HCM City’s industrial production grew by 3.8 per cent year-on-year in the first three months of the year, and retail sales went up by 12 per cent. It suggests the COVID-19 pandemic has been well controlled and enterprises feel secure about doing business again, according to the city Department of Industry and Trade.
Its director, Bui Ta Hoang Vu, speaks to Viet Nam News about the manufacturing situation in the first quarter and measures needed in the second to sustain it.
How was the retail sector’s performance in the first quarter of the year and what will the department do to stimulate consumption and boost the sector’s growth during the rest of the year?
Total retail sales and services in HCM City in the first quarter of the year were estimated at VND279.04 trillion (US$12.1 billion), an increase of 6.2 per cent over the same period last year. Of this, retail sales were worth VND156.5 trillion ($6.79 billion), a year-on-year increase of 12 per cent.
We enjoyed some growth in Q1. To maintain the momentum we have to do a lot of work to promote trade and production activities. To be specific, we continue to deepen our linkages with provinces and cities in the supply chains for goods and services through agreements we have signed. We will continue to join hands with localities to organise programmes that enable enterprises from other cities and provinces to meet directly with enterprises and traders at wholesale markets in the city so that they can together make market forecasts and prepare goods for the former to meet the city’s demand and vice versa.
In addition, we facilitate businesses’ promotional activities by solving administrative procedures related to promotion activities quickly and conveniently.
Every year the department receives 500,000 applications to carry out promotion programmes from businesses. This year, with an increase in IT use, the number is expected to rise by 10-15 per cent.
We have got the green light from the city People’s Committee to organise consumer promotion fairs and a concentrated promotion programme along with the tourism sector, airlines, transport companies, accommodation establishments, and shopping centres to offer big sales promotions for local and foreign tourists as well as city residents.
We will start organising the concentrated promotion programme this year. Other cities in the region such as Singapore and Bangkok have impressive sales seasons and HCM City will gradually learn from them to become a shopping hub of the country and region.
We will also take steps to stimulate investment, expand land availability for production establishments and improve the quality of human resources for the industrial, trading and import-export sectors.
We are still both fighting the COVID-19 pandemic and intensifying economic activities. Therefore, the first priority is to continue to ensure epidemic prevention at all production and trading facilities.
What do you think about the retail industry’s prospects this year?
With a network of nearly 240 supermarkets and shopping malls, 237 traditional markets and three large wholesale markets, and an increase in digital application in commercial activities, we expect the city’s retail industry to achieve double-digit growth this year.
In this, e-commerce will continue to be the bright spot and could reach a growth rate of 20 per cent.
Many consumers still complain about sales of fake goods on e-commerce platforms. How will your department deal with this issue to make shoppers feel secure when shopping online?
There are certain people who always operate in contravention of the provisions of the law. They sell knock-offs of famous brands or sell products with unclear origins. We have an agency associated with the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Market Surveillance Agency to strengthen inspection and strictly deal with violations like selling of counterfeit goods and products with unclear origins.
The department’s inspectorate has collaborated with the city Department of Information and Communications’ Inspectorate to gather information about online frauds. We work actively and have prevented a number of cases involving companies taking advantage of the online environment to sell illegal goods.
As for industrial production, what will the department do to sustain growth this year?
The city’s industrial production sector has recovered quarter after quarter, with the index of industrial production in the first quarter of 2021 going up by 3.8 per cent over the same period last year (it was down by 0.99 per cent in Q1 2020), with the four key sectors (electronics, mechanical engineering, food processing, and pharmaceutical chemicals-rubber-plastic) growing by 7.5 per cent.
This was thanks to enterprises being proactive in production and trading amid the COVID-19 pandemic and the assistance from the municipal government in addressing administrative issues rapidly and creating favourable conditions for businesses.
We have adopted many comprehensive solutions for improving the investment environment and making it easy for businesses to get land and capital and enhance the use of IT.
In the near future the city will announce policies to help firms operating in the industrial sector operate in a methodical way. We will continue to carry out the investment stimulation programme to enable more firms to get free loans to invest in new technologies and equipment and improve their competitiveness. — VNS
HCM CITY – Outlying Cần Giờ District has been recognised as a new – style rural area after meeting national criteria, Nguyễn Thành Phong, chairman of the HCM City People’s Committee, said.
Phong spoke at a ceremony held on Tuesday to announce the Prime Minister’s decision on March 30 to recognise the district as a new-style rural area and the Prime Minister’s decision on April 1 to recognise Cần Giờ’s Thạnh An as an island commune of HCM City.
Phong urged local farmers to continue to use advanced techniques to improve yield, quality, production efficiency and added value.
“The recognition of Thạnh An as a HCM City island commune will help local residents benefit from support policies and favourable conditions to develop the economy and catch up with other Cần Giờ communes,” he said.
Thạnh An island commune is one of Cần Giờ’s six communes and has an area of 13,000ha and a population of more than 4,500.
The commune is known as HCM City’s most disadvantaged area.
After being recognised as a new-style rural area, Cần Giờ is now the fourth of the city’s five outlying districts meeting new-style rural area criteria.
The city began implementing the national target programme on building new-style rural areas in 2010. The other three recognised districts are Củ Chi, Hóc Môn and Nhà Bè.
The national new-style rural area programme includes 19 criteria related to planning, transport, irrigation, electricity, schools, income, education and training, healthcare, the environment and food safety.
Nguyễn Văn Hồng, chairman of the Cần Giờ People’s Committee, said the district had a low starting point as its infrastructure was incomplete and the land and natural resources had not been exploited effectively.
The district’s rural areas have now improved significantly, he said.
Hồng said the district targets having all of its six communes recognised as advanced new-style rural areas and three of the six communes recognised as model new-style rural areas in the 2021 – 25 period, he said.
Poverty rate cut
Cần Giờ mobilised more than VNĐ5.8 trillion (US$251.4 million) from the State budget, companies and local residents to implement the new-style rural programme. The district has built 464 works related to transport, irrigation, culture, housing, education, healthcare and electricity.
The district’s annual income per capita rose to more than VNĐ59 million ($2,560) last year, up 3.9 times against 2010. There are no poor households under the national poverty level.
With a population of 73,500 and 59 per cent of them of working age, the district has an employment rate of 96 per cent for labourers. More than 86 per cent of its employed labourers are being trained.
The district’s 38 schools have met criteria set under the programme and 30 of them have met national standards.
All households in the district have access to hygienic water that meets national standards, and more than 95 per cent of the district’s residents have heath insurance cards.
The district reached an annual production value of VNĐ365 million ($15,900) per hectare in 2019, up 22.9 per cent against 2015.
Located 50km from the city centre, Cần Giờ has a total area of more than 70,412ha, including more than 33,000ha of mangrove forests. The Cần Giờ Mangrove Forest was recognised as a biosphere reserve by UNESCO in 2000.
Cần Giờ holds an important position in the city’s economy and national defence as it the city’s only coastal district with a coastline of more than 23km.
The district has more than 20,000ha of sea surface for near-shore fishing, and 10,000ha of land and water surface that can be used for brackish and saltwater aquaculture production, and nearly 1,500ha for salt production. – VNS
During a reception for Chief Representative of UNICEF in Vietnam Rana Flowers in the locality on April 28, Hoan highlighted positive working results between the municipal authorities and UNICEF in implementing the “Child Friendly Cities Initiative” project, saying that this helps the city address priorities in terms of child protection, health, education, nutrition, and social care.
On the basis of results achieved in implementing the project, HCM City wishes to expand cooperation with UNICEF in Vietnam in specific programmes and projects, towards improving social services, supporting policy development, creating technical foundation and favourable conditions for child protection and care, and exercising children’s rights in line with the city’s sustainable development orientation in the future, he said.
For her part, Flowers affirmed that UNICEF is an organisation tasked with providing technical assistance for Vietnam to help the country perform governmental projects related to ensuring children’s rights under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
UNICEF in Vietnam is interested in and looks forward to understanding Ho Chi Minh City’s vision on issues related to children’s rights in order to complete a cooperation plan between UNICEF and Vietnam in the next five years, she said.
Flowers praised efforts and good performance made by the municipal authorities in implementing the “ Child Friendly Cities Initiative ” project, expressing a hope for strengthened cooperation and experience sharing between the UN agency and HCM City in solving child-related challenges in the process of building the city into a smart, modern and kid-friendly city in the future./.
HCM City is tightening surveillance to detect illegal entrants from other countries, its People’s Committee chairman, Nguyen Thanh Phong, said at a meeting of the city Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control on April 26.
Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long checks COVID-19 prevention equipment at the Can Tho University of Medicine and Pharmacy on April 26.
“Violators have to be fined strictly. If not, the consequences will be severe.”
He also urged the public to comply with the Ministry of Health’s 5K message to wear masks, frequently disinfect hands, maintaining a safe distance, refrain from gatherings, and make health declarations.
People need to wear masks in public, entertainment areas and health facilities, or face a fine, he said.
Art events should strictly comply with COVID control measures, he said.
He called on offices, schools, health facilities, and others to provide hand sanitisers.
He instructed the Department of Health and the Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control to tighten preventive measures at voting booths during the upcoming elections.
During the four-day holiday for Reunification Day on April 30 and Labour Day on May 1, hospitals should arrange staff for COVID-19 prevention and control, he said.
There would be no fireworks shows to celebrate Reunification Day and Labour Day this year, he said.
The head of the Department of Health, Nguyen Tan Binh, said the city had not recorded new cases of COVID for a while, but the risk of transmission remains high.
More than 7,800 medical workers in the city have got vaccinated, and starting this week personnel at Tan Son Nhat Airport will get their shots.
Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long has instructed authorities in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho to set up a field hospital.
Can Tho Central General Hospital, Can Tho University of Medicine and Pharmacy and Can Tho City General Hospital are working together to set up the 800-bed facility.
The Ministry of Health has instructed Cho Ray Hospital in HCM City to help set up an ICU at the field hospital.
It will treat COVID-19 patients, especially severe cases, in the Mekong Delta instead of transferring them to Cho Ray as is currently done.
Another field hospital is under construction in Ha Tien City in Kien Giang Province and will open soon.
These are two out of six metro trains HCM City is importing from Yamaguchi Prefecture-based Kasado Works for its metro line 1 development scheme, according to the municipal Management Authority for Urban Railways (MAUR).
The remaining four trains are set to be shipped to Vietnam in June and July, said the MAUR, adding that following customs clearance, the trains will be taken to Long Binh depot of Thu Duc city.
Japan’s contractor Hitachi will be responsible for the safety, quality as well as transportation costs of the trains.
Previously, the first among 17 trains of metro line No.1 arrived at Khanh Hoi port in HCM City’s District 4 in October 2020.
In the first phase, the MAUR will receive and operate a three-car train capable of carrying 930 passengers and running at a maximum speed of 110 km/h overground and 80 km/h underground.
The first train is expected to be given a trial run on Long Binh depot track by the end of this year at the earliest. After evaluation, the metro train will continue to be tested on the main line.
The six-car train will be tested from Binh Thai station to Van Thanh station for the second phase and from Van Thanh station to Ben Thanh station for the final phase.
The metro line No1 construction project is underway in HCM City, linking Ben Thanh market in District 1 and Suoi Tien Amusement Park in District 9.
The US$2.05 billion line is the first of at least six to be built in the city, aiming to ease traffic congestion in its north-east gateway.