By Thanh An – Translated by Uyen Phuong
Kate somerville skin health experts clinic
Ex-leaders of State-owned steel firms stand trial
|The defedants at the first-instance trial that opened on April 12|
The first-instance trial, held by the Hanoi People’s Court, is expected to last 10 days.
Fourteen defendants were charged with “violating regulations on the management and use of State assets, causing losses and wastefulness” under Clause 3 of Article 360 in the 2015 Penal Code.
They included Tran Trong Mung (born in 1949, former General Director of TISCO), Tran Van Kham (born in 1961, former Chairman of the Board of Directors and General Director of TISCO), Mai Van Tinh (born in 1952, former Chairman of the VNS Board of Directors), and Dau Van Hung (born in 1951, former General Director of VNS).
Two former members of the VNS Board of Directors and three former members of the TISCO Board of Directors were accused of “lacking sense of responsibility, causing serious consequences” under Clause 3 of Article 360 in the 2015 Penal Code.
According to the indictment issued by the Supreme People’s Procuracy, the VNS Board of Directors decided the investment in the second-phase production expansion project of TISCO and TISCO was the investor of the project.
This project initially had total investment of more than 3.8 trillion VND (164.9 million USD at the current exchange rate). The China Metallurgical Group Corporation (MCC) won the construction bid in 2007.
On July 12, 2007, then TISCO General Director Tran Trong Mung and MCC General Director Shen Heting signed an engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contract worth over 160 million USD (equivalent to over 3.5 trillion VND). The value, including taxes and expenses necessary for contract implementation, was stipulated not to change during the implementation process.
TISCO and MCC launched the implementation on September 29, 2007. However, after more than 11 months since the contract took effect, MCC still failed to select or contract with subcontractors, or carry out the EPC contract. Instead, it proposed extending the contract implementation duration and raising the contract value by more than 138 million USD.
The indictment said that although the related individuals at TISCO and VNS were aware that MCC had infringed the contract and groundlessly proposed the implementation extension and value hike, they did not consider contract termination, revoke the advance, or report to competent persons to abolish the bidding result and re-organise the bidding process so as to ensure the project’s effectiveness and progress.
Among the defendants, TISCO General Director Mung held the overall responsibility for the project’s effectiveness while VNS Chairman Mai Van Tinh was in charge of approving and directing the project implementation.
The Supreme People’s Procuracy held that the violations of rules on the management of State assets and the lack of sense of responsibility by those at TISCO and VNS have caused losses of over 830 billion VND to the State. The sum is the interest rate TISCO had to pay to banks for the period from the time the project began lagging behind schedule, on May 31, 2011, to the date an official investigation was launched, on April 18, 2019./.
HCM City to bolster administrative reforms
HCM City plans further administrative reforms as part of efforts to enhance its competitiveness and attract more investment under a new urban administration model, its People’s Committee chairman has said.
Nguyễn Thành Phong told a meeting held to discuss urban administration that the new model, to be implemented from July under a National Assembly resolution, would streamline governance and resolve some major issues faced by the city.
It requires administrative decisions to be made by grassroots-level authorities, the public and enterprises in a timely, precise and organised manner, he said.
The model would help reduce the time taken to finalise socio-economic plans, he added.
The city began abolishing district and ward people’s councils years ago to reduce duplication of responsibilities and tasks and reduce expenditure, and governance improved.
In a rapidly growing urban area like HCM City, district and ward people’s councils are an intermediary authority with limited powers that slows down the process of governance.
Phong said the city would this year restart the elimination of people’s councils, getting rid of them in 19 districts and 259 wards by around mid-year.
In November last year, the National Assembly passed a resolution on urban administration in HCM City that includes elimination of people’s councils at district and ward levels.
It provides for the city People’s Committee and People’s Council, but at the district and ward levels there is only the former.
The organisation of other administrative units in the city is governed by the Law on Local Government Organisation.
Interestingly, Thủ Đức City in HCM City, formed by merging Districts 2, 9 and Thủ Đức, has a People’s Council and People’s Committee.
HCM City’s job market shows signs of recovery
The labour market in Ho Chi Minh City showed signs of recovery in the first quarter of this year with more than 44,000 job positions on offer while nearly 19,500 others looked for jobs in the period.
The HCM City Human Resources Forecast and Labour Market Information (Falmi) Centre said the demand for human resources across sectors went up 13.14 percent year-on-year.
The highest demand for labour was seen in services with 70.38 percent of total vacant jobs, followed by industry (29.51 percent) and agriculture (0.11 percent). Notably, such sectors as processing and manufacturing, retail and wholesale, motor vehicle maintenance and repair, construction, education and training, and information and communications were the most desperate for workforce.
The centre said the demand for trained labourers made up 85.72 percent, including 22.19 percent of university graduates or holders of higher education degrees, mostly in finance-banking, IT, architecture, electricity, marketing, management and health care.
Meanwhile, the need for untrained workers accounted for 14.28 percent of the total demand, mainly in chemicals, garment-textile, business-trade, printing, tourism, and lodging and catering services.
Falmi said despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, many socio-economic indicators have shown good growth on a yearly basis. Therefore, many enterprises have drawn up recruitment plans to realise their new business strategies./.
National Online Book Festival launched
The 2021 National Online Book Festival will be held from April 17 to May 15 with a variety of activities nationwide in response to Vietnam Book Day (April 21).
In preparation for the festival, all technological platforms have been readied to serve readers. Numerous exchange activities and forums will take place on book365.vn.
This is the second year the National Online Book Festival is held with the message “Bringing books to everywhere”.
The National Online Book Festival is expected to serve over 60% of readers in many localities outside Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.
The organising board also aims to attract over 100 publishing houses and units around the country and have a minimum of 10 million hits as well as 10,000 book titles for sale and over 30,000 books for readers.
Three more imported COVID-19 cases confirmed on April 12 morning
Vietnam recorded three new COVID-19 cases in the past 12 hours to 6am on April 12, lifting the national tally to 2,696, the Ministry of Health (MoH) said.
All the new infections are imported cases and have been quarantined since their arrival in the country.
According to the MoH’s Medical Service Administration, 2,429 patients have been successfully cured as of April 10, while the death toll remained at 35.
Among active patients undergoing treatment at medical establishments nationwide, 22 tested negative to coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 once, 11 twice and 17 others thrice.
The ministry reported that an additional 6,005 people were given COVID-19 vaccinations from April 5-11, bringing the total number of vaccinated people to 58,418.
To live safely with the pandemic, the MoH advised people to continue preventive measures, including the “5K message” (in Vietnamese) – Khau trang (facemask) – (Khu khuan) disinfection – (Khoang cach) distance – (Khong tu tap) no gathering – (Khai bao y te) health declaration./.
Do Son to pilot coastal pedestrian street
Do Son District authorities in Hai Phong City are planning to pilot a pedestrian street along the beach along with various events on the coming Reunification Holiday.
It is also a part of the tourism festival under the title Do Son-The Colour of The Sea 2021.
Hoang Xuan Minh, chairman of Do Son District People’s Committee, said there would be six main events for this year tourism festival including female beach volleyball, coastal pedestrian street, Do Son-The Colour of The Sea 2021 music show, vintage car parade, EDM show and ground-breaking ceremony of the road connecting the coastal street with Van Bun intersection.
The vintage car parade is one of the highlights of the festival. Members of car and motorbike clubs in Hai Phong and nearby provinces will bring their cars to the parade which will be held on May 1 at May 15 Square. Well-known singers like Ho Quynh Huong, Bao Tram and Dinh Quang Hat will join the Do Son -The Colour of The Sea 2021 music show.
According to Do Son authorities, they have rearranged the services in tourist areas and cleared the pavements to ensure a nicer urban landscape.
The buoy water park was asked to close temporarily for a beach cleaning on April 23.
The pilot coastal pedestrian street will be opened on the weekends and holidays. The 700m street will run along Van Huong Street.
Central hospital recognised for outstanding expertise
A hospital in the central province of Nghệ An has been recognised as having the highest level of expertise in medical examination and treatment in the north-central region.
A recognition ceremony was held for the Nghệ An Friendship General Hospital yesterday.
In attendance were National Assembly Chairman Vương Đình Huệ, Minister of Health Nguyễn Thanh Long, and representatives from other hospitals in the region.
Speaking at the event, Long said the achievement was the result of tireless efforts from the hospital’s board of directors, doctors, nurses and staff.
“The hospital becoming the best hospital in the north-central region plays a vital role in developing the local and regional health sectors,” he said.
“The quality of medical examination and treatment will be greatly improved in Nghệ An Province, which will ease overloading at other hospitals and provide better healthcare for residents in the province, in other provinces, and even in Laos.”
Lond added that he hoped the hospital would continue its success and improve its services to become a special-class hospital in the next five years.
“The Ministry of Health pays special attention to residents in the northwest, north-central, south-central, Central Highlands and southwest regions, where access to quality healthcare is still difficult.
“With this achievement, the hospital will help improve healthcare services in the north-central region, and also maximise its potential and strengths in taking care of residents’ health,” he said.
Four high-end ventilators were given to the hospital on the same day by NA Chairman Huệ and Minister of Health Long.
The Nghệ An Friendship General Hospital, formerly known as the Vinh Hospital, was founded on September 18, 1918. It was recognised as a first-class hospital in February 2009.
Education Ministry officially approves online training
According to a new circular issued by the ministry, heads of the schools can decide on whether to organise online classes to support or replace school classrooms when students cannot go to schools due to a force majeure event or circumstance.
“Online classes should ensure quality regarding syllabus, teachers and devices. The ministry will conduct regular checks, tests, and assessment,” the circular said.
Many schools nationwide have recently organised online learning following the lock-downs due to COVID-19 outbreaks. However, most schools were not well-prepared for these types of classes.
With this circular, schools will have directions to offer better quality online training.
Kites show off their beauty in Ho Chi Minh City’s skies
Most days in April in Ho Chi Minh City are sunny and breezy, which is perfect for flying kites, and city dwellers don’t miss the chance to take their mind away from the hustle and bustle of life in the metropolis.
Flying kites, a traditional game for generations of Vietnamese, lost its position to video games and social networks some years ago but has regained popularity among many youngsters in recent times.
More kite flying areas have now popped up around Ho Chi Minh City, such as under Thu Thiem Bridge and at Vinhomes – Landmark 81 Park and the Phu My Hung urban area in District 7, among others. People can look skywards and find peace and tranquillity amid the hustle and bustle of the southern economic hub.
Kite flying season often begins after the lunar new year (Tet) holiday and lasts until June. The most wonderful time is March and April, as the weather is both sunny and breezy.
Project approved to boost growth of agricultural biotech industry
The Prime Minister has approved a project on developing the agricultural biotechnology industry to 2030 with the aim of optimising the country’s potential in researching, applying, and mastering advanced biotechnologies in the agricultural sector.
Vietnam is expected to master a number of new-generation biotechnologies by 2030 under the project, producing highly-applicable products and raising the number of biotechnology firms in the agro-forestry-fisheries sector by 30 percent compared to the 2021-2025 period.
By 2030, Vietnam’s agricultural biotechnology industry is hoped to be at the same level of development as those in leading countries in the region and the world.
The project will support biotechnology firms and science-technology and technology transfer organisations, while strengthening personnel training in the field.
To this end, it defines six missions and five solutions, including the building and development of a legal system as well as mechanisms and policies to promote the growth of the biotechnology industry, increase international cooperation in the field, and strengthen communications to raise public awareness about the agricultural biotechnology industry.
In particular, biotechnology businesses will be developed to produce agricultural products at industrial scale to promote safe and organic farming, along with bioproducts serving the processing and storing of farm produce, and vaccines and medicines for aquatic farming and breeding.
Programme calls for support to poor students nationwide
A programme called “Dieu uoc cho em” (Wishes for children) was launched on April 11 to call for resources to support the development of education in extremely difficult areas.
The programme is a joint effort of the Ministry of Education and Training, the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union’s Central Committee, and the Vietnam Red Cross Society, with an agreement signed the same day.
Addressing the launching ceremony, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam said that in many areas across the country, children are facing poor living and studying conditions.
He hoped that the community will join hands to take care of children, stressing that the programme is expected to have the engagement of Party organisations, administrations in localities, organisations and businesses, thus providing poor students with nutritious meals and stable schools with playgrounds and hygienic toilets.
Donors can respond to the programme through the national humanity portal at http://inhandao.vn/Điều ước cho em.
Currently, nearly 2,000 schools in 39 cities and provinces have registered to receive support in the portal, while 5,000 schools have given their specific needs.
Many domestic and foreign businesses have committed to supporting the building of schools and toilets, and provide lunch to 30,000 students as well as scholarships to poor students with total value of 127 billion VND (5.51 million USD).
Quang Tri safely handles nearly 500 billets, explosives
A bomb and mine clearing team in the central province of Quang Tri has found nearly 500 billets and unexploded ordnances (UXOs) left from the war in Vinh Linh district’s Vinh Tu commune.
The bomb and mining clearing team of NPA/RENEW – a cooperative programme between Quang Tri and foreign NGOs, and Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) to restore the environment and address the consequences of war, discovered an ammunition depot with a total of 495 bullets and explosives of all kinds in an acacia forest in Huynh Cong Tay village.
This ammunition depot is almost intact, with many bullets still have detonators and pose a danger to local people.
All of these bullets and explosives were removed safely by the team.
Quang Tri is striving to, by 2025, become the first province in Vietnam to be safe from UXOs left over by the war.
Measures needed to reduce traffic accidents, fatalities: Official
Despite traffic safety improvements and a drop in the number of accidents overall, the amount of fatal road collisions remains high.
Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh, who is Chairman of the National Committee for Traffic Safety, revealed the information at an online conference on April 9.
Binh said traffic statistics from the first three months of the year did show a reduction in accidents, but this was mainly due to less vehicles on the road because of the Tet holiday and social distancing measures in a number of localities.
But he warned that despite the drop in accidents in general, many lives were still lost on the roads and overloading, plus traffic congestion, remained a concern.
Minister of Transport Nguyen Van The said one of the reasons roads were getting busier was because of the large amount of new vehicles being registered, which he estimated at around 500,000 each year.
With such an increase in cars, over the next five to seven years, the level of congestion will be very large if we do not have radical solutions right now, he said.
Vietnam recorded 3,206 traffic accidents in the first three months this year, killing 1,672 people and injuring 2,386 others. The number of accidents and injured people decreased by 263 and 183 respectively compared with the same period last year but the number of fatalities increased by 33, according to the National Committee for Traffic Safety.
Speaking at the conference, Deputy Minister of Public Security Nguyen Duy Ngoc proposed several measures to improve traffic safety and order.
Ngoc said that as Vietnam was on economic development mission, transport infrastructure improvements were crucial.
He suggested that provincial and municipal traffic safety committees must learn from experience what has been done well and what improvements were needed.
He added that although the country still has many accident black spots, improvements had been made to about 20 percent of them.
The Ministry of Public Security will direct traffic safety campaigns to educate motorists.
It will also strengthen coordination between police, prosecutors and the courts to ensure strict punishments for those who violate traffic laws.
“For illegal racing, we will assign provincial and municipal police and the court to open trials in public to create a strong deterrence,” said Ngoc.
Finally, the Ministry of Transport and traffic safety committees will be asked to review all recommendations and prioritise those that need to be done first.
Lao students celebrate Bunpimay Festival in Vietnam
More than 400 Lao students studying in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue gathered on April 10 night to celebrate Bunpimay, the traditional New Year Festival of Laos.
The Bunpimay festival is observed from April 14-16 annually to pray for good weather, health, abundant harvests and prosperity.
At the event, participants practiced traditional rituals of the festival, including Buddha statue bathing and thread tying.
Phimmachanh Luckyjane, a second-year student of the College of Economics under the Hue University said that the event made he feel like at home. Phimmachanh thanked leaders of the university and authorities of Thua Thien Hue for supporting them in both study and life.
According to Tran Cong Phu, Director of the provincial Department of External Relations, said that over the years, the province has strengthened cooperation with Lao localities in all fields, especially education and training.
Each year, Thua Thien-Hue provides 10 scholarships to Lao students. Since 2002, the province has received 1,200 Lao students, more than a half of them have graduated.
Meanwhile, the northern province of Thai Nguyen also held a get-together to celebrate the Lao traditional New Year, which drew representatives from the Lao Embassy in Vietnam, local authorities and more than 250 Lao students in the locality.
This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many Lao and Cambodian students are not able to return home for this special occasion. The event showed Thai Nguyen’s attention to the students.
Currently, 1,800 Lao and Cambodian students are studying at 11 universities and colleges in Thai Nguyen.
RoK further stimulates tourism in Vietnam
The Korean Tourism Organisation (KTO) in Vietnam has stepped up tourism promotion activities to prepare for its reopening to international visitors in the context that COVID-19 vaccination campaigns have been deployed in many countries, including the Republic of Korea (RoK) and Vietnam.
The promotions have been carried out through many activities and digital platforms, including an online travel photo contest, and cultural promotion and tourism stimulation events such as “Korean Culture Days 2021 in Quang Nam” in Hoi An ancient city from April 10-11.
KTO Chief Representative in Vietnam Park Jong-sun said he hoped these cultural events will contribute to increasing the interest and love of Vietnamese people for Korean tourism in particular and the RoK in general.
The RoK has been carefully preparing to welcome Vietnamese tourists and international friends as soon as the COVID-19 pandemic is kept under control, he added.
NA Chairman pays working trip to central Nghe An province
National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue attended a ceremony in central Nghe An province on April 11 where the Ministry of Health handed over a decision recognising the Nghe An General Friendship Hospital as an end-line hospital in medical checkup and treatment in the north central region.
Handing over the decision to the hospital, Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long said that as a tertiary referral hospital providing health check-up and treatment services, the Nghe An General Friendship Hospital will play a stronger role in the development of the health sector of Nghe An province in particular and the whole north central region in general.
Long expressed his hope that the quality of services provided by the hospital will continue to be improved, dealing with the overload and better meeting the demand of residents in Nghe An as well as neighbouring provinces and Laos
With the support of central hospitals, the 100-year-old Nghe An General Friendship Hospital has succeeded to master 90 percent of high medical techniques practiced in central hospitals to treat difficult and complicated cases.
Stressing that the health sector is striving to enhance medical services for people and ensuring a fair, high-quality and effective system, Long said that the ministry has paid special attention to facilitating poor people’s access to medical services in the northwestern, northern central, south central, Central Highlands and southwestern regions.
The recognition of the Nghe An General Friendship Hospital as an end-line hospital aims to realise this goal, he added.
Founded on September 18, 1918, the hospital is the biggest of its kind in Nghe An with 58 faculties and nearly 1,800 staff members.
On the occasion, NA Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue presented two ventilators to the hospital, while Minister Nguyen Thanh Long also handed over two others to the facility.
Earlier on April 10, the NA leader paid tribute to President Ho Chi Minh at the Kim Lien Special National Relic Site in Nam Dan district of Nghe An province.
Ca Mau focuses on development of skilled workforce
The southernmost province of Ca Mau is planning to train 140,000 skilled workers in the 2011-2015 period in order to meet the requirements of the fourth Industrial Revolution.
According to the provincial Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, an average of 38,000 local workers are provided with jobs every year.
A wide range of measures and policies have been implemented to support workers in seeking employment.
Links between employees and employers have been promoted through different channels, such as the internet, conferences, and job transaction sessions.
Deputy Director of the provincial Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, Tu Hoang An, said local authorities have focused on generating jobs for local workers through labour export activities.
This is an important solution that helps the locality realise its target of sustainable poverty reduction, he noted.
The positive results in job creation in Ca Mau can be attributed to the efforts of relevant agencies and those operating in vocational training and job introduction.
Ca Mau’s population stands at nearly 1.2 million people, including 690,000 workers aged 15 and over. Local workers are mainly self-apprentices or self-employed, using the available resources of their families.
As of the beginning of 2021, the rate of trained workers in Ca Mau was over 50 percent.
Director of the provincial Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Nguyen Quoc Thanh said the locality will continue to invest in expanding the scale of the Vietnam-Korea Vocational School, to properly conduct training to meet requirements in each field, with priority given to key occupations and those serving the province’s priority economic sectors.
Efforts also aim to satisfy the recruitment demand of businesses amid the fourth Industrial Revolution, Thanh said.
Attention has been also paid to promoting training and the development of the local workforce, and attracting outside workers to meet the locality’s development demand, he added.
Thanh said provincial authorities have proposed the Government soon issue new policies relating to training support for workers from policy beneficiary families and ethnic minority groups, demobilised soldiers, people with disabilities, and rural workers.
Romanian media optimistic about stronger bilateral relations with Vietnam
Romanian media have reported that the Vietnamese National Assembly had successfully consolidated key leadership positions, and showed their hope Vietnam-Romania cooperative ties would develop to a new height in the future.
Major news and press agencies such as Agerpres, Romaniatv.net, Republicatv.ro, Proarges.ro, Digi24.ro, and Stirileprotv.ro simultaneously reported the event that the Vietnamese NA approved senior leadership positions, who are expected to inherit impressive achievements of Vietnam in the past term and create new development steps, including further promoting the good tradition of the Vietnam – Romania friendship.
Under the timely and close leadership and direction of the Party and State, along with the drastic direction of the Government, Vietnam overcame three waves of COVID-19 pandemic outbreaks, bringing the Vietnamese economy to become one of the economies that has stably developed, not severely affected by the pandemic, and reaching a growth rate of 2.91 percent by 2020.
The Romanian media said that at the beginning of the 2016-2021 government term, the size of the Vietnamese economy ranked 48th, but Vietnam’s ranking has increased 11 places to 37th in the world.
Vietnam is expected to join the group of developed countries with high income in 2045, the Romanian media stressed.
Vietnam’s participation in international trade agreements, especially the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the European Union-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) , and its role as ASEAN Chair in 2020, and a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council at present are the hallmarks proving the integration, prestige and responsibility of Vietnam in the international arena.
The news outlets also spotlighted the fruitful development of the traditional friendship and multifaceted cooperation between Vietnam and Romania over the last seven decades.
Vietnam is one of Romania’s major economic partners in Asia and a leading trade partner of the European country in Southeast Asia, they said, adding that these are a foundation for stronger development of the bilateral cooperative relations in the coming time.
Russian expert highlights Vietnam’s role in Eurasian integration processes
Russian’s e-newspaper Infox.ru has run an article written by Grigory Trofimchuk, Chairman of the Expert Council of the Foundation for the Support of Scientific Research “Workshop of Eurasian Ideas,” highlighting the role of Vietnam in the Eurasian integration processes.
In the article, the author wrote that the great role and potential of Vietnam in the field have yet to be fully evaluated and optimised.
Vietnam is currently at the centre of the global economy, he noted, adding that Vietnam is one of the leading countries in the ASEAN and is reinforcing its position by specific economic indicators.
Right amid the adverse impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, Vietnam still posted GDP growth of 2.91 percent in 2020, which may reach 7.1 percent in 2021 as predicted by the United Oversea Bank, making it one of the fastest growing countries in the Asia-Pacific region, the author said.
He also cited prestigious sources as saying that Vietnam is among the 40 largest economies in the world and the fourth in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The country is also one of the 10 fastest growing countries in the world and among 16 most successful newly-emerging economies in the globe.
The expert asserted that Vietnam has shown the world that free trade has overcome all artificial barriers and restrictions.
A stable and secure investment environment, guaranteed by the government of Vietnam, is one of the most reliable political foundations in the world for the implementation of large-scale and long-term economic activities, he wrote.
Trofimchuk held that Vietnam will continue to grow in the next 10 years, and the successes in trade and economic cooperation between Vietnam and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) have encouraged other ASEAN countries to become more actively involved in the integration processes in the Eurasian space.
Vietnam wins gold at Asia Pacific Mechatronics Skills Competition
Two Vietnamese contestants participating in the Asia Pacific Mechatronics Skills Competition have won a gold medal during the event held on April 8 in an online format.
The pair successfully surpassed a number of strong regional rivals at the competition, including those from the Republic of Korea, Japan, and Singapore, in order to bring home the gold medal.
After achieving this outstanding result, the Vietnamese team will now have the chance to compete at the WorldSkills Competition which is scheduled to take place in Shanghai, China, in 2022.
Livelihood support programme benefits landmine victims in Quang Ngai
A programme to provide livelihoods, free medical check-ups and medicines for victims of landmines and unexploded ordnances (UXOs) left from the war was held in the central province of Quang Ngai on April 11.
Jointly organised by the Vietnam Association for Supporting UXO/Mine Action Efforts (VNASMA), its chapter in Quang Ngai, the Peace Foundation and the Ho Chi Minh City University of Medicine and Pharmacy, the programme also aimed to raise public awareness of preventing post-war bomb and mine accidents in Quang Ngai.
At the event, about 500 people who are victims of Agent Orange (AO)/dioxin and landmines and UXO accidents, and poor patients in Nghia Hanh and Ba To districts were given free medical check-ups and medicines.
Twenty poor households in the districts were also presented with cows worth 12 million VND (around 521 USD) each, while 20 other families with difficult circumstances were provided with 15 million VND each to help them repair their houses.
Meanwhile, 40 bicycles, worth 2 million VND each, were given to needy students who show good performance in their study.
VNASMA Chairman Nguyen Duc Soat said after seven years of operation, the association has supported many victims of landmine/UXO accidents, helping them escape from poverty and improve their incomes.
Quang Ngai is one of the localities that are heavily suffering post-war bomb and mine pollution. Statistics show that the province has over 20 percent of natural land contaminated with over 17,500 tonnes of post-war bombs, mines and UXOs left in the ground, lakes, and coastal areas.
Since 1975, Quang Ngai has recorded nearly 2,300 victims of post-war landmine and UXO accidents, including nearly 1,600 injured people. Most of the victims become a burden to their families, so they really need assistance to overcome difficulties.
COVID-19 vaccination for national football team to be postponed
Plans to vaccinate players of the national football team against the SARS-CoV-2 virus have been delayed following the conclusion of domestic V.League fixtures on April 18, according to an announcement made by the Vietnam Football Federation (VFF).
These changes have been made to better suit the schedule of those participating in the games in the V.League 1 and V.League 2. Matches will be temporarily paused after April 18, as the players have few days off before returning to compete in the National Football Cup 2021 from April 23.
National team players had originally been scheduled to be vaccinated on April 8, 9, 13, and 17, but now the schedule has been changed for inoculations to take place after April 18.
Meanwhile, chief coach Park Hang-seo and his assistants got the first vaccine shot on April 5.
Thirty-four players are due to gather in mid-May for a training camp before they fly to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on May 31 in the lead-up to the World Cup 2022 qualifiers, Asian region.
Vietnam are scheduled to take on Indonesia on June 7, Malaysia on June 11, and hosts the UAE on June 15.
Project promotes development of climate change-resilient green cities
Funded by the Global Environment Fund (GEF) and the ADB, the project will be implemented nationwide over five years and focus on updating and making adjustments to the Green City Action Plan (GCAP), improving environmental quality, and increasing resilience to climate change in master urban environmental plans for Ha Giang city in northern mountainous Ha Giang province, Hue city in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue, and Vinh Yen city in the northern province of Vinh Phuc.
After assessing the results of the green and smart city action plan in these cities, similar plans will be outlined for six other secondary cities.
Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Vo Tuan Nhan, who is also deputy head of the steering committee for the project, said this is an important and urgent undertaking.
He emphasised the need to have more regulations for promoting green lifestyles and production, sustainable consumption, and improvements to urban environment quality towards climate change adaptation in the national legal and policy systems.
At the workshop, experts and representatives from localities discussed and proposed measures relating to amendments to old urban plans, and updated others on green city action plans for six other secondary cities.
Last hospital field in Vietnam’s Covid-19 epicentre closed
The last field hospital for Covid-19 patients in the northern province of Hai Duong has been officially closed after finishing its tasks.
The hospital was upgraded from a workshop area of Sao Do University’s vocational training centre in Chi Linh City. The hospital, which started operation from February 26, provided treatment for 193 Covid-19 patients.
To date, only 21 among the patients remain. They have been sent to the Hai Duong Hospital for Tropical Diseases for further treatment.
Earlier, due to the Covid-19 outbreak in Hai Duong, three field hospitals were built in the locality. They are now all shut and no Covid-19 patients at the hospitals have died.
By Wednesdays, the province had 726 Covid-19 cases, including 685 discharged from hospital. At present, only four among a total of 17,561 people who had close contact with Coviod-19 cases are still being quarantined.
Deforestation past continuing to haunt erosion-hit areas
More work is required to deal with poor soil conditions and erosion in the central coastal province of Thua Thien-Hue after an environmental scientist made a fact-finding mission last month.
Dr. Greg Nagle took several eye-opening photographs during his March 21 trip near the National Road No.49 between A Luoi and Hong Ha areas. “I think that this is unusually erosive terrain here,” commented Dr. Nagle, adding that “most often, the worst erosion comes from logging and roads changing hill slope hydrology.”
However, some of the visible erosion in the area could also be the result of deforestation by Agent Orange over 50 years ago, or by bombs as there are also landslides in some areas which were not directly impacted by roads or logging, he added.
Although the war ended nearly half a century ago, the footprints of the war in some of Vietnam’s areas remain visible today. The rural district of A Luoi was one of the places that saw some of the heaviest fighting and bombing. The area around the infamous Hamburger Hill was the theatre of massive US bombing with the A Luoi valley hit with spray runs with Agent Blue, Agent White, and Agent Orange, as research by David Biggs portrayed.
However, the war is not the only reason for deforestation in Vietnam and wider Southeast Asia, which saw its forest cover fall from 66 to 49 per cent between 1960 and 1990, as research by Rodolphe De Koninck pointed out. As Vietnam was the country that lost most of its forest cover during this period, social and economic consequences for farmers greatly increased as they tried to support their livelihoods.
Other studies have shown that deforestation in Southeast Asia has not occurred because of a single factor, but instead a host of economic and ecological causes.
For instance in 2000, Vietnam started a massive programme around the country to grow hybrid Acacia mangium, an evergreen fast-growing tropical tree which is now one of the country’s main exports for wood for chips and in the manufacturing of furniture, offering a serious cash flow for remote mountain communities. “These trees are grown in about five years and are small enough to be mostly harvested and moved by hand in many places,” explained Nagle.
However, some scientists have pointed out that inappropriate management practices can cause soil erosion in the area. “A number of current practices have the potential to degrade these sites in several ways,” said Sadanandan E.K. Nambiar from the The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation in a paper with two other scientists. They also argued that a “number of current practices have the potential to degrade these sites in several ways.”
After harvest, tops and branches may be removed for fuel and the remaining biomass burned, which exposes the soil. Together with bulldozing and windrowing operations, the bare soil surface is exposed to rains, leading to serious soil erosion.
Nagle explained, “Some of what we are seeing here is serious soil damage with a loss in long-term productivity.” Forestry cannot be sustained with such damage, he added. “This is some of the worst forestry-related erosion I have ever seen anywhere in the world, although there were places as bad as this on very erosive soils in the Redwood region of northern California which were logged in the 1950s-1970s.”
Although there is a multitude of reasons for the area’s soil erosion and not a single action or entity to blame for, the pictures taken a fortnight ago show that the soil condition poses serious challenges to the local populace and economy.
Local media reported last October and November that several national highways in Central Vietnam were ravaged by landslides, which also destroyed parts of the National Road No.49 running through Thua Thien-Hue.
In an interview in November, Trinh Xuan Hoa, deputy head of the Vietnam Institute of Geosciences and Mineral Resources under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, argued that deforestation and construction projects among many other factors were the cause of the landslides in the region. “Human activities including deforestation and road construction have hastened geological changes in the area,” he explained.
More than VND2 billion to help improve children’s reading culture
A new library that is “excellent in facilities and book categories”, according to the regulations of the Ministry of Education and Training for school libraries, was inaugurated and handed over to the Ngo Quyen Primary School, Binh Tan District, Ho Chi Minh City, on April 9.
This is the result of the project “Developing libraries and reading culture at Ngo Quyen Primary School”, which is being implemented from 2020-2021 with the aim of improving the quality of education through improving the quality of the library.
With a budget of more than VND2 billion, the project is supported by KB Securities Vietnam Joint Stock Company (KBS) through two organisations: ChildFund Korea and ActionAid Vietnam (AAV).
The new library covers an area of 120 square metres, with nearly 16,400 books of all kinds, such as: textbooks, professional books, reference books, and children’s books. It is equipped with computers, which have been installed with book management software and a modern library operating system allowing up to 90 students to read at the same time.
The project also organises a book festival programme, along with many activities such as introducing books, reading and storytelling competitions about books, visiting the library, to promote reading culture, with the participation of nearly 500 children.
Binh Tan is a densely populated district of Ho Chi Minh City, with about 790,000 people as of 2020. Of these, about 60% are immigrants. Despite a lot of investment, the public education service delivery system in Binh Tan has not kept up with the pressure of the large number of immigrants.
Located in the heart of Vinh Loc Industrial Park, Ngo Quyen Primary School is one of the schools with the greatest pressure from immigrants, with about 3,500 students in 2018-2019, of which 50% are migrant children. The current number of students at the school is 50 students per class, much higher than the regulations. In the 2019 – 2020 school year, the school has more than 4,000 students.
Exhausted after strike drama, Quang Ninh thumped by Hanoi FC
Than Quảng Ninh’s players won a partial victory on Saturday off the pitch, but were unable to triumph at Hàng Đẫy Stadium on Sunday night.
The away side were comfortably beaten by a resurgent Hà Nội FC by a score of four goals to nil, but the bigger result was securing a portion of the money they’re owed by the club on Saturday.
Quảng Ninh managed to scrape together some of the VNĐ90 billion (US$3.9 million) they reportedly owe their long-suffering players after a pair of dramatic meetings in recent days, though it took threats to down tools again after refusing to train in early April to even secure that.
The Quảng Ninh Province side have been the league’s surprise package this year, somehow rising to the top of the V.League 1 table at one point last week contrary to all predictions that they would struggle due to their dire financial situation.
However the trip to Hà Nội was a bridge too far for captain Nguyễn Hải Huy et al and they were easily beaten by the home side, with the drama off the pitch perhaps sapping their energy and contributing to the four first-half goals.
As for Hà Nội, they will be cheered by a return to winning ways, with the performance of star midfielder Nguyễn Quang Hải most encouraging, as the left-footed playmaker scored one goal and assisted another.
That assist came just a minute into the match as Hải whipped a free-kick in from the right-hand side which Ngân Văn Đại steered into the back of the net with his head.
The lead was doubled 16 minutes later when a ruthless Hà Nội counter-attack ended up with Hải one on one with goalkeeper Nguyễn Hoài Anh, and he duly applied a cool left-footed finish.
The game was effectively ended as a contest in the 22nd minute when Hà Nội fullback Lê Văn Xuân fired in a gorgeous long-range shot that skipped just above the ground and nestled into the bottom corner. Xuân has been superb amid Hà Nội’s struggles in recent weeks and fully deserved his goal.
With half-time approaching Quảng Ninh may have thought a respite was coming, but there was time for a fourth goal in added time via a clanger from Anh, who came out of his area to clear a long ball, but completely missed ball and man, providing Geovane Magno with the simplest of finishes.
To their credit, Quảng Ninh didn’t let their heads drop and kept coming at Hà Nội in the second period and created a couple of half-chances, but they never looked like getting back into the game.
The result puts Hà Nội back into the top six in fifth position on 13 points, while Quảng Ninh are third on 18 points.
Bac Giang taps biotechnology in socio-economic development
The northern province of Bắc Giang will promote the application of biotechnology and new material technologies to serve socio-economic development, according to the director of the provincial science and technology department Nguyễn Thanh Bình.
Located in the northern key economic zone and adjacent to major centres such as Hà Nội, Hải Phòng City, and Quảng Ninh Province, Bắc Giang boasts favourable conditions for economic development.
A particular focus of biotechnology and new material technologies are the fields of breeding, preserving, and processing agricultural and forestry products, especially key products such as lychee, Yên Thế free-range chicken, Yên Dũng fragrant rice, Lạng Giang mushrooms, Tân Yên peanuts, Hiệp Hoà grapefruit, and Sơn Động honey; the treatment of waste and wastewater in industrial zones and clusters and trade villages; and health and medical surveillance technology.
The province is also stepping up the application of advanced materials and fuel-saving and environmentally-friendly technologies in production and daily life.
It prioritises developing science and technology, especially biotechnology and new material technologies, supporting the establishment of and improvements to the operational efficiency of science and technology enterprises, innovative enterprises, and start-ups in the fields of information technology, biotechnology, and new material technologies.
Meanwhile, the provincial centre for science and technology application will form an experimental area and conduct research and application and transfer biotechnology and new material technologies.
Over recent years, the strong application of biotechnology has had a positive impact on the province. Its Department of Science and Technology has deployed 91 national and provincial level projects to date in the field of biotechnology, which have been applied to develop high-yield, good-quality crops and animals and contributed to economic restructuring, improving the quality, commercial value, and competitive edge of local agricultural products. By way of example, the breeding and development of new fruit trees such as V2 orange, ODL guava, MC17 and Choquete avocado, late ripe longan, and early thiều litchi have yielded hundreds of billions of đồng a year.
Bac Giang has also applied VietGAP and GlobalGAP standards in cultivation at 39 per cent of orchards and used QR Codes for tracing product origin, together with the iMetos smart weather station, the VietGAP app, and drip irrigation technology.
The province has recently expanded its VietGAP-standard lychee coverage to 14,300 ha and its Global GAP-standard coverage to 258 ha. It also has 218 ha of lychee with cultivation codes granted for export to the US, Australia, and the EU.
Using drip irrigation technology, biological fertilisers, and pesticides, and following VietGAP standards, a tea production model in Yen The District has recorded a 20-30 per cent increase on an annual basis in productivity and revenue. The success of the model helped expand the district’s tea growing area to 530 ha, with a combined output of over 4,300 tonnes a year.
Many local enterprises have applied biotechnology in pollution treatment and environmental pollution recovery. The application of biotechnology in socio-economic development contributed to economic growth in the province averaging 14 per cent per year in the 2015-2020 period. It currently has more than 160 enterprises and household businesses operating in the production of building materials applying new material technologies, including the production of unfired bricks.
The province has received and transferred technology from many projects to produce plywood using new technology.
In the field of medicine, new material technologies have also made a positive contribution to local medical examinations and treatment, such as the application of nanopolymer in medicine and nanomaterials in biomedicine. Their application has also contributed to medical examinations and treatment of local people.
Bắc Giang implemented 74 national and provincial science and technology projects in various fields during the 2015-2020 period, with total funding of over VNĐ222 billion.
Nearly 2,000 entries submitted to Vietnam’s national press awards
The 15th National Press Awards has received 1,823 entries from 114 media agencies around the country, announced the awards’ jury council.
The jury council for the preliminary judgment consisted of 69 members who were divided into groups of prizes with 11 categories.
The entries must highlight the country’s achievements and discover outstanding examples who have made great contributions to national renewal and development; as well as feature the difficulties and limitations of social life and the spirit of fighting against corruption and waste.
The winners are expected to be announced at an awards ceremony on the occasion of Vietnam’s Revolutionary Press Day (June 21).
Source: VNA/VNS/VOV/VIR/SGT/Nhan Dan/Hanoitimes
They are the first out of the total 120 volunteers in the trials to receive the second shot, which is administered 28 days after the first one.
Since the start of the trials (March 15), 96 volunteers have been injected with the first shot and the remainder are expected to be inoculated by April 18.
In July, a mid-term report on the vaccine’s trials is planned to be done.
Covivac, which was developed by the Health Ministry’s Institute of Vaccines and Medical Biologicals, is in the first stage of clinical testing by the Hanoi Medical University’s Centre of Clinical Pharmacology.
According to Associate Professor, Dr Pham Thi Van Anh, head of the centre, 66 volunteers showed slight reactions like swelling in injected area and headache, which disappeared within 24 hours after injection without need for treatment, and no serious side effects were seen during the seven days after injection.
According to Deputy Minister of Health Tran Van Thuan, the ministry is expecting that Vietnam will have its own vaccine for use and even export between late 2021 and early 2022.
HÀ NỘI — The Ministry of Transport (MoT) has asked the Government to add seafarers and maritime workers to the list of frontline workers to receive COVID-19 vaccinations.
This agency also requested the Government to direct the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to help Vietnamese crew members who stuck abroad return home on repatriation flights.
Vietnamese seafarers who are quarantined in concentrated isolation areas should be prioritised at an affordable cost, the MoT said in the written request to governments and People’s Committees of provinces and cities.
At the end of March, leaders of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the World Health Organisation (WHO) issued a joint statement calling on United Nations member states to put seafarers and crew members at the head of the vaccine queue to facilitate safe travel between countries.
In a letter sent to the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), Nguyễn Xuân Sang, Director of the Vietnam Maritime Administration and Deputy Secretary-General of the IMO Vietnam, asked IMO to prioritise COVID-19 vaccinations for sailors regardless of their nationality.
Sang proposed that IMO member countries include maritime workers on their priority lists , administering the vaccines to sailors and maritime workers on vessels that dock at ports under their management.
The Vietnam Shipowners’ Association the move is to keep nation supplied with vital goods and contributing to the recovery and stabilisation of the economy.
Volunteers injected with made-in-Vietnam COVID candidate vaccine
Six volunteers on Monday received the second shot of a homegrown COVID-19 vaccine, COVIVAC.
These people were injected with the first shot of COVIVAC, Việt Nam’s second candidate vaccine against SARS-CoV-2, on March 15.
The vaccine was developed by Nha Trang-based Institute of Vaccines and Medical Biologicals (IVAC).
Ninety-six volunteers have been had been given the first shot in the first phase of COVIVAC’s clinical trials, according to Phạm Thị Vân Anh, director of Centre for Clinical Pharmacology, Hà Nội Medical University.
There were no serious reactions after 24-hours and 7-days in the volunteers.
Reactions were expected, mostly mild symptoms such as pain at the injection site and headache.
It is expected that the first shot of COVIVAC vaccine’s test will be completed on April 18 for 120 volunteers. — VNS
Fruit, vegetable sector targets export revenue of $10 billion
The agricultural sector has determined to improve quality to meet import market standards and achieve the export target of 10 billion USD by 2030.
Of which, the proportion of export turnover of processed fruit and vegetable products will reach 30 per cent or more; fruit and vegetable processing capacity will reach two million tonnes per year, nearly double that of last year.
To achieve these goals, the agricultural sector will boost investment in improving the capacity of fruit and vegetable processing in the future; develop establishments for preliminary processing and preservation of fresh fruits and vegetables as well as promoting key fruit and vegetable products and high value-added products.
New stocks on HoSE will temporarily trade on HNX
Companies that want to list on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange (HoSE) will temporarily trade on the Ha Noi Stock Exchange (HNX) as a temporary solution to the overload issue occurring on HoSE since the end of last year.
The State Securities Commission (SSC) of Viet Nam recently instructed HOSE and HNX as well as the Viet Nam Securities Depository (VSD) to implement temporary regulations on listing and conversion processes to reduce the load on HOSE’s trading system.
Accordingly, enterprises wishing to list during this period can submit registration documents to HNX or HOSE.
For enterprises that want to list new shares or transfer their listing from HNX to HOSE, HOSE will receive and process their documents.
After assessing and issuing the listing decisions, these shares will be temporarily traded on HNX.
Once the congestion problem is solved, these companies are allowed to transfer transactions back to HOSE without reviewing their profiles.
Regulations such as trading mechanisms, transaction supervision, listing management, reporting and information disclosure for businesses whose shares are listed on HOSE and are transferred to HNX also apply for companies that listed on the HNX.
HOSE and HNX will work together to supervise the transactions of these stocks to ensure continuity in supervision.
HOSE, HNX and VSD inform enterprises and investors about the temporary suspension of trading of new shares on HOSE and the difference between the trading mechanism of these stock exchanges in the process of transferring the trading of listed shares to HNX from HOSE.
The above provisions apply from April 8 until the SSC releases a new notice and guidance.
PV Power reports over $31.2 mln in post-tax profit in Q1
PetroVietnam Power Corporation (PV Power) reported a post-tax profit of 720 billion VND (over 31.2 million USD) the first quarter of 2021, surpassing the quarterly plan by 6 percent.
Deputy Director of PV Power Nguyen Thi Ngoc Bich attributed the firm’s strong growth profit to its finance investment activities in the period, including the successful divestment of over 19.93 million shares at Petro Vietnam machinery-technology JSC (PV MACHINO), which generated a pre-tax profit of 350 billion VND.
Dividends worth about 170 billion VND that PV Power received from Nhon Trach 2 thermal power JSC also contributed significantly to its profit in the last three months.
However, PV Power’s electricity output reached 4.64 billion kWh in the reviewed period, equal to only 90 percent of the set plan for the first quarter, and 88 percent of the same period last year.
PV Power will closely work with the Electricity of Vietnam, the National Load Dispatch Centre (A0), the Vietnam National Coal and Mineral Industries Group (Vinacomin), and the PetroVietnam Gas Joint Stock Corporation (PV GAS) in operating its power plants, towards producing 5.923 billion kWh in the second quarter.
It also plans to pour investment into Nhon Trach 3 and 4 power plants in the coming time./
LG to sell smartphone plant in Vietnam
South Korea’s LG Electronics reportedly wants to sell off its smartphone manufacturing plant in Vietnam’s Haiphong City for over 100 billion Korean won, or over US$89 million. If the deal fails, LG will liquidate the site where the plant is located to recoup its investment.
According to Business Korea, following an announcement to withdraw from the smartphone market, LG will initiate the next steps to shut down its smartphone plants in Vietnam, Brazil and China. Of them, the one in Haiphong is the biggest of its kind of LG.
The Vietnam-based plant churns out some 10 million handset devices on average per year, accounting for a half of LG’s global output of smartphones.
Business Korea said that it could be impossible for LG to sell the Vietnam-based plant at the expected price as it was too high, adding that Vietnamese phone makers have already established their own phone production chains.
A source from The Korea Herald revealed that as its efforts to sell the smartphone business failed, LG is considering all the possible measures to fully tap the potential of its existing plants, and some of the plants may switch to manufacturing other products.
The South Korean media also noted that LG exiting the smartphone market and closing its manufacturing plants could trigger a wave of unemployment at locations where it operates. In late February, following a rumor that LG sold off its plant in Brazil, a managing director and many employees there reportedly went on a strike due to concerns over their jobs.
In Vietnam, LG operates three major plants in Haiphong. The LG Electronics plant manufactures smartphones, TVs, air conditioners, vacuums, washing machines and refrigerators. The LG Innotek Vietnam specializes in making camera modules and electronic components. The LG Display plant manufactures screens.
Hanoi’s property market predicted to rebound strongly
Strong construction activities in many different types of property and areas in Hanoi signal the strong recovery of the capital’s real estate market from this year onwards, according to CBRE Hanoi Branch Director Nguyen Hoai An.
At a recent press conference looking back on the Hanoi market in the first quarter, An noted that not only residential real estate but also commercial real estate will welcome many new projects with the participation of foreign investors and domestic developers from the southern region.
A CBRE Vietnam survey showed that approximately 4,400 apartments were launched in Hanoi in Q1, down 39 percent quarter-on-quarter due to the hiatus caused by the Lunar New Year (Tet) holiday and the resurgence of COVID-19, but still up 270 percent year-on-year.
This indicates a strong recovery in the local property market compared to Q1 of 2020, when COVID-19 first broke out in Vietnam.
Do Van Anh, manager of the research and consulting division at CBRE Vietnam, said most of the new apartment supply in Q1 came from 14 projects already opened for sale, while only three projects were newly launched.
She said apartments in the mid-end segment were still the most popular in the market, accounting for up to 80 percent of total new supply in Q1. The eastern and western areas of the city were home to most new projects, with 77 percent of new supply.
The positive market sentiment in recent times has also helped bridge the gap between the number of newly-launched apartments and those already sold.
A total of 4,200 apartments were sold in Q1. In the mid-end segment, the number of sold apartments was higher than newly-launched apartments.
Anh forecast that new supply and sales in Hanoi this year will be around 24,000-26,000 apartments. Many residential real estate projects will be launched for sale in different parts of the city, both inner and outlying districts, in coming quarters, helping the market become more vibrant.
Vietnam’s seaport system has eight more terminals
Eight terminals have been added to the list of those at seaports in Vietnam, raising the total to 286.
Among the newly added terminals, four are part of Vung Tau Seaport in the southern province of Ba Ria – Vung Tau, according to the list recently released by the Ministry of Transport.
The seaports of Hai Phong, Khanh Hoa, Dong Nai, and HCM City have one new terminal each.
At present, some seaport areas accommodating many terminals include Hai Phong (50 terminals); Vung Tau (46); Ho Chi Minh City (42); Can Tho (21); Dong Nai (18); Khanh Hoa (16); Quang Ninh (13); Da Nang (eight); Nghi Son, Nghe An, and Dung Quat (seven each); and Ha Tinh and Binh Thuan (six each).
The Vietnam Maritime Administration said with a terminal system spreading from the north to the south, Vietnamese seaports have been well-functioning as goods trading hubs amid the country’s intensive integration into the world.
Every year, seaports nationwide serve about 120,000 vessel arrivals and record growth of nearly 16 percent in cargo throughput. They handled 692 million tonnes of goods in 2020./.
Materials industry faces shortage of qualified staff, researchers
Việt Nam has advantages to develop a materials industry but has not developed in line with its potential, Trần Tuấn Anh, head of the Central Economic Commission, said at a conference held on April 10 in HCM City.
“Domestic materials still have not met the demand of main manufacturing industries, which has led to dependence on imported ones,” Anh said.
The low competitive capacity of the materials industry was because of limited technology, quality, costs, and manufacturing competence.
Lack of qualified human resources for the materials industry was also one of the causes for the limitation, he said.
“The country’s industrial development, international trade agreements, and Industry 4.0’s influence require Việt Nam to have a new mindset and approach in developing human resources for the materials industry,” he said.
“The reality is that no country can carry out industrialisation successfully without a developed materials industry because it has an important role in providing input materials for the manufacturing sector.”
Phan Bách Thắng of Việt Nam National University-HCM City noted that the materials industry major each year had about 800 students and 25-40 postgraduates.
“Compared to the human resources in the southern region, the current training scale at VNUHCM’s member universities is low,” Thẳng said.
According to the Ministry of Education and Training, the country has 116 majors at educational institutions related to the materials industry in the 2019-2020 academic year. More than 134,000 students in these majors were trained as of 2019, accounting for 11 per cent of all students.
Minister of Science and Technology Huỳnh Thành Đạt said the ministry had paid more attention to training high-quality staff in research on new materials.
“Science and technology as well as innovation are the important driving forces for industry’s development,” Đạt said.
He said the country should have more policies to attract overseas Vietnamese and foreign experts to do research in the field.
The ministry had also provided counselling to the government on policies to develop science and technologies, with priority given to the materials industry.
According to Dr Nguyễn Đình Hậu, general director of the ministry’s department of science and technology for economic technical branches, the number of scientists in this industry is low and equipment for research is limited.
Enterprises and organisations in the country, however, have mastered advanced technologies to make new kinds of materials that have the same quality as foreign ones.
But several new materials produced in the country based on research have failed to meet manufacturers’ demands.
Anh said that delegates at the conference should address the barriers and problems in policies to develop human resources and technologies for the industry.
The conference on human resources in the material industry was organised by the Central Economic Commission, Ministry of Science and Technology, and VNUHCM.
This was the first conference at which the Central Economic Commission collected ideas from domestic and foreign experts to develop policies for the country’s industrialization and modernization goals by 2030 with a vision to 2045.
Lao-Viet International Port receives first container ship
Lao-Viet International Port JSC and Tan Cang Shipping held a ceremony on April 10 to receive the first container ship at Lao-Viet International Port (Vung Ang Port).
The shipment was transported by Tan Cang – Northern Logistics JSC from Tan Cang Port in Hai Phong to Lao-Viet International Port in Ha Tinh Province.
Vung Ang Port is an international seaport serving cargo transportation to Laos, Northeastern Thailand and central provinces of Vietnam. The port can accommodate cargo ships of up to 50,000 DWT and container ships of up to 2,000 TEU.
Addressing the ceremony, Deputy Minister of Transport Nguyen Nhat appreciated the efforts by Lao-Viet International Port JSC, Tan Cang Shipping and relevant agencies in Ha Tinh to organise the reception of the first container ship at Vung Ang Port.
He noted that investment in industry with the focus on the Vung Ang economic zone and sea-based economy is necessary for Ha Tinh to make economic breakthroughs.
The transport route of Tan Cang Shipping through Vung Ang Port is the concretisation of the project on promoting logistics services in Ha Tinh Province until 2030 and the initial result of the cooperation between Saigon Newport Corporation and the People’s Committee of Ha Tinh in early 2021.
Vietnam’s beer production fell 14 per cent in 2020
Vietnam’s beer industry produced about 4.4 billion litres of beer in 2020, down 14 per cent on-year.
The Vietnam Beer Alcohol Beverage Association (VBA) on April 8 held the 2021-2025 Congress to review the 2020 performance and discuss new tasks for 2021-2025.
Addressing the event, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Cao Quoc Hung said that over the past years the VBA has closely collaborated with ministries and agencies in policy recommendations, becoming a connector between businesses and state management agencies, enabling the former to operate in a more sustainable manner and the latter to better their role.
According to the VBA, over the past years, especially in 2016-2020, the association has actively connected its members with state management agencies and given policy recommendations.
Between 2016 and 2020, the growth rate of the alcoholic beverage industry was lower than in 2010-2015 period. Its annual state budget contribution was over VND60 trillion ($2.6 billion), making up over 2 per cent of the country’s total state budget collection, created jobs for tens of thousands of people.
In the 2015-2019 period, the industry’s annual average growth rate was 5 per cent. In 2020, the industry produced about 4.4 billion litres of beer, down 14 per cent on-year. Beer producers tended to focus on products with low alcohol content, non-alcoholic beer, and fermented juice to meet market demand.
2020 was a challenging year for the beverage industry due to the negative impacts of COVID-19, and the enforcement of policies like the Law for the Prevention and Control of Alcohol-related Harm and others. Many had to let employees go while cutting salaries and costs to maintain operations.
Also, the wine industry faced many difficulties in recent years partly due to some policies and fake products. It has reported no growth in recent years.
Looking towards 2025, VBA chairman Nguyen Van Viet said, “In the 2021-2025 term, the VBA will continue to reform and improve its performance to increase professionalism and contribute to the sustainable development of the industry, thus contributing more to the nation’s social-economic development.”
Mekong Delta faces shortfall of key logistics centers
The seaport system in the Mekong Delta has failed to meet the surging demand for transporting export goods, resulting in the commodities being taken to various localities and then to HCMC to be shipped overseas, it was stated at a talkshow held in Hau Giang Province on April 9.
Entitled “Levers for Agricultural Logistics in the Mekong Delta”, the event was held by Hau Giang Television in coordination with the provincial Association of Enterprises. The event was attended by local officials, experts and enterprises in the delta who discussed logistics-related obstacles facing the region for many years and measures to remove them.
Specifically, the region needs to transport tens of millions of tons of commodities for export annually. Meanwhile, it is facing a shortage of seaports, especially deep-water ports to handle container ships to transport export items. Besides this, many key ports in HCMC frequently face overloading, leading to an increase in service and storage fees as well as the waiting time.
The delta currently lacks major logistics centers, satellite center systems, empty container yards, a warehouse system at the local ports and units in charge of examing food safety and hygiene.
Consequently, the lagging logistics system has hindered the growth and competitiveness of the delta’s agricultural products.
Speaking at the event, Dong Van Thanh, chairman of the provincial government, said that the local authorities in January launched a program to develop the province’s industry and logistics sectors during the 2021-2025 period. He hoped that many optimal solutions to eliminate the logistics obstacles facing the delta and cooperation opportunities to tap the potential of the region would be discussed at the event, paving the way for the sustainable growth of regional agro products.
Sea grape cultivation thrives in coastal provinces
Sea grape cultivation has become a route to prosperity for many people in the south-central province of Khanh Hoa due to increased demand for the product in Vietnam and overseas.
With productivity of 1-1.5 tonnes per hectare and a price of 35,000-40,000 VND per kilo, sea grape growers have enjoyed improved incomes.
Sea grape grower Dang Ngoc Thoai of Ninh Hai Ward, Ninh Hoa Town in Khanh Hoa said he earned a profit of 100-200 million VND per hectare from growing sea grapes.
Now, he has about five hectares of sea grapes. In harvest time, he hires about 10 people to help collect, sort and process sea grapes.
“Sea grape cultivation does not require huge investment but can bring stable income and jobs,” he said.
Besides his own products, Thoai also buys those of other growers in his neighbourhood to supply the domestic market and to export.
However, like many other sea grape growers in the ward, Thoai is working in an area that is part of a delayed project.
“Once the project resumes, I will have to move,” Thoai said, adding that he will invest more to develop the business if he finds a different cultivation area.
Tran Thanh Tung, Vice Chairman of the Ninh Hai Ward People’s Committee, said all 27ha of sea grape cultivation area in the ward was on land slated for a heavy industry complex project by the Korean investor STX Group.
“However, since the land was transferred to the investor in 2009, no item has been developed and the area has been unused,” Tung said.
Vo Khanh Dang, Chairman of the Ninh Tho Commune People’s Committee in Ninh Hoa Township, said local farmers shifted to grow sea grapes to earn more than from traditional aquaculture products.
However, they had not found stable outputs for their sea grapes and had to accept the prices that wholesalers offered.
There was about 20ha in the ward being used for sea grape cultivation, Dang said, adding that local authorities were considering placing sea grapes on the list of key farming products to develop.
“To include sea grapes in the local farming development planning, we need more studies and assistance from expert agencies,” he said.
Le Ben, Vice President of the Vietnam Seaculture Association, who introduced sea grape cultivation to Vietnam in 2004 in Ninh Hai Ward, said the cultivation was very promising and generated economic benefits.
Besides economic benefits, sea grapes can improve the aquaculture environment quality since they develop quickly, have strong anabolism and high nutrition uptake. They can be grown while cultivating shrimps and fish – this intercropping allows two to three times higher income compared with shrimp or fish cultivation alone.
Sea grapes are a highly nutritious plant that can be used as a substitute for green vegetables. They contain high quantities of protein and minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium, as well as iodine, iron and vitamin A, which help prevent malnutrition and anaemia.
Sea grape cultivation is now present in several coastal provinces in Vietnam, including Khanh Hoa, Binh Thuan, Ninh Thuan, Kien Giang and Vung Tau ,Phu Yen, Binh Dinh in the south and Quang Ninh in the north.
“Seeing high profits from sea grape cultivation, many farmers are rushing into it,” Bền said, adding that oversupply and improper farming technique could leave negative impacts on the emerging sector.
Travel firms explore tourism products in Khanh Hoa province
Representatives from nearly 130 domestic travel firms across the country has made a Famtrip to the south central coastal province of and Khanh Hoa from April 8-11 to explore the province’s tourism products.
The provincial Department of Tourism introduced many tourist destinations and products to the firms, including Truong Son craft village, Am Chua relic site, Kong Forest park, Hon Tam tourist site, and Gac Ma commemoration site.
Particularly, the department also held a meeting to connect the businesses with local firms to boost their partnerships.
Vice director of the department Nguyen Thi Le Thanh said that Khanh Hoa’s tourism sector hopes to continue expanding connectivity with travel firms nationwide, especially in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Can Tho and Da Nang, thus luring more visitors.
She said that the province has planned a culture, art, tourism and sport programme with 114 activities held throughout the year to attract visitors, especially in long holidays.
In 2021, Khanh Hoa aims to welcome over 5 million visitors, including 1.5 million foreign tourists, earning 17.5 trillion VND (760 million USD) from tourism services.
Businesses advised to enhance competitive capacity to reap CPTPP benefits
A conference recently held in Hanoi shows that local firms have yet to fully benefit from the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) two years after Vietnam joined the trade pact.
Despite being severely impacted by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Vietnamese exports to various CPTPP markets over the past year have made significant progress due to tariff preferences brought about by the trade pact. However, delegates attending a conference reviewing two years on from the implementation of the CPTPP said there remains challenges that must be swiftly addressed.
Addressing the conference held jointly between the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and the Australian Embassy in Hanoi, Vu Tien Loc, president of the VCCI, noted that benefits from the opportunities of the pact remain limited, alongside plenty of technical matters and commitments which have so far proven to be unfavourable for domestic businesses.
Meanwhile, firms attributed these limitations to poor competitive capacity and unpredictable market fluctuations. In addition, they complained about their limited knowledge of Vietnamese commitments as part of the CPTPP, as well as the shortcomings of State agencies in terms of executing the deal and other free trade agreements (FTAs) that affect implementation of the trade pact.
A survey carried out by the VCCI indicates that 69% of businesses have heard about or have acquired rudimentary knowledge of the CPTPP, a rather high figure when compared to other FTAs. However, only one of every 20 respondents is aware of CPTPP commitments relating to their own operation, whilst one of every four enjoys benefits from the trade pact.
A total of 75% of respondents have yet to benefit from the CPTPP as they have no business related to the markets or partners who have joined the deal, explained Nguyen Thi Thu Trang, director of the World Trade Organisation and Integration under the VCCI.
Trang added that relevant State management agencies have attempted to complete the legal framework in order to fully implement the CPTPP, although when it comes to implementation the majority of documents have been issued slowly, failing to meet the necessary requirements of commitments.
David Gottlieb, counsellor for Economic and Development Cooperation at the Australian Embassy in Vietnam, underscored the importance of utilising digital technology in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. He recommended that Vietnam seek to take advantage of the opportunities brought about by the CPTPP to increase digitalisation.
According to Gottlieb, the COVID-19 pandemic has presented a range of unprecedented challenges to the principles of free trade and market openness. Fortunately, CPTPP members such as Australia and Vietnam have responded well to the pandemic and have still been able to fulfil their commitments to rules-based trade whilst maintaining open supply chains which boast positive and transparent information.
Both Australia and Vietnam have competently controlled the spread of the pandemic due to the resilience of their economies, in addition to boosting exports, noted Gottlieb.
He took the view that the CPTPP maintains the ambitious scope and high-quality standards and rules laid out within the original Trans-Pacific Partnership. Given the current context, it remains imperative to fight protectionism whilst strengthening an open, efficient, fair, inclusive, and rules-based system built around trade that is capable of restoring global economic development.
Vietnam should therefore be commended for its resolve to fully meet CPTPP commitments, said Gottlieb. Most notably, Australia is committed to working alongside the country towards a post-COVID-19 economic recovery, this includes efforts to establish and strengthen value chains while studying ways in which the CPTPP can be utilised to promote digital trade.
Binh Phuoc to expand IP space
Binh Phuoc Province will build four new industrial parks and expand three existing ones by 2030.
Three of the new ones will come up in the Hoa Lu Border Gate Economic Zone, a 28,000ha investment magnet situated in Loc Ninh District along the Cambodia border.
They will range in size from 300ha to 425ha.
The fourth, an IP – urban area of over 6,300ha, will be built in Dong Phu District.
Minh Hung 3 IP in Chon Thanh District will be expanded by over 577ha, and the North and South Dong Phu IPs in the namesake district, by 317ha and 480ha.
The province’s IPs benefit from favourable tax policies, including waiver of tariffs on imported machinery, and financial support for infrastructure development.
Binh Phuoc, which has 14 IPs, is situated in the Southern Key Economic Zone and enjoys excellent connectivity with other key economic hubs such as Binh Duong and Dong Nai provinces and HCM City.
Processing industry leads Q1 export growth
Shipments of products from the processing industry brought in about US$67.39 billion in the first quarter of this year, representing 87.13 per cent of Viet Nam’s total export value during the period.
According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Viet Nam’s export turnover in the first three months was estimated at $77.34 billion, up 22 per cent year-on-year.
Products posting the highest turnover included phones and components ($14.08 billion), computers, electronic devices and components ($11.96 billion), and machinery, equipment, and spare parts ($9.1 billion).
Agro-forestry-fishery exports, despite being hit hard by COVID-19, brought in approximately $5.97 billion, an annual increase of 6.6 per cent.
The growth was attributable to companies effectively taking advantage of new-generation free trade agreements.
Cao Quoc Hung, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade, said that since the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) took effect in August last year, Viet Nam’s exports to the bloc had been rising and grew 18 per cent in the first quarter.
Viet Nam also posted high growth in export value to members of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), such as Canada (up 13.7 per cent), Australia (17 per cent), Chile (25.6 per cent), and Mexico (12.7 per cent).
Optimising the advantages from FTAs would be a key factor in stimulating Vietnam’s exports in the time to come, he said.
Trade surplus over 2 billion USD
Viet Nam’s imports in the first quarter, meanwhile, stood at $75.31 billion, a year-on-year increase of 26.3 per cent.
Of the total import value, $66.1 billion came from purchasing raw materials and accessories for domestic production. This showed that firms were preparing for a new post-pandemic business cycle.
Ho Le Tung, general director of the Hanoi Textile & Garment JSC (Hanosimex), said that yarn had sold well in the market since the fourth quarter of last year.
Hanosimex’s yarn factories were working at full capacity, as the company had contracts until May, he added.
Viet Nam posted a trade surplus of $2.03 billion in the first quarter, supporting its current and overall payment balance.
But its exports are forecast to face continued difficulties due to COVID-19, which may cause further interruptions to supply chains.
To accomplish the target set for the year, the Ministry of Industry and Trade is intensifying export promotion activities, including those online, to support businesses.
Vietnam, RoK share experience in distribution, logistics
The “Policy Dialogue Meeting on the Distribution and Logistics Industry between Viet Nam and the Republic of Korea” (RoK) was held via videoconference last Friday by the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) and the RoK’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE).
Tran Duy Dong, head of the MoIT’s Domestic Market Department, said the dialogue had been organised biennially by the two sides since 2013.
According to Dong, Viet Nam’s distribution and logistics sector has developed rapidly in recent years, but its legal framework still needs to catch up with the sector’s pace of development.
During the talks, the two sides discussed the RoK’s policies, laws, and management experience to identify measures to help Viet Nam management agencies complete the legal framework, encourage the engagement of both domestic and foreign investors, help promote the development of the distribution sector in a civilised and modern manner, and ensure the harmony of interests between large-scale retail groups and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Viet Nam and between traditional and modern retail channels.
The two sides also exchanged views on how to introduce the “Korea Product Scan (KPS)” app to Vietnamese consumers and importers, the current situation and development policies of outlets in the RoK, criteria to classify logistics centres in the RoK, and its regulations and policies on the development of logistics centres.
The Vietnamese side also shared the current situation of Viet Nam’s distribution and logistics sector and its development orientations for the future.
To develop the sector in a civilised, modern, and sustainable manner, it would be important to increase the role of e-commerce and pay due regard to soft infrastructure, particularly the training of human resources in the sector, the videoconference was told.
VNPT and HCA co-operate in digital transformation
The Viet Nam Posts and Telecommunications Group (VNPT) and the Ho Chi Minh City Computer Association (HCA) signed a co-operation agreement on training and consulting on digital transformation this week.
The two organisations also committed to promote co-operation between VNPT and information technology enterprises in the city in providing digital transformation products and solutions for enterprises, especially the set of solutions for SME customers.
Speaking at the event, VNPT acting general director Huynh Quang Liem said that as a leading provider of ICT infrastructure and technology in Viet Nam, recently, VNPT has achieved a great deal of success in supporting the Government, ministries, sectors and localities in digital transformation.
Following this, the group expected to continue promoting support for enterprises, especially SMEs.
To do that, VNPT wished to co-operate more with digital technology enterprises. The group would provide these businesses with the best infrastructure to develop solutions for digital transformation.
HCA Chairman Lam Nguyen Hai Long said that the co-operation with VNPT was one of the important solutions of the association to promote its members to expand new sales channels and have the opportunity to reach more potential customers.
The chairman expressed hope that through this activity, VNPT and other large enterprises would have more similar programmes to support Vietnamese small and medium technology enterprises to develop rapidly and sustainably.
Digitising long-distance transportation in Vietnam
In line with digital transformation, technology application is an inevitable trend in long-distance transportation – and the establishment of Vietnamese digital platforms will enable this journey.
The Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) on April 9 introducedAn Vui, a smart transportation management software solution, making it the first digital platform of the Vietnam Digital Technology Forum.
The forum is the continuation of the activities to introduce “Make in Vietnam” digital products and platforms launched in 2020 to implement the prime minister’s recently-approved National Digital Transformation Programme by 2025 with a vision to 2030.
Vietnam’s long-distance passenger transport market remains fragmented and fiercely competitive, and reluctant to change. The market is dominated by 2,000 large-scale businesses, accounting for 90 per cent of the market, while the rest are small-scale household operators.
Phan Ba Manh, director of An Vui Technology JSC, said the software solution aims to digitise the long-distance transportation industry, helping operators manage their businesses more efficiently. The An Vui software solution includes backend management tools for ticket sales, parcel shipments, and fuel usage management.
Addressing the event, Deputy Minister of Information and Communications Nguyen Huy Dung said that the An Vui software solution facilitates workers and students working and studying away from home in buying tickets. It is also a solution to meet the transport demand of firms and passengers.
Interbuslines, one of the famous passenger car operators on Hanoi-Sapa-Hanoi, is one of the first customers of An Vui. Only six months after operating on the An Vui platform, the profit of Interbuslines rose by 300 per cent.
Thus far, more than 1,000 bus operators use An Vui’s services and products. In 2019, Vietnam-based venture capital (VC) firm VinaCapital Ventures made an investment into An Vui for an undisclosed sum.
Promoting human resources in material industry to meet demand of industrialisation
Vietnam should take a new mindset and approach to developing human resources in the material industry amid the new requirements of the country’s industrialisation and fiercer international competitiveness in the new context.
Politburo member and Chairman of the Party Central Committee’s Economic Commission Tran Tuan Anh made the remarks at an international conference on human resources in the material industry held in Ho Chi Minh on April 10.
The conference, entitled “Developing human resources in the material industry to meet the requirements of the country industrialisation and modernisation by 2030, with a vision to 2045”, was held by the Party Central Committee’s Economic Commission, the Ministry of Science and Technology and Vietnam National University Ho Chi Minh City.
Politburo member Tran Tuan Anh said that Vietnam has many potentials and advantages for the development of the material industry, but the development of Vietnam’s material industry is not commensurate with its potential. Domestic raw materials have yet to meet the needs of many important sectors, leading to a dependence on imported raw materials and reduction in the resilience and competitiveness of the economy.
He emphasised that Vietnam needs new thinking and approaches to human resources in the material industry in the context of increasing international competition and the implementation of new-generation free trade agreements.
Reports, discussions and speeches by both domestic and international experts have also outlined the situation of training in Vietnam and the necessity to make further investment, review policies and change human resources training in the field.
Ford Vietnam’s sales surge 52 percent in Q1
Ford Vietnam’s sales in the first quarter of 2021 rose 52 percent against the same period last year, equivalent to 5,914 vehicles delivered to customers.
The company’s General Director Pham Van Dung said the automaker’s sales maintained its growth thanks to leading products, particularly sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and commercial ones, despite a period of business stagnation in the domestic auto market and adverse impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In Q1, Ford Vietnam’s sales of Everest SUVs recorded a year-on-year surge of 49 percent, with 1,459 vehicles sold. In March alone, the number of delivered vehicles hit 817, leading the mid-size SUV segment with more than 50 percent of the market share.
In addition, Ford Ranger maintained its lead among the country’s pickups, accounting for nearly 75 percent of the market. Some 2,170 cars sold in March brought the total count to 3,873 in Q1, doubling the figure of the same period last year.
The sales of Ford Transit continued to come first among commercial vehicles, posting a year-on-year rise of 33 percent in March and bringing the figure since the start of the year to 184./.
Honda Vietnam posts increases in motorbike, auto sales in March
Honda Vietnam reported increases of 17.3 percent and 94.1 percent in its sales of motorbikes and automobiles in March compared to the previous month.
Accordingly, it sold 150,068 motorbikes during the month.
Wave Alpha was the bestseller, with 17,685 units sold, or 11.8 percent of the total, while Vision was its most popular scooter, with 36,679 units delivered to customers, or 24.4 percent.
Honda Vietnam also exported 28,318 motorbikes to different markets.
A total of 2,486 automobiles, meanwhile, were handed over to customers.
Honda City was the most sought-after model, with 1,182 vehicles delivered in the month, accounting for 47.5 percent of the total sales.
In the first quarter of 2021, the company sold 25,910 cars of different types, an annual drop of 12.8 percent./.
Ninh Thuan co-operatives link up with companies to sell farm produce
Agriculture co-operatives in the south-central province of Ninh Thuận 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 co-operatives have linkages with companies to develop value chains for their products like rice, corn, grapes, asparagus and organic cashew nuts.
The 24 co-operatives produce agricultural products on large-scale fields that use advanced farming techniques.
Many products of the co-operatives have been granted international standard certificates from the EU and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Vietnamese good agricultural practices (VietGAP).
The Tuấn Tú General Service Co-operative in Ninh Phước District’s An Hải Commune grows asparagus on a large-scale field to VietGAP standards and has a farm contract with Tiên Tiến Organic Agriculture Farm to guarantee outlets for its members.
Hùng Ky, director of Tuấn Tú, said: “The co-operative supplies loans and fertilisers to its members to grow asparagus and teaches them techniques to produce safe, quality products.”
The agriculture co-operatives’ 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.
Đặng Kim Cương, director of the province’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and deputy chairman of the appraisal board for the province’s OCOP programme, said that seven co-operatives participated in the province’s OCOP programme last year.
The co-operative’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 co-operatives, companies and households.
The Thái An General Agriculture Service Co-operative in Ninh Hải District’s Vĩnh Hải 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.
Nguyễn Khắc Phòng, director of Thái 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, Thái 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 co-operatives had an average revenue of VNĐ2.1 billion (US$90,000) and average profit of VNĐ250 million ($10,800) last year, up 9.4 per cent and 13.6 per cent, respectively, against 2019, according to the province’s Co-operative Alliance.
Ninh Thuận targets that its collective economy will contribute 8.8 – 9 per cent of its gross regional domestic product (GRDP) this year, according to the provincial People’s Committee.
The province aims to establish 10 – 12 new co-operatives and 10 – 15 new co-operative groups, with a total of 200 – 300 members, this year.
Its goal is to have an average revenue of VNĐ 2.2 – 2.25 billion ($95,000 – 97,200) this year for co-operatives and an average revenue of VNĐ260 – 270 million for co-operative groups.
It also plans to have 50 – 60 per cent of co-operatives operating effectively by 2025, and for the collective economy to contribute 10 – 11 per cent of its gross regional domestic product (GRDP) in 2025.
The province will encourage the development of co-operatives in agriculture, small industry, commerce and services, and promote effective new-style co-operatives, and co-operatives that link up with companies to produce agricultural products on large-scale fields with value chains.
Trần Quốc Nam, chairman of the provincial People’s Committee, said: “The province will help co-operatives 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 co-operatives.
Ninh Thuận, which has the least rainfall in the country, has developed 12 specifically identified products, including grape, jujube, asparagus, sheep, goat, Cà Ná fish sauce, Mỹ Nghiệp brocade products and Bàu Trúc pottery products.
Mobile transactions in Vietnam to grow by three times by 2025
Mobile transactions in Vietnam are expected to increase by 300 per cent between 2021 and 2025, led by strong growth in mobile payments, as revealed in the second edition of the Fintech and Digital Banking 2025 (Asia-Pacific) IDC InfoBrief, commissioned by Backbase.
However, we will still see 100 new challengers across the region by 2025, according to IDC. With new challengers presenting stronger post-pandemic propositions, there will be at least two digital banks in every Asia-Pacific market that will pose a significant challenge to incumbents. 30 per cent of the business of Vietnamese banks are predicted to be under threat from new digital challengers.
Some fintechs that had gained sufficient size by 2019 also found success, gaining more market share than expected. Fintech categories that have typically shown success include payments, wealth advisory, alternative data, lending platforms, and account origination.
Meanwhile, traditional banks are increasingly focused on responding to changing consumer behaviour. Digital banks across the Asia-Pacific saw three times the growth in their customer bases compared to traditional banks in 2020/2019.
One result of the economic downturn is a more humanistic type of customer centricity, as banks needed to communicate with customers in empathetic, trustworthy, and reliable ways that are complemented by digital innovations. There has been an increased integration of human agents into customer engagement strategies, as contact centres saw surges in usage.
The latest edition of Fintech and Digital Banking 2025 (APAC) found that 60 per cent of banks in the Asia-Pacific will leverage AI or machine learning technologies for data-driven decisions, compared to 48 per cent from the previous year. In Vietnam, core banking and payments system modernisation are the top 2 priorities among the top 8 banks in Vietnam in anticipation of rising consumer demands by 2025.
A back-to-basics trend has also overtaken the need for new revenue sources. Banks across the Asia-Pacific region will be focusing on digitalising their core business of lending with some focus, subsequently, on deposits. This is particularly evident in Vietnam, with 80 per cent of banks having re-invested in credit risk and asset-liability management, as well as building up capabilities in lending. Vietnam will see double-digit growth for lending every year from 2021. New capabilities will be acquired from fintech partners: IDC predicts by the middle of 2021, 50 per cent of lending decisions in retail banking across the Asia-Pacific will be supported by fintech propositions, underscoring accelerating bank-fintech collaboration.
Riddhi Dutta, regional director for ASEAN and South Asia at Backbase, said that, “COVID-19 has brought about significant changes in Vietnam and the Asia-Pacific’s banking landscape, and banking and fintech players will need to quickly act on their digital strategies to capture market share. The report highlights key areas for Vietnamese banks, including massive growth in mobile as well as opportunities in lending. Backbase is committed to helping Vietnam’s financial institutions stay ahead in the digital race and develop the innovative banking models and experiences that Vietnamese customers now expect.”
VITA proposes opening doors to tourists with vaccine passports
The Vietnam Tourism Association (VITA) has proposed that the Government allow it to collaborate with the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism to welcome back international tourists holding vaccine passports, digital proof of Covid-19 vaccination.
According to VITA, since the Covid-19 pandemic forced the country to close its doors to international tourists, many travel companies have turned to domestic tourism. The number of local tourists at some attractions has even been higher than pre-pandemic levels.
However, as revenues from domestic tourism account for only 30% of the total, resuming international tourism is still a priority.
VITA said Vietnam can begin resuming international tourism as Vietnamese travel companies have effectively implemented anti-Covid-19 measures. Moreover, the spread of Covid-19 has eased in parts of the world thanks to massive vaccination campaigns.
Covid-19 vaccine passports will be an effective tool to resume tourism services. Some countries in the region have decided to use digital health passes to help the tourism sector recover.
Therefore, VITA suggested the Government allow it and the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism to receive tourists from certain countries that have seen steady declines in Covid-19 cases.
Speaking to The Saigon Times, VITA chairman Nguyen Huu Tho said Vietnam should prioritize opening the market to tourists from the Asia-Pacific region, which account for 75% of the country’s total international arrivals. Many countries in this region have also effectively fought the pandemic.
Besides, VITA said the Government should introduce more incentives and supporting policies for travel companies. In addition to incentives on taxes, fees and electricity payment, the association suggested the Government allow travel companies to change their inbound certificates into domestic tourism certificates because since the pandemic broke out until now, travel companies have only been able to serve local tourists.
Data of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism showed that as of late 2020, there were more than 2,500 inbound travel companies in the country. To obtain an inbound certificate, travel companies have to deposit VND500 million, while it is just VND100 million for a domestic tourism certificate.
VITA once again suggested offering accommodation facilities the same electricity prices as production facilities in line with the Politburo’s Resolution No. 08/NQ-TW and the Government’s Resolution No. 103/NQ-CP.
The association also proposed halving value added tax and reducing land tax for tourism companies in 2021. Excise tax for golf courses should also be cut by half.
After hearing these suggestions, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam asked the Ministry of Planning and Investment to work with the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and other ministries and departments to conduct research on appropriate policies to support businesses in the tourism sector. The proposals will be submitted to the prime minister for review and approval in the second quarter of this year.
Nearly VND10 trillion needed to upgrade National Highway 13 section in HCMC
A project to upgrade and expand a 5.5-kilometer section from the Binh Phuoc Intersection to Binh Trieu Bridge of National Highway 13 in Thu Duc City will need an investment of nearly VND10 trillion, according to the HCMC Department of Transport.
The department on April 9 said the investment plan for the project, set to be executed in the 2021-2025 period, is being drawn up, Lao Dong newspaper reported.
The investment for the project will be sourced from the city’s budget. Of the total, VND1.3 trillion will be used for construction, VND8.1 trillion for site clearance and the remainder for consulting, management, infrastructure relocation and backup.
National Highway 13 is a backbone to connect HCMC and Binh Duong Province. The section in Binh Duong has been expanded to six lanes and may be eight lanes in the upcoming period, while the section in HCMC, that sees traffic congestion on a daily basis, has yet to be upgraded.
The project to expand the section from the Binh Phuoc Intersection to the Binh Trieu Bridge is part of the Binh Trieu 2 project, which was kicked off 20 years ago.
The HCMC government initially planned to expand the section to 32 meters and later increased it to 53 and 60 meters with an investment of more than VND4.7 trillion. Due to a lack of capital, the city decided to expand the section to 43 meters at a cost of nearly VND3.2 trillion. However, the project has yet to be executed.
In 2017, the National Assembly’s Standing Committee issued Resolution 437/2017 requiring a suspension of the build-operate-transfer (BOT) format on the road.
As a result, many projects which were proposed to be developed under the BOT and build-transfer models, including the National Highway 13 section expansion project, would use the city’s budget, according to the municipal Department of Transport.
Source: VNA/VNS/VOV/VIR/SGT/Nhan Dan/Hanoitimes
HÀ NỘI – Doctors and parents are concerned about the impact videos with harmful content are having on children.
H, a Hanoian, recently noticed a change in the mental health of her 15-year-old daughter. She became quiet and preferred using her phone to communicating with anyone. Her studies were also negatively impacted.
H brought her 15-year-old daughter to the National Children’s Hospital for an examination, where doctors said her child was depressed as a result of playing games and watching YouTube channels with negative content.
H’s daughter is just one of many children who have been affected by online content, with some children risking their lives after watching harmful videos.
Last October, a nine-year-old boy in Phú Thọ Province swallowed a nail clipper after watching a video on YouTube. Luckily, he received medical help in good time and escaped any long-term harm.
According to Trần Thành Nam, a psychological expert from Hà Nội National University, children do not know always know right from wrong and can be easily swayed by others.
“Many things are repeated over and over, making them think they are correct and should be imitated. It is easy for them to become addicted and make them move away from real life,” he told Tin Tức (News) newspaper.
Adults can have similar problems distinguishing right from wrong when flooded with information which spreads doubt and a lack of trust, Nam said.
Ngô Anh Vinh, Deputy Head of Adolescent Health Department at the same hospital, said his department has treated a number of children for excessive use of social media, such as watching videos that are not age-appropriate and spending too long online.
“When admitted to the hospital, some children showed signs of agitation, anxiety disorders, depression. Due to late detection and the family being unable to control the child’s internet use in the first place, there are many difficulties in the treatment,” he said.
There are a lot of harmful videos online featuring violence or sex that can affect the development of a child and can lead to psychological disorders, he said.
If a child is exposed to such content for a long time, it can affect their social interactions, Vinh added.
It also has an impact on learning because once children are addicted to watching harmful videos, they will feel bored at school, he said.
Mental illnesses such as depression, agitation and behavioural disturbances might occur, he said, adding that the consequences would be very regrettable without timely intervention.
According to experts, the producers of the videos are only focused on increasing views and think little of the consequences of the methods they use to attract viewers.
To be eligible to apply to the YouTube Partner Programme and monetise videos, a channel must have 1,000 subscribers and have earned 4,000 watch hours in the previous 12 months.
YouTuber Thơ Nguyễn recently uploaded a clip on her TikTok page in which she asked a Kuman Thong doll to give luck to students in their studies. She was later fined for posting superstitious content.
Other YouTubers have also been criticised for misguiding children.
Late last year, Hưng Vlog has uploaded on his channel a clip depicting him stealing money from the piggy bank of his brother and sister.
Despite receiving sanctions from local authorities, Hưng Vlog continues to produce videos with questionable content.
The Hưng Vlog channel with 3 million followers can earn at least VNĐ350 million (US$15,150) per month, according to SocialBlade, an American website that tracks social media statistics and analytics.
A report from the Ministry of Information and Communications (MoIC) shows that there are currently 15,000 Vietnamese YouTube channels with advertising revenue and 350 channels with millions of followers.
The country has more than 60 million internet users and is one of the 10 countries with the highest number of Facebook and YouTube users in the world.
Besides the positive aspects of social networks, there are also many risks of exposure to harmful and violent content and children are the most vulnerable.
According to the Department of Child Affairs under the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, the national hotline for child protection at 111 received hundreds of calls from parents expressing concerns about their children’s use of the internet while at home during the social distancing period.
Psychologist Trần Thanh Nam said Việt Nam needs a more synchronous strategy to handle toxic content.
In addition to the improvement of the legal framework and imposing strict punishment for those who spread harmful content, it is necessary for authorities and agencies to teach children how to use the internet safely, he said.
According to Hoàng Minh Tiến, Deputy Director of the Authority of Information Security under the MoIC, some cross-border platforms such as YouTube, Facebook and TikTok have implemented solutions to detect and handle harmful information for children and work with Vietnamese authorities when asked to remove negative information.
To tackle content that is inappropriate for children or content depicting abuse of children, the authority is establishing a Child Protection Network in the digital environment with the core the Vietnam Cyber Emergency Response Center – VNCERT, an agency under Tiến’s leadership.
The network involves relevant agencies including the Ministry of Information and Communications, Ministry of Education and Training (MoET), and the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, Ministry of Public Security and telecommunications and internet service providers (ISPs).
One of the main tasks is to receive and categorise complaints about inappropriate online content for children.
The complaints can be received via the website of the network, by phone or via email, Tien said.
The MoIC will collaborate with the MoET to introduce a set of standards for identifying harmful content in the teaching of informatics to each age group.
Director of the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Department of Child Affairs Đặng Hoa Nam said the most effective way to deal with toxic online content is to report it. — VNS