|Ninh Binh has proposed building an airport and removing a thermal power plant|
In a report submitted to the prime minister, the province requested adding its own airport to the national airport planning in 2021-2030 with a vision to 2050.
According to the proposal, the airport would be constructed in 2021-2025 from private capital, with state investment only needed to construct infrastructure connecting to the airport.
The province has highlighted two potential locations for the project, in Kim Son and Yen Khanh districts.
The airport in Ninh Binh would be able to handle planes the size of A320 and A321 models to welcome tourists. According to the province, Ninh Binh has great potential to develop its tourism sector with a diverse landscape including Trang An Landscape Complex and Hoa Lu Ancient Capital, among others.
The province forecast that by 2025, it would welcome 8-9 million passengers, including 2.5 million foreigners.
The province has submitted a similar proposal early this year to the Ministry of Transport.
According to the draft master plan on the development of the national airport network to 2030 with a vision to 2050, the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam has proposed to have 26 airports by 2030, 14 of which will be international airports. The number could reach 30 by 2050.
At present, Vietnam has 22 airports in operation, nine of which are international and 13 domestic. Seven airports are located in the north, while seven others are in the central region. The remaining eight ones are located in the south.
Along with the airport, the province is seeking the prime minister’s approval to stop the operation of the 100MW Ninh Binh Thermal Power Plant and remove the 220kV substation from the province. The thermal power plant has been operating since 1974.
By Ha Vy
|Startups are raising far more funds than in previous years. Photo: BBVA|
The first-quarter report of South Korean venture fund Nextrans showed that investment in startups jumped by 34 per cent on-year to $100 million, with foreign investors being dominant.
However, the number of deals fell 20 per cent to 16. This decrease is quite small compared to the 20 deals in 2020 and 30 deals in 2019. Despite the reduction, the total deal value has increased remarkably by 34 per cent on-year, excluding unannounced deals.
Foreign investors outperformed their local counterparts with nine deals, the report said. The total investment by local actors was under $10 million, while it was $100 million for foreign investors.
Seed funding and Series A investment, the first two stages, remained dominant, accounting for 70 per cent of deals, much higher than in 2020 and 2019.
Fintech once again led with four of the 16 deals, followed by logistics, hospitality, real estate, education, and healthcare.
Vietnam is expected to grow at the fastest rate in Southeast Asia in terms of digital financial services revenue in the next five years, reaching $3.8 billion by 2025, the report said.
The most notable deals in the first quarter were an investment of $2.6 million from a group of investors led by Singaporean venture capital firm Jungle Ventures in electric motorbike brand Dat Bike, and a $1 million investment by investment fund AppWorks in healthcare service booking platform Docosan.
There are around 180 venture funds in Vietnam, including VSV Capital – Vietnam Silicon Valley, Mekong Capital, 500 Startups Vietnam, Vietnam Investment Group, IDG Ventures Vietnam, and Nextrans while others from South Korea and Japan are also looking for opportunities to invest.
By Nguyen Huong
On May 3, billionaires Bill and Melinda Gates, co-founders of one of the world’s largest private charitable foundations, filed for divorce after 27 years, but pledged to continue their philanthropic work together.
In a joint petition for dissolution of marriage, the couple asserted their legal union was “irretrievably broken,” but said they had reached an agreement on how to divide their marital assets.
While the socioeconomic ramifications of the divorce have become talk of the town in many places, many Vietnamese tongues are wagging about something else that is closer to home.
They are debating the merits and demerits of a man doing the dishes.
The debate has been sparked by Gates’s professed love for dish washing, with several Vietnamese male netizens “taking the cue” and quipping that sharing housework does not seem to save a marriage.
“I do the dishes every night – other people volunteer but I like the way I do it,” Bill Gates had said during a Reddit AMA in 2014.
Nguyen Thanh Dat, a white collar worker in Hanoi, commented on his Facebook page, said: “A man enjoying washing dishes for his wife and still ends up divorcing… it seems doing dishes does not help a marriage last.”
Many other men agreed, joking they would not do the dishes hereafter because “even a rich man like Bill Gates cannot save his marriage by washing dishes.”
Microsoft technology advisor Bill Gates and his wife Melinda leave on the second day of the Allen and Co. media conference in Sun Valley, Idaho July 10, 2014. Photo by Reuters/Rick Wilking.
Many netizens would not be diverted by the humor.
“People should stop making jokes that men who do chores at home will not have a happy marriage. Such ridiculous assumptions make it harder to fight gender stereotypes,” said An Nguyen, a teacher in Hanoi.
Some people commented that man doing housework was nothing to talk about, but sociologist Trinh Hoa Binh said that Bill Gates washing dishes had caught public attention because it is uncommon for a man to do house chores in Vietnam.
While there has been heightened awareness of gender equality in Vietnam for several years, the majority of women still get no housework help from men.
It is still the norm that Vietnamese husbands refuse to assist their wives with household chores.
In 2018, a survey by the Institute of Labor Science and Social Affairs and the United Nations University World Institute for Development Economics Research revealed just three percent of respondent husbands washed dishes at home, and only 0.5 percent offered to do it regularly.
Notably, 20 percent said they’d never washed dishes, which, they consider a woman’s job.
A report by the Ministry of Labor, Invalids, and Social Affairs and ActionAid in 2016 showed Vietnamese women spend an average five hours a day on unpaid work like household chores and childcare, compared to three hours for men.
The report said that in some disadvantaged areas, women spend over eight hours a day on unpaid employment.
Even amid the Covid-19 pandemic, 20 percent of Vietnamese men have not done any housework even as the women carry the double burden of work and family responsibilities, according to a March report by the International Labor Organization (ILO).
“My husband is like a kid and cannot cook a proper meal for himself. I keep telling him that we must share these responsibilities equally,” said Nguyen Huong Quynh, a banker in Hanoi.
It is still a widely prevalent practice that Vietnamese women do most of the housework, while fixing and maintaining equipment in the house are tasks reserved for men, according to a study done by the Institute for Social Development Studies.
“Traditional gender norms are clearly reflected in the way many people think – that a man like Bill Gates can easily free himself from doing house chores,” said sociologist Binh.
A tired woman cleans her kitchen. Photo by Shutterstock/Makistock.
Traditional gender norms
The notion of “men building the house and women making it a home,” is deeply rooted in many Asian cultures including Vietnam.
In this patriarchal paradigm that is reinforced by Confucian traditions in Vietnam, cooking, washing clothes, doing the dishes, and taking care of children are a woman’s job.
It is commonly said that if women fail to manage their family affairs and housework, they are nothing, regardless of how successful they may be in their careers and society.
“Many people think women must strike a balance between her job and house chores, but the truth is they go to work and earn money just like their male counterparts,” sociologist Binh said.
Though younger, educated men in urban areas are more open-minded, most Vietnamese men still hold on stereotypical beliefs that associate them with strength and external and more important affairs, and women with gentleness and the “inferior” yet strenuous jobs, several international studies have pointed out.
The ILO has noted that while the country is taking steps to tackle gender inequality, the situation remains dire in Vietnam as the majority of women stay trapped by the “invisible” area informal, unpaid employment.
Binh said: “If a man doing housework becomes a common thing here, people would not talk about Bill Gates’s liking for dish washing, but that will not happen in the near future.”
The decision, which took immediate effect Wednesday, was taken after the Health Ministry consulted experts on ways to keep the larger community safe, said Minister Nguyen Thanh Long.
The decision has been made after several individuals contracted the virus after they’d already completed the 14-day quarantine and tested negative twice or thrice.
In the past week, at least three such cases have been detected.
The latest decision is the second reversal in as many days. The ministry had said a day earlier that those in centralized quarantine facilities would not be allowed to go home after completing the mandated 14-day quarantine and testing negative twice during the period. It had not specified the new duration.
Then, it reversed the decision earlier today, saying the original 14-day quarantine period will remain with strengthened post-quarantine monitoring and restrictions.
Minister Long has urged concerned facilities to impose quarantine procedures strictly to prevent contagion. A person who has completed the 21-day quarantine needs to be supervised for the next seven days at home, he said.
He also asked localities to find and conduct random tests for foreigners who have entered Vietnam recently, as well as employees of bars, karaoke and massage parlors.
Vietnam has confirmed 38 new local Covid-19 cases since April 27 in the latest outbreak, the northern provinces of Ha Nam and Vinh Phuc leading with 14 cases each, followed by Hanoi with four.
The World Bank stated in its April bulletin that the Vietnamese government has continued to manage the COVID-19 health crisis well. As of May 5, the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases has reached 2,996 cases with only 35 deaths. At the same time, Vietnam had received over 900,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses. The country expects to obtain 60 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines through the COVAX Facility and AstraZeneca in 2021.
“Vietnam is recovering from its COVID-19 shock, but this recovery has been uneven
Surging production and trade
According to the General Statistics Office (GSO), in April, Vietnam’s index for industrial production (IIP) increased 24.1% year-on-year “thanks to the effective control of COVID-19 and of free trade agreements helping stimulate local production,” in which the manufacturing and processing sectors created 80% of industrial growth, ascending 29.1% year-on-year.
The most dynamic sub-sectors include beverages as businesses are ramping up production to serve domestic demand in the summer. The manufacturing of metals, electronic components, electrical equipment, machinery, and motor vehicles also grew thanks to strong external demand. The Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) index rose from 51.3 in February to 51.6 in March, confirming the continued expansion of manufacturing.
In the first four months of 2021, the IIP climbed 10% year-on-year, in which the manufacturing and processing sector expanded 12.7% year-on-year – higher than the 9.7% year-on-year rise during the same period last year.
“After last year’s slowdown, industrial production is projected to gain momentum on the back of returning demand from key international partners. Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the underlying strength of Vietnam’s industrial sector remains intact: Vietnam is an attractive low-cost base for manufacturing firms, including those looking to relocate from China due to US-China trade tensions,” said Spain-based FocusEconomics, which provides in-depth economic analysis globally, in its May report sent to Nhandan Online. “That said, a sluggish rollout of the vaccine, coupled with an uncertain development of the pandemic, pose a risk to the positive outlook.”
Spain-based FocusEconomics, which provides in-depth economic analysis globally, estimates that Vietnam’s industrial output will grow 9.2% in 2021, down 0.2 percentage points from last month’s forecast. For 2022, FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panelists expect industrial production to expand by 8.4%.
Also according to the GSO, one of the clearest pieces of evidence for Vietnam’s surging industrial production is the soar in exports and imports in the first four months of 2021.
Figures showed that in the first four months, the economy’s total export-import turnover is estimated to hit US$206.51 billion, including US$103.9 billion from exports – up 28.3% year-on-year, and US$102.61 billion from imports – up 30.8% year-on-year.
Notably, in terms of imports, turnover of production materials is estimated to be US$96.31 billion, up 31.4% year-on-year, accounting for 93.9% of the economy’s total import turnover. The import turnover of consumer goods is estimated to be US$6.3 billion, up 22.5% year-on-year and making up 6.1% of the country’s total import turnover.
In terms of products, the most important contributors to the build-up of merchandise trade were computers, electronics, and machinery, which accounted for about one-third of total trade value. Their export and import grew last month by 45% and 26%, respectively, exemplifying the heavy reliance of Vietnam’s exports on foreign inputs.
Exports of textiles, garments, and footwear also rebounded, growing by 15.5% year-on-year and 19.2% year-on-year respectively, while those of mobile phones fell by 19.1% year-on-year.
The strong export growth was mainly driven by more resilient foreign-owned exporters. Their exports increased by 32.1% on-year, compared to a fall of 10.8% year-on-year in local firms’ exports. In terms of trading partners, the booming exports reflected strong demand from the US and China, as well as a rebound in demand from the EU market.
The higher level of imports is related to the growing procurements of goods from China, ASEAN, and the Republic of Korea.
Expecting higher economic growth
FocusEconomics wrote in its May report, sent to Nhandan Online, that looking ahead, economic recovery should gather pace later in 2021, with the second quarter’s results projected to be significantly higher than in the first quarter of the year. However, the still-high infection rates in Europe and the US and the associated limitations on international travel cloud the positive outlook somewhat.
Regarding the outlook, Dhiraj Nim and Khoon Goh, economists at ANZ, commented, “Vietnam’s first-quarter GDP print may have partly dampened the optimism regarding
FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panelists expect Vietnam’s GDP to expand 7.1% in 2021, and 6.8% in 2022.
Meanwhile, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), a robust recovery is expected in 2021 despite some economic scarring.
“Growth is projected to strengthen to 6.5% as normalisation of economic activity continues, businesses recover, and private consumption and business investment rebound,” said a fresh IMF report on Vietnam’s economy. “Manufacturing and retail sales are expected to lead the recovery, while travel and hospitality services will remain subdued. Net exports will continue to contribute positively to growth as external demand picks up.”
The IMF suggested that priority should be given to improving the business environment and ensuring a level playing field. Reforms geared towards simplifying and reducing the regulatory burdens faced by domestic private firms, improving access to land and financial resources, particularly for small- and medium-sized enterprises, and reducing corruption could spur firm profitability, investment, and growth.
In addition, easing entry and exit costs for formal firms would allow for higher formalisation of new and young firms, reduce informality, and allow for a faster
According to the GSO, in the first four months of 2021, the economy saw nearly 44,200 newly-established enterprises with a total registered capital of VND627.7 trillion (US$27.3 billion), employing 340,300 labourers – up 17.5% in the number of enterprises, 41% in capital, and 7.8% in the number of labourers as compared to those in the same period of last year.
In particular, the average registered capital of each newly-established business in the first four months of the year was VND14.3 billion (US$617,400), up 20% on-year. If an additional VND792.9 trillion (US$34.47 billion) registered by 14,900 operational enterprises is included, the total registered capital inserted into the economy in the period is VND1.42 quadrillion (US$61.74 billion).
Furthermore, the first four months also saw 19,300 enterprises resume operations, up 8% year-on-year.