Thứ Hai, 25 tháng 9, 2017

Overspending, not loss of revenue, is cause of budget deficit: economists

The Ministry of Finance’s (MOF) plan to raise taxes has been facing fierce criticism from economists who believe that the real reason behind the plan is not tax reform, but just money to cover expenditures. 

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Economists have warned about the high expenditures needed to maintain the bulky state apparatus which puts pressure on the state budget. An official of the Budget Department confirmed that 11 million people now receive salaries from the state budget, including over 2.4 million civil servants, retired officers and others.

The economists all agree that the budget deficit in recent years is caused by overspending, not by loss of revenue as MOF’s reports all show an increase in revenue from tax collection.
The Ministry of Finance’s plan to raise taxes has been facing fierce criticism from economists who believe that the real reason behind the plan is not tax reform, but just money to cover expenditures.
The regular expenditures have increased from nearly 60 percent in early 2000 to 70-80 percent of total budget spending. The spending to feed the state apparatus is much higher than the spending for investment and development.

The Vietnam Institute for Economic and Policy Research (VEPR) in late 2015 completed research on the costs for public organizations in Vietnam and found that the total cost to maintain the system is VND45.6-68.1 trillion. Meanwhile, the State budget expenditure is about VND14 trillion.

Despite reduced spending plans, the regular expenditures always account for the largest proportion of the state budget spending.

MOF’s latest report shows that in the first eight months of the year, only VND137 trillion was spent on investment & development, and VND68 trillion was spent on debt and loan interest, while VND585 trillion came for regular expenditures.

As such, regular expenditures still accounted for 74 percent of total state budget spending.

High spending and budget deficits have become a big concern for the economy. The overspending in 2011 was 4.4 percent of GDP and soared to 6.6 percent in 2013. The proportion decreased slightly in 2015 to 6.28 percent of GDP, or VND260 trillion.

Though the proportion was 4.95 percent in 2016, or VND192 trillion, this is still a high figure, according to economists.

To get money for spending, borrowing money from domestic and foreign sources are the measures taken. The government report to the NA last March showed that total state budget revenue was not high enough for regular expenditures and debt payments, while spending for investment and development is now reliant on government borrowing. The public debt has increased.

However, the official from the MOF’s Budget Department said it is very difficult to cut civil servants because of the rapid population increase.  He said there is about one civil servant to every 100 people.

MOF asked agencies to cut spending on meetings, festivities and the procurement of unnecessary equipment. However, this cannot settle the root of the problem. 

H. Tu, VNN

Vietnam, ASEAN cooperate in tourism development

Vietnam and four other ASEAN countries have built cross-border tourism itineraries and discussed specific measures to promote national attractions within ASEAN.

From now to 2018, ASEAN countries will organize eight cross-border tourism itineraries: the southern coastal corridor crossing Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam, the northern heritage road through Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam, the Exploring the Mekong connecting Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam, Cruiser on the Mekong between Cambodia and Vietnam, the Central Road of Myanmar and Thailand, Cruiser on the Mekong’s Golden Triangle in Laos and Vietnam, the Road eight of Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam, and the East-West Corridor of Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Marketing Director of the Vietnam Travel Group Vu Thi My Tien said her company has worked with firms in Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand to organize tours.

“We have set up online programs to promote tourism. Some Thai travel agencies have sent tourists to our company. Most Thai visitors prefer tours through the Mekong delta,” she said.

Trac Thai Hoang Vu, Marketing Director of the Ben Thanh Tourism Company, said, “We have tours along the Mekong River. Tourists will explore life on the Mekong River and local specialties.”

The World Tourism and Travel Council said ASEAN tourism has made gains and contributes a major share of the economy, more than in Europe or Latin America.

Vietnamese Minister of Culture, Sports, and Tourism Nguyen Ngoc Thien told a Ho Chi Minh City meeting of Tourism Ministers from Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and Myanmar that “Countries should connect their travel infrastructure and organize more flights. Travel procedures between countries should be simplified."

PM allows Hà Nội to choose flyover investor

Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc has allowed the Hà Nội People’s Committee to choose the investors for a pedestrian flyover along the city’s ringroad No 2.

The decision is somewhat unusual in that even major cities that enjoy a measure of autonomy usually have to defer to the Government in chosing investors for major projects. Exceptions are made when a project is highly localised and distinct.

PM Phúc warned Hà Nội to ensure that its instructions for the tender are clear, adding that the capital city will be responsible for implementing the Ministry of Planning and Investment’s requests. He also said Hà Nội must closely supervise the project’s cost based on the BT (Build-Transfer) model to ensure it conforms with market prices.

PM Phúc asked the Hà Nội People’s Committee to seek guidance from the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.

The Hà Nội People’s Committee approved the project last year at a total investment of more than VNĐ4.7 trillion (US$210 million). Construction of the 5km flyover is scheduled to last four years.

The ringroad runs from the Vĩnh Tuy Bridge, which connects Hai Bà Trưng and Long Bi6n districts, to Ngã Tư Sở intersection in Đống Đa District.

Vietnam-WB Group partnership framework focuses on inclusive growth

Inclusive growth is one of the main focuses of the new Country Partnership Framework between Vietnam and the World Bank Group (WBG) for 2017-2022 which was announced at a workshop in the Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap on September 22.

Other priorities are private sector participation, investment in people and knowledge, environmental sustainability and resilience, and good governance.

The Country Partnership Framework (CPF) introduces a number of strategic shifts, including comprehensive engagement to strengthen private sector development and participation across sectors; support to achieve the financial sustainability of public services and transfers; support of poverty reduction among ethnic minorities through activities that generate jobs and incomes; multi-sector engagement to strengthen linkages between education and the labor market; and promotion and stimulation of low carbon energy generation.

Through the CPF, the WBG will assist Vietnam in carrying out its five-year Socio-Economic Development Plan for 2016-2020 and its goals of balancing economic prosperity with environmental sustainability, promoting equity, and strengthening the capacity and accountability of state agencies.

Addressing the event, WB Country Director in Vietnam Ousmane Dione pledged that the WBG will mobilise all its institutions – the WB, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), as well as available instruments in order to create strategic changes like lending, policy dialogue, analytical and advisory work or guarantees.

Representatives from Mekong Delta cities and provinces highly valued strategic orientations set in the new framework, saying they suit pressing requirements of their localities in the current context.

They expressed their hope for support in job generation for rural labourers in response to adverse impacts of technological applications in agriculture, along with assistance in capital disbursement mechanisms and procedures, and capital access in order to carry out infrastructure, transport and water projects.-

Workshop promotes Vietnam - Russia trade ties

The Russian Centre for Sciences and Culture of the Embassy of Russia in Vietnam and the Saint Petersburg State University jointly organised a workshop to promote trade ties between Vietnam and Russia in Hanoi on September 22.

In opening the workshop, Russia Ambassador to Vietnam Konstantin Vasilievich Vnukov highlighted the growing economic and trade relations as well as the friendship and mutual understanding between Vietnam and Russia.

He called on the two nations to build on the cooperation advantages between the two nations, and promote promising joint projects.

According to the Ambassador, Russian enterprises have actively participated in the training of Vietnamese officials and experts, with an example being the State Atomic Energy Corporation ROSATOM which has offered scholarships for over 400 Vietnamese students.

The Government of Russia has also provided aids to help Vietnam overcome natural disaster consequences, implement poverty reduction and hunger eradication programmes, promote socio-economic development, and tourism, he added.

Russia’s head trade representative in Vietnam Viacheslav Nikolaievich Kharinov highlighted Vietnam’s favourable investment climate for Russia firms, saying that despite the still modest economic and trade cooperation between Vietnam and Russia, the influence of Russian culture is strong in Vietnam.

Vietnamese people still remember the comprehensive support the Soviet Union provided for Vietnam in the past, he said.

Besides Russia’s support for Vietnam in the framework of the national key cooperation programmes, Russian firms are operating in Vietnam in the fields of education – training, science, health care, sports, charity work, telecommunication, among others.

VN-Index rebounds on ROS, Vietjet

Shares rebounded after a three-day decline on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange on September 22, with the benchmark VN-Index rising 0.4 percent to close at 807.13 points, after declining 0.5 percent in the last three sessions.

Strong rallies of several heavyweight stocks supported the market.

Both FLC Faros Construction (ROS) and budget airline Vietjet (VJC), two of the top 30 largest stocks by market value, hit the ceiling increase of 7 percent a day regulated by the HCM Stock Exchange.

ROS led the market by market value with nearly 2.8 million shares worth 338.7 billion VND (14.9 million USD) being traded. VJC came second with over 1.5 million shares worth 154 billion VND exchanged.

Some large-cap stocks maintained an uptrend, including PV Gas (GAS), insurer Bao Viet  Holdings (BVH), brewer Sabeco (SAB), FPT Corp (FPT), steelmaker Hoa Phat Group (HPG), Masan Group (MSN) and Mobile World Group (MWG).

Meanwhile, bank shares slumped after the previous day’s rally.

The Big Four (four biggest banks by market value and assets) – Vietcombank (VCB), Vietinbank (CTG), BIDV (BID) and Military Bank (MBB) – decreased between 0.5-1.3 percent.

According to BIDV Securities Co, September 22’s rally was mainly driven by some heavyweight stocks while cash flows only concentrated on some stocks.

On the Hanoi Stock Exchange, the HNX-Index climbed for a third day, up 0.72 percent to end at 106.52 points. The northern market index has rallied 1.7 percent over the last three sessions.

Liquidity continued to increase with a total of 269.7 million shares worth a combined 5 trillion VND (220.3 million USD) being traded in the two markets, up 21.2 percent in volume and 16.3 percent in value compared to the previous day’s levels.

Foreign traders were mixed on September 22. They remained net sellers in HCM City’s market for a small value of just over 3.7 billion VND, but they picked up shares worth a net 8 billion VND in Hanoi’s market.

Hau Giang to experiment RoK bio-products on rice

The Mekong Delta province of Hau Giang will cooperate with the Republic of Korea (RoK) in experimenting bio-products on rice at the province’s hi-tech agriculture zone.

The provincial People’s Committee had a working session on September 23 with a RoK delegation on this issue.

At the event, Vice Chairman of the Committee Truong Canh Tuyen said the Korean bio-products have been experimented at the provincial hi-tech agriculture zone and more experiments will be conducted in the coming rice crops.

Dr. Lee Sang-huyk from the RoK’s agricultural technology transfer and trade fund expressed wish to transfer his country’s scientific advances to Hau Giang, adding that the province should expand the area for bio-product experiments.

The zone’s management board has so far received 14 bio-products, equipment and technologies from FACT, a Korean agricultural technology transfer and trade organisation.

Of which, 12 bio-products and equipment have been delivered to households in Vinh Vien commune, Long My district for rice cultivation on 12.85ha in the Autumn-Winter 2017 crop.

The board has also made plans to implement the project and sent farmers to rice cultivation training courses.

In the coming time, Hau Giang will discuss a project to grow rice using all bio-products from the RoK on an area of 10-20ha.

Ministry seeks to promote linkages between farm production, consumption
Developing linkages between production and consumption of agricultural products would be the top priority for the sector for developing sustainably, a meeting heard in HCM City on Friday.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development held the meeting to seek feedback for a draft decree on encouraging co-operation and linkages between producers and consumers.

It was attended by officials from agriculture departments, schools and businesses from many provinces and cities in the south like HCM City, Can Tho, Dong Nai, Binh Duong, Tay Ninh, Vinh Long, Ben Tre, Ba Ria-Vung Tau and Dong Thap.

Le Duc Thinh, deputy head of the Agency of Cooperatives and Rural Development, said the Government in 2013 issued Resolution No 62/2013/QD-TTg to encourage co-operation and linkages and pooling of farmlands to upsize them.

Now, after more than three years, linkages under the large fields model has developed significantly, he said.

But the resolution has shortcomings like complicated procedures, failure to spell out the rights and obligations of each stakeholder in the linkage contracts, and only applies to cropping and not animal husbandry, aquaculture or forestry, he said.

In reality, the large-scale linkage model is not always suitable in agricultural production, he said.

Delegates at the meeting called on the ministry to clearly state what kinds of linkages the decree addresses, the rights and duties of all parties in a linkage contract and sanctions for violating the contract.

They also suggested adjusting the support ratio based on the investment size and sector and issuing specific instructions.

They urged relevant agencies to disburse funds before the project starts.

Le Thanh Tung of the Crop Production Department said violations of contracts between businesses and co-operatives and farmers are a hurdle in developing linkages in the agricultural sector.

To overcome the situation, besides clearly stating the rights and obligations of each side, agricultural agencies should also educate farmers in the law and instruct businesses, co-operatives and farmers to honour contracts, he said.

Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Tran Thanh Nam said stable outlets would help promote agriculture.

There are many support policies for the agricultural sector, but they have not proved very effective since they are hard to apply in practice, he said.

The ministry has been holding many meetings to collect feedback from localities, institutes, schools, businesses, co-operatives and farmers to complete the decree before submitting it to the Government in October.

Industry 4.0 brings businesses both opportunities, challenges: seminar
Industry 4.0 will bring both opportunities and challenges for businesses, and they need to study and choose the most appropriate and efficient technologies, a seminar heard in HCM City on Wednesday.

Speaking at Viet Nam Information and Communication Technology Outlook, Tran Anh Tuan, deputy chairman of the HCM City Computer Association (HCA), said the birth of new technologies like artificial intelligence, big data, cloud computing, Internet of Things, bio-technology and nano-technology are affecting many sectors from transportation, healthcare, education and security to the environment, agriculture and housing.

Businesses need to make appropriate changes to stay afloat, he said.

Ha Nhu Hai, deputy director of CMS Telecom’s southern office, said Industry 4.0 is an unavoidable factor and one which is changing all social facets, consumers’ habits and the global economy.

Enterprises who boldly transform would be able to seize business opportunities but would be left behind otherwise, even pushed out the market, he said.

Tuan said many businesses, especially small and medium-sized ones, still hesitate to invest in IT due to a concern about their efficiency.

“Other understand the importance of IT application but have difficulty in finding suitable models or lack resources,” he said.

Phi Anh Tuan, another deputy chairman of HCA, said SMEs have the opportunity to utilise advanced technologies to develop their businesses faster and to participate in the global value chain.

“The world has entered Industry 4.0 at a rapid speed, and businesses that know and utilise [its] strength will achieve great competitiveness.”

If businesses close the door to Industry 4.0, the possibility of them being eliminated from the market is very high, he said.

Hai said Industry 4.0 requires businesses to establish a comprehensive IT system, and sometimes to create new IT infrastructure.

With a large young population and high internet and smartphone growth rates, Viet Nam has the opportunity to access new emerging technologies to improve its competitiveness in the global market, delegates said.

But Industry 4.0 also has implicit potential risks for Vietnamese firms, they said.

Automation would eliminate many traditional jobs and change the way technology is deployed, creating a growth disparity between businesses, Tuan said.

Ha said the application of Industry 4.0 is a process, requiring businesses to spend time to study, invest long-term and gradually automate their production, payment and services.

If businesses merely run after trends without systematically building operation processes, they would get no competitive edge, he said.

Delegates said cyber security is a new risk in the Industry 4.0 era, so businesses must pay more attention on managing the risks at the outset.

To Thi Thu Huong, deputy head of the Ministry of Information and Communications’ IT department, said Industry 4.0 is still new in Viet Nam and so more research into technology trends should be done and businesses should study them carefully to come up with appropriate development strategies, she said.

The IT sector has achieved high growth rates, with exports reaching US$60.7 billion last year, she said.

At the seminar, which had the theme “Businesses and Industry 4.0: Opportunities and Challenge”, delegates also discussed Agriculture 4.0, IT application in human resource management and other topics.

Organised by the HCA, the event also featured an exhibition on IT solutions for businesses.

Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu calls for investments in Côn Đảo Island
Con Dao Island, off the coast of Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province, has significant untapped potential and advantages for investors, according to the Provincial People’s Committee.

Nguyen Thanh Long, deputy chairman of the committee, at a conference on investment promotion on Friday, said they were seeking high-quality investments into the island with an aim to ensure economic development in line with environment protection.

Long said that the southern province would strive to improve the investment and business climate to create favourable conditions for investors.

At the conference, over 60 investors were introduced to the potential, advantages and prioritized investment sectors of Con Dao Island, as well as investment procedures.

The island has a number of advantages, including a sea port, as well as connected air and marine transport.

Prioritised investments sectors include tourism, renewable energy, hi-tech agriculture, trade and waste water treatment.

The government and local authorities would give tax incentives to investors such as corporate income tax at 10 per cent in 15 years, zero import taxes on goods considered as fixed assets of projects and exemption of land use fees.

"Investors would be given the highest incentives for investments in localities with specially difficult socio-economic conditions," Long said at the conference.

The island has attracted 26 projects so far, with a total estimated investment of US$72.5 million.

Cần Thơ City posts strong 9-month export growth
Businesses in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho have enjoyed good export growth, with sharp increases in the shipments of rice and aquatic products.

These products make up more than 70 per cent of local total export value.

According to the Can Tho Department of Industry and Trade, the city’s goods and services export revenue reached US$1.27 billion in January-September, up 16.3 per cent year-on-year. Of that sum, goods exports were estimated at $1 billion, up almost 17 per cent from a year earlier.

Some 638,100 tonnes of rice worth $261.9 million were shipped abroad, up 22 per cent in volume and 19.6 per cent in value year-on-year. Meanwhile, 117,000 tonnes of aquatic products were exported, bringing home $378.7 million, up 15 per cent and 4.8 per cent respectively.

Other products with good growth included processed agricultural products ($55.4 million, up 24.4 per cent), steel products ($17.3 million, 46.7 per cent) and pharmaceuticals ($12.8 million, up 33.7 per cent).

Deputy director of the municipal department Duong Nghia Hiep said on Wednesday that poor rice export figures in the first half of the year were attributed to fierce competition with rice from Thailand. However, the situation has improved since June, especially in September.

Several Can Tho businesses have won contracts to ship rice to the Philippines, Singapore and Indonesia, he noted, forecasting a positive export outlook for the rest of the year as several companies are negotiating new contracts.

The export of catfish and shrimp products have also been growing rapidly since early September. Many shrimp processors face a material supply shortage and have to import raw materials from Bangladesh and India to fulfill their contracts.

Meanwhile, catfish exports have thrived thanks to China, a new and undemanding market with considerable demand, Hiep said.

He predicted that catfish and shrimp exports to European countries are likely to increase strongly after September to satisfy demand during the year-end holidays.

Cisco holds seminars

Cisco this week organised two seminars in Ha Noi and HCM City to introduce its ‘intent-based network’ which would help enterprises develop a digital-ready architecture to deal with challenges arising from rapid digitalisation.

Luong Thi Le Thuy, general director of Cisco Viet Nam, said that digitalisation was powered by a number of trends including mobile technology, Internet of Things and cloud computing, urging enterprises to adapt.

Cisco Digital Network Architecture (Cisco DNA) is an open platform which provides solutions to allow for the development of digital-ready architecture, including visibility, control and automation.

A report by global analytics firm IDC pointed out that Cisco DNA would help improve the efficiency of IT staff by more than 28 per cent, speed up the implementation of new applications by 17 per cent, and especially increase the ratio of net profit to cost by up to 402 per cent in five years.

Thuy said that with the development of its intent-based network, the company aimed to promote the development of enterprises and allow them to grasp opportunities.

Cisco’s statistics showed that connected devices increased from just 1,000 more than 30 years ago to 14 billion, and forecast them to reach 50 billion by 2020 and 500 billion by 2030.

Bitcoin mining botnets infect thousands of PCs: Kaspersky
The Kaspersky Lab Anti-Malware Research team has identified two botnets made of computers infected with malware that silently install cryptocurrency miners, which are legitimate software used to create (mine) virtual currencies based on blockchain technology.

In one instance, researchers estimated that a 4,000-machine network could bring its owners up to US$30,000 a month, and in another instance witnessed criminals jackpotting more than $200,000 from a 5,000-PC botnet.

The architecture of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies suggests that in addition to buying cryptocurrency, a user can create a new currency unit (or coin) by utilising the computing power of machines installed with specialised “mining” software.

But the more the coins produced, the more the time and computing power required to create a new coin.

Several years ago the malware silently installing Bitcoin miners was a common threat.

But after more and more Bitcoins were mined, it became harder to mine new ones and at some point the process even became useless: the potential financial gain for a criminal from Bitcoin mining no longer covered the investment for the creation and distribution of malware and backend infrastructure.

But the price of Bitcoin, the first and still the most famous cryptocurrency, has been skyrocketing in recent years from hundreds of dollars per coin to thousands, igniting a cryptocurrency fever around the world.

This has inevitably attracted cybercriminals.

Kaspersky Lab experts have found that the criminals behind the newly discovered botnets distribute the mining software with the help of adware programmes that victims instal voluntarily.

After the programme is installed in the victims’ computer it downloads a malicious component: the miner installer.

To prevent computers from turning into a cryptocurrency harvesting zombie, Kaspersky Lab researchers advise users not to install suspicious software from untrusted sources, enable the adware detection feature, and use a proven internet security solution.

If customers are running a server, they should make sure it is protected with a security solution since servers are lucrative targets for criminals thanks to their high computing performance, they said.
HCM City comprehends startup ecosystem

The government has approved a National Program to Support an Innovative Startup Ecosystem in Vietnam until 2025, initiated by the Ministry of Science and Technology.

Ho Chi Minh City is starting to improve its startup ecosystem to obtain the goal of 2,000 new startups out of 500,000 firms.

The city has 20 organizations, research centers, universities, and firms to help people start a business. They have supported 86 startups and some of them have seen results. But there has been little marketing for these projects.

They need more resources for product distribution and trademark promotion. Economists say an Investment Fund for Startups is needed and agencies should create clear regulations for the fund’s shareholders and operation.

Nguyen Hung Phong, Director of the Startup Development Center of the Ho Chi Minh City University of Economics, said, “The fund will help startups realize their ideas and refine them. The government should manage the fund to ensure its efficiency.”

HCM City will establish a center for startup consultancy that will connect startup incubators and ideas with businesses.

Le Thanh Liem, Deputy Director of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee, said, “The city and the Ministry of Science and Technology signed an agreement on technology support, developing a startup ecosystem, and piloting a financial mechanism for startups. We’ll organize a conference to connect incubators and call for investment in startups.”

Intellectual Property protection increases startups’ competitiveness

Intellectual Property protection is a leverage to promote innovation and improve competitiveness of enterprises including startups.

Vietnam is fine-tuning its legal system for intellectual property protection to create a healthy competition environment and boost enterprises’ growth.

Startups are mushrooming nationwide. Their main focus is on product development and resource mobilization but not intellectual property protection which helps them deal with fraud by other entities, create values, and improve prestige.

Experts say intellectual property rights protection is as important as product development and capital.

Pham Quoc Dat, Director of the Hatch! Fair the fifth program, a Startup Acceleration Program, said, “The State protects intellectual property rights. We have advised startups to register IP protection at home and in the overseas market to protect their products.”

Intellectual Property is an intangible asset but valuable for enterprises, especially startups. In principle, before introducing their products to the market, enterprises need to register their IP rights.

Do Thi Tu Anh, Deputy Director of the Business Startup Support Center, said, “Enterprises need to be aware that patent, IP rights certificates, copyrights, and trademarks are vital for their business and competitiveness. They should protect what they produce and sell it if anyone wants to buy. This is a market principle."

"The National Office for Intellectual Property is organizing several free training courses and seminars on intellectual property protection, a new approach to assist enterprises,” he said.

Vietnam has implemented the IP Development Support Program nationwide and a National Innovation Startup Ecology Support Project until 2025.

These efforts are intended to promote innovation and improve the competitiveness of startup businesses amidst extensive international integration.

Vietnam braces for home-made automobile brand

Vietnam’s largest real-estate developer Vingroup began the construction of the first Vietnamese automobile manufacturing complex (VinFast) in Hai Phong on September 2. The move is a step toward realizing the dream of having made-in-Vietnam cars.

Vingroup has invested US$3.5 billion in Vinfast automobile manufacturing complex aiming to become a leading automobile manufacturer in Southeast Asia with a designed capacity of 500,000 units by 2025.

The complex is expected to roll out 5-seater sedans, 7-seater SUVs, and electric motorcycles of European quality standards, with a capacity of 100,000-200,000 units per year.

Addressing the ground-breaking ceremony, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said automobiles are not simply cars but a national brand.

He said he believes Vingroup’s aspiration illustrates Vietnamese people’s dream of having made-in-Vietnam cars in the near future with an acceptable price and high quality.

Mr. Phuc said the government will create the most favorable conditions for Vingroup to implement the project which covers an area of 335 ha in Dinh Vu – Cat Hai Economic Zone in Hai Phong.

Twenty years ago, Vietnam created a strategy to develop an automobile industry, but the plan has remained incomplete.

Associate Professor-Doctor Pham Bich Sang, an expert in the field, said, “The market is growing rapidly and people's income have increased US$2,000 to US$3,000, while import tax on the ASEAN automobile market is about to reduce to zero percent. The market is expanding not only in Vietnam, but also in other countries."

"Vietnam's transport infrastructure has been invested in much more. Most importantly, there have been many changes in automobile policies and the role of the private sector,” he said.

Vietnam’s population currently is 93 million with an average per capital income of around US$3,000.

Vinfast’s design of engines and major components will be bought from top European and US designers while exterior shapes will be designed by famous Italian studios.

Vinfast will also work with Vietnamese partners to manufacture spare parts, towards raising the rate of locally-made products to 60%.

Vinfast will use advanced and eco-friendly technologies, particularly green energy, to meet Euro 5.0 and Euro 6.0 emission standards.

It aims for a designed capacity of 500,000 units by 2025 but its first product in the next 12 months will be an electric motorbike model. Automobiles will be built in the next 24 months.

Le Van Loi, a resident in Hai Ba Trung district, Hanoi, said, “In recent years, Vingroup has invested in many fields on top of core businesses like real estate, tourism, retail, healthcare, education, and agriculture. I strongly believe in the automobiles which are made by the group. I’m willing to change to Vingroup cars in the next two years.”
Losses of State-funded projects continue snowballing

The total amount of capital used by loss-making and ineffective projects of ministries and State-owned enterprises (SOEs) in recent years has outstripped the losses incurred by the debt-laden Vietnam Shipbuilding Industry Group (Vinashin).
The Ministry of Planning and Investment said in a new report that VND42.7 trillion has been ineffectively invested in 43 projects under the management of ministries, local governments and SOEs.
Earlier, the Ministry of Industry and Trade made known 12 of its loss-making projects, which have a combined investment of around VND63.6 trillion, with VND14.35 trillion of it equity and the remainder bank loans.
As such, the total investment in the loss-making and ineffective projects amounts to more than VND100 trillion, with loan interest excluded. The figure is higher than Vinashin’s debt which was put at VND86.7 trillion by end-2009.
The list of debt-laden and ineffective projects might be longer when all ministries, local governments and SOEs complete reports and send them to the Ministry of Planning and Investment.
Those not submitting reports to this ministry include the ministries of construction and trade-industry, the governments of Hanoi and HCMC, business groups such as Vietnam National Oil and Gas Group (PVN), Vietnam National Chemical Group (Vinachem), Military Telecom Group (Viettel), Electricity Vietnam Group (EVN), Vietnam National Coal and Mineral Industries Group (Vinacomin), and corporations like Vietnam Cement Industry Corporation (VICEM), Song Da Corporation, and Housing and Urban Development Corporation (HUD).
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has 27 projects showing signs of poor investment under Vietnam Southern Food Corporation (Vinafood 2), Vietnam National Coffee Corporation (Vinacafe), and Halong Fisheries One Member Limited Liability Company. The projects have a combined investment of VND909.76 billion.
The Ministry of Transport is in charge of two debt-hit SOEs, namely Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (SBIC) and Vietnam National Shipping Lines (Vinalines). 
However, the ministry has yet to make a detailed report on SBIC’s ineffective projects.
Regarding Vinalines, three of its projects are performing poorly. First, Van Phong International Transshipment Port in the central province of Khanh Hoa which has total capital of VND6.17 trillion has been suspended since 2012.
Second, the VND829.8-billion Cai Cui Port in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho has its profit much lower than expected. 
Finally, the container depot project worth VND352.9 billion in the northern coast city of Haiphong has suffered hefty losses since it was put into operation.
Vinalines Ship Repair Company Limited – a subsidiary of Vinalines – has an ineffective investment project. 
The company kicked off construction on a ship repair factory worth VND6.49 trillion in 2008. 
By the end of April, Vinalines had completed its divestment from the facility. However, it has recovered VND82 billion to date.
Bien Dong Shipping Company Limited is another infamous example of Vinalines, as the company runs two ship building projects with a combined cost of more than VND1.4 trillion. 
They have been in the red since 2009, with losses totaling VND1.6 trillion.
The Ministry of Planning and Investment said Vietnam Posts and Telecommunications Group (VNPT) has been operating Vinasat-2, Vietnam’s second telecom satellite, whose approved investment was VND5.4 trillion. 
The satellite has been put into orbit since 2012, and as a result, it suffered a loss of VND1.2 trillion from 2012 to 2016.

Vietnam’s Mekong Delta sinking at worrying rate: expert

Excessive use of groundwater is considered the primary reason
​Vietnam’s Mekong Delta sinking at worrying rate: expert
A serious land collapse in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Subsidence and rising sea level are threatening to sink the entirety of Vietnam’s Mekong Delta in the near future if preventive measures are not carried out quickly, an expert has warned.
Nguyen Huu Thien, an expert on ecology and climate change, is expected to express his opinions at a conference on the Mekong Delta region held by the central government in Can Tho City on September 26 and 27.
Thien warned that the country’s ‘rice basket’ sinks by 1.1 centimeters every year.
The situation is much worse in urban areas and industrial zones with annual subsidence of about 2.5 centimeters.
Sea level rises by one millimeter per year, the pundit continued, adding that the Mekong Delta is on average only one to 1.5 meters above sea level.
If this continues, it will only be a matter of time before the region is completely submerged, Thien said.
Thien quoted the findings of scientists from Utrecht University in the Netherlands, whose study revealed that the Mekong Delta had sunk by 18 centimeters and up to 53 centimeters in some places, between 1991 and 2016.
The phenomenon has been exacerbated by climate change, which causes sea level to rise, while subsidence in the region has never been more serious, he remarked.
​Vietnam’s Mekong Delta sinking at worrying rate: expert 
A farmer extracts groundwater for cultivation in Ben Tre Province. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Groundwater exploitation
The research attributed subsidence to the excessive exploitation of local groundwater.
The Mekong Delta has seven layers of groundwater resource, all of which are depleting.
The work of the Dutch researchers also revealed that the region had sunk by 40 millimeters per year between 1991 and 2000, Thien continued, adding that the annual rate increased to 60 millimeters from 2000 to 2005, 90 between 2006 and 2010, and up to 1.1 centimeters during the 2011-16 period.
Local farmers have dug deeper wells in recent years as water at the upper layers has become contaminated with alum and saline.
While the Mekong Delta has many large river systems, local waterways are now unsafe for swimming, let alone for cooking, drinking, and other daily activities, the Vietnamese expert assessed.
Several rivers have also become polluted by industrial wastewater, pesticides, and animal husbandry operations, forcing people to use groundwater as their primary source of fresh water for daily use, business operations, and production.
 ​Vietnam’s Mekong Delta sinking at worrying rate: expert
A section of National Highway 1 in Vinh Long Province is flooded by high tide. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Stopping groundwater exploitation is a must
The only solution is to minimize or stop the exploitation of groundwater and utilize surface resources, Thien explained.
This will require local authorities to exert more effort in preventing rivers and lakes from becoming contaminated, he suggested.
Farmers should switch to high-tech agriculture as in more modernized countries, which will help reduce pollution.
People in coastal locations should also adapt to using salt and brackish water in their crop cultivation in order to become less reliant on fresh water.
Alternative sources for drinking water can be obtained from storing rainwater and applying nanotechnology and reverse osmosis (RO) to turn salt water into fresh water.
 ​Vietnam’s Mekong Delta sinking at worrying rate: expert
A resident carries bottles of groundwater for daily use as local rivers and canals have become polluted. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Thien advised against structural measures such as building dams, as they are costly and do not guarantee good results.
Constructing embankments to prevent salinity can also backfire because rivers and lakes can become more polluted, he elaborated.
The Mekong Delta is distinct in that the river system is connected with the sea through hundreds of outfalls.
Preventing this from happening by building dams can cause a disturbance to the river’s eco-system and further environmental degradation, the expert claimed.

Chủ Nhật, 24 tháng 9, 2017

Malaria warning as resistant strain spreads to Vietnam

A form of malaria that is resistant to standard treatment has spread to Vietnam for the first time
A Ministry of Public Health official holds blood test slides taken from children, who live in the Thai-Myanmar border, at a malaria clinic in the Sai Yoke district, Kanchanaburi Province October 26, 2012. REUTERS/Sukree Sukplang
A form of malaria that is resistant to standard treatment has spread to Vietnam for the first time, researchers warned Friday.

The strain was originally detected in Cambodia in 2007, and experts are calling for action before it reaches other areas such as India or Africa.
”It spread like a wildfire to Vietnam,” professor Arjen Dondorp, head of malaria department at the tropical medicine research unit at Mahidol University in Bangkok, told AFP.
The co-author of an article published on Thursday in the medical journal The Lancet Infectious Diseases added: “It started 10 years ago in western Cambodia. It is very fit and spreads very easily.
This resistance is taking over.
“Cambodia already changed to a new drug, likely to last one or two years. Vietnam has to change now.” 
After its detection in western Cambodia in 2007, the strain then spread to northeastern Thailand, southern Laos and eastern Myanmar, a previous study by Dondorp and colleagues said.
“The fear is that it spreads further, to India and Africa,” warned Dondorp. 
The standard frontline choice for treating malaria is artemisinin in combination with another drug. The parasite mutation spotted by Dondorp’s team notably confers resistance to the drug piperaquine.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) there were at least 212 million cases of malaria in 2015 and 429,000 deaths. The disease is caused by parasites transmitted to people through the bites of infected female mosquitoes.
For specialists, the emergence of the new strain in Southeast Asia is worrying, even though the number of cases is limited. 
Two waves of malaria resistant to standard treatments appeared in the 1950s and 60s in Southeast Asia and spread to India and Africa, where they caused millions of deaths.
Dondorp chairs the steering committee for a large regional malaria grant from the Global Fund, a financing organisation, in Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar with a budget of $243 million (203 million euros) over the next three years.
He advocates treatment at an early stage of the disease, which will require community malaria workers in even the most remote areas at risk.
By Afp 

Hang continues an endless journey

Ngo Thi Thuy Hang gave up her stable, high-paid job in Ho Chi Minh City to move to Ha Noi, almost 1,800 kilometres away. She has seemingly forsaken her youth in the quest for martyrs’ remains, leading the Centre of Legal Consultancy and Assistance for Families of War Martyrs (MARIN) through a long development journey of trials and tribulations.  

 MARIN, Ngo Thi Thuy Hang, Vietnam economy, Vietnamnet bridge, English news about Vietnam, Vietnam news, news about Vietnam, English news, Vietnamnet news, latest news on Vietnam, Vietnam
Friend of the war dead: Ngo Thi Thuy Hang, Founder and Vice director of Centre of Legal Consultancy and Assistance for Families of Martyrs (MARIN). - Photo courtesy of CSIP
The stable present
Ten years after we first met, Hang is still a slim woman, but wrinkles have appeared in the corners of her eyes. I was startled to realise that this woman really had spent all her youth on MARIN, forsaking marriage and wealth. Hang still lives in a rented apartment, with recognition certificates and profiles covering the walls. I know Hang will never stop that journey.
With Hang’s ceaseless efforts, has made great strides, well beyond its original goal.
“We look for each other along the length of our motherland... we look for each other, never to return...” are the words of the song Mien Xa Tham (A Faraway Realm) by songwriter Duc Trinh, which was chosen by Hang as the background music for the online Vietnamese war martyr monument at
This project started in December 12, 2009, as a permanent remembrance site for heroic martyrs. Here visitors can find information about each individual martyr, with the circumstances and place of their death, and information about living or deceased relatives. Each battle, each front, is reconstructed to provide the circumstance in which the soldiers fell, including the letters and journal entries sent from the most brutal battlefields.
The thoughts and emotions in each word, each digital incense stick and wreath of flowers sent in by the martyrs’ comrades in combat and their families are as real as they are virtual. This not only has value in terms of data and authenticity, but above all, it embeds the unique humane value of MARIN. Over 50,000 martyrs have had their information processed at the online monument and this figure is being updated daily.
Recently, to mark the 69th War Martyrs and Wounded Soldiers Day (27/7/1947-2016), MARIN held a press conference to announce a project it called “Home-coming Day”, having matched names of 172 fallen soldiers to their remains. At the conference, Hang announced that over the coming five years, it would seek to match the names and remains of 5,000 martyrs to give their families comfort. This major project follows a pilot it launched in 2003. Given the advances in information integration and analysis based on digital technology, MARIN hopes to achieve its goal.
I have had the opportunity to attend many of MARIN’s local mobile counselling sessions for the families of martyrs. These sessions are a part of the Knowledge Dissemination for the Search of War Martyrs project launched and implemented by MARIN since the end of 2008. In Thanh Hoa, Nghe An, Ha Tinh or other provinces where the MARIN team goes, relatives always pack the conference hall. They are still desperate for information on their fallen loved one.
And Hang, together with other volunteers, provide them with methods to find the martyr from reading the death notices, differentiating between various kinds of death notices, decrypting the unit code to determine exactly the battlefront and the general area where the soldiers fell. Hang sees the search for martyrs as a jigsaw puzzle and guides the families with pictures and models to help them. The martyr search jigsaw puzzle with dark and light colour arrays and patterns is put together by Hang in the most approachable and perspicuous way. That is why at each of Hang’s mobile counseling sessions, there are tears but also smiles of faith and anticipation, of sharing and empathy. Thanks to them, the pain of losing a loved one in war is somehow soothed.
Through ups and downs
It all began at the end of October 2004, when the administrators of the website received an email from a woman named Ngo Thi Thuy Hang. She asked for help in finding the grave of her uncle who perished in the war against the French but whose remains were still missing. In addition, Hang offered: “Call me if you need help editing your news articles...”
Nguyen Huu Tuan, the team leader, immediately contacted Hang. Tuan needed someone who could help with editing the website’s articles. Hang was an editor for the Thoi Trang Tre (Youth Fashion) magazine in Ho Chi Minh City at that time. She agreed to help Tuan.
When Hang joined the team as an administrator, the information on the website became much more diverse and interesting. Whenever she had free time, instead of going out with friends, Hang quietly went to martyr cemeteries and searched for information online on her own.
However, feeling that the website needed to be even more professional and upgraded, in August 2006, Hang gave up her good job in HCM City to move to Ha Noi so that she could contribute more to The first thing Hang did was to find a legal status for the website.
With the help of many people, by the end of 2006 the Information Centre of War Martyrs (abbreviated as MARIN) under the Union of Applied Information Technology Sciences was founded. Hang was voted its director.
Hang wanted to fill the information gaps about the martyrs’ graves on the website herself, and came up with an amazing plan. With her own money, she spent two years carrying her laptop and digital camera around every martyrs’ cemetery in the country, taking pictures of the headstones. The photos were taken during the day, the information would be processed by the evening and updated immediately on if an internet connection was available. Hang thought if she could focus her efforts for two years, she would be able to develop a map of martyrs’ tombs.
Time went by, the student group who founded graduated, found employment and one by one got married. By then, they could no longer spare time for Only Hang remained and continued her fateful relationship with MARIN. The work at the website becam Hang’s love, and MARIN became Hang’s family.
At that time, Hang was working a 9-to-5 job for the communications department of a ceramic tile production corporation in Vinh Phuc Province. Hang rented an old apartment to live and use as MARIN’s office. She took a bus in early morning to go to work and would not come home until late in the evening, when she started her second “job” for MARIN. 
However, getting information about fallen soldiers is no easy task. The country has been at peace for more than 40 years, many documents have been lost, many gravestones have been abraded, many memories have faded. Red tape as well as unsympathetic irresponsibility have kept information about the graves and remains of martyrs hidden in dusty drawers or filing cabinets. I have witnessed how much Hang had to struggle to get her hands on such information. She had to go to localities to meet officials at the Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, at martyrs’ cemeteries, at the Ministry of Defence, or with anyone who could provide information about the martyrs’ graves.
The intensity of the work was too great, and Hang just got thinner and thinner. Once, due to overwork, Hang suffered from stomach-ache, her body grew weak and she had to be hospitalised for several days.
However, feeling that it still wasn’t enough, Hang decided to quit her job at the ceramic tile company to devote full time to MARIN. 
The decision to quit her job created many difficulties, the biggest of which was funding to pay bills and sustain MARIN’s operations. MARIN helped the families of martyrs without charge, while the organisation itself still had to cover many costs. 
At the most difficult time, Hang received a support package in seed capital from the Centre for Social Initiatives Promotion (CSIP). CSIP supported MARIN in the training and enhancing of management skills, as well as communications and networking activities. In addition, CSIP guided Hang to follow the Social Enterprise model, to operate for the community and still generate revenues to maintain its activities. 
To have an independent legal status, in November 2012 the Management Centre of Data Bank about War Martyrs and People with Meritorious Services changed its name to the Centre of Legal Consultancy and Assistance for Families of War Martyrs (MARIN) under the Viet Nam Judicial Support Association for the Poor of the Ministry of Justice. MARIN’s objective is to join hands with the Party and the State to soothe the pain of wars, and repay the debt towards heroic martyrs through legal counseling and assistance for their families in the search for information related to the martyrs.
For more than ten years, I have witnessed the joy of relatives who, thanks to the help of MARIN, have succeeded in finding the exact information about their loved one’s graves. Associate Professor Van Thi Kim Cuc, lecturer at the Department of Psychology of Ha Noi University of Social Sciences - Viet Nam National University, who is the daughter of war martyr Van Dinh Nha (from Huong Son, Ha Tinh) told us:
“My father passed away. The death notice says that he perished in the southern battlefront. Ten years ago I went to look for his grave. We went to Road 9 National War Martyrs’ Cemetery and saw my father’s grave there but we weren’t sure... Through MARIN and the data that the centre had, and cross-checking with the information on the death notice and comparing with the information provided by the Ministry of Defence, my family were able to locate the current burial map. Had it not been for MARIN’s support, all my life I would not have been able to know exactly where my father lay and how he lost his life.”
The case of Cuc was part of the pilot project “Returning the Correct Name to 23 War Martyrs” (from October 2013 to July 2014). The information of these 23 martyrs’ graves in Road 9 National Martyrs’ Cemetery (Quang Tri) was mismatched. To correct it, MARIN had to go through many procedures and paperwork. Only after nearly nine months with dozens of e-mails and letters and countless phone calls did the martyrs’ graves get the correct identification. 
Every additional martyr who is identified and returned to the family means less pain and guilt for the relatives, families and society as a whole. It also means that we are one step further on the path of “easing the pains of war”, the motto MARIN adopted in its early days 10 years ago. 
(The story is from Redefining Success, a book published by the Women’s Publishing House, 2017.)
Nguyen Huu Phung Nguyen

We want high quality gov’t reports, not rosy ones

Phan Xuan Xiem, former member of the Party Central Inspection Committee, speaks to the newspaper Khoa hoc & Doi song (Science and Life) about the need for high-quality reports reflecting reality, not rosy reports. 

 Gov’t reports, poor and low quality reports, Vietnam economy, Vietnamnet bridge, English news about Vietnam, Vietnam news, news about Vietnam, English news, Vietnamnet news, latest news on Vietnam, Vietnam
Illustrative image -- File photo
How do you respond to the complaint that the real growth rates of many sectors in HCM City are lower than the reported figures?
At a meeting to review the socio-economic situation in the city in the first eight months of 2017, HCM City’s Chairman of People’s Committee Nguyen Thanh Phong criticised some departments and sectors for falsifying reports on the growth rate in their sectors. For example, he said, the industrial growth rate in the period under review was just 7.19 per cent, but they reported that the rate was 7.5 per cent. Phong said agriculture grew 6.5 per cent, but the report cited a wrong figure. “It was unbelievable," Phong lamented.
I have to say that making the reports look nice has become a disease in Viet Nam over the years. In some sectors, the writers have even dared to copy and paste from the previous year’s reports and then make a few changes. There are different reasons why they have done so. May be they don’t have the capacity to write the reports or other reasons.
In my own opinion, many offices/sectors think good reports reflect well on their agencies, and will provide their bosses with promotions.
It is understandable for agencies to want to display achievements, don’t you agree?
I can’t agree more. It is closely linked to the bosses’ benefits and interest. They will be promoted. That’s why in many of their reports, offices/agencies list many notable achievements. But their actual performance is usually not as good. That’s why we need to make site visits to see with our own eyes what is going on and then make our own judgement.
Many Government officials complain that they spend 25 per cent of their time writing reports. But many of their reports are of poor quality. How do you respond to their laments?
I don’t understand why writing reports take so much time. I don’t think any job description of a government officer includes spending a quarter of the on report writing. Furthermore, many reports are just copy-pastes, so why does it take so much time?
As I mentioned before, many officials’ work performance is poor. One of the reasons is that they have to attend so many meetings. As a result, the time they focus on their actual work is limited so that it is impossible to say their work performance is high.
If the report is rated poor what kind of penalty should we give to the writer?
It is already covered in our rules and regulations. But, in reality it depends on the boss. I’m pretty sure all bosses want to have good and high quality reports from their subordinates. Furthermore, leaders consider reports as a source of information or a tool to evaluate the performance of an individual/organisation.
But poor and low quality reports may result in the poor performance or development of a sector or a locality, don’t you agree?
In a normal report, the writer has to reflect both the good and bad points. The report serves as background for the sector/agency to adjust policy and planning.
So if the quality of the report is poor and some of the information is even wrong, should the writer be punished?
Well, when we talk about giving punishment, we have to think about it carefully. In reality, when a subordinate writes a report and the boss approves it, both people have to take responsibility for the document.