Hanoi (VNA) – Despite the complexity of the fourth COVID-19 wave , Vietnam’s GDP growth is forecast to exceed 6.5 percent this year on the back of surging industrial production and global economic recovery, according to Assoc. Prof. and PhD Dinh Trong Thinh, a senior economist from the Academy of Finance.
Given the economy is growing well in the first half of 2021, it is likely to expand over 7 percent in the remaining months, setting the scene for the country to achieve an overall GDP growth of at least 6.5 percent this year, Thinh told the Lao Dong (Labour) newspaper.
The coronavirus is gradually brought under control, he said, plus domestic production has been experiencing positive growth, with manufacturing and processing picking up at a current rate of 10 percent. The sector may rise by 17 – 18 percent during the final months of 2021, he added.
Data shows that industrial production index in the first five months of the year advanced 9.9 percent year-on-year, with manufacturing and processing up 12.6 percent. Total retail sales of goods and services hiked 7.6 percent year-on-year.
Thinh went on to say that the US, Chinese and EU economies are bouncing back, and increases in global credit demand will provide a good opportunity for Vietnam’s exports. The US’s economic growth remains positive at present and Vietnam’s shipments to the US is growing strong, he added.
A recent report by RongViet Securities Corporation (VDSC) forecast that the country’s GDP will grow by 7.2 percent in the second quarter of 2021 and 6.5 percent for the year as a whole.
Asian Development Bank (ADB) Country Director for Vietnam Andrew Jeffries said Vietnam is capable of achieving the twin goals of curbing the pandemic and sustaining economic growth this year. The country’s success in containing the virus has strengthened foreign investors’ confidence in its economy, he added.
It is important for Vietnam to boost growth and easy ways for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to grow at the same time, thereby creating a solid foundation for a future private sector-led economy, Jeffries remarked.
According to the latest economic outlook report from Oxford Economics (OE), commissioned by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), despite the recent resurgence in COVID-19, Vietnam’s growth outlook remains optimistic and the economy is expected to return to pre-pandemic levels by the second half of 2021.
The country’s GDP is forecast to grow at 7.6 percent in 2021, among the highest rates in the region, the report said, noting that Vietnam was one of the few economies in the world to grow in 2020 due to its success in containing the pandemic.
“This early success enabled the economy to benefit from the surge in global trade activity and enjoy strong foreign direct investment flows that boosted export-oriented and manufacturing industries,” according to the report.
It said together with Singapore, Vietnam is expected to continue leading the region in recovery. “Despite a resurgence of COVID-19 cases in Vietnam, which has affected its manufacturing sector and export industries, its economy is predicted to rebound swiftly once restrictions are lifted,” the report read.
Economist Thinh emphasized that the most important thing at present is that Vietnam must give priority to giving COVID-19 vaccine to workers and preventing the virus from spreading inside companies and industrial parks.
Accelerating COVID-19 vaccine inoculation and keeping the coronavirus at bay remain key factors to sustain growth because with the COVID-19 resurging, declining incomes and economic conditions will have long-term impact on consumers’ spending behaviour and lifestyle, he said./.
Hanoi (VNA) – Three paintings of late Vietnamese painter Bui Xuan Phai will go under the hammer at the “Modern and Contemporary Southeast Asian Art” session of Singaporean auctioneer Larasati on June 17.
They are oil on cardboard paintings entitled “Bien” (Sea), “Hai Dien Vien Cheo Cam Quat” (Two Cheo Actors With Fans), and “Pho Voi Nguoi Di Xe dap Va Xe Bo” (Street Scene With Cyclist And Bull-cart).
Their respective estimated values are up to 13,500 USD, 12,750 USD, and 11,250 USD.
One of Vietnam’s best-known artists, Phai (1920-88) was born and lived all his life in Hanoi. He was a graduate of Indochina Fine Arts College.
For most of his life he worked in his studio at 87 Thuoc Bac street. He left a huge art heritage, among which pictures of the ancient streets of Hanoi , are the most famous.
He also drew cheo (traditional opera) and countryside. Phai had only one solo exhibition in his lifetime./.
The Ministry of Health confirmed on Tuesday nearly 400 domestic coronavirus infections in Vietnam, the majority in a hotbed in the northern region and 90 in Ho Chi Minh City.
A total of 398 local cases were reported across the country, including 204 in isolated areas, the health ministry said in a report the same day.
Northern Bac Giang Province, which is the nation’s largest cluster, recorded 235 of the infections, while its neighbor Bac Ninh Province detected 55 patients.
Ho Chi Minh City recorded 90 cases, Binh Duong logged 12, Ha Tinh Province reported three, Lang Son Province announced two, and Hanoi registered one.
Vietnam has detected 7,997 community cases in 40 out of its 63 provinces and cities since the ongoing fourth virus wave broke out on April 27.
Bac Giang is ahead with 4,401 patients, followed by Bac Ninh with 1,415, Ho Chi Minh City with 961, and Hanoi with 464.
Authorities in Ho Chi Minh City on Monday decided to extend the enhanced social distancing measures having put in place since May 31 by two weeks to stall escalating community spread, as over 80 patients have been confirmed on a daily basis since the weekend.
The Southeast Asian nation has reported 11,212 cumulative infections as of Tuesday evening, including 9,566 domestic and 1,646 imported cases, according to the health ministry’s data.
The number of recovered patients has reached 4,543, including 303 announced on Tuesday, while 61 have died, most with severe pre-existing conditions.
More than 4.8 million people have been tested in this fourth wave, the worst so far.
Vietnam confirmed 106 community cases in the first wave from January 23 to April 16, 2020, 554 in the second from July 25 to December 1, 2020, and 910 in the third from January 28 to March 25, 2021.
The country administered 54,328 AstraZeneca vaccine shots to medical staff and other frontline workers on Monday, taking the total to 1,552,651 doses since inoculation was rolled out on March 8.
A total of 59,608 have been given two shots of the vaccine.
The government has set a target of securing 150 jabs, as it expects to immunize at least two-thirds of a population of almost 98 million people this year.
It has received about 2.9 million AstraZeneca shots so far.
|John Agwunobi, CEO and chairman of Herbalife Nutrition|
Could you elaborate on the first-quarter performance of Herbalife Nutrition?
We are happy to say that building off the record performance in 2020, we had the largest first-quarter net sales result in company history. Globally, there was an increased demand for our full line of quality nutrition products. In the first quarter of 2021, the energy, sports, and fitness category grew by approximately 34 per cent while the weight management product category was up 16 per cent and targeted nutrition, which includes our health and wellness product offerings, was up 21 per cent.
As a result, we had a first-quarter net sales of $1.5 billion, an 18.9 per cent increase compared with the first quarter of 2020. The Asia-Pacific region had a record quarter with net sales growth of 22.4 per cent versus the prior year. This double-digit net sales growth is a reflection of our long-established strategy and growth trajectory that started in 2018.
What were the key elements behind the results?
With record earnings, our performance can be attributed to our business model, the entrepreneurial nature of our distributors, our sales force, and their ability to adapt their approach at a very localised level to add value to their customers.
Our strong performance can also be attributed to the market’s increasing demand for our full line of quality nutrition products and the business opportunity our sales model provides. As we have seen, the direct sales model is critically important in the field of nutrition. The benefits our distributors bring to their customers in terms of daily care and direct support is invaluable. We call it the “Distributor Difference” and is what truly sets us apart.
How has the Vietnam market contributed to the overall performance of Herbalife Nutrition?
Herbalife Vietnam is a very important contributor to our company’s overall performance, which has now become the largest market in the Asia-Pacific and ranks fifth globally. Our business in the Vietnam market continued to maintain growth momentum in the first quarter of 2021.
I am very proud of our achievements in Vietnam. We are not only recognised among the top sustainable companies, but also for our products’ public health efficacy, plus our socioeconomic contribution to the local community. We are deeply grateful to our employees and distributors in Vietnam, who continue to deliver on our promise to customers every day, despite the ongoing pandemic.
You just mentioned that Herbalife Vietnam has become the largest market in the Asia-Pacific. What are the key factors for success?
One of the most important factors behind Herbalife Vietnam’s great performance is the trust from local consumers in our high-quality, science-based nutrition products to help them meet their nutritional needs. We have won the Golden Product for Public Health Award from the Vietnam Association of Functional Food (VAFF) for several years in a row.
Secondly, Vietnamese people are increasingly more health and wellness conscious and putting greater emphasis on living healthy, active lifestyles. We are well-positioned to play a leading role in this shift, with our wide range of nutrition products to help Vietnamese people achieve their health and wellness goals.
Additionally, we have a very robust distributor base in Vietnam. Our distributors are our local sales force, who provide good nutrition products and support their customers while earning an income working either full or part-time. We are very pleased with the steady growth of distributors in the country.
What do you feel were the most impressive results of Herbalife Vietnam?
I’m particularly impressed by our sports sponsorship programme in Vietnam. We started our long-term partnership with the Vietnam Olympic Committee (VOC) and Vietnam Paralympic Association (VPA) in 2012. Through the partnership, we provide sports nutrition products, nutrition training, awards, and incentives to support the top athletes bound for international and regional competitions, such as the Olympic Games, the Asian Games, and the Southeast Asia Games.
Through the course of our nutrition partnership with Vietnam sports, we have witnessed the incredible breakthroughs of Vietnam sports and the dedication of their sports teams and athletes, who grow stronger with each sporting competition. We are honoured to be part of this amazing journey and will continue to help athletes maximise the benefits of sports nutrition to achieve optimal performance.
I am also incredibly impressed by the achievements of our distributors who not only bring our nutrition products into communities but also provide personalised coaching and social support to inspire people to pursue a healthy active lifestyle, supported by good nutrition. Together with our distributors, we are proud to help address nutrition needs for more people in Vietnam to result in a stronger and healthier generation of Vietnamese.
|Herbalife Vietnam providing nutrition sponsorship to top Vietnam athletes|
What major initiatives is Herbalife Nutrition planning to roll out around the globe in 2021?
We are excited about our future. The personal nutrition industry has many opportunities for growth, including adding to our product line and deploying technology that will help our distributors scale their business more efficiently and effectively.
While our brand was founded in weight management, our product portfolio crosses different categories. Sports nutrition is a category where we have built a strong brand but also have an opportunity to gain share by expanding both our product portfolio and geographic reach.
We also have a focus on localised product offerings that meet the taste and unique ingredient desires from around the world. This is a key strategy for us as we operate in so many countries with so many unique flavour profiles and ingredient preferences depending on where you are in the world.
Technology is also an area of growth. By putting more technology and tools into the hands of our distributors, we’re helping them build their businesses more effectively, securely, and efficiently. Given the current environment, technology has become even more important to our business as our distributors have embraced the use of technology to stay connected with their customers when certain face-to-face interactions may be limited. We will invest more in infrastructure to better facilitate the business activities of our distributors.
How does Herbalife Nutrition prioritised corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability for now and the future?
Our efforts to drive positive impacts for our employees, independent distributors, communities, and the planet while driving sustainable business growth, encompassing every aspect of our business.
We are committed to improving lives and communities through Herbalife Nutrition Foundation, helping eradicate hunger through our global initiative Nutrition for Zero Hunger; helping expand economic opportunities to those in underrepresented communities; reducing our use of plastic; committing to zero net emissions by 2050, and supporting our distributors’ efforts to implement sustainable practices in their businesses.
In Vietnam, we are dedicated to giving back to the community. Through our Herbalife Nutrition Foundation, we have established four Casa Herbalife Nutrition programmes in the country, providing healthy nutrition and nutrition education to about 1,000 children in need. Recently, we launched a “Nutrition for Zero Hunger” STAR Program to inspire more than 300 children to eat healthily and exercise regularly. We are glad to see the children who participated in the programme have started to embrace a healthy active lifestyle at an early age.
By Nguyen Huong
West Lake in Hanoi has been polluted for many years and the problem doesn’t seem to be getting any better.
|A section of West Lake seen from above. VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Dat|
The amount of garbage and dead fish on the lake’s surface has increased, affecting the landscape, water quality and daily life of people living near the lake.
Environmental experts have said the value of biodiversity in West Lake has been declining significantly.
According to a survey on the composition of floating plant species in West Lake, the number of species in the lake decreased from 115 species in 1996 to only about 60-70 now.
Green algae saw the biggest decline in numbers, decreasing from more than 70 species to around 10 species. Precious birds or fish are almost absent.
Scientists have blamed the increasingly polluted water environment in West Lake, especially in the dry season.
Pollution seriously affects the living environment of species in rivers and lakes as well as landscapes. As a consequence, the number of dead fish is increasing.
In 2016 and 2018, dozens of tonnes of dead fish floated on West Lake’s surface. Many reasons for the mass fish deaths were given such as the hot sun and algae bloom at that time.
However, according to many people living near the lake, they still see dead fish occasionally but in smaller quantities.
Quynh Anh, who lives on Nguyen Dinh Thi Street, Tay Ho District, said in the morning, a lot of people walk and cycle around the lake. But no one walks around sections like Quang An and Nhat Chieu due to the water’s stench in this area.
VietnamPlus reported that water in some areas of West Lake has turned dark green recently, and become dirtier and cloudier than usual. A lot of garbage and dead fish float on the lake’s surface, causing fishy odours in the air.
Notably, the lake area around Nhat Chieu Street is home to many abandoned service boats whose operation was stopped in 2017. The rusted, abandoned boats are another source of pollution.
Thanh Truong, living in Viet Hung Ward, Long Bien District, regularly visits West Lake. He said: “If you go along the Quang An section, you will see people dump household waste including incense bowls in the lake.”
“People who drink at cafes and eat at restaurants along the lake also throw newspapers, plastic bags, and food packages into the lake. I hope the authorities will have quick solutions to the problem,” he added.
According to Professor Pham Ngoc Dang, vice president of the Vietnam Association for the Protection of Nature and Environment, in the 1960s, West Lake had good water quality. People often went to the lake to collect water for cooking.
Now, the lake is too polluted to use to water plants, he said.
Over the past 25 years, local authorities have taken a number of measures to protect West Lake from pollution, for example, building culverts around the lake to prevent wastewater from flowing directly into the lake.
However, environmental experts have said that to improve the water quality in West Lake, the first thing to do is to clearly identify the cause which may come from human activities or due to natural reasons.
Experts said stiff penalties should be imposed on those throwing garbage into the lake. At the same time, solutions like collecting trash and dredging sediment to improve the water storage and cleaning capacity of West Lake have been proposed.