By Bich Quyen – Translated by Anh Quan
Award winning science fair projects for 6th grade
The Hanoitimes – While the UK continues to be a potential market for Vietnam’s key export staples, the latter could be a springboard for British companies to reach a broader market in Southeast Asia.
As the UK and Vietnam markets are highly complementary, trade relations between the two countries would ensure a win-win scenario for all parties involved, according to Vice Minister of Industry and Trade Hoang Quoc Vuong.
|Overview of the conference. Source: MoIT.|
As of one the world’s hubs of economy, politics, culture and science, the UK remains Vietnam’s priority economic partner, stated Mr. Vuong at a conference discussing opportunities for British and Vietnamese businesses on October 6.
While the UK continues to be a potential market for Vietnam’s key export staples, including agricultural products, footwear, textile, phones and wood, among others, the latter could be a gateway for British companies to access a broader market in ASEAN, added Mr. Vuong.
Over the past years, Vietnam has been pushing for improvements in the business environment towards greater transparency and convenience for businesses, said Mr. Vuong, adding the Vietnamese government puts strong emphasis on fairness and no discrimination among different economic groups.
According to Mr. Vuong, Vietnam would give priority to administrative reform to better meet growing demands from a market-based economy and the process of global economic integration.
|Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Hoang Quoc Vuong. Source: MoIT.|
In 2019, total FDI commitment to Vietnam stood at US$38.02 billion, up 7.2% year-on-year, while the disbursed amount was estimated at US$20.38 billion, up 6.7%.
Investors have poured money into 19 fields and sectors in 2019, in which manufacturing and processing led the pack with investment capital of over US$24.56 billion, accounting for 64.6% of the total, followed by real estate with US$3.88 billion or 10.2% of the total, and retail and wholesale, science and technology.
In this context, the volume of Vietnam – UK trade exchange reached US$6.2 billion in 2017, a 3.5-fold increase over the course of 10 years. However, growth in trade revenue slowed down in the last two years, reaching US$6.61 billion in 2019, down 1.64% year-on-year.
Under the severe Covid-19 impacts, bilateral trade turnover declined by 19.87% in the first six months of 22 to US$2.57 billion.
As of late August 2020, the UK has 400 licensed projects in Vietnam worth US$3.6 billion, ranking 16 th among countries and territories investing in Vietnam.
The figure, however, is considered modest, given the fact that the UK is among the world’s top five largest investors, Mr. Vuong noted.
At the conference, delegates discussed the prospects of Vietnam – UK trade and economic relations after Brexit, including the possibility of a free trade agreement between the two countries.
Mai Quoc Huy is neither an outstanding student nor a teacher’s favorite. However, the 16-year-old student used the skills he has learned through first-hand experience to earn first prize at the Ho Chi Minh City Informatics Competition for Youth 2018.
Huy might spend most of his free time helping his father sell second-hand speakers and repairing his neighbors’ electric devices, but every now and then he finds a reason to sneak off to local bookstores and read up physics, electricity, and programming.
Though he is just an ordinary student from a low-income family, his ability to remember even the smallest detail of electrical devices is a skill others can only dream of.
A ninth grader who can turn bikes from manual to electric
Thanks to his teacher’s proposition, Huy was chosen to represent Ban Co Middle School in District 3, Ho Chi Minh City at two municipal competitions: the Science Fair for Daily Inventions and Informatics Competition for Youth, both of which awarded him first prize for his submission: his grandfather’s old bicycle installed with a motor, throttle, and solar batteries to turn it into an electric bike
Having joined the competition for the first time, Huy was funded with VND1 million (around US$43) for the project.
To parents’ and neighbors’ surprise, Huy’s electric bicycle, able to reach speeds of 40kph, was awarded two first prizes and qualified for the national competition to be held in August.
Now, Huy is putting the final touches on his “invention” to prepare for the upcoming event.
The bicycle is not only special because it is powered by solar energy, it also has other features that most bicycles do not, mostly inspired by Huy’s own experience as a cyclist.
“One time I went to visit a friend in Cho Ray Hospital and my bicycle was moved to a new spot in the gigantic parking lot. When I got home, I decided that I would equip the bike with some of the convenient features that motorbikes have, such as radio waves (RF) that can help find the vehicle more easily,” Huy said.
Many people believe that bikes are not a valuable, but for Huy, it is his most important asset. Hence, the boy was determined to design a GPS system to prevent theft.
The young inventor proudly presented his most recent addition to the bike: a feature that allows any phone to send a text message and be informed of the bike’s location, no matter where it is.
“Each text message costs VND200 [less than one cent] but I am still finalizing a system to send the data through the Internet to save money,” the student revealed.
As impressive as the features may seem, there are still many more the 16-year-old hopes to add in the future, such as automatic headlights, break lights, and automatic indicators which sensor tilting movement.
All these functions would make riding a bicycle not only significantly more convenient, but also much safer.
Phan Nguyen Truc Phuong, Huy’s engineering instructor at the Science Development Center for Youth under the Ho Chi Minh City chapter of the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union, is a full supporter of Huy’s ideas.
“Even though Huy’s idea is not new, it is very practical since it results from daily lives,” she said.
Huy’s self-studying journey
Having grown up in a working-class neighborhood on Vuon Chuoi Street in District 3, Huy is more than used to the sounds of loud motors, local working, and construction.
However, it was only recently that he began to involve himself in his father’s blue-collar profession.
“Being a motor repairman is a tiresome and unstable job. It only provides for my family’s most basic needs so I do not want my son to follow in my footsteps,” said Huy’s father, Mai Hoang Ha.
“But I still show him a few simple things to be able to make a day-to-day living, repair his own vehicle, and help others in the neighborhood. He first became interested in repairing electric devices around the house in grade eight so I decided to show him a few small things. Since then, I’ve let him experiment on his own and only watched him for safety. I don’t know much about automating so I haven’t been able to help him much with that.”
Fully aware of the family’s financial situation, Huy tries to avoid asking his parents for extra money. Instead, he saves up his allowance to buy what he needs for his projects.
With just VND20,000 ($0.9) a day, every few days Huy saves enough money to visit Nhat Tao Market, Ho Chi Minh City’s most well-known electrical component market.
The books provided at his school do not supply the young inventor with the knowledge he needs so he goes to bookstores to look for higher level books on physics.
“I want to have a better understanding of electricity but the technology and physics classes at school only provide brief and basic knowledge. In order to gain a thorough understanding I need to try and understand those subjects myself. I usually use my days off to go to the bookstore and read,” Huy said.
“Books about programming and electronic circuits are all very thick. I am able to understand small parts of them, but I haven’t been able to apply much of the knowledge. Each book costs over VND100,000 so I only “borrow” them to read in the bookstore. I can’t buy them because then I wouldn’t have enough money for component parts.”
Vocational training is good enough to make a proper living
Having received results of entrance exams for high school, Huy was happy to score 30 out of 50.
“Attending top schools will not allow time to play, especially to experiment with electric devices. I am going to choose a school suitable for my capability, near my home and provides vocational training,” Huy said.
“Everyone wants their children to attend college. But if he’s not capable of it, I am happy to let him study in a vocational school for electronics, or anything he enjoys as long as he will be capable of making a living. Being a motor repairer, I have seen many youngsters who finished 12th grade but are still only drivers or work as attendants at supermarkets. I let my son study whatever he likes. I do not want to decide his own life,” Huy’s father said.
SINGAPORE - Media OutReach - 8 February 2021 – Ukiyoto Singapore Pte Ltd. starts out the year 2021 with exciting releases ranging across mystery thrillers, memoirs, biographies and culinary reviews. With its focus on literary activities in Asia, this season of Litteratura, The Literary Magazine slated for release end Feb’21 covers few of the best authors and writers from Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore and India.
In Q3 FY20-21, Ukiyoto had tied up with a chain of mega bookstores such as Kinokuniya, MPH, Times, LitBook Cafe via distributor Gerakbudaya in Malaysia to source books for placement at their stores. Several outdoor activities such as book launch, book reading, award ceremonies and others are planned in the second half of 2021 based on government decisions with regards the pandemic.
To mark the Chinese New Year 2021, an online live Panel Discussion is scheduled on 14th Feb, 12:30pm PHT on the topic, “Scope of Literature in Asia post Pandemic”. The panel comprises writers from Philippines — Lia de Jesus, Nicole Narvato, Karmela Mirriam Ebreo and Anne Marla moderated by best selling author, Shrutidhora P Mohor from India.
Christine Musa, author from Philippines says, “My book entitled, ‘I Escaped the Narcissist: Memoirs of an Empath Supernova‘ was the very first ever published book that I have, all thanks to Ukiyoto Publishing for making my dream of becoming a published author finally come true!
Christine’s future plans as a published author is to produce more content which are focused around having a peaceful life away from any form of abuse and a truthful life away from any pretentions driven by the desire to have a picture-perfect ideal life.
Karmela Mirriam Ebreo, a Filipina by blood and birth is a lawyer by profession and a blogger by passion. An active member of Soroptimist International, a global volunteer organization working to economically empower women and girls, she started Mirriam Dictionary back in 2009 when she was about to graduate college. Life had a few surprises along the way and she ended up in law school. Her recently released title, Life Un-Counselled supposed to be a collection of her musings and life hacks — That is what the title is really about, life counselling. Since she is not a psychologist but a case counsel — not an expert on life in general, it was tweaked to be “un-counselled”. However, upon consultation with Ukiyoto, she was advised that it was best to feature her craft projects for her first book with the subtitle: a case of quick craft projects.
Mirriam loves DIYs and everything crafting but hates long and complicated ones. In a nutshell, the book is for those who are like her — a lazy type of crafter.
“I am all for women empowerment. Women and girls have so much to offer this world, and when they are empowered, they can contribute more to society. Most women are inherently creative but sometimes they are discouraged by complexities. In a way, Life un-counselled: a case of quick craft project seeks to inspire these creative hearts to begin. That is also why extremely easy projects are featured in the book. From here, they can start a small business too like paper crafts or party favors. If they do that, they are one step closer to becoming economically empowered women, the goal of the organization I am in– Soroptimist International. The book somehow tries to achieve that too.” as Mirriam tells us.
Vartika Sharma Lekhak, our author from India is a post-graduate in History from JNU, an educator by profession and a travel writer.
She is the author of the book — Bra Strap, and two anthologies — When Women Speak Up and The Take Off. The short-story collection Bra Strap — The stories hidden beneath the strings gives voice to the subdued tales of women from different walks of life. It highlights the message that everyone has a story to tell, some of them are magnificent, while some are ordinary. But every story needs to be told. The Anthology ‘When Women Speak Up’, published by Women’s Web, features leading women voices in India including her contribution, ‘The Girl With Sealed Vagina.’ The Take Off, a passionate project of Cyclops, is India’s first book that brings true stories of Indian cyclists, including her contribution, ‘A Housewife’s Bike Love Story.’
From childhood, Vartika liked to maintain a writing journal. Even today she has a trunk full of old diaries, letters which she considers as her priced possessions.
Vartika’s Inspiration: “Very early I had discovered that the message which I can put across through my writing is more impactful than the spoken words. I find writing a more resonating tool than anything else. Like, when I was in grade nine, I was punished by the headmistress for something which was not my mistake. I was so angry and hurt, didn’t know how to react. Then I wrote a poem expressing my detest at the injustice and the next day in the school assembly recited it. Of course, after that, the headmistress was more annoyed and my games period were banned, but I was now at peace for speaking up.”
Vartika’s writing continued through the college days in the campus journals and sometimes through the young writers’ meets. By then it had evolved into words that were sensitive but also sharp. She was writing more about social impacts, such as the incidences of rape, dowry deaths, gender prejudice, lawlessness and others. Some of them were published in the national dailies and online forums engaged in serious discussion about these issues. The turning point came when she started receiving encouraging letters from the readers. This motivated her that there are many who think like her and most importantly, her pen is making an impact. Like a reader wrote, ‘I am the father of a boy and I read your article ‘The Mother of a Daughter.’ Thank you for an uncensored narrative of a mother’s fears. We need to read more of this more often.’
Shrutidhora P Mohor, had her debut with her autobiographical novel The Unknown Script which is a story of a young professional woman’s journey in life. Two of her next writings, both long stories, went on to take her ahead into the world of literature by clearly establishing her preferred genre as literary fiction with a strong element of politics and shades of romance in it. Of these two, Twenty Three Summers remains her most-read, most-loved work, blending the political dispute in Kashmir with a same-sex love story. The other one, Showing Results: Zero of Zero is a futuristic dystopian tale of a reclusive man and his possible encounters with alien life and the utterly real consequences of that in a digitised, virtual existence of mankind. Set in India of 2049 it is a story that silences the din and bustle of our wearily repetitive, social mediatised lives with a truth that is simple yet disturbing.
The next publication has been Where the Sky Feels Cold, a novella resituating the much-adored couple Sudarshan and Rukhi in an intensely conflictual politically destabilised contemporary India of 2019. Making a renewed use of the ‘political’ in her writings Mohor went on to pen a long story called Nefeli and Us: A Story of Love from the Past which got converted then into a graphic novel. A unique piece of work, it is a continuation of her tradition of writing which takes a serious look into even more serious questions of identity and rights through the lens of fiction, this time going back thousands of years into the Greek city-states of the classical Hellenic times.
Her latest single title The Last Gift is once again a novella in which Mohor explores postmodernist story-telling (taking advantage of her academic background, her professional competence, and her disciplinary base as a student of Political Science) by writing a story of perplexing interactions between an author-mentor and an author-disciple of his which tear apart metanarratives and the framework of sequence/ chronology of story-telling.
Sofia Naznim is a corporate strategist, author, blogger, and influencer from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. While speaking to her she says, “I have always wanted to be an author from the first day I discovered that my ultimate passion is writing when I was thirteen years old! It took me seventeen years to fulfil my ultimate dream which is becoming an author. It didn’t happen overnight or in a short period of time. The journey was interesting yet challenging and full of obstacles. I truly believe that if we want to achieve something so hard, we need to fully prepare and work for it and be persistent no matter how tough the journey will be. Even though there were many trials encountered in my journey, I still persevere and work hard to pursue my dream. I’m happy that I stayed true in what I truly believe in, didn’t give up and endeavoured towards achieving my goals.
I seriously began sharing my articles with people when I was twenty five years old. From there onwards, I have written more than three hundred articles along with the creation of my own website with stories, and reviews. In October 2020, I finally released my first motivational book, “A Book of Life (ABOL)“. ABOL will take you in the deep journey of enlightening you to find your motivation and inspiring you to be a better you. ABOL is available in Paperback and eBook now on Amazon, Kindle, Google Play, Ukiyoto, showcased at Frankfurt Buchmesse both in online as well as paperback formats! May all us can make a difference in our lives, the life of others and other beings too by reading ABOL.”
Harish Muralidhar, a twenty-five year from India published his book, “What is Justice?” in December 2020 and has since then been on several interviews and panels speaking about his book. Harish believes Quotes can bring a drastic as well as a positive change in one’s life and they have helped him overcome difficult circumstances in his life, which was what made him come up with his first book “52 Quotes to Change Your Life.”
“I have always had the passion to write from my school days but never dared to choose it as a career. But after I started my business, I decided to spare some time for my passion and lockdown has also helped to finish my book quickly. As previously stated writing is not a full-time profession for me at this point in time, I have always motivated others to follow their passion without compromising their profession, which would give them immense satisfaction.
Watching the news and movies which revolves about the crime and tragedy in the world has affected me deeply and I wanted to bring awareness to the world about it, so I decided to write a crime fiction book which is my second book named, ‘What is Justice?’, which is a crime thriller.”
Ethel Da Costa, an award winning Lifestyle Journalist, former Editor and Radio Head, an International Lifestyle Influencer, a global nomad, a seeker of truth and love released her book, The Stiletto Foodie — A Blog Binge in Malaysia (on 1st January 2021) which is her own discovery of self and soul in Malaysia through food. She had showcased twelve culinary ambassadors who she believes represent their own journey and their expression of self through the food they create and showcase to the world.
“I feel there is a series coming out from this title since there is so much more to write on food and the food of Malaysia. In fact, food of the different countries I hope I travel through. It’s so exciting.” says Ethel.
Ethel has been on this journey for the last thirty years with a multi-faceted media career that has taken her all over the world. One such journey brought her to Malaysia in November 2019 invited by Malaysia Tourism. They invited her back again in February 2020 when she decided that she was going to heed the call of Malaysia; hence returned in March 2020 and is now currently based in Kuala Lumpur. Meeting talented chefs and their experiences and journeys made a deep impact on her.
“It brought me home to myself. The more I got to know the soul of Malaysia, the more I was experiencing healing and a freedom, a letting go, which also evolved into food blogs. A very intimate journey exists between the food and emotions. The gift of words is my vocation. There is a purpose to this gift. I’m just honouring it here on my time on Earth.”
About Ukiyoto Publishing:
Conceptualised amidst the Wahiba Sand Dunes in Oman in Jan’19 with the idea of nurturing creative talent worldwide, Ukiyoto today has reached more than 2,000 authors and writers publishing books in both digital and print formats. Paperbacks and hardbacks have been physically shipped to more than 50 countries worldwide including places such as Tunisia, Israel, Russia, Dominic Republic and many more. With its upcoming launch of Ukiyosk, an Augmented Reality enabled platform, Ukiyoto promises to integrate technology with creativity and populate flipbooks (paperbacks in digital formats) with mass visibility across the globe.
Red Spring Festival expects to collect over 4,000 blood units
|Young people donate their blood|
In his opening remarks, Director of the National Institute of Hematology and Blood Transfusion (NIHBT) Bach Quoc Khanh, who is head of the festival’s organizing board, said that the festival has been held annually since 2008 to address blood shortages after the lunar New Year holiday, and gradually changed public awareness of blood donation.
After 13 editions, the festival has collected over 85,000 blood units and become the annual biggest blood donation event.
Khanh took the occasion to express his gratitude for donators nationwide.
The 14th edition is taking place from March 1-7 at the NIHBT headquarters, and three fixed places – 26 Luong Ngoc Quyen in Hoan Kiem district, 132 Quan Nhan in Thanh Xuan district, and Valley 122 of Lang Street in Dong Da district.
The organizing board expects to receive over 4,000 blood units during this year’s festival, which then will be allocated to nearly 180 hospitals and medical establishments of 28 provinces and cities in the northern region.
It has also made thorough preparations to welcome donors so as to ensure COVID-19 prevention and control as recommended by the World Health Organisation and the Health Ministry./.
Fatal coach crash kills three, injures 4 in Dong Thap
A serious traffic accident caused by a passenger coach took place on National Highway 54 in Tan Thanh Commune of Dong Thap Province’s Lai Vung District this morning, March 1, killing three and injuring four people.
The passenger coach with plate number 51B-17273 driven by Tran Van Nam, aged 41, was heading from Vam Cong Bridge to Vinh Long Province when it plowed into a group of 10 bike riders and killed a rider, identified as Tran Van An, aged 59.
The passenger coach continued slamming into two electric poles and a tree on the pavement, damaging the front of the coach. Local residents immediately took some injured passengers onboard the coach to hospitals.
However, two passengers, identified as Nguyen Ngoc Son, aged 38, and Nguyen Huu Ly, aged 46, were reported dead on the way to the hospital. Besides, the driver, the conductor and two other passengers suffered severe injuries.
The police of Dong Thap Province are investigating the deadly accident, the local media reported.
Students in HCM City back in school
Students in HCM City returned to school on Monday after an extended Tết (Lunar New Year) holiday due to the resurgence of COVID-19 in late January.
Schools had to take preventive measures including classroom and hand sterilisation, body temperature checks and health declarations.
Phùng Thị Ngọc Hiền, principal of Tuổi Thơ Kindergarten in District 8, said 90 per cent of surveyed parents wanted their children to return to school.
“The school has sterilised classrooms, equipment and toys and communicated with parents to together help children take preventive measures at home and at school,” she said.
At a young age, parents and teachers have to actively help children take preventive measures. The school, which offers day boarding services, pays attention to food safety and hygiene and has desks in front of the school gate for parents to make health declarations, she told the Vietnam News Agency.
Sương Nguyệt Anh Secondary School in District 8 had 29 absent students on the first day back as parents let them stay at home for further monitoring due to sickness.
According to Nguyễn Hoàng Dũng, the school’s vice-principal, the school followed the curriculum for the new week as planned and reviewed the knowledge of the previous week.
During the holiday, about 900 out of more than 1,200 students of the school attended live online learning sessions. Others who couldn’t attend studied through videos uploaded on the school’s website or other channels.
Nguyễn Bỉnh Khiêm Primary School in District 1 opened its gates to welcome but did not hold an outdoor morning session at the school yard to ensure safety.
Lê Hồng Sơn, director of HCM City Department of Education and Training, said schools in the city had made preparations to welcome students back. Thanks to experience from previous COVID-19 resurgences, they planned to respond to any scenario with teachers more active in pandemic prevention and control work.
In Ia Pa District, a COVID-19 cluster in the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai, more than 11,000 students of 31 schools returned to school on Monday.
All of the schools were sterilised and strictly followed COVID-19 prevention protocols and 83 teachers are currently quarantined at home.
Students living in locked-down areas near the house of Patient No 1696 in Ayun Pa Town who tested positive again will continue to stay home.
Schools in Ia Pa District have prepared one extra room each for quarantining students who have high body temperatures and show symptoms.
Sixty out of 63 cities and provinces nationwide have re-opened schools after the new year holiday.
Hà Nội’s students will return to school on Tuesday. Local authorities said the capital city re-opened schools later than other localities as March 2 will be the 14th day the city has not recorded any new community cases of the virus.
Hải Phòng City has decided to let their students return to school on March 8. Other activities like festivals, religious events, sports, weddings and funerals, entertaining activities, karaoke, massage, bars and theatres are still suspended.
Hải Dương City authorities said they would keep schools shut until March 14.
Vietnam tightens control over illegal immigration
One third of provinces bordering with Cambodia have tightened entry procedures on people coming from this country.
Vietnam has toughened up control over unlawful immigration in the region bordering with Cambodia after people returning from the neighboring country found infected with Covid-19.
A number of southern provinces bordering with Cambodia like Dong Thap, An Giang, and Kien Giang have asked its border guards to keep vigilance on the movements in boundary areas after Dong Thap detected two cases between February 26 and 28.
The southern provinces are under threat of local transmission as Vietnamese nationals attempt to return their home country after the pandemic has broken out in Cambodia since February 20, according to Doan Tan Buu, deputy chairman of the Dong Thap People’s Committee.
It means that the region is in danger of imported coronavirus infections, leaving the localities under high alert and requiring them to closely follow the 5K (in Vietnamese) measures namely masking, disinfection, distance, no gathering, and health declaration.
Following the community transmission, local governments require all returnees from Cambodia to go to concentrated quarantine centers, make health declaration, and be available for testing.
After the local authorities confirmed two people who are Vietnamese nationals returning from Cambodia, Dong Thap has suspended entertainment activities and festivals and closed schools in some districts.
Meanwhile, An Giang has raised its coronavirus alert to the highest level, setting up 176 checkpoints and 11 mobile teams against Covid-19 and intensifying border patrols.
The Military Command in Kien Giang has toughened management in quarantine centers that accommodate Vietnamese people coming from Cambodia.
Given threat of imported Covid infection, different localities across Vietnam have laid a close eye on illegal immigrants. As a result, police in Nghe An, Danang, Binh Duong, Binh Phuoc, Soc Trang, and Tra Vinh have arrested dozens of Chinese outlawed immigrants.
Vietnam’s biggest coronavirus hotpot to end social distancing from March 3
The northern province of Hai Duong, the nation’s biggest coronavirus hotspot, is set to bring social distancing measures to an end on March 3, with efforts being made to return to a “new normal”.
During a virtual conference held on March 1, Pham Xuan Thang, secretary of the Hai Duong provincial Party Committee, said the locality would continue striving to eliminate the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic whilst tackling difficulties in boosting socio-economic development.
Thang noted that the local administration is ready to actively control the spread of COVID-19 pandemic by maintaining approximately 11,000 community-based anti-coronavirus groups.
Various COVID-19 preventive measures will be in place, especially in high-risl areas, in order to keep the virus at bay in the community, Thang added.
He also outlined that the local administration would move to cushion the impact of the fresh outbreak on business production and people’s life.
Hai Duong has recorded 665 community infections since the virus recurred in late January 2021. Of the total, 297 patients have been discharged from hospital after making a full recovery from the virus.
Mekong Delta province quickly tracks down contacts of Covid-19 imported case
The Mekong Delta Province of Dong Thap authority and related agencies have been working to track down close contacts with a woman who illegally entered Vietnam and tested positive for SARS-CoV-2.
Chairman of the People’s Committee in Dong Thap Province Pham Thien Nghia yesterday presided an urgent meeting with responsible agencies upon detection of a positive Covid-19 case who was quarantined in a centralized ward.
The Department of Health in Dong Thap yesterday said 11 people had come into contact with the female patient 2,424 who illegally entered Vietnam. Of 11 close contacts, nine tested negative for the first time.
Responsible forces will continue tracking two other close contacts F1 including a driver meanwhile 52 contacts F2 were asked to self-isolate at homes.
Director of the provincial Center for Disease Control Tran Van Hai said that the patient 2,424 had experienced clinical symptoms of Covid-19; hence, it is highly possible that she had been infected with the coronavirus before entering the Southeast Asian country illicitly; subsequently, community transmission is very high. As a result, the health sector is determined to track down all close contacts to quarantine.
Another case is a 37-year-old sailor hailing from the Mekong Delta Province of Hau Giang who returned to Vietnam from Cambodia with a friend on February 25. In the next day, they completed formalities in Thuong Phuoc international border to enter Vietnam and then they were brought to a collective quarantine facility in Hong Ngu District.
Chairman Nghia said that the province temporarily stopped all festivals and entertainment events in districts Hong Ngu, Tan Hong and Hong Ngu Town for the fight against Covid-19.
The Department of Education and Training also allowed all students from preschools to continuous education facilities in border districts Hong Ngu, Tan Hong and Hong Ngu Town to stay at home till March 6.
Ho Chi Minh City-based Pasteur Institute yesterday announced test results of a suspected Covid-19 man in Vinh Chau town in Soc Trang Province have shown he was negative for SARS-CoV-2. Before, the man was tested positive when applying for a job in Bac Lieu Town.
The Center for Disease Control in Kien Giang Province said that Covid-19 development in Cambodia has been very complicated after Tet holiday (the Lunar New Year) with more community transmission infections; therefore, more Vietnamese people decided to return to Vietnam through international border gate Ha Tien in these last days.
Statistically, from February 24 to 26, over 150 immigrants completed formalities into Vietnam. All were brought to centralized quarantine facilities undergoing tests.
Science ministry strengthens research to tackle COVID-19 pandemic
The Ministry of Science and Technology will continue strengthening research to serve COVID-19 pandemic prevention and control this year, especially researching and producing vaccines.
The ministry has worked with agencies to provide scientific information relating to the pandemic developments.
The ministry said from the very first days when the virus arrived in Việt Nam, the ministry worked with experts and scientists to research the epidemiology, virology and treatment regimen, including biological products for testing.
Soon, many sets of biological products were mass manufactured to serve pandemic prevention and control, the ministry said.
Next, the real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) kit, used to detect the SAR-CoV-2 virus, was made by Việt Nam Military Medical University in March 2020 and then put into mass production.
Lieutenant-General Đỗ Quyết, director of the university, said the RT-PCR kit was created thanks to efforts and the innovative spirit of both university’s scientists and Việt Á Technology Joint Stock Company.
Following the success, the university linked up with the Pasteur Institute in HCM City to shorten the time spent researching its Nano Covax vaccine. With the support of the institute, the research time was cut from six to three months, he added.
The first phase of the vaccination trial was conducted on December 17, 2020. The results of the first-phase trial of the Nano Covax vaccine showed the vaccine was safe and 90 per cent effective.
Quyết said the first trial vaccination injection of the second phase would be conducted on Friday, with the second trial vaccination injection at the end of March. The results of the second-phase trial would be revealed at the end of April.
The number of volunteers who registered to be given Nano Covax in the second phase of the trial has reached nearly 1,000 so far.
If the results met requirements on safety and immunogenicity, the third phase of the vaccination trial would start in early May, he said.
The vaccine’s third-phase trial needs 10,000-15,000 volunteers and the selection of participants would be expanded to ensure a broad-spectrum target for vaccination, he said.
Tien Giang irrigation projects protect crops in dry season
The Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Tiền Giang has invested in 70 in-field irrigation projects on 27,000ha of farming land in the coastal districts of Gò Công Đông and Gò Công Tây during the 2020 – 21 dry season.
The projects, which cost a total of VNĐ15 billion (US$650,000), include building or upgrading in-field irrigation canals and ditches that ensure water and help to prevent saltwater intrusion in the dry season.
The projects have protected more than 18,000ha of rice, 6,000ha of vegetables and 3,000ha of other crops from water shortage and saltwater intrusion in the winter – spring crop.
They have also helped to secure daily-use water for 38,000 households in coastal areas.
In Gò Công Đông, besides investing in in-field irrigation canals and ditches, local authorities have built four new sluices for taking irrigation water since the beginning of the dry season.
The district has organised the collection of rubbish and water hyacinths on in-field irrigation canals and ditches so that irrigation water can flow easily into each field.
The district has taken measures to restructure agricultural production to suit each area, according to local authorities.
In the winter – spring crop, farmers in Gò Công Đông have expanded cultivation of vegetables and other crops on 1,500ha.
Gò Công Đông and Gò Công Tây districts normally face severe saltwater intrusion in the dry season and face shortage of irrigation water at the end of the winter – spring crop.
The two districts have also expanded advocacy activities about the impact of saltwater intrusion to the public.
Local authorities in the two districts have encouraged farmers to dredge irrigation ditches in orchards to preserve fresh water for irrigation.
Ngô Văn Dũng, head of the Gò Công Tây Bureau of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the district has invested in irrigation projects and taken measures to cope with saltwater intrusion and drought.
Besides investing in in-field irrigation canals and ditches, the district has built 124 temporary dams to preserve irrigation water for the dry season, he said.
In the ongoing winter – spring crop, the two districts have solved the shortage of irrigation water for growing rice and other crops as more irrigation projects have been built and the winter – spring crop rice was planted earlier than normal.
Farmers are having a bumper harvest of winter – spring rice, getting a yield of 6.5 tonnes per hectares, up 1.2 tonnes against the last winter – spring crop, according to local authorities.
Profits from growing vegetables are two to three times higher than from rice, said local authorities.
HCM City to clean more of its polluted canals, relocate poor people living along them
HCM City plans to clean up more of its canals in 2021-25 and relocate people living in utter poverty along them.
It has set a target of moving out 10,000 families from near canals in Bình Thạnh, Bình Tân, 4, 7, and 8 districts.
Its plans include cleaning the Xuyên Tâm Canal passing through Bình Thạnh and Gò Vấp districts and building an underground drainage system in the Tham Lương and Bến Cát areas.
The works will be funded by both public and private resources.
The canals’ banks will be widened by 20 per cent to attract investment and offer to investors to set up malls and other commercial establishments.
According to the president of the HCM Real Estate Association (HoREA), Lê Hoàng Châu, the investment could be used to develop the banks.
Relocation of the families living along the canals is one of five projects to improve people’s quality of living that the city had drawn up for 2016-20.
It had hoped to move all 21,851 households by 2020 at a cost of VNĐ44 trillion (US$1.9 billion) but only managed to resettle 2,479 of them.
The biggest hurdle was the lack of funds to pay compensation and build resettlement housing.
Lê Trần Kiên, deputy head of the Department of Construction’s urban development department, said the task had required VNĐ10 trillion but only VNĐ2.1 trillion was available.
The canals targeted for a clean-up are minor and so failed to attract investors.
The city has a solid record in cleaning up canals as evidenced by its successful revival of the Nhiêu Lộc – Thị Nghè and Tân Hóa – Lò Gốm canals.
Trần Vĩnh Nam, an architect, is all praise for the present living conditions along the Tân Hóa – Lò Gốm Canal: “This place used to be too polluted and foul-smelling for any creature to live.
“Now [after its clean-up], property prices along it are rising thanks to a complete transformation.”
The city has also completed various sanitation projects such as improving its drainage system, dredging 81.2km of canals, and cleaning up 60km of canals to improve the environment and people’s quality of life.
In the next few years it plans to clean more canals to prevent floods and improve the environment.
Revenues from forest environmental services could reach $121m in 2021
The Việt Nam Administration of Forestry (VNFOREST) aims to collect VNĐ2.8 trillion (US$121.7 million) from forest environmental services this year.
Under this policy, forest service users like tourism businesses or hydropower plants will have to pay according to their use of forest resources to forest owners, who are local individuals, households, organisations or communities.
According to VNFOREST Deputy Director Phạm Văn Điển, forest carbon sequestration and emission reduction services, a new feature of 2021, will add between VNĐ300 to 500 billion to the sector’s annual income from environmental services.
Last year, the revenue from those services stood at VNĐ2.56 trillion, meeting 91 per cent of the yearly target.
The number fell short of expectations due largely to severe water shortages at large hydropower reservoirs in the north like Hoà Bình, Sơn La, and Lai Châu between the fourth quarter of 2019 and the second quarter of 2020, said the Việt Nam Forest Protection and Development Fund (VNFF). The shortage affected the performance of hydropower companies.
In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the production and operations of businesses employing these services.
The fund said revenues from forest environment services supported 226 forest management boards and 138,000 forest owners, while creating incomes for 81 forestry companies and livelihoods for more than 172,000 families in mountainous areas, helping lift their living standards.
Revenues from forest environmental services have become a sustainable source of finance that helps to increase the value of the forestry sector as well as contributes to GDP growth, according to the fund.
Điển said the revenues come from exploiting the forests so the collection of the revenues should be re-invested into the protection and development of forestlands. Some of the revenues are used in efforts to improve forest management, preserve biodiversity, create jobs, sustainable livelihoods and raise public awareness.
He said the current amount still does not reflect the true benefits the forests have brought about.
According to Điển, forest environmental services income is now mainly sourced from hydropower plants and firms producing clean water.
Experts recommended collecting environment service fees from other sources like ecotourism businesses, industrial production establishments, and aquaculture facilities.
Vietnamese prioritise health, finance following pandemic: survey
A year on since the Covid-19 pandemic first began Vietnamese are taking more control of their health and finance, driving greater interest in fitness and well-being along with insurance and retirement planning, as Asia looks to the longer-term impact of the disease, according to new research from Manulife.
The latest version of the ‘Manulife Asia Care Survey’ takes a closer look into customers’ concerns, priorities and aspirations, polling 4,000 people across the region who either own insurance or intend to buy it in the next six months, including around 520 in Việt Nam.
Nearly all (95 per cent) of those who worry most about Covid have made an effort on a personal level to improve their overall health, mostly through more regular exercise (58 per cent) and improved diet (54 per cent).
In Việt Nam, all the respondents said they had taken action to help them manage Covid, with 72 per cent saying this included doing more regular exercise. More people in Hà Nội (85 per cent) do more regular exercise than in HCM City (73 per cent).
Almost everyone is self-monitoring health, and Vietnamese pay the most attention to the number of steps walked (44 per cent) among the four emerging markets covered in the survey, against a regional average of 38 per cent.
Three out of five (60 per cent) of Vietnamese also own fitness wearables, well above the regional average of 46 per cent.
A large majority of Vietnamese (79 per cent) also said retirement planning has become more important since Covid-19 started, below the Philippines (90 per cent), Indonesia (88 per cent) and Malaysia (83 per cent) but higher than all the developed markets.
The regional average is 73 per cent.
This high level of interest in retirement ties in with their concerns about personal wealth.
In Việt Nam, more than half (52 per cent) thought their personal wealth would decline as a result of Covid-19. The rate was only higher in Hong Kong (58 per cent) and Singapore (55 per cent).
Aligned with taking better control of health and finance is an interest to buy new insurance.
In Việt Nam, a remarkable nine out of ten (91 per cent) said they intend to buy new insurance in the next six months, higher than anywhere else in the region. The regional average is 71 per cent.
The Vietnamese respondents were most interested in life, hospitalisation, accident and critical illness cover.
Three quarters (75 per cent) of Vietnamese respondents, again more than anywhere else in the region, said they prefer to manage their policies through digital means such as mobile apps, including for claims and payment.
The survey found that 71 per cent of them had spoken to an agent about purchasing insurance, well above the regional average of 64 per cent, with only Hong Kong (77 per cent) and mainland China (76 per cent) scoring higher.
“Vietnamese insurance customers are seeking more digital touchpoints that are safe, simple and convenient,” Sang Lee, CEO of Manulife Vietnam, said.
“While those digital habits are here for the long term, a good many still like to speak to their agents. This underscores the importance of our omnichannel approach, one that fully integrates digital, while maximising our human qualities of empathy, trust and a holistic understanding of our customers’ needs.”
Đồng Tháp adds 14 new community-based tourism areas
The People’s Committee of the Mekong Delta province of Đồng Tháp has approved 14 new community-based tourism areas.
The province has around 100 community-based tourism areas, mostly situated in Cao Lãnh and Sa Đéc cities, and Lai Vung, Tam Nông and Tháp Mười districts.
“The province’s approval aims to turn Đồng Tháp into a popular and attractive destination for tourists and even tourism agencies,” Ngô Quang Tuyên, deputy director of the province’s Culture, Sports and Tourism Department, said.
Tuyên said community-based tourism has been booming in the Mekong Delta. It has helped to promote the value of agricultural products, create more jobs in rural areas, and bring stable sources of income for local households.
Only five households at the Tháp Mười Lotus Tourism Area in Tháp Mười District initially offered tourism services. But now the number has reached dozens of households. They offer different kinds of services like boating on lotus ponds, catching fish, and enjoying local authentic dishes.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the tourism area served an average of 10,000 visitors per month, and even 1,000 visitors a day on national holidays and Tết (Lunar New Year).
The Tam Nông District, where the Tràm Chim National Park is located, established a tourism association to promote local specialties, tourism products and service quality.
The association now has 30 members, offering services such as food and beverages, homestays, tour guides, and community activities.
The tourism areas in the district welcome about 100,000 local and foreign tourists every year.
Tuyên said agriculture was also a strong advantage for Đồng Tháp to develop community-based tourism. It has diverse products such as flowers, fruits and seafood.
Each agritourism spot in the province has an area of 5,000 square metres to over one hectare, attracting 500-1,000 visitors each day, mostly on weekends.
The most-visited spots are the date palm garden in Sa Đéc City, the Tân Thuận strawberry garden in Cao Lãnh City, and Ba Tuấn grape garden in Hồng Ngự District, where tourists can enjoy fresh and clean fruit and take photos.
Võ Minh Tiến, the manager of the date palm garden, said the harvest season of dates in April of the Lunar New Year attracted 300-400 visitors a day.
One of the most-visited tourism destinations in Đồng Tháp is the Sa Đéc Flower Village on an area of 313ha planted with more than 2,000 types of flowers, bonsai trees, and ornamental trees from different regions of Việt Nam.
The village now has dozens of households offering tourism services and homestays like Happy Land Hùng Thy, Bamboo House Homestay, and Ngọc Lan flower observatory tower.
Tuyên said: “Community-based tourism is helping farmers in Đồng Tháp to improve their income.”
Total revenue from community-based tourism areas between 2016 and 2020 was more than VNĐ43 billion (US$1.86 billion).
Community-based tourism also helped Đồng Tháp rank number three in the number of tourists in the Mekong Delta region, Tuyên added.
New rom-com highlights Vietnamese women
The award-winning film producer and director Nhất Trung has announced a new project called 1990 that highlights the career and life of successful Vietnamese women.
1990 is a rom-com work revolving around a group of three close friends with different personalities. When all three women turn 30, they must face challenges in life, marriage, love and career. They learn to help each other to overcome problems.
Trung, who is also the film’s scriptwriter, told local media: “Most Vietnamese films’ leading characters are male, featuring topics about love. Not many films highlight female characters.”
The film stars famous actresses Ninh Dương Lan Ngọc, Nhã Phương and Diễm My 9x, who were born in 1990 and turned 30 during the filming last year.
Trung said all three actresses were best friends in real life. Their lives were the inspiration for making 1990.
“In recent years, my studio has changed to develop topics which have been rarely mentioned in Vietnamese cinema,” Trung said, adding that his future projects may be less attractive to audiences.
Director Trung become known for his rom-com Cua Lại Vợ Bầu (Win My Baby Back) which was released in late January 2019, during the Tết (Lunar New Year) holiday.
The film raked in more than VNĐ191.8 billion (US$8.33 million) in ticket sales, one of the highest-grossing Vietnamese movies of all time. Nearly 2.7 million tickets were sold within two months.
The work features love themes using comedy and exciting action, starring Ninh Dương Lan Ngọc, winner of the Golden Kite award for Best Actress in 2010 and 2015, and famous comic actor Trấn Thành.
The film won the Silver Lotus Award for best movie at the 21st Việt Nam National Film Festival in Bà Ria-Vũng Tàu in late November 2019.
It also brought Trung the prize for best scriptwriter, and Trấn Thành the prize for best leading actor.
Trung’s new movie 1990 is in post-production, and is expected to be released in cinemas on April 30.
Hip hop competition in HCM City
A competition called “Ayyo Hiphop 2021” with professional and amateur dancers from HCM City and neighbouring provinces will be held at the HCM City Labour Cultural House on March 6.
There will be separate sections for men and women. Dancers will have 45 minutes to show their style.
The judges will include top dancers like Snoop Gee from La Difference dance crew, Shunen from XClown Crew, and Libra from Street Ladies, who will also offer a dance workshop at the event.
The event will feature DJ Rufu of XClown Crew and MC Son Clown of Destiny Family.
It will take place from 4-6pm at 55B Nguyễn Thị Minh Khai Street in District 1. Entrance fee is VNĐ100,000.
Hip Hop has become mainstream and well-loved by the youths of HCM City in recent years. To please the savvy clientele, some giants of the nightlife industry have organised weekly Hip Hop night events in the city where every Hip Hop events are guided by resident DJs.
Hip Hop music has also evolved and claimed its dominant position in the most envied nightclubs in the city. The Hip Hop community does not only include break-dance and grafitti lovers, but also branches out to those who have fallen in love with the pumping beats.
Vietnamese tourism clip passes one million views on YouTube
A clip that introduces Vietnamese culture and cuisine has reached 1.1 million views on YouTube after being uploaded on February 11.
The one-minute clip was released as part of a tourism promotion campaign entitled “Vietnam: Di de yeu!”, “Discover Vietnam” in English”, with the purpose of making the country more popular among travelers via the digital-media platform.
Created by the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) after receiving support from both Google and VinPearl, the campaign is part of a wider programme launched by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism to promote the country as a safe and attractive destination.
The campaign features various clips from famous YouTube creators such as Khoai Lang Thang, Chan La Ca, Fly Around Vietnam, and H’Hen Nie, Miss Universe Vietnam 2017, all of whom enjoy a great influence among young demographics and also boast a large number of subscribers.
The scheme is expected to help stimulate domestic travel demand whilst also providing useful information for tourists.
Ha Giang tourism earns VND12 billion over festive period
The northern province of Ha Giang welcomed 12,000 tourists, including 105 foreigners, during the Lunar New Year, known locally as Tet, raking in an estimated VND12 billion in tourism revenue, according to the Ha Giang Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism.
Although several potential visitors canceled their tours to Ha Giang due to the complicated nature of developments relating to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), these achievements can be viewed as positive compared to the general situation of the domestic tourism sector.
The majority of tourists designed independent trips while the number of visitors booking accommodation makes up roughly 30% of the total.
Most visitors came to the province to meet their relatives, travel for spiritual tourism, or check-in at tourist sites in the locality such as Vi Xuyen district and four districts in the Dong Van Plateau Geopark.
The People’s Committees at municipal and district levels, tourism associations, and travel firms strictly followed epidemic prevention regulations while welcoming guests to the province.
In addition, visitors had a heightened sense of awareness about the necessity to take preventive measures, such as wearing facemasks, washing hands with antiseptic, filling in medical declarations, and maintaining a safe distance in public places.
During Tet, a number of localities in Ha Giang province organised a wide range of cultural and sporting activities, along with traditional festivals, as a means of allowing guests to discover and experience the cultural values of the ethnic people who inhabit the local area.
Moreover, the Tourism Association also implemented a scheme aimed at stimulating tourism by offering discounts of between 10% and 20% on the costs of tourism service to mark the occasion.
Northern regions brace for cold spell from March 2
The country’s northern provinces are set to endure a cold snap with foggy and drizzly conditions on March 2, according to the National Centre for Hydro-meteorological Forecasting.
The cold front is poised to directly impact both northern mountainous localities and north-central provinces.
In line with this forecast, local temperatures will fall to around 16 degrees Celsius to 19 degrees Celsius, with some mountainous areas even seeing temperatures drop to as low as 14 degrees Celsius.
Hanoi is set to see the cold spell cause temperatures to remain at 18 degrees Celsius on March 2, with the chilly period lasting for several days. During the weekend hot weather is set to return to the capital, with temperatures rising to 25 degrees Celsius to 27 degrees Celsius.
Despite these drops in temperature, the cold spell will have little impact on the northwestern region. Provinces such as Nghe An and Ha Tinh provinces will likely only see local people feel the cold at night and early in the morning.
Haiphong reopens cafes and restaurants
The northern city of Haiphong has reopened local cafes and restaurants from today, March 1.Under the municipal people’s committee’s decision issued on February 28, from today, all local cafes and restaurants in the city are allowed to be reopened. The other services, including hairdressers, casinos, golf courses and bus stops are also permitted to be resumed.
Events such as festivals and religious ceremonies, sports tournaments, wedding parties and gatherings with more than 20 people are not allowed to be reopened.
Non-essential services such as karaoke parlours, bars, cinemas and dental clinics will remain suspended until further notice.
Only 70% of cars of the city’s taxi firms are permitted to operate again, and only serve no more than 50% of customers.
Schools in Haiphong will be reopened from March 8.
Labourers who come to Haiphong from Covid-19-affected areas have to take.
Covid-19 tests and only those with negative results can enter Haiphong to work. Those from Hai Duong must test negative for the virus before coming to Haiphong. They will be also quarantined for 14 days in Haiphong before being permitted to work.
The “connection” between traditional and modern music
In recent years, Vietnamese music lovers have witnessed the birth of many works combining traditional and modern music.
The video “Xam Hanoi”, which shows young singer Nguyen Thi Ngoc Ha (Ha Myo)’s love for the capital city through Xam (ballads sung by wandering blind musicians), was one outstanding example.
This is the first time the traditional Xam art of song was perfectly combined with rap and electronic music and modern choreography, creating a new music product bearing the charm and beauty of folk culture while featuring the freshness of the modern arts.
The video “Xam Hanoi” has rapidly received a warm response from a large number of young music listeners after arrived in the digital environment. This is on example highlighting the “connection” between modern and traditional music.
Young artist Ngo Hong Quang is also a remarkable face possessesing many works that exploit the rich traditions of music from around the country. He has finished an album entitled “Tinh dan” featuring many indigenous music styles of Vietnam.
Earlier, singers such as Hoang Thuy Linh and Bich Phuong also made their marks with pop songs imbued with folk music or inspired by traditional culture.
It can be seen that this feature of traditional music in composition has become a trend for many young artists over recent years, contributing to a new wind affecting contemporary musical life.
This composition trend is considered a rope connecting modern music lovers with traditional music. It has not only brought about a new style but also highlighted Vietnamese identities in contemporary music.
On the contrary, many traditional art works now feature modern musical elements to conquer young audiences. One highlight is the Cai Luong (reformed opera) and circus play entitled “Cay gay than” (Magic stick) by the Vietnam Cai Luong Theatre and Vietnam Circus Federation.
The play was an audacious experience as the familiar Cai Luong ancient songs were added to a background of jazz music and featured the appearance of rap music in some scenes. All have created an interesting “opening” for Cai Luong that is not only admired young people but has also surprised veteran artists.
The newly released play “Son Hau – Beyond The Mountain” by young directors Nguyen Quoc Hoang Anh and Ha Nguyen Long has also rejuvenated the ancient art of Tuong (classical drama) through attractive performances of hip hop dance on a background of electronic sounds.
This exploitation of modern music is a way to bring traditional arts and music closer to young audiences as well as preserving and promoting traditional music values that are at risk of degradation over times.
Obviously, the reciprocal combination of modern and traditional elements in music has not only made both art forms newer and more impressive but also opened potential trends for the future, towards a new world of contemporary arts imbued with national identities. This is also a way for Vietnamese music to define itself among international friends.
This mission belongs to both traditional and modern artists. However, it is not an easy “path” for artists who have a great passion for the arts and who also dare to deviate. Because, in fact, not any old combination creates the right “fit”. An inappropriate mix of modern and traditional elements can make art works rude and objectionable.
The unreasonable exploitation of ancient materials can also easily cause distortions of tradition. Creators must thus have a deep understanding of each art form so that they will not blur one another. The successes of various art works using this combination in recent years was in part due to the participation of experts having strengths in each form.
With an in-depth understanding of each field, they support and adjust together, helping the works avoid crossing the delicate line between creativity and objection. Thereby, they will enhance the value of the country’s music in particular and the arts in general.
Ca Mau seeks approval for airport expansion
The government of the Mekong Delta province of Ca Mau has written to the Ministry of Transport proposing expanding the capacity of Ca Mau Airport to two million passengers per year for the 2021-2030 period.
Accordingly, the airport will meet the 4C standards of the International Civil Aviation Organization and Vietnam’s level-two standards for military airports.
In the 2030-2050 period, the airport will remain at level 4C, but its capacity will be expanded to three million passengers per year.
The province’s proposal is aimed at meeting the rising demand from passengers for travel from/to Hanoi, Danang and Con Dao, contributing to the province’s socioeconomic development, the local media reported.
In 2019, Ca Mau Province welcomed some two million tourists, while the province had only one daily flight. As such, the airport’s expansion is necessary, according to the provincial government.
Ca Mau Airport has one runway which is 1.5 kilometers long and meets the 3C standards and the level-two standards for military airports. It can handle small aircraft such as ATR-72, AN-2 and MIA-17.
If the airport is upgraded to meet the 4C standards, it will accommodate larger planes such as the A320, the A321 or others.
The province’s proposal will be considered by the ministry to add it to the national general airport development plan in the 2021-2030 period, with a vision toward 2050.
Nearly 19,000 hectares of public land encroached on
Of the total area of public land that the Vietnam Rubber Group (VRG), the Vietnam Forestry Corporation (Vinafor) and the Vietnam National Tea Corporation (Vinatea) were assigned to manage, 18,500 hectares was encroached upon.
Of this, 10,700 hectares of VRG’s land was encorached on, nearly 7,400 hectares of Vinafor’s land and 500 hectares of Vinatea’s land, according to the Government Inspectorate’s conclusion on an inspection into the compliance with Vietnam’s regulations on the management and use of land at the three units between January 1, 2010, and December 31, 2017.
Also, these units allegedly committed wrongdoings in changing the purpose of agricultural land-use and offered parts of the headquarters for lease, reported Tuoi Tre Online.
More than 10,700 hectares of VRG’s encroached land was mainly in the southeastern region and the Central Highlands. Over 1,700 hectares of land also overlapped with that of the local residents.
In addition, VRG was tasked with managing and using 759 land and housing facilities meant for restructuring programs under the prime minister’s decision. However, by the end of 2017, it submitted a list of 43 facilities to the authorities for approving the handling and restructuring, while the remainder just had their conditions checked. VRG also leased part of its office space, which was not in compliance with the Land Law.
As for Vinafor, the Government Inspectorate said that the corporation had yet to reclaim over 7,300 hectares of encroached land, accounting for some 15% of the land area it was assigned or rented to manage and use. The encroachment mainly happened from 2005.
Vinafor was also allocated 83 land and housing facilities for management and use. To date, seven facilities were handled and restructured in line with prevailing regulations.
As for Vinatea, it has yet to address the encroachment facing its over 497 hectares of land in the northern province of Phu Tho.
Vinatea alone used 12 plots of land to contribute to the establishment of joint ventures and leased land to businesses without following prevailing regulations and carried out divesment without bidding.
Le Thanh Hung, deputy general director of VRG, told the paper that the firm has adopted measures to cope with the land encroachment for years, but faced many obstacles due to historical issues.
Airlines make it difficult for lockdown refund cases
According to carriers’ ticket agents, many passengers who wanted to travel to Hai Duong Province bought tickets for routes from HCMC to Hanoi and Hai Phong City because the province has no airport. They planned to take coaches to Hai Duong after arriving. Hai Duong then was locked down, their trips could not be carried out thought flights were operated. Passengers can not ask airlines to refund air fares because it is not easy to meet the carriers’ requirements on explaining the reason and purpose of traveling to Hai Duong.
Passengers have accepted vouchers for cancellations. Airlines should not make it difficult and cause more loss for customers by asking complicated procedures and responding late, said Ms. Nguyen Thi Mai, a ticket agent in Hanoi.
Carriers, including Vietnam Airlines, Vietjet Air, Bamboo Airways said that passengers must display the necessary paperworks, such as confrimations of their workplaces and local authority of the affected areas where they come or return, tickets purchased before the lockdown and having a validity.
According to economic expert Vu Dinh Anh and other specialists, State’s functional agencies and the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) should launch ways of solving problems to ensure the rights of the two sides.
Vietnam Airlines plans to resume flights between Van Don, HCMC
The national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines (VNA) has announced that it will resume routes connecting Van Don in Quang Ninh Province and HCMC that were previously suspended amid coronavirus outbreak, starting March 3.
Accordingly, the carrier will operate one daily flight on Wednesday from March 3-17; and three weekly flights on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday from March 18-December 31. The flight will depart from Ho Chi Minh City at 13:00 and Van Don at 15:45.
On this occasion, VNA will offer tickets at VND33, 000 (US$1.4) each one-way for the first three flights. The promotional program will be apllied for passengers who buy tickets with the mobile app, on the website www.vietnamairlines.com, and at the box offices and official agents of VNA from now until March 17 on flights departing from March 3-17.
Ha Tinh to upgrade Dong Loc T- Junction historical site
SGGPSunday, February 28, 2021 07:12
The grave area of 10 female martyrs
The project which aims to pay tribute to martyrs who laid down their lives for the fatherland’s independence and freedom is expected to complete this year.
Vietnam targets 70% of statistical products and services be provided on time by 2025
By 2030, Vietnam’s statistics sector is expected to reach the level of development of regional most advanced countries and by 2045 to become among the modern statistics systems globally.
Vietnam targets 70% of statistical products and services be provided on time for users by 2025, the rate would raise to 100% by 2030.
The goal is part of the draft strategy for the development of Vietnam’s statistics sector in the 2021-30 period, with vision to 2045.
Meanwhile, the sector would enhance its capabilities in providing micro data per request for users, aiming to triple the amount of data provided by 2025 compared to that of 2020 and 10 times by 2030.
The satisfaction rate of users using statistics data, as a result, would reach 60% by 2025 and 75% by 2030.
By 2030, Vietnam’s statistics sector is expected to reach the development level of advanced regional countries and by 2045 to become among modern statistics systems globally.
The Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI), which is in charge of drafting the strategy, stressed the necessity to provide statistics data in a transparent, accurate, timely and easily accessible manner.
“Such data would help government leaders to map out socio-economic development plans, while meeting demand for information from organizations and individuals according to local legislation and international practices,” added the ministry.
“The immediate task at the moment is to assess the realization of Vietnam’s 10-year socio-economic plan [2021-30], and the development strategy for each sector, provinces and cities in 2021-30,” stated the MPI.
The strategy would propose specific measures to standardize Vietnam’s statistics procedures based on international practices; modernizing data collection and analyzing; enhancing capabilities in analyzing and forecasting; adopting digital transformation on statistics works.
Statistical products are, generally, information dissemination products that are published or otherwise made available for public use that describe, estimate, forecast, or analyse the characteristics of groups, customarily without identifying the persons, organizations, or individual data observations that comprise such groups.
Main products and services of Vietnam’s General Statistics Office include monthly socio-economic report, “Today Price’s Index”, “Statistical Information” pamphlet, statistical handbook and year book, among others.
“In Progress” to bridge art and education
The “In Progress” aims to contribute to enriching the cultural life of Vietnamese people by bringing diverse art and cultural events to the public.
“In Progress”, a pastime program, is slated to take place in Hanoi from March to May, will introduce a series of art and cultural events to local people.
Cutting across multiple disciplines, the “In Progress” will introduce 12 interesting events ranging from exhibition, multisensory puppet show, film screenings to a workshop bridging art and education, new engagement with an old art form, and many more.
In the context that Covid-19 is still complicated, there is likely a change in time and organization for each event. During the time of the program, the organizers will take necessary measures as well as cooperate with the municipal government to put in place the anti-pandemic protocols.
With an aim of contributing to the enrichment of the cultural life of Vietnamese people by bringing diverse art and cultural events to the public, 12 event proposals have been selected to to be included the “In Progress”.
One of the challenges that “In Progress” posed to all participating artists was to reach out to the hard to reach groups, and to thrive to create tangible values for those who might not have previously been benefiting from independent artistic and cultural practices.
“In Progress is truly an unprecedented opportunity for creative hubs and cultural practitioners to connect with artists across the country and thereby stepping out of their areas to reach new groups of audiences,” said Vu Thi Thanh Binh, a manager of “A week of culture and creativity” project.
The 12 wonderful art and cultural projects are expected to help audiences discover the “In Progress” as an opportunity for the young generation of Vietnamese artists to demonstrate how the arts and culture can make a positive change to the society and the world today.
Poor people prioritized in Vietnam’s Covid-19 vaccination plan
The country has approximately nine million of people or around 9% population living in poverty.
Poor people are listed among priority groups in Vietnam’s vaccination against Covid-19, which is planned to take place in March.
According to the United Nations, around 9% of Vietnam’s population or roughly nine million people living in poverty in 2019, a drastic reduction from 57% in 1990.
Factors that characterized the poor include large size of household, low education and skills, dependency on agriculture, remoteness in rural mountainous areas, lack of supporting infrastructure. The poor nowadays is also specifically associated with ethnic minorities in mountainous area rather than urban migrants.
Under the government’s resolution dated February 26, the poor and social beneficiaries belong to nine groups of people prioritized for the inoculation in the country of nearly 100 million population.
Groups in the priority list include:
– Health workers and frontline forces (members of the steering committee for Covid prevention at all levels, people working in quarantine centers, contact tracers, volunteers, reporters, among others); army officers; policemen.
– Vietnamese diplomats abroad; customs and state officials working in immigration service.
– Essential providers in aviation, transportation, tourism, clean water, electricity, among others.
– Teachers and employees in education sector; people working in administration agencies having frequent contact with others.
– People with underlying diseases and those above 65 years of age.
– People in the pandemic-hit areas.
– The poor and social beneficiaries.
– People in overseas mission.
– And other people decided by the Ministry of Health basing on the requirements of the pandemic control.
People, who are subject to the first shots (the first phase) of the 117,000 doses, are health workers and frontline forces.
The first batch of vaccine arrived in Vietnam on February 24 from British–Swedish multinational pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca.
Vietnam is under the fresh Covid-19 outbreak that resurged in late January, recording more than 800 locally-transmitted infections so far.
Source: VNA/VNS/VOV/VIR/SGT/Nhan Dan/Hanoitimes
Export value skyrockets over Lunar New Year
Vietnam’s export turnover during this Lunar New Year saw breakthrough growth, occupying nearly half of the total export-import turnover.
The latest data published by the General Department of Vietnam Customs showed that export volume over the seven days (February 10-16) of the Lunar New Year holiday reached $730 million, rising 79 per cent on-year and accounting for about 44 per cent of the $1.67 billion export-import turnover.
The main export articles include mobile devices and components valued at $332 million; computer and electronic products worth $251 million. The two categories accounted for 80 per cent of the total export value.
This Lunar New Year saw exports going to 80 markets, seven more than last year. China continues to be the leading export market with a value of $189 million (26 per cent). Following are the US ($152 million), South Korea ($67 million), and Hong Kong ($57 million).
According to statistics from the General Department of Vietnam Customs, there were 960 import-export businesses, up 59 per cent on-year. Nevertheless, importers still outnumbered exporters with an import turnover of $940 million, up 37 per cent on-year.
Thus, from early this year to February 16, the total export-import turnover reached $74.51 billion, up 31 per cent on-year. Of this, exports hit $38.57 billion, up 36 per cent on-year while imports reached $35.94 billion, up 26 per cent, resulting in a trade surplus of $2.63 billion.
Drug market forecast to grow by 15 per cent in 2021
The pharmaceutical industry grew by just 2.8 per cent last year, much lower than its average 11.8 per cent growth in the last five years.
It is expected to recover and grow by 15 per cent this year, mainly due to a rapidly ageing population and increasing incomes, analysts at SSI Securities Corporation said.
Last year there was a short supply of active pharmaceutical ingredients from China and India due to social distancing and lockdowns and higher demand for them globally, causing drug prices to rise.
According to the Ministry of Health, domestic drug production grew at 13.8 per cent per year in 2015 – 19 backed by Government policies and construction of new plants.
Vingroup fails to acquire LG Electronics smartphone business
Vingroup is unlikely to be able to realise its ambition to take over LG Electronics’ smartphone manufacturing business.
“LG had been negotiating with Vingroup to sell its smartphone-manufacturing facilities in Vietnam and Brazil, however, the discussions recently collapsed mostly due to different price expectations,” said an industry insider familiar with the matter.
Last month, the Asian media was in a huge stir over the rumoured take-over deal between Vingroup and LG Electronics, the fourth biggest “chaebol” in South Korea.
Accordingly, Vingroup has emerged as the most potential bidder to acquire LG Electronics’ smartphone production line as an important milestone for the Vietnamese group to penetrate the US.
LG reportedly aims to withdraw from the smartphone business due to difficulties, with intentions announced around a month after CEO Kwon Bong-seok said there would be a significant change in operations. The mobile communications business has witnessed losses of around $4.5 billion since 2015.
If the negotiation process is successful, Vingroup could take advantage of LG Electronics’ reputation, innovation, and sales network.
However, with the two sides unable to agree on a mutually acceptable valuation, LG will move on to find another buyer. Also, the company’s smartphone production lines in Vietnam and Brazil can be realigned to manufacture home appliances, noted an official from LG Electronics.He also added there would be no more negotiations with Vingroup, and LG would seek a new buyer, according to Korea Times. VIR
Danang: Mega IT projects to lift up growth
Danang city aims to become an innovative startup metropolis by 2025 by capitalising on a raft of mega IT projects.
Danang is now home to a pipeline of mega IT projects by leading local players, including privately-held CMC Group’s creative space.
According to Nguyen Trung Chinh,CMC chairman, the first phase of CMC Creative Space in Hoa Xuan ward with the investment value of VND12 trillion ($521.74 million) aims to bring jobs to about 2,000 people, which will increase to 10,000 people more in the second phase.
CMC’s target is to turn Danang into an international gateway and major data centre that is part of the strategy to turn Vietnam into a digital hub in the Asia-Pacific.
Through a survey, Danang has the potential to grow into the fourth regional digital hub, following Japan, Hong Kong, and Singapore.
“I am so happy that Danang People’s Committee has quickly released the decision approving the project’s detailed 1/500 planning,” said Chinh.
In light of the approved detailed planning, CMC Creative Space will consist of an R&D space; an IT and software production space; an internet transit station; a date centre; and housing blocks and associated services for experts and employees with a full suite of high-standard utilities.
Deemed as an important pilot project, efforts were taken to ensure speedy approval, paving the way to kick-off the project’s construction in March 2021.
Meanwhile in Ngu Hanh Son district, FPT Corporation, Vietnam’s leading IT firm, has come up with a string of capital-intensive IT projects.
Besides the 5.9ha FPT Complex which has been put into operation attracting more than 3,400 labourers, the company has pumped tens of millions of US dollars into building data centres and a system of educational facilities (schools for all grades and universities).
Nguyen Tuan Phuong, chairman of FPT Software in the central region, unveiled that in the next two years, FPT Group would inject about VND6.7 trillion ($291.3 million) into FPT Technological Urban Area (FPT City Danang) of which about VND1.5 trillion ($65.2 million) will be dedicated to building residential blocks and VND1 trillion ($43.5 million) will be earmarked for the second and third phases of its existing IT service centre to accommodate 10,000 programmers.
The company would further improve FPT City Danang’s infrastructure system with about VND800 billion ($34.8 million) set for building educational facilities.
A string of other projects are promptly in the legal setup phase, awaiting deployment such as VNPT’s IT space (Danang Bay) of more than 35,000 square metres of space in Lien Chieu district with an estimated investment value in the range of VND700 billion to VND1 trillion ($30.43-43.5 million) or the VND2 trillion ($86.96 million) high-tech and software centre of leading military-run telecom group Viettel in Hai Chau district.
These mega IT projects are anticipated to bring breakthroughs to Danang’s development in the upcoming time.
Along with this, the number of IT firms in Danang has been reportedly growing by 25 per cent annually, accounting for 20 per cent of the city’s total number of businesses.
Recent statistics show that Danang accommodates 2.1 IT firms over 1,000 residents, more than quadruple the country’s average. By the end of 2020, the city had 40,500 IT personnel, 20,000 of whom of them 20,000 have been working in the fields of software and digital content creation with per capita monthly wages averaging VND17.8 million ($770).
Nguyen Tuan Phuong from FPT Software shared that digital transmission is taking the whole world by storm, especially amid recent COVID-19 complexities.
“This movement is favourable for Vietnam’s IT industry generally and Danang in particular. The city needs to work on policies to accelerate the development of the IT sector, placing emphasis on training high-quality IT personnel. Availing itself of this opportunity effectively could bring numerous tailwinds to Danang in its digital transformation journey,” Phuong said.
Apt solutions sought for local solar power
The year 2021 will be characterised by an even bigger challenge for the authorities and developers to standardise the quality level of rooftop installations in terms of compliance to construction law, electrical standards, and fire safety, and to match grid availability and local consumption after the Vietnamese rooftop solar market skyrocketed last year.
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc last week asked the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) and Electricity of Vietnam (EVN) to review issues related to Vietnam’s solar power development as well as avoid massive solar development without a proper plan, which could cause power grid overload.
According to the updated data, as of December 25, 2020, there were 83,000 rooftop solar power projects connected to the power system with a total installed capacity of nearly 4,700 megawatts-peak. The total power generation output to the grid from rooftop solar power has reached more than 1.13 billion kWh, contributing to ensuring power supply for the national power system.
Meanwhile, there is no new decision or guidance for implementation of the policy after Decision No.13/2020/QD-TTg issued last April on encouraging mechanisms for solar power development in Vietnam, which had its deadline set for December 31 last year for solar systems of any scale to attain a certificate of delivery and enjoy the feed-in tariff 2 (FiT2) rate, in which the price of each kilowatt-hour generated from ground-mounted, floating, and rooftop solar initiatives were 7.09, 7.69, and 8.38 US cents, respectively.
As a result, it remains uncertain which pricing mechanism will apply to grid-connected solar power projects reaching commercial operation date in 2021.
EVN announced its power companies had ceased buying rooftop solar power after December 31 to wait for further guidance from the government. It will also handle requirements for connection and signing power purchase and sales contracts from solar power systems started before the deadline.
Deputy general director of locally-invested Son Ha Group Hoang Manh Tan said the fact that there is no policy available will make it difficult for businesses to formulate strategies and implement them. Enterprises need continuous and consistent policies, and the gap issue creates difficulties for EVN, other enterprises, and their partners, Tan said.
Thus, ministries and authorities in the coming time must find the right supporting mechanism that enables an organic development of rooftop solar, and minimises loopholes and speculative projects, such as solar farms disguised as rooftop systems.
The prime minister also asked the MoIT to carry out the work of inspecting solar power development in localities and power companies, ensuring compliance with regulations.
It must promptly correct and handle any mistakes, especially operating policies that benefit outdoor voltage deployment over time as well as take measures to minimise the shutdown of renewable energy sources in operation, and minimise the economic losses of investors and waste of renewable energy sources.
At the same time, the boom in solar development also poses a question for the grid operator about how to optimise renewable electricity feeds into the grid, while considering the best interests of electricity producers.
Solar energy expert Mai Van Trung told VIR that in order to keep the average selling price there are several options, including increasing the curtailment or adding more solar power plants and rooftop solar systems with a very low FiT3 rate to compensate the subsidisation of EVN.
The former option over a wide scale could however hurt financial indicators of many projects because of leverage from bankers.
Meanwhile, the latter option could distract potential investors to put the money down. Moreover, the capacity absorption of the national grid is limited due to the intermittency of solar power, Trung said.
There is a declining trend of engineering, procurement, and construction costs of rooftop solar systems over time that can be utilised if the absorption capacity of the grid is available even with the storage added.
Vietnam has plans for solar power auctions but the qualified projects are small and located in lower solar irradiance. Green and cheap credits from international institutions are ready to enter, but the room left for additional capacity is currently being narrowed.
According to the MoIT, there are currently 16 national standards promulgated by the Ministry of Science and Technology related to solar power in the country. However, there is a lack of specific standards for the two main components of rooftop solar power projects – panels and inverters.
In late 2020, the National Assembly passed the new Law on Environmental Protection, which stipulates extended producer responsibility (EPR) for businesses in Vietnam. This means that businesses and producers now bear the responsibility for the waste of their products, including solar panels.
EPR is intended to reduce the cost of managing end-of-life products by reducing waste volume and increasing recycling, thereby contributing to the prime minister’s new target of reducing the amount of waste that goes to landfills by 80 per cent by 2025.
EPR has the potential to create new economic opportunities and share the financial burden of solid waste management more fairly.
According to the new law, businesses can implement EPR in one of three ways including doing the recycle themselves, conducting recycling through a third-party product recycling organisation, and making a financial contribution to the Vietnam Environmental Fund.
According to the draft EPR decree, businesses that recycle themselves or do so via a third party will have to report through a national EPR data portal managed by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.
If a business that does the recycling itself fails to reach the target over 3-5 years in a row, it will be forced to participate in one of the other two mechanisms.
A business that refuses to choose any mechanism will be fined; and if it exceeds its recycling target, it can sell credits to other businesses through a tradable credit system.
Auto imports reach nearly 12,000 units over past 1.5 months
Vietnam’s import of cars between January 1 and February 15 this year reached 11,791 units, worth US$280 million, soaring 84.7% in volume and 76.2% in value against the 2020 figures, according to the General Department of Vietnam Customs.
Of these, the country imported over 3,400 completely built-up units worth over US$66 million from February 1 to 15.
During the past 1.5 months, the number of imported cars with nine seats or less totaled 2,477 units worth US$42.5 million, while 812 trucks valued at US$15.9 million were imported in the period.
Earlier, the country imported more than 8,300 cars worth over US$212 million in January, including over 5,200 cars with nine seats or below and 2,230 trucks. These cars were mostly imported from Thailand, China and Indonesia.
SSI Research forecast that the auto consumption in Vietnam this year could rise some 16% versus last year’s figure. Specifically, SSI Research said that the country’s GDP per capita could improve 8-10% annually in the next decade, while vehicles are more affordable to many more people.
In addition, the volume of locally-made cars is on the rise and scores of companies are focusing on business expansion to lower car prices to attract more customers.
Also, many auto manufacturing and assembly plant projects are scheduled for completion in the next three years, which will add a vibrant atmosphere to the local auto market and offer more benefits to customers.
Further, taxes and surcharges on cars are being steadily reduced under free trade agreements between Vietnam and other countries. This will help cut down on auto prices and stimulate the demand for cars.
Growing concern over overload on Vietnam stock market
The problem if further persists in long-term will make investors become disillusioned on the fairness and transparency of Vietnam’s stock market.
The frequent overload of orders forcing the stock exchange to halt market trading is causing frustration among investors.
Insiders have said that the trading halts, which occurred on the Vietnamese stock exchanges recently, aim to correct an order imbalance as a result of a technical glitch or due to regulatory concerns. When a trading halt is in effect, open orders may be canceled and options still may be exercised.
“Investors want competent authorities to take responsibility for these incidents, not just an apology,” said Nguyen Bich Ngoc, an experienced investor in the stock market, adding the unstable system is putting investors at risks.
Both before and after the Tet holiday, the overload occurred multiple times on both the Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi stock exchanges whenever liquidity in a trading session hit around VND14-17 trillion (US$608-738 million).
“The phrase of “unplug the power cord” has become a hot topic in every securities forum and social networks,” Ngoc added.
From her own experience, Ngoc said at a trading session on February 19, when she and other investors placed an order at 1pm, but until 2:48pm, the system notified their placement was expired while the transaction period had not ended.
“Orders for purchasing stocks after 1:30 pm or 2pm in the past month were often delayed in process and not submitted to the stock exchanges,” she continued.
“Investors were left to watch their stocks going up or down in values and do nothing,” Ngoc fumed, while saying a lack of solutions to resolve the matter substantially from the Ministry of Finance or the State Securities Commission of Vietnam (SSC) only makes the matter worse.
“We are now forced to live with a faulty system and bear all the risks when we could not sell or buy stocks in case of system overload,” Ngoc stressed.
Last year, the stock market has witnessed strong growth and beat a series of records in terms of the number of new investors and the amount of capital inflows. In contrast with such strong growth, the issue if further persists in long-term will make investors become disillusioned on the fairness and transparency of Vietnam’s stock market, Ngoc stated.
“Investors will not accept losing money in such way or any apology from the authorities when the situation remains unchanged,” she said.
“The SSC must give a clear deadline to resolve this issue one and for all,” Ngoc concluded.
Previously, the SSC attributed the overload issue on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange to the transaction processing capacity of the stock exchange that limits the number of transactions per day, while a recent surge of orders has exceeded the expectation of the market.
To ensure the smooth operation of the stock market, the SSC requested related agencies to optimize the transaction process by increasing the minimum trading lot from 10 to 100 shares, starting from January 4, 2021.
The SSC also urged securities firms to prevent their internal errors or limit automatic transaction.
For mid-term, the HoSE is tasked with upgrading the transaction backup system to ensure the safety of the system until the new IT system for the stock market with support from the Korea Exchange (KRX), South Korea’s bourse operator, is put into operation.
Data from the General Statistics Office (GSO) revealed the amount of capital poured into Vietnam stock market surged 20% in 2020 to VND383.6 trillion (US$16.64 billion). The average transaction value in the stock market is estimated at VND7.05 trillion (US$304.8 million) per session, up 51.5% year-on-year.
Meanwhile, the number of new investors soared by 109% in 2020 against the previous year.
Lam Dong to get first wind plant
GE Renewable Energy has signed a contract with the Ocean Renewable Energy Joint Stock Company to supply 15 wind turbines to its Cau Dat Wind Farm, the first in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong.
Construction is expected to be finished by the third quarter of 2021.
Gilan Sabatier, regional leader for GE Renewable Energy’s onshore wind business in South Asia and ASEAN, said: “We thank Ocean Renewable Energy Joint Stock Company and their leadership team for selecting GE for this project. The award of the Cau Dat wind farm further validates the great work we have done in Vietnam and reaffirms our contribution to the country’s energy transition.”
Do Van Binh, General Director of Ocean, said, “We are delighted to sign this important deal with GE Renewable Energy for our first wind farm project.”
GE is the only wind original equipment manufacturer in the country./.
Bac Giang betters master plan on IPs development
The northern province of Bac Giang is improving a master plan on the development of industrial parks (IPs) and complexes, as well as land use planning, according it its provincial Party Committee.
The province is also refining a master plan on urban areas for the 2021-2030 period to attract investment.
It built a project on supporting start-ups in the locality, towards strongly developing private economy, and issued a list of projects in need of investment in the fields of agriculture and rural development.
The locality considered building mechanisms to support investment in hotel construction projects and hi-end services.
In particular, Bac Giang will step up administrative reform, improve the provincial competitiveness index, pool resources to build key socio-economic infrastructure while enhancing the quality of human resources and State management on projects.
The province will actively assist investors and businesses in tackling difficulties and accelerating projects, especially those regarding infrastructure construction and business in IPs.
From 2016 to the end of 2020, the province drew 909 projects worth over 5.88 billion USD, marking a 3.5-fold rise from 2011-2015, 616 of them were domestic ones with total registered capital of over 55.7 trillion VND (2.42 billion USD), and 3.84 billion USD were foreign direct investment.
It is now home to 1,786 valid projects, including 1,311 domestic ones worth more than 92.2 trillion VND and 475 foreign-invested ones valued at over 6.2 billion USD. Projects are mostly in industry with 54.3 percent, trade and services 40.5 percent, and agriculture 5.6 percent.
Since 2016, Bac Giang has granted licenses to over 6,000 enterprises and 705 branches and representative offices, with a combined registered capital of more than 64.3 trillion VND. Its gross regional domestic product has expanded by 14 percent annually.
Cumulatively, there have been 10,837 businesses so far in the province, including 466 foreign ones with a registered capital of 3.542 billion USD and more than 10,300 others with over 84.9 trillion VND./.
Binh Duong among world’s outstanding smart communities for three consecutive years
The southern province of Binh Duong has made itself onto the list of 21 localities worldwide having outstanding smart city development strategies (Smart21) this year, which was unveiled on February 25 by the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF).
It is the third year in a row that the province has received the recognition. Binh Duong is also the first Vietnamese locality to be named in the Smart21.
Gaining a place among the year’s Smart21 is considered a badge of honour as well as the first step toward greater recognition as an Intelligent Community positioned to prosper in the broadband economy, the ICF noted.
Workers at a factory in Bau Bang Industrial Park of Binh Duong (Photo: VNA)
There are currently 180 members from different countries, territories, cities and regions participating in the ICF./.
HCM City aims to build AI centres at regional level
Ho Chi Minh City plans to build at least two centres for Artificial Intelligence (AI) research and development as well as technology transfer at ASEAN level.
It is part of the city’s programme on AI research and development for the 2020-30, which was recently approved by the municipal People’s Committee, aiming to turn HCM City into a hub of Vietnam and ASEAN in the field.
In addition, the city will look for qualified personnel in the spheres of data science, big data analysis, natural language processing, computer vision, speech recognition, information security and Internet of Things, among others.
The southern economic hub has set a target to raise the number of AI research papers and patents by 20 percent in the period.
Vietnam sets a goal of being listed in Top 4 in ASEAN and Top 50 of the world in terms of AI research, development and application by 2030.
The target was set in a National Strategy on AI Research, Development and Application by 2030 recently approved by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.
The strategy aims at stepping up AI research, development and application to make it an important technological industry of Vietnam./.
Investment funds in Vietnam remain optimistic despite poor performance
Despite negative performance due to strong fluctuations in Vietnam’s stock market in January, big investment funds in the market remain optimistic.
Vietnam Enterprise Investments Limited (VEIL), a closed-end investment trust managed by Dragon Capital and the biggest investment fund in Vietnam’s stock market, recorded negative growth during the period.
The fund’s performance was negative 3.61 percent in January. VEIL manages assets worth 1.7 billion USD.
As of the end of January, VEIL’s biggest investments were in the banking sector, accounting for 27.13 percent of its investment value, followed by investments in real estate (26.43 percent) and food and beverage (10.17 percent). However all investing sectors had poor performance with banking and real estate sectors posting the biggest losses.
After gaining points in the first half of January, the stock market witnessed some strong corrections as profit booking dragged down the VN-Index. The profit taking was magnified by panic over margin calls.
The market benchmark VN-Index declined 4.28 percent in the first month of 2021.
Dragon Capital said that recently, the fund restructured its investment process with the number of target stocks cutting down to 28 – 32 from 35 – 40.
Finnish equity fund PYN Elite also witnessed is its net asset value (NAV) drop 5.39 percent in January, mostly due to losses in Vietnam Engine and Agricultural Machinery Corporation (VEA), Vietnam JSC Bank for Industry and Trade (CTG) and PetroVietnam Power Corporation (POW). It marked the worst performance of PYN Elite since 2017.
The fund manages total assets worth 572 million USD.
In a letter to investors in February, Petri Deryng, portfolio manager of PYN Elite, said that Vietnam’s stock market began 2021 on a negative note, but the prospects for the whole year are still very positive.
Vietnam’s economy, which has obtained some achievements, rising profits of listed companies and appealing stocks’ valuation are factors contributing to the bright prospects of the market.
The market saw strong fluctuations after the VN-Index surged quickly from 900 points to 1,200 points in just ten weeks.
During the turbulent month, PYN Elite used all of its resources to buy Vinhomes JSC (VHM) shares, making it the biggest investment of its portfolio. At the moment, VHM shares account for 9.82 percent of its portfolio, worth 1.5 trillion VND.
Another investment fund posting negative performance in January was AFC Vietnam Fund, with growth of negative 1.9 percent.
The fund assessed the plunge of the market after rising over 20 percent in the fourth quarter of 2020 and gaining 8 percent in the first seven trading sessions of 2021 was a healthy movement. And reaching the 1,200 point level by the VN-Index was really attractive, luring new strong inflows to the market.
Top five investments of AFC Vietnam Fund were Agriculture Bank Insurance JSC (ABI), accounting for 8.1 percent of its investment value, LienVietPost Joint Stock Commercial Bank (LPB), Dinh Vu Port Investment and Development JSC (DVP), VNDirect Securities Corporation (VND) and Phu Tai JSC (PTB).
As of the end of January, the fund invested most in the financial sector (35 percent of its portfolio) and industrial sector (23.5 percent)./.
Bac Giang: 771 mln USD raised for transport infrastructure development in five years
The northern province of Bac Giang has raised a total of over 17.8 trillion VND (771.54 million USD) in investment for local transport infrastructure development since 2016.
The capital has been injected into a number of key projects, notably a section of Hanoi’s Belt Road No.4 crossing Bac Giang, worth 1.23 trillion VND; upgrade of Provincial Road 295 crossing Voi – Ben Tuan and Ngoc Chau – Thang township, 245 billion VND; and a 5-km road connecting Provincial Road 293 and My An Port in Luc Nam, 115 billion VND.
Over the last five years, the province has developed 11 transport projects under Public-Private Partnership (PPP) scheme, with a total investment of more than 7.5 trillion VND. They include two Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) projects managed by the Ministry of Transport and eight Build-Transfer (BT) by the province. A majority of the funding, 4.2 trillion VND, has been spent on developing Bac Giang – Lang Son Expressway under a BOT contract.
In addition to private funding, Bac Giang has used Official Development Assistance (ODA) loans for transport infrastructure projects. The largest among ODA-funded projects were 272-billion-VND Dong Bac Belt Road and Tran Quang Khai Bridge project in Bac Giang city financed by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the 135-billion-VND Local Bridge Construction and Road Asset Management (LRAMP)’s local bridge component funded by the World Bank (WB).
The province has also spent over 2.18 trillion VND from its budget and close to 1.75 trillion VND from private funding to concrete more than 4,210 km of roads, mostly rural roads.
Thanks to such efforts, Bac Giang is now home to about 153km of expressways which are more than 8m in width, accounting for over 46.4 percent of the total.
It has also concreted over 97.3 percent of district-level, 98.1 percent of commune-level and 92.3 percent of village roads.
In the coming time, Bac Giang plans to attract private investors in transport services, such as inland ports, parking, bus stations, and rest stops. The province will also jointly develop inter-provincial roads with neighbouring localities and by 2025, cooperate with the Ministry of Transport and BOT investors to expand Xuong Giang and Nhu Nguyen bridges on the Hanoi – Bac Giang Expressway./.
Vinh Long works towards sustainable export growth
The Mekong Delta province of Vinh Long is striving to boost sustainable export growth during 2021-2025.
The province has set the target to reel in 870 million USD from exports by 2025, with key export markets including ASEAN, Japan, China, China’s Taiwan, Russia, East European countries, Africa, the EU and the US.
According to Director of the provincial Department of Industry and Trade Nguyen Trung Kien, seeing rice as a key export, Vinh Long plans to ship average 100,000-200,000 tonnes of high-quality rice per year abroad until 2025, and work to increase price of local rice while diversifying rice products to branch out markets.
Holding a huge advantage of tra and basa fish farming, the province eyes to sell some 20,000 tonnnes of frozen tra fish to foreign markets by 2025.
Kien said Vinh Long is making efforts to gain 35-40 million USD from exports of grape fruits, canned fruits, dried fruits, and vegetables by 2025, adding areas were zoned off for cultivation of vegetables and orchards such as grape fruit, orange, tangerine, longan, and mango, among others.
Additionally, the locality targets 530-600 million USD in export revenue of leather footwear and garment-textile, and 60 million USD in export revenue of handicraft products by 2025.
In a bid to realise the set goals, an array of measures were outlined, Kien said, stressing due attention will be paid to developing agricultural processing industry and finished goods to better the products’ value and their competitive edge in the market.
Kien said along with support policies for local production, the province will improve technical services to promote mechanisation of agriculture, particularly post-harvest processing and preservation.
Investment promotion will be given priority so as to attract investment in supporting industries for footwear, garment-textile, electronics and engineering sectors, helping local producers and exporters improve their products’ competitiveness.
On the other, the province encourages local businesses to develop materials zones to ensure stable input for production, apply advanced technology to better products’ quality, while building brands to gain foothold in the market.
According to the Department of Industry and Trade, the province is now housing 40 export firms, including 15 foreign-invested businesses.
During 2015-2020, the locality’s export revenue rose significantly, from 302 million USD in 2015 to 570.5 million USD five years later. The North America accounted for the lion’s share of the province’s export, accounting for 37 percent of the total shipments, followed by Europe (31 percent), and Asia (29 percent)./.
Vietnam offers numerous investment opportunities for Indian businesses
The increasing importance of Vietnam in global supply chains is great potential helping to enhance the Vietnam-India relations, particularly between small- and medium-sized enterprises (SME) that are considered the main drivers for economic growth in each country, heard an online conference on February 25.
The bilateral trade-investment promotion conference titled “Boosting trade-investment cooperation opportunities between Vietnamese and Indian SMEs” was jointly organised by the Trade Office of the Vietnamese Embassy in India, Uttar Pradesh state government, the Indian Industries Association (IIA) and the Hanoi SME Association.
IIA President Pankaj Gupta said that several major enterprises of India such as Adani Group, Mahindra, SRF and Suzlon have shown interest in investing in Vietnam.
He suggesting Indian enterprises invest in Vietnam in the fields of energy, mineral exploration, agricultural chemicals, sugar production, tea, coffee, information technology, and automobile components.
Vietnam is currently holding a lot of advantages for investors such as favourable investment policies, numerous free trade agreements, rapid economic growth, stable political situation, cheap labour costs, and young labour force, he stated.
However, participants pointed to several challenges for foreign investors in Vietnam, including high corporate tax rates of 32-50 percent for companies operating in oil and gas exploration and exploitation and other valuable natural resources, complicated administrative procedures, and dependence on cash transactions.
Meanwhile, Vietnamese Ambassador to India Pham Sanh Chau proposed the two countries’ enterprises expand cooperation in supporting industry, automobile and motorbike spare parts, garment and footwear materials and household appliances.
According to the Vietnam Foreign Investment Agency, as of December 2020, India had nearly 300 valid projects in Vietnam with total investment of nearly 900 million USD, ranking 26th among countries and territories pouring capital into the Southeast Asian nation./.HCM City keeps shutdown of certain services in place
Fruit & vegetable exporters should tap into Northern Europe’s niche market: Newspaper
Vietnamese businesses are believed to possess opportunities, especially in niche markets, when exporting fruit and vegetables to Northern Europe, according to the Cong Thuong (Industry & Trade) newspaper.
The Vietnamese trade office in Sweden said that due to unfavourable weather conditions, Northern European countries very much depend on imported fruit and vegetables, with over 90 percent of fruit and 40 percent of vegetables coming from foreign sources.
The importation of tropical fruit has been growing quickly in recent years, opening up opportunities for both existing and new exporters from developing countries, including Vietnam.
Developing countries account for more than 50 percent of the supply of fruit such as papaya, mango, pineapple, dates, tamarind, and passionfruit imported to the market, and 30 percent of avocado, figs, melons, and grapes.
The EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), which took effect on August 1, 2020, has also generated considerable advantages for Vietnamese firms, as most tariffs on fresh fruit and vegetables have been slashed to zero percent, the trade office noted.
Despite the optimistic outlook, Cong Thuong wrote, the market is relatively small compared to others in Europe. It’s also not easy for new exporters to compete with multilateral fruit and vegetable providers, logistics firms, and packaging companies with a long presence there.
Vegetables grown in Europe now account for 90 percent of those imported into Northern Europe, while those from developing nations stand at less than 10 percent.
Off-season produce like tomatoes and bell peppers are often provided by countries near Northern Europe. Geographical distance and a lack of direct air routes to the region also pose certain difficulties for Vietnam’s fruit and vegetable exports.
The newspaper suggested Vietnamese companies consider producing organic and convenience products, pointing out European consumers’ increasing preference for healthy diets with clean and natural food, as well as those that serve their busy lifestyles.
To make use of this trend, they should ensure that product quality meets requirements, the article said.
It also noted that more attention needs to be paid to sustainable and responsible production and business practices, adding that products will be accepted by Northern European consumers if they comply with sustainability standards.
Brand building and product storytelling are also tools necessary for marketing new products, particularly those for niche markets, according to the paper./.
Vietnam lures 5.46 billion USD in foreign investment
As much as 5.46 billion USD worth of foreign direct investment (FDI) was injected into Vietnam as of February 20, equivalent to 84.4 percent of the figure recorded in the same time last year, according to the Ministry of Planning and Investment.
As many as 126 foreign projects were granted investment licences with total registered capital of 3.31 billion USD, a year-on-year fall of 33.9 percent.
Meanwhile, 115 existing projects adjusted their investment capital with a total additional sum of 1.61 billion USD, or 2.5 times higher than the same time last year.
Capital contributions and shares purchases by foreign investors stood at 543.1 million USD, down 34.4 percent.
Japan topped the list of 46 countries and territories landing investment in Vietnam, with 1.64 billion USD, equivalent to nearly 30 percent of the total. Singapore came second with 1.07 billion USD, and the Republic of Korea third with 1.05 billion USD.
The ministry said the southern province of Can Tho lured the lion’s share of FDI with 1.31 billion USD, accounting for 24.2 percent of the total. Hai Phong city was the runner-up since it attracted nearly 918 million USD, or 16.8 percent. Bac Giang came third with nearly 573 million USD (10.5 percent)./.
An Giang boasts strengths in hi-tech agricultural development: Deputy PM
The Mekong Delta province of An Giang boasts strengths in economic development, especially high tech agriculture, Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh said while attending a ground-breaking ceremony for a high tech dairy farm project of TH Group in Tri Ton district of the province on February 27.
The dairy cow farming model of TH Group, the largest scale in the region, is expected to become an exemplary model to be multiplied, he said.
The farm is hoped to help fulfil the target of having 500,000 milch cows across the country five years ahead of the deadline set in the master plan on agricultural development to 2020, vision to 2030, he noted.
Spanning 178.4 ha across Tri Ton district’s Vinh Gia and Vinh Phuoc communes, the project is carried out with an investment of nearly 2.66 trillion VND (115.2 million USD), making it the largest closed-loop system dairy project in Mekong Delta.
It includes a fresh milk factory capable of producing 135 tonnes daily.
On the same day, Deputy PM Binh paid a visit to a hi-tech hog farming project of the Truong Hai Auto Corporation (THACO)’s agricultural arm in Tinh Bien district.
The 50-ha project has been basically completed after nine months of construction. Its first phase will become operational by June while the construction of the second one is set to begin later this year, raising its capacity to 11,200 pigs in total.
On the occasion, a New Year tree-planting festival was held in the province in response to a campaign to grow 1 billion green trees between 2021 and 2025 launched by the Prime Minister./.
Deputy PM asks Thai Binh to facilitate Lien Ha Thai IP development
Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung has asked the northern province of Thai Binh and investors to create favourable conditions to draw projects to the Lien Ha Thai industrial park (GREEN iP-1).
During a conference announcing the Prime Minister and the provincial People’s Committee’s Decisions on the GREEN iP-1 on February 27, the Deputy PM instructed Thai Binh authorities and the IP investor to complete procedures in line with the law, including those regarding site clearance, compensation for resettlement, and social housing for workers.
He suggested Thai Binh review its economic structure with a view to adjusting it based on its strength as a coastal province and market demand at home and abroad, select priority projects regarding transportation, urban and rural infrastructure while stepping up administrative reform and creating a pro-business environment.
Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung hands over the PM’s Decision on GREEN iP-1 development (Photo: VNA)
Invested by Green i-Park JSC, the GREEN iP-1 is located in Thuy Lien commune and Diem Dien township of Thai Thuy district. It has a total investment of over 3.88 trillion VND (168.3 million USD).
Once operational, the 50-year project is expected to contribute to the development of the nation as well as Thai Binh and the Red River in particular.
Source: VNA/VNS/VOV/VIR/SGT/Nhan Dan/Hanoitimes