School of the international center of photography
When his roommates turn the lights off to go to bed at 10 p.m., Hoang Minh is just starting his eight-hour shift at work.
Sitting with a laptop on his bunk bed, the 21-year-old enters information about overseas orders his company has received into the system.
“This job just needs hands and eyes,” he says.
Because of the Covid-19 outbreak, Minh was allowed to work from his room in Hanoi’s Cau Giay District.
But within two days the company required him to return to office since his output had been lower than normal.
His salary has remained at VND6 million ($260) a month since he began working here since 2019.
Hoang Minh doing his data entry work in his room in Hanoi’s Cau Giay District. Photo courtesy of Minh.
After dropping out of college, the young man from central Vietnam had been dreaming of working in the technology field, a job he perceived as “computer-related.”
But instead he ended up with a data entry job.
After two months of working through the night and going home to sleep in the morning, he quit just after the 2020 Lunar New Year ( Tet ) just as Covid-19 first appeared in Vietnam.
He began to apply for all sorts of jobs.
However, the pandemic was causing a huge number of layoffs. According to the General Statistics Office, the employment rate in the first quarter of 2020 was the lowest in 10 years.
Minh got a job as a bank credit officer, who had to persuade individuals and businesses to borrow. But there was no salary and instead employees got paid based on performance. This time he quit after just one month.
He then worked as a real estate agent and quit again when he could not find a single client in three months.
During that time he had to borrow money just to eat.
Around this time a former colleague and friend also wanted to quit his data entry job, and Minh texted him saying: “Don’t be foolish to quit your job at this critical time. I really regret my action now.”
Luckily for him, his old company again recruited people for data entry, and Minh immediately applied and got it.
“I have not paid off my debts yet,” he says.
Minh opted to stay and work through Tet this year. He took a few minutes off on Lunar New Year’s Eve, a time when the whole country celebrates, and sat with his roommates to eat instant noodles.
“The noodles tasted bitter.”
His parents have urged him to return home and learn vocational skills or become a blue-collar worker, but Minh wants to decide “his own fate.”
Feeling depressed on the second day of the new year, he called his father to say he would go visit home for two days. But his boss warned him saying if he failed to fulfill his contract the company would not accept him back when he returned.
Being unemployed for four months in 2020 had taught Minh to be patient, and he decided to stay.
“As a 21-year-old, I don’t have time to date or hang out with friends since everyone goes to school or work during the day.”
But he does not dare quit his current job, knowing that Covid-19 has put paid to employment opportunities.
A woman filling for unemployment benefits at the Hanoi Center for Employee Service in Cau Giay District. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh.
But people can be dissatisfied with their current jobs but dare not quit amid a global pandemic or not.
Pham Manh Ha, an associate professor of psychology at the Vietnam National University in Hanoi, said this is most common in the 30-45 age group.
“These people are frustrated with their current jobs, have no opportunities for advancement, are not interested in a career, and have difficulty finding new jobs. They fall into a state of internal frustration and constant stress, resulting in poor performance and unexpected outcomes.”
Minh Huong, 32, of Saigon’s District 1 identifies herself as one such person. For several months now she has been crying every day on the 5km trip from her rented room to office.
The admissions officer at an English language center says: “I am shy and have an inferiority complex. I dare not speak up when I have a grievance. I do not dare express myself, and so I am locked in a vicious circle.”
Huong was an excellent employee in 2019, but got a Tet bonus of just VND500,000 ($21.68), just like her roommate. Since reward was based on collective performance, just one team member performing poorly could affect everyone’s year-end bonus.
Her labor contract said, unless she violated rules, she was entitled to a salary increase every six months. But it took her a year to get a raise of just VND450,000 ($19.52).
Feeling unhappy, she resigned.
“But since our center lacked manpower and there was no one to fill my position, my boss asked me to stay for another two months. And then the pandemic broke out.”
She continued to work there because she had applied to five language centers but either received no response or canceled her scheduled interview due to the outbreak.
The fact she had resigned but decided stay on because of the pandemic did not endear her to her boss or colleagues.
“I emailed my boss to suggest adding a few designs in the classroom to attract students. But my boss dismissed it saying it would be approved if a teacher suggested it. But the next day a colleague in the room suggested it again and got approval.”
The office has more than 10 employees who eat lunch together, but no one wants to sit next to her. Her boss only gives her minor work.
Huong is terribly depressed, and does not know how she can carry on much longer.
“I plan to find a new job around mid-June; I hope the outbreak will be completely under control by then.”
Vu Quang Thanh, deputy director of the Hanoi Center for Employee Service, said there are more job opportunities now than in the early part of last year, with enterprises’ demand for workers increasing by around 5 percent.
At his center, 207 enterprises in the telephone components, machinery, textile and other sectors have registered to recruit more than 5,000 workers.
But he said people who want to find new jobs should assess their capabilities, recruitment demand in their field, salary, and other factors.
The pandemic has made it difficult for many businesses and so salaries are down, he said.
So, instead of worrying about their income, people should try to stay back and share the difficulty with their employers instead of jumping to other jobs, he said.
Besides, people need to accurately assess the cause of their current situation. If the problems are caused by technology changes or a mismatch between their abilities and job requirements, they need to improve their personal skills, he added.
15th National Assembly expected to have 500 seats
There will be a total of 500 seats in the 15th National Assembly at both central and local levels, according to a new resolution adopted by the National Assembly Standing Committee.
Minister promises greatest efforts to ensure safety in COVID-19 vaccinations
The Ministry of Health will mobilise all resources to carry out COVID-19 vaccinations, the largest-ever vaccination programme, so as to ensure absolute safety for people, Minister Nguyen Thanh Long has said.
Long chaired a teleconference which was organised on March 6 and connected with 700 places across Vietnam to launch the vaccination plan and provide related training for medical workers nationwide in the use and storage of the vaccine, as well as the treatment of post-injection complications.
He informed the teleconference that the vaccination programme will start on March 8, although the first batch of vaccine arrived in Vietnam on February 24.
“As the vaccine is new, we need to carry out thoroughly,” Long said, adding that Vietnam has to obtain an accreditation certificate from the producer and reassess the safety index of the batch of vaccine.
Because of the limited number of vaccine, the ministry cannot allocate for all 63 provinces and cities, but for 13 pandemic-hit localities, with priority given to Hai Duong province – Vietnam’s largest outbreak at present, he added.
The minister asked localities which have yet to receive the vaccine to prepare and make training programmes as the ministry will allocate vaccines to them when more are transported to Vietnam in March.
COVAC and AstraZeneca have agreed to provide 30 million doses each for Vietnam this year, the minister said, adding the ministry asked the producers to hand over the vaccines to Vietnam before September and is negotiating with Pfizer to buy an additional 30 million doses from this producer.
The ministry has assigned three deputy ministers to be responsible for directing the vaccinations as this kind of vaccine is injected for the first time and injected for adults.
Vietnam will conduct screening check-ups before infections to ensure safety, although the process takes more time. The first injections, he went on, will be given to people working on the front line of the fight against COVID-19, including health, army, police, customs and immigration personnel.
People getting the shots will be monitored via digital health records and receive e-certificates for their completion of inoculation./.
FPT Telecom to screen Russian animated films in Vietnam
Russian animation studio Soyuzmultfilm on March 5 said it has sealed a deal with a Vietnamese partner – FPT Telecom – on licensing the screening of its five new animated series in Vietnam.
The deal is the first of its kind between the two sides.
Accordingly, the series, namely The Secrets of Honey Hills, The Adventures of Peter and Wolf, Prostokvashino, Mr Theo, Cat & Dog, Captain Kraken and his Crew, and Pirates’ School, will be broadcasted in the Vietnamese language via FPT’s television services.
FPT Telecom is a subsidiary of FPT Corporation, one of the biggest telecommunications service providers in Vietnam./.
HCM City has 900 medical workers to get first COVID-19 vaccine shots
Ho Chi Minh City’s Department of Health announced on March 6 that 900 staff members of the municipal Hospital for Tropical Diseases will be the first in the southern region to be injected with AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine on March 8.
The selected medical personnel are those directly contacting with, treating, or caring for people classified as risky sources of COVID-19 transmission.
The hospital is chosen as it performs inoculations for people against communicable diseases on a daily basis, thus having experienced human resources for the work. Meanwhile, since the beginning of pandemic, the hospital has been a core establishment for treating severe cases and sent staff to support other COVID-19 treatment facilities in the city and the central region.
On March 5, the municipal Department of Health submitted to the Ministry of Health’s General Department of Preventive Medicine a list of the southern economic hub’s nine prioritised groups for the first COVID-19 vaccinations.
Vaccinations using the recently imported AstraZeneca vaccine is expected to begin in Vietnam on March 8, according to the Ministry of Health./.
Campaign “For Women’s Smiles” launched
The Vietnam Women’s Union, the Institute for Development & Community Health (LIGHT), and the UN Women in Vietnam jointly organised an virtual programme to celebrate the International Women’s Day (March 8) and launch the campaign “For Women’s Smiles” in Hanoi, central Thua Thien-Hue province, and Ho Chi Minh City on March 6.
The campaign “For Women’s Smiles” aims to honour unyielding efforts of Vietnamese women to overcome difficulties and challenges, especially amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, to contribute to the nation’s development and prosperity.
With the companionship of scientists, artists and social activists, it hopes to encourage the aspirations to rise up, the will to overcome difficulties, the desire to learn and the creativity of women.
The campaign also creates a space for women to expand the use of information technology, exchange information towards women’s happiness and promote gender equality./.
Facebook launches #SheForVietnam programme to empower Vietnamese women
Facebook will launch #SheForVietnam – a programme for Vietnamese women who are creating miracles every day on social networks on March 6 in efforts to affirm its commitment to supporting Vietnamese women in the digital era.
#SheForVietnam is designed to connect and inspire women’s communities, encourage and empower them to dream big and live life to the fullest.
The programme’s first pillar – #SheInspires is an online roundtable to honour and inspire women that stand up to help others and spread positive energy. There will be some popular faces in the event, those represent millions of other Vietnamese women creating magic every day thanks to the power of social networks: singer Thủy Tiên, Miss Universe Vietnam H’Hen Niê, actress Sam, social activist Chung Vũ Thanh Uyên – Mina Chung, CEO of Ru9 Company Limited Đặng Thùy Trang, Founder – CEO of the Women’s Initiative for Startups and Entrepreneurship (WISE) Từ Thu Hiền and Nam Nguyễn, Entertainment Partnership Lead, Vietnam, Facebook.
“In Việt Nam, women contributed 62 per cent of the total amount fundraised on Facebook in 2020. We have seen the positive impact that women have been able to create in their communities by sharing their voices across our platform, which becomes our motivation to continue our commitment to support women in Việt Nam. We hope #SheForVietnam can empower Vietnamese women to pursue their dreams and improve their life’s value, making more impact for the community,” said Nam Nguyen, Entertainment Partnership Lead, Vietnam, Facebook.
Hosted by Actress Sam, the event will unveil stories about how those successful women leverage the power of a social network to inspire people, especially the women’s community. The live roundtable #SheInspires will take place at 20:00 on March 6, 2021 on Facebook app Vietnam and Yeah1’s page system as well as a series of other popular pages from Đất Việt, Điền Quân, MCV, YAN, Multimedia, Orion Media, BHD, Unimedia, BH Media and POPs.
“I am very honoured to be a part of Facebook’s #SheInspires programme. Through this talk show, I had a chance to listen to the stories of women who could be both successful entrepreneurs and loving housewives, and an opportunity to bring my own stories to inspire women all over Việt Nam. I believe that if all of us join hands together with the support of social networks, our efforts will help spread women’s voices to the community,” said H’Hen Niê.
Women’s development and gender equality have always been Facebook’s top priorities for the past few years. In Việt Nam, Facebook has implemented many initiatives to support women in economic development, especially #SheMeansBusiness programme. This year celebrates the 5th anniversary of this programme, with more than 20,700 businesswomen in more than 50 cities trained through the programme’s online and offline workshops. #SheMeansBusiness has helped equip aspiring and established women entrepreneurs with the knowledge, skills, connections and technology required to build and grow businesses in the digital age.
Master plans built to promote efficient use of marine space, resources
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment hosted an online conference on March 4 discussing the building of a national marine space plan and a master plan on the exploitation and sustainable use of coastal resources in 2021-2030 and vision to 2045.
According to General Director of the Vietnam Administration of Seas and Islands (VASI) Ta Dinh Thi, the multidisciplinary plans are being developed under an integrated and ecosystem-based approach, serving the orientation and establishment of plans for using marine space and resolving inadequacies in marine use, thereby balancing economic development, national defence and security, and marine ecosystem protection.
The master plans are prepared on the basis of integrating national master plans relating to the sea, with adjustments made to address conflicting and overlapping issues in the maritime space. They cover coastal areas, islands, archipelagos, territorial waters, and airspace under Vietnam’s sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdiction.
The national marine space plan aims to ensure the efficient exploitation and sustainable use of marine resources and islands on the basis of a harmonious combination of socio-economic development and environmental protection, defence and security, and foreign affairs and international cooperation in coastal areas, islands, archipelagos, territorial waters, and airspace under Vietnam’s sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdiction.
Meanwhile, the master plan on the exploitation and sustainable use of coastal resources in 2021-2030 with a vision to 2045 covers coastal waters to an outer boundary of about 6 nautical miles from the coast and the coastal areas of communes, wards, and towns in 28 coastal provinces and centrally-run cities. However, to ensure the integrity of important ecosystems and habitats, and to pay due attention to strong interaction between the mainland and seas, the reach of the coastal space in some areas may be extended further towards both the mainland and the sea.
This plan aims at the overall goal of managing, exploiting, and efficiently using natural resources, serving sustainable socio-economic development, climate change adaptation, and the safeguarding of national defence and security along the coast.
Addressing the conference, Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Le Minh Ngan spoke highly of VASI’s efforts in preparing these master plans.
The plans cover a number of new issues to be mentioned for the first time, he stressed, and so require the coordination of relevant ministries, sectors, and localities.
He also emphasised the importance of selecting consultation units and consulting ministries, sectors, localities, and experts and scientists on these plans./.
French artist to host exhibition at Vin Gallery
French artist Frederic Dialynas Sanchez will show his work at an art exhibition titled “La Mémoire Dans la Peau” (The Memory in the Skin) at Vin Gallery on March 12.
The exhibition will showcase his new works reflecting his personal journey to explore Vietnamese heritage, and the people’s memories and life decades after war.
Sanchez, 38, graduated from the Lyon National School Fine Arts. He has worked in Asia and Europe.
He hosted his first solo exhibition in Hà Nội in 2006. He has participated in numerous exhibitions in France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, the US, China and Japan.
The exhibition will close on April 29. The gallery is at 11 Street 55 in District 2.
Ba Ria-Vung Tau looking to have all communes recognised as new-style rural areas
The southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau has set a goal of having all of its communes recognised as new-style rural areas this year.
Under the National Target Programme on New Rural Development 2021, the province will pool together over 4.48 trillion VND (194 million USD), more than 1.47 trillion VND of which will come from the State budget, over 1.75 trillion VND from credit sources, more than 450.4 billion VND from businesses, and the remainder from the public.
Six more communes are expected to meet the criteria for new rural development, bringing the total to 45, or 100 percent.
The province will also strive to see that Phu My township, Chau Duc district and also Xuyen Moc district meet the criteria.
All 45 of its communes have recorded a rate of poor households below 0.09 percent and an employment rate of above 90 percent. They have also met the criteria in terms of clean water supply, culture, and education.
Localities have focused on high-tech agricultural production in tandem with food safety, and a number of linkage models between farmers, cooperatives, and enterprises have proven effective.
Ba Ria-Vung Tau has also targeted becoming a new-style rural province by 2025, with Long Dien and Dat Do districts together with 35 of its 45 communes achieving the enhanced criteria for such a status and 14 communes being recognised as model new-style rural areas./.
Tien Giang stepping up administrative reform to foster socio-economic development
The Mekong Delta province of Tien Giang is making efforts to speed up administrative reform, which has so far proven effective in boosting its socio-economic development.
The comment was made at an online conference reviewing the intensification of administrative reform and the application of information technology (IT) in Tien Giang’s State offices during 2020, which was chaired by Vice Secretary of the provincial Party Committee and Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Nguyen Van Vinh on March 4.
According to assessments from the committee, administrative reform has been carried out effectively by all local departments and sectors, and administrative discipline gradually put in order.
The province has focused on building e-government and posted positive results.
2020 was the fourth year Tien Giang implemented the “Application of information technology in State offices” emulation movement. All local offices have used software to receive and handle documents, and applied the province’s “single window” software to receive, handle, and return documents.
Vinh asked leaders of units and localities to continue stepping up administrative reform and IT application at State offices, as such reform is a key task set out in the resolution from the provincial Party Committee’s 11th Congress.
To make activities effective, heads of offices and units should raise their sense of responsibility and improve workplace culture to create a civilised environment, he stressed./.
Saigon Outcast to host Mediterranean food fest
The outdoor bar Saigon Outcast will host the first Mediterranean Food Festival in HCM City on March 27.
The festival will offer a wide range of Mediterranean and Middle East food such as falafel (chickpea fritter), lamb, baba ganoush (roasted eggplant dip), kebabs and more.
The event will include a live band, belly dancers, games, local vendors, kid’s zone, climbing, and skate bowl.
The festival will take place from 12pm – 11pm at 188/1 Nguyễn Văn Hưởng Street in District 2. Admission fee is VNĐ30,000.
Mekong Delta intensifies measures to prevent forest fires
Authorities in the Mekong Delta have stepped up measures to prevent forest fires as the region enters the peak dry season.
Earlier, at the beginning of the ongoing dry season, provinces took various measures to protect forests like dredging canals to store more water and mobilising human resources and facilities to monitor fires.
They undertook advocacy activities to raise public awareness of forest protection and prevention of fires.
In Cà Mau Provinice, the provincial People’s Committee is ordering relevant departments and agencies to have in place sufficient personnel and facilities to promptly discover fires and extinguish them.
The province has 110,000ha of forests, including 66,539ha of saltwater mangrove forests, 43,195ha of brackish – water mangrove forests (U Minh Hạ forests) and 716ha on islands.
The U Minh Hạ forests and those on islands usually face a high fire risk in the dry season, according to the province’s Forest Protection Sub-department.
Rangers are thus tightening checks to prevent the illegal entry of people to harvest honey and poach since their activities can cause forest fires.
Some 8,500ha of forests in the U Minh Hạ National Park face fire risk level 1.
Huỳnh Minh Nguyên, director of the park, said a part of the forests would face risk level 2 in the next two weeks.
After Tết (the Lunar New Year), which fell on February 12 this year, canals in the park have been dredged to store water for firefighting, he said.
“The national park has sufficient human resources to monitor forests to promptly cope with fires.”
In the 8,535ha U Minh Thượng National Park in Kiên Giang Province’s U Minh Thượng District, 1,115ha face a severe threat of fire.
Trần Văn Thắng, its deputy director, said the park has built a digital map showing water resources, transport and access to areas that face fire risk.
Some 1.4 million cubic metres of water have been pumped into key areas and high ground for firefighting.
The park has cleared obstacles from 72km of canals and 25 roads in high-risk forests to improve access.
It has set up four groups with 6 – 10 people each to monitor high-risk areas around the clock.
It has strengthened advocacy activities to raise awareness among people living close to forests about protection and fire prevention.
In Hậu Giang Province’s Phụng Hiệp District, Lung Ngọc Hoàng Nature Reserve has upgraded sluices and dams, dredged canals and mobilised personnel to fight possible fires in 2,805ha of forests.
Lư Xuân Hội, director of the reserve, said cameras have been installed in three watch towers for monitoring fires.
The reserve is working closely with other relevant agencies at the provincial and district levels to monitor forests. It has had no fires in the last 18 years.
In An Giang Province, mountainous districts like Tri Tôn and Thoại Sơn have taken measures to mitigate the risk of fires.
Tri Tôn has more than 8,400ha of forests of which, 4,406ha, including 2,550ha in mountainous areas, face a severe threat of fire, according to relevant authorities.
The district has stepped up propaganda about forest protection regulations and the monitoring of forests and the task of preventing fires.
People managing forest have created fire breaks in forests, set up watch towers and stored water for firefighting.
The delta has 347,000ha of forests, mostly mangrove and cajuput.
Ao Dai – Vietnamese cultural heritage
Every country in the world has traditional outfits that contain its unique cultural essence. In Vietnam, though there are no official documents indicating that the ao dai (traditional long dress) is the national outfit, in the minds of many, especially international friends, it is considered a symbol of Vietnamese culture.
It is also because of her love for the ao dai that designer Minh Hanh devoted all of her fashion career to honouring the traditional dress. Promoting, introducing, and acting as general director of ao dai festivals, Hanh also considers it is her responsibility, together with researchers and other designers, to make the ao dai an intangible cultural heritage of humanity.
Miss Vietnam 2010 Ngoc Han also identified her role in preserving and promoting national culture when choosing to research and design an ao dai for her career development. As a young designer, Ngoc Han puts her soul into her ao dai, using traditional natural materials and contributing to a woman’s beauty.
Vietnamese women do not need to spend much time putting on an ao dai to show off their charm and elegance. The ao dai has found a place in the daily lives of Vietnamese women, becoming part of the country’s spirit and identity./.
Art exhibition inspired from poems by late poet Đặng Đình Hưng
Painter Lê Thiết Cương will open his newest exhibition on March 12 at L’Espace, 24 Tràng Tiền Street.
Entitled Một Bến Lạ (An Unknown River) after the poetry collection by late poet Đặng Đình Hưng, the exhibition will present Cương’s work made from 2007 to the present inspired by the poems.
More than 30 artworks created on different materials such as pastel on poonah paper, oil on canvas and pottery will be on display.
Earlier, in January, the launch of the poetry collection An Unknown River was hosted by the French Cultural Centre (L’Espace) to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the death of the poet (1924-1990) who was central to the country’s poetry development. The book comprises six poems, as well as 20 small paintings and writings, about the poet and his poems by poets and researchers Hoàng Cầm, Hoàng Hưng and Đỗ Lai Thúy.
The exhibition will open to the public from 6pm, March 12 until April 4.
Localities ordered to work harder on child education, protection
The Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA) has issued a document on implementing child care, education and protection in 2021, requesting localities to raise responsibilities and take more comprehensive and drastic measures to protect children.
The document states that 2021 is the first year of implementing the Resolution of the 13th National Party Congress and many socio-economic development plans in various fields, including the national action programme for children for 2021 – 2030.
The MoLISA asked the People’s Committees of provinces and centrally-run cities to build, promulgate, and organise the implementation of resolutions, programmes, schemes and plans of all sectors and localities, aiming to well perform the child care, education and protection in line with the Resolution of the 13th National Party Congress; the Law on Children; resolutions, directives and decisions of the National Assembly (NA) and the Government; and programmes and projects on children in the 2021 – 2025 period, with a vision to 2030.
Accordingly, Party committees and local authorities at all levels were ordered to raise awareness and responsibility, especially of heads, in directing, managing and implementing the Party’s guidelines, and the State’s policies and laws on children’s rights; solving issues related to children, child right violations; and preventing and minimising children’s vulnerability to risks of harm and injury.
Localities need to ensure State management on children, human resources for the work, and allocate local budgets for implementing targets and solutions of the national action programme for children for 2021 – 2030, and local programmes and plans for children.
The People’s Committees of provinces and centrally-run cities were asked to focus on improving and developing child protection service systems, maintaining and expanding models of child protection and care, regularly supervising the implementation of laws, policies, programmes, schemes and plans on children, developing database on children, collecting information and statistics on children, and connecting child database with relevant data systems.
Attention will be paid to promoting interdisciplinary coordination in implementing the child work, and solutions to ensure safe living environment, prevent child sexual abuse, exploitation and violence, and injury accidents, especially drowning.
New playground set up in Đong Anh Town
A playground for children will open in Đông Anh Town today with support of the European Union and the British Council (BC).
The project, Sân Chơi Nỏ Thần, or Magic CrossBow Playground, is implemented by the BC and the Việt Nam National Institute of Culture and Arts Studies.
The playground is built 5km from the ancient Cổ Loa Citadel with the magic crossbow legend that has been woven into the history of Vietnamese people.
“Ruins, history, legends of kings and his men, prince and princess, trust and betrayal, the rich history of Đông Anh is the source of limitless inspiration,” said artist Trần Nguyễn Ưu Đàm who came up with the project’s artistic concept.
“We play to live a richer and more fulfilled life. The combination of those two ideas is the realisation of this Magic CrossBow playground.
“Life is a big playground where we are constantly moving in and out of history, living with, playing in, hiding and seeking in those ruins and myths,” said the artist.
The image of a giant Magic CrossBow in four parts scattered around like a ruin reflects the reality of Cổ Loa Citadel, parts hidden and parts visible at different places in the area.
When climbing in and out of the Magic Crossbow, the creators hope the history of the Âu Lạc Kingdom and its lessons will be kept alive.
This playground was created with the collaboration of Think Playgrounds Social Enterprise, artist Ưu Đàm, the Đông Anh Women’s Union and the community of Neighbourhood 3 in Đông Anh Town.
During the design and construction process, local residents contributed their ideas.
They have also contributed financial resources and will manage the playground going forward.
Think Playgrounds builds playgrounds, community gardens and improving public spaces that are friendly and safe with communities throughout Việt Nam.
Since 2014, Think Playgrounds has built nearly 200 public playgrounds and community gardens and organised more than 30 campaign events to raise awareness of the community about the role of play for the comprehensive development of children.
HCMC preparing for construction of Metro Line 2: Ben Thanh – Tham Luong
Metro Line 2 (Ben Thanh – Tham Luong) is one of the longest, with the length of 48km. The first phase, which is 11.2km long is to answer the traveling needs of residents in HCMC from the downtown to the Northwest area and vice versa. It is also the foundation for other similar modern urban railways built in the future.
Head of Division No.2 in the Management Authority for Urban Railways (MAUR) Le Van khoa reported that premise clearance for Metro Line 2 construction project has reached over 75 percent, with nearly 100 percent of legal procedure completed.
The districts of Tan Phu, 10, and 12 basically finish their premise clearance task, while the People’s Committee of districts 1, 3, and Tan Binh keep mobilizing related residents to clear the site for this important project.
In 2021, MAUR is going to prepare necessary building facilities for the project and reestablish residential infrastructure (water supply, sewage system, electric grid, green space, street lighting, traffic signs) for the public needs.
At the moment, MAUR is promoting the bidding process for construction and monitoring packages in the period of 2021-2022, followed by the building of the main parts in the project from 2022. In particular, the two packages of CP3a and CP3b (tunnels and underground stations) are to be started then.
From 2023-2024, the design, digging and construction of station walls will be kicked off, with the priority for Station 7 at Bay Hien Intersection and Station 10 on Pham Van Bach Street. Premises will be cleared to have sufficient space to site 4 Tunnel Boring Machines (TBMs). These machines will be used from 2024 to dig from Station 7 to Station 1 (Ben Thanh) and Station 5 (Le Thi Rieng).
From 2025-2026, work will be done to complete all underground stations. Simultaneously, the digging and foundation treatment at Tham Luong Depot will be carried out, along with the construction of the transition structure from the underground to elevated section, the viaduct, elevated Station 11 (Tan Binh), the infrastructure at Tham Luong Depot.
The detailed design of the electromechanical items in the system like cars, signal information, 110kV power stations, depot devices, and the control center will be introduced in 2026 as well, followed by a technical test at the end of that year.
For the project to smoothly launch, MAUR is working with sponsors to use the technical support capital by Asian Development Bank (ADB) to hire professional consultants for the bidding of CS2B package since the Credit Institute for Reconstruction (or Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau – KFW) is not able to prepare this amount.
At present, MAUR is discussing with IC Consultation certain conditions before formally negotiating the main content of the Appendix for Contract No.13.
At the same time, after receiving instruction from the Ministry of Construction about applying transition regulations in updating the package’s estimated cost, MAUR requested the appraisal board to adjust corresponding guidelines to become the foundation for next steps.
MAUR also suggested the HCMC Department of Planning and Investment should help HCMC People’s Committee to prepare the response to the Ministry of Planning and Investment about the status of using capital from KFW, ADB, and European Investment Bank (EIB); and to ask for an extension of loans from KFW.
The HCMC Department of Finance stated that there is no ground for HCMC People’s Committee to allocate the state regular disposable budget to MAUR in order to hire legal consultation for urban railway projects.
Therefore, MAUR asked that HCMC People’s Committee at least allow MAUR to hire legal consultation service for contract negotiation and management regarding construction packages of Metro Line 2, with fee taken from the reciprocal capital of the project.
The design appraisal and approval procedure will be delivered soon by the HCMC Department of Construction.
HCMC continues running pilot project in solving administrative cases online
Ho Chi Minh City will continue running the pilot project of online dialogues in solving administrative cases.
Additionally, the municipal People’s Committee directed related agencies and departments, the chairman of Thu Duc City and local administrations in coordination with people’s courts at two levels to implement the project effectively.
Before, the Supreme People’s Court in HCMC in September approved the pilot project of people’s courts at two levels from January 1, 2021 till January 1, 2022.
The municipal People’s Committee also assigned the Department of Information and Communications in cooperation with the Department of Justice, police force and related competent agencies to research on the regulations of administrative judiciary and the Law on Cybersecurity proposing punishments on those participating in litigation relating to recording and filming to post on social network and media.
Hanoi to cleanse polluted rivers
Hanoi authorities will flush the polluted To Lich and Nhue rivers with the water from the Red River in an attempt to improve the water quality.
On March 4, Hoang Cao Thang, deputy head of the Department of Construction confirmed at a meeting that they were planning to flush the To Lich and Nhue rivers.
“The water will be taken from the Red River. We’ll set up eight pump stations for this,” he said.
According to Thang, the project is in accordance with the city’s urban planning and there is no need to build a separate plan for this. This will be added to the sewage plan for the area on the left bank of Nhue River.
Also at the meeting, Colonel Pham Duc Thang, deputy head of the environmental police force in Hanoi said Hanoi Party Committee Secretary Vuong Dinh Hue had directed them to open an investigation into rubbish collecting and treatment violations after public concerns were raised. They have tightened monitoring over the rubbish collecting, transporting and treatment at Nam Son and Xuan Son dumping sites.
“The investigation is still on-going. We’ll make a public announcement if there is any result,” he said.
Ethnic-minority students benefit from STEM education
Lùng Thị Hoài, a Nùng ethnic minority student of Nàn Sán Secondary School, uses equipment to show off electric fireworks she and her peers made to celebrate the 2021 STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) festival in Si Ma Cai District, the northern mountainous province of Lào Cai.
STEM is an approach to learning and development that integrates science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Students are expected to develop their skills through STEM education including problem-solving, critical thinking, creativity, curiosity, decision making and acceptance of failure.
Hundreds of students in the district have benefited from STEM education.
This was the first year the STEM festival had been held in the district – one of the poorest districts of the country after the provincial Department of Education and Training Department issued a document to instruct the implementation of STEM education in secondary schools in September 2020.
Nguyễn Thị Kiều Oanh, head of the district’s Education and Training Office, said officials of the department had visited many localities to plan the festival.
The festival was not only a chance for the students to show off the electric firework device but also run toy cars on race tracks using kinetic energy, Khoa học và Phát Triển (Science and Development) online newspaper reported.
Also at the festival, the office invited two students in Lý Tự Trọng Secondary School in the province’s Lào Cai City to operate a robot, programmed by them, Oanh said.
The two students won the first prize in the robotics competition in the north, held by the Central Youth Union in November 2020, she added.
Oanh said the office wanted students in Nàn Sán Secondary School to do more in the next festivals, such as programming robots like the students in Lý Tự Trọng Secondary School in Lào Cai City did.
To do that, the office plans to hold a training course for programming robots for both teachers and students in a total of eight schools in the district this month, she said.
The training course will be organised with the support of teachers in Lào Cai City and the STEM Alliance, she said.
Established in 2015, the STEM Alliance – an organisation dedicated to connecting volunteers participating in STEM promotion activities – has trained some 10,000 general teachers about STEM education and helped establish more than 500 STEM clubs across the country, especially in rural areas.
The alliance also plays an important role in organising six National STEM Festivals and five Open Math Festivals.
The district administration issued Project No 04- DA/HU on July 31, 2020, on improving the quality of education and training for 2020-25. The project aims to promote STEM education at all schools in the district.
The move came under the goal of STEM universal education of the provincial education sector.
Over the past five years, the provincial education sector has conducted many STEM education training programmes for thousands of teachers.
The education sector has also set up STEM advisory groups for all levels of the education sector to build a formal system of STEM education.
To do that, the provincial education sector has received support from experienced STEM educators such as Đặng Văn Sơn of Hà Nội National University, Hoàng Vân Đông of Electricity University, Dương Tuấn Hưng of Việt Nam Academy of Science and Technology, Lê Chí Ngọc and Hàn Huy Dũng of Hà Nội University of Technology.
Children group helps keep Danang clean
A group of children in Danang City are collecting scrap metal as a way to protect the environment.
The children in the environment club often gather together on Sundays. Their leader is Pham Cong Luong, born in 1956, party secretary of Binh Phuoc 1 Residential Area.
According to Luong, he has always been concerned about environmental problems where he was living and tried to set an example by collecting rubbish on the street when he did morning exercises or when he was going out. Then in 2018, a rubbish collecting movement was initiated by Luong to raise funds for the children and poor families in Binh Phuoc. It received a positive response from the locals.
The children rubbish collecting club was set up in early 2019. The club includes several children age between 6 to 12 who want to raise awareness about environmental protection and raise funds for disadvantaged families. As of now, the club has a total of 34 members and many contributors.
“We have to teach the children because they will be the pioneers who lead others,” Luong said.
Ever since the club was set up, the local families have been actively classified their rubbish and placed them in front of their house for the children to collect. The rubbish was brought to the gathering location and classified again by volunteers.
9-year-old Cao Hoang Phuc Thinh said, “I think our club is meaningful and help make our area cleaner so I felt good to come there every weekend.”
12-year-old Le Anh Thu said, “It’s not just the weekends, now, whenever I saw litter on the street, I’ll always pick it up and put it in the bin.”
The club has earned nearly VND100m (USD4,300) up until now. The money was used as rewards for children with good academic results and to organise sports events for the children. After Covid-19 broke out, the club sent 290kg of rice to 29 disadvantaged cases. They also used the money to buy gifts for disabled and orphan children on Tet Holiday and other special occasions.
Royal sisters movie gets release date after pandemic delay
The fifth edition in a series of chick-flick movies will be released in cinemas nationwide next week, after being delayed due to the COVID-19 resurgence earlier this year.
Gái Già Lắm Chiêu V – Những Cuộc Đời Vương Giả (Camellia Sisters – Living Like Royalty) will premiere on March 12, a month after the original date of February 12, the first lunar day of the Year of the Ox.
With the pandemic controlled in much of Viet Nam, the producer MAR6 Pictures feels ready to release the movie in cinemas safely.
“Changing the film release date was a difficult decision because it disturbed the original plan, but we want to keep the audience safe and decide to delay until the viewers can safely go to the theatre to enjoy the movie,” said director Bảo Nhân.
Gái Già Lắm Chiêu V – Những Cuộc Đời Vương Giả is the fifth edition of the chick-flick series called Gái Già Lắm Chiêu (The Tricky Ladies) that was launched in 2016 by young directors Bảo Nhân and Nam Cito.
The third edition on the relationship between a woman and her mother-in-law, played by Lê Khanh and Lan Ngọc, recorded revenue of VND165 billion (US$7 million) and is one of the top 10 highest-grossing Vietnamese films of all time.
The fifth edition features late actor Hoàng Dũng in the role of wealthy Vĩnh Nghị. The film was the last he took part in before dying on February 14 from blood cancer.
Director Bảo Nhân said during the filming period, Dũng endured pain to complete the scenes. His first segment in the film was on Thiên An Hill, requiring Hoàng Dũng to ride a bicycle for many hours at night. After the filming was done, he gasped due to exhaustion.
The main filming location was a white tea garden within an ancient villa and cost more than VND2 billion ($87,000) to set up the European-style garden.
The movie was also filmed in many famous destinations in Huế in an effort to promote the beauty of local culture, tourism as well as the history of the city.
Lan Ngọc, the main actress of the previous editions, will make a come back in the fifth edition. Photo Facebook Gái Già Lắm Chiêu
Camellia Sisters – Living Like Royalty focuses on the three Lý sisters belonging to the Huế aristocracy. Three famous actresses, Lê Khanh, Hồng Vân and Kaity Nguyễn, play the three sisters.
People’s Artist Lê Khanh plays Lý Lệ Hà – the scheming eldest sister in the family with a long history of collecting antiques. To look different from her role as the mother-in-law Thái Tuyết Mai in the third edition, she cut her long hair that she had grown for more than 20 years.
People’s Artist Hồng Vân, as the second eldest sister Lý Lệ Hồng is talkative, seemingly carefree but knows a lot of family secrets. She also starred in the third edition.
Kaity Nguyễn, after the big success of Tiệc Trăng Máu (Blood Moon Party) is the youngest sister, Lý Linh.
With such a lineup of big names on the silver screen, the movie is anticipated to be a bit hit and possibly surpass the success of the third edition.
Argentinean press updated on Vietnam’s political situation, socio-economic affairs
The Vietnamese Embassy in Argentina on March 5 held a meeting with local press agencies to inform them about Vietnam’s political situation and socio-economic development as well as culture and tourism potential.
Among media outlets attended the event were major and mainstream press agencies like TV Publica, national news agency Telam, and newspapers Clarin, Ambito Internacional, Resumen Latinoamericano, Acercando Naciones and IP Noticias.
Participating reporters were given an insight into Vietnam’s recent affairs, particularly the country’s successful containment of the COVID-19 pandemic and the outstanding outcomes of the 13th National Congress of the Communist Party of Vietnam which outlined the country’s development goals and orientations for the coming time.
Reporters said they were impressed by the country’s encouraging progress in recent years and hope to further contribute to the enhancement of the Vietnam-Argentina comprehensive cooperation in the future.
The event also featured a presentation on Vietnam’s tourism potential and a screening of video clips on its economic outlook this year./.
Book on 70-year Vietnam-Russia relations debuts
A book featuring 70-year Vietnam-Russia relations compiled by Vietnamese Ambassador to Russia Ngo Duc Manh was publicly introduced at a ceremony held by the embassy in Moscow on March 5.
Attending the ceremony were representatives of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Federation Council, State Duma, administrations of Moscow, Saint Petersburg, and other localities, as well as local scholars, people and Vietnamese expatriates.
Speaking at the event, Manh said the book is a gift of gratitude for leaders, people, and readers of the two countries, which, he said, shared a traditional friendship of closeness, trust, mutual understanding and support during the war time and in the current national construction cause.
Consisting of five parts, the book gives an overview of the Vietnam-Russia ties and introduces late Vietnamese President Ho Chi Minh’s activities in Russia, who set the foundation for the bilateral relations.
It features more than 700 images and documents classified into diplomatic events and cooperation activities in politics, economy, defence-security, culture, education, science, and people-to-people diplomacy.
In the book’s introduction, Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affair Pham Binh Minh wrote today’s Vietnam-Russia relations have inherited from the Vietnam-Soviet Union relationship with the precious assets of sincere affection, and mutual support and assistance, forging a strong and loyal friendship between the two nations. Russia was the first country that Vietnam established a strategic partnership in 2001 and a comprehensive strategic partnership in 2012.
Chairwoman of the Russian Federation Council V. Matviyenko stated the friendship, formed when Vietnam was fighting to safeguard its independence years ago, have been fortified over the past years and become a common asset of both nations./.
Source: VNA/VNS/VOV/VIR/SGT/Nhan Dan/Hanoitimes
Vietnam striving to promote sustainable marine aquaculture development
| Vietnam striving to promote sustainable marine aquaculture development hinh anh 1
A shrimp farming area in Phu Yen province
Vietnam is to have 280,000 ha of marine aquaculture area and 10.5 million cubic metres of farming cages by 2025, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).
Annual marine aquaculture output and export turnover are expected to reach 850,000 tonnes and between 800 million and 1 billion USD, the ministry said.
The MARD has taken a series of measures to promote sustainable marine aquaculture in coastal areas nationwide, towards turning the sector into a key part of the country’s maritime economy by 2045.
Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Phung Duc Tien said agencies have coordinated with coastal localities to review and build a plan for aquaculture development in Vietnam to 2030 with a vision to 2045.
The plan will focus on improving the output, quality, and economic efficiency of marine aquaculture, protecting the environment and adapting to climate change, restructuring production activities, and building value chains for each group of products, with industrial marine aquaculture to play a key role.
Incentive policies will be available to offshore industrial aquaculture enterprises, to encourage them to invest.
Attention will be paid to creating business communities in offshore aquaculture in major coastal cities and provinces, including Quang Ninh, Hai Phong, Binh Dinh, Phu Yen, Khanh Hoa, Ninh Thuan, Binh Thuan, Ba Ria – Vung Tau, Ca Mau, and Kien Giang, as well as others with substantial potential.
Marine aquaculture and aquatic processing centres, logistics services, and fisheries infrastructure will be developed in north-central and central coastal localities from Thanh Hoa to Binh Thuan.
Priority will be given to developing models of multi-species farming and in supporting establishments shifting away from traditional models to industrial models.
The application of high technologies, international cooperation in technology transfer, and investment attraction in the field will be also promoted, while relevant research projects will be supported.
Vietnam aims to have an advanced marine farming industry with sustainable development and systematic management by 2045. The country is set to raise annual output and export value to 3 million tonnes and over 10 billion USD./.
Businesses want more help from the Government
Domestic businesses have called on the Government to aid them as they are still struggling to maintain production and business activities due to a lack of credit support after more than a year of coping with the COVID-19 outbreak.
This appeal was sent to Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc by the business community in early February. It asked the Government to consider lifting the export tax on woodchips to remove difficulties for wood producers amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses want the Government to stabilise the purchasing price and encourage growers to maintain afforestation to boost export promotion.
The transport sector is one example of an industry looking for Government help.
A decree that took effect last April requires transport businesses transporting passengers by automobiles with at least nine seats or transporting cargo by tractor trucks or tractor units to equip their vehicles with cameras.
Installing cameras in the sector’s more than 340,000 vehicles would cost about VND1.5-1.9 trillion (US$65-82 million) and maintaining servers and transmission lines will also cost about VND500 billion ($21 million) per year.
These are really big expenses for transport companies amid the pandemic, so firms have asked the deadline for installation to be delayed until this July.
These are two of the many recommendations sent to the PM to overcome difficulties amid the new way of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Most businesses are hoping for supportive policies from the Government, especially assistance related to tax and fee deferrals.
To deal with the difficulties of COVID-19, experts have called on ministries and agencies to urgently work out appropriate policies and solutions.
Experts said solutions needed to meet four criteria, with the first solution is that the Government should ensure socio-economic stability and offer incentives for businesses to soon recover.
Experts have also called on the Government to support economic activities to prevent and minimise liquidity loss, bankruptcy, business dissolution and facilitate rapid recovery of businesses after COVID-19.
They also asked the Government to restructure the economy in accordance with the global changes after COVID-19.
Lastly, the Government should stimulate domestic consumption and ensure social security.
Rubber companies set lower profit targets for 2021
As a bear market for rubber is anticipated in 2021, Vietnamese rubber companies have edged down their profit targets for the year.
In its business plan announced at an extraordinary shareholders’ meeting at the end of February, the Vietnam Rubber Group (VRG) targets 4.6 trillion VND (199.68 million USD) in after-tax profit in 2021, a year-on-year fall of 12 percent.
It forecast another tough year, particularly for rubber latex, with blame being placed on lower prices. The group’s rubber wood and rubber products will both face fierce competition.
Gross revenue topped 25.99 trillion VND last year and after-tax profit 5.23 trillion VND, up 5.67 percent and 29.8 percent, respectively. Growth was mainly spurred by its divestment from the Sai Gon VRG Investment JSC.
Experts from the Viet Capital Securities JSC said that VRG pocketed some 1.1 trillion VND from the divestment, and without this its profit would scarcely have reached such a high level.
It is understandable that VRG has adjusted its profit target downwards this year, they said, in the context of unanticipated changes in the global market.
Other rubber firms like the Tay Ninh Rubber JSC (TRC) and the Phuoc Hoa Rubber JSC (PHC) also remained prudent in setting targets for 2021.
TRC aimed at 301 billion VND in revenue and 57 billion VND in pre-tax profit, down 29.6 percent and 48.8 percent year-on-year.
Meanwhile, PHR, who holds a huge advantage in developing industrial real estate, lowered its revenue target by 15 percent to 1.92 trillion VND and after-tax profit target by 35 percent to 751 billion VND.
Along with gloomy prospects for material rubber demand this year, PHR is also facing other difficulties, including stunted rubber plantations, a shortage of workers, unfavourable climate conditions, and disease in its rubber trees. Revenue and profit will also be critically affected by weakening investment in industrial zones due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to a report from the FPT Securities JSC (FPTS), rubber prices will remain low in 2021, at around 32-33 million VND per tonne, leaving a negative impact on the sector’s latex business./.
RoK resumes importing Vietnamese carrots
Recent days has seen hundreds of containers flock to Cam Giang and Nam Sach districts in Hai Duong province, the nation’s largest novel coronavirus (COVID-19) hotspot, to transport carrots to Hai Phong port before being exported to the Republic of Korea (RoK).
Hai Duong has just ended social distancing measures after the latest coronavirus outbreak was brought under control. Check points which connect the locality to Hai Phong city have also been lifted.
Tran Van Quan, director of the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said 30 containers of carrots were transported on March 3 from Duc Chinh commune in Cam Giang district.
Furthermore, approximately 1,000 tonnes of carrots from Hai Duong province are planned to be exported to the RoK on March 4, Quan added.
Local firms collected carrots from farmers at a price of VND5,000 (just US$0.21) per kilo, and sold the product to the importer at VND10,000 per kilo.
The boost in farm produce exports has taken place after the RoK on February 25 decided to lift its import ban placed on Vietnamese carrots along with some other agricultural products.
Hai Duong makes up one of the largest carrot growing areas in northern Vietnam, covering 1,500 hectares with the majority mainly located in Cam Giang and Nam Sach districts.
The price of carrots for export is anticipated to rise further if China, Vietnam’s largest farm produce consumer, opens its border to import the product.
Long An international port to be expanded
Dong Tam Group (DTG) has announced it is completing the remaining legal procedures to expand the Long An international port, enabling its berths No. 8 and No.9 to receive 100,000DWT ships.
The project is scheduled to be completed in 2023, lifting the total length of the wharf system to 2,368m, enabling the handling of more than 80 million tonnes of goods per year.
DTG also has a plan to build a terminal serving ships transporting gas, oil and other liquids, turning Long An international port into a multi-purpose seaport.
Long An international port covers an area of 147 ha, including seven wharves with a total length of 1,670m, which are capable of receiving 30,000-70,000 DWT ships, and four barge berths able to accommodate barges of 2,000 tonnes. It boasts experience in handling super-sized and super-weight items which require complex cargo handling.
In 2020, the port signed strategic co-operation agreements with partners in the Mekong Delta region, helping businesses reduce costs, improve competitiveness and maximise operational efficiency.
Previously, on January 22, a strategic co-operation agreement was signed between representatives of the port and those from units specialising in developing major wind power projects in Viet Nam.
HCM City to build ‘golden brands’ for agricultural products
Ho Chi Minh City’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development is building a ‘golden brand’ for its agricultural enterprises, Vice Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Vo Van Hoan has said.
In 2020, none of the 30 enterprises receiving the HCM City Golden Brand Award were in the agricultural sector.
Hoan has encouraged enterprises to develop brands for local agricultural products and services. Can Gio district’s specialties, for example, that have already been branded include dried shark catfish, bird’s nest and mango.
The development of high-value agricultural products together with tourism will benefit the local economy and maintain agriculture.
Dinh Minh Hiep, Director of the municipal Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the city will continue to call for more investment in agriculture. The aim is to increase its number of agricultural enterprises to 2,000 from the 1,910 enterprises in 2020.
Ninety percent of agricultural enterprises in Vietnam are small or micro sized, with capital of less than 10 billion VND (430,000 USD).
The country’s agriculture sector targets being ranked in the top 15 in the world, in which the agricultural processing sector would rank among the top 10 countries by 2030.
HCMC puts daily State budget collections at VND2.9 trillion
HCMC collected some VND2.9 trillion per day for the State budget between January and February, nearly double the number given by the Government.
Speaking at the Government’s online meeting with provinces and cities on socioeconomic performance this morning, March 2, HCMC Vice Chairman Vo Van Hoan said that the central Government set a target for HCMC to collect some VND365 trillion for the State budget this year, equivalent to some VND1.5 trillion per day.
In the first two months of the year, the city’s budget collections amounted to an average of some VND2.9 trillion per day.
Up to now, the city has collected VND74.5 trillion, meeting 20.5% of the target and rising by 10.5% year-on-year, Hoan said, adding that HCMC might fulfill the target set by the Government.
HCMC’s budget collections in 2019 reached some VND410 trillion, while the city’s budget revenues reached a mere VND371 trillion in 2020, meeting 91.5% of the estimates due to the impact of Covid-19.
In recent years, the city’s collections have accounted for 25%-27% of the country’s total, the local media reported.
In the first two months of 2021, the city saw more positive achievements in socio-economic development than during the same period last year, according to the representative of the HCMC government.
In the two-month period, the city’s total retail sales of goods and services inched up 4.7%, while its export revenue amounted to US$8 billion, up 25% year-on-year, backed by the exports of fertilizer, plastic materials and auto components.
The city also attained industrial manufacturing index growth of 6% and saw over 3,800 firms return to the market, up 3% year-on-year, and 700 companies complete dissolution procedures, down 14.5%.
However, Hoan said that its tourism sector had been heavily affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Between January and February, the sales of travel services plunged by 70%, while the value of lodging services dropped by 14% year-on-year.
Service providers at Long Thanh airport required to participate in competitive tenders
All enterprises seeking to invest in aviation and non-aviation services at the Long Thanh International Airport, which is under construction in the southern province of Dong Nai, must participate in competitive tenders, the Ministry of Transport announced.
According to the feasibility study for the first phase of the airport project approved by the Government, investors who want to supply services at the airport would be chosen by the Ministry of Transport.
The capital needed for these service facilities is estimated at VND5.93 trillion, which will be mobilized by investors.
According to the Ministry of Transport, the capital mobilization through tenders is feasible.
A representative of the ministry’s Planning and Investment Department said that under Government Decree 05/2021 on the management and operation of airports and a decision approving the Long Thanh International Airport project, investors of service facilities at airports must be chosen through bidding to ensure fairness and transparency for enterprises and that enterprises in the aviation sector will not be prioritized.
The ministry has assigned the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam to draft a circular on the bidding and concession of service provision at the airport.
National flag carrier Vietnam Airlines had earlier proposed the Ministries of Transport and Planning-Investment and the Commission for the Management of State Capital at Enterprises allow it to invest nearly VND10 trillion to become a ground services provider for aviation fuel, in-flight meals, duty-free sales and ground technical, cargo terminal, aviation logistics and waiting lounge services at the airport.
Of the required investment, 30% will be sourced from Vietnam Airlines and the remainder from loans.
The airline also suggested that competent agencies issue special policies for it and other members of the Vietnam Airlines Group, including Pacific Airlines and the Vietnam Air Services Company, so that they can have enough infrastructure and land for their services at the airport.
Besides Vietnam Airlines, some other firms have proposed investing in services at the forthcoming airport.
FDI mainly poured in HCMC’s real estate sector in first two months
In the first two months of the year, HCMC attracted only three foreign direct investment (FDI) projects with total registered capital of US$115 million, with 99.7% of the amount being injected into property projects.
The HCMC Statistics Office attributed the small FDI in the period as the Covid-19 pandemic has left tremendous impact on many countries, especially those that are HCMC’s investment partners.
Of the total FDI, Singapore made up 29.6% and the Netherlands, 70.1%.
Besides the newly registered projects, the period saw 22 operational FDI projects in the city revising up their investment by a total of US$53.3 million. Further, foreign investors conducted 168 transactions to contribute capital and acquire stakes in local companies with a combined value of US$169.5 million.
Thus, the total foreign investment in the city in the first two months was US$337.8 million, down 29.7% over the same period last year.
Of the total, US$145.1 million was poured in the real estate sector, accounting for 43% of the total, followed by the science and technology sector with US$57.5 million and the processing and manufacturing sector with US$41 million.
During the period, Singapore was the largest foreign investor in HCMC, making up 37.1% of the city’s total foreign investment. The Netherlands came in second with 23.9%, followed by South Korea with 13.2% and the Cayman Islands with 7.6%.
According to the Ministry of Planning and Investment, the total foreign investment in the whole country in January and February reached US$5.46 billion, down 15.6% year-on-year.
HCMC’s foreign investment in the two-month period was lower than that of Can Tho, Haiphong, Bac Giang, Binh Duong and Tay Ninh, while the city was always among the top places attracting the most foreign investment in the last few years.
Car prices in Vietnam set to be cheaper
With the Covid-19 impacts still looming on local economy, domestic car prices have gone down but remained nearly double the prices of vehicles sold in Thailand and Indonesia, mainly due to high fees and taxes for locally made cars.
Rising domestic production capacity and existing government’s support policies to cut fees and taxes for locally made cars are expected to be major factors dragging down car prices in Vietnam in the coming time.
A representative from the Truong Hai Auto Corporation (Thaco), one of Vietnam’s leading car manufacturers, expected the country’s participation in free trade agreements (FTAs) with major partners, including the EU, Japan, UK and South Korea, would help further abate costs for importing car parts with import duty at 0%.
With the Covid-19 impacts still looming on local economy, domestic car prices have gone down but remain nearly double the prices of vehicles sold in Thailand and Indonesia, mainly due to high fees and taxes for locally made cars.
“High product quality and low base cost are essential for Vietnam cars to compete with their foreign peers,” said auto expert Nguyen Minh Dong, adding only a bigger market size could attract more investors to come in to produce cars in the country and enhance localization rate.
Director of Hien Toyota noted while car manufacturers can streamline operation to drive down the production cost, taxes and fees are dependent on state policies.
“Lowering taxes and fees for cars will no doubt reduce prices and bring more benefits for customers,” she said.
A recent report from the SSI Securities Corporation suggested Vietnam’s income per capita is on the rise and set to grow at an average of 8-10% in the next decade.
“Compared to regional countries, the current income per capita is fast approaching to a point of bursting demand for cars,” asserted the SSI, adding cars would soon move from the luxury category with a passenger vehicle density of 34 per 1,000 to a more ordinary one with a density level comparable to countries in the region.
The SSI also pointed to a key factor that the domestic car market is big enough for car manufacturers to shift from importing cars to assembling/manufacturing domestically.
At present, six major car manufacturers of Thaco, Huyndai, Toyota, Mitsubishi, Ford and Honda account for 90% of the market share in Vietnam with a combined production capacity of 30,000-60,000 units per year, exceeding the break-even point for domestically-produced cars of 30,000-40,000 cars per year for an assembling plant, or 10,000-20,000 units for each car model.
According to the SSI, domestic car production capacity is increasing rapidly to meet customers demand, a key step to lower car prices.
With more cars manufacturing and assembling plants scheduled to complete in the 2022-23 period, the SSI expects a heating up car markets with steep discount policies would drive up domestic car demands.
Along with existing Vietnam’s support policies for the automobile industry, the National Assembly is currently discussing a possibility of reducing the excise tax rate for locally made cars, in which the specific reduced rate would be in line with the localization rate, aiming to boost sales of affordable car models.
Danang planned to be part of global supply chain
Danang is designed to be the tourism- and maritime economy-based city by 2030 and vision to 2045.
Danang, the central beach city of Vietnam, is forecast in a master planning by 2030 and vision to 2045 to become one of the destinations in the global supply chain in the country’s greater development amid strong international integration.
Speaking at the press conference on the adjustment of the Danang City Master Plan, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said Danang should pay attention to green space and natural environment.
He said the local government has seriously taken into account constructive ideas by different agencies and people in making the adjustment. But he warned the local authorities of possible personal profiteering in the detail planning.
Danang is an entrance gate of the East–West Economic Corridor, an economic development program spanning across mainland Southeast Asia with a 1,700-kilometer land route, covering Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam.
The corridor was envisaged as a land bridge connecting the Indian and Pacific Oceans, saving the sea route via the Malacca Strait. The road connects the port cities of Mawlamyine in the west to Danang in the east.
The city is expected to become a special metropolis with 1.79 million people and 32% of its land to be used for urban development, according to the adjustment of Danang City Master Plan to 2030 and vision to 2045 provided by Singapore-based Sakae Corporate Advisory (SCA) and Surbana Jurong Consultants.
With an economic development strategy included in the plan, Danang is expected to become a global lifestyle destination with tourism- and maritime economy-led economy.
Danang’s landscape structure includes three typical urban areas namely waterfront area, green core zone and hillside, and ecological region.
The city is also designed to become a core zone of an urban chain including Hue – Danang – Chu Lai Ky Ha – Dung Quat – Quy Nhon and another chain with Chan May – Danang – Dien Ban – Hoi An – Nam Hoi An.
In its evaluation report, the Ministry of Construction said the master plan has addressed shortcomings and solutions for better planning.
Under Vietnam’s Law on Urban Planning, urban cities in Vietnam are classified into six categories named from I to VI.
The classification is based on the position, function, role, structure, socio-economic development, size of population, population density, non-agricultural laborers, and infrastructure.
At present, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City is listed “special metropolis” while Haiphong, Danang, and Can Tho are named “first category urban cities.”
In 2019, Danang’s gross regional domestic product (GRDP) expanded 9%. Between 2017 and 2019, the city’s GRDP accounted for 1.44% of the country’s GDP.
In 2019, before Covid-19 swept the globe, the city welcomed 8.7 million visitors, up 13.4% on-year. Of the total, foreign tourists accounted for 3.5 million, up 22.5% on-year.
Vietnam gov’t to mobilize US$15.4 billion via bond auctions in 2021
As of January 20, the total value of government bonds reached more than VND16 trillion (US$694.7 million).
The State Treasury of Vietnam plans to mobilize VND350 trillion (US$15.4 billion) by issuing government bonds via auctions at the Hanoi Stock Exchange (HNX) in 2021.
Under the plan, the government would issue bonds with five-year maturity of VND20 trillion (US$886.7 million), seven-year maturity of VND15 trillion (US$433.3 million), ten-year maturity of VND120 trillion (US$886.7 million), 15-year maturity of VND135 trillion (US$5.8 billion), and bonds maturities ranging between 20 and 30 years worth VND30 trillion (US$1.3 billion).
During the implementation process, the State Treasury of Vietnam could adjust the issuance volume of bond maturities to suit the market situation and the government spending.
According to the Government Bond Auction Plan for the first quarter of 2021, the Treasury will issue bonds with total value of VND100 trillion (US$4.3 billion).
As of January 20, the total value of government bonds reached more than VND16 trillion (US$694.7 million).
The Treasury will this year strive to complete the 2021 capital mobilization plan assigned by the Ministry of Finance, comply with the state budget and public debt restructuring towards ensuring sustainable safety of the national financial system.
It will issue a variety of bond tenors for different investment purposes and create reference interest rates for the market, restructure public debt (government bond repurchase and swap) according to the scheme approved by the Prime Minister.
It will pilot the issuance of new types of bonds (green bonds, floating-rate bonds).
Capital of sugarcane in South Central Coast backslides
Ninh Hoa Town in Khanh Hoa Province is considered as the capital of sugarcane in the South Central region, but recently, due to low domestic sugarcane prices, the sugarcane growing-area here has been decreasing nonstop. Many farmers who have been sticking with sugarcane for many years, now also have to abandon sugarcane to seek other crops.
The harvest of sugarcane in sugarcane growing-areas in Ninh Xuan and Ninh Tay communes in Ninh Hoa Town was quite subdued. Many sugarcane fields are stunted and unhealthy because farmers neglect to invest in care. Interlaced between stunted sugarcane fields is vacant land.
The sugarcane growing-areas in Ninh Hoa no longer show the lush green of the heyday of sugarcane. Even in the harvest season, the gloomy atmosphere hovers over sugarcane fields.
According to local sugarcane farmers, the current price of material sugarcane purchased by local sugar refineries ranges from VND920,000 to VND950,000 per ton for sugarcane with 10 percent of commercial cane sugar. This is considered a high price compared to those in recent years, but farmers are not as excited as the time when sugarcane helped them to make a fortune. For instance, in Ninh Tan Commune, five years ago, sugarcane helped many farmers to escape poverty and become well-off, thanks to large-scale sugarcane cultivation. However, in recent years, sugarcane has no longer brought them a prosperous life anymore.
Visiting the 1.5-hectare sugarcane field of Vo Thi Hau Phuong, a farmer in Trung Village in Ninh Tan Commune, whose sugarcanes are of high quality in the area and are being harvested to sell to the factory of Vietnam Sugar Company, she said that in this crop, sugarcane yield was about 40 tons per hectare, with commercial cane sugar percentage at above 10. It is because her family invested and taken care of their sugarcane field carefully. Meanwhile, many surrounding stunted sugarcane fields will undoubtedly give very low productivity. Despite high yield, high commercial cane sugar percentage, and high sugarcane selling price in this crop, she reckons that the profit is small.
Le Minh Tuan’s household in Bac Village in Ninh Tan Commune has more than 3 hectares of sugarcane. With nearly 20 years of experience in growing sugarcane, he estimated that the total output would be over 100 tons. With the current price, the profit is not very high, just enough to cover daily expenses.
“After this crop, my family will lease a part of the land, or temporarily find more suitable crops. If there is no more suitable crop, I will grow acacia hybrid, because, with such a situation, it is difficult to cling to sugarcane any longer”, Tuan said.
Originally, Ninh Hoa was “the capital of sugarcane”, the pride in the agricultural structure, but now many local farmers have decided to switch to other crops, or reluctantly leave their fields uninhabited.
According to Mr. Vo Ngoc Phi Vu, Chairman of the People’s Committee of Ninh Tan Commune, sugarcane cultivation is no longer effective, so the area of sugarcane in the commune has continuously decreased sharply. The whole commune has only 500 hectares of sugarcane in this crop, a decrease of 800 hectares compared to the 2018-2019 sugarcane crop. As explained by the leader of Ninh Tan Commune, there are many reasons for ineffective sugarcane cultivation. Particularly, climate change, unusual weather, and floods affected the productivity and quality of sugarcane.
Besides, sugarcane farmers also faced many difficulties, such as scarce labor, high sugarcane transporting cost, while sugarcane prices were at low levels. As in the 2017–2018 crop, the buying price of sugarcane was only at VND780,000 per ton, causing heavy losses for farmers. He said that the commune was concerned about which suitable crops to direct and encourage farmers to switch to because sugarcane was the key crop in the past. Currently, it was waiting for directions from the superiors.
Many farmers in Ninh Hoa Town have actively converted some sugarcane growing-areas to other crops. However, the crop conversion has not been synchronous, so it cannot be the fundamental solution to develop specialized agricultural areas to replace sugarcane, which is in decline.
Mr. Phan Thanh Liem, Vice Chairman of the People’s Committee of Ninh Hoa Town, said that sugarcane is no longer bringing economic benefits to farmers. It shows clearly when in the 2020-2021 sugarcane crop, the whole town only has 6,200 hectares of sugarcane, while it was about 8,200 hectares before. Amid the situation that sugarcane fields were left uncultivated, Ninh Hoa Town has had a plan to rezone the soil map, aiming to change the appropriate crop structure, thereby promoting calling for investors to link cooperatives to convert inefficient or vacant sugarcane areas to new crops.
In the 2020-2021 crop, Khanh Hoa Province has more than 12,790 hectares of sugarcane, while it was nearly 20,000 hectares in the 2016-2017 crop. Currently, the provincial Department of Cultivation and Plant Protection has advised the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development to submit to the People’s Committee for approval of the crop conversion plan for the 2021-2025 period to have a basis for the department to develop support policies for farmers.
Planning key to effective performance of industrial parks in Hanoi
Hanoi authorities have requested that the management board of local industrial parks (IPs) inspect all IPs and make appropriate development recommendations in line with the capital’s planning, Nguyen Manh Quyen, Vice Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee, has said.
Planning is the top priority that determines the effective development of these parks, he underscored.
The city is home to nine operating industrial parks (IPs), which together cover 1,369 ha and post an occupancy rate of 95 percent. There are also two other IPs undergoing infrastructure adjustments, four calling for investment, and one that has had its investment licence revoked.
IPs in the capital attracted a total of about 118.2 million USD in investment last year, fulfilling just 30 percent of the target and representing only 34 percent of the figure recorded in 2019.
2020 revenue amounted to 7.6 billion USD, an annual decline of 2 percent. In the first two months of 2021, they reeled in over 1.2 billion USD, and paid 35.5 million USD to the State budget.
According to Tran Anh Tuan, deputy head of the management board, the volume of investment has remained low and there are no large-scale or high-tech projects.
Insiders have attributed issues to a lack of attention to industrial development, overlapping inspections, and red tape, among other matters./.
Bac Lieu attracting foreign investment for ethnic minority areas
The Mekong Delta province of Bac Lieu is attracting foreign investment and experience to support the socio-economic development of ethnic minorities.
By 2025, the province will draw official development assistance (ODA) and preferential loans, especially non-refundable aid, for socio-economic development in ethnic minority areas based on demand and potential and on the principle of preserving and upholding traditional cultural identities and protecting the environment.
It will give priority to dealing with shortages of land, housing, and water for daily use among ethnic minority households; and developing agro-forestry and investing in key infrastructure, education, scientific research and technological transfer in production connectivity models via value chains.
Further attention will also be paid to healthcare, child malnutrition prevention, gender equality, and addressing urgent problems faced by women and children.
Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Phan Thanh Duy said the province will work closely with the Central Steering Committee on the National Target Programme on Socio-Economic Development in Ethnic Minority Areas, the Coordinating Office of the programme, and ministries and agencies to identify demand for international investment and ensure openness and transparency.
It will also offer all possible support in terms of policies, mechanisms, land, and human resources to facilitate foreign investment.
Priority will be given in site clearance, vocational training, the implementation of signed international agreements, conventions and contracts, and the expansion of international cooperation, to seek new partners.
Each year, the province will add more capital to build projects, hold exchanges with stakeholders, and raise funds from domestic and foreign sponsors for the effort./.
Tax revenue totals 10.7 billion USD in first two months
Nearly 246.449 trillion VND (over 10.7 billion USD) in taxes was collected for the State budget in the first two months of 2021, equivalent to 22.1 percent of the estimate, according to the General Department of Taxation.
Of the figure, over 241.5 trillion VND or 22.1 percent of the estimate was domestic revenue.
Tax revenue from State-owned and foreign enterprises reached 20.4 percent and 25.4 percent of the target, respectively.
According to the General Department of Taxation, the number of enterprises suspended their business in the reviewed period due to the COVID-19 pandemic rose 60.5 percent to over 19,700, resulting in the decrease of budget collection.
The Ministry of Finance has announced it may further extend tax payment deferrals to support companies suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic this year.
Last month, the ministry submitted to the government a proposal on the further extension on the payment deferral period of value-added, corporate income and personal income taxes as well as land use fees for pandemic-hit companies and household businesses in 2021.
It estimated that a total of 115 trillion VND (4.98 billion USD) worth of tax and land use fee payments would have their deadlines extended./.
Hoa Phat’s imports from Australia to reach 1.44 billion USD this year
Hoa Phat Group plans to import 1.44 billion USD worth of commodities from Australia in 2021, more than doubling last year’s figure.
The imports will include around 4 million tonnes of iron ore, 3.5 million tonnes of coal of different types and 145,000 cows.
The group’s imports of machines, equipment, and materials for production reportedly hit nearly 2 billion USD last year. Of the total, some 35 percent, or 700 million USD, came from Australia, also over double the figure from 2019 and making the industrial manufacturer the largest Vietnamese client of the country.
More than half of the total import value, or 364 million USD, came from coal, compared to just 115 million USD in 2019.
The group’s purchases of iron ore leapt a whopping 19-times to 123 million USD in the first eleven months of 2020.
Hoa Phat bought more coal and iron ore last year to serve production at its iron and steel integrated complexes in the northern province of Hai Duong and the central province of Quang Ngai’s Dung Quat Economic Zone.
Meanwhile, it annually purchases hundreds of thousands of cows from Australia, with its herd accounting for 50 percent of all Australian-imported cows in Vietnam.
With such soaring import numbers, Hoa Phat was estimated to account for 17 percent of Australia’s total export value to Vietnam in 2020, compared to 7.4 percent in 2018 and 7.6 percent in 2019.
According to Global Trade Atlas, Australia’s exports to Vietnam reached 4.4 billion USD in 2020, 16 percent of which was imported by Hoa Phat.
Last year, the group’s exports exceeded 1 billion USD, including 966 million USD worth of high-quality and construction steel./.
Less-crowded destinations, small group travel more popular this year
Small group travel, wellness travel and shorter booking timeframes are expected to set the trends for 2021, according to the Vietnam Tourism Trends 2021 report.
The report conducted by Outbox Consulting, an independent research and consulting firm, showed that travellers will be able to plan socially distanced vacations in sparsely populated areas and be safe from COVID-19 infections.
A regular tour in 2019 could accommodate 20 – 30 people, but this year the size will shrink to control the spread of the COVID-19 outbreaks.
During the pandemic, fatigue and stress have made wellness retreats more popular.
The increase in demand for wellness travel will be a good opportunity for Việt Nam’s wellness tourism market, especially as the country has emerged as a safe destination where COVID-19 has been controlled well.
Pre-COVID, Vietnamese travellers often planned their trips and booked services long before their departure to save money, especially for overseas tours.
However, in times of uncertainty, shorter booking timeframes will help mitigate the risk of travel policy changes and mobility restrictions.
To adapt to the shorter timeframe trend, tourism enterprises have offered more flexible booking terms and conditions.
With rapidly changing travel policies and regulations, allowing travellers to change hotel reservations or flight tickets at no extra charge appears to be the only way to give travellers a nudge to book confidently.
This year, the domestic market is still at the heart of tourism development, with islands, beach cities and famous tourist cities expected to be on top of mind of domestic travellers.
Vietnamese tourists often spend 2-3 days enjoying domestic tours when they have a long weekend or short holidays. Their preferred destinations are often in the proximity of their cities and have good traffic conditions.
Regarding beach cities, Vũng Tàu and Nha Trang are among the popular destinations that domestic travellers can visit at their convenience.
Hạ Long Bay, Sa Pa, Phú Quốc Island and Đà Lạt also enjoy a high number of tourists.
Following 2019-20 trends, travellers tend to opt for off-the-beaten-track destinations and second-tier cities.
Post-COVID, interest in travelling to these places continues to grow as prioritising safety and avoiding crowds will be the leading factors affecting travellers’ decisions.
These destinations also allow tourists to practice social distancing while exploring and reconnecting with nature.
Last year, Việt Nam welcomed only 56 million domestic tourists and 3.8 million international tourists, resulting in a decline of VNĐ530 trillion (US$22.9 million) in tourism revenue compared to 2019.
Nearly one-fifth of tourist accommodations have had to close temporarily, and the average occupancy rate dropped to a record low at only 20-25 per cent. Nearly 340 tour operators applied for the withdrawal of their business certificates.
Fundraising on the up in consumer finance
Consumer finance companies are taking different approaches to raise cash and gain a bigger slice of the landscape.
However, VPBank expects the negotiation to be completed in the second quarter of 2021. If the two sides cannot reach a mutual agreement, VPBank would consider an initial public offering (IPO) for FE Credit by the end of this year.
Based on the two scenarios, SSI’s analysis team gave some assessment on the impact of the sale of FE Credit on VPBank’s consolidated financial statements. If VPBank sells a 49-per-cent-stake in FE Credit at a valuation of around four times compared to the book value, the bank can record an after-tax profit of VND21 trillion ($913 million).
According to Vietnamese accounting standards, if VPBank’s control over FE Credit is maintained by holding 51 per cent of stakes, profit from the above capital sale will not be recognised as revenue. Instead, it will be directly recognised in the retained earnings on the bank’s balance sheet.
With an additional $913 million in capital, VPBank will reduce the dependence on customer deposits, thereby reducing the average cost of capital. After the deal is completed, VPBank’s consolidated pre-tax profit is estimated to increase by VND800 billion ($34.8 million) compared to the scenario where there is no capital sale at FE Credit.
In 2020, FE Credit’s pre-tax profwas estimated to reach VND3.713 trillion ($161.43 million), down 16.3 per cent on-year, according to the latest report by VPBank.
Meanwhile, HD Saison – the consumer finance arm of HDBank and Japan’s Credit Saison – was previously greenlit to switch from a limited liability to a joint-stock company format. The firm is reportedly preparing for an upcoming IPO.
Last December, Credit Saison signalled its intention to expand its investment in Southeast Asia, especially Vietnam and Indonesia, with an initial commitment of around $9.6 million for local lenders. Credit Saison will finance such projects as lending to low-income borrowers and microenterprises in a practice known as impact investing.
Elsewhere, SHB Finance is actively promoting the non-cash payment economy by co-operating with MasterCard. By partnering with SHB Finance, MasterCard wants to provide the most up-to-date digitalised user experiences to customers. Simultaneously, the company would bolster access to modest-income earners. Do Quang Hien, chairman of SHB’s Board, also revealed that the consumer finance company is in the middle of negotiations with a foreign partner.
Hoang The Hung, deputy general director of Electricity Finance JSC, said that the company’s consumer loan disbursement balance in the past year reached VND1 trillion ($23 million), which failed to meet its target. The major reason lies in its strict loan disbursement to facilitate a better risk management mechanism.
Elsewhere, foreign-invested consumer finance companies are laying focus on diversifying disbursement loans approaches. New products introduced over the past year are presenting alternative options for a wider swath of both Vietnamese and foreign customers.
For example, Lotte Finance introduces credit cards in cooperation with other foreign banks such as NHB and KB. The firm also boasts several loans such as for cars and learning English with Jaxtina English Center.
Mirae Asset Finance, on the other hand, decided to follow through on a broad diversification strategy. The South Korean company offers cash and electronics loan for education and beauty purposes. The loan package for beauty purposes would capitalise on clients who want to undergo plastic surgery.
Home Credit, meanwhile, is creating new ways for the consumer finance industry by bolstering its insurance business to help customers alleviate the risks of permanent disability or death.
According to the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV), by the end of 2020, the scale of Vietnam’s consumer finance market came to around VND1.8 quadrillion (over $77.25 billion), accounting for over 20 per cent of outstanding loans in the economy, up 7.4 per cent compared to the end of 2019.
Dao Minh Tu, Deputy Governor of the SBV, emphasised in a conference in last month that promoting consumer finance and simplifying procedures for loan applications would be placed as top priority to abolish black credit.
In recent years, the SBV and credit institutions in localities have been coordinating with the Ministry of Public Security and local authorities in implementing drastic measures to limit black credit. The SBV will continue improving the awareness of locals about credit policies, loan packages, and procedures for loan applications so that people could easily access bank loans.
Meanwhile, the central bank will study and soon complete legal documents to deploy mobile money services in Vietnam while making loans from microfinance institutions easily accessible to citizens and then gradually limit black credit.
Source: VNA/VNS/VOV/VIR/SGT/Nhan Dan/Hanoitimes
The Hanoitimes – Passengers on public transport are encouraged to install Bluezone applications and make medical declarations with QR codes in accordance with regulations.
Hanoi will ease social distancing on public transport since March 8, according to the municipal Department of Transport.
However, the department still requested to apply Covid-19 prevention measures on public transport in accordance with the guidance of the Ministry of Health and strictly implement regulations to curb the pandemic spreading in transport activities.
Hanoi will ease social distancing on public transport since March 8. Photo: Thanh Luan
Transport companies, vehicle owners/operators must require drivers, service staff and passengers to properly wear face masks.
Hand sanitizer solution (with at least 60% of alcohol content) must be provided on vehicles which is also disinfected before and after the trip.
Passengers are encouraged to install Bluezone applications and make medical declarations with QR codes in accordance with regulations.
Hanoi had not detected any new Covid-19 infections for 20 consecutive days. In the coming days, the capital city will relax its social distancing measures to help resume normal activities, but will continuously control, inspect and strictly handle violations of pandemic preventive measures.
With the alert level lowered, Hanoi will allow the opening of several non-essential services on condition that preventive measures are ensured.
The city reopened schools from March 2 for students from kindergarten to high school levels, while colleges and centers for vocational training and education will also reopen since March 8.
The city continues to lay eyes on the prevention and control of the Covid-19 with a number of protective measures like wearing face masks at public places, and no mass gatherings.
The city’s mayor said that strict punishment remains effective to people failing to wear face masks in public places and those violating social distancing requirements.
Three more Covid-19 patients in Hai Duong, Bac Ninh
The Saigon Times
|A centralized quarantine center in Hai Duong Province. Three more Covid-19 cases have been confirmed – PHOTO: VNA|
HCMC – Vietnam has had 2,512 Covid-19 cases as of 6 p.m. today, March 7, after a locally-infected case and two imported cases were reported in Hai Duong and Bac Ninh, respectively.
According to the Ministry of Health, the patient in Hai Duong, who resides in Tu Ky District, had close contact with the 2,415th patient. The case has been put under quarantine at a centralized quarantine center since February 25 and is being treated at the Field Hospital No. 3 at the second campus of the Hai Duong General Hospital.
Meanwhile, the two imported cases include a 30-year-old man and a 33-year-old woman. They are Philippine experts.
On February 22, they landed at the Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi and was sent to a quarantine facility in Bac Ninh.
They tested positive for Covid-19 on March 7 and are being treated at the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases in Hanoi’s Dong Anh District.
In related news, the Bac Ninh government on March 7 affirmed that the pandemic in the province had been basically put under control. Therefore, services in the province will be resumed tomorrow, March 8, including bars, beer clubs, karaoke and massage parlors, cinemas, spas and casinos.
Religious, cultural, historical and tourist sites have been also allowed to reopen but they are allowed to hold ceremonies only, not festivals.
However, pandemic prevention and control measures must be still employed strictly.