutions, especially in remote and rural areas, to expand people’s access to banking services by simplifying lending procedures and diversifying banking products.
Binh Duong expects big jump in 2019 economic development
The southern province of Binh Duong is expected to make a breakthrough progress in socio-economic development in 2019 thanks to its recent strong growth.
Speaking at the meeting of the provincial People’s Council recently, Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Mai Hung Dung affirmed that the locality has continued to record positive changes in almost all fields in 2018.
Binh Duong’s gross regional domestic product (GRDP) is estimated to increase 9.01 percent, compared to the target of 8.5 percent, while GRDP per capita reached 130.8 million VND per year.
Export-import activities maintained a high growth, resulting in a trade surplus of over 4.7 billion USD.
By November 15, Binh Duong attracted over 52.8 trillion VND (over 2.26 billion USD) of domestic investment, and 1.69 billion USD of foreign investment, representing respective increases of 25.3 percent and 20.9 percent compared to the plan set for the year.
The province is now home to 3,478 foreign-invested projects with total registered capital of 31.8 billion USD.
Binh Duong is the first locality of Vietnam becoming a member of the world’s Intelligent Community Forum (ICF), contributing to improving its position, boosting economic cooperation and attracting investment.
Dung said the hosting of international-level events in 2018 was good opportunities for Binh Duong to promote its image to domestic and foreign enterprises, and learn from international experience in developing technology 4.0 and smart city.
The locality is working hard to seek development partners, attract investment and enhance cooperation in research, aiming to create a foundation for developing smart urban areas and making socio-economic breakthroughs, and building modern and hi-tech industries.
Binh Duong plans to restructure the economy in the direction of increasing the proportion of services, while improving the investment and business environment and encouraging innovation in enterprises.
It will also calling for investment in high-quality service sectors, logistics, industrial and urban development and sectors using environmentally friendly technologies.
Attention will be paid to promoting administrative reform, innovation and creativity, start-up, business development and taking measures to support small and-medium-sized enterprises and remove difficulties in terms of public investment.
Binh Duong will also work to improve the effectiveness of diplomatic work and international cooperation, contributing to fostering trade promotion and tourism.
Quang Ninh prioritises advertising air routes to Van Don airport
Chairman of the People’s Committee of the northern province of Quang Ninh Nguyen Duc Long has ordered local media agencies to prioritise popularizing the opening of air routes to Van Don International Airport which is expected to become operational in late December.
The local Department of Information and Communications was asked to coordinate with communications units which have cooperative programmes with the province to step up disseminations, and support airlines in installing billboards.
The Ha Long Sun Ltd., Co was requested to help airlines enjoy free advertisements on a LED display system installed at the Ha Long Park, while airlines were urged to actively provide advertisement information for the province’s units.
Long asked the Transport Department to choose a competent supplier of buses, and the Tourism Department to coordinate with the management boards of Ha Long Bay and Yen Tu Relic Site to control the number of free tickets to the two tourist attractions for passengers going through Van Don International Airport.
Free tickets will be provided for passengers within 30 days since they go through the airport. This policy will be applied from January 1, 2019 to December 31, 2021.
Following a resolution of the provincial People’s Council, airlines which are granted with business and transport licenses at the airport will receive incentives related to communications, advertisement, public transportation, and working offices.
Mining group looks to higher revenue in 2019
The Vietnam National Coal and Mineral Industries Group (Vinacomin) has set the goal of earning a total revenue of 128 trillion VND (5.5 billion USD) in 2019, nearly 69 trillion VND of which will be from coal production.
During a conference held in the northern province of Quang Ninh on December 26, the group said it will focus on mining projects and strive to produce about 40 million tonnes of coal, import around 4.6 million tonnes, and market roughly 42 million tonnes. The inventory is estimated at nearly 4 million tonnes by the end of next year.
In order to achieve such goals, Vinacomin will continue improving coal consumption, specialising coal transportation and trade. It will also build plans to sell coal mined in Hon Gai and prepared at Lang Khanh port for Quang Ninh and Thang Long thermal power and Thang Long cement plants.
At the same time, it will strengthen the management of natural resources, product quality, environment safety and protection, and protect coal in mines to prevent trade fraud.
As for export, Vinacomin will churn out high-quality products to serve such traditional markets as Japan and the Republic of Korea.
The workers’ average salary will reach 11.3 million VND per month, up 4.7 times from 2018.
The same day, Vinacomin signed contracts on coal and mineral resources exploitation and sorting with its affiliate companies.
State capital at construction firm LICOGI handed over to SCIC
Over 40 percent of the charter capital of the Infrastructure Development and Construction Corporation (LICOGI) was transferred from the Ministry of Construction to the State Capital Investment Corporation (SCIC) on December 26.
The 40.71 percent of the charter capital represents more than 36.64 million State-owned shares at LICOGI.
LICOGI is in the list of businesses invested with State capital subject to divestment and transfer between 2017 and 2020.
Deputy Minister of Construction Bui Pham Khanh said LICOGI has taken part in many key national projects, and it is currently a strong specialised firm of the ministry.
The ministry hopes that with its State capital managed by the SCIC and other shareholders, LICOGI will have better operations to improve the value of the State capital, he added.
Six projects enter final round of national startup competition
The final of the national startup competition 2018 took place in Ho Chi Minh City on December 26 with six projects in the shortlist.
The competition was launched by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), the Dien dan doanh nghiep (Business Forum) newspaper, and BK Holdings.
It attracted nearly 250 leading projects of 37 universities from 27 provinces and cities nationwide.
The six finalists consist of a smart agricultural solution, an Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem for innovative businesses, amphibious houses adapting to climate change in the Mekong Delta, the production of microbiological products from bagasse powder to serve intensive shrimp farming, herbal food production, and a pig farming model.
Chu Tuan Anh, Director of the Aptech programmer training system, said there are more potential projects and those already implemented in this year’s competition.
Notably, it also records some projects relating to Industry 4.0 technologies such as the IoT. The presence of these projects is very important since they mark a new stage of information technology application in Vietnam, he noted.
A startup festival will be organised in Hanoi next month to present prizes to winners and invite investment to the projects.
30 gold prizes presented at 38th National Television Festival
Gold prize winners of the 38th National Television Festival honoured at the ceremony
A total of 30 gold prizes were presented to best entries of the 38th National Television Festival at the closing ceremony held in Da Lat city, Lam Dong province on December 22.
Tourism master plan developed for Vung Tau
The southern coastal province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau authorities have approved a master plan for tourism development by 2025 with a vision to 2030.
The master plan calls for developing Vung Tau into an environmentally friendly city of national tourism, finance and trade, with a developed maritime economy.
The province has issued a resolution on high-quality tourism development that would ensure a safe, civilised and friendly tourist environment.
The province will focus on markets like Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia and the Asia Pacific, especially traditional markets like Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Malaysia.
Other potential markets include Russia, North America, Eastern Europe, Northern Europe, Australia and the Middle East.
The province is focusing on four main tourism products.
Under the master plan, the province will develop sea and island tourism products, and medical and healthcare tourism products.
It will also create tourism products for entertainment services in Long Dien and Dat Do districts, and develop sea tourism products for the Long Hai, Phuoc Hai and Loc An beaches.
In Xuyen Moc District, the province will focus on world-class marine tourism products with high-end accommodations in the Ho Linh, Ho Coc and Ho Tram beach areas.
On Con Dao Islands, the province will prioritise development of products for adventure tourism, eco-tourism in the islands, and nature tourism.
Secondly, the province will also develop tourism products associated with relics, cultural and architectural works, as well as tourism products associated with spiritual beliefs such as visits to pagodas and temples.
Major sites include the Con Dao prison, Hang Duong cemetery, the memorial house of heroic martyr Vo Thi Sau in Dat Do District, and other historic sites such as Dinh Mountain, Minh Dam Mountain and Long Phuoc Tunnel.
Thirdly, the province will develop Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) tourism in Vung Tau City’s Xuyen Moc District where upscale accommodation facilities exist.
In addition, the province will focus on ecotourism products, homestay services and agricultural ecotourism in Chau Duc, Dat Do and Xuyen Moc districts.
The province will offer support to families that provide homestay services, catering services, and locals who make souvenirs.
New policies to support tourism enterprises, mobilise capital, and develop human resources have been created with the aim of improving tourism products and services.
Ba Ria-Vung Tau is well known for its famous tourist attractions associated with historic values, and beautiful beaches such as Ho Coc, Binh Chau, Bai Sau and Bai Truoc.
The province has large areas of mangrove forests, which are the home of endemic wildlife such as black tigers and parrots, and many fertile river mouths.
The province targets 8.6 million visitors by 2025, an annual average growth rate of 11 to 13 per cent, and at least 16,000 high-standard hotel rooms, as well as 38,000 new jobs.
In the first half of this year, the province welcomed 6.5 million tourists and earned VND2.8 trillion (around US$123 million) from tourism, according to the provincial Department of Tourism.
Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province, which has a 305km-long coastline, is one of the leading tourism hubs in Viet Nam. With a cool and dry temperature year round, it is an ideal place for sea sports tourism and the development of deluxe seaside resorts.
Vung Tau City, lying on a peninsula of the same name, is the commercial and tourism centre of the province.
HCMC avoiding Tet price hikes
HCM City will strive to ensure there are no increases in the prices of essential products during Tet (the Lunar New Year) in early February, according to the city People’s Committee.
Speaking at a meeting on Monday with the Ministry of Industry and Trade on keep prices steady during Tet , Le Thanh Liem, deputy chairman of the People’s Committee, said the city would co-ordinate with the ministry to achieve this.
Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Do Thang Hai said the city has done a good job in keeping the prices of essential goods steady in recent years, and called on it to closely monitor market supply and demand, inform relevant agencies in time about the pricing situation and enhance oversight to prevent smuggling, trade fraud and violations of food hygiene and safety norms.
The ministry would help the city perform these tasks, he said.
Nguyen Huynh Trang, deputy director of the city Department of Industry and Trade, said companies have completed preparations for Tet , and would exceed his department’s supply targets.
Foods supplied to the city come from three sources, enterprises participating in the city’s price stabilisation programme (accounting for 30-40 per cent of market share), wholesale markets (60-70 per cent) and other businesses (10-20 per cent), she said.
Trang said an average of 9,000 tonnes of mainly farm produce, meat and seafood are now being sent to wholesale markets every day.
This is expected to increase by 80 per cent to 15,000-16,000 tonnes in the run-up to Tet, she said.
Enterprises participating in the programme would ensure prices of all essential goods are steady before, during and after the New Year while cutting the prices of many essential goods such as pork, chicken and poultry eggs sharply during the two days before Tet, she said.
In the month before Tet businesses in the city would run many promotions focusing on Tet items such as soft drinks, cakes, candies, sweets, and clothes, she said.
Major distribution systems such as Saigon Co.op, Satra, Aeon – Citimart, and BigC are expected to offer promotions with discounts of 5-49 per cent during Tet, she added.
EVN’s reform efforts praised during forum
Changing thinking was critical to enhancing national competitiveness with the country entering a new phase of reforms and room for reforms narrowing, Nguyen Duc Hieu, deputy director of the Central Institute for Economic Management (CIEM) said.
Hieu was speaking at an online forum held by the Government’s e-portal yesterday, which discussed the efforts of Vietnam Electricity Corporation (EVN) to improving access to electricity and solutions to improve national competitiveness.
In the long term, reforms would be more challenging, requiring hastened efforts, determination and detailed action plans, Hieu said.
He added that reforms must focus on benefits for citizens, enterprises and the economy.
Looking at EVN as an example, Hieu said the improvement in electricity access brought significant benefits which could not be estimated in a specific figure.
A survey conducted by CIEM and the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce found that electricity access was the indicator in which firms felt the most improvements.
According to the World Bank’s Doing Business Report 2019, the electricity access indicator of Viet Nam jumped 37 spots to rank 27 out of 190 countries and territories over the previous year.
Hieu said that the result reflected significant efforts from the EVN.
He said the improvement in electricity access not only helped cut costs for firms but also opened opportunities and promoted investment as investors were more confident about the stability of the economy.
Statistics showed the number of power cuts fell by 24.32 per cent over 2017. Hieu said the benefits were much larger, which also come from the business opportunities and improved investor confidence.
Hieu also said the Government’s goal of improving the business climate to make Viet Nam among leading ASEAN countries by national competitiveness, then equal to the level of member countries of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, was within reach if Viet Nam changed its reform thinking, hastened efforts and was determined.