By Tien Minh, Hoang Bac – Translated by Kim Khanh
Highland cattle for sale craigslist
US increases imports of Vietnamese mangoes
With Vietnam emerging as the 14th largest supplier of mangoes to the United States in 2020, the import of its mangoes into the US is predicted to continue to rise this year.
According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT)’s Import and Export Department, the US imported a total of 2,100 tonnes of mangoes worth 4.61 million USD from Vietnam last year, representing an increase of 66% in volume and 70.1% in value in comparison to 2019. These figures indicate that Vietnam has become the 14th largest mango supplier to the US market.
Alongside fresh mangoes, the US also imported 1,150 tonnes of frozen mangoes Vietnam last year, representing an increase of 38.16% compared to 2019.
Vietnamese mangoes were licensed to enter the US, one of the demanding markets in the world, last year. Many businesses have so far shipped mangoes to the US but their exports remain modest.
Experts say that the US’s mango imports are anticipated to increase by 3% annually from now till 2025, opening up a chance for Vietnamese businesses to expand their shares in this market.
Bac Lieu develops tourism products, services
The Mekong Delta province of Bac Lieu is taking various measures, especially diversifying tourism products and services, to attract more tourists.
Vice Chairwoman of the provincial People’s Committee Cao Xuan Thu Van said that the province has invested in creating new tourism products, and increasing the quality and bringing into full play key products, and in completing infrastructure at main tourist sites.
In addition, the locality has coordinated with investors in developing tourism in coastal areas, speeding up construction on eco-tourism and entertainment tourist sites, and reviewing and re-assessing natural resources for tourism development, so as to build strategies in a concerted and oriented manner to avoid overlapping between localities in the Mekong Delta.
According to Van, local authorities are developing typical products of the trade villages such as salt production, fishing net knitting, seafood processing, and vegetable cultivation, while encouraging locals to take part in tourism, towards building community-based tourism models.
The province has also been investing in restoring and promoting the values of historical and cultural relic sites and ancient architectures, she added.
In 2021, Bac Lieu strives to welcome 3.2 million tourists and earn about 3.2 trillion VND (139.5 million USD) from tourism services, up 40 percent and 65 percent year-on-year respectively. It has also set a target of having 1.5 million visitors staying overnight, an increase of 53 percent compared to the figure of 2020./.
Shrimp businesses invest in long-term development
Having posted double-digit growth last year despite COVID-19 and with opportunities stemming from new-generation free trade agreements, many shrimp enterprises have been investing in building processing facilities and raw material areas for their long-term development.
Expanding processing plants
Major players such as the Thuan Phuoc Seafood & Trading Corp., the Minh Phu Seafood Corp., and the Nha Trang Seafood Company have kicked off expansion efforts since the beginning of the year, all in the Mekong Delta.
Thuan Phuoc has opened its 400 billion VND (17.45 million USD) An An shrimp processing plant in Tien Giang province, with a capacity of some 50 tonnes of finished shrimp products a day.
Minh Phu, meanwhile, is preparing to begin the construction of two large-scale processing plants, costing close to 1 trillion VND and with a combined annual capacity nearing 50,000 tonnes, in Hau Giang and Ca Mau provinces. The corporation is also eyeing the construction of another factory in nearby Kien Giang province.
Nha Trang Seafood is completing the final steps to put a processing plant into operation in Bac Lieu province, which will be capable of producing 10,000 tonnes of products annually.
Last year, Sao Ta Foods JSC invested nearly 400 billion VND in simultaneously building two shrimp processing plants in Soc Trang province’s An Nghiep Industrial Park. The two boast a capacity of 20,000 tonnes a year.
Ho Quoc Luc, Chairman of the Sao Ta Board of Directors, said the shrimp sector’s expansion in Soc Trang has seen the engagement of not only large enterprises but also new players.
If the sector maintains its current growth momentum, it will take the lead globally in a couple of years, he added.
Developing sustainable material areas
A draft fisheries development strategy to 2030 and vision to 2045, developed by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, targets the sector contributing 28-30 percent of national GDP by 2030. Total aquatic output is to reach 10 million tonnes, of which aquaculture output is to account for 70-75 percent. This will be a driving force for businesses to invest in expanding raw material farming areas.
At the “Dialogue 2045” programme chaired by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on March 6, director general of Minh Phu Seafood Le Van Quang said that to ensure sustainable material sources, his corporation has devised a plan on smart and green value chain development that consists of different shrimp farming models suitable to different localities. It has also developed an AI- and blockchain-based mobile phone app to manage shrimp farms.
With the development of sustainable shrimp production models, he went on, Vietnam will be capable of becoming the world’s No. 1 shrimp production and processing powerhouse, holding a market share of 25 percent globally and producing nearly 4 million tonnes of raw shrimp by 2045.
Thuan Phuoc, meanwhile, is developing a 200-ha shrimp farming area in Ben Tre province.
Chairman of its Board of Directors Tran Van Linh said it aims to expand its investment in farming and processing to the north of the Hau River, turning it into a key material area and proactively controlling food safety standards to meet its sustainable development goals./.
Vietnam’s dairy industry reaches out to the world
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic wreaking havoc on all sectors, Vietnam’s dairy industry has made efforts to win over customers and solidified its foothold in the domestic market while reaching out to global markets.
The Ministry of Industry and Trade said Vietnam shipped 302.7 million USD worth of dairy products in 2020, a 10.5 percent increase against 2019. This was the first time the country’s dairy export revenue has exceeded 300 million USD.
According to the Vietnam Dairy Association (VDA), many enterprises have spent heavily on advanced technologies and developed cattle farms under Global GAP, VietGAP, and organic standards to improve productivity and food safety and to diversify products.
After showing their capacity to supply foreign markets with quality products, Vietnamese enterprises have enjoyed strong sales in the recent time. Despite the pandemic, Vinamilk and Vinasoy exported products to major markets such as China, the Middle East, the Republic of Korea, and Japan.
Vinamilk signed a deal worth 20 million USD with a distributor in Dubai last year to supply dairy products, and also shipped its nut milk and milk tea to the Republic of Korea. Meanwhile, Vinasoy’s products have been sold on 11 e-commerce platforms and at six supermarket chains in China.
The VDA said the dairy sector earned more than 113.71 trillion VND (4.95 billion USD) in revenue in 2020, or 5 percent higher than in 2019, thanks to an abundance of raw materials, high demand, and solid maintenance of distribution channels.
Securities firms expect that the dairy sector will grow some 7 percent in 2021 on the back of an increasing need for high-value products.
Exports exhibited robust signs in the first two months of the year, with ten containers of Vinamilk’s nut milk and five containers of sweetened condensed milk shipped to China.
Meanwhile, the Chinese General Administration of Customs (GAC) recently announced the granting of transaction codes to two Vietnamese companies to ship dairy products to the country, the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Department of Asia-Africa Markets has said.
Accordingly, the FrieslandCampina Hanam Company Limited is allowed to ship pasteurised and fermented milk, while the FrieslandCampina Vietnam Company Limited can export pasteurised and fermented milk, sweetened condensed milk, and other dairy products.
China has so far granted transaction codes to nine Vietnamese companies and plants. Others include TH True Milk, with sterilised and modified milk, Hanoimilk, with fermented milk, Bel Vietnam, with cheese, Nutifood, with sterilised, modified, and flavoured fermented milk, Vinamilk’s three plants, with condensed milk, flavoured fermented milk, sterilised and modified milk, and sweetened condensed milk, and many other kinds of condensed milk products.
Besides China, Vietnam’s dairy products have also won over customers in the US, Japan, the Republic of Korea, and the Middle East.
Dairy producers said they have paid due regard to improving product quality and packaging design, to better meet customer requirements.
TH True Milk, Vinasoy, and Moc Chau Milk are all making investment in material zones, plants, and state-of-the-art technologies to produce international-standard products.
According to Vinamilk International Business Director Vo Trung Hieu, together with strong markets like the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and the US, it is also promoting exports to markets of potential such as the Republic of Korea and several countries in Africa.
Entering into fastidious markets has affirmed the position of Vietnamese enterprises in the world’s dairy industry, he added./.
Hanoi seeks ways to lure more visitors
Experts and businesses contributed various measures and solutions for the tourism sector of Hanoi to design tourism products to lure more visitors during a conference in the capital city on March 18.
Yet to receive foreign visitors due to COVID-19 impacts, the city is focusing on encouraging local residents to explore various destinations in the city such as high-end hotels, ancient architecture works, eco-tourism sites, trade villages and ancient villages.
Nguyen Le Huong, Deputy General Director of Vietravel held that in the current situation, the tourism sector should pay greater attention to the programme to encourage Vietnamese to travel Vietnam, and Hanoians to tour Hanoi.
She said the tourism potential of the capital city remains under-exploited, such as the beauty of outskirt districts and trade villages.
Agreeing with Huong, Truong Quoc Hung, President of the Hanoi UNESCO Travel Club said that the area of Ba Vi and Soc Son boast great potential for ecotourism as well as cultural, resort and sport tourism, which is suitable to families and groups of tourists. The city should also exploit its strength in spiritual tourism as well, he said.
Many experts asserted that Hanoi has yet to optimise its rich cultural tradition, advising the city to design more new, unique and typical tourism products of this type.
Phung Quang Thang, Director of Hanoi Tourist and President of the Hanoi Travel Association said that travel businesses should review and restructure their products to create more attractive tours.
Thang said that the firms should work more closely with local authorised agencies to focus on developing night tourism, citing statistics showing that 70 percent of people engaging in night tourism activities enjoy food, 20 percent often drink and 10 percent engage in entertainment activities. In his opinion, with its advantages in night tourism such as the two pedestrian areas of the Old Quarter around Hoan Kiem Lake and Trinh Cong Son Street near West Lake, Hanoi’s culinary tourism will help travel firms thrive.
Meanwhile, Chu Ngoc Quan, Vice Director of the Ba Vi National Park said that in February alone, the site saw a 170 percent rise year on year in the number of visitors. The park and nearby Suoi Hai lake can become a great cultural tourism site, he said.
Director of the Hanoi Department of Tourism Dang Huong Giang showed the hope that travel firms will foster connectivity to design attractive tourism products with high quality.
The department has hired a communication consultant agency to help with tourism promotion in different markets, she said, adding that the city plans to organise large-scale events to attract more visitors./.
Long Thanh airport – Magnet for real estate investment in HCM City’s east
The prospect of busy urban areas being created around Long Thanh International Airport in southern Dong Nai province has attracted investment in the eastern reaches of neighbouring Ho Chi Minh City, most notably Aqua City ecological urban area, which has become appealing thanks to its connectivity, standardised planning, convenience, and ideal geographical location.
The first phase of the Long Thanh airport project began early this year. It is scheduled to be put into service no later than 2025, with an initial annual capacity of 25 million passengers, which will eventually rise to 100 million.
Centennial growth momentum
Designed to meet the 4F level, the highest of its kind set by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), Long Thanh is projected to serve as an aviation hub, both regionally and globally.
Once operational, it will deal with existing airport congestion, pave the way for investment and tourism, and contribute 3-5 percent of the country’s GDP.
Major infrastructure projects such as airports have always helped give a facelift to urban areas. They also facilitate production and business, and trade and tourism, while forming a busy residential community. The central city of Da Nang and the island district of Phu Quoc in the Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang are examples in this regard.
Many airport-based urban models have been created globally, contributing to local economic, trade, and tourism development, with Amsterdam Schiphol in the Netherlands an outstanding example.
The Long Thanh International Airport is connected with urban areas and economic zones, so is expected to drive investment and economic development in the southern region.
The project will also give a boost to component projects like warehouses, transport infrastructure, services, and satellite urban areas, thus leading to an increase in land demand.
Real estate consultancy Savills said the southern province of Dong Nai should reach a new level of development, with a more international focus instead of relying on industry and services, as has long been the case.
It suggested the province develop a closed-loop industrial chain, from production to logistics, and warehouses and transportation to deep-water ports.
The establishment of Thu Duc city in 2021 has also given a facelift to the local area and increased housing supply in HCM City’s eastern area. Moreover, the scarcity of real estate supply in the city has prompted investment in adjacent provinces such as Dong Nai and Binh Duong, which will spur the market this year.
“The recent positive signs from key infrastructure projects like the construction of the Long Thanh International Airport and the establishment of Thu Duc city will create momentum to restart the market,” said Duong Thuy Dung, Senior Director of CBRE Vietnam.
Anticipating investment waves
To optimise such opportunities and complete the infrastructure network connected with Long Thanh, Dong Nai authorities have begun the construction of transport projects such as Huong Lo 2 and the Bien Hoa-Vung Tau Expressway.
The province has also proposed building two routes leading to the airport: a 3.8-km route running from National Highway No 51 to the airport, and another, measuring 3.5 km, from the HCM City-Long Thanh-Dau Giay Expressway to the first route, running in parallel with National Highway No 51. The total funding for the two routes has been estimated at more than 4.8 trillion VND (209.46 million USD).
Located within the open urban-economic area in the southern part of Bien Hoa city, Aqua City, invested by Novaland, has found favour among both buyers and investors thanks to its ideal geographic location and scientific planning.
Covering 1,000 ha, it lies on Huong Lo 2, linking National Highway No. 51 and the HCM City-Long Thanh- Dau Giay Expressway.
It takes only half an hour by waterway from the project to the centre of HCM City and five minutes by car to a high-tech industrial park in District 9. Once transport infrastructure is completed, it will take only 20 minutes by car to get to HCM City or the Long Thanh International Airport.
Located within Aqua City, the urban island of Phuong Hoang opened late last year and has proven its attractiveness thanks to its natural surroundings.
The urban island of Phuong Hoang boasts an ideal geographic location and a vast ecological area.
The DKRA Vietnam JSC said street houses and villas are moving towards areas adjacent to HCM City that boast abundant land funds and convenient infrastructure.
As such, Dong Nai expects to continue making up a large share of supply this year. Major projects on hundreds of hectares each and with scientific planning, like Aqua City, will further catch the attention of customers thanks to their potential for high growth values./.
Forbes spotlights Vietnamese hospitality sector’s creativity amid pandemic
US business magazine Forbes has recently published an article highlighting the Vietnamese hospitality sector’s creativity to survive the COVID-19 blow.
According to the article, titled “Vietnam’s hotels get creative to survive the pandemic” by Brett Davis, COVID-19 forced some in the industry to rethink their approach to how to cater to guests and innovate their offerings.
It said one such innovation was developed at Alma Resort on the shores of Cam Ranh Bay in southern Vietnam, which built its own in-house app to create a safe, contactless way of delivering key information to guests.
Developed by the resort’s IT team and available for download on Android, Apple, Windows and Amazon devices, the ‘Alma Resort’ app provides COVID-19 health and safety tips, menus for the property’s restaurants, activity schedules and promotions as well as live stream broadcasts and information about events.
The resort’s general manager, Herbert Laubichler-Pichler, said he believed it would soon be incumbent for five-star resorts across Vietnam to offer the same technology.
The author went on to note that thanks the Government’s drastic measures, Vietnam was one of the world’s leading countries in controlling the spread of the pandemic.
It said domestic tourism, and the steadily growing purchasing power of Vietnamese consumers, came to be viewed as a lifeline for the local tourism industry, provided it could change its strategy in some key areas. One such example was in the food and beverage offerings.
Looking forward, Herbert Laubichler-Pichler predicted there would be a strong rebound in the Vietnamese tourism sector because of the pent-up demand for travel after a year spent in various forms of isolation./.
Tien Giang to expand aquatic farming area to over 10,500 ha
The districts of Go Cong Dong and Tan Phu Dong, which form key saline and brackish water aquaculture areas in the Mekong Delta province of Tien Giang, are targeting to have more than 10,500 ha of water surface area serving aquatic farming, mostly shrimp, this year.
Located in the downstream area of the Tien River, the two localities aim to produce over 50,000 tonnes of aquatic products for domestic consumption and export.
Head of the Go Cong Dong office for agriculture and rural development Nguyen Van Qui said the district is endowed with a 20-km coastline and so boasts great potential for salty and brackish water aquaculture. It has so far established two concentrated farming areas.
The district is now working to diversify its farming methods to meet market demand and lessen the risks facing farmers.
Meanwhile, coastal communes in Tan Phu Dong district like Phu Dong and Phu Tan are being developed around aquatic farming to stabilise local lives, meet new-style rural standards, and adapt to climate change. Various shrimp models have been applied to create more jobs.
Phu Tan commune’s improved extensive shrimp farming area now totals 2,500 ha and is an important raw material area serving the local seafood processing industry for export.
To boost agricultural production restructuring efforts and to capitalise on potential in local land and labour, particularly for salty and brackish water aquaculture, the locality has developed high-tech shrimp farming for export in Phu Thanh and Phu Dong communes, while building a shrimp-rice farming area in Phu Tan, according to Nguyen Van Hai, head of the district’s office for agriculture and rural development.
Go Cong Dong and Tan Phu Dong produced more than 46,000 tonnes of aquatic products last year./.
Disbursement of public investment for agriculture likely to reach 11.4 percent in Q1
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) is likely to fulfil 11.4 percent of its yearly plan of public capital disbursement at the end of the first quarter of this year.
Of the total, the disbursement of capital from Government bonds is likely to reach 13.9 percent, while those of official development assistance (ODA) is 7.6 percent and the State budget is 10.2 percent.
According to the ministry, in order to speed up public investment disbursement, right from the beginning of the year, the ministry has held a number of online meetings with its agencies to remove difficulties and obstacles in the field.
Along with the implementation of comprehensive measures, in the first months of 2021, the ministry has prioritised the disbursement of capital left from 2020, and directing the settlement of obstacles facing major projects.
The ministry has strengthen the inspection and supervision of the progress of each projects, especially large ones with complicated conditions and huge investment, thus exploring obstacles facing the projects and investors and give timely solutions, especially in ground clearance.
In 2021, the MARD is allocated with over 9.84 trillion VND (425.32 million USD) of public investment capital, including 7 trillion VND from domestic sources and 2.84 trillion from ODA sources.
Last year, the ministry received 13.97 trillion VND, of which 12.07 trillion VND was disbursed, equivalent to 86.4 percent of the yearly target./.
Proposals released on investment in North-South high-speed railway’s two sections
The consultancy agency of the North-South high-speed railway project has released proposals on investment in Hanoi – Vinh (Nghe An) and Ho Chi Minh City – Nha Trang sections with a total length of 615 km, according to a representative from the Ministry of Transport.
Under the proposal, the two sections are to be built and become operational before 2032 at a total cost of 375.87 trillion VND (15.7 billion USD), or before 2030 with total investment of 561.59 trillion VND (23.3 billion USD).
The transport sector plans to build seven new railway routes in the 2021-2030 period and upgrade a number of old lines./.
HCM City receives record 6.1 billion USD remittances in 2020 despite pandemic
Despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, overseas remittances to Ho Chi Minh City reached a record high of 6.1 billion USD last year, up more than 15 percent from 2019, a city leader told a meeting on March 18.
Duong Anh Duc, Vice Chairman of the city People’s Committee, hailed the contributions made by overseas Vietnamese businesses to the country’s socio-economic development, saying, “Remittances to Vietnam have been worth more than 170 billion USD since 1990.”
He called on young overseas Vietnamese who have returned to live in Vietnam to establish a diaspora network in the country to better exploit its socio-economic potential.
Vo Thanh Chat, Vice Chairman of the HCM City Committee for Overseas Vietnamese, said last year more than 1,450 overseas Vietnamese were interested in learning about policies related to investment in the city.
It also received donations from overseas Vietnamese such as masks, disinfectants and other equipment in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, and almost 10,000 books worth more than 1.1 million USD meant for local universities.
Overseas Vietnamese have been providing inputs to the city Department of Science and Technology on a draft law for attracting experts in various fields, he said.
The committee would continue to help them maintain their culture abroad, he said.
More than 5.3 million ethnic Vietnamese live in 130 countries and territories.
According to Luong Thanh Nghi, Vice Chairman of the State Committee for Overseas Vietnamese, some 600,000 work and study in developed countries, a huge resource for the country, while 500 return to Vietnam every year to invest in various sectors, he added.
In recent years many overseas Vietnamese have returned to start businesses since they see great economic potential in the country.
Many had very successful careers in other countries, Nghi added./.
Domestic travel bouncing back quickly
Many travel companies said domestic tourism is recovering quickly, and even a number of tours for the South Liberation and National Reunification Day (April 30) and the May Day holidays have been fully booked.
The Dau tu (Vietnam Investment Review) newspaper reported that travel firms have continually offered new tours and combos with attractive prices and services.
Thanks to the containment of the latest COVID-19 outbreak that began in late January, the number of domestic travellers booking tours and combos has been growing strongly.
Nguyen Nguyet Van Khanh, Deputy Director of the marketing division at Vietravel, said since early March, her company has carried out a new programme in which clients booking four- or five-star resort rooms for two or three nights for trips in March and April will be offered round-trip tickets priced from only 990,000 VND (nearly 43 USD) for certain routes of Vietravel Airlines.
This enterprise reported that the number of visitors rose five-fold during March 1-7, and most of them selected destinations in the Central Highlands, the central region, and Phu Quoc Island for their holidays.
Doan Thi Thanh Tra, head of the communications division at Saigontourist, noted that for travel businesses, the domestic market is still their lifesaver in 2021.
Tour prices at present are “very good” compared to the pre-outbreak period as hotels and restaurants are offering the best prices while service quality is still maintained, she said, adding that Saigontourist has also seen a large number of clients asking for information or booking tours and combos for the coming national holidays in late April.
Besides, flight tickets have also been discounted to the lowest possible level, according to Dau tu.
Vietnam Airlines and Pacific Airlines has sold tickets for the domestic flights conducted between February 19 and December 31 this year, except for some peak times, for only 88,000 VND, or 567,000 VND including tax and fees. Passengers can change tickets for unlimited times before the flight date, with the change free of 500,000 VND per ticket.
Apart from travel companies and airlines, many localities have also been launching a wide range of activities to attract visitors this summer.
Da Nang city, a tourist magnet in the central region, is set to organise the Danang By Night programme on April 30 featuring numerous events like artistic lighting on the Han River and its banks, bridges, and some skycrapers; night-time travel activities at the An Thuong tourism zone; and music shows at many places of interest.
Hanoi capital is scheduled to hold a travel stimulus and culinary festival on April 14-16 at the pedestrian zone around Hoan Kiem Lake.
Meanwhile, businesses in Ho Chi Minh City has also recorded positive signs when the number of people with travel demand is recovering, Chairwoman of the city’s Tourism Association Nguyen Thi Khanh said, adding that many of the association’s member companies have inked contracts with hundreds or even thousands of clients for trips through April.
She noted that residents in HCM City love travelling, so a demand rebound is inevitable after a long period of staying at home due to the coronavirus outbreak./.
Vietnam, UAE enjoy surge in two-way trade
Total two-way trade between Vietnam and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) reached 809 million USD in the first two months of this year, up 58 percent from the same period last year.
The UAE is one of Vietnam’s 10 largest export partners in the world and is the largest export partner of Vietnam in the Middle East and Africa, which has seen a surge in demand for imported goods in the time of COVID-19. Experts believe that there are plenty of opportunities for Vietnam to gain a stronger foothold in this market in the time ahead.
According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Vietnam has enjoyed high trade surplus with the UAE for years, posting 737 million USD worth of exports to UAE in January-February, up nearly 60 percent year-on-year while imports valuing 72 million USD, up 44 percent.
Phones and accessories were Vietnam’s key export earner from the UAE, bringing home 551 million USD, up about 108 percent from a year earlier and accounting for two thirds of the total exports to the Middle Eastern country.
A number of agricultural products also witnessed high growth. Specifically, exports of cashew nuts increased six-fold year-on-year to 10.3 million USD, while shipments of fishery products, fruit and vegetables, and pepper grew 18 percent, 12 percent, and 17 percent, respectively.
Meanwhile, due to impacts of COVID-19, shipments of footwear and textile-garment declined 23 percent and 11 percent, respectively, to 14 million USD and 11 million USD.
Among imported goods from the UAE, plastic materials valued the highest, 41.8 million USD, up 66 percent year-on-year. Vietnam also spent 8.7 million USD on importing cattle feed and materials, up 9 percent./.
Bac Giang develops IT infrastructure, digital economy
The northern province of Bac Giang has strengthened information technology (IT), digital infrastructure, and digital transformation to build e-government and a digital socio-economy, said Director of the provincial Information Communications Department Tran Minh Chieu.
Accordingly, it continues to effectively implement Politburo guidelines and policies on taking the initiative in joining the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The province has also issued smart urban development plans and programmes to successfully build electronic and digital government.
Focus has been given to building telecommunications and information, communications, and technology infrastructure to transmit, connect, deploy, and effectively operate e-government and smart urban areas while increasing the provision of online public services at level 3 and 4 in order to increase satisfaction among citizens and businesses.
Bac Giang has also paid attention to implementing digital government from the grassroots level, especially at the commune level, aiming for each household to have access to 4G and developing 5G infrastructure at industrial zones to support smart manufacturing in order to welcome new waves of investment.
The province will also focus on building new data platforms and technologies to deploy comprehensive smart urban area planning to improve the quality of life of local people, building an open database (Open Data), and connecting data at all levels and all organisations into a shared provincial database, ensuring network safety and security while maximizing the use of the Fourth Industrial Revolution to develop an integrated and modern digital economy, expand e-commerce, and improve management and administration efficiency in all areas of socio-economic life.
Bac Giang will spend at least one percent of its provincial budget annually on IT and invest in building a digital technology platform and mobilise resources to prioritise e-government development, and promulgate mechanisms to attract high-quality human resources to participate in building and developing its e-government, towards creating a digital socio-economy and ensuring national defence and security in the locality.
In 2021, Bac Giang will promote the application of IT in the activities of government-owned agencies, and have all dossiers at the district level sent via electronic form unless otherwise prescribed by law.
The province will also strive to reach a target of 90 percent of all paperwork at the provincial level, 80 percent at the district level, and 60 percent at the commune level processed on the internet. Forty percent of people and enterprises in the province are to join in the e-government information system, and 80 percent of administrative procedures are to meet the requirements for deploying online public services at level 3 and 4. Satisfaction among local people and businesses with the settlement of administrative procedures is to reach 90 percent, while all public services are to be supported in answering questions from people and businesses.
Bac Giang previously paid attention to speeding up the application of IT and administrative reform, creating a foundation for building an e-government towards digital government in the province. Its data integration centre, WAN network, and data transmission network have gradually met requirements to operate shared applications of provincial e-government. The province has also developed a provincial data sharing and integration (LGSP) platform to facilitate digital transformation tasks.
It has formed a unified electronic document management system from the central to local level, allowing for automated recognition of paperwork processing among bodies, with all documents secured with information security and digital signatures.
The province has successfully installed traffic surveillance and security cameras, especially along key roads, while agricultural production models are applying high technology.
By the end of 2020, the province had 440 IT, electronics, and telecommunications enterprises. The revenue of these enterprises hit over 124.5 trillion VND in 2019 and they contributed over 830 billion VND to the State budget./.
Supporting industry firms anticipate high 2021 growth
Supporting industry enterprises are witnessing huge opportunities from Vietnam joining free trade agreements and more capital flowing into the country.
According to the Government’s master plan on the development of supporting industries to 2020 and vision to 2030, Vietnam will develop three key areas: spare parts, supporting industries for leather, footwear, and apparel, and high-tech industry.
Resolution No 115/NQ-CP on supporting industry development measures contains a goal that, by 2030, the local supporting industry will meet 70 percent of demand in domestic production and consumption and account for around 14 percent of industrial production value. Some 2,000 firms will be capable of directly supplying items to assembly enterprises and multinational groups in the country.
To meet the goal, the Government has set out seven measures to develop supporting industries, including fine-tuning mechanisms and policies, ensuring and effectively pooling resources for supporting industries, financial and credit solutions, developing domestic value chains and markets, improving the capacity of supporting industry enterprises, and building statistics and data.
As Vietnam has joined the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and other free trade agreements, demand for production and trade as well as links between domestic and foreign firms are substantial.
Chairman of the Hanoi Supporting Industries Business Association Nguyen Hoang said that, over recent years, many supporting industry enterprises have supplied items to major multinational groups and foreign businesses in Vietnam such as Canon, Samsung, Toyota, and Honda, and also exported to partners worldwide.
General Director of the Hikari Vietnam Production and Trading Company Ltd, Nguyen Duc Cuong, said most firms have faced difficulties, both directly and indirectly, due to COVID-19. These may continue this year but positive signs remain as Vietnam’s economy is growing, thus making it easier for the country to attract foreign investment and offer opportunities to domestic companies.
If domestic supporting industry enterprises can seize the opportunities, they could quickly join global supply chains, he said.
Meanwhile, a representative from the Century Synthetic Fiber Corporation said orders from manufacturers in the Republic of Korea, Thailand, Japan, Taiwan (China), and the US, as well as foreign companies in Vietnam, have increased since last year thanks to disrupted supply chains in China caused by COVID-19.
Cuong believes that only enterprises with long-term business plans, good governance, and strong links will prosper./.
Tuyên Quang focuses on forestry economic development
The northern mountainous province of Tuyên Quang has gained achievements in forestry economic development thanks to introducing proper policies and mechanism.
Tuyên Quang has used many solutions, striving to become a model locality for the development of the forestry economy.
After many years of planting fruit trees such as dragon fruit, lemon and oranges without much success, the province instructed local farmers to change to other plants.
In 2010, Vương Từ Phìn’s family in Tân Tiến Commune of Yên Sơn District converted their entire farm from fruit trees to acacia trees, which brought his family a stable income of VNĐ50-60 million (US$2,100-2,600) per ha per growing cycle of seven years.
The stable income from the forest plantation has helped Phìn’s family escape poverty.
“In the past, many households in the village mainly planted fruit trees, vegetables and short-term crops, but they were ineffective,” said Phìn.
“Since shifting to the planting of acacia, we have earned more,” he said.
“After seven years, each hectare of the forest could bring VNĐ100 million (US$4,300), of which we could earn a profit of VNĐ50-60 million per ha,” he said.
Thanks to afforestation, local people have developed economically.
Because the topography is divided by hills, mountains, and small and fragmented fields, for years, Tân Tiến Commune has focused on forestry trees.
As of late last year, the commune had more than 4,000ha of forest, reaching a forest coverage rate of 75 per cent.
Thanks to afforestation, many families in the commune have escaped poverty, contributing to helping the commune fulfil the criteria for building a new countryside.
According to Lý Minh Hiếu, the commune chairman, in recent years, the main income in the commune came from afforestation.
“People’s lives had been improved and per capita income reached nearly VNĐ42 million (US$1,800) per year,” Hiếu said.
“Basically, people in Tân Tiến Commune eradicated hunger and reduced poverty through afforestation,” the chairman said.
The development of the forestry economy is seen as a breakthrough for Tuyên Quang to become a developed province.
Therefore, provincial authorities have issued many policies and mechanisms to create favourable conditions for people and businesses to invest in afforestation such as supporting high-quality seedlings for people, providing afforestation techniques and promoting co-operation between enterprises and afforestation farmers to expand raw material areas and develop wood processing.
Currently, the province has eight wood, paper and pulp processing factories kike An Hoà Pulp and Paper Factory with a capacity of 1.3 million cu.m per year and Woodland Tuyên Quang Wood Processing Factory with a capacity of 680,000 cu.m annually.
Tuyên Quang’s wood products have been exported to countries such as India, the US, Singapore, China and European nations.
Nguyễn Văn Anh, general director of An Hoà Paper Company, said that to create a sustainable material supply chain for the factory, the company annually provided more than 2 million seedlings for free to local people and also explained planting techniques.
The company would continue to look for new varieties and provide free support to people and commit to ensuring timber purchasing for the people, Anh said.
In five years of implementing the Programme on Sustainable Forestry Development of 2016-2020, Tuyên Quang planted more than 55,400 hectares of forest and created 132,000 hectares of forest for paper materials and nearly 69,900 hectares of forest for timbers.
More than 35,800ha of forest were granted sustainable forest management certificates.
Logging output reached 4.2 million cu.m equivalent to 844,000 cu.m year, which ranked first in northern mountainous provinces in terms of the output of wood of the planted forest.
The forestry production value was raised to VNĐ1.3 trillion ($56.4 million) in 2019 from VNĐ911 billion ($39.5 million) in 2015.
The province’s plantation wood processing capacity, planted forest area certified for sustainable forest management and forest coverage rate are among the best in the country.
To improve economic efficiency from planted forests, the province has been encouraging investment in forestry production.
According to Triệu Đăng Khoa, deputy head of the provincial forest ranger department, the province has started the implementation of a sustainable forestry economic development programme.
Under the programme, the province will plant 10,000ha of forest every year, exploit 9,000cu.m of timbers, effectively implement management and protection of more than 422,000 hectares of the existing forests, and provide enough raw materials for large processors to produce and export aiming at increasing incomes for forest growers and foreign currency revenue for the province, said Khoa.
Agro-fishery exports to China face challenges due to COVID-19
Vietnamese agricultural and fishery exports to China have encountered numerous difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic due to the customs clearance capacity of goods at border gates yet to be operating at full capacity, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT).
Furthermore, China has also intensified the enforcement of laws and border trade policies imposed on agricultural and fisheries imports at border areas through a range of measures, including origin traceability, packaging specifications, food hygiene, and safety.
Moreover, a number of traders have transported their farm produce on mass to the border despite being yet to sign official contracts with Chinese partners, leading to heavy congestion at border gates.
Last year witnessed export and import turnover passing through Lao Cai border gate reach US$3.2 billion, representing a decline of 15.2% compared to 2019 due to the impact of COVID-19 epidemic.
Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Quoc Khanh stated the MoIT will enter discussions with the Chinese side in an effort to speed up the completion of legal procedures in order to open the market for Vietnamese farm produce and aquatic products.
Simultaneously, the MoIT will mobilise the Chinese side to consider opening additional border gates and railway transport routes to facilitate greater imports in the time ahead and better meet the needs of each side.
Most notably, the country will closely co-operate with the northern neighbour to disseminate information on how to take advantage of the ASEAN-China Free Trade Agreement and how to make use of e-commerce to promote exports and focus on medium and long-term trade promotion schemes whilst strengthening trade exchange via online platforms.
Source: VNA/VNS/VOV/VIR/SGT/Nhan Dan/Hanoitimes
Vietnamese businesses look to further optimise opportunities from CPTPP
After two years of implementing the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), the use of the deal to generate benefits for the economy and businesses has remained modest, according to insiders.
Among 14 free trade agreements (FTAs) Vietnam has signed, the CPTPP is a new generation FTA with high standards and the highest level of facilitation. Vietnam has been forecast to be one of the members that benefits the most from the deal.
However, the country has experienced challenges in optimising the FTA because of its modest level of development and competitiveness.
Due to US-China trade tensions and the impact of COVID-19, the global economy fell into crisis last year with interrupted supply chains. Vietnam also suffered an economic downturn. Therefore, after two years of implementation, the benefits from the CPTPP are still to be seen.
Vu Tien Loc, President of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), said that positive results in the two years of implementation include the reform of institutions and administrative procedures.
Explaining the modest benefits so far, Loc said major reasons include the poor competitiveness of Vietnamese enterprises, market instability, and the low capacity of State agencies.
Meanwhile, Nguyen Cam Trang, Vice Director of the Import-Export Department at the Ministry of Industry and Trade, said the CPTPP has helped promote Vietnam’s exports.
However, its market share and export growth to the six partners that have implemented the CPTPP have been low.
She noted that Vietnam’s market share is 3.1 percent in Japan, 1.9 percent in Australia, 1.6 percent in New Zealand, 1.3 percent in Mexico, 1.1 percent in Canada, and 1 percent in Singapore.
Growth in exports to CPTPP markets was 12.2 percent in 2018, 13 percent in 2019, and 12.02 percent in 2020, Trang added.
She said that, in the future, State agencies should enhance their capacity to implement the CPTPP while continuing to complete legal policies, strengthen communications regarding the deal, support macro, small, and medium-sized enterprises to improve their capacity, encourage investment in material production, and design measures to reduce logistics costs.
Businesses should also be more active in seeking opportunities from the deal, while changing their mindset and exploring demand in CPTPP markets to design suitable business strategies and plans, she added.
A survey by VCCI showed that about three-quarters of businesses said they will adjust their business plans to optimise the opportunities from the CPTPP and other FTAs./.
Vietnam applauds positive adjustment in US Treasury Department’s report
Vietnam welcomes the US Department of the Treasury’s positive adjustment to the content related to Vietnam in the department’s latest report on the macroeconomic and foreign exchange policies of major trading partners of the US, said Spokeswoman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Le Thi Thu Hang.
Replying to reporters’ question about the report released on April 16 by the US Department of the Treasury, Hang noted that the report said there is insufficient evidence to decide that Vietnam manipulates its exchange rate.
She added that in the recent past, Vietnamese relevant agencies have shared information and discussed with the US to clarify that Vietnam’s exchange rate policy has been steered by managerial agencies in a uniform and flexible manner that matches the reality in the country for the purpose of stabilising macro-balances, not to create unfair competitive advantages in international trade.
“In the spirit of respecting the economic – trade ties with the US, a pillar in the comprehensive partnership between the two countries, Vietnam will maintain constructive dialogue and consultation with the US side about this issue,” the spokeswoman added./.
Workforce critical to feed industries in rapidly developing Vietnam: experts
Vietnam needs to focus more on developing feedstocks and production of intermediate goods, especially in terms of human resources, to enable its industrialisation, experts have said.
Tran Tuan Anh, chairman of the Party Central Committee’s Economic Commission, told a recent conference that while there has been some improvement in these areas, their potential has not been fulfilled while the training of workforce needed for them do not take into account the latest technological development.
The country still has to rely on imports of intermediate goods, he said.
Minister of Science and Technology Huynh Thanh Dat said demand for them from manufacturers is rising, but local firms struggle to satisfy it.
Developing a skilled workforce that can help the country satisfy its demand for industrialisation and modernisation is important, he said.
Duong Anh Duc, deputy chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee, said the city offers loans for hi-tech projects in key industries and fully subsidises the interest, and pays close attention to training.
The Party Central Committee’s Economic Commission has been tasked with recommending industrialisation and modernisation policies by next year, including for developing a workforce for the intermediate industry.
The country aims to become a developing country with a modernised industry and medium high income by 2030./.
Development skewed in HCM City region real estate market
The skewed concentration of property projects in some areas of Ho Chi Minh City has resulted in an imbalance in the development of satellite cities and causes a strain on the transport system, a workshop heard in the city on April 16.
In 2017 the Government approved a master plan for the period until 2030 for the HCM City region, which covers an area of more than 30,000 square metres comprising HCM City and the seven surrounding provinces of Ba Ria – Vung Tau, Binh Duong, Binh Phuoc, Tay Ninh, Long An, Dong Nai, and Tien Giang.
It creates a legal framework to attract investment in satellite cities and real estate markets in outlying areas, Nguyen Tuan Anh, editor-in-chief of Nha da utu (Investor) magazine, told the workshop.
New regulations in the city to tighten the issue of licences to property projects resulted in a drastic drop in supply, boosting the real estate markets in neighbouring provinces, he said.
But there is an imbalance in the development of satellite cities, affecting the implementation of the master plan, he said.
Le Do Muoi, head of the Transport Development and Strategy Institute, said investment in traffic infrastructure is vital to ensure connectivity between HCM City and satellite cities and synchronised transportation.
Improving traffic infrastructure is now a priority, he said.
In recent years infrastructure for travel between the city and provinces in the HCM City region has improved, resulting in the mushrooming of new urban areas, he said.
This has enabled investments to flow easier into neighbouring provinces, he said.
But a high concentration of property and urban development projects to the east of the city, including in Binh Duong and Dong Nai provinces, has resulted in skewed development and placed a strain on transport systems in its gateways.
Nguyen Hoang, R&D director at DKRA Vietnam, said the HCM City real estate market has for years spilt over into its neighbouring provinces, and their markets thus have close links and affect each other.
Last year the market in neighbouring provinces saw positive growth, which made up for the decline in all segments in HCM City, he added./.
High-tech poultry incubation factory inaugurated in Tay Ninh
A high-tech poultry incubation factory was inaugurated in the southern province of Tay Ninh on April 17 by Bel Ga Joint Stock Company which is strongly supported by two family-owned European companies: Belgabroed and De Heus Group.
The inaugural ceremony attracted the participation of leading officials from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Tay Ninh province and its surrounding provinces, and representatives from the Embassies of Belgium, the Netherlands and Indonesia in Vietnam, the Vietnam Digital Agriculture Association, and the European Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam.
This is the second high-tech poultry incubation factory established by Bel Ga in Vietnam, after its first one in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong. With a total investment of 200 billion VND (8.66 million USD), the factory has a designed capacity of over 19 million chicks per year in the first stage, and 38.4 million chicks per year in the second stage.
Kris Van Daele, General Director of Bel Ga Vietnam and Cambodia, said that the company’s day-old chicks will meet GlobalGAP standards as biological safety in husbandry and production are monitored closely.
Chairperson of the provincial People’s Committee Nguyen Thanh Ngoc said that the factory is one of Tay Ninh’s outstanding projects, contributing to realising the province’s goal of agricultural restructuring and transformation./.
Steel firms urged to diversify markets amid trade defence lawsuits
|The domestic steel demand was predicted to increase around 3-5 per cent this year, driven by the development of large-scale infrastructure projects and the recovery of the property market. — Photo doanhnghiephoinhap.vn|
According to the Viet Nam Steel Association, the steel industry faced 62 trade defence lawsuits from 2004 to 2020, more than half of which were anti-dumping cases.
Recently, five countries launched anti-dumping investigations into several steel products from Viet Nam.
Le Trieu Dung, Director of the Trade Remedies Authority of Viet Nam under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, said the number of trade defence investigation cases on Viet Nam’s export products had increased in recent years.
So far, Vietnamese export products have faced 203 cases of trade defence investigations, nearly 40 per cent of them related to steel products.
Dung said steel products faced more trade defence lawsuits as many countries were aiming to develop their domestic steel industries. Steel is an input for many industries, so import tariffs on steel products can protect domestic production.
China is the world’s largest steel producer and its products have been subject to a number of trade defence cases. As several Vietnamese steel products are of the same types as China’s and the domestic industry is heavily dependent on imported raw materials, there was a high possibility that countries would pay more attention to investigating Viet Nam’s products for tax evasion, he warned.
“Viet Nam regularly faces investigations together with other countries like China and India which are major steel exporters,” Dung said.
Another risk factor is that Vietnamese steel prices are quite competitive and the country’s steel exports have expanded every year recently.
Viet Nam’s export products faced a lot of difficulties due to the increasing application of trade remedies and stricter regulations abroad, he said.
Vietnamese steel producers have also had to tackle increasing raw material prices, with iron ore prices more than doubling in 2020 and becoming the commodity with the strongest increase in price in the world for the second consecutive year.
Iron ore accounts for about 30-35 per cent of the steel production cost.
A representative from Dai Thien Loc Joint Stock Company said raw material prices had increased rapidly recently. For example, hot-rolled steel increased from US$360 per tonne to $830 per tonne for shipment in May.
According to Dung, facing more trade defence investigations is unavoidable amid international integration.
It was important to raise the awareness of firms about trade defence instruments and measures to cope with investigations, he said.
The Ministry of Industry and Trade also developed an early warning system to provide updates and warnings to enterprises, he said.
Diversifying export markets and products was a vital solution to reduce the dependence on a single market and minimise the risks of high import tariffs, Dung added.
He said the ministry would keep working with agencies and associations to help Vietnamese firms respond to trade defence lawsuits and protect the rights of domestic producers.
According to BIDV Securities Company, the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and European Union – Viet Nam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) are providing significant opportunities for Viet Nam to expand export markets as well as import raw materials.
The domestic steel demand has been forecast to increase by around 3-5 per cent this year, driven by the development of large-scale infrastructure projects such as the North-South Expressway, Trung Luong – My Thuan – Can Tho Highway, Long Thanh International Airport and the recovery of the property market.
The ministry’s statistics showed Viet Nam’s steel export was worth $1.826 billion in the first quarter of this year, a strong rise of 65.2 per cent against the same period last year.
Steel exports totalled nearly 8 million tonnes, worth $4.19 billion last year.
International credit rating organisations interested in Vietnamese market
Many international credit rating organisations want to join the Vietnamese market, heard a seminar in Ho Chi Minh City on April 16.
Nguyen Hoang Duong, Deputy Director of the Finance Ministry’s Department of Banking and Financial Institutions, said at the seminar that credit rating plays an important role in the financial market in general and the bond market in particular.
The activity provides information for investors to assess financial and debt payment capacity of targeted financial products as well as relevant risks, while helping ministries and agencies amend regulations on capital safety in the banking, stock and insurance sectors, he explained.
In recent years, Vietnam’s corporate bond market has grown rapidly, requiring the establishment of credit rating organisations in order to promote the publicity and transparency of the market.
The Finance Ministry will grant licences to a maximum of five credit rating firms under a planning scheme on credit rating service development by 2020 with a vision towards 2030, according to Duong.
He added that two firms have been licensed and become operational in the domestic market.
A number of international firms have also shown their interest in the Vietnamese market, and the ministry will consider their proposals, he said.
Donald Lambert, Principal Private Sector Development Specialist from the Asian Development Bank (ADB)’s Southeast Asia Department, told the press that the participation of prestigious rating organisations would held Vietnam’s credit rating services come closer to international standards, and make the country’s corporate bond market and the capital market as well develop more sustainably.
The seminar on developing credit rating was jointly held by the Ministry of Finance and the ADB.
The ministry said it will further coordinate with international organisations to organise relevant events to raise the business community’s awareness about the use of credit rating in bond issuance./.
Korean firms look to invest in auto parts industry in Vietnam
Many businesses from the Republic of Korea (RoK) are looking to connect and get more information about the Vietnamese market as well as investment policies of the country, especially in auto parts, mechanics, and electronics, said Vu Ba Phu, Director of the Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency (Vietrade) under the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT).
Speaking at seminar jointly held by Vietrade, the Korea Trade Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) and the Vietnam National Trade Fair and Advertising Company (Vinexad) in Hanoi on April 15 in the framework of the 30th International Trade Fair (Vietnam Expo 2021), Phu said this was a good opportunity for Vietnamese industrial parks and businesses to connect with Korean firms to attract investment and expand cooperation in developing value chains in manufacturing.
Auto parts manufacturing is one of the top areas attracting interest from businesses in Vietnam at present, Phu said.
Participant focused their discussions on policies for developing the automobile manufacturing and assembling industry in Vietnam, as well as how to form a sustainable manufacturing link chain in the auto parts sector.
Pham Tuan Anh, Deputy Director of the MoIT’s Industry Agency, said that a number of domestic firms have actively participated in the global automobile manufacturing chain.
Accordingly, the country’s total designed assembling capacity is about 755,000 vehicles per year, of which foreign-invested firms account for about 35 percent. Domestic manufacturing and assembling of many large firms have meet about 70 percent of the domestic automobile demand with the total output of passenger cars hitting 200,000 units per year.
However, Anh noted that the automobile manufacturing industry has not yet formed a system of large-scale suppliers of materials and components, which makes car prices in Vietnam still remain high compared to other countries in the region.
In order to further promote the domestic automobile manufacturing and assembling industry and help the auto parts manufacturing industry participate deeply in the global value chain, experts said attention should be paid to developing healthily the automobile market by creating a market large enough for domestic automobile manufacturers, and encouraging the use of locally-manufactured cars.
Vietnamese automobile manufactures should be supported more to improve their manufacturing ability and competitiveness, they added./.
Local firms focus on customer experience
According to a new study, large Vietnamese enterprises are likely to have strategic priorities focusing on growth (42 per cent) as companies respond to market volatility and widespread operational disruptions.
The findings were released as part of a new study of enterprises in Southeast Asia, uncovering the state of businesses and their strategic priorities, as well as challenges and opportunities for post-pandemic growth, by SAP SE.
The regional study “Digital, resilient, and experience-driven: How enterprises in Southeast Asia can prepare for the new economy”, reveals that enterprises in Southeast Asia are gaining steady momentum prioritising growth and customer experiences. However, they face significant challenges in the areas of talent attraction and retention, cloud adoption, and gaining insights from data.
Conducted in collaboration with Oxford Economics, the study surveyed 600 senior executives – including 400 from small-and-medium enterprises (SMEs) with less than US$500 million in revenue – across Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Viet Nam, Indonesia, and the Philippines.
In Viet Nam, larger firms also recognise that the experience economy is about more than customers – employees matter, too. They are somewhat more likely than smaller firms to cite improving the employee experience and attracting and retaining top talent as strategic priorities (27 per cent).
This will likely become an even greater focus as companies seek to quickly adapt their workforces to fit the changing market by increasing organisational agility (27 per cent). While building trust with customers – which smaller firms tend to see as their inherent competitive advantage – can ultimately support resiliency and give SMEs the strong foundation they need, almost half of SMEs’ strategic top priorities are improving the customer experience (44 per cent), followed by increasing profits and reducing costs (30 per cent).
The overwhelming focus on experiences and service excellence so far is cited as the primary source of value and differentiation for large enterprises and SMEs in Viet Nam. Among survey respondents in Viet Nam, large enterprises and SMEs place significantly less emphasis on boosting their focus on innovation.
Larger organisations and SMEs in Viet Nam are less fluent in the use of technological solutions to transform the organisation. Instead, larger firms and SMEs in Viet Nam are focused on cutting prices on their goods and services and increased focus on ethics and sustainability issues are become second priority to improve customer experiences.
“Digital, resilient and experience driven are part of today’s business,” said Nguyen Hong Viet, SAP Vietnam Managing Director. “Technologies are changing how we live and work, and the pandemic exposed how fragile our world is. Only companies that can adapt quickly will thrive. We need to be more agile, more intelligent, more efficient to point out new ways. RISE with SAP initiative will help business transform holistically by changing the whole culture and mindset of an enterprise and redesigning your business processes to unlock new ways of running your business and stay ahead of your industry.”
Hai Phong aims to attract 1.5 billion USD in FDI in Q2
The northern port city of Hai Phong targets 1.5 billion USD in foreign direct investment (FDI) in the second quarter of 2021, according to head of the Management Board of Hai Phong Economic Zones Le Trung Kien.
Kien said that the city will increase dialogues to explore obstacles facing businesses, while enhancing efficiency of investment promotion activities, while prioritising investors with high capacity and advanced, environmentally-friendly technologies.
Along with speeding up administrative reforms, the board will coordinate closely with the local police force to ensure order and security in economic zones and industrial parks, creating a safe environment for enterprises, Kien said.
He said Hai Phong currently has 12 industrial parks. As of March 31, 2021, the local industrial parks and economic zones had lured 406 FDI projects worth 17.15 billion USD.
The average occupancy rate in the local industrial park has reached 62.5 percent. There are 154,100 labourers working in Hai Phong’s industrial parks and economic zones.
In the 2021-2025 period, Hai Phong plans to construct 15 new industrial parks with a total area of over 6,200 hectares.
Last year, the city ranked seventh out of 63 provinces and cities nationwide in the Provincial Competitiveness Index (PCI), and second out of 11 provinces and cities in the Red River Delta region./.
Bustling wood businesses trade via online platform
The switch from offline to online models by enterprises in the handicraft and wood sector helped them reach good results, even amidst and after the COVID-19 pandemic.
A dynamic Vietnamese handicraft and wood sector is portrayed at the Vietnam Furniture Matching Week 2021 taking place on April 12-19, luring in representatives from more than 70 large wood buyers across the world.
On April 13, the first online trading event of the Vietnamese handicraft and wood sector, with over 100 online showrooms on the HOPE platform, attracted 17,000 visitors.
At the Furniture Sourcing Day, the main event of the Vientam Furniture Matching Week, the representative of Fine Scandinavia, a Swedish-owned manufacturing company, stated that amid COVID-19 almost all wood businesses witnessed an increase in sales as orders were continually on the rise.
“The pandemic pushed us to use the online platform of HOPE to introduce our products to customers. Thanks to online matching, we can access a large number of foreign buyers, 30-40 per cent more than the previous year,” said she.
Savier Duquesnoy, commercial manager of Squarehome, a Spanish company focusing on modern indoor furniture collections, said that after two months of decrease at the outbreak of the pandemic, orders returned to normal and rose even higher.
As March and April are peak months for the handicraft and wood sector, he said that in April, the company targets to hit 75 per cent of its full-year sales target while at the same time rising 30 per cent above its performance last year.
The positive prospects for handicraft and wood items during and after the pandemic is also giving a leg up to associated sectors and businesses. Ho My Linh, executive assistant at BYD Forklift, a company specialised in leasing and selling forklifts for manufacturers, told VIR that orders amid COVID-19 increased by 10-20 per cent on-year.
Nguyen Quoc Khanh, chairman of the Handicraft and Wood Industry Association of Ho Chi Minh City (HAWA) said that despite a volatile 2020, Vietnam’s handicraft and wood sector witnessed many breakthroughs and reaped encouraging results due to the dynamism of businesses.
In the middle of March, Vietnam’s wood exports ranked second in the world, following China and running laps around Germany, Poland, and Italy.
Especially, the Vietnamese handicraft and wood sector has proved itself with The Wing Desk, inspired by social distancing and remote working, became the first project from Asia to receive the European Design Awards in 2021.
“Vietnam will become a priority destination in the global supply chain. The increase in the country’s ranking showed the clear efforts of businesses to adapt to changes by quickly applying new methods in production management, investing in design and researching new models and materials for products. Buyers have many chances to connect with high-quality suppliers,” he added.
Statistics from the General Department of Vietnam Customs show that in 2020 the export turnover of wood products reached $9.5 trillion, an increase of 22.5 per cent compared to 2019, accounting for 77.22 per cent of the total export turnover of wood and wood-based products, up from 73.67 per cent in 2019.
In 2020, wood and wood-based product exports were the sixth-largest commodity group in terms of export turnover in Vietnam.
The US is the main export market for Vietnamese wood and wood-based products. Despite the heavy impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the export turnover of wood and wood-based products to this market reached $7.2 trillion last year, up 34.37 per cent compared to 2019. The was the highest increase among Vietnam’s export markets and accounted for 57.92 per cent of the total export turnover of industrial wood and wood-based products.
It is anticipated that in 2021, the increase in FDI inflows to Vietnam, the COVID-19 vaccine, as well as the control of wood input sources will all help Vietnam’s exports of wood and wood-based products continue to grow a rate of over 15 per cent.
VNR seeks PM’s help over slow allocation of infrastructure maintenance fund
Vietnam Railway Corporation (VNR) has written to the prime minister seeking help over the slow allocation of the infrastructure maintenance fund, due to which it may find it hard to maintain its operations until the end of this month.
At present, VNR is managing, operating and taking responsibility for maintaining more than 3,100 kilometers of railways. However, under the Ministry of Transport’s plan to manage and use railway infrastructure, many intermediates and administrative procedures remain in place, the local media reported.
The ministry proposed handing over the railway infrastructure maintenance fund to the Vietnam Railway Authority, instead of handing it over directly to VNR.
According to VNR, the authority currently has only more than 100 employees. If the maintenance fund is assigned to the authority, the fund allocation may be slower, hindering the maintenance work.
In addition, the unity of railway infrastructure management and maintenance and the safety of trains will be at risk, leading to the stagnancy of railway transport activities, VNR Chairman Vu Anh Minh said.
As planned, VND2.8 trillion a year will be allocated for the maintenance of railway infrastructure. However, VNR has yet to receive the funds. Its 20 subsidiaries in charge of maintaining railway infrastructure have not paid their employees’ salaries for many months and have no money to buy maintenance materials.
The livelihood of nearly 25,000 laborers of VNR are being affected and many of them may quit their jobs.
Regarding the Ministry of Transport’s proposal, representatives of all ministries and agencies, except for the Ministry of Transport, agreed to hand over the maintenance fund to VNR, according to the Ministry of Justice.
This is not the first time that VNR has sought the prime minister’s help over the slow allocation of the infrastructure maintenance fund. In February last year, a VNR leader said due to the lack of funds, it failed to pay the salaries for more than 11,300 employees, posing a high risk of the suspension of the operation of its trains.
Financial markets leaning towards cryptocurrency
The global financial markets are seeing a growing trend that is leaning towards cryptocurrency. This will undoubtedly mark an important milestone in the history of international payment methodology, especially when major financial institutions begin to accept this form of currency.
Although, cryptocurrency may not become an official medium of exchange in the near future due to several risk factors and high volatility, the trend cannot be ignored.
Cryptocurrency, also known as digital currency, is gaining in popularity, as evidenced by the price of bitcoin in March at five times its price value since last year. The price exceeded US$ 61,000 per bitcoin, raising market cap to over US$ 1,000 bn. The explosion of bitcoin was caused by several reasons, one of which has been the participation of several well-known institutional investors like Stan Druckenmiller, Paul Tudor Jones and Elon Musk, with Tesla Inc. pouring US$ 1.5 bn into this particular market since the beginning of the year.
Besides bitcoin, there are now more than 5,000 kinds of other cryptocurrencies in circulation. Crypto.com statistics show that there are around 106 million cryptocurrency users around the globe in January 2021, increasing by 15% over last year. With cryptocurrencies worth thousands of billion of US dollars, the global financial markets have recently shown a strong inclination for its use in investments, fundraising and payments.
The pioneers of cryptocurrencies, like bitcoin and litecoin, are designed to be used as a mode of payment and exchange in place of cash. Over the past decade, these cryptocurrencies have emerged as new investment channels, and increasing in value day by day. This market has attracted more and more attention from individuals, and institutional as well as professional investors.
In early February, JPMorgan Chase & Co. advised investors to use cryptocurrency as an asset to diversify investment portfolios and prevent risks caused by volatility in traditional investment channels. The New York based company estimates that around USD 7 bn has gone into bitcoin investment funds, while more than USD 20 bn has been blown out of precious metal Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs).
The Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Morgan Stanley have announced their intention to provide means for investing in bitcoin and other digital currencies for their high-profile clients. However, many hold doubts about the value of cryptocurrencies because of skyrocketing prices of this form of currency. Some economists believe that cryptocurrency is symbolic of a property bubble and its value only comes from hyped speculation.
An Initial Coin Offering (ICO) is becoming more and more common among startups in an effort to gradually replace the traditional financial system. ICO can be understood as an initial cryptocurrency public offering for investments. It is a form of crowdfunding and blockchain technology. With its advantage of a decentralized and non-intermediary medium, blockchain technology makes it possible for direct transactions without any intermediaries, thereby reducing the cost of fundraising. Besides this, the cryptocurrency market can improve liquidity and enable investors to withdraw their capital at any time.
A 2018 study by Dirk A. Zetzsche and Associates shows that ICOs have become a global phenomenon, with a total amount of registered investments exceeding USD 75 bn in June 2018. More recently, banks have started to pour investments into ICOs, which is very likely to make it a new form of fundraising to replace traditional ways. In payment activities, it is obvious that more and more individuals and institutions are willing to accept cryptocurrency as a mode of payment.
Coinmap.org statistics indicates that 22,094 locations around the world will accept cryptocurrency payments by April 2021. Telsa has drawn the most attention, after it notified its customers in the US market that they could buy Telsa cars and pay by bitcoin. Global payment service providers like MasterCard, VISA, PayPal have also accepted crypto money as a currency.
Cryptocurrency has attracted a large number of investors, and considerable amounts of different currencies have flowed out of countries into this busy market. This trend may be now impossible to reverse. Actual reality in some countries shows that government bans or warnings are not enough to stop investors engaging in this lucrative market.
Nevertheless, the growth of cryptocurrencies will pose huge challenges to countries, especially in the possible danger of it replacing fiat money under control of Central Banks. The advantages of cryptocurrency could also lead to new forms of Central Bank digital currency (CBDC).
A 2020 survey conducted by the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), with participants from 66 Central Banks across the globe, shows that more and more Central Banks are interested in the issuance of CBDC.
Roughly 80% of Central Banks have already begun to do so, and approximately 40% have moved forward from a stage of studying to experimenting, while more or less 10% of Central Banks are at experimental stage. This indicates that the next currency revolution is quietly underway, which will now have far-reaching implications for Vietnam’s monetary policy in the long run.
Hanoi Stock Exchange to stop listing new stocks from July 2023
After completing moving stocks to the Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange (HoSE), the one in Hanoi (HNX) would be responsible for government bond transactions and management of the derivatives market.
The information was unveiled in a draft circular from the Ministry of Finance (MoF) in reorganization of the stock, bond and derivatives markets.
However, before July 1, 2023, the HNX continues to assess application of firms looking to list shares on the stock exchange and have registered capital of over VND30 billion (US$1.3 billion).
From January 1 to June 30, 2025, the HNX is expected to complete moving stocks from firms on the Unlisted Public Company Market (UPCoM) – operates by the HNX for public unlisted companies, to the HoSE.
The HoSE, meanwhile, would review the listing for firms with registered capital of over VND120 billion (US$5.2 million) before the deadline of July 1, 2023.
The move is in line with the government’s vision for the establishment of the Vietnam Stock Exchange (VNX) on the basis of merging the HNX and HoSE.
Under the plan, the HNX would responsible for government bond transactions and management of the derivatives market, while all shares listed in the market will be traded in the HoSE.
Vietjet offers promotional tickets celebrating April 30 – May 1
Celebrating the national holidays of April 30 – May 1, Vietjet offers customers an all-inclusive ticket price of only 468,000 VND on all flight routes across Vietnam.
During the three golden days from April 19 to April 21, Vietjet offers nearly 468,000 promotional tickets with the price from only 468,000 VND including taxes and fees for the flight time from April 20 to December 31.
Buying Eco tickets to fly with Vietjet to Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Nha Trang, Phu Quoc, Da Nang, Quy Nhon, Da Lat from now until April 25, customers will also receive free 20kg of checked baggage in addition with 7kg hand luggage. Many other products, preferential services such as nine fresh and delicious hot meals, spacious empty seats, and attractive souvenirs are available for customers to choose.
With diverse and convenient flight options, stable flight times, Vietjet is always ready to offer the best services for people and visitors, bringing great flying experiences on modern aircraft with comfy seats, friendly cabin crews, and many unique cultural and artistic activities of the new-age carrier at an altitude of 10,000m. Travellers can book tickets on Vietjet’s official sales channels at website www.vietjetair.com, Vietjet Air mobile app, or official Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/vietjetvietnam (section “Booking”).
Fisheries sector striving to secure sustainable, responsible development
Under Vietnam’s fisheries development strategy to 2030 and vision to 2045, the fisheries sector is applying itself to become an important sector in the country, strongly integrate into the world, develop sustainably and responsibly, and proactively adapt to climate change.
Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Phung Duc Tien said that after continually posting rapid growth, the fisheries sector now has considerable production scale and value along with many products earning annual export turnover in excess of 1 billion USD.
Its product structure has changed strongly towards higher proportions of aquaculture and products with high added value, he noted, adding that aquatic products have been exported to about 160 countries and territories, in particular the EU, Japan, the US, the Republic of Korea, and Russia.
The presence of Vietnamese fishing boats and fishermen on the country’s seas has also greatly helped safeguard maritime sovereignty and security. The fisheries sector now provides jobs for about 3.9 million people, thus contributing to agricultural restructuring, according to Tien.
However, he acknowledged, there remain many problems facing the sector, which has yet to fully tap into its potential and advantages.
It is looking to earn 14-16 billion USD from exports and establish itself as a key national sector with sustainable development and proactive adaptation to climate change by 2030. Vietnam also targets becoming one of the three leading fisheries producers and exporters in the world by 2045.
Tran Dinh Luan, General Director of the Directorate of Fisheries, recommended localities re-organise production, exercise sound control over inputs, issue timely warnings on disease in farmed species, and boost technology transfer, which are both short and long-term tasks.
He also called on relevant agencies to immediately pay due regard to the fight against illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing, noting that the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has requested relevant sectors and localities soon complete steering boards on anti-IUU fishing and send members to the national steering committee so as to take uniform action to carry out recommendations from the European Commission, which has issued a “yellow card” warning on the issue to Vietnam.
Former Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong said that to achieve set targets, the fisheries sector should take concerted solutions such as reducing the number of inshore fishing vessels, increasing offshore fishing fleets, gradually downsizing exploitation, boosting aquaculture, and stepping up the conservation, recovery, and development of fisheries resources./.
HCM City’s annual price stabilisation programme begins
Ho Chi Minh City has started its hugely successful annual consumer price stabilisation programme for 2021.
To run until March 31 next year, it has attracted the participation of 50 businesses, including some with popular brands, and six banks and credit institutions, who have earmarked 11.34 trillion VND (491 million USD) to lend to the participating firms.
Their long-term interest rates will be 6.5-11.3 percent and short-term interest rates will be 4.5 percent.
Face masks and hand sanitisers were added to the list of essential goods last year, and the 10 earlier ones are rice, noodles and vermicelli; sugar; cooking oil; eggs; cattle meat; poultry meat; vegetables; processed foods; seafood; and seasoning.
The programme also covers dairy products and items when schools function.
The goods sold under the programme normally meet 25-30 percent of market demand, but accounted for 35-50 percent amid the pandemic last year.
Firms in the programme need to stockpile 15-20 percent more goods than normal to prepare for COVID-19 emergency responses.
As usual, they have to register their prices with the Department of Finance, with those of essential goods being 5-10 percent lower than market prices and 10-15 percent in case of school items.
Goods sold through the programme should be locally made with clear origins that meet hygiene and food safety standards and are of assured quality.
This year the city plans to help participating businesses expand their sales networks and encourage them to tie up with modern distribution channels like supermarkets and convenience stores, develop sales points at traditional markets, industrial parks, export processing zones, and outlying districts, and organise mobile sales trips to enable more consumers to buy their goods.
It also encourages firms to invest more in improving packaging and designs and diversifying their products./.
High-tech shrimp farming brings high profits in Bac Lieu province
The Mekong Delta province of Bac Lieu plans to expand super – intensive shrimp farming as it is sustainable and offers high production value.
The province, which is one of the country’s leading areas where shrimp is bred with advanced techniques, had more than 25,800ha of super-intensive and intensive shrimp farming areas last year.
Super- intensive shrimp farming offers a high yield of 40 – 50 tonnes per hectare per crop and a profit of 1 billion VND (43,200 USD) per hectare for three shrimp crops a year. It has a success rate of 80 – 90 percent.
It uses shrimp breeding ponds with oxygenation facilities, anti-sunlight nets and plastic sheets on the bed.
The province has established a 418ha hi-tech agriculture zone for shrimp development in Bac Lieu city’s Hiep Thanh commune.
About 90 percent of the construction of the hi-tech agriculture zone has been completed, and more than 30 companies have registered to invest in the zone.
In the zone, four companies and 76 households breed white-legged shrimp under the super-intensive farming model on more than 160 ha.
The zone will also produce shrimp fry and shrimp food to serve demand. Shrimp fry producers now produce 32 – 35 billion fry of white- legged shrimp and black tiger shrimp a year.
Last year, aquaculture production faced challenges because of drought, saltwater intrusion and the COVID-19 pandemic, but its output and yield rose after the province took preventive measures and set up proper breeding schedules.
The province’s aquaculture output and seafood catch reached 400,000 tonnes last year, including 200,000 tonnes of shrimp.
Last year, the province’s fishery sector accounted for 58 percent of its agriculture production value.
Luu Hoang Ly, director of the local Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said: “To achieve better results in aquaculture production this year, the province has invested more in infrastructure for shrimp cultivation, properly regulating water resources for shrimp cultivation and strictly managing input materials and shrimp fry for shrimp cultivation.”
Because saltwater intrusion in the ongoing dry season could occur in canals and ponds, shrimp breeders using super-intensive and intensive farming models should store fresh water in ponds and mix the fresh water with saline water in canals used for breeding shrimp, he said.
Shrimp breeders should not release shrimp for breeding this month because of prolonged hot weather. Off-season rains could also cause sudden changes in the breeding environment, he added.
To destroy disease pathogens and improve production efficiency, breeders should schedule a break between two shrimp crops, he said.
Besides super – intensive and intensive shrimp farming models, the province has developed other environmentally friendly models like rice – shrimp and shrimp – forest farming to produce clean shrimp for export and local consumption.
The province exported more than $800 million of seafood last year. It targets harvesting 414,400 tonnes of aquatic products from aquaculture and catches this year, up 3.6 percent against last year, according to the department.
With a coastline of more than 56km, Bac Lieu has high potential for shrimp cultivation, especially brackish water shrimp. The province has more than 136,000ha of shrimp cultivation area./.
Canadian province has high hopes for stronger economic ties with Vietnam
New Consul General of Vietnam to Vancouver (Canada) Nguyen Quang Trung had a virtual meeting with Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation Revi Kahlon and Minister of State for Trade George Chow of British Columbia province on April 16.
Trung highlighted the sound cooperation in various areas between Vietnam and Canada, as well as between Vietnam and British Columbia, in recent years, even amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite the pandemic’s impacts, trade between Vietnam and the Canadian province still approximated 2 billion CAD (nearly 1.6 billion USD) in 2020, he noted.
The two ministers of British Columbia affirmed that the province’s administration wishes to expand international cooperation, especially with the Asia-Pacific region.
Vietnam is currently expected to become a bridge for Canadian goods and services to access the market of nearly 660 million consumers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), they said.
As the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) is opening up new opportunities, the ministers also expressed their interest in the potential for cooperation with Vietnam in the wood, coal, and fisheries industries and technology application to agriculture.
Vietnam, one the 10 most open economies in the world, is emerging as an attractive destination for many investors from British Columbia, Trung said, voicing his belief that the two sides will become great partners as Vietnam and Canada now have the best-ever economic and political ties.
The Vietnamese diplomat and the British Columbia ministers also agreed to exert efforts to realise the Vietnam-Canada comprehensive partnership, set up in 2017./.
Vietnam, Colombia enhance economic, trade cooperation
The Embassy of Vietnam in Venezuela and Colombia recently held a webinar on promoting cooperation in trade, investment and tourism between Vietnam and Colombia.
In his opening speech, Vietnamese Ambassador Le Viet Duyen said that 42 years after the establishment of diplomatic ties, the Vietnam-Colombia friendship and cooperation have been consolidated and developed across all spheres, affirming that the State and people of Vietnam always treasure the friendship and want to boost collaboration with Colombia especially in fields that the countries hold huge potential in.
In regards to trade, Colombia ranks fifth among export markets of Vietnam in Latin America and two-way trade has been on the rise in recent years.
In 2020, bilateral trade hit 640.8 million USD, with Vietnam shipping engines, machinery, electrical equipment, footwear, aquatic products, garment-textile and metal wires worth 622.5 million USD to Colombia.
Meanwhile, Vietnam imported timber and wooden products, foodstuff, leather, organic chemicals and rare metals totalling 18.3 million USD from the Latin American nation.
The Vietnamese ambassador also took the occasion to introduce keyexport itemss of Vietnam like rice, coffee and peppercorn, stressing that Vietnam has kept COVID-19 under control and become an attractive destination for trade, investment and tourism in the region and the world.
A representative of the Colombia-Vietnam Chamber of Commerce (CCV), which plays a significant role in linking firms and trade opportunities between the countries, pledged that the CCV will help Vietnamese firms study economic policies and market information to roll out investment in Colombia.
Vietnamese enterprises investing in major projects at Colombia’s free trade zones will enjoy incentives, heard the webinar./.
Q1 growth in Quang Ninh doubles national average
Hit hard by a resurgence of COVID-19 in the first quarter, the northern province of Quang Ninh nonetheless posted gross regional domestic product (GRDP) growth of 9.02 percent, or double the national average, data shows.
This gives the province second place in terms of GRDP growth in the northern key economic region, following the neighbouring city of Hai Phong.
The main growth driver in the first three months was the processing and manufacturing sector, which increased 35.6 percent compared to 20.8 percent in the same period last year.
That contributed to a record industrial growth of 8.73 percent in January-March.
Meanwhile, stable growth in agriculture, forestry, and fisheries made up for contractions in other sectors, including tourism, which nosedived almost 50 percent in visitor number and revenue during the period.
Quang Ninh managed to contain the COVID-19 outbreak in the shortest possible time. Within only a week from the first local infection being reported in late January, it had completely brought the situation under control, thus minimising the socio-economic impact and stabilising production and business.
Secretary of the provincial Party Committee Nguyen Xuan Ky said the achievements in Q1 are a major source of encouragement for Quang Ninh to achieve the twin targets of fighting COVID-19 and boosting socio-economic development to post double-digit GRDP growth this year./.
Source: VNA/VNS/VOV/VIR/SGT/Nhan Dan/Hanoitimes
Hai Phong to build 67 parks to improve city
|A photo of Hai Phong City.|
Hai Phong Party Committee has asked Hai Phong People’s Committee to speed up the process to complete procedures and disburse funds to build 67 parks during the 2021-2022 period.
This is part of a project to improve the urban area landscape and boost the new village model.
The city authorities have asked related parties to research and have detailed planning for the project. If necessary, the administrative boundaries can be adjusted or the park premise can be expanded to 10,000 square metres, set up resettlement and rearrange the residential areas.
Hai Phong will continue replacing and improving the pavements in the city centre and put all the power lines and cable lines underground. An urban embellishment management board was set up to help manage projects and call for funds from the private sector.
In regards to the project to build Dong Khe 2 Road, Hai Phong Party Committee said this was a key project for the city and they hoped to be able to finish the first phase of the Dong Khe 2 Road Project by December 31. Compensation would be paid and resettlement issues settled in April.
Foreign parliament leaders congratulate new NA Chairman
Leaders of the parliaments of Laos, China and Japan on March 31 sent congratulatory letters to newly-elected Chairman of the National Assembly (NA) and the National Election Council (NEC) Vuong Dinh Hue.
In his letter, Chairman of the Lao NA Saysomphone Phomvihane expressed his belief that with his capability and rich working experience, Hue will lead the NA, the highest organ of State power of Vietnam, to successfully perform its important legislative right and contribute to the cause of national defence and construction, raising Vietnam’s role and position at regional and international forums.
“I hope that the great friendship, special solidarity and comprehensive cooperation between the two Parties, States and peoples of Laos and Vietnam in general, and between the two legislative bodies in particular, will be further deepened and continuously reap fruitful results,” the Lao NA leader wrote.
Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress of China Li Zhanshu said in his message that he stands ready to work with the new Vietnamese NA Chairman to make the implementation of the common political perception obtained by senior leaders of the two Parties and two countries as the orientation to bolster exchange and cooperation between the two legislative bodies and promote the China-Vietnam comprehensive strategic cooperation partnership.
The same day, President of the House of Councillors of Japan Santo Akiko and Speaker of the House of Representatives Oshima Tadamori also cabled messages of congratulations to the newly-elected NA Chairman of Vietnam.
On March 31 morning, Vuong Dinh Hue, Politburo member and Secretary of the Hanoi Party Committee, was elected as Chairman of the National Assembly and the National Election Council.
No new COVID-19 infections reported on April 1 morning
Vietnam recorded no new COVID-19 cases in the past 12 hours to 6am on April 1, keeping the total number of infections in the country at 2,603, according to the Ministry of Health (MoH).
Of the total, 1,603 are domestically-transmitted cases, including 910 infections since the third wave of outbreaks hit the country on January 27.
The MoH’s Medical Service Administration reported that as many as 2,359 have been given the all-clear from the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 so far.
The death toll from the disease was still kept at 35, the administration said.
Among active patients undergoing treatment at medical establishments across the country, 18 tested negative for the virus once, 15 twice and 37 thrice.
A total of 37,008 people who had close contact with COVID-19 patients or entered Vietnam from pandemic-hit regions are being quarantined nationwide, including 506 in hospitals, 19,093 at concentrated facilities and 17,409 at their residences.
According to the National Expanded Immunisation Programme, an additional 1,487 people received COVID-19 vaccine shots on March 31, bringing the total number of vaccinated people to 49,743.
To live safely with the pandemic, the MoH advised people to remain proactive in pandemic prevention and control by continuing to wear face masks when going out, disinfecting frequently, maintaining a safe distance, refraining from mass gatherings, and making medical declarations./.
Vietnam-Australia diplomatic ties marked in HCM City
The Australian Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City on March 31 held a ceremony to celebrate the 48th anniversary of diplomatic ties between Vietnam and Australia.
In her speech, Australian Consul General Julianne Cowley said the event offers a chance for the two sides to review and further strengthen the bilateral partnership, which plays an increasingly important role in the current world context.
Cowley highlighted the Australia-Vietnam cooperation over the past 48 years, saying that the relationship is built on the foundation of mutual respect and trust, with common interests and close cohesion, demonstrated through the effective cooperation between the two countries in politics, economy, defence – security, education, and people-to-people diplomacy, and especially in supporting each other in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Affirming the important role and position of Ho Chi Minh City in the relationship with Australia, Cowley emphasised that the two countries have a lot of potential and opportunities to make their bilateral ties more successful and prosperous.
Tran Phuoc Anh, acting director of the municipal Department of Foreign Affairs, highlighted the flourishing development of the Vietnam – Australia relations across various fields, saying that the bilateral relationship was built on the basis of sincerity, trust and for the goal of bringing prosperity to the two countries’ people, as well as contributing to promoting peace and development in the Asia-Pacific region and the world.
In 2020, the Australian government helped Vietnam in overcoming the consequences of floods, and accessing vaccines against COVID-19 through the Indo-Pacific Health Security and Vaccine Initiative, he said, adding Australia also promoted the Aus4Innovation Partnership between the two countries towards post-pandemic economic recovery solutions.
Anh said there is room for HCM City and Australia to expand their cooperation in such fields as trade, smart city development, education-training, finance –banking, and sustainable urban development.
Dynamic development in the relationship between the city and Australia will contribute to realising the action programme implementing the Vietnam – Australia Strategic Partnership in the period 2020-2023, he added./.
Experts seek measures to promote Mekong Delta’s sustainable growth
Vietnamese and foreign experts and scientists gathered at a conference in Can Tho city on March 31 to seek solutions to boost sustainable development in the Mekong Delta region amid climate change.
Participants agreed that the Mekong Delta is vulnerable to climate change and rising sea levels, which are developing faster than previously forecast.
The exploitation of the Mekong River’s upstream water resources, especially the building of hydropower dams, has caused changes in flow and reductions of alluvium deposits, harming fisheries resources and worsening saltwater intrusion. The over-exploitation of mud and sand has also increased the risk of erosion.
Meanwhile, experts pointed out that resources for investment development have remained limited, while high-quality human resources are moving to other localities.
They held that it is necessary to ensure greater investment in science and technology development and application to boost sustainable development and maintain the cultural identity of the region.
Associate Professor Nguyen Ly Binh, from Can Tho University, proposed the formation of ecological areas for agricultural development, along with agricultural expansion in association with the development of economic sub-regions and the switching of rice fields to fruit orchards and breeding farms.
Meanwhile, according to Professor Ishimatsu Atsushi, Academic Advisor at the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), it is necessary to conduct a detailed assessment of climate change in the future, thus seeking suitable models for the changing conditions in a spirit of following the will of nature.
He also underlined the need to evaluate the socio-economic efficiency and environmental impact of land-use models, while designing policies to adapt to climate change and technology development.
Professor Tran Ngoc Hai from the Can Tho University, said it is crucial to build a more suitable agricultural structure, ensuring the connectivity of production chains and deeper participation in global value chains, while focusing more on processing and agricultural supporting industries./.
22nd Vietnam Film Festival slated for Sept. in Thua Thien-Hue
The 22nd Vietnam Film Festival will take place in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue from September 12-16, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has announced.
The festival will promote the creativity of the cinematic art and its professionalism and humanitarian values towards developing the film market amid global integration.
Major events during the festival include the screening of films, a seminar, and the opening, closing, and awards ceremonies.
Sideline events include a film week in Hanoi, Da Nang, and Ho Chi Minh City celebrating the festival, an exchange programme, an exhibition entitled “Thua Thien-Hue – Destination of Filmmakers”, and outdoor film screenings in combination with an “ao dai” (traditional dress) show and an exchange with artists.
The biennial event is also to honour movies and artists during the development of the film industry.
It also provides a chance for artists and industry players to promote the trademark “Vietnam Film Festival” in 2021-2030./.
Vietnam well positioned to play more energetic role on global stage: The Diplomat
After its COVID-19 successes, Vietnam is well positioned to play a more energetic role on the global stage, according to the international online news magazine The Diplomat.
In an article published on March 30, The Diplomat said as an emergent and rising power in international affairs, Vietnam is potentially well positioned to help rebuild the global governance system that has been paralysed by increasing superpower tensions and the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It is imperative that Vietnam play a stronger role in global governance in the years to come, for several reasons, it stated.
Engaging in global governance activities dovetails with Vietnam’s avowed foreign policy goals, it said, noting that the political report presented at the 13th National Congress of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) in January asserts that Vietnam will remain a responsible and proactive member of the international community, as well as a trustworthy partner for other countries.
According to the article, Vietnam stands to gain from being more proactive in global governance.
The existing global governance system has deteriorated due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the increasing strategic tension between China and the US, and this offers Vietnam a chance to contribute to the reform of the international system.
The article said thanks to its impressive response to the pandemic, Vietnam ranked second among 98 countries in terms of performance in managing COVID-19. More importantly, the country has also witnessed a relatively high growth rate compared to its neighbours, and is forecast to recover quickly from the pandemic. To this extent, Vietnam has become the role model in terms of governance.
These achievements have laid a solid foundation for Vietnam to contribute more to the governance of the post-pandemic world, and if the country takes this chance, it will be able to both enhance its international image and play a more active role in world affairs, the article said.
Being proactive in global governance will also help Vietnam soften the impact of key global challenges, including human security, water security, climate change, and future pandemics.
On December 27 last year, Vietnam proposed an International Day of Epidemic Preparedness during its non-permanent membership of the UN Security Council. This is a good example of how the country can gradually contribute to the revival of global governance, turning it into a “responsible member” of the international community, as it desires to become.
Vietnam’s proliferation of free-trade agreements (FTAs) that the country has signed in recent years testifies to its desire to integrate itself further into the global economy. To fully reap the benefits from these FTAs, it is crucial for Vietnam to be more proactive on governance issues, both domestic and global, the article said.
It noted that in recent years, Vietnam has performed well in a number of international and regional organisations, especially the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the UN, thus consolidating its international position. The country’s active engagement with the UN, especially in the realm of peacekeeping, is also evident for Vietnam’s emergence.
If Vietnam can foster its recent successes, it will be more institutionally capable, paving the way for the country to contribute more substantively to global governance.
Given what its government has achieved so far, Vietnam has the potential to become a more confident and respected actor on the world stage, the article stressed./.
Three foreigners entering Vietnam illegally quarantined
Three foreigners who entered Vietnam illegally were brought to a concentrated quarantine facility in Moc Chau district of the northern border province of Son La, the provincial Department of Public Security announced on March 31.
Accordingly, on March 25, while patrolling in Phat hamlet, Long Sap commune of Moc Chau district, a working team of Long Sap Border Guard Post, the provincial Department of Public Security’s Entry-Exit Management Desk, and Moc Chau district’s police detected three foreigners entering Vietnam illegally.
During the investigation, the trio, residing in Guangdong and Guangxi provinces of China, failed to show sufficient documents as regulated.
Then they were brought to the quarantine facility. All are currently in stable health conditions./.
Rabies deaths a concern for Dak Lak residents
Two people have died in the last three weeks in the Central Highlands province of Đắk Lắk after being bitten by rabid dogs.
On March 22, N.Đ.H, 20, living in Ea Wy Commune, Ea H’leo District was admitted to the Central Highlands General Hospital after suffering fatigue, poor appetite and fear of wind, water and lights after being bitten by a neighbour’s dog.
A family member said he was bitten by a dog on the right finger about a month ago. Two days later, the dog died, but N.Đ.H did not get vaccinated against rabies.
Doctors diagnosed him with rabies and he died on March 23 while on the way to the Hospital for Tropical Diseases in HCM City.
The other victim was a 39-year-old man, from Cư Êbur Commune, Buôn Ma Thuột City, who was admitted to the hospital with dog bite injuries on March 11.
“The patient was hospitalised in a state of fatigue, fear of wind, water and light, and diagnosed with rabies by doctors,” a representative from the hospital said. He died a day later.
Neither victim received a rabies vaccination after the bites as they didn’t take the danger seriously.
In 2019 and 2020, the province recorded 12 rabies deaths, all people who were not vaccinated and were bitten by dogs.
According to the provincial Centre for Disease Control’s officials, the main cause of deaths from rabies was dogs and cats being allowed to roam residential areas freely.
In addition, a majority of dogs have not been vaccinated against rabies.
Statistics from the provincial authorities indicate the province has more than 400,000 dogs, but an average of only 50,000 doses of vaccine are injected every year.
The provincial Centre for Disease Control reported there are about 4,000 dog bites recorded each year where the victims come for a rabies shot.
Despite the regulation being in place for four years, no fines for failure to muzzle dogs in public have been levied in the province.
Decree 90 issued in 2017 stipulated fines from VNĐ600,000 to VNĐ800,000 for not muzzling a dog in public.
Nguyễn Trọng Văn in Cư Êbur Commune, Buôn Ma Thuột City said: “Although the Government has imposed punishment against owners of dogs without muzzles, for a long time, no cases have been reported.”
“Therefore, in order to limit the risk of dog bites, I suggest that it should be strictly forbidden to let dogs out in public without leashes and muzzles,” said Văn.
“Every year, the local veterinary sector needs to have a plan to vaccinate dogs.”
After the two rabies deaths, the provincial Department of Health directed local medical centres to step up rabies prevention and control work.
Family dogs should be vaccinated and all districts, towns and cities will soon widely vaccinate, an official from the provincial Centre for Disease Control said.
Hanoi, St Petersburg look to bolster cooperation
Hanoi’s Department of External Affairs and the Committee for External Relations of St. Petersburg held an online meeting on March 31 to discuss ways to enhance their cooperation.
He also took the occasion to mention favourable conditions and preferential treatments that St Petersburg offers to foreign investors.
The Hanoi side suggested organizing a Hanoi Cultural Day in St Petersburg and a St Petersburg Cultural Day in Hanoi, and showed interest in boosting collaboration in tourism, infrastructure, health care, clean water supply, information technology smart city building and cyber security.
Hanoi also wants to learn from the Russian city’s experience in urban management, planning and development, and cultural heritage conservation.
The Russian city proposed organizing an IT form at the end of April, fostering partnerships between the two cities’ universities and medical establishments, and participating in the 4th Russia-Vietnam Youth forum to be held in St Petersburg.
11th International Photo Contest in Vietnam launched
Domestic and foreign photographers will compete at 11th International Photo Contest in Vietnam (VN-21) that was launched in Hanoi on March 31.
The event is conducted by the Vietnam Association of Photographic Artists (VAPA), under the sponsorship of the International Federation of Photographic Art (FIAP), the Image Sans Frontiere (ISF) and Photographic Society of America (PSA).
It features the four sections of open colour, open monochrome, travel and portrait, the organisers said.
Each entrant may participate in any one or all sections, and can submit a maximum of four photos per section and a total 16 photos for all sections.
Entries must originate as photographs (image-captures of objects via light sensitivity) made by the entrant on photographic emulsion or acquired digitally.
There will be 97 awards, including one FIAP/PSA/ISF/VAPA gold medals, one FIAP/PSA/ ISF/VAPA silver medals, one FIAP/PSA/ ISF/VAPA bronze medals and three FIAP/PSA/ ISF/VAPA honourable mentions.
Entries should be sent to the organisers by the end of July 31, at www.contestvn.com.
A ceremony to award winners and open an exhibition showcasing the winning photos is slated for October./.
HCM City district doctors perform difficult surgeries thanks to training by elite public hospitals
Doctors at many district-level hospitals in HCM City have begun to perform complex surgeries thanks to training they are receiving from counterparts in top public hospitals.
Doctors from the trauma and orthopaedics department at Gia Định People’s Hospital and Gò Vấp District Hospital, for instance, successfully performed a hip replacement surgery on March 24 for a 53-year-old patient who had osteonecrosis of the femoral head.
After the one-hour surgery, the patient was expected to walk with a walker after just one day.
His mobility is likely to be nearly 90 per cent restored.
He had been suffering from hip pain for a year, and doctors at the Gò Vấp District Hospital prescribed the surgery.
In the past they would send such patients to higher-level hospitals since they could not perform such surgeries.
Dr Vũ Hoàng Hà, the hospital’s deputy head, said 30 patients requiring hip replacement used to come every month and be sent to larger hospitals.
Such patients would no longer be sent elsewhere, and this would help reduce the crowding at the apex hospitals, he said.
According to Dr Nguyễn Việt Trung, head of the department of trauma and orthopaedics at Gia Định People’s Hospital, said hip replacement is a difficult surgery that requires “professional” anaesthetists and well-trained and experienced surgeons.
“If the surgery is not performed well, there will be complications such as bleeding and infection which will affect the patient’s mobility and even life.”
Doctors from Gia Định will continue to go to the Gò Vấp District Hospital to perform hip replacement surgeries until it can do without them.
This is a part of the city Department of Health’s programme for improving the skills of doctors at many district-level hospitals that are categorised as second level. Gia Định and several other major public hospitals are categorised as level one.
Chợ Rẫy Hospital is a central-run facility that is categorised as ‘special.’
Bình Chánh District Hospital, District 7 Hospital and others are also assisted by Gia Định, People’s Hospital 115, Lê Văn Thịnh General Hospital, and Thủ Đức City Hospital.
This had improved the skills of the doctors in those hospitals, earning the trust of patients, the department said.
In July last year doctors at the District 7 Hospital admitted a nine-year-old patient who had been pierced by a sharp object and whose heart had stopped beating.
Doctors persisted with tracheal intubation and resuscitated him, and, along with their counterparts from Children’s Hospital 2, managed to save the boy.
Thanh Hoa records rapid rise in lumpy skin disease cases
As of March 28 more than 1,337 cows and buffaloes across 11 districts in Thanh Hoa province have contracted lumpy skin disease (LSD), according to the provincial Department of Livestock And Animal Health on March 30.
To slow the spread of LSD, the locality has been forced to destroy a total of 21 infected animals, whilst warning that infection risk is likely to be widely spread in the near future.
LSD is a double-stranded DNA virus that is a member of the capripoxvirus genus of the Poxviridae family, although it is not transmissible to humans. It is therefore believed that arthropod vectors, direct contact, contaminated feed or water, along with iatrogenic means, such as the repeated use of needles on different animals, is likely to cause the spread of the disease.
Local farmers and traders have been asked not to sell, trade, or slaughter any cattle that shows any symptoms of the illness. Indeed, suspected cases should be swiftly reported to the authorities as the locality battles to get to grips with the rise in case numbers.
Ho Chi Minh City to host Miss Charm International 2021
The Miss Charm 2021 beauty pageant is scheduled to be held on October 11 in Ho Chi Minh City following several previous cancellations.
Beauty Quynh Nga will represent Vietnam at the competition.
The 26-year-old girl stands at a height of 1.67 metres tall and measures 77-61-94.
She has plenty of previous experience competing in numerous beauty pageants, most notably finishing as the runner-up in Miss Student 2017 and securing a Top 10 finish during Miss World Vietnam 2019.
Nga will join the pageant’s other beauties in competing in categories such as traditional costumes, swimsuits, question-and-answer sessions, and the evening gown segment.
Competitors will also take part in further competitions to show their various talents and charity work.
The pageant aims to honour the beauty of the soul, intelligence, talent, as well as the physical beauty of women worldwide. The event marks a chance for contestants to popularise their land, people, cuisine, and promote tourism among international friends through the range of activities which will take place throughout the duration of the competition.
International terminal at Noi Bai Airport set for expansion
The international terminal T2 of Noi Bai International Airport is set to be upgraded to meet passengers’ increasing travel demand in the coming years.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) is due to submit plans for the expansion project to the Ministry of Transport for approval in August, said a CAAV representative.
Under the proposal, Terminal T2 is able to accommodate 15 million passengers each year as opposed to 10 million at present.
The authorities are also keen on widening the airport apron by adding an additional 12 places to the current 24 places.
Terminal T2 was first put into operation in 2015 and has a designed capacity of 10 million passengers per year.
2019 witnessed the number of foreign arrivals to Terminal T2 exceed 11.4 million, meaning that the site was running over capacity.
The CAAV and ADPi Company of France signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in Hanoi in 2019 detailing plans to expand Noi Bai Airport. Under the MoU, the airport, the biggest of its kind in northern Vietnam, will be upgraded to serve between 80 – 100 million domestic and international passengers by 2050.
Vietnamese silk embroideries stun international media
Foreign website Oddity Central has published an article which showcases a range of amazing hand-made silk embroidery items which are a long-standing tradition of Vietnam.
The website also gives their impressions on XQ Dalat which was founded by Hoang Le Xuan, a talented local artisan who inherited embroidery techniques from her family, along with her husband, painter Vo Van Quan. The couple devised the concept of embroidered paintings and came up with fresh techniques in order to make it a reality.
Most notably, the unprecedented level of realism and detail which is on display throughout the embroidered masterpieces of XQ Dalat have served to bring international success to the small family business. At present the Vietnamese company employs over 3,000 talented embroiders whilst catering for orders from clients globally.
Since its establishment in 1996, XQ Dalat has been dedicated to taking traditional Vietnamese silk embroidery to a higher level whilst simultaneously bringing it to new audiences, the website describes.
Whether customers are keen on traditional flower motifs, picturesque landscapes, or portraits which are highly detailed, XQ’s artisans are able to bring them to life by making use of silk thread, along with plenty of patience for the craft.
These days XQ faces lots of competition from other Vietnamese embroidery studios, although the majority are simply imitators, meaning that the business remains the premiere embroidery studio in the country. Indeed, it is not uncommon for artisans from all over the world to come to Vietnam in order to learn the various secrets and techniques which can create painting-like results with the use of thread and a needle.
The website concludes that the only way to truly appreciate the exquisite embroidery produced by the artisans of XQ Dalat is to view their stunning work.
Quang Tri to kick off sea-island tourism programme in April
As local tourism starts to get busier thanks to COVID-19 being largely brought under control and warmer temperatures arriving, the central province of Quang Tri is planning to begin its season of sea-island tourism with a festival starting on April 30.
Taking place at the Cua Viet tourism site and Gio Hai Beach, the six-day festival will feature myriad enticing activities, including an arts programme, a conference on tourism cooperation promotion, a display of local specialties, and a food fair.
Local tourist destinations welcomed higher numbers of visitors in the closing days of March, with motorboats beginning to ferry passengers to Con Co Island and the food street on Cua Viet Beach in Gio Linh district opening to visitors.
Authorities are now rushing to improve related infrastructure and environmental sanitation standards, as well as promote local tourist destinations.
Most recently, the provincial People’s Committee directed the development of transport infrastructure for tourism activities at Ba Voi Waterfall in Dak Rong district and Ta Puong Waterfall in Huong Hoa district. People must currently walk along forest trails and cross streams to reach the two destinations.
National Chess Championships crowns latest winners
Tran Tuan Minh and Pham Le Thao Nguyen emerged as the newest winners of the National Chess Championships after the tournament recently concluded in Ho Chi Minh City.
He was followed by Nguyen Duc Hoa of the Military team and Hoang Canh Huan of Da Nang team who both finished on 6.5 points each.
In terms of the women’s version of the competition, number one seed Pham Le Thao Nguyen of Can Tho city came first in the standard chess category, during which she obtained 7.5 points after playing nine games unbeaten.
The southern girl also won a gold medal competing in the rapid chess category.
Elsewhere, Hoang Thi Bao Tram of Ho Chi Minh City and Le Thanh Tu of Hanoi shared second place after both finishing with 6.5 points.
The fifth version of the tournament was sponsored by LienVietPostBank and featured three categories, including standard chess, blitz, and rapid chess.
Moving forward, the Vietnam Chess Federation will select the best players to participate in the national team via the tournament as they compete in international tournaments, including the 31st Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, set to take place in Vietnam later this year.
65 prizes to be presented at National Press Awards on Party Building 2021
A total of 65 prizes will be presented at the sixth National Press Awards on Party Building, called “Bua Liem Vang” (Golden Hammer & Sickle), as announced by the organisers.
According to the awards’ steering committee, one special prize, six A prizes, 12 B prizes, 16 C prizes, and 30 consolation prizes will be granted to most outstanding entries across all forms of media, including newspapers, radio, TV, and multimedia.
Open to Vietnamese citizens at home and abroad, the annual awards aim to popularise information and promote public understanding of the Party’s policies and Party building.
Awards will also be given to best entries on specific topics, including the implementation of the Party’s resolutions; the elections of deputies to the 15th National Assembly and all-level People’s Councils for the 2021-2026 tenure; and exemplary models in studying and following President Ho Chi Minh’s thought, morality and lifestyle; among others.
In addition, prizes for senior citizens, young participants, and overseas Vietnamese will be added together with 15 collective prizes for 15 outstanding organisations.
The entries for the awards must be submitted prior to November 10, 2021.
Over 10,000 train tickets discounted by 50% in two months
The Sai Gon Railway Passenger Transport Company has announced discounts of 50% on over 10,000 tickets applied in April and May this yearin a bid to stimulate travel demand.
Trains with discounted tickets must have departure time from April 5 to 28 and from May 4-26. Discounted tickets can be purchased between 8:00am on April 1 and the end of May 23 and should be bought at least three days before the departure date.
According to Sai Gon Railway Passenger Transport Company, soft seats and air-conditioned sleepers (6-berth) are subject to discounted tickets.
Passengers can buy discounted fares on trains coded SE3/SE4 and SE7/SE8 running on weekends with a distance from 500km, SE7/SE8 running at the beginning of the week, and SE21/SE22 with a distance from 400km.
Trains coded SNT1/SNT2 with a distance from 250km and SPT1/SPT2 with a distance from 150km are also offering discounted fares.
If passengers wish to change or return the discounted tickets they have bought, they will be charged 50% of the price printed on the ticket. People can buy tickets at the electronic train ticket system at dsvn.vn or at railway stations and railway agents.
Upcoming financial center in Danang to attract billions of dollars in investment
Johnathan Hanh Nguyen, founder of Imex Pan Pacific Group (IPPG), signed a memorandum of understanding to support Danang City with implementing a research project to develop a regional financial center in the central city, at a function held on March 29 on Danang City’s Liberation Day.
Previously, the Prime Minister had agreed in principle for the city to study the master plan to build a regional financial center in Danang City.
The city was assigned to cooperate with other relevant ministries and agencies to gather ideas as well as map out the agenda to undertake the project efficiently.
In his speech at the function, Nguyen said a thriving city cannot do without strong financial resources. He has worked with his partners around the world, including the United States, to carry out a survey, research and content outlines, paving the way to advise the Government of Vietnam to implement the financial hub in Vietnam, including an international financial center in HCMC and a regional financial center in Danang City.
At a press conference on the afternoon of March 29 on the master zoning plan of Danang City, he said, “Whether Danang will have a regional financial center depends on the financial policy openness of the Government.” He added that IPPG and its partners can support the city to develop a financial center in the future.
According to him, the regional financial center is not only about banks and financial institutions establishing their headquarters, but it is about being able to attract the giants of the world.
VND1.98 trillion proposed for flooding control at TSN airport
The HCMC Management Board of Urban Infrastructure Construction and Investment has proposed spending VND1.98 trillion sourced from the city’s budget to upgrade the Hy Vong Canal to reduce flooding at Tan Son Nhat International Airport.
The management board said in its dispatch recently sent to the HCMC Department of Construction that if the canal in Tan Binh District’s Ward 15 is not upgraded, the Tan Son Nhat airport area would continue to suffer from serious flooding, affecting flight safety.
Besides, the upgrade is expected to reduce environmental pollution and help improve the quality of life of residents living along the canal.
The 1.1-kilometer section of the canal in need of the upgrade will start at Pham Van Bach Street and end at the Tham Luong Canal.
The management board proposed developing the project in the 2021-2025 period. Of the total investment, site clearance compensation will cost over VND1.59 trillion. Over 21,209 square meters of land for the project, which will comprise nine sluice gates, two culverts and light systems, will be cleared.
In May 2016, the municipal government approved a project funded by an official development assistance loan from the World Bank to control flooding in the city, including a subproject to upgrade the Hy Vong Canal.
However, in June 2017, the HCMC government announced the end of the investment for flood control in the city sourced from loans from the World Bank, resulting in the proposal.
There are three canals responsible for rainwater drainage in the Tan Son Nhat airport area— the Hy Vong –Tham Luong Canal in Tan Binh District north of the airport, the A41 Canal in the south and the Nhat Ban Canal from the airport fence to Gia Dinh Park in the southeast.
Polluted space turned into community space in Hanoi
The Embassy of Denmark is supporting the For A Livable Hanoi Coalition to transform a polluted space into a nicely decorated multi-functional space for the local community in Hanoi City.
The community space in Phuc Tan Ward, Hoan Kiem District, a neighborhood near the Red River bank, opened last weekend, attracting many local residents.
The women, many of them migrant workers, and the children in this local community are particularly delighted with the new community space as they now have a clean area for outdoor activities for the first time.
This activity is part of the Danish-supported project, “Inclusive city: making Hanoi livable for the most marginalized groups of migrant workers”, carried out by the Center for Community Empowerment in collaboration with a number of organizations and individuals who have voluntarily contributed to making Hanoi a more livable city.
This is not the first time that a polluted area in Phuc Tan Ward has been transformed into a public space.
Last year, a 500-meter-long waste dumpsite stretching along the Red River bank in the ward was transformed into a beautiful art space. The garbage has been replaced by 16 creative and environmentally friendly artworks, which were made from recycled materials such as tires, cans and barrels.
App-based taxi drivers likely to pay personal income tax
Income that drivers receive from business cooperation contracts with app-based taxi services will be subject to personal income tax with the tax rate of 1.5 percent, according to a draft circular from the Ministry of Finance.
In particular, in case the drivers are rewarded for service quality that was previously subject to 10 percent tax, they are now paid only 1.5 percent.
Accordingly, the ministry has been collecting comments about the draft circular guiding the implementation of several articles of Tax Administration Law and Decree 126/2020/ND-CP detailing some articles of the Law on Tax Administration.
Tan Son Nhat airport to perform automatic management system for warehouses
The Tan Son Nhat International Airport Customs Branch will carry out automatic aviation management and monitoring system for warehouses including warehouse services of Tan Son Nhat Cargo Services Company Limited (TCS) and Sai Gon Cargo Service Corporation (SCSC) from April 1.
Accordingly, leaders of the Tan Son Nhat International Airport Customs Branch will directly instruct and give their opinions about building policies on coordination and problem-solving process.
Besides, they will also work with representatives of Tan Son Nhat Cargo Services Company Limited and Sai Gon Cargo Service Corporation to adopt the plan of management and monitoring.
This information was announced by Mr. Bui Le Hung, Head of Tan Son Nhat International Airport Customs Branch.
HCMC proposes policy to pilot electric bus project
Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee has just proposed the Prime Minister for consideration and approval of the policy to pilot electric bus exploitation in the city within two years.
Additionally, the Municipal People’s Committee would like to apply economic-technical norms and promulgation of unit cost, for buses using compressed natural gas (CNG) in Ho Chi Minh City, on electric buses providing public passenger transport services.
The People’s Committee of Ho Chi Minh City is responsible for directing relevant agencies and units to order electric buses according to the above norms and costs.
Once the technical and economic norms are available and the official unit costs are granted, competent agencies will perform the bidding process or order.
The Prime Minister has assigned the Municipal People’s Committee to build a set of economic and technical norms and the unit cost for electric buses towards the approval and application according to regulation.
HCMC facing overloaded traffic gateways
In the last few years, HCMC has continuously pour capital into construction project to improve traffic facilities at its four main gateways. Road expansion, new overpasses and tunnels have been introduced in hope of easing the gridlocks; however, congestions still happen, particularly at weekends and on national holidays.
Each day, thousands of vehicles use the overpass on Nguyen Van Linh Street to either enter National Way No.1 or HCMC – Trung Luong Expressway heading to the Mekong Delta. Due to the small surface area, the street is not able to fulfill its duty, and traffic jams have become a familiar picture to the local here.
Sharing a similar fate is Truong Chinh Street and National Way No.22 to link between HCMC’s downtown and the Northwest urban area, the neighboring provinces of Tay Ninh, Long An, and Binh Duong. As this is the key route, the traffic volume each day is especially high.
Thanks to the recent introduction of 3-level An Suong Intersection (tunnel – regular street – overpass), traffic seem better. Yet the 200-meter core area still faces congestions.
Traffic jams at the eastern gateway have been liken to a specialty of the area, forcing HCMC to request expansion work for HCMC – Long Thanh – Dau Giay Expressway. Major routes leading to Cat Lai Port like Hanoi Highway, Mai Chi Tho Street, Dong Van Cong Street, Nguyen Thi Dinh Street, and Ring Road No.2 are always full of vehicles.
The situation is so severe and tiresome that it takes a few hours for cargo trucks from Amata Industrial Park (in Bien Hoa City of Dong Nai Province) to reach HCMC, which is only 20kilometers away.
The case is not at all better for vehicles from HCMC to Binh Duong Province via National Way No.13, passing so many bottlenecks due to narrow roads.
According to the HCMC Department of Transport, traffic congestions at the city’s main gateways occur because the land reserve for traffic infrastructure is too low compared to the so fast-paced urbanization here.
Therefore, this department have initialized several traffic projects from now until 2030 at all 4 gateways. The city will prioritize any projects at traffic hot spots and on streets with high traffic volume to alleviate congestions, said Deputy Director of the HCMC Transport Department Phan Cong Bang.
In the western gateway, road expansion will take place in National Way No.1 while Nguyen Van Linh Street will be upgraded to accommodate more vehicles heading to HCMC – Trung Luong Expressway. Another focused project is the expansion of National Way No.50 from HCMC to the provinces of Long An and Tien Giang.
In the northwest gateway, the project to build HCMC – Moc Bai Expressway has been proposed to erase traffic jams from the city to Tay Ninh Province.
In the eastern gateway (Thu Duc City), detailed plans to build Cat Lai Bridge and a new connection road between Long Phuoc Street to HCMC – Long Thanh – Dau Giay Expressway are prepared. Road expansion will be done on Hanoi Highway, Luong Dinh Cua Street, Dong Van Cong Street. New construction works will begin to prolong Ring Road No.2 (from Pham Van Dong Street to Go Dua Intersection), to create My Thuy Intersection, An Phu Intersection, Tang Long Bridge, Nam Ly Bridge.
Obviously, the building workload to improve traffic infrastructure in HCMC is extremely enormous. Most of these projects need doing urgently and synchronously.
However, owing to a serious lack of land reserve as well as finance resources, experts in the field suggest that the municipal authorities must first try to finish the land clearance and compensation task before commencing any real construction, minimizing overhead cost.
The HCMC Transport Department has just proposed to HCMC People’s Committee to assign the department to adjust investment policies for any projects that are carried out as the total investment and land compensation amounts have increased.
In the absence of the Prime Minister’s announcement on middle-term capital plan from 2021-2025, the department suggested allowing investors to research and then propose projects to run under the Public – Private Partnership (PPP model according to regulations.
Vietnam enhances safety measures in Covid-19 vaccination drive
Vietnamese Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long yesterday required the enhancement of safety measures in the Covid-19 vaccination drive by issuing the instruction No. 05.
According to the Minister’s direction, more people will receive the Covid-19 vaccine in the coming time. Therefore, Health Minister Long required departments of health in cities and provinces to review and update the list of priority groups to receive the vaccine under the Government’s Resolution No. 21/NQ-CP issued on February 26, 2021 on purchasing and using Covid-19 vaccine.
Additionally, the Health Minister called for the participation of local health centers and medical staff in the Covid-19 immunization drive.
The Ministry of Health’s sub-divisions, the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology, the Pasteur Institute and health centers nationwide were assigned to carry out the Covid-19 vaccination plan in the period of 2021-2022. These above-mentioned divisions, institutes and centers must ensure the quality of vaccine as well as carry out safe vaccination; provide timely treatment of post-vaccination allergic reactions and complications.
On the same day, Director of the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology Professor Dang Duc Anh said that the first shipment including 811,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine supplied by Covax Facility will arrive in Vietnam in April. The vaccine will be preserved by the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology before it is distributed.
According to the plan, the Covax Facility will supply 4,8 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine to Vietnam in 2021.
The National Steering Board for Covid-19 Prevention and Control said that Vietnam reported no new Covid-19 cases on the day. The number of Covid-19 patients in Vietnam is still 2,594.
An additional 51 Covid-19 patients also recovered bringing a total number of recoveries to 2,359. An additional 1,276 people were vaccinated the day before yesterday. Therefore, 46,416 people have been inoculated.
Reading Culture Ambassador Contest launched to nurture reading culture
For years, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has been launching the Reading Culture Ambassador Contest, aiming to spread reading movement aims to bring books to people especially student as well as promote cultural values.
Reading Culture Ambassadors Contest has reached initial achievements when receiving advocacy from localities, departments, and students.
In 2021, the Ministry continued to launch the Reading Culture Ambassador Contest as it wishes to seek “reading ambassadors” , book lovers and to inspire the community. However, it is not simple to make reading movement to develop and sustain a reading culture in our society as well as become a good habit.
Sharing about this issue, the Editorial Director of Phu Nu Publishing House Khuc Thi Hoa Phuong said that presently, people take more heed of reading books but they don’t really go into the essence of the matter. Each person must consider reading book as having daily meals. reading habits should be inculcated in children at an early age. Parents and children can spend time every night reading a book at home and teachers also instruct them to read good ones at schools. It takes a long time to acquire the habit of reading, said the Editorial Director Hoa Phuong.
For years, the average number of books a Vietnamese reads a year is much lower than that in other countries in the world though many books have been published. The culprit of this is that many schools do not have reading sessions and reading is just an extracurricular activity. Worse, university students are lazy at reading books and research materials gradually losing interest in reading.
Additionally, parents don’t really pay much attention to encouraging their children’s to read book by purchasing books. Instead, they choose an easier way by letting their children use smartphones and tablets. Cultivation of book reading habit is not merely a slogan but it takes a lot of persistent efforts to improve awareness of families and the society.
In related news, the Library Department this month issued documents about administrative formalities of private library establishment to satisfy the community’s demand in a bid to promote reading culture. Currently, as some local authorities do not fully comprehend administrative formalities; as a result, they created barriers for the establishment and operation of private libraries and public libraries.
Encouraging measures are needed for the development of private libraries which will also positively contribute to promotion of reading culture.
Vietnamese film industry looking to make its own cinematic universe
Cinematic Universe, also known as Fictional shared Universe has been developed a long time ago in Hollywood whose name is synonymous with the American film industry. The term “Cinematic Universe” is currently forming as an oriented strategy in the country, presenting the professionalization of the Vietnamese movie industry.
Fictional shared Universe or shared universe is a fictional universe to which more than one writer contributes a work that can stand alone but fits into the joint development of the storyline, characters, or world of the overall project. Works set in a shared universe share characters and other elements with varying degrees of consistency. A fictional universe can be contained in a single work or in serialized fiction.
Beside long-standing cinematic universes, such as a series of American superhero films of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Star Wars Cinematic Universe, there is also the DC Cinematic Universe that is well-known for movies, including Batman v Superman, Justice League, Aquaman, Shazam, Joker, Wonder Woman 1984.
The list also includes the Conjuring film series, MonsterVerse – a series of monster films featuring Godzilla and King Kong of Warner Bros.
In Vietnam, the chick-flick series called Gai Gia Lam Chieu (The Tricky Ladies) by director Bao Nhan and Namcito is regarded as the first pioneer in creating the idea of a cinematic universe.
Gai Gia Lam Chieu (The Tricky Ladies) with the fifth edition titled Nhung Cuoc Doi Vuong Gia (Luxurious Lives) debut nationwide in the beginning of March focuses on the women’s empowerment.
Director Namcito believed that many cinematic universes will be created in coming time if the strategy for the development and production of shared-world anthologies is built methodically. A film series that share the same fictional universe must present the joint development of the storyline and characters.
The local movie producers have ability to build a strong brand identity for their businesses, establish the position in the market and win the hearts of the audience, he said.
The Vietnamese movie industry has started to capture the term of Fictional shared universe. It means that production units and directors have set their own development paths. A fictional universe is a self-consistent fictional setting will help movie lovers understand the storyline, characters, and world of the overall project as well as make audience to await for the next editions, said director Tran Huu Tan who is nursing a shared horror movie universe.
Meanwhile producer and actress Ngo Thanh Van released her ambition to create the magical universe of Vietnamese traditional tales.
None movies that have extended editions are called cinematic universe. The remarkable consistency and creativity of the storyline and characters throughout the entire project are most important factors to attract filmgoers, said director Namcito.
Director Ly Hai also agreed with Namcito’s opinion. He said that his action comedy movie series, Lat Mat (Face off) is not a cinematic universe because the its sequels featuring new contents and characters are not the continuation of the previous parts.
The shared fictional universe centers on requiring an enormous investment of time and energy to write a script to expand the storyline and characters in the continuations. Therefore, the first edition of the series must have its own specific elements to attract audience and make fans eagerly awaited the sequel, added director Tran Huu Tan.
Police detect nearly 10,000 drivers violating blood alcohol, drug content
Traffic police in coordination with local functional forces detected and handled around 9,648 drivers for blood alcohol and drug content violations during two recent weeks since a nationwide intensive campaign for handling drug and alcohol concentration violations has begun.
The Traffic Police Department under the Ministry of Public Security informed that around 9,534 drivers out of 9,648 violated alcohol levels exceeding the permitted level and 114 cases were positive for the drug. The violators were fined up to VND32 billion (US$1.4 million).
The police forces seized more than 9,000 vehicles and revoked more than 5,000 driver’s licenses for traffic violations.
During the upcoming holidays of the 46th anniversary of the Liberation of Southern Vietnam and National Reunification Day (April 30, 1975-2021) and May Day (May 1), traffic police nationwide will mobilize their forces to strictly handle the traffic violations, especially overloaded vehicles, to ensure traffic order and safety.
Danang to pilot new model of urban administration
Danang’s master plan to 2030, with a vision to 2045 aims to build the central city into one of the major socio-economic centers in the country and in Southeast Asia.
A master plan was set to make the central city of Danang to become a global center of finance, tourism and supply chain network of Vietnam and the region.
The information was released by Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung at a meeting celebrating the 46th anniversary of Danang’s Liberation Day on March 29, in which a set of legal documents has been issued to build up the central city’s urban administration, creating premises and drivers for the central city to mobilize resources at home and abroad for its development.
Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung believes that Danang will have a big growth spurt. Photo: Nhat Bac
He said Danang will play roles of a hub for start-ups, innovation, tourism, commerce, finance, logistics, high-tech, information technology, and supporting industries. “It will also become a national center of culture – sport, education – training, high-quality healthcare, science and technology able to host major regional and international events.”
The master plan projects the administrative boundary of Danang city with a total area of about 129,000 ha, and a population of about 1.79 million people by 2030, and 2.56 million people by 2045.
“Especially, it contemplates Danang to become a regional financial center, being able to attract domestic and foreign capital flows and become a new important driving force to promote economic growth and attract investment to the whole central region of Vietnam,” said the deputy prime minister.
He requested Danang’s authorities to give priority to complete the city’s infrastructure, building it into a civilized and modern city, maintaining the leading role of the region and a new driving force for Vietnam’s development.
Speaking at the meeting, Chairman of Danang city People’s Committee Le Trung Chinh pledged that the city’s government would strive to make Danang a destination for investors.
Particularly, in the time ahead, the Danang city’s authorities will immediately undertake the upgrading project of Lien Chieu seaport, Chinh said, adding that the key work is expected to meet cargo transport and socio-economic development demand in the city and the central region as per requirement by the prime minister.
The seaport, with the total investment of VND3.43 trillion (US$149.13 million), would become a multimodal distribution hub serving as an international gateway in the central region, the chairman affirmed.
COVID-19: nine imported cases reported on March 31
Nine new cases of COVID-19, all Vietnamese citizens returning from abroad, were detected in the past 12 hours to 6pm March 31, according to the Health Minister.
Among the new cases, three entered the country via the Moc Bai international border gate in the southern province of Tay Ninh. They tested positive while in quarantine.
Three others were among passengers on a flight from the Philippines that landed in Can Tho airport, while the remaining three returned from Japan on a flight landing in Da Nang.
The national count now reaches 2,603, with 1,603 domestic infections.
The number of recovered patients is 2,359, while the death toll remains at 35.
Among patients still under treatment, 18 have tested negative for SARS-CoV-2 once, 15 twice and 37 thrice.
A total 37,008 people are being quarantined nationwide, with 506 at hospitals, 19,093 in concentrated facilities and 17,409 at their accommodation./.
Can Tho University looks to be among top regional, global education establishments
Can Tho University (CTU) is expected to be among top universities in Asia and the world in some fields by 2025, and become a local pioneer in innovation, training, scientific research and technology transfer, according to Rector of the university Prof. Ha Thanh Toan.
Toan made the statement at a ceremony to mark the 55th anniversary of the university on March 31.
Toan noted that trends in higher education have been focusing on training quality, internationalisation in training, scientific research and technology transfer cooperation, community development, and digitalisation.
He highlighted the CTU’s connection with the socio-economic development of the Mekong Delta over the past 50 years and strength on international cooperation as one of the university’s advantages to realise this orientation.
Can Tho University, for many years, has been among in the group of five best universities in Vietnam under the Webometrics rankings, and the top 500 in Asia under the QS Asia University Rankings by the British education company Quacquarelli Symonds.
In particular, in 2020, for the first time in terms of agriculture, the university was ranked in the 251-300 group of the QS World University Rankings by Subject by the Quacquarelli Symonds. This is also the highest place in the field for Vietnamese universities.
Can Tho University has been cooperating with over 130 institutes, education institutions and organisations across the world. It has implemented a number of foreign-funded projects.
Founded on March 31, 1966, the CTU now is an education establishment with many areas of training and research in the Mekong Delta./.
Source: VNA/VNS/VOV/VIR/SGT/Nhan Dan/Hanoitimes
Gov’t needs to provide more support for SMEs in taking advantage of the EVFTA
Workers at Trung Dung Co Ltd, a manufacturer of elastic threads and yarn in Tan Trieu Commune in Ha Noi’s suburban district Thanh Tri. The company employs around 200 people. SMEs now have more opportunities for development with the signing of free trade agreements (FTAs), Industry 4.0 and new business models.
Trần Duy Đông, Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment, said the EVFTA offers opportunities but also challenges, so Vietnamese businesses need to mobilise all resources to seize the opportunities. EU enterprises need to associate with Vietnamese enterprises while Vietnamese enterprises need to fulfill their commitments to become reliable partners for EU enterprises.
The Government’s mission is to perfect an equal business environment and create favourable conditions for enterprises in production and business, Đông said.
Ambassador and Head of the EU delegation to Vietnam Pier Giorgio Aliberti urged the Vietnamese government to provide mechanisms and tools for local SMEs that could help them become stronger.
He also expected the deal to continue improving Việt Nam’s business environment, in turn making it easier for both Vietnamese and European companies operating in Việt Nam.
According to Nguyễn Minh Thảo, Head of the Department of Business Environment and Competitiveness Research under the Central Institute for Economic Management (CIEM), SMEs now account for nearly 98 per cent of total enterprises in Việt Nam and contribute 40 per cent of the country’s GDP.
With a significant contribution, SMEs now have more opportunities for development with the presence of free trade agreements (FTAs), Industry 4.0 and new business models.
However, small and micro scale operations have hindered enterprises from improving productivity and business efficiency.
In addition, Bùi Thu Thủy, Deputy Director of the Department of Enterprise Development under the Ministry of Planning and Investment, said if Việt Nam’s SMEs could not export their goods via global value chains, they could not really benefit from the EVFTA yet.
Thủy said the Government needed to promote institutional reform, remove barriers in policies and give more support for the SME community to meet the requirements of the EU market.
Nguyễn Văn Thân, Chairman of the Việt Nam Small and Medium sized Enterprise Association (Vinasme), said there were many opportunities from the EVFTA for Vietnamese enterprises, but they must have innovation, creativity and cooperation in production and business to succeed, reported the Thời báo Kinh doanh (Business Times) newspaper.
Việt Nam was implementing 14 FTAs but had limitations in taking opportunities from those FTAs due to complicated issues in non-tariff barriers and administrative procedures, Thân said.
Accordingly, he proposed that the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT), the Ministry of Finance, and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development accelerate the reform of administrative procedures, implement the national one-window mechanism, creating a favourable business environment for enterprises.
At the same time, the MoIT needed to handle tax evasion, use trade remedies and prevent goods of unknown origin, he said.
A cooperation programme to help businesses optimise advantages from the EVFTA through the Việt Nam-EU e-commerce platform debuted in Hà Nội on March 26.
The programme was signed among the MoIT’s Department of E-Commerce and Digital Economy, the Việt Nam Institute of Business Management Science and Digital Economy (VIDEM), the Association of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises, and the Kim Nam Group.
Addressing the signing ceremony, MoIT Deputy Minister Cao Quốc Hưng hailed efforts of all parties in putting the Vietnam-EU e-commerce floor into operation as soon as possible, thus helping Vietnamese firms to grasp opportunities from the EVFTA.
He underlined that amid the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the improvement of competitiveness and the development of infrastructure might create breakthroughs.
Hưng noted that last year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, e-commerce in Việt Nam grew 18 per cent to over US$11 billion, enabling people to shop for almost everything online.
The Deputy Minister said e-commerce platforms such as Alibaba and Amazon had helped micro-sized enterprises and business households export their products, which seemed to be impossible in the past.
The official affirmed that the programme was expected to be the first step in the roadmap of designing fundamental technology solutions to assist enterprises, especially SMEs and business households, in improving their capacity and opportunities to reach international markets, thus optimising opportunities offered by the EVFTA.
Đặng Hoàng Hải, Director of the Department of E-Commerce and Digital Economy, said that along with difficulties, COVID-19 had also brought in opportunities for Việt Nam in speeding up transition.
The department had cooperated with agencies representing the SME community of Việt Nam to help them grasp chances from the deal, he said.
Hải added that the Việt Nam-EU e-commerce floor was expected to realise the goal of connecting relevant digital solutions to build a complete digital ecosystem, helping businesses trade on a single platform.
According to VIDEM Director Nguyễn Kim Hùng the floor is a national-scale project that aims to create a B2B Marketplace, while building an “expressway” connecting Vietnamese firms with international partners, especially those from Europe.
Hùng said that the floor is connected with the existing trading floors of cities and provinces, helping to build a national database facilitating the transparency in origin of products, and providing information to the business community of Việt Nam and other countries on trade deals and relevant policies.
The trading floor is also expected to contribute to bolstering the partnership between Việt Nam and the EU, especially in economy and trade.
Nguyễn Văn Thân, Vinasme Chairman, proposed that the VIDEM seek solutions to facilitate Vietnamese firms’ integration and protect them from risks and challenges while the trading floor becomes officially operational.
Statistics showed that the EU is one of the leading trade partners of Việt Nam with two-way trade reaching $56.45 billion in 2019, including $41.5 billion worth of Vietnamese exports.
Solutions introduced to help MSMEs in digital transformation
The NextTech Group organised a ceremony in Hanoi on March 31 to debut its comprehensive digital transformation solutions for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs).
A study conducted recently by NextTech revealed that MSMEs make up 96.7 percent of all businesses in Vietnam, contribute 40 percent of GDP, and generate 60 percent of jobs.
They have yet to benefit very much from digital transformation due to limited funding, the study found.
The NextTech Group of Technopreneurs is a group of companies pioneering the emerging digitised commerce industry across Southeast Asia.
Its digital transformation solutions are designed based on the essential needs of MSMEs and called Next360.vn, which provide comprehensive cooperation in all steps, from goods importation to capital allocation, sales management, financial and accounting administration, and personnel.
For a maximum monthly fee of 560,000 VND (24.3 USD), businesses can access nearly 20 digital transformation products.
NextTech has also launched NextAcademy, which aims to train consultants and conduct digital transformation to prepare the resources needed to help startups succeed in the process./.
Workshop seeks ways to overcome COVID-19 impacts
Assisting people who lost their jobs in both formal and informal sectors should be the top priority in helping the nation to overcome COVID-19 impacts, experts said at a workshop held in Hanoi on March 31 to discuss solutions to post-pandemic recovery.
They said cost assistance to affected firms should come next, while incompatible support policies should be redesigned.
According to the experts, it is cautious to take a loosening monetary policy in terms of scale and duration, especially when economic activities are bustling again, while the fiscal policy should be efficient and support those in need.
They recommended Vietnam to persevere with its long-term reforms to improve the foundation of its macro-economy, in addition to the current short-term policies to mitigate COVID-19 impacts.
Jacques Morisset, World Bank Lead Economist and Program Leader for Vietnam, said the country has so far placed the COVID-19 pandemic under control and turned it into opportunities.
The country has increased its presence in the global trade, pushed for faster digital transformation, and better pursued green technologies, among others.
However, he noted the pandemic has caused new risks of damage for the nation.
Associate Prof. Dr. To Trung Thanh, from the Vietnam Economics University (NEU), said although the Government has promptly issued policies in launching its first support package to rescue some economic sectors and those most severely affected, recent complicated developments of the pandemic will have a comprehensive and severe impact on the economy.
It requires the Government to consider a new package with a larger scale and broader coverage this year and even beyond to sustain economic development and prepare for the recovery phase, he added.
The workshop was co-organised by the NEU, the National Assembly’s Economic Committee, and the Vietnamese-based startup and innovation network V-startup. It offered an overall review of the Vietnamese economy last year, assessed the Government’s policies in response to the pandemic, and recommended suitable solutions for post-pandemic recovery.
On the occasion, the NEU introduced its publication on the annual economic assessment for Vietnam in 2020./.
Many banks to pay dividends in shares
Many banks have announced their dividend payout plan in shares to raise capital and improve competitiveness amid the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic.
The shareholders of Vietnam International Bank (VIB) have approved the proposal to issue 40 bonus shares at the rate of 40 per cent at its 2021 Annual General Meeting late last month.
According to VIB, by the end of 2020, the bank had more than VND4.8 trillion (US$207.8 million) of remaining profit after the provision for funds. It plans to distribute bonus shares to increase capital from VND11.09 trillion currently to over VND15.53 trillion.
The distribution is expected to be completed before September 30 this year.
“The bank is in a good growth period so it needs capital to invest in technology, networks, credit extension, meeting capital adequacy ratios as prescribed,” said a representative of VIB.
Viet Nam Maritime Commercial Joint Stock Bank (MSB) recently approved a plan to pay dividend in shares at a rate of 30 per cent. It is expected that after completing the plan, MSB’s chartered capital will reach VND15.2 trillion.
A representative of the bank said: “In addition to supplementing the bank’s medium and long-term capital, paying in shares can ensure financial safety ratios following international standards such as Basel II.”
Asia Commercial Bank (ACB) plans to issue more than 540 million shares to pay 2020 dividends at the rate of 25 per cent. Accordingly, the bank’s charter capital is expected to increase by more than VND5.4 trillion.
Sai Gon-Ha Noi Bank (SHB) will pay dividends at the rate of 20.5 per cent by shares, of which 10 per cent for 2019 and 10.5 per cent for 2020.
Orient Commercial Bank (OCB) plans to pay dividend at a rate of 25 per cent.
Nam A Bank plans to increase its charter capital to VND7 trillion. This includes a plan to issue 57 million shares to pay dividends at a rate of 12.5 per cent and offer 143 million shares in private placement.
Bank for Investment and Development of Viet Nam (BIDV)’s shareholders have approved a plan to increase its charter capital by VND8.3 trillion to VND48.52 trillion, up 20.6 per cent, in the form of dividend payment in shares and additional issuance.
Under the plan, BIDV plans to issue 207.3 million shares to pay dividends for 2019 at the rate of 5.2 per cent, issuing 281.5 million shares to pay dividends for 2020 at a ratio of 7 per cent.
Some financial and banking experts said banks’ plans to increase capital in 2021 was necessary to ensure credit supply. Currently, the income of many banks still came from credit. At 12-13 per cent, the equity of banks will increase at least by 7-8 per cent.
According to the policy of the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV), this year, banks will only be allowed to pay dividends in shares, instead of cash as before.
Banking is a conditional business sector so credit institutions must comply with the regulations of the State Bank, including the policy of dividend payout.
Along with other cost reduction solutions, the non-cash dividend payment will help credit institutions have more resources to reduce lending rates, supporting millions of customers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, in order to have a source of money set aside for bad debt handling, restructuring and especially to support businesses affected by the pandemic, some banks decided not to pay dividends in 2020 such as VPBank, Techcombank, Sacombank, Eximbank, SCB and ABBank.
New decree promotes sustainable maritime economic development
Decree No. 11/2021/ND-CP officially replaced Decree No. 51/2014/ND-CP dated May 21, 2014 of the Government regulating the allocation of certain marine areas to organisations and individuals exploiting and using marine resources from March 30, 2021.
Ta Dinh Thi, Director General of the Vietnam Administration of Seas and Islands (VASI) under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, said this is an important document that institutionalises the Party’s guidelines and the State’s policies and laws on marine economic development associated with ensuring national defence and security and the protection of environmental and marine and island ecosystems in line with the Strategy for the Sustainable Development of Vietnam’s Marine Economy by 2030 and vision to 2045.
It is expected to contribute to realising the goal of turning Vietnam into a powerful marine nation, in which the marine economic sectors’ contribution to GDP will represent 10 percent.
The new decree regulates that all activities of organisations and individuals exploiting and using marine resources must be implemented in marine areas they have been allocated, except the use of marine areas for defence and security purposes.
It states that sea areas allocated to organisations and individuals will be considered and decided upon on a case-by-case basis. The time frame for using allocated marine areas will not exceed 30 years, and while this can be extended many times, the total duration of such extensions must not exceed 20 years.
Cases that are not required to allocate marine areas include scientific research by Vietnamese organisations and individuals (except for scientific research using fixed marine areas and those conducted by foreign organisations and individuals in Vietnam’s territorial waters), the measurement, observation, investigation, survey, and assessment of marine resources, and activities to resolve the direct consequences of natural disasters or environmental incidents at sea.
Thi said marine areas for the construction, installation, and operation of works serving the national and public interest and those for exploration and exploitation of oil and gas, transport oil, and gas resources taken ashore by pipelines under the Prime Minister’s decision are not required to pay fees for the use of marine areas.
The Prime Minister will decide on exemptions of fees for using marine areas in other cases submitted by the Minister of Natural Resources and Environment.
Apart from the above-mentioned cases, activities using maritime areas allocated by relevant State management agencies must pay fees for the use of marine areas in the regulated price bracket and level.
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment will coordinate with the Ministry of Finance to propose the Government make adjustments to the price bracket for using maritime areas in each period, to suit the socio-economic conditions./.
E-commerce opportunities for Vietnamese retailers
The Vietnam E-Commerce Association (VECOM) in partnership with Google and partners announced a series of Retail University activities to promote e-commerce for retailers this year.
The programme aims to support small- and medium-sized enterprises and individual business households in e-commerce.
VECOM Chairman Nguyen Thanh Hung said Vietnam’s e-commerce expanded by nearly 15 percent last year, reaching nearly 13.2 billion USD, and will keep growing this year and till 2025.
According to the Vietnam Internet Statistic 2020, Vietnam is home to over 68 million social media users, ranking sixth among 30 countries. It is a “golden opportunity” for retailers, online sellers and traditional enterprises to improve digital business and marketing skills.
Hung added that the Retail University 2020 activities attracted nearly 1,400 trainees from businesses nationwide and over 700 participating firms. Following the programme, retailers offered positive feedback, saying that their orders surged by over 57 percent and consumer base up 60 percent.
Director of VISA for Vietnam and Laos Dang Tuyet Dung said amid the COVID-19 pandemic, small- and medium-sized enterprises need to quickly switch to digital transformation and set up multi-channel trade while ensuring that payment channels are protected.
At the event, the VNPost Express JSC also pledged to introduce and help online sellers launch the “order completion” service to bring benefits to both sellers and buyers, thus helping consumers minimise operating cost, increase delivery speed and deal with post-sale contingencies./.
Two SOEs given financial support for employment of ethnic minority workers
Two State-owned enterprises will receive a total of nearly 62.92 billion VND (2.72 million USD) in funding for their employment of ethnic minority workers from mountainous and extremely disadvantaged regions in 2018 under a decision of Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.
The Vietnam Rubber Group (VRG) will be given close to 60.64 trillion VND and the Vietnam National Coffee Corporation (VinaCafe) will get nearly 2.28 billion VND from the 2021 central budget in pursuant to Decision 42/2021/QD-TTg dated October 8, 2012 on provision of support for employers of ethnic minority people from mountainous and extremely disadvantaged areas.
The Ministry of Finance was assigned to manage and disburse the funding in line with current regulations.
The move forms part of the government’s efforts to improve livelihoods of ethnic minorities in remote and disadvantaged regions.
Rubber and coffee have been among Vietnam’s key currency earners for years. Last year, the country’s rubber and coffee export value hit 2.4 billion USD and 2.7 billion USD, respectively.
The two agricultural products are largely grown in the northern mountainous, Central Highlands and Southeast regions which are endowed with nutrient-rich red basalt soil. The regions are mainly inhabited by ethnic minority people, a majority of whom have been struggling with many difficulties.
According to a 2019 survey by the Committee on Ethnic Minority Affairs, Vietnam is home to 14.1 million ethnic minority people, accounting for 14.7 percent of the total population. It also revealed that the percentage of poor and near-poor households in ethnic minority inhabited areas is 3.5 times higher than the country’s average./.
German newspaper highlights Vietnamese market’s prospects
German’s DVZ e-newspaper has run a story by Claudius Semmann highlighting Vietnam’s success in controlling the COVID-19 pandemic and secure economic development, maintaining its bright outlook amid the global crisis.
The article noted that Vietnam has been very successful in dealing with the pandemic and has already developed into a popular production base.
By the end of 2020, the nearly 100 million-strong country had only reported 1,465 laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases and 35 deaths, it said.
It cited data from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) showing that the economy grew by 2.9 percent, one of the highest rates in the world. However, this was its lowest growth in 30 years, according to the report on the Agility Emerging Markets Logistics Index. Domestic activity had recovered early. There was also a robust export trend, especially in the high-tech area, it added.
According to the Transport Intelligence (TI) market researchers, Vietnam benefits from the free trade agreements with the EU and the UK as well as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), which has provided Vietnamese goods with better access to the Canadian and Mexican markets. Both before and during the pandemic, the country attracted investments, including those from manufacturers who wanted to relocate their production from pandemic-hit areas.
In recent years, Vietnam has moved the value chain from textiles and clothing to microchips, smartphones and other electronics. Apple and its suppliers Foxconn and Pegatron as well as Panasonic were among the companies that started manufacturing in Vietnam, expanded production or announced new production plans there in 2021, it said.
According to TI data, around 40 percent of exports go to the US and the EU. It pointed out that Vietnam may face problems in infrastructure system such as roads and ports.
The article also cited current analysis by the international credit insurer Atradius indicating that Vietnam is also one of the markets in which German exporters have good prospects of generating additional sales in the second coronavirus year.
Thanks to low wage costs and favourable conditions for foreign direct investment, many companies are relocating simple production steps from China to Vietnam, Atradius expert Thomas Langen was quoted as saying.
According to the article, companies in the transport and logistics as well as textiles sectors will benefit from the increasing global demand. Domestically, agriculture, construction and infrastructure as well as retail and durable consumer goods manufacturers benefit from expanding domestic demand, it added./.
Q1 exports rise as Vietnam takes advantage of FTAs: Official
Vietnam has been making good use of advantages of the international economic integration process, helping to increase the country’s exports by 22 percent year-on-year and imports by 26 percent in the first quarter of 2021, said Tran Thanh Hai, Deputy Director of the Agency of Foreign Trade under the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
Talking to the press, Hai said the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), the UK-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (UKVFTA) and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) have become effective, and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is about to come into effect.
For the EU market, several Vietnamese commodities have enjoyed incentives of the EU’s Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) for years.
However, for the long term, taking advantage of opportunities brought about by the EVFTA is a sustainable and equal preference. Specially, for the commodities that Vietnam has advantage, they can enjoy preferences on origins combined in the EVFTA, Hai said.
He advised enterprises to bring into full play advantages of the agreement by understanding the advantages for their commodities and then change their production process and material supply to meet requirements of origin.
Looking back on the import-export figures in the first quarter, Hai said, electronic products, electric appliances and furniture are the most benefitted as increasing demand from the European and North American markets.
However, such products as garment and textiles and footwear are facing difficulties caused by the disruption of the supply chains.
Hai also proposed businesses take the initiative and make good preparations to deal with any possible instable factors.
During January – March, Vietnam’s import-export turnover is estimated at 152.65 billion USD, up 24.1 percent year-on-year./.
Trade surplus in Q1 reaches more than 2 billion USD
The country’s export turnover increased 22 percent to reach 77.34 billion USD in the first quarter, while the trade surplus was estimated at 2.03 billion USD.
The General Statistics Office (GSO)’s representative said on March 29 that: “Vietnam has recorded a strong recovery of import and export activities.”
He said the total merchandise import-export turnover in Q1 reached 152.65 billion USD, up 24.1 percent over the same period last year. While the export turnover reached 77.34 billion USD, the import turnover also reached 75.31 billion USD, up 26.3 percent.
GSO said goods export turnover in February reached 20.196 billion USD, 196 million USD higher than planned, adding that export turnover was estimated to reach 28.6 billion USD in March, marking an increase of 41.6 percent over February and 19.2 percent over the same period last year.
In Q1, there were 11 items with an export turnover of more than 1 billion USD, accounting for 76.6 percent of the total export turnover. They included four items with an export turnover of over 5 billion USD, accounting for 54.7 percent.
Import turnover reached 20.656 billion USD in February, 144 million USD lower than planned, said the GSO, estimating the import turnover to reach 28.2 billion USD in March, up 36.5 percent over February and 27.7 percent over the same period last year. In imports, materials for production were estimated at 70.58 billion USD, up 26.8 percent over the same period last year and accounting for 93.7 percent of the total import turnover.
GSO said the production expectation in Q2 was more positive with an increase of 27.5 percent in registered capital at 447.8 trillion VND (19.46 billion USD) in Q1. A survey on business trends of enterprises in the manufacturing and processing industries showed enterprises expect their production and business in Q2 to be better than Q1.
At the same time, demand for consumption increased again in March with better domestic trade and freight transportation. The total retail sales of consumer goods and services in March increased 9.2 percent over February and decreased 5.4 percent from the same period last year. Though the cargo transportation increased by 5.3 percent from the previous month, the transportation of passengers still faced difficulties due to the effects of the pandemic.
Total retail sales of consumer goods and services reached 1.291 quadrillion VND, up 5.1 percent over the same period last year. Of which, the sales in March were estimated at 405.1 trillion VND, down 3.8 percent from the previous month and up 9.2 percent over the same period last year.
In the first quarter, international visitors were estimated at 48,100 arrivals, down 98.7 percent from the same period last year. In March, there are 19,400 arrivals, up 77.3 percent over February and down 95.7 percent from last March, said the GSO.
The office also considered positive signals in mobilising and using capital, saying realised investment capital was estimated at 507.6 trillion VND in Q1, an increase of 6.3 percent over the same period last year. The office said the increase was an important driving force for the mobilisation and use of social investment capital to grow strongly in the coming quarters of the year./.
Binh Phuoc targets becoming industrialised province
The southern province of Binh Phuoc recorded economic growth of 7.51 percent in 2020 thanks to its outstanding efforts in containing COVID-19 and promoting economic development, according to a local official.
Tran Tue Hien, Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee, reported that the locality’s industrial production value expanded 10.3 percent last year, while construction increased 12.5 percent.
The province’s budget collection totalled 11.6 trillion VND (502.28 million USD), with export revenue rising 7.33 percent and imports increasing 6.25 percent year-on-year.
It attracted 35 projects with total registered investment of 252 million USD, raising the total in the province to 273 projects worth 2.65 billion USD.
Domestic investors also registered 7 trillion VND to develop 110 projects, bringing the total amount to 1,081 projects valued at 90.7 trillion VND.
During the 2020-2025 tenure, the resolution adopted at the 11th provincial Party Congress set the target of turning Binh Phuoc into an industrialised province and being included in the group of provinces with rapid, sustainable development.
It expects to maintain its average economic growth, attract more investment, increase export-import turnover, and raise budget collections to 18-18.5 trillion VND by 2025.
Binh Phuoc will strive to improve people’s living standards and narrow the development gap between urban and rural, ethnic minority, remote, and border areas.
To that end, it has embarked on e-administraion and smart urban area building towards a digital administration, in order to offer better public services to people and businesses.
It has also sped up infrastructure building to be better connected with the Central Highlands and logistics centres in the southern region, while promoting its production and business environment among domestic and foreign investors.
Speaking at an investment promotion event in late 2020, Hien said Binh Phuoc has developed 13 industrial parks, of which eight have come into operation.
The province proposed on March 12 that Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc allow the expansion and adjustment of industrial parks in the locality.
Accordingly, it plans to add 1,000 ha to the Minh Hung Sikio Industrial Park and 1,500 ha to the Nac and Nam Dong Phu Industrial Parks./.
Vietnamese poultry find way onto more foreign plates
Apart from maintaining the domestic market, Vietnamese poultry businesses are seeking ways to expand their reach to foreign markets like Myanmar, Japan, Hong Kong and Russia, heard a recent meeting of the Vietnam Poultry Association (VIPA).
Nguyen Song Thao, Deputy Director of the Personnel Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, said at the VIPA meeting on March 28 that the national poultry flocks increased from 100 million in 2010 to 530 million last year.
Poultry meat production also rose from 600,000 to 1.4 million tonnes over the past decade, and the output of eggs reached 14 billion in 2020, up from 6 billion ten years ago, he said.
Poultry meat and eggs have not only met the demand of the nearly 100 million population at home, but also been used for exports.
Notably, modern, large-scale poultry farms have been formed and equipped with cutting-edge technologies, Thao said.
Nguyen Thanh Son, VIPA President, said despite the adverse impact of COVID-19 last year that cut into firms’ profit, the sector invested in some chicken farms and slaughterhouses that are among the most modern in Southeast Asia.
Progress has also been made in the production of poultry feed, medicines and vaccines, he added.
He said the VIPA will support businesses in exporting poultry breeds, processed meat, eggs, medicines and feed this year, while staying updated on price and market to inform its members.
The association will also draw up a project on granting certificates to VIPA members that have good products, according to Son./.
Ministry sets up team to study virtual assets, money
The Finance Ministry on March 30 announced that it has set up a team to study virtual assets and money to design management policies and mechanisms according to its tasks and functions in the field.
The ministry said Vietnam has yet any legal regulations on the issuance, trade and exchange of virtual money and assets. Therefore, the trade of cryptocurrencies by several individuals in Vietnam on international trade floors such as Binance and Coinbase or via direct transactions poses many risks.
At present, the ministry’s State Securities Commission (SSC) is embarking on the ministry-level study on building legal framework on the management of crypto assets on Vietnam’s securities market.
In the near future, the ministry will continue proposing mechanisms to the Government to oversee activities related to virtual assets and money to ensure the security and safety of the financial market as well as protect legitimate rights and interests of investors and others in the market.
Earlier, the SSC warned investors to stay cautious when investing in virtual assets and money to minimise possible risks. It also asked listed, securities, fund management companies and securities investment funds to stay away from the issuance, trade and mortgage of virtual money against the law.
The establishment of the team is in line with the Prime Minister’s Decision No.1255/QD-TTg approving a project on perfecting legal framework on the management of virtual and electronic money and the Government Office’s Dispatch No.11633/VPCP-KTTH on comprehensive review of legal regulations related to virtual assets and money./.
HCM City’s CPI down 0.33 percent in March
The CPI in the southern economic hub of Ho Chi Minh City inched down 0.33 percent in March against February, according to the city’s Statistics Office.
The first-quarter figure rose 0.84 percent compared to last year’s average.
Among 11 groups of products and services in the CPI basket, increases were seen in transportation fees, of 2.04 percent, education 0.004 percent, and the group of culture, entertainment, and tourism 0.4 percent.
Affected by petrol price adjustments on February 25 and March 12, fuel prices rose 5.76 percent.
Meanwhile, restaurant and catering services saw the strongest decline, of 1.46 percent, while foodstuff was up 0.25 percent against February.
The strongest slumps in this group were seen in vegetables (4.76 percent), beef (3.47 percent), and poultry (2.64 percent), as consumer demand returned to normal after the Lunar New Year (Tet) holiday in February, the largest traditional festival of the Vietnamese people.
Also falling were beverages and tobacco (0.36 percent), and garments, hats, and footwear (0.02 percent).
The group of housing, electricity, water, and construction materials were down 0.09 percent against February. This included falls of 0.56 percent in the power price, 0.1 percent in the water price, and 1.43 percent in gas and fuel prices due to increases in petrol prices.
The price of household devices and appliances fell 0.13 percent against February.
The Statistics Office also reported that the gold price was down 1.79 percent in March but up 25.89 percent year-on-year in the first quarter. The US dollar exchange rate expanded 0.11 percent in March compared to February, but was down 0.91 percent year-on-year in the first quarter./.
Kien Giang province eyes 12.7 percent export growth in Q2
The Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang is aiming at 218 million USD in export revenue in Quarter 2, a year-on-year surge of 12.7 percent.
With this figure, total earnings from exports in the first half will likely top more than 355 million USD, accounting for 47.3 percent of the annual plan and up 2.3 percent year-on-year.
According to the provincial Department of Industry and Trade, the locality pocketed more than 136 million USD from exports in Quarter 1, down 15.5 percent year-on-year.
Of the total, rice brought home 42 million USD, seafood over 45 million USD, leather shoes 27 million USD, fruit and vegetables 5.66 million USD, and other products 15.17 million USD.
COVID-19 made it difficult for local firms to ship products to traditional markets, and processors also faced a shortage of raw materials due to climate change and diseases, the department said.
However, with sound business strategies, many companies were successful in fulfilling contracts and were able to ship products to markets on the road to recovery.
Local companies also received legal documents on the application of the Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS) of WTO member states, which could affect the shipment of Vietnamese agricultural products.
The department also provided support and worked to remove bottlenecks in capital, materials, workers, trade promotion, and market development for local producers./.
State budget collections down 1.2 percent in Q1
State budget collections managed by tax agencies were estimated at 347.34 trillion VND (15.02 billion USD) in the first quarter of this year, equal to 31.1 percent of the estimate and down 1.2 percent year-on-year, according to the General Department of Taxation.
Collections from crude oil reached 8.02 trillion VND, or 34.6 percent of the estimate, while the remainder came from domestic revenue, equal to 31 percent of the estimate and up 1 percent against the same period last year.
The production and business sector, covering State-owned, foreign-invested, and private enterprises, contributed 191.25 trillion VND, a year-on-year increase of 12.5 percent.
During the opening quarter, debt collections hit 9.07 trillion VND, or 30.1 percent of the target.
To fulfil budget collection tasks set for 2021, the department said it will focus on removing difficulties facing enterprises, improving the business environment, and attracting investment./.
New tourism products to be introduced at Hanoi festival 2021
The administration of Hanoi is poised to host a festival between April 16-18 aimed at stimulating tourism and introducing a wide range culinary culture, following the containment of the latest coronavirus outbreak.
A fresh range of tourism products will be introduced to visitors during the event set to be held at King Ly Thai To flower garden, according to Dang Huong Giang, director of Hanoi’s Department of Tourism.
Ahead of the event, major Vietnamese airlines such as Vietnam Airlines, VietJet Air, Bamboo Airways, and local travel agencies plan to offer major discounts in an effort to attract tourists.
Most notably, travel agency Vietravel intend to launch a three-day and two-night tour of the Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi route at a cost of VND990,000, whilst VietFoot agency will debut a night tour of the historic Hoa Lo prison.
The festival is anticipated to draw the participation of over 200 businesses from across the country. Alongside firms from Hanoi, businesses from other cities and provinces will also be taking part in the event with the primary goal of introducing tourism products, destinations, and tours, as well as other special offers on tours, hotels, and air tickets.
A culinary space will be established to popularize some outstanding dishes and specialties from the capital, including pho, a type of noodle soup, cha ca, a type of grilled fish, and coffee.
This year’s festival will be designed in an open space. National airlines and tour operators are set to have their own space decorated with an array of eye-catching models to attract tourists.
Vietnam joins Apple’s Independent Repair Provider programme
Teach giant Apple of the United States has named Vietnam in its Independent Repair Provider programme which aims to offer repair providers access to genuine parts, tools, repair manuals, and diagnostics in order to conduct out-of-warranty repairs.
Originally launched in 2019, the scheme enables repair providers of all sizes to gain access to genuine Apple parts, tools, repair manuals, and diagnostics, offering safe and reliable repairs for various Apple products.
At present, there are now over 1,500 Independent Repair Provider locations serving customers throughout the US, Canada, and Europe.
All repair service providers operating within the programme will enjoy access to free training from Apple, along with the same genuine parts as both Apple Authorized Service Providers (AASPs) and Apple Store locations.
To qualify for the scheme, the providers must commit to having an Apple-certified technician perform the repairs.
“Qualifying repair providers can purchase genuine Apple parts and tools at the same price as AASPs and receive free access to training, repair manuals, and diagnostics”, says Apple.
Besides Vietnam, Apple has stated that Italy, Cambodia, Japan, Laos, and plenty of other Asian and African countries also made the list of countries that will be able to apply to become an Independent Repair Provider.
Newly-established firms down in Q1
Viet Nam had 29,300 newly-established enterprises with total registered capital of VND447.8 trillion in the first quarter of this year, according to the General Statistics Office (GSO).
These figures were down 1.4 per cent in the number of newly registered enterprises but up 27.5 per cent in the registered capital year on year. The higher capital was due to an increase of 36.8 per cent in the number of enterprises with registered capital at over VND100 billion.
During the first quarter, 40,300 enterprises stopped business, a year-on-year increase of 15.6 per cent. Of which, 23,800 were temporarily closed, up 28.2 per cent, and 5,200 have permanently ceased to do business, a surge of 26.4 per cent, while 11,300 others are completing dissolution procedures.
The majority of enterprises temporarily suspending their business and dissolving were small-scale and vulnerable businesses due to negative impacts, according to the GSO.
Meanwhile, 44,000 enterprises resumed their operation in the first three months of this year.
The GSO’s survey on business trends of the manufacturing and processing industry showed that many enterprises expected their production and business in the second quarter of 2021 to be better than the first quarter. Of which, 51 per cent of surveyed businesses said that the business situation would be better than the first quarter while 34.1 per cent of them said the business situation would be stable. About 14.9 per cent of enterprises forecast more difficulties in doing business than the first quarter.
Foreign-invested enterprises in this industry are the most optimistic with 86.2 per cent forecasting stable and better business performance in the second quarter. The ratios in non-State owned enterprises and State-owned enterprises are 84.8 per cent and 83.4 per cent, respectively.
The survey also reported that 55.1 per cent of enterprises believed that high competitiveness of domestic goods was the main factor affecting their production and business activities in the first quarter.
Other factors included low domestic market demand, difficulties in finance, lack of raw materials and human resources, high interest rates of loans, and outdated technology and equipment.
About 29.6 per cent of enterprises said the business situation in the first quarter of 2021 was better than that in the fourth quarter of 2020 while 39 per cent of them saw stable business situation. About 31.4 per cent of businesses faced difficulties in production and business.
Hanoi to use QR Codes to boost tourism
About 38 tourist sites in Hanoi’s Tay Ho District has been given QR codes that permits users to quickly search for its information.
This is the idea of Bui The Cuong, party secretary of Tay Ho District, who was given Ly Tu Trong Award on the 90th anniversary of Ho Chi Minh Youth Union.
The project was started last year and divided into three phases. The first phase was carried out from March to July 2020. During this period, the member unions were asked to collect information to create a database about tourist sites in the district. In the second phase, articles about these sites have been posted on the website of Tay Ho District. The third phase is when the authorities manage, maintain and secure the QR codes and their information.
On August 1, 2020, the first QR code was put up at Tran Quoc Pagoda. As of now, up to 38 tourist sites have been given a QR code.
Visitors can easily access the information about the attraction by scanning the code with their mobile phones. The project was also praised by Hanoi Fatherland Front Committee.
Bui The Cuong has been a party secretary of Tay Ho District for four years. In 2020, Tay Ho Youth Union has collaborated with many parties to make 70 automatic hand sanitisers. The team was praised and given a certificate of merit by the Central Committee of the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union and Hanoi Youth Union.
“I feel proud and honoured. I’ll work harder so that there will be more practical and meaningful activities,” he said.
He went on to say that the union should be pro-active in leading young people into the new industrial revolution while preventing fake news and spreading goodness to the community.
Newly-established firms down in Q1
Vietnam had 29,300 newly-established enterprises with total registered capital of 447.8 trillion VND (19.37 billion USD) in the first quarter of this year, according to the General Statistics Office (GSO).
These figures were down 1.4 percent in the number of newly registered enterprises but up 27.5 percent in the registered capital year on year. The higher capital was due to an increase of 36.8 percent in the number of enterprises with registered capital at over 100 billion VND.
During the first quarter, 40,300 enterprises stopped business, a year-on-year increase of 15.6 percent. Of which, 23,800 were temporarily closed, up 28.2 percent, and 5,200 have permanently ceased to do business, a surge of 26.4 percent, while 11,300 others are completing dissolution procedures.
The majority of enterprises temporarily suspending their business and dissolving were small-scale and vulnerable businesses due to negative impacts, according to the GSO.
Meanwhile, 44,000 enterprises resumed their operation in the first three months of this year.
The GSO’s survey on business trends of the manufacturing and processing industry showed that many enterprises expected their production and business in the second quarter of 2021 to be better than the first quarter. Of which, 51 percent of surveyed businesses said that the business situation would be better than the first quarter while 34.1 percent of them said the business situation would be stable. About 14.9 percent of enterprises forecast more difficulties in doing business than the first quarter.
Foreign-invested enterprises in this industry are the most optimistic with 86.2 percent forecasting stable and better business performance in the second quarter. The ratios in non-State owned enterprises and State-owned enterprises are 84.8 percent and 83.4 percent, respectively.
The survey also reported that 55.1 percent of enterprises believed that high competitiveness of domestic goods was the main factor affecting their production and business activities in the first quarter.
Other factors included low domestic market demand, difficulties in finance, lack of raw materials and human resources, high interest rates of loans, and outdated technology and equipment.
About 29.6 percent of enterprises said the business situation in the first quarter of 2021 was better than that in the fourth quarter of 2020 while 39 percent of them saw stable business situation. About 31.4 percent of businesses faced difficulties in production and business./.
Public firms key to help Vietnam stock market upgrade to emerging status
A transparent manner fully complied with the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) will boost the development of the stock market.
Upgrading Vietnam’s stock market to emerging status not only depends on the efforts of the securities industry or market authorities, but also public firms who are key to realize such goal.
Director of Stock Market Development Department under the State Securities Commission of Vietnam (SSC) Ta Thanh Binh shared her view at a conference discussing measures to boost Vietnam’s equity market on March 30.
“Only when local enterprises operate in a transparent manner and fully comply with the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), they would be the core to boost the development of the stock market and eventually leading to market upgrade,” said Binh.
Vietnam is currently listed in the Frontier Market group by two major providers of financial services FTSE Russell and MSCI.
In September 2018, FTSE Russell added Vietnam into its watchlist for possible upgrade to Secondary Emerging Market. However, in the agency’s latest review last September, Vietnam only met seven out of the nine criteria.
In this regard, the country does not meet the “Settlement Cycle (DvP)” criterion which is currently rated as “Restricted”. This is due to the market practice of conducting a pre-trading check to ensure the availability of funds prior to trade execution.
Meanwhile, since by default, the market does not experience failed trades, the “Settlement – Rare incidence of failed trades” criterion is unrated.
Referring to MSCI criteria, Vietnam is required to improve seven out of 17.
Binh, however, noted that as Kuwait was upgraded to the Emerging Market status, Vietnam has seen its weight increase in the Frontier Markets Index and become the most important market in this category.
“Investment funds tracking frontier markets, such as Schroder ISF Frontier Markets Fund, Coeli Frontier Markets Fund, and T.Rowe Price Frontier Markets Fund are increasing their weight of Vietnamese stocks,” Binh informed, adding higher credibility is seen as a favorable factor for Vietnam’s upgrade.
Among key measures to boost the country’s upgrade prospect, Binh pointed out a number of laws being enforced since January 1, 2021, that ensure a more transparent investment environment, including the revised Securities Law, the Law on Investment and the Law on Enterprises.
The SSC representative stressed the necessity to soon put new amendments of these laws into practice to ensure the healthy development of the stock market, saying this is key to better protect lawful rights of investors.
“The SSC is in the process of submitting to the prime minister strategy for the development of the stock market in the 2021-30 period, which would serve as the basis for its long-term development,” Binh added.
Binh also expected stronger efforts from government agencies in enhancing the freedom on the foreign exchange market, reducing state intervention into enterprises’ operation, and further opening the market for foreign investors.
SSC Chairman Tran Van Dung in a conference last December said the local stock market is in favorable position to get upgraded to emerging status before 2025, a target set by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.
HoSE to launch temporary transaction system in next 3-4 months
The move is seen as a short-term solution to address the issue of surging orders on the Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange (HoSE) that force the stock exchange to halt market trading.
The HoSE has been working with leading tech firm FPT on a temporary transaction system capable of processing up to five million transaction orders per day, and scheduled to launch in the next three to four months, stated the stock exchange in an announcement.
The new system would adopt transaction software system from the Hanoi Stock Exchange (HNX), seen as a short-term solution to address the issue of surging orders on the HoSE that force the stock exchange to halt market trading, stated the HoSE.
Addressing the issue of some investors still being able to place transaction orders despite system overload, HoSE said every securities firm is allocated with around 3,000 transaction orders since the start of a trading session.
“The fact that they can still make transaction means some securities firms have not used up their transaction orders,” said the HoSE.
Data from the HoSE revealed in the past three months, the average transaction orders from Vietnam’s top 20 securities firms rose by five to six folds, even 13-18 folds in some cases, causing the system to overload.
Meanwhile, the stock exchange’s decision to raise the minimum trading lot from 10 to 100 shares since January 4 helped improve liquidity by 15-18%.
“However, the overload continues to occur whenever liquidity hit VND15-16 trillion (US$648.2-691.4 million),” it added.
The stock exchange authority also gave permission for public firms to switch their stocks from the HoSE to the HNX until the situation is completely resolved.
However, the move is not applicable for stocks under the VN30 Index, comprised of the 30 largest stocks on the HoSE.
Casino investment to boost Vietnam GDP growth by 2%, says businessperson
Global uncertainties are forcing financial centers around the world to redefine their activities, as such, Vietnam should grasp this opportunity to build a continental-level finance center to attract investment capital.
President of the Imex Pan Pacific Group (IPPG) Jonathan Hanh Nguyen at the meeting. Photo: Quang Hai
President of the Imex Pan Pacific Group (IPPG) Jonathan Hanh Nguyen gave the assessments as saying he is in partnership with some US businesspeople, who are specialized in the fields of finance, casino and financial legal regulations, during a press conference on March 29 announcing the master planning for Danang until 2030, with vision to 2045.
“CEO of GGAM William Weidner is calling for investment funds for casino projects in Asia. In Vietnam, the US corporation is seeking authority’s permission for the investment in a financial center and a resort complex in Danang,” he added.
“We have been planning for a financial center in Vietnam over the past five years. My friends are placing their trust on me and Vietnam,” Hanh Nguyen said.
Hanh Nguyen, William Weidner and Paul Steelman, CEO of Steelman Partners, put forth the idea of a Singaporean-style financial center integrated with a resort complex in Danang.
The three expected the building would have the best quality in the world and totally transform investment and tourism landscapes in Vietnam.
According to Hanh Nguyen, global uncertainties are forcing financial centers around the world to redefine their activities.
In this regard, “Vietnam and Danang in particular should grasp this opportunity to build a continental-level financial center to attract investment capital inflow,” Hanh Nguyen suggested.
Hanh Nguyen expected the upcoming financial center should be the focal point to attract funds from billionaires and multinationals, in turn laying the foundation for further investment activities from smaller investors.
On the same day, Danang People’s Committee signed a financing agreement with the IPPG for the study project of turning the city into an Asian finance hub.
Da Nang restarts 1.5 billion USD resort mega-project
The Da Nang People’s Committee announced on March 30 that a Vingroup mega-project in Lien Chau district worth 35 trillion VND (1.51 billion USD) has been restarted after years of delay.
The Lang Van resort and entertainment project will span nearly 1,000 ha at the foot of Hai Van Pass in the northern reaches of the central coastal city and is expected to further boost local tourism.
An in principle agreement was signed in 2011 between the Da Nang city People’s Committee and developer Vinpearl JSC, a member of conglomerate VinGroup, on the construction of the project, which was then delayed for multiple reasons.
Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Le Trung Chinh said the Lang Van complex is situated at a location significant in terms of natural resources, culture, and security and defence.
He urged the developer to pay great attention to these elements to ensure the harmonious and sustainable development of not only Lien Chieu district but also the city as a whole./.
Hanoi: March CPI down 0.21 percent against February
The March CPI in Hanoi fell 0.21 percent month-on-month but rose 1.12 percent year-on-year, according to the municipal Statistics Office.
Seven out of 11 groups of commodities posted price declines in March compared to February, with food and catering services experiencing a fall of 1.54 percent, driven by declines in the price of food (2.24 percent) and fruit and vegetables (8.97 percent). Many types of fruit and vegetables saw a bumper harvest, which provided the market with an abundant supply and eased the pressure on prices.
Others witnessing month-on-month falls included beverages and tobacco (0.41 percent), post and telecommunications (0.22 percent), and culture, entertainment, and tourism (0.11 percent).
Growth was seen in three groups, with the largest rise of 2.36 percent recorded in transport as a result of petrol and oil prices being revised upwards twice during the month, by a total of 6.87 percent and 7.9 percent, respectively.
Housing, electricity, and construction materials fell 0.35 percent while education services eased 0.01 percent.
The index rose 0.04 percent year-on-year in the first quarter on the back of rising prices in education services (2.72 percent), beverages and tobacco (1.4 percent), housing, electricity, water, fuel, and construction materials (0.8 percent), and home appliances (0.78 percent).
Three groups posted weakening prices, with the largest fall of 5.13 percent seen in transport as people refrained from travelling during the Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday following a resurgence of COVID-19 in late January.
Gold prices in March were down 3.51 percent month-on-month but up 15.45 percent year-on-year. They grew by an average of 22.33 percent from January to March./.
Germany’s Bremen state – Gateway to the EU for Vietnamese firms
The German state of Bremen can serve as an important gateway for Vietnamese businesses to penetrate into the German market and the EU in general, a workshop in Ho Chi Minh City on March 31 heard.
According to Tran Phu Lu, Deputy Director of the Investment and Trade Promotion Centre (ITPC), Germany is Vietnam’s largest European partner, accounting for nearly one-fifth of its export value to the EU.
Trade between the two countries has doubled since 2010 and increased over 10 percent annually to more than 10 billion USD. The figure topped 1.5 billion USD as of February, up 5 percent year-on-year.
Germany now ranks 18th among countries and territories investing in Vietnam, with 361 projects from more than 300 enterprises worth over 2 billion USD, primarily in mechanics, machinery, logistics, chemicals, and renewable energy.
Vietnam, meanwhile, has invested in 35 projects in Germany valued at around 250 million USD, focusing on finance-banking, computers, and restaurants and hotels.
Notably, Germany has poured investments into key projects in HCM City such as Metro Line No 2 and Viet-Duc University.
Hoang Thi Huong, Chief Representative of the Economic Development Agency of the State of Bremen in Vietnam (BremenInvest), highlighted the significant geographical location of Bremen and its cities.
Bremen is a leading industrial hub in Germany and Europe at large, possessing strengths in such sectors as auto and automation, maritime transportation, logistics, aviation, wind power and renewable energy, seafood processing, and startups, she added.
Delegates at the workshop agreed that Bremen holds substantial potential for Vietnamese enterprises.
Experts also reminded enterprises to take into account the high-tech content of products and services, as well as environmental and health issues./.
Source: VNA/VNS/VOV/VIR/SGT/Nhan Dan/Hanoitimes
Vietnam gas consumption to double in next 10 years: Fitch Solutions
Gas demand is expected to rise from about 9.7 billion cubic meters (bcm) in 2020 to above 25.3bcm in 2030, while influx of LNG helps to counter the decline in domestic production.
Vietnam’s gas consumption is predicted to accelerate strongly over the coming decade, more than doubling, over the duration of the upcoming Power Development Plan VIII (PDP VIII) [2021-2030].
“The potential of the Vietnamese gas market is strong,” stated the Fitch Solutions in a note, saying in comparison to markets similar in terms the size of the consumer market as measured by population, Vietnam appears undersupplied in gas both in terms of absolute consumption volume and per capita.
The domestic gas network is also found deficient with Vietnam ranking 15th out of 17 Asia-Pacific gas markets as per the CIA Factbook in terms of total gas pipeline length, despite having historically been self-sufficient in gas.
The current gas demand is predicted to be more than double over the next decade, from about 9.7 billion cubic meters (bcm) in 2020 to above 25.3 bcm in 2030. It is also expected that influx of LNG will help counter the decline in domestic production.
However, long-term growth has the potential to far outpace the current forecast, as more projects in the pipeline gain clarity and are brought online, stated Fitch Solutions.
Under the draft PDP VIII, the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) outlines ambitious growth targets for power generation from natural gas and renewables.
The share of gas-fired generation capacity is forecast to grow from about 14.9% in 2020 to 21% in 2030 and further to 24% in 2045, while that for renewables is expected to increase from 9.9% in 2020 to 29% in 2030, and to over 40% in 2045.
“These are expected to occur at the expense of coal and hydropower, which are more pollutive and environmentally damaging to produce domestically,” added Fitch Solutions.
The PDP does indicate that coal use in the domestic market would continue even as emphasis shifts to using cleaner forms of energy, although consumption will increasingly become dependent on imports as domestic supply declines.
The share of imported energy is also expected to see marginal growth, so as to minimize the environmental footprint from producing own energy.
Capital inflows into the sector also look set to strengthen over the duration of the PDP. The Plan estimates that an investment of about US$128.3 billion will be needed over the next decade in order to realize the aforementioned growth targets in natural gas and renewables generation.
From the sum, US$95.4 billion is expected to be allocated to the development of power sources with an excess of US$56 billion worth of LNG regasification and LNG-to-power projects already lined up to be commissioned over the next decade.
The current pipeline features 23 different projects and is notable for its strong US presence; of the 23, 11 projects worth a combined US$35.9 billion and 32.6GW in generation capacity, are backed up by pledges of funding from US firms, to be completed over 2023-2030.
In addition, about US$32.9 billion will be set aside for the duration of the PDP for expanding the national grid network.
Petrol prices slightly drop in latest review
The retail prices of petrol dropped from 16:30 on April 12, the ministries of industry and trade and finance announced.
Accordingly, the price of E5RON92 fell 45 VND to 17,806 VND (0.77 USD) per litre at the highest, and that of RON95-III was also 76 VND to 18,970 VND per litre.
Meanwhile, the prices of diesel 0.05S and kerosene are capped at 14,141 VND, and 12,827 VND per litre, down 102 VND and 177 VND per litre, respectively.
Mazut 180CST 3.5S is sold at no more than 13,686 VND per kilogramme, decreasing 70 VND per kilogramme.
This is the first time the petrol prices have been reduced after nine consecutive increases since Tet holiday.
The ministries review fuel prices every 15 days to adjust domestic prices in accordance with fluctuations in the global market.
Demand for petrol has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, settlement of Suez Cannal blockage, and bright prospects on global economic growth, among others.
In order the set these prices, the ministries have used the Price Stabilisation Fund for E5RON92 at 1,800 VND per litre, RON95-III at 950 VND per litre, diesel 0.05S at 250 VND per litre, and kerosene at 300 VND per litre.
Without using the Fund, petrol prices would increase from 123 VND to 1,755 VND per litre/kilogramme as compared to current prices./.
Vietnam salt company’s IPO surpasses plan
The Vietnam Salt One Member Limited Liability Company (Visalco) launched the initial public offering (IPO) on the Hanoi Stock Exchange (HNX) on April 12.
With nearly 1.28 million shares put on sale at the auction, the volume of ordered stocks amounted to almost 3.88 million. The highest price was 25,100 VND (1.09 USD) per share while the lowest was 23,500 VND.
The sum of money collected from the IPO was over 30 billion VND, 2.8 billion VND higher than the estimated value calculated based on the asking price of 21,300 VND per share.
Visalco is a State-owned subsidiary of the Northern Food Corporation, one of the most prestigious food suppliers in Vietnam. It produces and sells salt and salt products. Revenue in this field fell sharply from 2018 to 2020 as the company halted supply contracts with several mountainous localities.
After that, it moved to the rice business, with revenue rising from 65.05 billion VND in 2018 to 163.96 billion VND last year.
Under its production and business plan, Visalco forecasts earning 99 billion VND in revenue this year and posting 870 million VND in pre-tax profit. By 2023, revenue is predicted to be more than 110 billion VND, with pre-tax profit to top 1 billion VND./.
Vietnamese family businesses optimism about growth prospects: PwC
The UK-based audit service supplier PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has released its first survey on Vietnamese family businesses, which showed optimism in their future development.
The survey is part of the PwC’s 10th PwC Global Family Business Survey, which unearths the current thinking and future outlook of 2,801 family business leaders across 87 countries and territories, of which 33 were from Vietnam, representing a diverse mix of businesses and industries.
According to the survey, 65 percent of Vietnamese family businesses expect to grow in 2021, and 75 percent expect to grow in 2022
Meanwhile, 33 percent of the businesses think they will experience aggressive growth in 2022 which is higher than both regional and global family businesses surveyed.
Besides, 55 percent of Vietnamese respondents will focus on introducing new products and services, following by increasing use of new technologies (52 percent).
The current operating model among Vietnamese family businesses is concentrated on family and owner managed businesses (52 percent and 36 percent respectively).
However, the survey findings show that in five years, Vietnamese family businesses will shift towards more external involvement in family businesses. In detail, it will transit from owner/family managed businesses to family-owned/ externally-managed or externally-run businesses (increased to 60 percent from 12 percent)./.
Dossiers from Hanoi candidates for 15th NA election counted
The Hanoi Election Committee has handed over 72 dossiers from candidates for the election of deputies to the 15th National Assembly (NA) and 188 dossiers from candidates for the election of deputies to the municipal People’s Council in the 2021-2026 tenure to the city’s Fatherland Front Committee.
According to the city’s Fatherland Front Committee, of these, six candidates for the election of deputies to the 15th NA and 11 for the election of deputies to the 16th municipal People’s Council withdrew their candidacy.
Of the 2,060 candidates for district-level People’s Councils, 41 have withdrawn their dossiers. Meanwhile, as many as 121 out of 21,399 people withdrew their candidacy for commune-level People’s Councils.
The city’s Fatherland Front Committee reported that as of April 2, a total of 1,592 conferences for collecting comments and confidence votes from constituents had been held, or 33.24 percent of the plan.
Preparations for the elections of deputies to the 15th NA and all-level People’s Councils for the 2021-2026 tenure have been implemented in accordance with relevant laws and documents.
As planned, the city’s Fatherland Front Committee will hold the third consultation conference from April 14-16 to prepare the lists of qualified candidates for the elections of deputies to the 15th NA and the 16th People’s Council of Hanoi.
Good control of pandemic will accelerate credit growth: Insiders
Credit growth will expand significantly from Quarter 2 and exceed the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV)’s target of 12 percent for the year as a whole if the pandemic is brought under good control and the vaccination campaign proves effective, according to insiders.
Expecting domestic recovery in its strategic investment report for 2021, the VNDirect Securities Corporation forecast that this year credit growth would top 13 percent and interest rates could fall 20-50 percentage points in the context of loose monetary policy and low inflationary pressure.
According to Can Van Luc, BIDV chief economist, 10-15 percent growth is suitable, given that risks await commercial banks in the time ahead despite the economic recovery.
Potential bad debts are on the rise, which will eat into the bank’s profit, he stressed.
Meanwhile, the SBV’s Department of Credit for Economic Sectors forecast strong credit growth from Quarter 2, which could be higher than the SBV’s target of 12 percent, especially in the fields of industrial production, exports, trade and tourism.
Good domestic consumption, rosy exports, strong FDI attraction and disbursement of public investment will drive credit growth, it said.
Head of the department Nguyen Tuan Anh revealed that as of the end of March, credit growth was up by 2.3 percent compared to the end of 2020 and higher than the figure in the same period last year, when credit growth in the economy inched up less than 1 percent.
From the outset of this year, the SBV was prudent in assigning credit growth for commercial banks, Anh said, adding that it outlined three scenarios for credit growth this year, with the maximum reaching 14 percent if COVID-19 was wiped out in Quarter 1, 10-12 percent if the pandemic lasts until June and social distancing measures are put in place, and 7-8 percent if it lasts until the end of the year.
According to economist Nguyen Tri Hieu, it is necessary to stimulate credit demand to achieve effective credit growth. However, banks should be able to control their customers’ sources in covering debts to ensure credit growth criteria and the quality of collateral./.
Decree 148 further restricts land sub-division
Decree No. 148/2020/ND-CP of the Government, which came into force on February 8, 2021, has further restricted the division of land into smaller plots for sale by expanding the areas where the sub-division of land is not allowed.
By expanding the scope and tightening regulations on land sub-division, Decree No. 148, which contains amendments and supplements to several decrees and provides detailed regulations on the implementation of the Law on Land, is aimed at preventing land speculation and unstable urban development.
Doan Thi Thanh My, deputy director of the General Department of Land Administration under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, said Article 41 of Decree No. 43 dated July 1, 2014, banned investors from dividing land into smaller plots for sale in the inner districts of the two special-level cities of Hanoi and HCMC only.
Decree No. 148 now regulates that the sub-division of land is prohibited in the inner districts of not only Hanoi and HCMC but also level-one cities including Danang, Haiphong and Can Tho.
Moreover, before a project is implemented, the provincial People’s Committees have to publish areas where the sub-division of land is permitted.
According to Le Hoang Chau, chairman of the HCMC Real Estate Association, the sub-division of land plots has resulted in land speculation and construction of housing projects and urban areas that are not consistent with urban plans.
Chau said stricter restriction over the sub-division of land plots will ensure benefits for customers and sustainable urban development without adversely affecting the real estate market.
Demand for laptops remains high amid work, study from home
Laptop sales, which began to boom at the beginning of 2020 following the Covid-19 outbreak, remain strong as studying and working from home continue.
Nguyễn Thế Kha, senior director of mobility groups, FPT Shop, said the growth last year was 20-30 per cent for retailers.
The high-end laptop segment alone achieved 60 per cent growth, he said.
Many parents said while they were previously content with having one laptop at home to share with their children or let the latter use smartphones, they have now had to buy one for their children’s classes.
Realising the prospects in store, big players like Dell, Asus and HP are all launching new products in many markets, including Việt Nam.
According to Dell Technologies, Asia is a market with a huge demand for gaming laptops, especially in China, Korea and Japan, where e-sport is highly developed.
Việt Nam is a promising market with rapidly growing demand, and so the latest products are launched in the country, it said.
More and more companies are involved in the production of gaming laptops, and so customers have many options in terms of prices, with those costing from VNĐ 16 million to VNĐ25 million (US$700-1,080) selling best.
Many retailers said certain brands are likely to be unavailable often since demand for them is rising and supply is being hampered by Covid.
Some said stocks are down 20-30 per cent, and they are struggling to replenish them.
But despite the surging demand, prices of laptops have remained relatively stable, and many retailers are even offering discounts and free installation of programmes.
FDI inflows surge into industrial real estate market
Foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows in the Vietnamese real estate sector during the first quarter of the year reached over US$600 million through 12 projects, representing a 2.3-fold increase compared to the same period from last year, according to the Foreign Investment Agency.
In line with the development plan for the project, Panasonic is aiming to build the workshop between January, 2023, and March, 2024, with the project set to come into operation ahead in April, 2024.
This comes following Panasonic initiating plans to shut down a large appliance factory outside of Bangkok in March, whilst seeking to consolidate production to a larger facility in the nation in order to achieve greater efficiency, according to Nikkei newspaper of Japan.
The warehousing industry attracted the majority of foreign capital throughout the reviewed period. Especially, eight out of ten newly-licensed projects are within the industrial real estate segment, with a total investment capital of over US$430 million, equal to 99.7% of the total newly-registered capital.
Singapore became the largest foreign investor within the local real estate market during the three-month period following Amigos An Phu Holding Pte. Ltd registering to invest in the US$185 million project at New Motion Industrial Co., Ltd in Phu Tan Industrial Park in the southern province of Binh Duong.
The Singaporean investor has also put plans in place to start construction on a warehousing and office building cluster ahead in the second quarter of the year, with the project anticipated to be put into operation on a trial basis during the third quarter of the year.
Furthermore, BW Industrial development JSC of the Netherlands has recently poured a sum of US$80.61 million in investment capital into building a warehouse for rent, whilst providing warehouse and logistics services in Tan Phu Trung Industrial Park in Cu Chi district of Ho Chi Minh City.
This increase in FDI inflows in the domestic industrial real estate sector can be attributed to the optimism of foreign investors regarding investment prospects in the Vietnamese industrial production and logistics industry following a challenging year which involved disruption in the global supply chain caused by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
Vietnam started the year with great potential as it rose to be among the top ten emerging markets in terms of performance in the logistics industry. Boasting substantial infrastructure improvements, low operating costs, and large corporate tax exemptions, the country represents an enticing market for plenty of foreign investment, especially in relation to the industrial manufacturing sector.
John Campbell, industrial services manager of Savills, said the nation features the lowest operating costs based upon analysis done on industrial real estate in 54 markets across 21 countries, which has become one of the key factors to help the country increase its attractiveness to multinational companies.
Farmers in Southeast provinces have bad crop of cashew
Cashew farmers in the Southeast provinces are rushing to enter the harvest season. Due to unusual weather, many cashew plantations have suffered heavy losses, but well-cared-for cashew ones still give high yields.
Binh Phuoc Province is considered as the cashew capital of the country, with about 170,000 hectares and an output of 243,000 tons per year, mainly concentrated in Phu Rieng, Bu Gia Map, Bu Dang, and Dong Phu districts. This place creates jobs for about 50,000 workers in rural areas.
Mr. Dieu Thanh, a farmer in Dak O Commune in Bu Gia Map District, has two hectares of over-20-year-old cashew trees that are developing well and not damaged by cashew stem borer as in previous years. He spent VND10 million for fertilizing and spraying nourishing agents for cashew flowers. His cashew trees were blooming more flowers than the previous year. Unfortunately, after the Lunar New Year, there was a prolonged period of hoar frost, causing cashew flowers to dry, and young cashew fruits to fall a lot. During this time in the previous year, his family collected 2 tons of fresh cashew, but up to now, only about 100 kilograms of fresh cashew have been collected. Many households in the commune also suffered from lean harvest in this crop.
On the contrary, Mr. Nguyen Van Long, a farmer in Tien Hung Commune in Dong Xoai City, has three hectares of cashew trees that are giving high yield. Currently, Mr. Long’s family is entering the second phase of the harvest season, with a yield of 2 tons per hectare. Cashew prices are stable at VND24,000-VND27,000 per kilogram of fresh cashew, after deducting expenses, his family earns more than VND1 billion. Mr. Long said that cashew trees give a good harvest or not, it depends a lot on the weather, fertilization, and care. Right from the beginning of the year, his family pruned branches, removed old cashew trees with low productivity, and spend nearly VND20 million to fertilize and spray plant protection drugs, so the garden is clean and free from pests and diseases.
A survey in many cashew plantations in localities with large cashew areas such as Bu Dang, Dong Phu, and Bu Gia Map districts shows that if the cashew plantations are taken care of well, the trees have fewer pests and diseases and give an average yield of 2 tons per hectare. Many cashew plantations are close to each other, but there is a quite large difference in productivity because the care and cultivation capacity of each household is different.
Because cashew trees give fruits late this year, the 250-hectare organic cashew plantation that meets the European standards of Mr. Dung Quy Dong in Tan Hung Commune of Dong Phu District has just been harvested for half a month this month. According to Mr. Dong, organic cashew cultivation is not affected by weather and pests, so the yield next year is higher than the previous year.
Mr. Dong shared that last year, in the first harvest with nearly 100 hectares, his family collected more than 200 tons of cashew. It is expected that his cashew plantation would produce about 500 tons of cashew this year. With the current price, he would earn more than VND10 billion. However, because of the large harvest area, he was worried about a labor shortage.
Currently, he needs 150-200 workers every day, but he has just been able to hire 100 regular workers at the price of VND250,000 per person per day, higher than the previous year.
The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development of Binh Phuoc Province admitted that this year due to the high-temperature difference between day and night, it had negative impacts on the flowering and fruiting of cashew trees, but well-cared-for cashew plantations have fewer harmful pests and diseases and cashew yield is still high. The Department recommended that farmers need to take care of their cashew plantations regularly and should not abuse pesticides. Especially, they should use the right drugs and dosage, choose safe plant protection drugs for the trees, ensure health for people, and reduce care costs.
Mr. Tran Quoc Tuan, Director of the Statistics Office of Dong Nai Province, said that the whole province has about 36,000 hectares of cashew trees, down nearly 14,000 hectares compared to 2010. Farmers continue to chop down cashew trees to switch to other crops with higher economic efficiency, due to low cashew prices and its dependence on the weather.
According to the agricultural sector of Dong Nai Province, cashew can be grown in sloping areas, especially in ethnic minority areas and remote areas. Cashew is still considered as a crop for hunger eradication and poverty alleviation and key crop. The industry will carry out solutions to remove difficulties for farmers, such as finding and expanding the consumption markets, supporting and encouraging people to apply scientific and technical advances in production to improve productivity, quality, and promote deep processing.
Binh Phuoc Province is facing the situation of selling young cashew in the ethnic minority areas. If there were only 482 households selling young cashew, with a total area of 683.75 hectares for VND28.8 billion in 2017, there were 663 households last year, with a total area of 1,161.13 hectares for more than VND37.5 billion, concentrated in Bu Dang and Bu Gia Map districts. To stop this situation, the provincial People’s Committee has instructed authorities to focus on propaganda about the forms and tricks of the subjects who buy young cashew to raise awareness for farmers to prevent frauds that lead to debts, foreclosure, and loss of cultivation land.
US$491 million to be invested in market stabilization program in 2021-2022
According to the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Industry and Trade, six banks and credit institutions are registered in the market stabilization program for the period 2021-2022 with a total of VND11,346 billion (US$491 million) to support businesses to prepare goods for the program.
Enterprises with the demand for bank loans will be connected with credit institutions with long-term interest rates ranging from 6.5 percent to 11.3 percent a year and short-term interest rate of 4.5 percent per year to invest in livestock and production activities, technology renovation and development of distribution systems and goods storage.
The paymen term of loans and interest rates will be based on the agreement between the credit institutions and enterprises under the market stabilization program.
Besides, the Department of Industry and Trade also encouraged businesses to use their capital, strengthen linkage and cooperation between manufacturing enterprises and distributors to be loaned for production, ensure plentiful goods, stable prices and raise the competitiveness of subsidized products.
HCMC’s outlying district calls for investment in 17,000 hectares of land
HCMC’s outlying district of Cu Chi has called on enterprises to invest in 17,000 hectares of agricultural land in the district, according to the district government.
The district also expected investors to develop a port to serve the agriculture sector and three to four ports for urban ecotourism, invest in 2,500 hectares of land in the Tay Bac Urban Area and ecotourist sites along the Saigon River, Thanh Nien Online newspaper reported.
The district government has sought to convert 10 areas along the river into ecotourist sites and increase the population target in the areas to 200,000 people and the construction density to 35%-40% to attract investors.
According to the district, last year, it accomplished 15 of 20 socioeconomic development targets. This year, it will strive to meet 20 socioeconomic development and urban environment protection targets.
It will develop the supporting, healthcare and biology sectors, services serving industries, ecotourism in association with agriculture, logistics and river ports and hi-tech agriculture.
The district will implement planning in a modern manner and develop an underground space to serve 1.2 million residents by 2030.
To execute the socioeconomic development plan for this year, the district government proposed the municipal government and the relevant departments and agencies quickly issue a land use plan for 2021-2030.
The district also urged the completion of adjustments to the planning of the Tay Bac Urban Area.
Vinh Long to have VND3-trillion industrial zone
The Mekong Delta province of Vinh Long will develop the Dong Binh industrial zone in Binh Minh Town, with total investment of over VND3 trillion.
The Vinh Long government on April 9 made a decision on the establishment of the industrial park covering 350 hectares of land in the Dong Binh and Dong Thanh communes, Phap Luat Online reported.
The industrial zone project, whose investor is TNI Vinh Long Investment JSC, is set to operate within 50 years.
Once in place, the industrial zone project will focus on attracting investments in the agriculture, food, vegetable and fruit processing, seafood processing, consumption industry, chemical industry and medical equipment production fields, among other sectors which cause less environmental pollution.
As of now, Vinh Long Province is home to five industrial zones–Binh Minh, Hoa Phu, An Dinh, Hoa Phu and Co Chien.
Transport Ministry’s proposal to acquire eight toll roads
The National Assembly’s (NA) Economic Committee has rejected the Ministry of Transport’s proposal to use State cash to acquire eight controversial toll roads built or upgraded under the build-operate-transfer (BOT) format, saying it is unreasonable and dubious and may lead to lawsuits.
The committee has reported the deployment of policies on the investment and operation of traffic infrastructure projects developed under the BOT format.
The eight BOT roads are Bim Son on a bypass in Thanh Hoa Province of the National Highway 1A project, T2 of a project to upgrade National Highway 91 in Can Tho City, Ninh Xuan of the National Highway 26 upgrade project, Cai Lay of a bypass project in Cai Lay Town, tollgates on National Highway 3 of a project to build the Thai Nguyen-Cho Moi road and upgrade a National Highway 3 section, a section of the Ho Chi Minh Road in Daklak Province, the La Son-Tuy Loan Expressway connecting Thua Thien-Hue Province and Danang City and a section from the La Uyen to the Tan De bridges of National Highway 10 in Thai Binh.
As residents had refused to pay toll fees, causing difficulties for investors, the Ministry of Transport proposed using the State budget for the public investment plan in the 2021-2025 period to make payments to investors, following which the tollgates were dismantled.
However, according to the NA’s Economic Committee, it is unreasonable to use State funding to acquire these BOT projects due to the lack of a legal and practical foundation.
Besides these eight projects, the location of the tollgates of some other projects was also unreasonable, but local residents have stopped opposing these projects as they have been offered fee reductions or exemptions.
Therefore, if the State acquires the eight projects listed above, it may affect other projects.
The acquisition will also put pressure on the State budget and go against the State’s guidelines to mobilize funds from the private sector for infrastructure development.
Last year, 42 of 54 BOT projects reported lower revenues than expected. Therefore, the NA’s Economic Committee proposed the NA Standing Committee review the responsibility of the relevant individuals and agencies and ask the competent agencies to remove obstacles facing tollgates and localities to ensure security, social order and the safety of investors’ assets.
EVN’s power from renewable sources reaches nearly 7.8 billion kWh in Jan-Mar
The State-run utility Vietnam Electricity Group (EVN) mobilized approximately 7.8 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) of power from renewable energy in the first three months of the year, surging 181% against the 2020 figure. Of this, the amount of electricity from solar energy accounted for over 7.13 billion kWh, according to EVN’s recently-released report.
In the first quarter, the volume of electricity produced in the country and imported from overseas reached some 60 billion kWh, up 4.1% compared to the same period last year. Of the amount, EVN and its subsidiaries generated 29.22 billion kWh, or 49%, while non-EVN businesses were in charge of the remaining volume.
While the amount of power from renewable energy soared sharply, that generated from traditional sources saw a decline.
Among the traditional power sources, more electricity from hydropower plants was supplied to the national power grid, at nearly 14 billion kWh. The volume of electricity generated from coal-fired and gas-fired power plants contracted 12-21% year-on-year at 29.75 billion kWh and 7.44 billion kWh, respectively. Further, imported electricity also plunged 58% versus last year’s figure to 405 million kWh.
The soaring supplies of renewable power have prompted EVN to face a number of obstacles in mobilizing various sources of power. For instance, hydropower generators had to change their capacity flexibly to offset the changes in the volume of renewable power, thus leaving an impact on the power supply at the end of the dry season. Besides, if the capacity of power generators at coal- and gas-fired power plants is activated or changed numerous times, it could lead to possible incidents.
As the volume of electricity from renewable sources now accounts for an increasing proportion and the second quarter will be in the peak dry season, the local power sector will adopt measures to ensure the safe operations of the national power system and local power market, including cutting down on renewable power supplies, EVN said.
Vietnamese overseas enterprises desire to further connect with Lam Dong Province
The Ho Chi Minh City Committee for Overseas Vietnamese Affairs has recently held a meeting between overseas Vietnamese enterprises and leaders of the People’s Committee of Lam Dong Province and Lac Duong District to create conditions for overseas businesses to exchange and work with the provincial leaders as well as seek potential markets, promote trade connectivity and investment cooperation in the upcoming time.
Through Lam Dong Province Tourism, Trade and Investment Promotion Center, the enterprises had an opportunity to learn about some projects which are being implemented as well as calling for investment in the Central Highlands province such as Prenn Waterfall Project, Lien Khuong- Prenn Urban Area Project, Tuyen Lam Lake National Tourist Site Project, etc.
On the occasion, the enterprises desired to not only further cooperate with the Central Highlands province in the fields of high-tech agriculture, human resource training, service and tourists, real estate, etc but also bring local agricultural products to foreign markets. Especially, they were very interested in local agricultural products such as tomatoes, avocado and chili.
Additionally, some overseas businesses also wanted to cooperate with the province in the cold storage and transportation service, laboratory system establishment for researching new varieties under modern techniques and high-quality human resources training to serve for the locality and connect Lam Dong Province with several cities of foreign countries.
Besides, the delegation of overseas enterprises also worked with Chairman of the People’s Committee of Lac Duong District Mr. Su Thanh Hoai and the local authorities related to current investment projects in the fields of high-tech agricultural production and tourism.
In addition to the proposals about investment and export connectivity for local high-tech agricultural products, President of Japanese- Vietnamese Cuisine Association Mr. Matsuo Tomoyuki proposed to become a bridge between Lac Duong District, Lam Dong Province and some localities of Japan, contributing to enhancing the mutual friendship, cultural cooperation and development.
Investment policy for infrastructure in Hoa Lu Industrial Park approved
The People’s Committee of Binh Phuoc Province informed that the Prime Minister has just signed Decision No.550/QD-TTg on approving the investment policy of the project of building and trading infrastructure in Hoa Lu Border-Gate Industrial Park.
Hoa Lu Border-Gate Industrial Park covers an area of 348.32 hectares in Loc Tan and Loc Thanh communes in Loc Ninh District, with an investment of nearly VND1.12 trillion. Of which, the capital contribution of the investor is VND170 billion, with the goal of building and trading infrastructure of the industrial park invested by Hoa Lu Binh Phuoc Investment Joint Stock Company.
The People’s Committee of Binh Phuoc Province will conduct statistics and land inventory, map the current land use status, and recommend the implementation of the project without public assets. During the implementation process, if public assets are detected in the project, the provincial People’s Committee will be responsible for retrieving, handling, and submitting to the competent authority to cancel the investment policy decision issued to the project.
The People’s Committee of Binh Phuoc Province will also be in charge of proposing the selection of investors, who meet the conditions of investment, bidding, land, real estate trading, checking, and determining the satisfaction of land lease conditions at the time the project is carried out.
State budget collection reaches US$17.52 billion in Q1
Vietnam recorded a trade surplus of US$2.67 billion during the period.
Vietnam’s state budget collection in the first quarter of this year stood at VND403.7 trillion (US$17.52 billion), up 0.3% year-on-year and equivalent to 30.1% of the yearly estimate, according to the Ministry of Finance (MoF).
Upon breaking down, domestic revenue made up a lion’s share of the total at VND340.2 trillion (US$14.7 billion), up 1.2% year-on-year or 30% of the estimate. The MoF noted 57 out of 63 provinces/cities fulfilled tax collection targets as scheduled, or over 25% of the estimate.
Meanwhile, state budget expenditures during the January – March period hit VND342 trillion (US$14.84 billion), representing a slight increase of 0.2% year-on-year, or 20.3% of the estimate.
This resulted in the budget surplus of VND61.7 trillion (US$2.67 billion) during the period.
In 2021, the MoF estimated the budget revenue around VND1,343 trillion (US$58 billion) and expenditure VND1,687 trillion (US$72.78 billion).
Fitch Solutions, a subsidiary of Fitch Group, however expected the country’s fiscal deficit to be narrowed to 3.7% of the GDP.
Such forecast “factors in both a stronger revenue and expenditure outlook against the government’s projections supported by more robust economic activity in 2021 against 2020,” stated Fitch Solutions.
According to Fitch Solution, Vietnam’s budget revenue could rise to VND1,580 trillion (US$68.6 billion), thanks to a continued recovery in economic activity, while expenditure is set to hit VND1,840 trillion (US$79.88 billion).
“A recovery in revenue collection will facilitate looser spending by the government. Capital expenditure disbursement is likely to be quicker in 2021,” Fitch Solutions noted.
Rising livestock exports of Laos creates opportunity for Vietnamese businesses
Animal husbandry makes up the sector which provides one of the top 20 export commodities of Laos, with China and Thailand joining Vietnam currently being the largest markets for Lao exports.
Furthermore, the Vietnamese market must also import between 300,000 and 400,000 buffaloes and cows from numerous foreign sources as at present Laos is unable to meet this demand.
With huge potential due to being home to large land areas, the Lao livestock industry is expected to grow and thrive in the near future providing that greater investments are poured into it.
Laos is therefore calling on foreign businesses to make investments in the agricultural sector in order to exploit the full potential of land in both Northern and Southern regions to boost large-scale farming and husbandry in order to serve domestic consumption and exports.
When serving as Prime Minister, Party General Secretary and State President of Laos Thongloun Sisulith expressed a strong desire to work closer with the leaders of the Vietnamese Government during meetings between both nations’ Intergovernmental Committee. He added that he expects competent agencies to work harder to remove difficulties and promote stronger bilateral co-operation in the agricultural sector, especially in terms of high-tech agriculture.
This can be considered a positive investment co-operation opportunity for Vietnamese businesses in the context that leaders have always paid close attention to reinforcing the great friendship, special solidarity, and comprehensive partnership between Vietnam and Laos.
Da Nang ready to welcome foreign tourists with vaccine passports
Da Nang City’s Department of Tourism has selected a total of 10 travel agencies who can receive international arrivals in the near future, providing that the Government gives the go ahead to welcome travelers who have vaccine passports.
Local authorities have also chosen a variety of tourist destinations within Da Nang which can run suitable tours.
Nguyen Xuan Binh, deputy director of the central city’s Department of Tourism, says welcoming the return of foreign travelers is one of many measures being implemented in an effort to revive the local tourism industry, with safety being the leading top during the world’s ongoing battle against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Moving forward, the municipal administration is set to receive delegations from the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) and the Vietnam Tourism Association who will conduct a thorough survey to detail the capacity of local travel operators when vaccine passports are brought into use.
In line with this, local authorities have initiated plans to hold a webinar aimed at promoting Vietnamese tourism to potential travelers worldwide, with a strong desire to connect Da Nang with various countries which have successfully brought the COVID-19 pandemic under control, Binh notes.
Due to the damaging impact of the coronavirus pandemic last year, Da Nang welcomed a total of 881,000 foreign arrivals, a drop of by 70% compared to figures from 2019.
Unchecked golf development raises concerns
Experts have expressed concerns over the licensing of too many golf projects in Vietnam.
According to Pham Thanh Tri, vice chairman of Vietnam Golf Tourism Association, Vietnam now has 75 golf courses, three-quarters of which are owned by Vietnamese investors with the rest are owned by South Korean investors.
“One new golf course project is given a permit every two weeks in Vietnam. At this rate, Vietnam will have 50-100 new golf projects every year. Vinh Phuc authorities have given permits to 10 golf courses and Quang Nam has also planned for 10 new golf courses,” he said. “Even though the number of golf courses in Vietnam is still lower compared to the world’s average but such mass development in at the same time is worrying.”
Too many golf courses may lead to loss of cultivated lands, terrain and underground water changes. In some cases, the golf course is only a highlight of an urban area project. Recently, the government inspectorate has accused Hoa Binh authorities of violating the national golf planning after Hoa Binh authorities reclaimed 61ha out of 140ha reforestation land and assigned Vietnam Forest Corporation to build a golf course.
Former Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Dang Hung Vo acknowledged that golf is a way to boost tourism. However, many investors have used golf projects as a way to do real estate businesses. He went on to say that golf projects are only a part of tourism development planning and the investors do not own the land-use rights.
“Yet many investors avoided the law and earned money by using 10% of the land of the golf projects to build hotels and villas and condo hotels illegally,” Vo said. “Why have many golf projects suffered losses but investors still plan on building more and expanding?”
He suggested tightening the regulations so that only 10% of the land will be allowed for golf-related businesses. If necessary, the government should collect taxes at the rate as if the land has been leased to a hotel or urban area projects to avoid budget losses.
Over 100 educational institutions join enrolment and career counselling festival
The 2021 enrolment and career counselling festival officially opened at the Hanoi University of Science and Technology on April 11.
This is an annual activity organised by Tuoi Tre (Youth) Newspaper, the Ministry of Education and Training, and the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, attracting 170 counselling booths of universities, colleges, vocational schools, and foreign language centres.
The event drew the participation of experts from the Ministry of Education and Training, universities, academies, representatives of the Military Admission Committee under the Ministry of Defence, etc.
At the festival, students and parents were provided with the latest information on high school graduation exams and university and college admission exams in 2021; experience on exam review; how to select the right career and school; as well as enrolment methods of universities, colleges and schools, among others.
Students also had a chance access to forecasting information of the needs of human resources of fields and industries in the future, changes in career structure in the context of strong digitalisation.
Kumho to invest over US$300 million in its Vietnam plant
South Korean tiremaker Kumho Tires has announced that it will invest an additional US$305 million to expand its manufacturing plant in Vietnam, enabling the tiremaker to double the facility’s production capacity.
The expansion project will be implemented in two years, starting from the third quarter of this year to the first quarter of 2023.
The plant, which is located in My Phuoc 3 Industrial Park in Binh Duong Province and has been operational for a decade, will be expanded by building more facilities on the vacant lot inside the plant’s compound.
Once complete, the expanded plant is expected to churn out at least 9.3 million tires per year.
Over the past years, Kumko Tire products manufactured in Binh Duong have been shipped to many parts of the world.
Kumho Tires is currently operating a number of tire manufacturing plants globally, but Vietnam is the only Southeast Asian country where the tiremaker has its facility. Aside from its plants in South Korea, Kumho Tires has also set up plants in China and the United States.
With an abundant amount of natural rubber, the surging demand for vehicles, low-cost labor, stable investment environment and other factors, Vietnam has been attracting major tiremakers to set up and expand their businesses.
Early this year, according to the Ministry of Planning and Investment’s Foreign Investment Agency, a Chinese-invested tire factory project in Tay Ninh Province had its investment adjusted upward by over US$312 million. Other large tire manufacturers such as Bridgestone, Yokohama Tyre, Maxxis and Sailun had entered the Vietnamese market, investing in large-scale projects.
US$491 million to be invested in market stabilization program in 2021-2022
According to the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Industry and Trade, six banks and credit institutions are registered in the market stabilization program for the period 2021-2022 with a total of VND11,346 billion (US$491 million) to support businesses to prepare goods for the program.
Enterprises with the demand for bank loans will be connected with credit institutions with long-term interest rates ranging from 6.5 percent to 11.3 percent a year and short-term interest rate of 4.5 percent per year to invest in livestock and production activities, technology renovation and development of distribution systems and goods storage.
The paymen term of loans and interest rates will be based on the agreement between the credit institutions and enterprises under the market stabilization program.
Besides, the Department of Industry and Trade also encouraged businesses to use their capital, strengthen linkage and cooperation between manufacturing enterprises and distributors to be loaned for production, ensure plentiful goods, stable prices and raise the competitiveness of subsidized products.
Khau Vai Love Market to open in May
The Khau Vai Love Market 2021, a unique cultural practice of local residents in Khau Vai commune in Meo Vac district of the northern mountainous province of Ha Giang, is scheduled to be held from May 6-8.
The love market, which is located about 200km far from the province’s centre, has been held once every year on the 27th day of the third lunar month, attracting thousands of visitors.
Under the theme “The love songs fair”, this year’s festival will feature an array of activities showcasing the most typical cultural features of local ethnic minority people.
There will be a beauty contest, an incense offering ceremony at Ong Temple, rituals to pray for peace, along with folk games, among others.
Organisers said the market offers a chance to promote local tourism, notably Dong Van Karst Plateau – a UNESCO Global Geopark.
The Khau Vai Love Market is a popular attraction in Ha Giang. On the 27th day of the third lunar month, local ethnic women and men put on their best traditional costumes and go to the market where they are free to meet their former lovers in public.
Husbands and wives arrive at the market together and start looking for their past partners among the crowd. Spouses do not get angry or jealous because the meeting at the market is supposed to be a temporary moment and does not affect their daily lives or relationship.
According to folklore, a man and a woman were deeply in love but were forbidden to be together because they were from different ethnic groups. A violent conflict later took place between the two tribes, resulting in bloodshed for both. To stop the fierce fight, the couple decided to part ways with broken hearts. They, however, promised to meet once every year in the market in Khau Vai commune on the day.
Ha Giang has been an attractive destination among visitors for its stunning landscapes and diverse cultural values.
Among popular tourism destinations are the Dong Van Karst Plateau Global Geopark, Lung Cu Flag Pole, Ma Pi Leng Peak and Dong Van Town Old Quarter.
Hanoi: Additional 23.7 billion VND raised for sea, island fund
As much as 23.7 billion VND (over 1 million USD) was donated by 119 organisations and agencies in Hanoi for the Fund for Vietnam’s Sea and Islands on April 12.
The donations were collected at the launching ceremony for this year’s second donation drive to raise money for the Fund, held by the Vietnam Fatherland Front (VFF) committee of Hanoi.
From February 3, the city’s VFF committee has received more than 35.7 billion VND from 162 organisations and agencies for the Fund.
Chairwoman of the committee Nguyen Lan Huong said that warm response to the drive was a vivid illustration for Hanoians’ love for soldiers and officers in Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelago.
She expressed his hope that the Fund will receive widely support from local citizens and organisations.
A working group from the city, led by Vice Secretary of the municipal Party Committee Nguyen Van Phong, will visit Truong Sa archipelago and DK1 Platform from April 12 to 20.
Earlier, more than 12 billion VND was mobilised for the Fund by 73 organisations in the city in the first donation drive.
The money will be used to build a cultural house on Thuyen Chai A island in Truong Sa archipelago, and organise a number of “For Vietnam’s sea and islands” activities.
Publication on historic outer space journey debuts
The Vietnamese version of the archival publication “Chuyến du hành vũ trụ lịch sử” (Historic outer space journey) debuted in Hanoi on April 12, marking the 40th anniversary of the first Vietnamese astronaut Pham Tuan’s flight to space and the 60th anniversary of Yu.A.Gagarin’s spaceflight.
Speaking at the event, Director of the State Records and Archives Department Dang Thanh Tung said following the establishment of diplomatic ties, Vietnam and former Soviet signed a number of cooperation agreements, treaties and conventions in the fields of economy, trade, culture, education, science-technology and army, including aviation and astronautics.
The 130-page publication is a joint effort between the State Records and Archives Department and the Federal Archival Agency of Russia. It features outstanding documents and photos chosen by the Russian State Archive of Socio-Political History, the State Records And Archives Management Department’s National Archives Centre III, Vietnam News Agency and astronaut Pham Tuan.
Its Russian version was published last year.
Role of female NA deputies discussed
To raise the rate of female deputies to the National Assembly (NA) and all-level People’s Councils requires strong, synchronous, and effective solutions as well as political resolve and efforts from female candidates, a meeting in central Da Nang city on April 12 heard.
According to Nguyen Thuy Anh, Chairwoman of the NA Committee for Social Affairs and Permanent Vice Chairwoman of the Female NA Deputy Group, legal regulations require that women must account for at least 35 percent of the total number of female candidates for deputy to the NA and all-level People’s Councils.
Although the rate of female deputies to the 14th NA and all-level People’s Councils for 2016-2021 was higher than in the previous tenure, it failed to reach the targeted 30 percent.
The world average rate is currently 25.5 percent, and Vietnam ranked 60th globally in this regard during the 14th tenure and fifth in Southeast Asia, after Timor Leste, Singapore, the Philippines, and Laos, she said.
Anh stressed that Vietnam attaches importance to promoting gender equality and women’s engagement in politics, noting that the country’s constitution, policies, and laws on the matter have created a legal framework for women to play a role in political activities.
Le Thi Nguyet, Vice Chairwoman of the Committee, lauded the contributions of female deputies to the country’s development, especially on issues regarding women, children, gender equality, and social welfare.
During the 14th tenure, they actively contributed opinions on draft laws, thematic supervision reports, and Q&A sessions, she added.
A focus of the meeting was how to improve female candidates’ election campaign skills, towards the goal of having more women representatives in elected bodies.
Ninh Thuan cooperatives link up with firms to sell farm produce
Agriculture cooperatives in the south-central province of Ninh Thuan have linked up with companies to increase product value and guarantee outlets, the province’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development has said.
Up to 24 of the province’s 63 agriculture cooperatives have linkages with companies to develop value chains for their products like rice, corn, grapes, asparagus and organic cashew nuts.
The 24 cooperatives produce agricultural products on large-scale fields that use advanced farming techniques.
Many products of the cooperatives have been granted international standard certificates from the EU and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Vietnamese good agricultural practices (VietGAP).
The Tuan Tu General Service Cooperative in Ninh Phuoc district’s An Hai commune grows asparagus on a large-scale field to VietGAP standards and has a farm contract with Tien Tien Organic Agriculture Farm to guarantee outlets for its members.
Hung Ky, director of the Tuan Tu General Service Cooperative, said: “The cooperative supplies loans and fertilisers to its members to grow asparagus and teaches them techniques to produce safe, quality products.”
The agriculture cooperatives’ products have been included in the country’s “one commune – one product” (OCOP) programme in the province.
OCOP products are commercial products and services such as food and beverages, handicrafts and rural tourism services. They are classified at five levels, with a five – star being the highest level.
Dang Kim Cuong, Director of the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and deputy chairman of the appraisal board for the province’s OCOP programme, said that seven cooperatives participated in the province’s OCOP programme last year.
The cooperative’s products like red onion, fresh jujube, dried jujube and asparagus are rated three or four-star OCOP products.
The province is promoting OCOP products in combination with tourism services via cooperatives, companies and households.
The Thai An General Agriculture Service Cooperative in Ninh Hai district’s Vinh Hai commune had its NH01 – 152 grape recognised as a four-star OCOP product last year, and its NH01 – 152 grape growing area has become a tourism destination.
Nguyen Khac Phong, director of Thai An, said the province had assigned the co-operative to expand the cultivation of its NH01 – 152 grape to serve tourism services.
Besides its NH01 – 152 grape, Thai An has other seven products, including dried jujube, dried grape, and fresh red grape and grape wine, granted as three-star OCOP products.
“The co-operative’s OCOP products have created motivation for the co-operative to promote production and expand its market,” he said.
With their effective operation, the provinces’ agriculture cooperatives had an average revenue of 2.1 billion VND (90,000 USD) and average profit of 250 million VND (10,800 USD) last year, up 9.4 percent and 13.6 percent, respectively, against 2019, according to the province’s Co-operative Alliance.
Ninh Thuan targets that its collective economy will contribute 8.8 – 9 percent of its gross regional domestic product (GRDP) this year, according to the provincial People’s Committee.
The province aims to establish 10 – 12 new cooperatives and 10 – 15 new co-operative groups, with a total of 200 – 300 members, this year.
Its goal is to have average revenue of 2.2 – 2.25 billion VND (95,000 – 97,200 USD) this year for cooperatives and an average revenue of 260 – 270 million VND for cooperative groups.
It also plans to have 50 – 60 percent of cooperatives operating effectively by 2025, and for the collective economy to contribute 10 – 11 percent of its gross regional domestic product (GRDP) in 2025.
The province will encourage the development of cooperatives in agriculture, small industry, commerce and services, and promote effective new-style cooperatives, and cooperatives that link up with companies to produce agricultural products on large-scale fields with value chains.
Tran Quoc Nam, Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee, said: “The province will help cooperatives to access the central and local governments’ preferential policies on land, loans, infrastructure, human resource training, and advanced techniques for production.”
It will also arrange trade promotions at home and abroad to expand markets for products of cooperatives.
Ninh Thuan, which has the least rainfall in the country, has developed 12 specifically identified products, including grape, jujube, asparagus, sheep, goat, Ca Na fish sauce, My Nghiep brocade products and Bau Truc pottery products./.
Source: VNA/VNS/VOV/VIR/SGT/Nhan Dan/Hanoitimes