Therefore, she immediately asked the security guard to lock the wheel of the suspicious car and then called the police to handle the case.
By Gia Khanh – Translated by Uyen Phuong
Therefore, she immediately asked the security guard to lock the wheel of the suspicious car and then called the police to handle the case.
By Gia Khanh – Translated by Uyen Phuong
Listing of candidates for upcoming elections being sped up
Preparations for the elections, scheduled for May 23, are being sped up. (Photo: VNA)
As of April 18, a third consultative conference had been held at local and central levels to select eligible candidates for the elections of deputies to the 15th National Assembly and member of People’s Councils for 2021-2026.
The meeting held by the Presidium of the Vietnam Fatherland Front Central Committee adopted a list of 205 candidates for the upcoming election of deputies to the 15th legislature.
Making and announcing such lists are among the tasks for local agencies and organisations, as assigned by the National Election Council (NEC).
The lists must be sent to the National Election Committee and all-level election committees by April 23 (30 days ahead of the elections), so that the NEC and the all-level election committees will officially announce the candidates at constituencies.
The listing of candidates for NA deputies at constituencies nationwide and for members of People’s Councils at local constituencies should be completed no later than April 28.
Meanwhile, official lists of candidates running for NA deputy in constituencies in centrally-run cities and provinces, as well as their biographies, will be publicised by May 3.
Localities should step up communications work to raise public awareness about the elections and facilitate election campaigns, which are scheduled to be concluded 24 hours prior to the elections.
Between May 13 and 23, election groups will regularly inform local voters about polling stations and election time through leaflets and the mass media.
Local election committees will coordinate with relevant agencies and organisations to instruct the settlement of complaints, denunciations, and petitions regarding the lists of candidates and voters and election work.
Settlements should be completed before May 13./.
Workers’ average income up in first quarter
Vietnam saw a year-on-year fall in the number of workers joining the labour market in the first quarter but increases in average income, according to Pham Hoai Nam, Director of the Population and Labour Statistics Department at the General Statistics Office (GSO).
Nam said that workers’ average monthly income in the first quarter stood at 6.3 million VND (273 USD), up 339,000 VND compared to the fourth quarter of 2020 and 106,000 VND year-on-year.
On an annual basis, the agro-forestry-fisheries sector recorded the highest rise in average income, 5.2 percent, followed by the service sector with 1.5 percent and industry-construction 0.8 percent.
In particular, the income of those with employment contract increased 556,000 VND compared to the fourth quarter of last year and 132,000 VND over the same time in 2020 to 7.2 million VND per month.
According to Nam, the return of COVID-19 before the Lunar New Year (Tet) holiday changed normal growth trends in the first quarter, with a fall of nearly 200,000 workers in the workforce compared to the same time last year and about 600,000 over the same time of 2019.
The proportion of workers joining the labour market was 66.7 percent in urban areas and 69.9 percent in rural areas.
The GSO reported that among 49.9 million employees, 39.5 percent (or 19.7 million) were employed in the service sector, 32.3 percent (16.1 million) in the industry-construction sector, and 28.2 percent (14.1 million) in the agro-forestry-fisheries sector.
In the first quarter, 57.1 percent of the workforce, or 20.7 million workers, were employed in the informal sector, down 251,700 over the fourth quarter of 2020 but up 525,400 over the same period last year, it said./.
Central Highlands hit by string of minor earthquakes
Five consecutive small earthquakes measuring between 2.6 and 2.9 on the Richter scale have rocked the central highlands province of Kon Tum in less than a week, according to the data collected by the Earthquake and Tsunami Warning Centre under the Institute of Geophysics.
The Earthquake and Tsunami Warning Centre have stated that two consecutive small-intensity earthquakes measuring 2.6 and 2.8 on the Richter scale also hit the districts of Kon Plong and Dak Ha in the region on April 15, with the epicentre’s depth reaching 10km and 9.6km, respectively.
The succession of minor earthquakes began on April 13 and April 14 when two small quakes, also with a magnitude of 2.6 and 2.8, hit the Dak Ha region in Kon Tum province, with the epicentre’s depth recorded at 12km and 9.8km, respectively.
Furthermore, the centre also revealed that these quakes can be classified as small jolts due to their low risk of causing property damage and loss of human life, adding that these earthquakes are still being strict monitored.
According to experts, the Central Highlands makes up a region that has recorded relatively few earthquakes in comparison to other localities in the northwestern region.
Experts believe that the recent impact of the consecutive quakes in the region can be attributed to fault lines emerging along the rivers which pass through the area.
Australia, UNICEF join hands to aid COVID-19 vaccine delivery in Vietnam
The Australian Embassy in Hanoi and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have announced a 13.5 million AUD package to support the introduction and delivery of COVID-19 vaccines doses in Vietnam.
The Australia-UNICEF partnership is expected to provide a unique and holistic package that will assist Vietnam across a range of areas vital to the successful delivery of a mass immunisation programme against COVID-19, according to a UNICEF press release published on April 19.
“Our support will help Vietnam purchase cold chain equipment to store and transport vaccine doses to where they are needed around the country, provide training courses and materials to ensure Vietnam’s health workers and officials are ready, and assist with the development of immunisation plans in Vietnam’s remote provinces to ensure equitable and uniform vaccine coverage”, said Australian Ambassador to Vietnam Robyn Mudie.
“Introducing a new vaccine especially for COVID-19 is a colossal task for any government with many important steps involved. Thanks to the partnership with the Government of Australia, UNICEF is committed to work with the Ministry of Health and other partners to support the introduction and rollout of COVID-19 vaccines in Vietnam,” said Rana Flowers, UNICEF Representative in Vietnam.
The programme will support Vietnam to reach the prioritised 20 percent of population by the end of 2022 and set the foundation necessary for immunising the remainder of the population as vaccines are rolled out nationwide.
Funding for the programme is drawn from Australia’s 523.2 million AUD Regional Vaccine Access and Health Security Initiative, as well as from the nation’s bilateral development cooperation programme with Vietnam.
In total, Australia has committed 40 million AUD over three years to support Vietnam’s vaccine procurement and delivery efforts./.
Health establishments capable of handling blood clotting from COVID vaccine: Expert
Lower-level healthcare establishments in Vietnam are capable of dealing with blood clotting caused by COVID-19 vaccine thanks to the telehealth system, an expert has said.
Associate Prof. Dr. Dao Xuan Co, Deputy Director of the Hanoi-based Bach Mai Hospital and Secretary-General of the Vietnam National Association of Emergency, Intensive Care Medicine and Clinical Toxicology, said the telehealth system has been deployed to 1,500 sites in all of Vietnam’s 63 cities and provincial nationwide and will help leading specialists instruct grassroots medical facilities on handling cases of blood clotting in a swift and effective manner.
He said people can rest assured about the safety of vaccines, as cases of blood clotting are “very rare”.
If medical establishments at any level encounter vaccinated patients with blood clots, the health sector will be able to mobilise leading experts to conduct consultations and provide treatment guidance via the telehealth system, Co emphasised.
Nearly 80,000 people in 22 cities and provinces in Vietnam have been vaccinated against COVID-19 to date, and there have been no cases of blood clots.
On April 15, the Minister of Health decided to set up a steering committee for COVID-19 vaccination safety, which gathers together ministry officials and leading experts in different specialities to help respond to any circumstance./.
Ho Chi Minh City’s preparations for elections examined
National Assembly Vice Chairman Do Ba Ty inspected preparations for the elections of deputies to the 15th legislature and People’s Councils for the 2021-2026 tenure in Ho Chi Minh City on April 19.
At the working session with the NA delegation, Vice Chairman of the municipal People’s Council Pham Duc Hai reported working plans to ensure social safety and order for the elections.
Accordingly, the municipal Election Committee established sub-committees to serve the elections, held weekly meetings with election committees of 21 districts and Thu Duc city on the progress of the preparations.
A number of seminars were also held to popularise the Law on the Election of Deputies to the National Assembly and People’s Councils, the Law on the Organisation of the NA, the Law on the Organisation of Local Administrations, and documents guiding the elections.
So far, there have been 50 nominees for the election of NA lawmakers, 16 of them are women. All hold bachelor degrees and above. Meanwhile, there are 169 candidates running for seats of the municipal People’s Council, including 63 women. Up to 165 of them hold bachelor degrees and above.
Director of the municipal Department of Public Security Maj. Gen. Le Hong Nam said local security and order have been basically maintained. The city’s police are working with authorities and competent agencies to protect the elections.
Ty, who is also head of the subcommittee for security, order and health, asked the municipal departments and agencies to continue raising public awareness of the elections, ensuring that it will take place in a democratic and fair manner.
He also urged the municipal police to fight distortions, enhance inspection in major areas, and come up with firefighting plans at voting areas./.
Over 30,000 people flock to Hung Kings Temple
Over 30,000 people flocked to Hung Kings Temple in the northern province of Phu Tho during the weekend on April 17-18, on the occasion of the upcoming death anniversary of Hung Kings and Hung Kings Temple Festival 2021.
Director of the Hung Kings Temple relic site Le Truong Giang said the management board of the relic site has taken a number of measures to ensure safety for visitors amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Hung Kings are commemorated each year on the 10th day of the third lunar month, which falls on April 21 this year, as an occasion for the nation to express gratitude to the ancestors.
This year’s incense and flower offering ceremonies took place on April 17 (the 6th day of the third lunar month) and will go ahead on April 21 at the relic site.
A series of cultural activities will also be planned, including a music show and firework display, a glutinous rice cake making competition, a swimming competition, and a national volleyball tournament, and others.
Legend has it that the eldest son of Lac Long Quan (son of Kinh Duong Vuong) and Au Co (the fairy daughter of De Lai) was made king. He named the country Van Lang and set up the capital in Phong Chau (modern-day Viet Tri city), beginning 18 dynasties of the Hung Kings.
The kings chose Nghia Linh Mountain, the highest in the region, to perform rituals devoted to the rice and sun deities to pray for healthy crops.
To honour their substantial contributions, a complex of temples dedicated to the kings was built on Nghia Linh Mountain, and the tenth day of the third lunar month serves as the national commemorative anniversary for the kings.
The worshipping rituals of the Hung Kings was recognised as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2012./.
Dien Bien: 12 arrested for organising illegal exit
The border guard and police forces in the northern border province of Dien Bien have captured 12 people for organising the illegal exit of 13 foreigners.
On April 18, they detected a suspicious truck stopping in front of a grocery store in Nam Po district’s Si Pa Phin commune, with its trunk opened to let five Chinese nationals get out and enter the store.
The driver, Nguyen Duc Giang, born in 1960 and residing in the commune’s Nam Chim 1 village, admitted that he was hired by a woman living in Laos to drive the five men to the Vietnam – Laos border area for 2 million VND (86.2 USD) in return. Giang took the Chinese to the store, owned by Sung A Chu, born in 1986 and residing in the commune’s Pu Dao village, and called the woman saying he would hire Chu to take the five to the border area.
All the seven men were arrested.
On April 19, the forces caught another 18 suspects, consisting of 10 Vietnamese and 8 foreigners.
The Vietnamese suspects admitted they were hired to drive the foreigners from Lai Chau province’s Phong Tho district to the Vietnam-Laos border area.
The cases are under further investigation./.
No new COVID-19 cases recorded on April 20 morning
Vietnam reported no new COVID-19 cases in the past 12 hours to 6am on April 20, according to the Ministry of Health.
The total number of infections in Vietnam was 2,791, including 2,475 recoveries and 25 deaths.
Among active patients undergoing treatment at medical establishments nationwide, 11 tested negative to the virus once, 16 twice and 18 thrice.
As many as 40,150 people who had close contact with COVID-19 patients or entered Vietnam from pandemic-hit regions are currently quarantined across the country, including 531 in hospitals, 24,361 in state-designated establishments and 15,258 at their homes or residences.
According to the ministry, on April 19, additional 3,812 people in 13 provinces and cities got COVID-19 vaccine shots, raising the total number of people vaccinated against the coronavirus in the country to 80,857.
The Health Ministry continued to urge all people to follow the 5K motto – Khau trang (wearing facemask) – Khu khuan (disinfecting) – Khoang cach (keeping distance) – Khong tu tap (no gathering) – Khai bao y te (making medical declaration), in order to live safely amid the pandemic./.
Fireworks show to be held at Hung King Festival
The northern province of Phu Tho has planned to organise a high-range fireworks display to celebrate the Hung Kings’ Temple Festival.
The 15-minute high-range firework show will take place at the Van Lang Park in Viet Tri City on the evening of April 20, or the 9th of the third lunar month. The fireworks will sparkle following a show on Vietnam’s legendary origins.
On April 18, a swimming competition will be held at a lake within Van Lang Park, meanwhile at the Hung King Temple, a competition to make Banh Chung and Banh Day – the two traditional dishes offered to the Hung Kings – will be organised.
On April 18-21, a volleyball tournament will take place at the provincial gymnasium. Other activities within the festival framework include xoan singing performances at local temples in Viet Tri, street music programmes like the Viet Tri Live Music event and an exhibition featuring ornamental plants.
The organisers have Covid-19 prevention measures prepared as regulated by the Ministry of Health for the event.
National squad to gather in Quy Nhon ahead of World Cup qualifiers
The Vietnamese national men’s football team are due to participate in a short training camp on May 10 in Quy Nhon city in the south-central province of Binh Dinh as they prepare for their remaining qualification games in the Asian region for the 2022 World Cup.
The decision to train in Quy Nhon is due to the climate in the south-central city being similar to that of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) where the World Cup qualifiers will be held, according to the Vietnam Football Federation (VFF).
Footballers called up to the national team will then travel to Hanoi for further training before flying to the UAE on May 28.
Le Hoai Anh, general secretary of the VFF, said local players will be vaccinated against the SARS-CoV-2 virus on April 19 and April 20 at the Military Hospital 108.
The Vietnamese squad must then have samples taken as part of COVID-19 testing 72 hours before departing for the UAE. Upon landing in the Middle Eastern country, the entire team will then have a second test.
Moving forward, Vietnam are scheduled to take on Indonesia on June 7, Malaysia on June 11, before playing hosts the UAE on June 15, as announced by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).
The national men’s football team are currently leading Group G with 11 points after five matches played. The target is to hold on to the top place and progress to the third qualifying round in the Asian region for the first time in history.
Outstanding archaeological achievements in past decade announced
The Institute of Imperial Citadel Studies announced outstanding achievements in archaeological studies, technology application, museum display and design and promotion of Vietnam’s cultural heritage on April 18 on the occasion of its 10th founding anniversary (April 28, 2011-2021).
Director of the institute Bui Minh Tri said that over the past decade, the institute have actively and creatively carried out and well fulfilled its missions assigned by the Prime Minister and the Chairperson of the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences.
The institute’s achievements in scientific research are demonstrated through the implementation of the project of revising, studying and assessing the value and making a scientific record of the Thang Long Imperial Citadel relic site and the task of excavating the Nen Chua relict site in the southern province of Kien Giang, which is part of the project on researching the Oc Eo-Ba The and Nen Chua archaeological relic sites.
In addition, the institute has also left impressions through the organisation of the project on showcasing vestiges and objects in the basement of the National Assembly House in Hanoi and another on promoting the cultures of Dinh-Tien Le dynasties at Hoa Lu relic site in the northern province of Ninh Binh./.
HCM City ceremony to commend outstanding overseas Vietnamese
Ho Chi Minh City will hold a ceremony on April 20 to honour 33 outstanding collectives and 17 individuals of the Vietnamese community abroad, according to the city’s Committee for Overseas Vietnamese.
The activity aims to recognise and encourage the expatriates with prominent achievements in assisting Vietnamese citizens in production and business activities, scientific researches, medicine, educational and training cooperation, and social and charitable activities between 2018 and 2020.
They include Assoc. Prof and Dr Vu Minh Khuong, a senior lecturer at the Singapore-based Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy; Dr Nguyen Duc Thai, a Vietnamese in the US now lecturing at the HCM City University of Medicine and Pharmacy; Dr Nguyen Huu Le, a Vietnamese in Australia and Chairman of the TMA Solutions company; and Bui Van Tuan, Chairman of the Delta E&C Japan.
More than 5.3 million Vietnamese people are living in 130 countries and territories worldwide. Overseas remittances into the country reached 15.7 billion USD in 2020.
In particular, the remittances into HCM City reached a record high of 6.1 billion USD last year, up over 15 percent from 2019. The figure stood at 1.45 billion USD in the first quarter of 2021, up 10 percent year on year./.
Goalkeeper Van Lam officially joins Cerezo Osaka after end of quarantine period
National team goalkeeper Dang Van Lam concluded two weeks of quarantine in Japan on April 17 and is set to be presented to fans of J-League 1 side Cerezo Osaka Club on April 18.
According to the Cerezo Osaka’s official website, Van Lam will officially debut to the club’s fans ahead of their match against Urawa Reds on April 18.
The premiere will take place at the Nagai Stadium at 13:00 p.m. on April 18, according to Vietnamese time, and will be broadcast live on the club’s official Facebook page.
Van Lam originally arrived in Japan on April 3 and has now completed two weeks of compulsory quarantine as part of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic prevention efforts.
After the presentation tomorrow, the 28-year-old goalkeeper will then officially begin training sessions with his new teammates, with his aim to feature in the “derby Osaka” between Cerezo and Gamba on May 2.
By joining Cerezo Osaka, Van Lam will also become the first Vietnamese player to play in the J-League 1, Japan’s highest professional league.
Before that, other popular Vietnamese players such as Cong Phuong, Tuan Anh, and Le Cong Vinh previously played in the J-League 2.
Throughout May, Van Lam will have the opportunity to play in five matches in the J-League 1 before flying to the UAE to join the Vietnamese national team as they participate in qualifying matches for the 2022 World Cup in early June.
Binh Thuan: Dead whale brought to shore
Fishermen in Phan Thiet city, the south central province of Binh Thuan brought a carcass of a whale (respectfully called Ca Ong by locals) to the shore for burial on April 17.
The fishermen found the gray whale, 15 metres in length and more than four tonnes in weight, dead at sea on April 16.
Vietnamese coastal residents believe whales are sacred animals that help fishermen at sea. Therefore, they often rescue the animals or bury the dead ones in solemn ceremonies.
According to local practice, fishermen exhume whales’ graves after three years, and bring the remains to the local temple for worshipping.
Phan Thiet city has many temples to worship Ca Ong, with Van Thuy Tu being the largest. It is keeping a whale skeleton, which is 22 metres long, the largest in Southeast Asia./.
Biodegradable bags gaining in popularity
With pollution only seeming to get worse, many people have decided to make the change to biodegradable paper bags, which can be reused multiple times and pose no health hazards whatsoever. The new sustainability trend is becoming more popular for everyone.
By using paper bags instead of nylon bags or plastic boxes, this outlet has won the hearts of environmentally-conscious customers, despite the relatively high cost.
Paper bags are considered a sustainable packaging option for their biodegradability. With eye-catching designs, they have found favour among shoppers.
There are now many options replacing plastic products that customers can choose from to help protect the environment and living a greener, healthier life./.
Con Dao island home to one of 25 most beautiful beaches worldwide
The Bai Dam Trau beach in Con Dao island in Vietnam’s southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau, has been listed among the 25 most beautiful beaches in the world, according to a recent article published by Travel Leisure magazine.
“Trying to select Vietnam’s most beautiful beach is tough, but Bai Dam Trau in the Con Dao islands is certainly a top contender,” the article says.
“With distinct golden sand, soft swells, and shady groves of bamboo and evergreen trees, it’s the kind of place to spend the day gently swinging in a hammock with a beach read and walking in the surf with a freshly hacked coconut,” the article adds.
Topping the list is Saud Beach on Luzon island in the Philippines, followed by Elafonissi Beach in Greece and Nungwi Beach in Tanzania.
Along with the Vietnamese beach, the list also sees two other representatives from the Asian region, including Railay West in Thailand and Radhanagar in India.
Last year, Travel Leisure magazine placed Vietnamese hotel The Reverie Saigon in the southern hub Ho Chi Minh City at 57th position among the 100 best hotels globally.
In 2019, the ancient city of Hoi An in the central province of Quang Nam made it into the magazine’s list of 15 most beautiful cities across the world./.
Operations of Vietnamese aircraft grind to a halt due to COVID-19
During the first quarter of the year the nation had a total of 39 planes which underwent maintenance, while their flight operations were suspended due to the impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, according to data released by the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV).
The grounded jets are among 269 airplanes registered as Vietnamese currently, a rise of 13 from the same period from last year. These comprise 247 flat-winged jets of Boeing, Airbus, ATR and Embraer as well as 22 helicopters.
In an effort to minimise the risks caused by flight-stopping preservation, Dinh Viet Thang, director of the CAAV, has request that domestic airlines rotate operating aircraft as a means of ensuring that the maintenance of flight stops is no longer than one month.
In the event that an aircraft is serviced for over one month due to malfunction, breakdown, or insufficient configuration, the airline must then report this to the CAAV before getting their approval, with the exception of aircraft currently in their maintenance period.
Furthermore, Thang also urged all airlines to consistently perform regular maintenance, along with monitoring, updating, and thoroughly complying with regulations and instructions set out by manufacturers with regard to flight-stopping maintenance. In addition, the CAVV director went on to underline the need to intensify inspection and conservation methods as part of the maintenance and flight stoppage process, along with immediately dealing with abnormal phenomena as swiftly as possible.
This comes following a large number of flight stopping aircraft, aircraft manufacturers, and engine builders issuing technical instructions and alternate procedures in a bid to help aircraft operators as they conduct engine protection as set out in aircraft maintenance manuals.
Hung Kings Volleyball Cup 2021 gets underway in Phu Tho
Viet Tri city in the northern province of Phu Tho hosted the start of the Hung Kings Volleyball Cup 2021 on April 18 to mark the occasion of commemorating the death anniversary of the Hung Kings, the country’s legendary founders.
The tournament features the participation of 140 volleyball players from across the country who are set to compete in both the male and female categories.
Immediately following the conclusion of the opening ceremony, VTV Binh Dien Long An club won a ticket to progress to the final round in the women’s category after recording a convincing 3-0 win over Information-Communications Command–FLC club.
The Hung Kings Volleyball Cup is organized by the Vietnam Volleyball Federation and has been held annually in Phu Tho province since 2004.
Furthermore, the competition is also an important part of the national volleyball system which aims to discover talents capable of representing the Vietnamese at future international tournaments, including the 31st Southeast Asian (SEA) Games which will be held in Vietnam later this year.
The tournament is scheduled to last until April 21.
FIFA helps digitalise soccer data system in Vietnam
As the international governing body of football, FIFA have agreed to assist the Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) to deploy a programme aimed at digitising the soccer data system FIFA Connect, as agreed upon on April 14 during a virtual meeting.
The FIFA Connect Programme will therefore assist members as they register all of their stakeholders in a systematic way in order to keep track of players, coaches, and referees, wherever they are in the world.
The programme will provide a unique FIFA ID code for every individual who has a role within the football organization. The code is used like a digital football passport number which holds relevant information detailing the history of each stakeholder.
The deployment of the programme in Vietnam will get underway in May. The data system contains various pieces of information about footballers, their clubs, and referees during the V.League 1 and V.League 2 seasons. It is expected that the scheme will be enforced before July.
17 new bridges open to traffic in Long An Province
Seventeen bridges were inaugurated in the southern province of Long An on April 15 as part of the Rural Bridge Programme funded by enterprises following an appeal by former President Trương Tấn Sang and Nông Thôn Việt magazine.
Nine bridges in Tân Hưng District were built with funding worth VNĐ9 billion (US$389,930) provided by Đỗ Thị Kim Liên, chairwoman of the Green Vietnam Fund.
They facilitate transport of goods and ensure safety, especially of school-going children.
Saigon Thương Tín Commercial Joint Stock Bank (Sacombank) provided VNĐ5 billion ($216,292) to build six bridges in Vĩnh Hưng District.
Nutifood donated VNĐ1.6 billion ($69,213) to build two more bridges in the district.
These eight bridges along a road between Vĩnh Bình and Vĩnh Thuận communes will replace old ones that were severely degraded.
Over the last four years, the Rural Bridge Programme – Nông Thôn Việt magazine has carried out more than 300 bridge and sewer projects in Long An, Đồng Tháp and An Giang provinces at a cost of more than VNĐ300 billion ($12.9 million).
Deteriorated wastewater treatment systems cause pollution in Nghe An
Hundreds of households in Dien Van, Dien Ky and Dien Hong communes, Nghe An Province’s Dien Chau District, are complaining about the environment being polluted by wastewater from a local industrial zone.
Local people have complained their lives have been badly affected since the Dien Hong Commune Industrial Cluster discharged wastewater into the environment. Even though there are three wastewater sedimentation lakes, they seem to be abandoned. The wastewater is then discharged into the irrigation canal for the fields.
The industrial cluster has a lot of scrap collectors and a large amount of rubbish. The locals said they also had to suffer the smoke coming from iron and steel processing workshops.
Nguyen Hong Trung, chairman of Dien Hong Commune People’s Committee, said, “There are 41 facilities operating there. They mostly collect steel scrap and recycle plastic. We have reported the situation to higher authorities many times but the problem hasn’t been dealt with.”
Dien Hong Commune Industrial Cluster was approved by Nghe An People’s Committee in 2003. It covers 10ha with 11 firms and 30 household businesses. The wastewater treatment system has deteriorated and has been nearly abandoned.
The Department of Economy and Infrastructure in Dien Chau said the pollution was caused by the deteriorated wastewater treatment system in the cluster. When the cluster was opened, its infrastructure lacked synchronous investments. That’s why Dien Chau District People’s Committee are having plans to rebuild the clusters’ infrastructure.
“We’ll upgrade and rebuild all sewers and wastewater sedimentation tanks this year,” said Truong Van Duc, head of Dien Chau District Department of Natural Resources and Environment.
Kon Tum to host cultural festival for ethnic groups next month
Kon Tum Province will host the first Culture, Sports and Tourism Festival for Ethnic Groups in the Central Highlands from May 28 to 30.
The festival will be jointly organized by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the Kon Tum government, with the participation of the five Central Highlands provinces of Kon Tum, Gia Lai, Daklak, Dak Nong and Lam Dong, the central province of Quang Nam and the southern province of Binh Phuoc.
Under the theme “Preserving and Promoting Traditional Cultural Values of Ethnic Groups in the Central Highlands during the Nation’s Integration and Development Process”, the event enables participating localities to introduce their unique traditions, culture and tourist attractions.
The artists and artisans will have the opportunity to exchange experiences, learn about the culture of other provinces and raise public awareness about the preservation of traditional cultural values. The event is also a chance for businesses to seek partnerships and boost investment in the Central Highlands.
The three-day festival will feature a wide range of activities such as cuisine booths, traditional fashion shows, traditional music instruments’ shows, sporting events, traditional games, tourism promotion programs, an exhibition on the culture of different ethnic groups in the Central Highlands, tours to well-known attractions in Kon Tum Province and cooking competitions.
The first Culture, Sports and Tourism Festival for Ethnic Groups in the Central Highlands expects to attract some 1,200 participants, including artists, artisans and athletes from the seven participating provinces, officials from Government departments, security officers, health workers and volunteers.
People’s Procuracy asserts 137 million liters of fuel linked to Trinh Suong as fake
A representative of the People’s Procuracy of Dak Nong Province during a court hearing on April 16 put forward many arguments to uphold that 137 million liters of fuel in a substandard fuel production ring linked to fuel trader Trinh Suong, chairman and director of My Hung Co., Ltd, are fake.
The trial on April 16 continued after the provincial People’s Procuracy released an indictment recommending sentences against fuel tycoon Trinh Suong, with 12-13 years behind bars for producing and trading in fake goods.
During a trial session on April 14, a lawyer of Suong cited Point b, Article 8, Clause 3 of Decree No.185 dated in 2013 as stipulating that goods whose quality is below 70% are considered fake items and requested the Procuracy to re-determine whether the amount of fuel blended by Suong was fake or not.
However, the People’s Procuracy representative said that the lawyers of Suong had misunderstood Clause 3. Article 8, Clause 3, of the decree includes eight points regulating the definition of a fake product. Any item violating one of these eight points is considered fake. Meanwhile, the lawyer only mentioned Point b without taking into account the remaining points.
The People’s Procuracy representative added that the fuel blended by Suong had violated Point a, Article 8, Clause 3, stipulating regulations on goods without use value, function; goods with use value, functions not in line with the nature and name; goods with use value, functions not on par with their registered, announced use value, functions. Therefore, the local People’s Procuracy asserted that the fuels blended by Suong are fake.
HCMC meets requirement for loan disbursement extension for second metro line
The HCMC government has written to the Ministry of Finance, affirming that it met the German Development Bank’s (KfW) requirement to extend the deadline to disburse a loan of 240.75 million euros (US$288 million) for the city’s second metro line project and adjust the time to pay off the loan.
According to the city, it signed two agreements with KfW on the loan in 2011, the local media reported.
In 2019, when the project’s completion deadline was adjusted, the city proposed the bank extend the deadline to disburse the loan to 2026 and that it would start paying the loan from 2027.
However, KfW said it could extend the loan disbursement deadline to the end of December 2024. It would continue extending the deadline in accordance with the reality and the project’s progress.
As for the requirement for the deadline extension, the Management Authority for Urban Railways (MAUR) of HCMC must sign an appendix with the consulting firm of the project, Implementation Consultant (IC), or work out an alternative plan to ensure consultancy for the project.
MAUR has worked with IC on the appendix many times but IC asked the city to make payments for incomplete items and those ineligible for payment and the workload in signed appendices to continue its consultancy for the project.
According to the municipal government, it could not meet IC’s requirement as the requirement went against regulations on contract management. As a result, the two sides could not reach a consensus.
MAUR later held a meeting with other sponsors to replace IC.
The metro line project was designed to be 11.2 kilometers and pass through districts 1, 3, 10, 12, Tan Binh and Tan Phu. Its investment was estimated at VND47.8 trillion.
The project includes seven main packages from CP1 to CP7, of which the CP1 to build an office building and auxiliary items at the Tham Luong Depot has been completed, while tenders for the six others have yet to be held.
Work on the project was planned to start in 2022 and be completed in 2026.
Transport Ministry wants four localities to invest in Ring Road No. 3
The Ministry of Transport has asked HCMC, Dong Nai, Binh Duong and Long An to determine whether they can invest in sections of the Ring Road No. 3 project passing through their localities and propose execution plans if they agree to develop the sections.
According to the ministry, due to the necessity to develop the ring road early and the tight State budget, it called for the involvement of localities in the project.
The ministry has updated the required investment and construction and site clearance costs in each locality.
If localities agree to invest in the sections of Ring Road No. 3, they should work out plans to exploit the land fund along the road and propose State support if needed. If they propose the Ministry of Transport take charge of the construction of the project, they must state whether they can take responsibility for the entire site clearance cost.
Relating to the project, the Dong Nai government on April 12 held a meeting with the My Thuan Project Management Board under the Ministry of Transport to prepare for the road section in the province.
The section in Dong Nai has two segments–1A and 2A. The 1A segment will have a total length of over 8.7 kilometers and start at an intersection with provincial road 25B in Nhon Trach District and end at an intersection with the HCMC-Long Thanh-Dau Giay Expressway in HCMC’s Thu Duc City.
The Ministry of Transport has approved the prefeasibility for the segment with an estimated investment of VND5.3 trillion, sourced from official development assistance loans and the reciprocal capital. Work on the 1A segment will start next quarter.
The 2A segment was designed to be some five kilometers long, start at an intersection with Ben Luc-Long Thanh Expressway and end at an intersection with provincial road 25B.
According to the Ministry of Transport, the Ring Road No. 3 project has an important role in developing transport services between HCMC and the southern key economic zone.
Under a decision approved by the prime minister, the project would be completed before 2020. However, only 16.3 of 89 kilometers of the road have been put into service.
The required investment for the project was estimated at over VND60 trillion, including VND32.7 trillion for construction and VND27.3 trillion for site clearance.
Special policies and tours needed to promote educational tourism
During a workshop held on April 16, 2021, as part of the Famtrip organized by the Danang City Department of Tourism from April 14 to 17, 2021, participants said Danang’s tourism industry needs to offer specific policies and tours to attract guests to participate in educational tourism.
Educational tours should focus on research, culture, experiential and teambuilding activities. The pricing policy for such tours must synchronously include promotions from travel companies and accommodation to transportation and tourist sites.
The workshop saw the participation of representatives from schools nationwide.
Nguyen Cong Hoan, Head of the Faculty of Tourism, University of Finance and Marketing in HCMC, said the educational tour is mainly for students to learn about destinations rather than just focus on entertainment. Therefore, this type of tour must offer spiritual culture or ecotourism.
“Visiting the craft village will be attractive to students,” said Hoan, elaborating that students who join the tour in Danang can, for example, study the process of making fish sauce at the renowned Nam O fish sauce village.
Nguyen Ngoc Truc from the Faculty of Interdisciplinary Sciences, National University of Hanoi, had a similar opinion, saying that educational tours should be designed with more research experience, such as studying the history of the Marble Mount or the marble craft village.
Meanwhile, representatives of some other schools such as FPT University, Danang University or Hanoi National Economics University stressed on the pricing policy. According to them, a good policy will help woo students who are potential customers. Besides, schools need synchronous promotions from tour suppliers for travel and accommodation.
“We will seek ways to establish a working group whose members are enterprises offering promotional packages for educational tourism,” said Cao Tri Dung, Chairman of Danang Tourism Association, adding that the association will work with other parties, including airlines, to offer reasonable prices for this kind of tour.
Reportedly, educational tourism is part of a wide range of activities to implement the master plan to promote Danang tourism. Accordingly, the municipal tourism industry identifies the domestic market as the main tourism market in the current period.
“In order to diversify the tourist markets, we have found that the educational tourism trend is very popular among schools and businesses. This tour must combine practical experience, relaxation and entertainment activities,” said Tan Van Vuong, Deputy Director of Danang Tourism Department.
Top legislator mulls over deputies’ affairs for upcoming elections
National Assembly (NA) Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue chaired a meeting with the NA Standing Committee’s working commission for deputies’ affairs in Hanoi on April 19.
At the session, the commission suggested policies are needed to recruit a specific number of experts as full-time deputies when building personnel options and conducting the process of nominating candidates for the election of deputies to the NA.
The NA Chairman highlighted a large number of works to be done in preparation for the upcoming elections of deputies to the 15th legislature and all-level People’s Councils for the 2021 – 2026 tenure.
He asked the commission to work with the office of the National Election Council (NEC) to direct and provide guidance on the works.
Underscoring the preparation for the elections as the foremost task, Hue requested the commission collect results of provincial-level third consultative conferences to soon make a report to the NEC.
After the elections, the commission will have to conduct a series of works, including preparation for the summarisation of the elections and developing a training programme for elected deputies, among others.
Hue also asked the body to begin building a project on enhancing deputies’ working capacity right from now./.
NA Vice Chairman inspects election preparations in Cao Bang
A working delegation led by National Assembly Vice Chairman Nguyen Duc Hai on April 19 inspected preparations for the elections of deputies to the 15th National Assembly and People’s Councils at all levels for the 2021-2026 tenure in the northern mountainous province of Cao Bang.
Hoang Xuan Anh, Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee, deputy head of the Steering Committee for the Elections and Chairman of the provincial Election Committee, said as of April 18, the preparations for the elections in the province had met requirements.
In the second consultation conference on March 17, the Standing Board of the provincial Vietnam Fatherland Front Committee agreed with the list of 12 candidates for the election of deputies to the 15th legislature, with 100 percent approval votes.
During the third consultation conference on April 15, a list of eight people eligible for the election of NA deputies and a list of 83 candidates for deputies of the provincial People’s Councils, and 526 running for seats in the district and municipal-level People’s Councils were approved.
As of April 18, as many as 161 communes in the province had publicised a list of constituents in 1,004 voting areas.
The delegation asked the province to enhance the election inspection, as well as devise COVID-19 prevention and control plans during the process.
NA Vice Chairman Nguyen Duc Hai also required the province to thoroughly deal with issues related to complaints and denunciations during the work, ensuring openness and transparency in line with the law./.
Seventh National External Information Service Awards launched
The seventh National External Information Service Awards were launched during a press conference in Hanoi on April 19.
The awards aims to honour outstanding writers and works in the field of external information.
Speaking at the launch, Vice Chairman of the Party Central Committee’s Commission for Information and Education and deputy head of the standing board of the steering committee on external information work, Bui Truong Giang, said that with important achievements over recent years, Vietnam has been widely hailed in international media.
The country’s current prestige and stature has provided a source of inspiration for staff involved in the external work at home and abroad, thus creating more meaningful and valuable external information works, he said.
Through six editions, the awards have secured a reputation for quality and prestige and become a forum for Vietnamese and foreign writers to exchange professional expertise and open up a creative space for those working in the field.
Submissions can be in any language and must be published as an article in a print newspaper, online newspaper, or website (licensed by competent agencies), radio broadcast, TV broadcast, press photo, landscape photo, or book, from July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021. They must be sent to the Radio the Voice of Vietnam – the standing agency of this year’s awards, before July 15.
Prizes will be presented to winners in late August.
Entries must reflect the Party and State leaders’ external and internal activities, the Party and State’s policies and stances on international issues, the settlement of issues related to national sovereignty, and international issues of public concern, in a correct and timely manner.
At the same time, they must affirm Vietnam’s role, stature and prestige in the international community, helping to popularise its people, history, and culture.
Last year, the organising board received about 1,300 entries in nine categories and 17 languages. The number and quality of entries improved significantly compared to previous years./.
NA Judicial Committee asked to promote core role in NA operations
National Assembly (NA) Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue has requested that the NA Committee for Judicial Affairs continue promoting its core role in the legislature’s activities, while chairing a working session with standing members of the committee on April 19.
This was the first working session between the top legislator and the committee after Hue was elected as chairman of the 14th legislature at the 11th sitting.
Participants pinpointed problems in the committee’s operation and made proposals relating to the organisation and structure of the committee, judicial reform, and the mobilization of experts in participating in the committee’s activities.
NA Chairman Hue stressed that the quality and efficiency of the NA’s activities rely on many factors and are measured by the quality and effectiveness of its committees’ operations.
He therefore asked the judicial committee to make plans for continuing to reform and increase the quality and efficiency of its operations.
The committee must remain ready to work with the Party Delegation to the NA in building a draft resolution on continuing to perfect the law-ruled socialist State for submission to the Party Central Committee, and to raise the efficiency of coordination between the NA, its Standing Committee and the Party Delegation to the NA with judicial agencies./.
Hanoi ceremony marks 60th anniversary of Cuba’s Giron victory
The 60th anniversary of Cuba’s Giron victory was celebrated with a ceremony in Hanoi on April 19 held by the Ministry of National Defence, the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organisations (VUFO), and the Vietnam-Cuba Friendship Association.
Addressing the ceremony, Deputy Minister of National Defence Sen. Lt. Gen. Nguyen Tan Cuong emphasised that the Giron victory on April 19, 1961 was a great source of support for national liberation and the struggle against imperialism in Latin America and Third World countries as a whole, helping to firmly safeguard the revolutionary administration and marking a decisive turning point in the Cuban revolution on the path towards socialism.
It was also a triumph of justice that has been increasingly affirmed via the achievements of the Cuban people over the last six decades of national construction and development, he said.
On this occasion, on behalf of the leaders of the Ministry of National Defence, Cuong offered his congratulations on the success of the eighth National Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba, held from April 16 to 19, and voiced his belief that under the leadership of its new Party Central Committee, Cuba will reap more achievements on the path towards socialism.
With regard to bilateral relations, the deputy minister noted that the fraternal solidarity and comprehensive cooperation between the Vietnamese and Cuban Parties, States, armies, and people have long been treasured and nurtured by generations of the two countries’ leaders, becoming a role model in relations in the era.
He thanked Cuba for standing side-by-side with Vietnam during its fight for national liberation as well as its ongoing national development and defence efforts, adding that the timely mutual assistance in fighting COVID-19 is also demonstration of their sentiment for and consistent trust in each other.
Apart from people-to-people diplomacy, defence cooperation has also gradually become an important pillar in bilateral ties, helping strengthen the countries’ defence capacity to protect their respective Parties, regimes, and people as well as independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity, Cuong said.
Appreciating the sincere sentiments the Vietnamese Party, State, army, and people have had towards his country over the last 60 years, Col. Juan Miguel Garcia Montano, Military Attaché of Cuba to Vietnam, affirmed that the two countries’ relations have overcome the test of war and numerous ups and downs in history, and promoting these ties is the first and foremost task in both sides’ foreign policies.
He also pledged to make further contributions to cooperation and friendship, including in defence, between the two countries./.
Seminar discusses promoting gender equality in NA election
A seminar was held in Hanoi on April 19 to discuss promoting gender equality in the election of female deputies to the National Assembly and People’s Councils.
Chairwoman of the NA Committee for Social Affairs Nguyen Thuy Anh told the seminar that the rate of female deputies in the 14th legislature (26.72 percent) and People’s Councils for the 2016-2021 tenure was higher than those in previous tenures but yet to meet expectations.
According to the Law on the Election of Deputies to the NA and People’s Councils, the rate of female candidates for the elections of deputies to the NA and People’s Councils must reach at least 35 percent, she said.
Permanent NA Vice Chairman Tran Thanh Man said that among 888 candidates nominated by localities, female candidates for lawmakers accounted for 48.65 percent, deputies of provincial-level People’s Councils 41.76 percent, and those in district-level and communal-level People’s Councils 42.36 percent and 39.05 percent, respectively.
He hoped that the rate of elected female deputies will meet the requirements of the Politburo’s Resolution No 11 on women’s affairs during the country’s industrialisation and modernisation.
Man suggested that female candidates be aware of their strengths to present action plans succinctly and persuasively.
Female candidates at the seminar also learned about communications and personal branding skills and had their questions answered relating to difficulties in the election.
The event will last till April 20./.
Environmental protection – Foundation for development in Da Nang
Environmental protection will be placed at the centre of decisions and policies in central Da Nang city under a project aiming to build the locality into an environmentally-friendly metropolis during the 2021-2030 period.
The municipal Department of Natural Resources and Environment hosted a press conference on April 19 regarding the project, which will mark a breakthrough in the cause of environmental protection and sustainable development in Da Nang.
In the project, environmental solutions have been integrated with socio-economic development strategies, planning schemes, and plans. The project also focuses on administrative reform and the application of achievements from the fourth Industrial Revolution.
Da Nang will mobilise resources from different economic sectors and increase budget spending on environmental protection, while calling for the involvement of businesses, socio-political organisations, and the public in the task.
The enhancement of State management will be in tandem with improvements to public awareness about environmental protection.
Director of the provincial Department of Natural Resources and Environment To Van Hung said that with total investment capital of over 15 trillion VND (652.28 million USD), the project’s objective is to maintain and upgrade the existing environmental criteria.
Da Nang expects to become an ecological urban area by 2030 that is environmentally safe for people, investors, and tourists.
As part of communications activities for the project, the department announced the organisation of the first-ever water festival, to promote the precious nature of water and raise public awareness about water resources protection./.
HCM City starts second phase of COVID-19 vaccination
Ho Chi Minh City’s health sector began the second phase of the COVID-19 vaccination for medical workers and those who have contacts with people entering Vietnam via Tan Son Nhat International Airport on April 19.
Director of the municipal Health Department Nguyen Tan Binh said that until April 30, 45,190 doses will be given to medical personnel working at public and private health establishments and hospitals of the Health Ministry, while additional 2,000 doses will be injected into those working at the airport.
A total of 9,050 medical workers who get the first shot during the first phase will get the second shot this time.
To ensure safety, the department has requested all inoculation places to make thorough preparations and make plans to cooperate with the closest hospitals to deal with any possible post-vaccination incidents.
According to the department, the municipal health sector has more than 60,000 medical workers./.
108 Military Central Hospital marks 70th anniversary
The Hanoi-based 108 Military Central Hospital held a ceremony on April 19 to mark its 70th founding anniversary (April 1) and receive the “Labour Hero in the Renewal Period” title.
Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, Secretary of the Central Military Commission, was among the distinguished guests at the event.
On behalf of the Party and State leaders, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam presented the hospital with the “Labour Hero in the Renewal Period”, a noble title of the State bestowed upon those with particularly excellent achievements in their duty performance.
Applauding the hospital’s proud attainments, he said its medical workers and scientists have made breakthrough development in both quantity and quality, and that they have mastered the most cutting-edge medical equipment and complicated techniques to save patients with fatal illnesses and conduct historic organ transplant surgeries.
The hospital has done a good job of providing in-depth training for lower-level hospitals to help with developing the national healthcare network, Dam said, noting that it is also a bright example of reforming the management model.
Though the 108 Military Central Hospital is a military establishment, it has not limited its activities to giving medical examination and treatment to those serving in the army or conducting studies and training in military medicine, but it has brought into play its advantages to contribute to public health care, which has in turn helped enhance the hospital’s military medical capacity, according to the Deputy PM.
The official told the hospital to push ahead with developing personnel with political firmness, good morality, and high professional capacity; step up scientific research and intensive training; boost cooperation with domestic and international healthcare, research, and training establishments; work to equip itself with the most up-to-date technologies and techniques; and stay ready to respond to any disaster or war condition.
He also requested continued efforts in COVID-19 prevention and control while asking ministries and sectors, especially the Ministry of National Defence and the Ministry of Health, to create the best possible conditions for the hospital to fulfill its glorious but also heavy duties.
In his remarks, Hospital Director Lt. Gen. Mai Hong Bang recalled that the Yen Trach Central Hospital, the predecessor of the 108 Military Central Hospital, was set up in the Viet Bac revolutionary base 70 years ago, with a military medical team of only 30 members.
Throughout the wartime and the Renewal period, the hospital has weathered every difficulty and challenge and is now one of the five special national hospitals and among the leading scientific research and medical training centres in Vietnam./.
HCM City coach slams Nam Dinh time-wasting
HCM City FC coach Alexandre Polking slammed Nam Định for time-wasting at the end of his side’s 3-2 defeat on Sunday, but Nam Định coach Nguyễn Văn Sỹ insisted what his side did was within the limits of fair play.
At Thiên Trường stadium in Nam Định, the home team won thanks to two goals by Ossou Konan and one from Rodrigo Dias while Lâm Ti Phông’s brace wasn’t enough for HCM City to take anything.
The turning point came after a beautiful free-kick from Rodrigo Dias in the 67th minute to make the score 3-2. Tempers flared in the dying minutes and Phan Văn Hiếu of Nam Định and City star Lee Nguyễn received red cards in extra time.
After the match, Polking said he wasn’t happy to see the home team wasting time by committing fouls to preserve their lead.
“What I saw here today in the last 12 minutes is not good for the league at all. It’s a shame for me to see that. I would never do that for a team to win a game. Never,” he said, referring to time-wasting from Nam Định.
Polking congratulated Nam Định’s players and said the referee did the right thing in adding on a lot of extra time but lambasted the home team’s efforts to slow the game by throwing the ball away when it went out of play and players staying down.
“It’s not good for the league he said,” adding, “this is (from) 20 years ago.”
Nam Định’s coach Nguyễn Văn Sỹ disagreed with Polking’s statement and said his opponents would have done the same thing if roles were reversed.
“HCM City would have done that too if they had been in the same situation,” Sỹ said.
“The dedication of the players in this match was amazing. I hope they keep their determination in the next matches. This is a worthy result for the club and the fans of Nam Định.
“They said my team bought time, but they also have to look in the mirror. HCM City also injured my players. What we did to preserve the score is completely within the limits of football,” said the 49-year-old.
Nam Định currently sit sixth in the table with 15 points after 10 games, while HCM City are in 12th place with only 10 points – only one point away from bottom.
In the next match, Nam Định will meet Than Quảng Ninh, while HCM City will face defending champions Viettel.
Source: VNA/VNS/VOV/VIR/SGT/Nhan Dan/Hanoitimes
Foreign investment into Vietnam up sharply
One of the bright spots in the economy during the first quarter of this year was the positive results in FDI attraction and disbursement. Figures show that, in the first 3 months of the year, total foreign investment reached over 10 billion USD, up 18.5% over the same period of last year.
After 5 years of operations, with steadily increasing output, the company built more factories earlier this year to meet the needs of production expansion.
The average size of both newly-licensed projects and those adding capital increased strongly year-on-year, which was the main reason behind the strong increase in FDI. Another positive in the first quarter was that disbursed capital rose 6.5% year-on-year.
It is forecast that FDI attraction will continue to be positive in the context of many investors shifting the location of their investment and major investors in the country expanding existing projects./.
Property giants rush to develop projects in HCMC’s neighboring localities
Many large real estate companies in HCMC have rushed to acquire land funds and develop projects in HCMC’s neighboring localities, such as Long An, Binh Duong, Dong Nai and Ba Ria-Vung Tau, rather than in the city.
Last year, the supply of real estate products was modest due to Covid-19. Enterprises mainly conducted merger and acquisition (M&A) deals to acquire land lots and expand their market shares.
Early this year, the supply improved but real estate developers have gone outside HCMC as the land fund in the city has been smaller, while the price has been higher.
According to data from BIDV Securities Company, except for Khang Dien with 100% of its land funds located in HCMC and Vinhomes with 51% of land funds in HCMC and Hanoi, other large real estate developers have over 80% of their land funds in other localities. In addition, HCMC has sold an average of 30,000 apartments a year, but more than 8,000 apartments in Binh Duong were sold in the January-September period last year.
The trend of seeking land funds in other localities will continue in the coming years.
Novaland was actively involved in M&A deals in 2020. It concluded a deal for a 286-hectare project in Dong Nai and some other deals with a total value of nearly US$1 billion. In 2021, it launched multiple projects in HCMC’s neighboring localities.
Nam Long is not an outsider to the trend as 91% of its land fund is mainly in other localities. Last year, it bought 20 hectares of land at the Waterfront project in Dong Nai from Keppel Land, raising its total land fund to 701 hectares.
Nam Long Land CEO Nguyen Thanh Son said it came up with a plan to develop new urban areas in localities near HCMC 15 years ago.
VNDirect forecast that developing real estate projects in localities adjacent to HCMC and Hanoi will be the key trend this year as the prices of land lots there remain low.
According to Bui Quang Anh Vu, CEO of Phat Dat Real Estate Development JSC, the development of property projects in HCMC’s neighboring localities is a strategy to adapt to the current difficult period.
Meanwhile, Nguyen The Nhien, deputy general director of Hung Thinh Land, said his firm was one of the first to adapt to the trend, adding that his firm sold over 10,000 products and spent more than VND10 trillion buying projects last year.
Many other enterprises have had plans to put up their new projects in HCMC’s neighboring localities for sale. For example, the Phu Dong Group will introduce its high-end apartment project on Pham Van Dong Street in Binh Duong’s Di An City with more than 400 units.
Additionally, An Gia Group has announced launching new projects in Binh Duong and Ba Ria-Vung Tau. Hung Thinh will also introduce apartment building projects with thousands of units in the two provinces in May.
Nam Long has put up for sale the second phase of the Water Point urban area project with an area of 335 hectares in Long An and Novaland has introduced the AquaCity urban area project in Dong Nai.
Resort projects have also been launched, such as the NovaWorld coastal urban area project of Novaland from Dong Nai to Ba Ria-Vung Tau.
Hung Vuong Developer introduced the first 700 villas on a coastal road in Ba Ria-Vung Tau’s Binh Chau, part of the Venezia Beach project covering 72 hectares of land.
Farmers struggle as shallots devalue to record low
Currently, there are more than 51,000 tons of unsalable shallots in Vinh Chau Town of Soc Trang Province, while the price of shallots at the field has dropped to a record low of only VND4,000-VND5,000 per kilogram, sending farmers into a difficult situation.
Mr. Ngo Hung, Secretary of the Party Committee of Vinh Chau Town of Soc Trang Province, on April 17, said that the price of shallots was at an all-time low, and the locality was carrying out many solutions to help farmers to consume their produce.
The Economic Department of Vinh Chau Town informed that at present, there are more than 51,000 tons of shallots that cannot be sold. Earlier, farmers had harvested shallots massively from January to February, with a total area of 5,300 hectares. However, up to now, shallots have not been able to consume yet.
The price of shallots packed in mesh net bags is currently from VND15,000 to VND20,000, while that of unharvested shallots grown on sandy soil is only VND4,000-VND5,000 per kilogram and VND9,000-VND10,000 per kilogram for those grown on field soil.
Mr. Ma Chi Tho, Head of the Economics Department of Vinh Chau Town, said that because shallots originating from China and Thailand were sold on the market at only VND3,000 per kilogram, so domestically-grown shallots also declined. Besides, due to the complicated situation of the Covid-19 pandemic, shallots could not be exported in the past months. Previously, Vinh Chau shallots were mainly exported to China.
Mr. Thach Nua, 52, a farmer in Vinh Hai Commune in Vinh Chau Town, said that his family had planted 1.5 hectares of shallots and finished harvesting nearly a month ago. However, because the price of shallots was too low, his family had to stockpile about 60 tons of shallots to wait for the price to go up. With the current average price of VND6,000-VND9,000, farmers suffer heavy losses, with an average loss of nearly VND10 million per 1,000 square meters of shallots. Currently, the prices of seeds, fertilizers, and plant protection drugs are quite high, so the prices of shallots at the fields must be from VND15,000 per kilogram upwards for farmers to earn profits.
Not only Mr. Thach Nua’s family, but many other shallot farmers in Vinh Chau also face difficulties because of the record low price of shallots. Many families cannot afford to start a new shallot crop and do not have warehouses to store shallots, or they have to sell shallots at low prices because they must pay for fertilizers and plant protection drugs.
Mr. Ngo Hung said that besides focusing on carrying out solutions to find a market for shallots, the Party Committee of Vinh Chau Town has agreed to call for support of local officials to “rescue” shallots, contributing to helping shallot farmers to overcome the current difficult situation.
HCMC’s street houses for lease sees low demand despite rental cuts
Over one year since the Covid-19 pandemic hit Vietnam, retail spaces at street houses for lease in HCMC still see a limited number of customers although the owners have slashed rentals sharply.
Nguyen Van My, owner of a 100-square-meter house in a six-meter-wide alley on Nguyen Tri Phuong Street, District 10, said that his house has been vacant for two months as his previous customer returned the premises. Earlier, he had leased the house to a Malaysian seafood export company on a long-term basis for a monthly rate of VND22 million, but the company returned the property in February this year to find a cheaper one.
My then cut down the monthly rental to VND16 million and offered the property for lease on many real estate platforms but saw no customers.
Truong Thanh, owner of a street house in District 7’s Phu My Hung, said that it was difficult to find customers during the pandemic. Last year, after several months, the local economy felt the impact of the virus and his customer decided to stop renting the house.
Until the beginning of this year, after dealing with tens of real estate brokers, Thanh managed to find an appropriate customer, a commerce company. However, he had to reduce the rental by nearly 30% and pay the brokerage fees, which were equivalent to one month’s rent.
Vo Thi Khanh Trang, head of the Research Department of Savills Vietnam in HCMC, told the Saigon Times that many lessees have returned retail spaces at street houses, including those in downtown HCMC, due to the impact of the pandemic. The rentals were also cut sharply.
While the operation of shopping malls remains stable, that of retail spaces and street houses is tough, with the number of street houses for lease being on the rise.
The occupancy of retail spaces in shopping malls in the city fell slightly in the first quarter but still reached 93%, and the rentals remained stable at some US$50 per square meter per month, she added.
According to the Savills representative, the market entry plans of foreign lessees are progressing slowly due to Covid-19, although they consider Vietnam as one of the potential investment destinations.
She added that street houses located at street corners in inner-city areas still remain attractive to customers. These locations and those near hotels as well as premium office buildings are forecast to see a rising number of lessees in the upcoming time. Potential lessees could be operators of mid-end and high-end brands.
Further, street house owners should be flexible in meeting new demands from customers. For instance, amid the pandemic, lessees want to rent parts of a house to cut operational costs, while the owner wants to lease the entire house, leading to an imbalance between demand and supply, Trang said.
Travel companies reopen in lead up to summer
The increasing travel demand ahead of summer has enabled many travel companies to reopen after months of closure.
Some businesspeople said in case the Covid-19 pandemic remains under control, the number of domestic tourists this summer could return to the summer 2019 level.
According to travel companies, the number of tourists booking tours has increased significantly and some companies have recently received groups of over 1,000 tourists.
Nguyen Huu Y Yen, general director of Saigontourist Travel Service Company, said the company has received summer vacation bookings from large groups of tourists, who prefer packages that comprise air tickets and hotel accommodation.
Nguyen Viet Hung, CEO of First District Tourist Company, said since March, the company has received groups of up to 500 tourists for the summer vacation. The most popular destinations include Phu Quoc, Ho Tram, Nha Trang, Binh Thuan, Ba Ria-Vung Tau and Hue.
“The number of tourists visiting Hue during the recent weekends has risen to 3,000-4,000 people a day. The occupancy rates of some three- and four-star hotels in the city have reached 60-70%,” said Nguyen Van Phuc, deputy director of the Tourism Department of Thua Thien Hue Province.
The province expects to receive more tourists, especially from HCMC, Hanoi and neighboring provinces, during the upcoming holidays such as Hung Kings Commemoration Day on April 21, Reunification Day on April 30 and International Labor Day on May 1.
“Some tourist attractions are sometimes overloaded. In mid-March, only 10-15% of travel companies in HCMC remained operational. However, many companies, especially small and medium companies, have resumed their operations,” said Nguyen Thi Khanh, chairwoman of the HCMC Tourism Association.
“We are working with the Vietnam Tourism Association to launch stimulus programs nationwide to boost tourism recovery,” she added.
Nguyen Huu Y Yen, general director of Saigontourist Travel Service Company, said the increasing number of domestic tourists will help travel companies survive until the international tourism market is resumed.
According to Nguyen Viet Hung, CEO of First District Tourist Company, if the number of tourists this summer is equivalent to 75% of the 2019 summer level, two-thirds of people working in the tourism industry that have been laid off will be able to return to work.
Pandemic is changing landscape of consumer credit: experts
|A board shows a consumer lending product of FE Credit. The consumer finance market has large potential in Viet Nam. — Photo enternews.vn|
According to Can Van Luc, a member of the National Financial and Monetary Advisory Council, financial companies will reshape their business strategies after the pandemic, depending on changes in consumers’ habits and behaviour.
Specifically, consumers tend to tighten their budget and pay more attention to healthcare, environment and healthy lifestyles. Digital technologies, e-commerce and online shopping are becoming popular in the operation of enterprises and consumption of residents.
“Consumer lending is gradually shifting from traditional methods to using technologies like consumer data, online marketing, online verification through big data, artificial intelligence and direct disbursement to customers’ accounts and electronic wallets,” he said.
A survey by FiinGroup found that the pandemic caused a decline of 25 per cent of the world’s consumer market in 2020, pushing up bad debts by 100 per cent and profits down by nearly 200 per cent.
Market research company Ipsos found that about 80 per cent of surveyed Vietnamese said that their incomes were negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, with 41 per cent seeing a drop of more than 20 per cent. The pandemic also urged consumers to limit using cash and switch to electronic wallets and online payments.
The COVID-19 pandemic is also changing the landscape of the consumer finance market which urges financial companies to move towards consumer trends of cashless payment.
Nguyen Thanh Phuc, deputy director geneeral of FE Credit, said that as the pandemic was under control in Viet Nam, the borrowing demand was predicted to increase. However, the ability to repay was assessed to be lower due to the impact of the pandemic on incomes.
Phuc said that financial companies must be very cautious in evaluating customers.
He is also optimistic about the potential of the consumer market of Viet Nam in the long term, given the country’s anticipated economic growth.
Viet Nam was becoming an attractive destination for production in the global shift, opening job opportunities which would help improve incomes and promote consumer demand, he said.
Phuc expected Viet Nam’s consumer finance market would post stronger growth than other countries in the region with a population of nearly 100 million, 60 per cent of whom had low and medium incomes.
Luc said that the consumer finance market had large development potential with economic growth anticipated at 6.5-7 per cent per year in 2021-30 period and income growth at around six per cent per year by 2020.
The Government also aims to promote the healthy development of the consumer finance market to prevent black credit.
He urged financial companies to diversify products to meet demand.
The outstanding consumer credit was estimated to total VND1.8 quadrillion at the end of 2020, accounting for around 20 per cent of the total outstanding loans in the economy and 2.5 times higher than 2012.
Banks to create favorable conditions for people to access credit
According to the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV), so far, banks have restructured the repayment term for nearly 263,000 customers affected by the Covid-19 pandemic with a total credit outstanding balance of more than VND353 trillion.
Besides, they have also exempted and reduced interest rates for more than 660,000 customers with a total credit outstanding balance of over VND1.27 quadrillion. Credit institutions have provided new loans with lower interest rates than before the pandemic, with accumulated loans from January 23, 2020, to now exceeding VND3 quadrillion to more than 452,000 customers.
For the lending program to employers to compensate for work stoppages, by January 31, 2021 (the time to stop disbursement as prescribed), SBV had disbursed a total of VND42.9 billion to the Vietnam Bank for Social Policies (VBSP), and this bank has provided loans in 56 provinces and cities, with a total credit outstanding balance of VND41.82 billion for 11,276 employees who were ceased work. Currently, the program’s credit outstanding balance at the VBSP is VND39.66 billion.
SBV’s leader said that the central bank would continue to synchronously implement solutions to remove difficulties for customers affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and solutions to remove credit problems for people and enterprises that suffered damages caused by natural disasters or the pandemic to restore production and business activities. At the same time, it would direct credit institutions to continue to create favorable conditions for people and enterprises to access credit, meet the legitimate credit needs of the people, and contribute to restricting black credit.
Vietnamese electric motorbike start-up gets foreign funding
Dat Bike, a Vietnamese technology start-up that plans to make electric motorbikes, has raised 2.6 million USD in a pre-series A funding from Singapore’s Jungle Ventures, Wavemaker Partners, Hustle Fund, and iSeed Ventures.
Electric motorbikes are usually weak and have a low range, delivering only half the performance of a petrol bike.
But Dat Bike claims its Weaver can rival petrol bikes in power and range, its 5,000W motor helps accelerate from 0 to 50km/h in just three seconds, its charging time is the fastest in the country at just under three hours, and its brake mechanism is tailored to the traffic situation in Vietnam.
Song Nguyen, founder and CEO of Dat Bike, said: “We want to transform the 250 million gasoline bikes in Southeast Asia into electric vehicles. We believe that if given a choice everyone would pick electric over gas. It is just that the current electric motorbikes in the market lag behind in power and range, making it difficult for people to make the switch.
“The fresh funds will allow us to continue to innovate and create the most compelling electric motorbikes for Southeast Asia and the world.”
Amit Anand, founding partner of Jungle Ventures, said: “This investment in Dat Bike marks our first investment in the mobility sector which is rapidly getting transformed by technology. The 25 billion USD two-wheeler industry in Southeast Asia in particular is ripe for reaping benefits of new developments in electric vehicles and automation.
“We believe that Dat Bike will lead this charge and create a new benchmark not just in the region but potentially globally for what the next generation of two-wheeler electric vehicles will look and perform like.”
The Weaver can be bought on the company’s website and physical store in Ho Chi Minh City. It costs 39.9 million USD./.
Services sector expected to expand by 7-8 percent this decade
Vietnam’s services sector is targeting a growth rate of 7-8 percent in the 2021-2030 period, higher than the economy’s average growth rate, and eyeing to account for 50 percent of GDP by 2030.
In the 2030-2050, the sector is expected to grow faster than the average rate of the national economy and occupy 60 percent of GDP.
The goal is set out in the strategy on the development of the services sector for 2021-2030, with a vision to 2050.
The strategy looks to reform institutions, boost the services sector in a more transparent, efficient, and competitive manner, and speed up the restructuring of the sector in the context of the fourth Industrial Revolution.
The strategy attaches importance to knowledge-intensive and competitive services including distribution, tourism, IT, finance-banking, logistics, education and training, and healthcare. Tourism service centers will be set up with a view to churning out high-quality and competitive tourism products with bold national and cultural identity.
Domestic and foreign economic components will be mobilised to upgrade and build modern infrastructure and technical facilities in favor of service development. Especially, State budget allocation will give a priority to modernisation and upgrading key infrastructure sites namely transport, airports, seaports, telecom, tourism, finance, and banking.
The strategy looks to open service markets in line with Vietnam’s international commitments./.
Ba Ria-Vung Tau economy grows in Q1
The southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau managed to achieve positive economic growth in the first quarter of 2021 driven by a surge in industrial production, port services and domestic travel.
Speaking at a recent meeting to review the socio-economic development for the quarter, Deputy Secretary of the provincial Party Committee Nguyen Thi Yen said key economic sectors achieved growth during the quarter.
The province achieved the dual goal of containing COVID-19 while ensuring economic growth, she said.
So its revenues rose by 6.7 percent to more than 22 trillion VND (953.46 million USD), she said.
Industrial production value excluding oil and gas rose by 7.3 percent year-on-year.
The value of port services jumped by 9.6 percent.
The province sped up work on some crucial transport projects to facilitate connectivity to the Cai Mep-Thi Vai port complex in Phu My town.
The tourism sector saw a robust recovery, with the number of visitors in the first quarter doubling from a year ago to 1.8 million.
In the second quarter, the province plans to focus on improving its business climate and competitiveness to attract foreign investment./.
Airlines urged to strengthen maintenance for unused jets: CAAV
A total of 39 aircraft have been left unused and parked on runways and in storage facilities as of the end of this year’s first quarter due to border closures and air travel bans induced by the COVID-19, according to the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV).
Among the aircraft, 18 belong to the national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines, 14 to Vietjet Air, three to Bamboo Airways and four to Pacific Airlines, data of the CAAV shows.
The grounded aircraft are among 269 airplanes registered as Vietnamese currently, up 13 from the same time last year. These comprise 247 flat-winged jets of Boeing, Airbus, ATR and Embraer as well as 22 helicopters.
It is a matter of fact that an aircraft’s condition can deteriorate for just sitting on the ground, causing problems when the plane returns to service. CAAV Director Dinh Viet Thang has issued a notice requesting airlines to rotate between in-service and stored jets every month.
Accordingly, airlines are required to leave aircraft unused for no longer than one month in order to reduce safety risks associated with prolonged parking. They must report and obtain approval from the CAAV if an airplane needs to be grounded for more than a month for repair and maintenance, except for periodic inspection.
Airlines must regularly update and strictly comply with instructions provided by manufacturers in terms of maintenance for aircraft in long-term storage, Thang said, adding that inspection and maintenance measures must be strengthened for these jets in order to promptly get any problems fixed./.
Vietnam’s exports to US see strong surge in Q1
The US was the largest importer of Vietnamese goods in the first quarter of 2021, with total export turnover hitting 21.2 billion USD, an increase of 32.8 percent year-on-year, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD)’s Agro Produce Processing and Market Development Authority.
The Authority said the strong growth is likely to be maintained in next months despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
Export turnover of vegetables and fruits, and aquatic products to the US in the reviewed period was valued at 23.4 million USD, and 189.15 million USD, up 3.7 percent and 5.4 percent, respectively, compared to the same period last year.
Statistics of the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) also show that the export value of machinery, equipment and spare parts to the US expanded by 215 percent to 1.58 billion USD in January this year.
Meanwhile, the export turnover of telephone and components to the country hit 6.1 billion USD in January, up 3.4 billion USD from the same period last year.
According to the MoIT, the purchase power in the US has recovered in recent months and this offers a good opportunity for Vietnamese goods in the context that the global economy is still severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Deputy General Director of the MoIT’s Export-Import Department Tran Thanh Hai underlined the necessity to pay special attention to accelerating digitalization and applying e-commerce in export activities.
The Government, ministries, sectors and localities need to define new orientations amid great changes in the world, he said, adding that the MoIT will propose issuing a new strategy for export activities in the coming time./.
Vietnamese rice export prices fall to lowest level over five month-period
The price of Vietnamese 5% broken rice has dropped to between US$485 to US$495 per tonne over the past week, marking its lowest level since December 10 last year, according to figures released by the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
This comes as rice export prices have continuously experienced a downward trend since the beginning of the year, with the price from mid-April plunging to a five-month low.
Most notably, the price of 5% broken rice between April 10 and April 17 recorded a fall to between US$485 and US$495 per tonne compared to the price of between US$495 and US$500 per tonne recorded in the previous week.
Furthermore, the rice export prices in a number of other countries, including India and Thailand, have also endured a downward trajectory.
India’s 5% broken rice price also dropped to a three-month low as it dipped to between US$388 and US$392 per tonne compared to the price of US$390 and US$395 per tonne recorded a week previously. Elsewhere, Thailand’s 5% broken rice price also fell to between US$465 and US$482 per tonne from its level of between US$488 and US$500 per tonne last week.
The latest plunge in rice prices can mainly be attributed to a 4% decline in the Thai baht since the beginning of March, according to details given by traders based in Bangkok.
The first quarter of the year saw rice exports face a decrease of 30.4% in volume and 17% in turnover compared to the first quarter of last year, with 1.1 million tonnes worth US$606 million.
The decline in rice exports throughout the reviewed period can be put down to shortages occurring in terms of supply sources in the winter-spring crop, while the high price of rice has also made many importers decide to wait for a fall to occur before making a move.
According to statistics published by the Vietnam Food Association (VFA), the nation ranked second in the world for rice exports last year with 6.15 million tonnes, while Thailand exported 5.7 million tonnes of rice, raking in US$3.07 billion in the process.
With the exception of high-grade aromatic rice, the country’s 5% broken and 25% broken rice during the early months of the year has been facing fierce competition from the same type of rice originating from India and Thailand.
The VFA therefore anticipate that rice exports starting from the end of April could improve as the supply source of the commodity is now in abundance, adding that the rice industry has set an export target of over 6.1 million tonnes for this year.
Cement consumption increases by 2.6% over the same period
According to statistics from the Ministry of Construction, in March, consumption of cement products reached about 8.87 million tonnes, up 1.5% over the same period last year, of which domestic consumption was about 5.02 million tonnes.
Accumulation of the first quarter of 2021, total cement consumption reached 21.6 million tonnes, up 2.6% year-on-year, in which, domestic consumption reached 13.48 million tonnes, and cement export reached 3.59 million tonnes, up 9.5%; while clinker export was estimated at 4.53 million tonnes, a year-on-year increase of 7.3%.
At the same time, the amount of cement in stock nationwide in the first three months of the year totals about 4.6 million tons, equivalent to 20 to 25 days of production, mainly clinker.
According to experts, although this is the slowest time for cement consumption in the year, the consumption results are quite positive. In the context that the COVID-19 epidemic has been effectively controlled and the path to economic recovery is becoming more and more clear, cement production is expected to increase as major construction projects are about to be deployed in the near future.
Public capital disbursement remains slow in Q1
The timely disbursement of public capital plays an important role in helping the economy recover from the Covid-19 pandemic, but the disbursement process in the first quarter of 2021 was very slow, according to the Ministry of Finance.
Data of the ministry showed that from January to March, the country disbursed over VND66 trillion in public investment capital, meeting only 11.7% of the whole year’s target.
Up to now, most ministries and localities have reported a low public capital disbursement rate. Forty-four of 50 ministries and departments and 27 of 60 localities have disbursed less than 10% of their public capital.
As of late March, Quang Nam Province disbursed VND711 billion in public capital, meeting 13% of the entire year’s target, while Ninh Thuan Province distributed VND275 billion, meeting 10% of the target.
The Finance Ministry attributed the low disbursement rate to incomplete procedures for project adjustment, slow site clearance and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The ministry said some large public projects such as components of the North-South Expressway are adjusting their investment procedures.
Le Tuan Anh, deputy director of the Department of Investment, said slow site clearance was the main reason behind the slow disbursement. Many projects are facing difficulties in determining land prices, finalizing compensation plans and getting rid of constructions on the project site.
For projects using official development assistance or preferential loans from foreign countries, the Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted the import of equipment and travel of foreign experts, severely affecting the projects’ progress.
Economic expert Nguyen Tri Hieu said public capital disbursement is an important factor for post-pandemic economic recovery.
However, the slow disbursement of public capital has hampered the country’s socioeconomic development and affected the macroeconomic stability.
Economic expert Nguyen Minh Phong said ministries, departments and localities must have a specific timeline for the public capital disbursement of different project groups, simplify some investment and disbursement procedures and address obstacles related to site clearance.
Besides, leaders of ministries, departments and localities that are responsible for public capital disbursement must be disciplined if they fail to meet the progress requirements and rewarded if they get the job done.
Japanese companies increase presence in Vietnam’s retail market
Japanese companies have increased their presence in Vietnam’s retail market instead of focusing on the manufacturing sector, according to the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO).
Addressing a press conference on April 15 announcing the seventh Japan Vietnam Festival, Hirai Shinji, chief representative of JETRO in HCMC, said Vietnam remains an attractive destination for Japanese companies to invest in the manufacturing sector. However, Japanese companies are gradually shifting to non-manufacturing sectors, especially retail, to take advantage of a growing middle class in Vietnam and a population of nearly 100 million.
A report of JETRO several years ago showed that up to 40% of Japanese investors in Vietnam were active in the manufacturing sector. However, the figure has dropped to some 20% at present.
Japanese food manufacturer Meiji recently announced the establishment of its operations in Vietnam with charter capital of 200 million yen (US$1.8 million) to sell the Meiji-branded infant formula imported from Japan.
Sojitz Corporation and Vietnam Livestock Corporation, a subsidiary of Vietnam’s leading dairy producer Vinamilk, have reached an agreement to establish a new joint venture for the purpose of importing, processing and selling beef products in Vietnam.
Aeon opened its sixth shopping mall in Vietnam last December and fashion brand Uniqlo opened its seventh outlet in the country in March 2021.
Many other Japanese retailers such as household goods chain Muji, pharmacy chain Matsumoto Kiyoshi and fashion brand Miki House have opened their first outlets in HCMC and have plans to expand to other cities.
At the Japan Vietnam Festival organized in HCMC this weekend, Japanese retailers such as FamilyMart, Hachi Hachi, Kamereo, Akuruhi and Logitem will present a wide variety of Japanese products, from clothes and food to cosmetics from 50 Japanese producers. Many of the products will be introduced to Vietnamese consumers for the first time.
In terms of e-commerce, JETRO and Japanese companies have collaborated with large e-commerce platforms in Vietnam such as Shopee, Lazada and Tiki to enable Vietnamese consumers to access Japanese goods.
Japan’s exports of agriculture-forestry-aquaculture products and food to Vietnam in 2020 rose 17% compared with 2019, helping Vietnam become Japan’s fifth biggest importer of these products after Hong Kong, the United States, mainland China and Taiwan.
Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, Japanese instant products such as ice cream, spices, natto (fermented soybean), vinegar and masks have become more familiar among Vietnamese consumers.
Kien Giang to invest in infrastructure for tourism development
As part of its socio-economic development plans from now until 2025, the province of Kien Giang will be focusing on tourism, with more investment in infrastructure projects such as airports and seaports, and promote Phu Quoc to an international marine eco-tourism and service center.
According to Kien Giang’s five-year socio-economic development plan, the goal is to make tourism the main economic contributor to the province, making it a tourist center in the Mekong Delta.
To this end, the province will invest in the construction of infrastructure at planned tourist spots, encouraging investments in developing coastal ecotourism zones and routes, resorts, pilgrimage and exploration sites, etc.
The province is encouraging businesses to upgrade and expand tourist areas and existing accomodation facilities and offering assistance to help with difficulties, but will revoke undeveloped projects.
In cooperation with relevant units to develop tourism and marine services, the Department of Tourism – appointed by the Provincial People’s Committee – is pushing investments in tourism infrastructure, specifically key tourist areas, island and coastal tourism at Phu Quoc, Kien Hai, Kien Luong, Hon Dat and Rach Gia city, with Phu Quoc targeted to become an international marine eco-tourism and service center.
Relating to developing general infrastructure, including tourism infrastructure, the provincial government is accelerating multiple investment plans to continue upgrading and expanding the Rach Gia Airport, the Phu Quoc International Airport, the Bai Vong port, the general port at Mui Dat Do and the Phu Quoc bay – lagoon port.
Phu Quoc in Kien Giang Province has been a prominent tourist destination for both domestic and foreign tourists in recent years.
According to data provided by the Department of Tourism, the island had welcomed around 5.1 million tourists of the 8.78 million coming to the province in 2019, before the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on tourism.
The total revenue from tourism amounted to over VND18,595 billion in 2019. The total number of hotel rooms all across the province has increased from 23,000 to 28,000 in a span of two years from 2019.
Irrational gamble by small banks at trading sessions
Bank stocks, especially of smaller banks, are currently attracting a cash flow in the stock market in recent sessions. However, investors stand to face many risks if banks continue on their swinging waves at trading sessions.
The stock code SHB of Saigon-Hanoi Commercial Joint Stock Bank has continuously been increasing and now has suddenly soared to VND 28,500 per share in the day sessions from less than VND 16,000 per share in the trading session on 10 March. With an increase of up to 80% in less than a month, SHB not only established a historic peak but also became the focus of GSO during this period.
In these sessions, SHB liquidity pushed up very high, with tens of millions of shares transferred in each session. It was this huge demand that helped SHB to have impressive reversal moments, being traded at a sudden drop at ceiling price, with the order to buy millions of shares pushed up at the same time. For example, on the 26 March session nearly 80 million shares matched, equivalent to VND 1,520 bn.
Previously, more than 1.2 billion shares of SSB or Southeast Asia Commercial Joint Stock Bank, also had a wave of rapid increases of 20% on 24 March on HOSE, from reference price of VND 16,800 per share to VND 20,150 per share. Immediately after that, SSB continued to have a series of increases and surpassed the peak of VND 28,000 per share in the session on 31 March. Thus, after only six sessions, SBB recorded an increase of nearly 70%. Although SSB is just a rookie, SSB liquidity is huge with millions of shares traded per session.
Similarly, BAB or North Asia Commercial Joint Stock Bank, moved to list from UPCoM to HNX at reference price of VND 16,000 per share, and increased by 30% right in the session on 12 March, to VND 20,800 per share. The streak of BAB continued to last for many successive sessions, helping this stock to surpass the level of VND 36,000 per share in the session on 12 March. Thus, within only eight sessions, BAB recorded an increase of approximately 130%.
The increase in sessions of the above two stocks caused missed shareholders to decide to pour in money to collect the banking codes with prices below VND 20,000 per share, equivalent to the starting point of SHB. In the opinion of investors, if SHB and SSB go up to nearly VND 30,000 per share, banks with the same starting point cannot have prices below 2.0 but must have an equivalent price.
With this thought, investors did not hesitate to pour capital into many bank shares. In particular, two banking codes, STB of Saigon Thuong Tin Commercial Joint Stock Bank, and EIB of Vietnam Export-Import Commercial Joint Stock Bank, increased to the limit due to huge demand from investors. On 30 March, STB created a liquidity record with nearly 100 million shares transferred, equivalent to a value of VND 2,000 bn.
The fact that SHB suddenly reached its historical peak surprised the stock market because it seemed to have no information outside of its 2021 business plan, with pre-tax profit growing 70% year-on-year. Meanwhile, SHB is facing risks stemming from too fast capital gains in the past. Since 2015, SHB chartered capital has nearly doubled, from VND 9,486 bn to VND 17,558 bn, of which, in the first three quarters of 2020, SHB issued an additional VND 5,552 bn. Capital scale increased rapidly in a short time, while business efficiency increased slowly, and not commensurate with the net profit margin (NIM) of only about 2.8%, but much lower than the industry average of 3.84%.
Although SHB 2021 profit story is still quite vague, for investors this is easier to understand than the case of STB and EIB. STB received less positive information related to the pledge of STB to secure the loan, with the debt balance likely to lose the capital of nearly VND 1,900 bn. Specifically, KLB has cooperated with customers to handle all collaterals related to their loans to a group of customers with collaterals of 176 million shares of STB. As for EIB, the best news comes from the proposed amendment of the regulations to organize the annual shareholders meeting. EIB is currently the only bank unable to hold the 2020 shareholders meeting due to insufficient attendance.
The fact that BAB doubled its price after being listed on the HNX is an unusual and equally mysterious phenomenon. Earlier at the end of 2017, BAB had quietly put 500 million shares to list on UPCoM with a starting price of VND 20,000 per share. BAB listing price surprised investors at that time because it was 1.62 times higher than the book value of VND 12,318 per share, even higher than that of major listed banks at that time. However, despite the suspicions of investors, BAB still increased strongly after being listed, and there was a time when this stock increased to nearly VND 29,000 per share.
Although this rising wave of BAB took place during the time when bank stocks attracted cash flow, it was still questioned by investors because the business activities of BAB were very weak compared to other listed banks. According to the financial statements of 2020, the pre-tax profit of BAB was VND 737 bn, down by 21%. The decrease was mainly due to the sharp increase in the cost of provisioning while the net interest income grew weakly.
Notably, BAB’s NPL at the end of 2020 was VND 628 bn, an increase of 25.6% compared to the beginning of the year, and the ratio of NPLs to outstanding loans increased from 0.69% at the end of 2019 to 0.79%. As in the past, the stockholder structure was too condensed and had no major shareholders owning more than 5% of the shares, which was too easy to drive the price of BAB shares.
The rising wave of SSB is also being questioned because the bank shareholder structure is almost similar to BAB. Concentrated shareholder structure is also the reason why SSB liquidity has not increased, especially during ceiling hitting sessions. With this feature, according to analyst forecasts, when the bank waves pass, SSB and BAB will be the first bank stocks to lose liquidity.
On the contrary, investors holding shares of SHB or STB are not too worried about liquidity, but face a huge risk of price decline when stocks enter the adjustment phase. Investors holding SHB shares will not forget the 5 April session. From reference price of VND 27,000 per share, this stock suddenly dropped sharply to floor price of VND 24,300 per share, when the holder suddenly launched an order to sell millions of shares at floor price.
HCMC drastically fights against smuggling, trade fraud
Ms. Phan Thi Thang, Vice Chairwoman of the People’s Committee of Ho Chi Minh City, chaired a conference to summarize the work in 2020 and discuss directions and tasks in 2021 of the Steering Committee on Combating Smuggling, Trade Fraud, and Counterfeit Goods of HCMC (HCMC Steering Committee 389 for short).
According to HCMC Steering Committee 389, the number of cases decreased due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, but the inspection and control have focused on conspicuous areas, warehouses, yards, and gathering points with large quantity and value of goods, contributing to improving the effectiveness of the fight against smuggling, trade fraud, and counterfeit goods in the city.
The market inspection and control are still limited. According to the HCMC Steering Committee 389, the city has a fast economic growth rate, production and business activities are more and more developed while the management of local authorities has not kept up with changes of sellers, commodity groups, and key areas to promptly inspect and handle. Trade fraud and counterfeiting are increasingly sophisticated and complex, with new fraudulent tricks having emerged. Even food products are counterfeited.
The representative of the Market Surveillance Agency of HCMC is concerned that recently, the e-commerce sector in HCMC has developed strongly, any goods can be bought and sold online, but this agency has not found any effective measure to manage and supervise. Meanwhile, the number of consumer complaints about the situation in which customers had paid but they never received goods; goods are not as advertised; goods are fake or of poor quality, is on the increase.
Mr. Bui Ta Hoang Vu, Director of the Department of Industry and Trade of HCMC, said that when detecting a violation, the handling process is very complicated due to the lack of smooth and synchronous coordination between agencies. Therefore, to effectively combat smuggling and trade fraud, it is necessary to review the operating mechanism, management, the process of inspection, detection, and handling of violations.
Director of Market Surveillance Agency of HCMC Truong Van Ba, Deputy Director of HCMC Steering Committee 389, said that in 2021, the committee would continue to promote the fight against smuggling, commercial fraud, and counterfeit goods in the new situation. This task is determined to be an important and regular task to direct drastically, closely with a focus on the assigned tasks. It will also strengthen the propaganda and mobilization of the people, coordinate with news agencies, radio stations, mass organizations, and socio-professional organizations to participate in the fight and not to abet smugglers and commercial fraudsters.
Speaking at the meeting, Ms. Phan Thi Thang highly appreciated the efforts of functional authorities in the work of uncovering many smuggling and counterfeiting rings and networks, contributing to stabilizing and developing the market, at the same time ensuring the legal and legitimate interests of producers, traders, and consumers.
The Covid-19 pandemic still develops complicatedly and prolongs, which will pose a great danger and challenge to the socio-economic development, national security, and the life of the people. Therefore, Ms. Thang said that the fight against smuggling, trade fraud, and counterfeit goods need more specific, practical, and drastic solutions and tasks. The leaders must take responsibility if serious, complicated, and protracted violations happen in their areas or fields, or there are corrupt officials or civil servants in public service activities. Units will continue to carry out and organize the effective implementation of plans in the fight against smuggling, trade fraud, and counterfeit goods in 2021.
Regarding the difficulties and problems of departments, sectors in particular, and the HCMC Steering Committee 389 in general, Ms. Phan Thi Thang asked the committee to summarize them, especially overlapped, inconsistent, and asynchronous issues of legal documents that have been promulgated by ministries and agencies. Based on this, the municipal People’s Committee will propose measures to remove them, preventing these subjects from taking advantage of legal loopholes to operate illegally. The city will also study to promulgate regulations and procedures for coordination among units in the process of inspecting and handling violations if necessary.
Ms. Phan Thi Thang entrusted the HCMC Steering Committee 389 and the Department of Finance to make plans to arrange more warehouses and have solutions for fast, accurate, and effective handling of exhibits. In the long run, the relevant agencies need to sit together to draft guides on the process of handling exhibits, with specific regulations on handling time to quickly release the inventory to avoid congestion, facilitating functional authorities to carry out their tasks effectively.
The report of the HCMC Steering Committee 389 shows that in 2020, departments and functional authorities of the city uncovered and handled 25,538 cases, down 45.39 percent compared to 2019. In which, violations on banned goods and smuggled goods were 2,769 cases, down 30.3 percent; commercial frauds were 21,804 cases, down 47.65 percent; counterfeit goods were 965 cases, down 15.5 percent. The total State budget revenue from those violations was nearly VND5.44 trillion.
Long An capable of developing high-tech economic zone: Deputy PM
The Mekong Delta province of Long An has opportunities and advantages needed for development of a high-tech economic zone in line with the goal set for 2020-2025 by the local Party Committee, said Permanent Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh at a conference held in the locality on April 19.
He requested Long An seek advices from scientists, businessmen, and residents to set out its development orientations for the zone and highlighted that there is a need for harmonious development between urban and rural areas.
Binh noted the province should identify its spearheaded sectors with a focus on high-tech industry, support industries and logistics.
The application of advanced technologies in agriculture, institutional reform, e-government building, and investment climate improvement are also necessary, the official added.
Secretary of the provincial Party Committee and Chairman of the provincial People’s Council Nguyen Van Duoc said the province has worked for economic restructuring toward industrialisation and modernisation in recent years.
Long An grew about 9.11 percent on average during the 2016-2020 period. In 2020 alone, its growth was 5.91 percent, doubling the nation’s general growth rate.
The province is now working to complete its planning for 2021 – 2030 with a vision toward 2050, he said, adding that this is a strategic planning with a long-term vision for breakthrough growth based on the pillars of industry, services, logistics, eco-urban areas, and high-tech agriculture.
Huynh Van Son, Director of the provincial Planning and Investment Department, informed that Long An is offering incentives for projects invested in localities with disadvantaged socio-economic conditions across a range of fields including education-training, health, culture, sports, and environment.
At the conference, leaders of local departments and sectors and businesses signed a series of agreements concerning the sponsoring of consultation services for digital transformation and assistance for technological, telecommunications, and financial firms, among others./.
National Power Transmission Corporation launches first digital transformer station
Vietnam’s National Power Transmission Corporation (EVNNPT) put into operation its first digital transformer station in Thuy Nguyen district, the northern port city of Hai Phong on April 19.
The 210kV station was built at the total cost of more than 348 billion VND (15 million USD) on an area of some 40,100 square metres spanning Dong Son and Kenh Giang communes.
According to EVNNPT Deputy General Director Luu Viet Tien, the station helped cut around 80 percent of the amount of copper cable, slash copper cable transport and installation costs, while reducing the risks of incidents caused by cable damage.
Tien said that the digital transformer station is a new technology in both Vietnam and many developed countries in the world, adding before carrying out construction of the station, EVNNPT held several conferences with large equipment suppliers such as Siemens, ABB and GE.
He said the 220KV digital station will ensure stable power supply for socio-economic development in Thuy Nguyen district, Hai Phong city and regions in the vicinity, reduce power loss as well as enhance connectivity, safety, stability and flexibility in operation of power system.
EVNNPT will make evaluation on the efficiency of the station so as to select suitable technologies for transformer stations in the future.
The Vietnam Electricity Group (EVN) plans to have all equipment on transmission lines and 80 percent of 110 kV circuit facilities digitalised from now to 2022.
By 2025, EVN will have digitalised 100 percent of facilities on medium- and higher-voltage power lines, according to EVN Chairman Duong Quang Thanh.
To that end, the group will press on with applying digital technologies like Internet of Things, big data, and cloud computing, he said, noting that it will use artificial intelligence (AI) in monitoring and examination and make use of cameras and smart drones to repair lines.
It will continue research on building information models and digital worker platforms to serve its staff while developing AI applications for image analysis and data governance.
EVN said it has completed 61 of the 63 centres for remote control of transformer stations and converted 670 of the 844 transformer stations into unmanned ones./.
Source: VNA/VNS/VOV/VIR/SGT/Nhan Dan/Hanoitimes
The foremost requirement for a ‘sleepless city’ is to be a shopping paradise where tourists find it easy to gain access to products of reputable brands with transparent price listings so that they feel happy to spend money.
The Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) affirmed that the night-time economy is not only the right direction for the tourist industry, but also a driving force for future economic growth.
Changing tourist expenditure structure
According to a study by the VNAT, accommodations account for 32.96 percent of overnight tourists’ total holiday expenditure, the highest percentage among all other categories.
Food and drinks make up 23.78 percent whereas shopping and transportation occupy the same share — more than 15 percent.
Meanwhile, day visitors set aside 55.85 percent of their budget for shopping, 22.84 percent for food, and 10.35 percent for traveling.
The combined spending on cultural, sports, entertainment, sightseeing, medical, and other services is equal to 10.82 percent.
This spending structure does not contribute to sustainable tourism development, according to tourism and travel business insiders.
On the contrary, the structure has reached its limit, making it difficult for the industry to expand without the introduction of new products, especially in the post-pandemic period.
Currently, in order to stimulate demand, hotels and accommodations have to make attractive offerings or promotions, resulting in shrinking spending on lodging.
According to a representative of the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Tourism, a scheme to test the pedestrian zone on Bui Vien Street in District 1 has fueled local economic activities despite its inadequate quality.
About 350 business establishments along this street, including restaurants, hotels, bars, travel operators, and accommodation providers, have contributed billions of Vietnamese dong to the local budget, with the industrial and commercial tax sum reaching about VND6 billion (US$260,660) in 2019.
Regarding Phu Quoc Island off southern Kien Giang Province, a representative of Phu Quoc United Center said that partners, traders, and retailers have played indispensable roles in the construction of a ‘sleepless city,’ which includes a shopping paradise on the Grand World commercial streets as part of the ‘one destination for all needs’ model.
Around 1,000 shophouses providing an ecosystem of thousands of utilities and entertainment items not only fully meet the needs of enjoyment, entertainment, relaxation, and discovery of all visitors, but also bring new experiences.
“The availability of many world-famous retail brands affirms the professionalism and methodical operation of the project,” said the Phu Quoc United Center representative.
“These brands have been well received by millions of shoppers, bringing visitors peace of mind instead of worry about overcharging and low-quality goods,” said the Phu Quoc United Center representative.
|Visitors pose for a photo at VinHolidays Fiesta Phu Quoc on Phu Quoc Island, Kien Giang Province, Vietnam, April 19, 2021. Photo: T.T.D. / Tuoi Tre|
Where to spend money in the ‘sleepless city’?
According to Pham Trung Luong, former deputy director of the Institute for Tourism Development Research under the VNAT, in many countries with strong night-time economies, casinos and nightlife are considered the biggest source of revenue for tourism.
Statistics show Singapore’s tourism industry revenue grew 25 percent in the four years since the first two resort-casino complexes opened in the city-state in 2010.
The hotel department under the VNAT said there must be a wise way of service and product provision, creating highlights according to local characteristics in order to develop a night-time economy.
To do this, first of all, research must be carried out to localize and diversify services and products in the best way so that tourists will not get bored of the same activities, particularly including karaoke, bars, night markets, and food streets, after a while.
Visitors to the ‘sleepless city’ will be attracted to a very vivid life with an intertwined variety of cultural, entertainment, and shopping experiences.
Restaurants open all night, offering overnight majestic artistic performances reflecting traditional culture.
Visitors will also be able to enjoy night cuisine with many different dishes.
The Phu Quoc United Center representative said the operator of the project had worked with many partners as well as fashion and convenience retailers in preparation for its opening day.
In addition, more than 700 shopping stalls at VinWonders and a food zone consisting of a seafood street, a night market, a BBQ garden, famous culinary brands, attractive food courts, and interesting beach clubs are waiting for the ‘night city’ to light up on Wednesday.
Do not miss a second
Over the past few days, tourists have flocked to Phu Quoc to visit the constructions exquisitely built according to European architecture standards in the first ‘sleepless city’ in Vietnam, while eagerly waiting to enjoy delicious dishes at its night market.
Vu Thi Thanh Van, a visitor from Hanoi, said that both she and her husband love traveling, especially to explore the beautiful scenery and people in Vietnam, so much that her family decided to visit Phu Quoc for the holiday of Hung Kings’ Festival.
“I’m surprised and amazed by the scenery and European-style houses here. Everything is so great, from the amusement park to the luxury entertainment quarter,” Van said.
Van added that beside VinWonders and Vinpearl Safari, she enjoyed visiting Grand World, where she was able to witness the hustle and bustle of workers racing against the clock to complete the very last work items of luxury shopping and dining establishments for the launch day on Wednesday, with a series of events, entertainment, and services for visitors.
Lu Thi Tuyet, a tourist from northern Son La Province, who visited Phu Quoc with 300 other companions, commented that she was so excited and the scenery there was beyond her imagination.
Tuyet already planned to eat delicious local dishes when the ‘sleepless city’ is open.
“I just arrived in Phu Quoc today, checking in at the hotel with everyone and then rushing into the sea immediately,” Tuyet said.
She added that she would also spend time shopping as “it is the biggest fun to go shopping during holiday trips.”
According to the Department of Tourism of Kien Giang, in the first quarter of 2021, the province welcomed 1,178,395 visitors, with Phu Quoc receiving up to 810,385 arrivals, accounting for nearly 69 percent of the total.
Solution to 6:00 pm – 6:00 am expenditure
On weekends, it is estimated that Bui Vien Pedestrian Street in Ho Chi Minh City receives more than 2,000 domestic and foreign visitors, who shop and enjoy tourism products and services.
“Ho Chi Minh City realized the need to organize entertainment activities on the pedestrian street to promote culture and attract tourists to spend their money on shopping there. However, the street space is limited, leading to the shortage of service diversity,” a representative of the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Tourism said.
Therefore, the advent of entertainment complexes operating around the clock in tourist destinations is the answer to the question on where tourists can spend their money from 6:00 pm to 6:00 am the next day.