By Ngoc Dan – Translated by Kim Khanh
Session border controllers
Danang calls for investment in 10 projects in next five years
|Tien Sa Port in Danang City. The city wants to call for investment in Lien Chieu Port and make the Tien Sa Port the cruise port|
Six of the projects have had their scales determined, with a combined investment capital of more than VND100 trillion, while the four remaining projects depend on proposals from investors.
The project of building the city subway system will be the largest, with an amount up to VND54.5 trillion. The city wants to call for investment into this massive project under the Public – Private Partnership (PPP) mode.
The system will follow two directions. One of them is on the East-West way, connecting the Nam O region in the Northwest, adjacent to Hai Van Pass, going through the downtown area to the An Hai Dong area (My Khe beach).
Meanwhile, on the North-South way, the subway will start from the Son Tra Tinh Vien area (in Son Tra peninsula) to the vicinity of Danang airport.
Reportedly, in the Northwest region, there are many large investment projects, including Japan’s Mikazuki hospitality complex and new residential areas named Golden Bay, Thuy Tu, Golden Hills and the cluster of the Danang High-tech Park and the Information Technology Park.
In addition, Danang is also calling for investment for Lien Chieu Port in this area. This project has a total investment capital of nearly VND7,400 billion (including State and private investment), developing two initial berths, capable of receiving general ships, bulk cargo with 100,000 tons and container ships from 6,000 to 8,000 TEUs, ensuring throughput of goods from 3.5 to 5.0 million tons a year.
When these projects are constructed synchronously, they will be the driving force for Danang’s economic development in the Northwest region.
Among the 10 projects, there are also some prominent projects such as the railway station relocation and urban development project worth VND12,636 billion and the tunnel going through the Danang airport with a capital of VND8,228 billion, from the city budget, PPP and ODA.
These 10 projects are among the list of 57 key projects to attract investment in Danang City in the 2020-2025 period, adjusted and approved by the local government.
Market inches higher as VN-Index reverses course
Shares edged higher on the last trading day of the week as the VN-Index pared losses.
On the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange (HoSE), the VN-Index rose 0.01 per cent to finish Friday at 1,168.69 points. The index extended the previous losses in the morning session, down 0.22 per cent.
The market breadth turned positive as 264 stocks increased while 169 stocks dropped. And 67 stocks ended flat. More than 594.8 million shares were traded Friday, worth nearly VND15 trillion.
In a daily report, Bao Viet Securities Co. said that the index might return to test a supporting territory of 1,150 – 1,155 points. The analyst from the securities firm assessed the level as a resistance territory that helps the market recover.
“However, if the index falls under this resistance territory, it will test the supporting level of 1,100 – 1,200 points. In general, we assessed that the market’s recent losses were necessary for investors to gather strength to break through the peak of 1,200 points,” Bao Viet Securities said.
While the VN30-Index posted a decrease of 0.04 per cent, it pared some morning losses. The 30 large-cap tracker VN-Index declined 0.04 per cent to close Friday at 1,173.83 points after dropping 0.31 per cent in the morning session.
Of the 30 biggest stocks, 10 stocks rose and 15 stocks fell. While big stocks from banking and real estate posted poor performance, oil and gas stocks continued their morning rally.
Top five stocks supporting the market trend were PetroVietnam Gas Joint Stock Corporation (GAS), PetroVietnam Power Corporation (POW) and Vietnam International Commercial Joint Stock Bank (VIB), Vietnam Rubber Group – JSC (GVR) and Vietnam Airlines JSC (HVN).
Meanwhile, the losses in Vinhomes JSC (VHM), down 1.6 per cent, Vietcombank (VCB), down 0.92 per cent, Vingroup JSC (VIC), down 0.56 per cent and JSC Bank For Investment And Development of Viet Nam (BID), down 0.82 per cent pared the market’s rally.
On the Ha Noi Stock Exchange (HNX), the HNX-Index rose 1.58 per cent to 259.8 points. The HNX30-Index, which tracks the 30 biggest stocks on the northern bourse, also climbed 1.52 per cent, equivalent to 5.72 points, to 382.14 points.
Domestic investors poured over VND2.5 trillion into HNX, with a trading volume of nearly 158 million shares.
In general, the market’s liquidity was really high with total trading volume of over 752.8 million shares in the two exchanges, worth nearly VND17.5 trillion.
On the other hand, foreign investors continued to flee the market. They net sold a value of more than VND1.34 trillion on the southern market and a value of VND8.1 trillion on the northern bourse.
HoSE still struggled with overloading orders during the session.
US market offers great potential for Vietnamese craft, wood firms
The US market of handicrafts and woodwork products is predicted to grow well and offer extensive room for Vietnamese firms to increase their share in it, heard an online conference held on March 5.
Organised by the Industry the Handicrafts and Wood Industry Association of HCM City (HAWA), the conference discussed opportunities for exports of Vietnamese companies in the sector to the US this year.
Nguyen Hoai Bao, member of the HAWA executive board, said last year, despite COVID-19, Vietnam’s wood and woodwork industry reeled in an export revenue of over 13 billion USD, of which more than 7 billion USD was from the US. This means the US is now a top market of the country’s wood and handicrafts sector.
The US is among demanding markets in terms of product origin and legality, he noted, advising Vietnamese companies to frequently update on related laws and regulations to meet requirements and and avoid commercial risks.
Julie Hundersmarck, a specialist at the US Forest Service International Programs, said the US importers have a preference for suppliers from Asia, including Vietnam.
The US Forest Service is developing equipment for wood verification and will support Vietnam in better controlling the origin and legality of wood products exported to the country in the coming time, she unveiled.
Tom Russell, Senior Editor at US magazine Furniture Today, said according to experts, demand in the US woodwork and furniture market will recover significantly in 2021 and following years.
In addition to basic furniture, home decoration products and handicrafts are also consumed strongly due to the increasing demand for living space decoration amid the pandemic.
The sales of furniture products in the US, which reached 115 billion USD last year, is forecasted to hit 143 billion USD in the next five years./.
MoIT decides to impose self-defence measures on imported fertilisers
The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) has decided to impose self-defence measures on imported DAP and MAP fertilisers after a comprehensive review of their impact on the Vietnamese market in line with the law.
The imported DAP and MAP fertilisers are subject to self-defence tariffs in accordance with the Law on Foreign Trade Management and the World Trade Organisation’s regulations.
The MoIT also consulted State management agencies, including the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), about the review.
Accordingly, the tariffs will be lower and applicable for shorter time than those ruled by the WTO. They will be gradually reduced according to the schedule, towards maintaining a competitive environment to bring benefits to fertiliser consumers.
The MoIT is also working with ministries and agencies concerned to closely track the world prices of DAP and MAP fertilisers as well as input materials.
DAP fertiliser prices have recently increased due to several external factors such as hike in prices of input materials and transportation services. Domestic demand for it basically does not rise compared to previous years.
Additionally, prices of domestically-made DAP have not gone up, contributing to containing its common price increase.
Therefore, self-defence measures are necessary to bring a fair competition environment for domestic and imported goods.
The MoIT will continue partnering with the MARD and relevant units to review self-defence measures objectively and comprehensively in line with the law./.
HCMC sets higher FDI target for this year
HCMC has set a target to attract US$5.4 billion in foreign direct investment (FDI) this year, US$1 billion higher than last year, said Le Thi Huynh Mai, director of the municipal Department of Planning and Investment.
At a meeting presided over by municipal chairman Nguyen Thanh Phong on March 4, Mai said the department had set out regulations on the process for authorities to work with residents and enterprises and deal with their complaints, the local media reported.
The department has also set seven other targets, comprising establishing more than 40,000 new enterprises, being in the top five provinces with the highest Provincial Competitiveness Index, reaching a satisfaction rate of over 91% among local residents, addressing all the residents’ complaints, handling 98% of procedures in a timely manner, handling all online documents of administrative agencies and 100% use of electronic tools at work among officials.
City chairman Phong said the city’s growth rate reached only 1.39% last year due to Covid-19. This year, the city will carry out specific plans to build the single-tier government structure and improve the investment environment.
The city must take drastic measures to create a favorable investment environment. The biggest obstacle is investment and business registration procedures, Phong said, adding that improving the investment environment is a must and the municipal Department of Planning and Investment will play a decisive role.
He agreed with the eight targets of the department and ordered adding a target of digital transformation and making the administrative reform target more detailed.
The municipal chairman also asked the department to remove the obstacles facing long-stalled projects, including a commercial center project of the Saigon Trading Group, the Phan Dinh Phung Indoor Stadium and an international commercial center on Le Loi Street.
Besides administrative procedures, the city’s infrastructure also needs to be developed, Phong noted, saying that the Government had allowed the city to change the use purposes of some 30,000 hectares of agricultural land, but only 1,000 hectares will be used for the purpose of industrial production.
Over the past five years, the city has had no new industrial parks, so Phong asked the Department of Planning and Investment to review all industrial parks and export processing zones in the city to ascertain which ones can attract more foreign investment. The department should work out specific solutions to help develop the city’s economy by applying hi-tech and minimizing sectors using many laborers.
The department had earlier reported that it had licensed nearly 42,000 new enterprises with total registered capital of nearly VND 1,170 trillion last year. In addition, 13,800 enterprises suspended their operations and nearly 6,000 firms completed dissolution procedures.
Moreover, some 10,600 companies resumed their operations.
Vietnam c.bank consider to provide refinancing loans for Vietnam Airlines’ lenders
Under the draft circular, the SBV would provide refinancing loans worth a maximum of VND4 trillion (US$172.85 million) for credit institutions being the carrier’s lenders.
The State Bank of Vietnam (SBV), the country’s central bank, is drafting a new circular with the aim of providing refinancing loans for lenders of the national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines.
The move is in line with a resolution from the National Assembly last year that authorizes the SBV to help Vietnam Airlines ease the Covid-19 fallout.
Under the draft circular, the SBV would provide refinancing loans worth a maximum of VND4 trillion (US$172.85 million) for credit institutions being the carrier’s lenders.
At the same time, Vietnam Airlines, in which the state currently holds an 86.19% stake via the Commission for State Capital Management (CSCM), gets the permission to sell additional shares of VND8 trillion (US$345.68 million) to existing shareholders to raise its registered capital. As such, the government would assign its investment arm State Capital Investment Corporation (SCIC) to buy Vietnam Airlines shares.
Interest rates for refinancing loans is set at 0% per year, which is also applicable for any extension for such loans, if any.
The refinancing period would be upon the request from credit institutions in subject, but would not exceed 364 days, while the extension period is expected to be within 1,092 days.
In the Covid-19 ravaged year of 2020, Vietnam Airlines posted a pre-tax profit of nearly VND11.1 trillion (US$482 million). The figure was significantly encouraging as the airline estimated loss of VND14.4 trillion (US$626.3 million).
As the aviation industry was among the hardest-hit sectors by the pandemic, Vietnam Airlines operated around 96,500 flights in 2020, down 48% year-on-year. This resulted in decline of 51% year-on-year in the number of passengers to 14.23 million and a fall of 47% in the amount of cargo for transportation to 195,000 tons.
For the next five years, Vietnam Airlines targets to reestablish its operation, while continuing to push for restructuring process by streamlining its organization structure and enhancing efficiency in performance, especially in the sale and leaseback (SLB) of aircraft. Hanoitimes
Vietnamese products on show at India’s engineering, technology fair
Vietnamese businesses are displaying their products via an online pavilion at the 24th International Engineering & Technology Fair (IETF 2021) of India.
Among Vietnamese exhibitors, the Rang Dong Light Source & Vacuum Flask JSC showcases fishing lights and vacuum flasks. The THACO Chu Lai Mechanical Complex Co. Ltd introduces products of precision mechanics and automobile and motorbike spare parts. Meanwhile, the Son Ha Group, with about 30 percent of its export revenue coming from India, displays water heaters, water tanks, and stainless steel pipes.
The IETF, held biennially since 1975 by the Confederation of Indian Industry, is a leading exhibition for technology, machinery, equipment, electronics, mechanics, and electrical devices.
This year’s event features the most advanced machinery and technologies in such areas as environment and water and air pollution control, logistics solutions, metallurgical technology, infrastructure and property construction technology, smart building, automation, and 3D printing and related technologies.
Fairs on artificial intelligence, health and medical technology, mobile solutions, and game technology also are also taking place on the sidelines of IETF 2021.
Joining major businesses of India are a large number of firms from many countries, including the Netherlands, Germany, Romania, Bulgaria, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, and Vietnam.
The IETF 2021, scheduled to last through March 24, also serves as a platform for specialised conferences and online events for businesses to seek partners and cooperation chances./.
Viet Nam, Slovenia eye cooperation potential in mechanical engineering
Việt Nam and Slovenia boast high potential for cooperation in manufacturing agro-forestry-fisheries machinery and equipment – an area of Slovenia’s strength and Việt Nam’s demand, said Vũ Bá Phú, head of the Trade Promotion Agency under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, at a recent online Việt Nam-Slovenia business exchange.
Commitments in the EU-Việt Nam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) regarding tax reduction for Vietnamese and Slovenian products will help the two countries expand the market share in each other country as well as other EU markets, thus motivating bilateral trade growth, Phú said.
He underlined the need for both sides to increase trade exchange activities right after COVID-19 is controlled globally, and make full use of benefits from the EVFTA by abiding by regulations on origin.
He stressed that the Trade Promotion Agency is willing to coordinate and create optimal conditions for businesses of both sides to explore effective and long-term partnership opportunities.
Phú said that the EVFTA has been opening up doors for Việt Nam to promote economic cooperation with many markets around the world, including Slovenia.
The EU is now one of the leading trade partners of Việt Nam with two-way trade reaching US$49.6 billion in 2020, with Việt Nam’s exports of $34.9 billion.
This year, the deal is expected to continue fuelling the economic growth of Việt Nam as well as trade ties between Việt Nam and the EU.
Izidor Krive, Vice President, Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia, said Việt Nam and Slovenia share abundant potential for collaboration in the field of industrial machinery, equipment and automation as well as logistics solutions in garment and textiles and the food industry which are booming in Việt Nam.
Meanwhile, Lê Dũng, Vietnamese Ambassador in Austria and Slovenia, said that since the EVFTA took effect on August 1, 2020, Việt Nam has seen positive signs in trade with the EU and Slovenia.
The diplomat expressed his belief that after COVID-19 is controlled in Europe, the investment flow will rise. The 97-million strong market of Việt Nam could become a gateway for investors to enter a 660-million-strong ASEAN market, he said.
Slovenian businesses affirmed that Việt Nam is a promising market thanks to its political stability, low-cost workforce and developed infrastructure system.
At the event, jointly held by the Office of Commercial Affairs at the Vietnamese Embassy in Austria and Slovenia and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia, 21 Vietnamese firms and 12 Slovenian companies sought cooperation opportunities in each other’s market and introduced their products and services.
Experts approve delaying corporate taxes amid COVID difficulties
The Government needs to extend the deadlines for the payment of taxes and fees to support companies since the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect them, experts have said.
Chu Tien Dung, chairman of the HCM City Union of Business Associations, said a recent proposal by the Ministry of Finance to defer taxes is timely and good for businesses.
HCM City is the country’s economic hub, and companies there have been badly affected by the lack of human resources, since workers from other provinces have failed to come back in time after the Lunar New Year in mid-February.
On top of that, social distancing and cleaning up the workplace have pushed off their costs, he said.
“Though the economy grew last year, businesses faced great difficulty.
“The first quarter is the time a new year begins, and so the Government should defer taxes to enable businesses have cash for the short term.”
It would be effective if the extension lasts two quarters instead of three to five months as recommended by the ministry, he said.
Economist Le Dang Doanh too backed the ministry proposal, saying the tax and fee deferment would enable companies to have money to pay for expenses at the beginning of the year.
“The State budget might be facing difficulties, but a three-month delay is practicable.”
Experts however emphasised that tax delays are only a short-term solution, and the driving force would be an improvement in the business environment.
According to the proposal made by the ministry, value-added tax, corporate income tax, personal income tax, and land rental tax will be extended by three to five months.
They will amount to VND68.8 trillion worth of value-added tax-deferred by five months and VND40.5 trillion worth of corporate income tax delayed by three.
The deferred taxes on business households and individuals will be around VND1.3 trillion and land tax will be worth VND4.4 trillion.
The ministry said the taxes and fees would be paid by the end of this year, and so the Government’s 2021 revenues would not be affected.
Vaccines pave way for new investment
With the first batch of COVID-19 vaccines officially arriving into the country, Vietnam is increasing its pandemic prevention measures and therefore remaining on the road to strong economic recovery.
Deputy Minister of Health Truong Quoc Cuong said, “The vaccine arrives timely for the country’s fight against the pandemic. While Vietnam has strived to control the virus spread, community vaccination plays an important role to achieve the dual goals of fighting against epidemics and developing the economy.”
The vaccine has been shown to be effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19, and has been granted conditional marketing authorisation or emergency use approval in more than 50 countries, with the World Health Organization Emergency Use Listing accelerating the pathway to access in up to 145 countries through the COVAX Facility, the global procurement arm of COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access.
The Ministry of Health (MoH) is now moving to increase further import of vaccines from other suppliers in line with the government directions, while making preparations to quicken inoculations in order of importance with the 11 priority groups of people to receive the COVID-19 vaccination already announced.
According to Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long, the MoH is working to ensure supply of 100 million doses of the vaccine, including 30 million doses from the COVAX Facility, 30 million from AstraZeneca, 30 million in negotiation with Pfizer, and perhaps more from Russia’s Sputnik V, which could possibly supply up to 60 million doses for Vietnam.
Together with the vaccine import, which makes Vietnam together with Thailand the two first countries in ASEAN to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, Vietnam’s domestically-made COVID-19 trials are in line with the schedule, and it is expected that production will begin next year.
Vietnam was one of the first countries to successfully control SARS, A/H5N1 flu and A/H1N1 flu, and prevent a number of emerging dangerous epidemics such as influenza A/H7N9, Ebola, and MERS.
Vietnam’s latest battles with the coronavirus have been contained, with the latest wave from the end of January hitting 13 cities and provinces. As of last week nearly all of the localities experienced well over a week of suffering no new cases.
Swift and continued control of the situation is doing wonders for economic recovery compared to other nations worldwide. As more countries quicken the vaccination process so as to bring trade and life back to the normal, economic movements and national attractiveness is beginning to rise again this year.
Vietnam’s GDP grew 2.91 per cent in 2020 despite the pandemic challenges, making it one of the three countries in Asia that gained positive growth.
The economy continued to show signs of recovery in January on the back of the government’s supporting policies when the index of industrial production rose 22.2 per cent on-year, registration of newly-established businesses ascended 21.9 per cent in number and 25.9 per cent in capital, and public investment disbursement increased 24.5 per cent.
According to the General Department of Vietnam Customs, from January 1 to February 15, the economy’s total export and import turnover hit $74.16 billion, up 31.1 per cent on-year – tantamount to a rise of $17.58 billion. The country’s successful control of the pandemic has won confidence of business community, and has become a target for a range of new plans for investment shifts.
According to statistics from the Ministry of Planning and Investment, in the first two months of 2021, the disbursement of foreign capital reached $2.5 billion, up 2 per cent on-year.
The World Bank forecast that the global economy is expected to expand 4 per cent in 2021 after shrinking 4.3 per cent in 2020. In this recovery, Vietnam’s prospects appear positive as the economy is projected to grow by about 6.8 per cent in 2021 and, thereafter, stabilise at around 6.5 per cent.
Buoyant steelmakers still hoping for more
Listed steel companies announced breakthrough business results in the fourth quarter of 2020, enticing potential investment in the sector, and ending a successful year that they could hardly have imagined after the first period of the year was negatively affected by the pandemic outbreak.
For the galvanised steel industry, it was difficult for any business 6-8 months ago to imagine the price of hot rolled coil reaching $700 per tonne in 2020, especially when prices plunged just before then. Hoa Sen and Nam Kim reported strong growth in this area too, while Hoa Phat continues to firmly build a leading position in the construction steel segment with market share increasing to 32.5 per cent in 2020. The company achieved net revenues of nearly VND91.3 trillion in 2020 ($4 billion) and a record net profit of VND13.5 trillion ($587 million).
Vietnam-Italy Steel JSC (VIS) returned to profit after two years of heavy losses. Steel trading companies such as SMC Commercial Investment (SMC) and Tien Len Steel (TLH) simultaneously reported big profits in the last quarter of 2020 thanks to favourable changes in steel prices, thereby ending a year of success.
As the only company in the industry that owns a distribution network of hundreds of points across the country, Hoa Sen plans to expand its business product portfolio through the development of a home furniture and building materials retail chain with a strategic partner.
At its January annual general meeting, Hoa Sen chairman Le Phuoc Vu said that the group will no longer be a mere manufacturing enterprise, but move towards becoming a distributor of building materials and interior decoration items.
While it would continue to produce the same items, it would not expand production capacity but instead invest in opening new Hoa Sen home stores and upgrading existing ones. The group is expected to reach VND33 trillion ($1.43 billion) in revenues this year and post-tax profits of VND1.5 trillion ($65.2 million), 20 and 30 per cent higher than in 2020 respectively.
Nam Kim Steel meanwhile said it will focus more on distribution in the south, with plans to build a warehouse and steel pipe factory in the first quarter in the southern province of Binh Duong. Elsewhere, SMC Steel Ltd. wants to go deeper in the field of processing, becoming a supplier for manufacturers operating in Vietnam. Earlier this year, SMC together with Samsung C&T agreed to establish a steel processing joint venture with a planned factory located Ba Ria-Vung Tau province’s Phu My Industrial Park.
Vietnam’s steel industry sales volume is expected to increase by nearly 16 per cent in 2021, three times higher than originally forecast thanks to new demand including infrastructure funding and foreign investment inflows, which are also helping to promote civil engineering along infrastructure and foreign-invested projects.
According to a Mirae Asset Vietnam research report, it is estimated that output of the Dung Quat project will add 2.2 million tonnes of total output to the country’s steel industry, while the Pomina Phu My plant will increase construction steel output by 1.1 million tonnes.
The report noted that in 2021 the real estate industry “will gradually recover alongside the recovery of the global economy, which would benefit Vietnam’s steel industry. Output in 2021 is expected to reach 28.67 million tonnes, an additional 15.7 per cent on-year”.
More stable global supply is likely to lead to more intense competition in the market, and with the risk of COVID- 19 still present, the increases could also affect the overall recovery as well as production capacity and export markets.
Tax deferral to ease business operations
To support businesses to recover operations soon, numerous policies related to deferring tax and land rent payments are to be put in place, while a reduction in corporate income tax is being considered.
The Ministry of Finance (MoF) has proposed that the government approves a decree on extending the payment of taxes and land fees in 2021 with particular measures for every tax, beneficiary, and business sector.
The MoF suggested delaying VAT payments for five months, reducing the total state budget by VND68.8 trillion ($3 billion) during the period. For corporate income tax (CIT), the MoF proposed deferring for three months – consequently, around VND40.5 trillion ($1.76 billion) will be paid to the state budget later, while VAT made by household and individual businesses to be delayed is estimated at VND1.3 trillion ($56.5 million).
Additionally, the MoF asked to put off land rentals for the first term of 2021 for corporations, organisations, and household and individual businesses, estimated at a total of around VND4.4 trillion ($191.3 million). Accordingly, total payments to be extended would be estimated at VND115 trillion ($5 billion).
An MoF representative said that deferring taxes and land rental payments will be considered as non-interest loans the government provides for companies, household businesses, and individuals to overcome challenges caused by the global health crisis, and which will not affect the annual state budget. “Around 96 per cent of businesses in the country will be eligible for such assistance if it is approved,” said the representative.
Vang Vien Thong, general director of Ho Chi Minh City-based Nam Anh Co., Ltd., a supplier of Japanese clothing giants, explained that the policy will greatly help businesses, especially ones enjoying huge incomes. “It is favourable for us if the VAT payment is delayed for five months. For a firm generating millions of US dollars in revenue annually like Nam Anh, this policy will be a good resource for us to maintain and develop the business,” said Thong.
In another case, Tay Bac Construction and Trade Co., Ltd. in Hanoi had taxes and land rental payments delayed last year at more than VND400 million ($17,400). Director Nguyen Trung Hieu was happy with the policy, which helped keep the company afloat during the pandemic. “If these payments remain deferred this year, this will be a key driver for businesses to operate and contribute to the state budget moving forward.”.
However, some experts and enterprises said that in addition to the deferral, ministries and agencies should ask the government to reduce CIT, depending on scale and industry. One example is that the rate could be 15 per cent for micro-sized enterprises and 17 per cent for small enterprises, instead of 20 per cent at present.
Nguyen Van Duoc, director general of Trong Tin Tax Consulting and Accounting Co., Ltd., said that according to the Law on Support for Small- and Medium-sized Enterprises enacted in 2018, relevant small- and micro-sized enterprises were to have 15-17 per cent applied in CIT – however, this has yet to be applied. So, Duoc said, the government and agencies should work on reducing the tax for them in line with the timeline of the law.
“In some special sectors, we should consider reducing 50 per cent of VAT in addition to extending the tax payment for five months. Especially, we should reduce 30 per cent of the total CIT payable in 2020 to apply in 2021,” said Duoc.
The policy should be adopted quickly in order for business operations and the economy to recover quicker. “If the process takes too long, fewer will recover, at the expense of the state budget,” added Duoc.
Businesses said the proposal of reducing 30-50 per cent of land rent should be submitted to the government and the National Assembly soon, along with the proposal of decreasing CIT and VAT at the National Assembly meeting in March.
This is the third time the MoF suggests such a delay to support businesses during the pandemic. Last April, the government issued a five-month deferral on tax and land rent, then in September extended the deadline for special consumption tax payment applying for domestically-manufactured or assembled cars.
Health crisis fails to impede business confidence
Despite the aftermath caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, confidence within the business community has been on the rise, which is being backed by the government’s sturdy efforts to provide enterprises a more friendly-business climate to participate in.
In June last year, Ngo Dinh Vuong halted the operation of his garment factory in Quang Minh Industrial Park in Hanoi’s Dong Anh District due to the health crisis. The factory was opened in late 2018 and is the third to have been opened by Vuong in the northern region of the country since 2016.
Then in July, the second factory, based in Hung Yen Province, faced the same plight, leaving the first factory operating moderately also in Hung Yen. The three factories are managed by Hoang Yen Garment and Trading JSC, established in 2016, where Vuong is the director.
However, in early January, the two factories with halted operations began resuming operations as some big contracts have been landed with local and foreign experts. This would allow 800 workers to have incomes.
“We are happy that all of our three factories are in full operations now,” Vuong told Nhan dan Online.
Hoang Yen Company’s case is among more than 11,000 enterprises resuming operation in the first two months of this year nationwide.
According to the General Statistics Office (GSO), also in the first two months of 2021, the economy saw 18,100 newly-established enterprises with total registered capital of VND334.8 trillion (US$14.55 billion), employing 172,800 new labourers – up 4% in the number of enterprises, 52.2% in capital, and 9.7% in the number of labourers as compared to those in the same period of last year.
In particular, the average registered capital of each newly-established business in the two months of the year is VND18.5 billion (US$804,347), up 46.4% year-on-year. If an additional VND385.6 trillion (US$16.76 billion) registered by 6,500 operational enterprises is included, the total registered capital inserted into the economy in the first two months is VND720.4 trillion ($31.32 billion).
In February, despite the Lunar New Year, the number of newly-established firms hit more than 8,000 registered at VND179.7 trillion (US$7.81 billion), down 20.3% in the number of enterprises but up 15.9% month-on-month and 85.6% year-on-year in capital. The average registered capital of each business in the month reached VND22.4 billion (nearly US$974,000), up 45.5% month-on-month and 111.6% year-on-year.
Also, in February, the number of businesses with halted operations reduced 80.1 month-on-month and 21.3% year-on-year. Furthermore, the number of those with halted operations and waiting for dissolution decreased 53.5% month-on-month and 32.2% year-on-year.
“These are extremely positive signals for the economy in the context that the COVID-19 pandemic remains very complicated, badly affecting the business and production activities of businesses,” said a GSO report on the economy’s two-month economy.
A leader from the Ministry of Planning and Investment stated, “Despite the health crisis, domestic production and business have been gradually recovering. However, Though the economy is still facing massive difficulties, it is expected to bounce back strongly in this year.”
According to global data analyst and provider FocusEconomics, after economic growth gained further momentum in the fourth quarter of last year, whose growth hit 2.91% in 2020, signs for the first quarter of 2021 are generally positive.
“Economic growth is projected to rocket this year amid strengthening domestic and foreign demand, with Vietnam set to continue outperforming its regional neighbours. The recent spike in COVID-19 cases and associated implementation of restrictions are a cause for concern, however, while a possible prolonged downturn in the tourism sector remains a key downside risk,” FocusEconomics told Nhan dan Online in a statement. “Our panellists expect GDP to expand by 7.4% in 2021, which is unchanged from last month’s forecast, and by 6.9% in 2022.”
A few weeks ago, Standard Chartered released its fresh forecast for Vietnam’s 2021 GDP growth.
“Standard Chartered expects Vietnam’s GDP growth to rebound to 7.8 per cent in 2021, from 2.91 per cent in 2020, with manufacturing likely continuing to drive the economy and helping Vietnam outperform the rest of Asia,” said the bank on a statement.
“The economy emerged from the worst of the COVID-19 downturn in the third quarter of 2020, and we think the recovery remains intact. Vietnam has been one of the best-performing economies globally for the past decade, and we expect this to continue,” said Tim Leelahaphan, Standard Chartered economist for Thailand and Vietnam.
Standard Chartered’s economists anticipated that improving public investment and services growth should support the economy in the coming years. Effective COVID-19 containment measures have further enhanced Vietnam’s appeal to overseas investors, making it an attractive destination globally for foreign direct investment.
With a view to fuelling the economy and support enterprises and investors, on January 1, 2021, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc signed and enacted Resolution No.01/NQ-CP on key tasks for implementation of the socioeconomic development plan and state budget estimates for 2021, as well as Resolution No.02/ND-CP on continuing implementation of measures to improve the domestic business climate and enhance national competitiveness in 2021.
According to Resolution 01, in order to realise the socioeconomic development plan for 2021-2025, the government has identified “solidarity, discipline, innovation, and aspiration for development” as guidelines for action this year.
The government defined 11 key missions and measures, including effective implementation of tasks to serve the organisation of the Party Congress, election of deputies to the National Assembly and all-level people’s councils, and preparation, issuance, and implementation of action programmes to carry out the resolutions.
The government will also continue implementation of tasks in a flexible and effective manner to simultaneously fight the pandemic and boost economic growth; while completing institutions for the socialist-oriented market economy, thus facilitating economic recovery and development based on stabilising the macro-economy and curbing inflation rate, as well as improving the economy’s resilience.
Meanwhile, according to Resolution 02, the government requested ministries, municipal and provincial people’s committees, and other governmental agencies to comprehensively and effectively enforce main tasks and solutions to enhance Vietnam’s business environment and national competitiveness in 2021.
The government ordered priority to be given to improving several indexes and indicators regarding construction permit issuance, asset registration, settlement of contract disputes, bankruptcy of enterprises, land administrative management quality, application of information technology, quality of vocational training, students’ skills, patent granting, fighting against corruption, online transactions, job opportunities in knowledge-intensive sectors, and a sustainable ecosystem.
Notably, Resolution 02 underlined the mission for the national digital transformation programme by 2025 with a vision towards 2030 approved under Decision No.749/QD-TTg last June, which must align with public administrative reforms.
The resolution emphasises solutions to improve the country’s preparedness for new production in the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Both resolutions 01 and 02 aim to reach the ultimate goal of securing an economic growth rate of at least 6.5% for 2021, with improvements in national economic competitiveness and in the local investment and business climate in favour of investors and enterprises.
The resolutions demonstrate the government’s unceasing efforts to drive the economy forward, though last November the NA seemed to take great caution when it set the economic growth target at about 6% only.
Each percentage of growth can create 300,000 direct jobs and many other hundreds of thousands of indirect jobs, according to experts.
Ngo Dinh Vuong of Hoang Yen Garment and Trading JSC said that he expected the resolutions will be materialised via specific solutions and programmes by ministries, agencies, and localities.
“The economy is bouncing back, and we hope the solutions will continue helping enterprises like us to not only stay afloat but also to weather all difficulties now and ahead. This will help the economy ensure the government desired economic growth,” Vuong told Nhan dan Online.
USTR names three notorious markets for counterfeiting and piracy in Vietnam
The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) has included Vietnam’s traditional markets of Ben Thanh and Dong Xuan and online platform Shopee in the list of online and physical markets that reportedly engage in or facilitate substantial piracy or counterfeiting.
The 2020 Review of Notorious Markets for Counterfeiting and Piracy (Notorious Markets List, or NML) of USTR focuses on examining the use of e-commerce platforms and other third-party intermediaries to facilitate the importation of counterfeit and pirated goods into the United States.
“The rapid growth of e-commerce platforms has helped fuel the growth of counterfeit and pirated goods into a half trillion-dollar industry. This illicit trade has an enormous impact on the American economy by eroding the competitiveness of American workers, manufacturers and innovators,” stated the report.
Commenting on this report, the Vietnam Directorate of Market Surveillance under the Ministry of Industry and Trade said the report was done carefully, earnestly and constructively. Related parties can use this report to encourage the private sector and governments to take proper measures against piracy or counterfeiting.
“However, NML neither gives specific evidence on the violations nor reflects the official standpoint of the U.S. Government about the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights in related countries,” said Nguyen Ky Minh, deputy chief of office at the Vietnam Directorate of Market Surveillance.
For Shopee, the report mentions the entire Shopee platform that covers many countries including Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Brazil and Vietnam.
According to the Vietnam Directorate of Market Surveillance, Shopee in Vietnam (Shopee.vn) has the mechanism to resolve complaints about intellectual property rights as well as solutions to manage the products and vendors on its platform.
Regarding the Dong Xuan and Ben Thanh markets, two hotspots of piracy or counterfeiting for many years, the directorate issued Plan No. 3972 in 2019 to address the problems at these two famous traditional markets.
The number of vendors selling counterfeit goods at these markets has dropped significantly over the past two years. Beside this, thanks to sudden inspections by the local authorities and strict sanctions, many stores selling counterfeit products have been closed.
Prudential, Maritime Bank extend bancassurance partnership for 15 years
Prudential Vietnam Assurance Private Limited, a subsidiary of Prudential Plc, and Vietnam Maritime Commercial Joint Stock Bank have renewed their strategic bancassurance partnership for another 15 years.
The new agreement significantly expands the geographical scope to include the north, where MSB is headquartered, and make Prudential the lender’s only partner.
They have been collaborating since 2013 and built a highly successful bancassurance partnership which delivered a 34 percent compounded annual growth rate in annual premium equivalent between 2014 and 2020.
Under the renewed partnership, the two sides will also expand into new segments, including digital, to deliver holistic protection solutions to customers.
With a digital-focused approach that is aligned with MSB and Prudential’s plans to leverage existing digital tools such as the latter’s artificial intelligence-powered application Pulse, they hope to seize further growth opportunities.
Nic Nicandrou, Chief Executive of Prudential Corporation Asia, said: “Vietnam is an important market and source of growth for Prudential. The renewal and expansion of our long-term partnership with MSB represents a tremendous opportunity for Prudential to build on its strong presence in the market. It is a clear demonstration of our commitment to serving MSB’s customers, helping them get the most out of life with our leading suite of health and wealth solutions.”
Phuong Tien Minh, Chief Executive Officer of Prudential Vietnam, said: “Prudential Vietnam has built a highly-effective bancassurance partnership with MSB since 2013.
“We are delighted to be taking the partnership to the next level as we deliver our innovative offerings to MSB’s customers through existing as well as new channels, including digital. We look forward to continuing our strong relationship with MSB for another 15 years.”
Nguyen Hoang Linh, Chief Executive Officer of MSB, said: “We have enjoyed a very successful partnership with Prudential Vietnam and this reinforced our decision to extend the partnership and expand its scope to cover all of Vietnam.
“Together with Prudential Vietnam, we will remain focused on providing best-in-class financial and investment solutions to consumers across the country, helping them fulfil their evolving needs and providing them with a secure future.”
Source: VNA/VNS/VOV/VIR/SGT/Nhan Dan/Hanoitimes
Vietnam records six new COVID-19 infections on March 6 evening
Vietnam logged six new COVID-19 cases on March 6 evening, all in northern Hai Duong province, the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control reported.
All the new patients had been previously quarantined and are being treated at a COVID-19 treatment hospital in Hai Duong province.
By the evening of March 6, Vietnam had recorded a total of 2,507 COVID-19 patients, including 1,584 domestically-transmitted cases. Up to 891 domestic infections have been detected since the third wave of outbreaks hit the country on January 27.
The Treatment Subcommittee said that 1,920 patients have recovered from the disease to date, while the number of deaths related to COVID-19 was still kept at 35.
Among active patients undergoing treatment, 65 tested negative to the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 once, 57 twice and 137 thrice.
As many as 49,565 people who had close contact with COVID-19 patients or entered Vietnam from pandemic-hit regions are currently under quarantine nationwide, including 1,290 in hospitals, 14,199 in other establishments and 34,076 at home.
In a bid to live safely with the pandemic, people should strictly follow the Ministry of Health’s 5K message: khau trang (facemask), khu khuan (disinfection), khoang cach (distance), khong tu tap (no gathering) and khai bao y te (health declaration)./.
Hanoi police summon attackers against foreign women
|Attackers at the police station (Photo: VNA)|
They also confessed to commit the act as reported by victims.
The same day, Permanent Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh also asked the municipal People’s Committee to direct competent agencies to promptly verify behaviours of harassment against women around the West Lake as recently reported by the media.
Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Chu Ngoc Anh requested local police to seriously punish offenders and take measures to prevent similar occurrence.
Director of the municipal police Lieut. Gen Nguyen Hai Trung assigned the criminal police office to work with Tay Ho district’s counterparts to promptly investigate the case and punish those who committed such acts in line with the law./
Jailed business tycoon Phan Van Anh Vu faces bribery charge
The Investigation Police Agency at the Ministry of Public Security has officially launched legal proceedings into a case of “giving bribes” and “brokering bribery” in Hanoi and against Phan Van Anh Vu, a former real estate mogul, for “giving bribes”, under Article 364 of the 2015 Penal Code.
The police agency said on March 5 that it also took legal action against Ho Huu Hoa (born in 1984 and residing in Quynh Luu district in central Nghe An province) on the charge of “brokering bribery” under Article 365.
Procedures were carried out in line with the law, following the approval of the Supreme People’s Procuracy, the agency noted.
Phan Van Anh Vu, aka Vu “nhom”, was born in 1975 and is the former Chairman of the Bac Nam 79 Construction JSC.
He is currently behind bars for his involvement in a number of cases, including those relating to DongA Bank, the disclosure of State secrets, and land-related violations in Da Nang city and HCM City./.
HCMC proposes developing five new railway lines
|A train is seen running on a rail track. The government of HCMC is working on a plan to propose the development of five new railway lines – PHOTO: VNA|
These five railway lines include the HCMC-My Tho-Can Tho route; the HCMC-Tay Ninh route connected with the HCMC-My Tho-Can Tho route at the Tan Chanh Hiep Station in HCMC; the Thu Thiem-Long Thanh airport route; a high-speed railway on the north-south route, with sections with high demand such as HCMC-Nha Trang to be developed first.
The fifth route is a double-track rail line connecting the national railway line to the Hiep Phuoc Port in HCMC and the Long An international terminal.
This plan is part of a scheme, which was recently passed by the city’s government, to develop the logistics sector in the city until 2025 with a vision toward 2030, the Office of the municipal government announced on March 3, reported Sai Gon Giai Phong newspaper.
According to the scheme, the logistics costs of some sectors in HCMC remained high. For instance, the seafood sector’s logistics costs accounted for 30% of its operation costs. Roads within HCMC and those linking the city with major economic zones in the south are facing overloading, thus extending the time needed to transport goods and raising logistics costs.
Vietnam reports seven new COVID-19 cases on March 6 morning
Vietnam recorded seven new COVID-19 infections over the past 12 hours to 6am on March 6, including six in Hai Duong province – the country’s current biggest pandemic outbreak – and one imported case in Thai Nguyen province.
The new patients brought the total number of infections in Vietnam to 2,501, including 1,578 domestically-transmitted cases, according to the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control.
The Treatment Subcommittee reported that a total of 1,920 patients had been given the all-clear from the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 so far.
Among the active patients undergoing treatment, 65 tested negative to the virus once, 57 twice and 137 thrice.
As many as 49,565 people who had close contact with confirmed COVID-19 patients or entered Vietnam from pandemic-hit regions are being quarantined across the country, including 1,290 in hospitals, 14,199 in other establishments and 34,076 at home.
In a bid to live safely with the pandemic, people should strictly follow the Ministry of Health’s 5K message: khau trang (facemask), khu khuan (disinfection), khoang cach (distance), khong tu tap (no gathering) and khai bao y te (health declaration)./.
Vietnam attends meeting of ASEAN-China Joint Cooperation Committee
Ambassador Nguyen Hai Bang, Permanent Representative of Vietnam to ASEAN, attended the 22nd meeting of the ASEAN-China Joint Cooperation Committee (ACJCC) via videoconference on March 5.
Speaking in his capacity as Chair of the Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI) Task Force, Bang welcomed China’s active participation in projects within the IAI framework.
He suggested it continue supporting the IAI Work Plan IV with new and practical projects in the five strategic areas of food and agriculture, trade facilitation, micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises, education, and healthcare.
The Chinese side hailed its relationship with ASEAN as an outstanding model for Asia-Pacific cooperation, adding that it considers ASEAN a top priority in its neighbourhood diplomacy and supports the bloc in community building and the strengthening of its central role in the regional architecture.
It committed to assist ASEAN in implementing the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework, the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity 2025, and the IAI’s Work Plan IV for 2021-2025.
Apart from the 1 million USD it committed to the ASEAN COVID-19 Response Fund, China pledged to donate 5 million USD to the ASEAN-China Community Medical Cooperation Initiative, considering it a highlight project within the framework of the ASEAN-China Cooperation Fund (ACCF).
ASEAN member states spoke highly of China’s contributions over recent years and hoped that both sides would enhance their cooperation to realise the ASEAN-China Plan of Action for 2021-2025, approved during Vietnam’s ASEAN Chairmanship Year 2020, which is considered a lodestar for bilateral cooperation in the immediate future.
ASEAN and China designated 2021 as the Year of Sustainable Development Cooperation.
On the occasion of the 30th anniversary of bilateral ties (1991-2021), China proposed nearly 40 activities covering ASEAN’s three pillars of politics-security, economy, and socio-culture.
The 23rd meeting of the AJCCC is scheduled for 2022./.
Top leader continues to receive congratulations
Leaders of parties and international friends have continued to cable their messages of congratulations to Party General Secretary and State President Nguyen Phu Trong on his re-election as the General Secretary of the 13th Party Central Committee.
The congratulations were sent from Chairman of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Russia G. Zyuganov, General Secretary of the Communist Party of Argentina Victor Gorodeki Kot, former Argentine President Mauricio Macri, President of the Free of the South Movement of Argentina Humberto Tumini, the Republican Proposal Central Committee, President of the Socialist Party of Argentina Antonio Bonfatti, General Secretary of the Communist Party (Extraordinary Congress) Pablo Pereyra, and General Secretary of the Egyptian Communist Party Salah Adly.
The messages also came from First Secretary of the Communist Party of Bolivia Ignacio Mendoza, General Secretary of the Popular Vanguard Party Humberto Vargas Carbonell, General Secretary of the Communist Party of Ecuador Winston Alarcón Elizalde, general secretary of the Jordanian Communist Party Pharaz Antamediz, General Secretary of the Italian Communist Party Mauro Alboresi, provisional president of the Party of the Independence Congress of Madagascar Rajaobelison Andriantsoa; leader of the Party of the Independence Congress of Madagascar Rajaobelison Andriantsoa, President of the Broad Front of Uruguay Javier Miranda, General Secretary of the Communist Party of Venezuela Oscar Figuera, and Governor of Japan’s Kanagawa Prefecture Kuroiwa Yuji.
On the occasion, leaders of many political parties, former ambassadors of countries to Vietnam and friendship parliamentarian groups as well as international organisations extended their congratulations to the Party General Secretary and State President Nguyen Phu Trong./.
Vice President meets voters in Vinh Long
Vice President Dang Thi Ngoc Thinh and the National Assembly (NA) deputy delegation of the Mekong Delta province of Vinh Long had a meeting with voters in Mang Thit and Tam Binh districts and Vinh Long city on March 4-5 ahead of the 11th session of the 14th NA.
At the meetings, Thinh and the deputies informed the voters on the draft agenda of the 11th session and listened to their ideas, aspirations and requests.
The voters mentioned a wide range of issues, including those related to solving corruption, improving healthcare service quality in hospitals as well as the attitude of medical staff, and strengthening measures to manage the organisation of extra-classes.
They also questioned the deputies on handling violations to COVID-19 prevention and control regulations.
Vice President Dang Thi Ngoc Thinh said that Vietnam has seen 2.494 COVID-19 infections with 35 deaths. In 2020, Vietnam achieved the “dual goal” of controlling the pandemic and boosting socio-economic development in the new normal.
She said that in the coming time, the country will continue to strengthen measures to control the pandemic, including the “5K message”, while strictly handling illegal immigration and the transport of illegal immigrants to Vietnam as well as violations in quarantine.
Regarding the upcoming elections of deputies to the 15th NA and People’s Councils at all levels in the 2021-2026 tenure, Thinh said that the 15th NA will have 500 seats, including 207 from central agencies and 293 from localities.
She said that the 11th session will be the last of the 14th NA, during which many important issues will be discussed, including the summary of the performance of the NA, State President, Government and member agencies in the 14th tenure, as well as the completion of a number of positions in the State apparatus./.
Webinar discusses dealing with microplastic pollution
A webinar discussing ways to deal with microplastic pollution in Vietnam was held on March 5.
Jointly held by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and the Research Institute for Development of France, the event featured reports on microplastic pollution in Ho Chi Minh City and among aquatic species in Vietnam, and feedback on the State policies to deal with the issue.
Dr. Nguyen Trung Thang from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment’s Institute of Strategy and Policy on Natural Resources and Environment said policies on the management of wastes in general and plastic wastes and nylon bags in particularly are being perfected, especially those in the Law on Environment Protection and the national action plan on ocean plastic waste management.
To support legal enforcement regarding the issue, he suggested raising public awareness of the issue in order to minimise the discharge of plastic wastes and microplastics into the environment, enhancing international cooperation and technological application in the field, as well as increasing inspection.
Scientists shared the view that apart from economic tools such as fees and taxes, technical tools are also necessary together with boosting the eco-friendly recycling of plastics, and raising the sense of responsibility for plastic wastes among manufacturers and importers./.
ADB helps build resilient houses for disaster-hit families in Quang Tri
Construction of 106 houses in natural disaster-hit areas worth 14.3 billion VND (615,000 USD) began in the central province of Quang Tri on March 5, funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
The houses are for poor and near-poor households and those from ethnic minority groups in Dak Rong, Huong Hoa, Cam Lo, Gio Linh, and Vinh Linh districts, which were all hit by flooding and landslides last year. They are scheduled for completion by May 24.
Addressing the ground-breaking ceremony, Permanent Vice Chairman of the Quang Tri People’s Committee Ha Sy Dong asked local authorities and beneficiaries to coordinate closely to ensure that the houses are completed on time with high quality.
The province will continue to mobilise resources for the construction of public works serving local people, he went on, especially those in mountainous and ethnic minority areas and those prone to natural disasters.
The historic flooding last October in Quang Tri killed 53 people and left two missing, while destroying more than 2,000 houses and inundating 110,000 others. Total losses were estimated at over 4.25 trillion VND (183 million USD)./.
Election communications to be promoted in ethnic minority areas
The National Assembly (NA)’s Council for Ethnic Affairs and the Government’s Committee for Ethnic Minority Affairs held a meeting in Hanoi on March 5 to discuss communications activities in ethnic minority areas regarding the upcoming general elections.
Vice Chairman of the council Quang Van Huong said the elections of deputies to the 15th NA and all-level People’s Councils for the 2021-2026 tenure, slated for May 23, are an important political event for the country, following the success of the 13th National Party Congress in January.
Recognising the possibility that COVID-19 will impact on electoral activities, he said it is necessary to increase communications among people of all social strata, especially ethnic minorities, to enhance their sense of the right to mastery and sense of responsibility towards selecting outstanding and deserving persons to the NA and all-level People’s Councils, thus helping to build a law-governed socialist state and carry out the Party and State’s policies on ethnic minority affairs.
Vice Chairman of the council Nguyen Lam Thanh stressed that communications will help improve ethnic minority people’s awareness of the importance of the elections as well as electoral regulations, especially new ones on citizens’ rights and obligations regarding election and candidacy, along with the criteria for NA and People’s Council deputies.
Communications must ensure democracy and transparency and comply with the law before, during, and after the elections, he said, adding that they also need to proactively refute distorted and incorrect information and the arguments of reactionary and hostile forces.
Such activities should also be carried out in a manner suitable with the customs, lifestyles, and languages of ethnic minority people, Thanh noted./.
National park in Kien Giang builds digital map for fighting forest fires
The U Minh Thuong National Park in the Mekong Delta’s Kien Giang province has built a digital map on areas at high risk of forest fires in an attempt to prevent and tackle such disasters during the 2020-2021 dry season, Deputy Director of the park Tran Van Thang has said.
The park has also devised measures to fight forest fires and deploy personnel along with vehicles in wildfire suppression efforts, so as to minimise losses as concerns rise about widespread and prolonged heat and drought.
It has taken the initiative in water storage for firefighting and the development of cajuput forests, as well as strengthened six sluices and built two dykes. Seven reservoirs have been dredged and consolidated.
Four teams with up to 10 members each have been assigned to keep watch around the clock in areas spanning 1,115 ha at high risk of forest fires, while communications on forest protection and forest fire prevention have been bolstered.
Straddling Kien Giang’s An Minh Bac and Minh Thuan districts, the U Minh Thuong National Park covers a natural area of more than 8,537 ha, including 8,038 ha set for special-use forests.
As of the end of 2020, its forest area neared 6,485 ha./.
USAID supports flood-affected people in Quang Ngai province
As many as 456 households in Nghia Hanh district of the central province of Quang Ngai will benefit from financial support funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) for repairing and reinforcing their houses damaged by typhoons and floods last year.
Under a decision issued on March 4 by the provincial People’s Committee, 11.6 billion VND (503,745 USD) will be distributed directly to the households in the two phases.
The funding is part of the 12.3-billion-VND aid package pledged by USAID to support flood-affected people in the district.
The remaining amount will be used to overcome consequences of natural disasters and repair and consolidates houses for local residents./.
HCM City urges districts to ensure fire protection at apartment buildings, public facilities
The HCM City People’s Committee has instructed districts to address problems and carry out measures to ensure fire prevention and safety at production establishments, apartment buildings, schools, hospitals and other buildings by October.
Following the instruction, the city Police Department’s fire-fighting and rescue police division is working with agencies to check the implementation of measures in local districts.
After an inspection on Monday, Colonel Huỳnh Ngọc Quan, the division’s deputy head, said that District 5 has many apartment buildings and schools built before 2001 that do not meet the criteria on fire prevention and safety and need to be upgraded.
Nguyễn Xuân Trung, vice chairman of the District 5 People’s Committee, said that 55 per cent of all production establishments, apartment buildings, hospitals and schools in the district were built before 1975.
Many of them have a high risk of fire, but the district faces a shortage of capital to upgrade them, he said.
The district People’s Committee said it would not be able to repair and upgrade firefighting equipment as required by the city committee, and could only upgrade several apartment buildings and production establishments first.
Quan said that the district committee should set up a steering board to address this problem and try to finish the work per the city committee’s requirement.
People living in these apartment buildings should be provided firefighting devices to resolve sudden fires, Quan said, adding that they also should be educated about fire prevention and fighting measures.
Since 2016, the city has carried out the upgrading or rebuilding of old apartment buildings. Under the programme, 199 old buildings have been repaired, according to the city Department of Construction. Two old buildings with 876 apartments in districts 3 and 10 were rebuilt.
Another three old buildings with more than 2,000 apartments in districts 1 and Tân Bình are under construction.
Residents in another 14 old buildings have had to move out.
The city’s programme aims to upgrade or rebuild 237 out of 474 old buildings which are in disrepair or were built before 1975.
Of the 474, 15 are in serious disrepair and need to be rebuilt.
The two-storey Ngô Gia Tự building in District 10 built in 1968 is in poor condition, while an apartment building on 155-157 Bùi Viện Street in District 1 covering about 600sq.m and built before 1975 has not been rebuilt because of problems related to moving residents out of the building.
The department said the city has only a few preferential policies to attract investors to rebuild old buildings. Many real estate investors do not want to invest in rebuilding old buildings because most are located in the city’s inner districts. Highrises can’t be built and the land areas are not wide enough.
Moreover, moving residents out of these old buildings is difficult. Under the current regulation, most tenants in these old buildings have to agree to move before anything can be done.
Under the Housing Law in 2005, only 66 per cent of people living in these buildings had to agree to move, but the proportion increased to 80 per cent in the Housing Law of 2014.
HCM City keen on using IT to speed up e-government
The HCM City’s People Committee has approved a plan to increase the use of information technology in 2021-25 as it seeks to develop e-governance and improve its information security.
Its main goals include integrating all level-3 and -4 online public services related to individual citizens and businesses into the National Public Service Portal, and processing 50 per cent of applications for public services online.
It also seeks to ensure 90 per cent, 80 per cent and 60 per cent of documents at the provincial-, district- (including Thủ Đức City) and ward-levels respectively are processed online.
To fulfill the goals, city authorities have set up key tasks including completing the legal frameworks, developing technical facilities, databases, platforms, applications and services, and training capable human resources.
Besides, the city will study how to adopt advanced technologies and attract IT resources and boost international co-operation.
It aims to become a smart city with an innovative and comprehensive digital government and digital enterprises from by 2030.
Deputy director of the city’s Department of Information and Communications, Võ Thị Trung Trinh, said raising public awareness of digital transformation should be a top priority, and everyone should adapt to their rapidly changing living environment and the fourth industrial revolution.
More efforts made to make life greener
It goes without saying that protecting the environment is protecting our home. Therefore, in recent years, many people have taken specific and practical action to contribute to creating more green in the world.
Efforts include launching green stores, holding events connecting the community, raising awareness, and replicating environmentally-friendly living models.
Such actions are small but have contributed to the habit of protecting and improving the environment.
Treating nature well and living in an environmentally-friendly manner allows everyone to enjoy fresher air, beautiful scenery, and a better quality of life./.
Miss World Vietnam 2021 opens to contestants with aesthetic surgery
The organisers of Miss World Vietnam 2021 have launched the beauty contest, adding that for the first time in the competition’s history, the pageant is open to contestants who have undergone aesthetic surgery.
This comes amid international pageants increasingly seeking out a perfect beauty, with girls having radiant smiles, beautiful faces, and wonderful figures. However, the change to the rules will help the girls to adapt to global beauty contests, Dung noted.
This year’s Miss World Vietnam pageant opened to applications from January 14. The organisers then removed the rule that candidates must have natural beauty, allowing them to have undergone aesthetic surgery.
Furthermore, contestants who are 1.63 metres tall are eligible for registration, as opposed to the previous minimum height of 1.65 metres.
The Miss World Vietnam pageant was originally held in 2019 with the aim of seeking a Vietnamese representative to compete in the Miss World pageant.
This year will see the contest’s qualifying round take place in October. In addition, a range of sub-contests will be held for the titles of Miss Sports, Miss Communications, and Miss Talent before the grand final gets underway in November.
The three contestants who made the final of Miss World Vietnam 2019 have since gone on to record many great achievements in global beauty contests. As the winner, Luong Thuy Linh was named among the Top 12 of Miss World 2019. Runners-up Kieu Loan and Tuong San clinched Top 10 and Top 8 finishes at Miss Grand International and Miss International in the same year, respectively.
Quang Tri to host marine tourism programme
The “National Unification” festival and the opening of amarine tourism programme will be among the practical activities to celebrate the 45th anniversary of the Liberation of the South and National Reunification Day (April 30, 1975-2021); 49th anniversary of the Liberation of Quang Tri Province (May 1, 1972 – May 1, 2021).
Accordingly, under the framework of the “National Unification” festival, a series of activities will be held, including: an incense offering ceremony to pay tribute to heroes and martyrs on April 29 at the Truong Son National Martyr’s Cemetery, Road 9 National Martyr Cemetery, and memorial monument of Quang Tri Citadel, the memorial area dedicated to Late Party General Secretary Le Duan; a flag-raising ceremony at the Hien Luong – Ben Hai historic site; and a boat race on the Ben Hai River on April 30.
Meanwhile, the 2021 sea and island tourism programme will be opened at the Cua Viet tourist service area from April 30 to May 5, 2021, with activities such as: an opening ceremony; a tourism development cooperation conference; an introduction to the marine tourist sites, Con Co Island and cultural and historical tourist sites of the locality; a Quang Tri Tourism Ambassador Selection Contest; a beach cleaning campaign; the displaying and introducing of typical agricultural products the province; sports activities and arts performances; beer festivals; and the first excellent chefs contest in Quang Tri Province.
As per the issued plan, the above activities will be organised with the requirement to ensure a solemn, lively, diversified, attractive, safe, friendly and economical atmosphere while creating high social efficiency, making a good impression in the hearts of people and visitors.
In addition, if the Covid-19 epidemic creates complicated developments during the implementation process, the event will be adjusted accordingly.
Consultant proposes not adding new airports by 2030
The consultant of the national airport development plan in the 2021-2030 period with a vision to 2050 has proposed that new airport projects should not be added to the airport system by 2030 already approved by the prime minister as too many provinces have proposed developing airports.
By 2050, the consultant proposed developing only Cao Bang airport, the local media reported.
Based on the economic efficiency of the operational airports and the experience of other countries, the consultant has listed out six main criteria for the necessity and feasibility of new airports, comprising demand, contribution to socioeconomic development, national defense and emergency, natural conditions and their distance to central urban areas and adjacent airports.
Based on these criteria, the consultant concluded that with 28 airports approved by the prime minister, 96% of Vietnam’s population can access airports within a distance of 100 kilometers, higher than the world’s average of 75%.
The Ministry of Transport is consulting other relevant ministries, agencies and localities over the plan.
Over the past few months, Binh Phuoc and Bac Giang have suggested developing their military airports into those used for both civil and military purposes, while Ninh Binh and Ha Giang have suggested building new airports.
In 2020, the Ministry of Transport also received proposals to develop airports in Cao Bang, Ha Tinh, Ninh Thuan and Bac Lieu provinces which argued that the airport development would serve the socioeconomic development and ensure national defense.
At present, the residents of these provinces use the airports of neighboring provinces within a distance of 70 to 150 kilometers. For example, it is some 120 kilometers from Ninh Binh to the Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi and nearly 100 kilometers to the Tho Xuan Airport in Thanh Hoa and the Cat Bi Airport in Haiphong.
The distance from Binh Phuoc to the Tan Son Nhat International Airport in HCMC is also nearly 130 kilometers.
Associate Professor Nguyen Thien Tong from the HCMC University of Technology said provinces should develop small airports for small aircraft with less than 20 seats for rescue, national defense and tourism. They can take advantage of old military airports and call on private firms to get involved in these projects.
However, policies to encourage air carriers to operate small aircraft should be issued first.
Among the 22 operational airports across the country, only six airports have reported profits, including Noi Bai, Tan Son Nhat, Danang, Cam Ranh, Lien Khuong and Phu Bai.
According to Tran Quang Chau, chairman of the Vietnam Association on Aviation Science and Technology, compared with other countries in the region and the world, the number of civil airports in Vietnam is small and provinces’ proposals to develop airports are legitimate.
However, the development of new airports should be based on many criteria and suit the country’s airport system.
Meanwhile, Dr. Nguyen Bach Tung, an aviation expert, said most of local airports have yet to reach their full capacities. Therefore, the investment in new airports should be weighed carefully. The competent agencies should consider many factors before deciding if new airports should be built.
“In Progress” to bridge art and education
The “In Progress” aims to contribute to enriching the cultural life of Vietnamese people by bringing diverse art and cultural events to the public.
“In Progress”, a pastime program, is slated to take place in Hanoi from March to May, will introduce a series of art and cultural events to local people.
Cutting across multiple disciplines, the “In Progress” will introduce 12 interesting events ranging from exhibition, multisensory puppet show, film screenings to a workshop bridging art and education, new engagement with an old art form, and many more.
In the context that Covid-19 is still complicated, there is likely a change in time and organization for each event. During the time of the program, the organizers will take necessary measures as well as cooperate with the municipal government to put in place the anti-pandemic protocols.
With an aim of contributing to the enrichment of the cultural life of Vietnamese people by bringing diverse art and cultural events to the public, 12 event proposals have been selected to to be included the “In Progress”.
One of the challenges that “In Progress” posed to all participating artists was to reach out to the hard to reach groups, and to thrive to create tangible values for those who might not have previously been benefiting from independent artistic and cultural practices.
“In Progress is truly an unprecedented opportunity for creative hubs and cultural practitioners to connect with artists across the country and thereby stepping out of their areas to reach new groups of audiences,” said Vu Thi Thanh Binh, a manager of “A week of culture and creativity” project.
The 12 wonderful art and cultural projects are expected to help audiences discover the “In Progress” as an opportunity for the young generation of Vietnamese artists to demonstrate how the arts and culture can make a positive change to the society and the world today.
Prefeasibility study of HCM City – Can Tho rail project to be made
The Minister of Transport has assigned its railway project management unit to make a prefeasibility study of the 10-billion-USD Ho Chi Minh City-Can Tho railway project.
Under the detailed planning of the project passed in 2013, the route is designed to have a length of 173.6km with 14 stations, starting from the An Binh cargo station in the southern province of Binh Duong’s Di An town, then the passenger station in Ho Chi Minh City’s Binh Chanh district, and ending in Can Tho’s Cai Rang district.
However, recently the Phuong Nam Science and Technology Institute (PNSTI) submitted to the HCM City People’s Committee and the Ministry of Transport its final report on adjustments to the project after seven years of research.
Per the report, the rail line will run along the right-side corridor of the HCM City-Trung Luong and Trung Luong – My Thuan expressways. In the initial plan, it will cross crowded residential areas and industrial parks, which may result in difficult site clearance and higher expenses for compensation.
The adjustment will also shorten the total length of the route by 5km, saving about 200 million USD in construction costs.
The latest plan sees the 134.9km railway crossing five localities – HCM City, Long An, Tien Giang, Vinh Long and Can Tho. With nine urban stations, it will start from the Tan Kien station in HCM City and end at the Can Tho station in the city of the same name. In addition, there will be a 44km branch route from the Thanh Phu station in Long An province to the Hiep Phuoc port and Long An international port.
The maximum speeds for goods and passenger trains on the route will be 150km and 200km per hour, respectively.
The project has so far attracted investment from 20 international sources, including the US, European nations and international financial organisations.
Currently, it takes up to five hours to go from HCM City to Can Tho by road due to traffic congestion. The high-speed rail line is expected to reduce the travel time to about 45 minutes.
According to a study from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the annual volumes of goods and passengers transported between the Mekong Delta and HCM City will reach 147.5 million tonnes and 46.5 million passengers in the future./.
Vietnam to face Indonesia first after AFC adjusts World Cup 2021 Qualifiers schedule
Vietnam will face Indonesia on June 7, Malaysia on June 11 and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on June 15 at the Asian Qualifiers of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, instead of meeting Malaysia first as the old schedule, according to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).
Vietnam are leading with 11 points from five matches and need to finish top of Group G to confirm their place in the third round of the Asian Qualifiers, which will also guarantee them a place in the AFC Asian Cup China 2023 Finals.
While Indonesia are out of the running, Malaysia, Thailand and United Arab Emirates still have a chance, setting the stage for an exciting end to Group G.
“The goal is that we get a card to the final round of the Qualifiers for the World Cup,” said Vietnamese team’s head coach Park Hang-seo.
“In 2021, the Vietnamese football team will play in some important tournaments and they are great challenges. Our success is in the past, but now the team must look to the future.”
“This is a busy year, so we will have to allocate strength for major tournaments such as the Asian Qualifiers, the AFC U23 Asian Cup Qualifiers, the SEA Games and AFF Cup,” said Park to local media./.
Ha Giang forest rangers work to preserve Tonkin snub-nosed monkeys
Forest rangers in the northern mountainous province of Ha Giang have been making efforts to preserve the Tonkin snub-nosed monkey (Rhinopithecus avunculus), one of the rarest primates in the world.
There are only about 200 such monkeys in the world, with most of them being in Ha Giang.
In 2002, a population of 60 individuals was spotted in the Khau Ca special-use forest in Vi Xuyen and Bac Me districts of Ha Giang province. Another population of 30-60 was found six years later in the Tung Vai area in Quan Ba district.
Local forest rangers have coordinated with Fauna & Flora International (FFI) in a preservation project for the primates, with a range of pragtical activities conducted.
They have also joined hands with the People’s Committees of the districts to promote preservation measures among 5,000 local residents, who have committed to not hunt the monkeys.
Bui Van Dong, head of the provincial forest ranger department, said the preservation work requires more support and responsibility from departments, agencies, organisations, and the community.
It was reported that the number of Tonkin snub-nosed monkeys in the Khau Ca forest has grown from 60 in 2002 to 144-160. In the Cao-Ta-Tung protective forest area, however, individuals have fallen to just 20.
Scientific research wholeheartedly promoted nationwide
A survey conducted by Prof. Dr. Nguyen Dinh Duc from Vietnam National University – Hanoi reveals that in 10 years from 2009, the number of Vietnamese articles published in international scientific journals increased fivefold (between 1,764 articles in 2009 to 8,234 in 2018).
After the introduction of Resolution No.29 in 2013, which promotes scientific research in different fields, only in 2 years from 2017-2018, leading universities in Vietnam possess around 10,000 research result reports announced internationally.
Statistics of Web of Science (WoS) and SCOPUS also display that in 2018, the quantity of annual international announcements related to research result reached nearly 10,000, 70 percent of which belongs to tertiary educational institutes. Vietnam National University – Hanoi and Vietnam National University – Ho Chi Minh City are the two with the most articles.
Minister of Education and Training Phung Xuan Nha commented that since 2014, 23 universities in Vietnam have piloted comprehensive autonomy in operation, in accordance with Resolution No.77 by the Government. This means more organizational-scaled prizes and awards for successful research and published articles.
Following that was the implementation of the Law on Higher Education on July 1, 2019. They have become the driving force for bustling scientific research activities among tertiary educational institutes in the country, leading to an impressive breakthrough in both training and researching tasks.
As a consequence, in 2019, Vietnamese tertiary education was ranked 68/196 nations worldwide, an increase of 12 positions compared to 2018. 2019 was also the first year that 4 Vietnamese universities appeared in the list of Top-1000 Global Best Universities and 11 in the list of Top-500 Asian Best Universities.
Prof. Dr. Nguyen Dinh Duc voiced his opinion that there should be different policies for research groups of different fields. These policies should be sensibly adjusted to ensure the highest performance possible. He then shared that basically, research groups are divided into 3 groups of organizational, national, and international levels, with different financial needs.
Prof. Nguyen Van Tuan from New South Wales University (Australia) suggested that Vietnamese higher educational institutes need to clearly identify their research goals to fulfill the ultimate one of socio-economic growth.
Director of Vietnamese National University – Ho Chi Minh City Vu Hai Quan said that national universities must be bolder to apply breakthrough investment mechanisms to boost scientific research, with a clearer vision.
“A true scientist doesn’t conduct research for the sake of awards or prizes. Rather, he or she must treat research as a lifetime mission, a passion. No matter what the motto of a university is, its teaching staff must carry out scientific research to have a sustainable development”, stated Associate Prof. Dr. Bach Long Giang from Nguyen Tat Thanh University.
Voluntary blood donation event held in Dien Bien province
The Red Spring Festival, a voluntary blood donation event, is taking place in the northern mountainous province of Dien Bien on March 5, with more than 300 people coming to register.
This activity aims to encourage people in good health from all social strata to donate blood, helping to address the blood shortage in medical treatment after the Lunar New Year holiday, especially after a hiatus in donation activities due to the COVID-19 resurgence.
Disease prevention measures were carried out to ensure safety for participants, organisers said.
The event is expected to collect more than 210 blood units.
According to the Dien Bien steering committee for voluntary blood donation, this movement has been developing extensively and intensively in the province over the past years, with an increasing number of donors. Donation are now not limited to youngsters or State employees but have been expanded to people from all social strata.
Apart from the Red Spring Festival, other annual events to encourage blood donation have also been maintained, it noted, adding that clubs of blood donors have actively worked to serve emergency needs at the province’s general hospital.
The National Steering Committee for Voluntary Blood Donation has set a goal to collect over 1.5 million blood units in 2021, with 99 percent of which donated by volunteers. The rate of blood donors in the population is hoped to reach 1.6 percent this year.
Director of the committee’s standing office Le Gia Tien said at a recent conference that last year, thanks to many initiatives and great efforts to overcome difficulties caused by COVID-19, the committee received approximately 1.4 million units of blood, helping millions of patients.
The majority of blood units were donated by volunteers, equivalent to nearly 1.5 percent of the population. Half of the givers donated their blood more than once./.
ASEAN Economic Ministers endorse 13 priority deliverables
The 27th ASEAN Economic Ministers’ Retreat took place on March 2 and 3 via videoconference, ushering the first high-level engagement among ASEAN economic ministers under Brunei’s chairmanship.
In its press release, the ASEAN Secretariat said against the backdrop of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the ministers and relevant representatives discussed post-pandemic recovery efforts across the region, progress made in ASEAN’s economic community-building efforts, and ASEAN’s external economic relations.
The ministers highlighted the need for greater regional cooperation and collective action to begin the process of gradual economic recovery in ASEAN. Discussions on this included strengthening the resilience of regional value chains and supply chain linkages, harnessing technology to facilitate essential business travels and regional tourism in a safe manner, and committing to unimpeded flow of essential goods across the region.
In line with this, the ministers endorsed Brunei’s 13 priority economic deliverables which focus on recovery, digitalisation, and sustainability.
On the ongoing digital transformation and accelerated digitisation taking place in ASEAN due to the pandemic, the ministers emphasised the need to ensure that benefits from digitisation redound to ASEAN’s peoples.
ASEAN Secretary-General Dato Lim Jock Hoi underscored the critical need for innovative solutions and capitalising on digital technology to fast track safe reopening of ASEAN’s economies towards recovery.
He cited, in particular, leveraging on the travel corridor framework to pursue common health protocols for possible health/vaccines certificates./.
Source: VNA/VNS/VOV/VIR/SGT/Nhan Dan/Hanoitimes
The Hanoitimes – Vietnam is expected to adopt “travel bubble” scheme with countries and territories where the coronavirus outbreak is under control.
The Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam (CAAV) has proposed the Ministry of Transport consider gradually reopening commercial international air routes from the end of July as part of measures to restore the economy, according to VnExpress .
Vietnam aviation authorities proposed gradually reopening commercial international air routes from the end of July as part of measures to restore the economy. Photo: Vietnam Airlines
Vietnam will create a “travel bubble” among countries which are putting the coronavirus under control and going through 30 days without reporting infection.
Under the travel bubble scheme, the countries allow the entry of their citizens or foreign nationals with residence and business cards, technical experts, and students. Once in the country, they have to be isolated for 14 days at home or at paid facilities indicated by the local governments. Those undergoing home isolation will be strictly monitored by technology.
However, the agency also recommended that the borders should be reopened to foreign tourists as well, provided that they meet the requirements on Covid-19 prevention before entry.
Accordingly, travelers to Vietnam, who have been in any local infection free country or territory at least 30 consecutive days prior to the flight could be allowed to enter, except for transit passengers. In addition, they must have a coronavirus negative certificate issued within 3 days before the departing flight date.
Upon arrival at Vietnamese airports, passengers would be subjected to rapid coronavirus testing, the expenses of which are paid by the airline. Passengers on entry must stay at locations ordered by local governments and pay fee.
In order to implement the above plan, the CAAV suggested that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs should discuss with the diplomatic missions to unify the coordination of regular aviation activities.
Dinh Viet Thang, head of the CAAV, said that some Taiwanese airlines have proposed to resume flights to Vietnam.
Domestic carriers also plan air reconnection with foreign destinations from July 1, if authorized by the government. As normally, international routes contribute mainly to total revenue of Vietnamese airlines. For Vietnam Airlines alone, the figure is up to 60% of its total revenue before Covid-19.
The CAAV said that some countries such as Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have opened their borders to each other, creating opportunities for businesses to reopen. Visitors from outside the bloc are still required to isolate themselves for 14 days upon entry.
At a government meeting on June 24, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc ordered increasing the frequency of international flights to bring investors, experts, skilled workers into Vietnam as well as sending Vietnamese people abroad to work and study.
All experts, high-skilled workers, and investors are allowed to enter Vietnam with an appropriate isolation protocol. However, the country has not opened its doors to tourists.
Basing on international and regional situation of Covid-19, the government is considering resuming international commercial flights and the date will be studied by the National Steering Committee for Covid-19 Prevention and Control.
Vietnam Airlines case
As Vietnam Airlines is among the companies hardest hit by the ongoing pandemic, the national air carrier is forecast to face a loss of over VND15 trillion (US$645.5 million) and a cash shortfall of some VND16 trillion (US$688.5 million).
Eariler, Vietnam Airlines proposed the government to lend a maximum of VND12 trillion (US$509 million) at a preferential interest rate to help the air carrier overcome serious impacts caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
If the corporation does not receive financial support from the government, its operating capital will be exhausted in August, Chief Accountant of Vietnam Airlines Tran Thanh Hien said at a meeting on June 18.
The national air carrier also proposed issuance of shares for its existing shareholders to raise capital, in which the government will use its capital or assign State Capital Investment Corporation (SCIC) or other state-run enterprises to buy its new shares. The scale of issuance will be equivalent to VND12 trillion (US$509 million).
The Hanoitimes – Local hospitality businesses need to collect, update and report to the tourism authorities about the number of foreign guests who are forced to stay at their facilities due to reasons beyond their control.
The Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) has asked local tourist accommodations to exempt and reduce room charges for foreign tourists who are stuck in Vietnam due to the coronavirus pandemic, until the Ministry of Transport can arrange flights to send them home.
|Foreign tourists wearing face masks in Hoi An, Quang Nam province. (Photo: To Quoc)|
Earlier, the VNAT had requested the provincial authorities to urgently check and list foreign tourists who are stuck in the localities due to border closures and flight suspension. These foreigners are passengers who may be in quarantine, stranded due to flight suspension or in transit to a third country which closed its borders.
The provincial authorities will report to the Ministries of Transport and Foreign Affairs about the number of foreign tourists, their departure points in Vietnam and countries/territories where the tourists come from.
During this stay-at-hotel period, tourist accommodations are required not to organize buffet and cater for guests right inside the room, supervise guest health and take measures to ensure the safety of guests and employees. They should remind guests to refrain from going out, make mandatory medical declarations, regularly check body temperature, wear face masks and keep a two-meter distance from each other when in contact.
In late March, the Vietnam’s Immigration Department has also facilitated procedures for extension of temporary residence for foreigners who are unable to leave the country due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Accordingly, foreigners who entered Vietnam with a visa waiver or tourist visa (including electronic visas) and who have their resident permits expired but do not have any sponsoring entity and cannot leave due to reasons beyond their control may seek their embassies or consulate general sponsorship for their extension of temporary residence for a maximum of 30 days while awaiting departure, and submit their application at the Vietnam Immigration Department. The policy remains effective until April 30.
Foreign individuals who entered Vietnam for business, visiting relatives or other purposes, should contact their sponsors (agencies, organizations or individuals) according to the Law on Entry, Exit, Transit and Residence of Foreigners in Vietnam for residence extension.
Persons who have exceeded their valid temporary residence period for less than 10 days due to situations of force majeure (with documented evidence) may be considered for exemptions from administrative sanctions.
The Hanoitimes – The association urged the government to gradually open borders for the resumption of international flights to markets that have put the pandemic under control, including the Europe, Australia, India, China, South Korea and Japan.
Vietnam Aviation Business Association (VABA) has proposed the government to provide a credit aid package worth VND25-27 trillion (US$1.07-1.16 billion) to support the aviation industry that has been under serious impacts from the Covid-19 pandemic.
|The aviation industry is among the hardest-hit sectors by the pandemic. Photo: Pham Hung|
This is the third time that VABA has sought such support from the state since the first Covid-19 outbreak in early 2020.
According to VABA, while the credit package would help enterprises improve their financial capabilities, government agencies should continue considering extending deadline of debt payment for enterprises in the aviation industry until the end of 2024.
VABA also referred to suggestion from local enterprises for keeping existing supporting programs of reducing take-off, landing charges and navigation services fees, as well as policies for workers affected by the pandemic.
Meanwhile, the association urged the government to gradually open borders for resumption of international flights to major markets that have put the pandemic under control, including the Europe, Australia, India, China, South Korea and Japan.
“The Ministry of Transport should carry out study to assess the impacts of the pandemic on the development of the aviation industry in both short- and long-term, which would serve as a basis to reform the state administration in this field accordingly,” stated VABA.
VABA asked competent authorities to keep up with the efforts of reforming administrative procedures and allow airlines to be flexible in operation, including launching new services and domestic tourism stimulus program, and promoting tourism activities.
The national aviation industry was among the hardest-hit sectors by the pandemic last year, with the passengers volume suffering a plunge of 43% year-on-year to 66 million and 15% in cargo handling to 1.3 million tons.
In the past year, the government has been providing a series of support for the aviation industry, including waiving fees related to outstanding government-guaranteed loans for local airlines, and reduce 50% of take-off and landing charges, as well as air navigation service fees for domestic flights.
Airlines are also given permission to offer price of zero for air transportation services not included in the list of services under state management.
Last November, the National Assembly (NA) approved the government’s proposal to help ease Vietnam Airlines’ financial difficulties during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Under its resolution, the NA agreed to allow the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV), the country’s central bank, to provide refinancing loans worth VND12 trillion (US$518.57 million) for Vietnam Airlines to maintain its operation.