Thứ Sáu, 10 tháng 2, 2017


January State budget revenue reaches US$4.3 billion

 January State budget revenue reaches US$4.3 billion, Vietcombank plans to support restructuring of ailing bank. VND2.57 quadrillion deposited at listed banks, Vietnam Airlines to open Ha Noi-Sydney route
State budget revenue in January was estimated at VND97.4 trillion (US$4.3 billion), the Ministry of Finance said.
The amount accounted for 8 per cent of the year’s estimates.
Of the amount, VND87.9 trillion came from domestic tax collections, up 4 per cent year-on-year and representing 8.7 per cent of yearly plan, according to data from the ministry.
However, the ministry said budget revenue from crude oil fell by 25 per cent year-on-year to reach VND2.3 trillion in January.
Budget revenue from import and export activities reached VND19.2 trillion, equivalent to 6.7 per cent of annual target.
Meanwhile, expenditure revenue in January reached VND87.25 trillion, or 6.3 per cent of the year’s estimates, the ministry said, adding that the first month’s expenses were mainly to meet the needs of socio-economic development, defence, security, State management and overcoming the consequences of natural disasters.
The progress of investment development spending in general and construction investment spending in particular remained low, the ministry said, adding that spending in January was mainly used as investment capital for 2016’s projects. 
Trade surplus with Canada     
Viet Nam enjoyed a trade surplus of around $3.089 billion with Canada at the end of November 2016, an increase of 24.6 per cent against the same period in 2015, according to Statistics Canada.
In that period, the two-way trade value touched $3.826 billion, a year-on-year increase of 10.6 per cent, which includes Viet Nam’s exports worth $3.457 billion, up 16.4 per cent, and an import value of $368 million, a drop of 25 per cent.
Hoang Anh Dung, Viet Nam’s commercial counsellor in Canada, said the country leads among ASEAN nations in terms of export value to Canada.
Viet Nam is followed by Thailand with $2.17 billion, a drop of 3.2 per cent; Malaysia with $1.789 billion, down 7 per cent; Indonesia with $1.134 billion, down 7.6 per cent; the Philippines with $934 million, down 9.8 per cent; and Singapore with $666 million, down 3.5 per cent.
Canada spent $1.174 billion on Viet Nam’s electronic products and accessories, up 56.5 per cent; $355 million on footwear, up 15.5 per cent; $108 million on sportswear, up 25 per cent; and $54 million on toys, up 24 per cent.
Among Viet Nam’s export goods, mobile phones recorded the highest jump of 67.9 per cent, touching $827 million.
Vietcombank plans to support restructuring of ailing bank     
Vietcombank has submitted to the State Bank of Viet Nam’s governor a plan to support the restructuring of an ailing bank.
Vietcombank’s chairman Nghiem Xuan Thanh told Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue at a recent meeting: “After approval by the governor and the Government, Vietcombank pledges to be a pioneer in restructuring successfully an ailing bank as entrusted by the Government.”
The Vietcombank representative did not reveal the name of the ailing bank that it will help restructure.
Previously, the central bank entrusted Vietcombank to support the Vietnam Construction Bank (VNCB) in a number of fields, such as capital resources, monetary business, credit and corporate governance.
According to Vietcombank, its support to VNCB meets the country’s current legal regulations.
At a meeting with Vietcombank late last year, SBV governor Le Minh Hung directed Vietcombank to take part in the restructuring of other ailing banks, but ensured that the Government would issue detailed policies in this regard to make certain the bank was not affected by it.
Hung said Vietcombank made significant achievements last year in settling bad debts, which has brought its bad debt ratio down to 1.45 per cent.
Last year, Vietcombank was also the first bank to buy back all non-performing loans (NPLs) worth VND4.3 trillion (US$189.4 million) it sold to the Viet Nam Asset Management Company three years sooner than planned.
However, Hung asked Vietcombank to boost the settlement of bad debts by selling mortgaged assets as Vietcombank’s settlement of bad debts was mainly through provisions, which reduced the bank’s profits. Last year, Vietcombank spent some VND8.2 trillion on provisions, which was equal to 121 per cent of its total NPLs.
After gaining a record high pre-tax profit of VND8.2 trillion in 2016, Vietcombank has targeted pre-profit figure of VND9.2 trillion in 2017, 12 per cent higher than last year. 
VND2.57 quadrillion deposited at listed banks     
Institutions and individuals deposited some VND2.57 quadrillion (US$113.2 billion) at eight listed commercial banks by the end of 2016.
The listed banks include BIDV, Vietcombank, VietinBank and ACB, as well as MBBank, Eximbank, VIB and NCB.
The amount of money was equal to 1.5 times of the country’s stock market capitalisation.
Currently, interest rates average at 0.8-1 per cent per year based on demand and for below one-month terms, 4.5 -5.4 per cent per year for one-to-six-month terms, 5.4-6.5 per cent per year for 6-to-12 month terms and 6.4-7.2 per cent per year for 12-month-plus terms.
The interest rate for dollar deposits was commonly zero per cent for individuals and economic institutions.
According to the current legal regulations, depositors do not have to pay income tax. 
Vietnam Airlines to open Ha Noi-Sydney route     
National carrier Vietnam Airlines will launch a direct route between Ha Noi and Sydney on March 28.
In a press release on Thursday, the carrier said this was its third route from Viet Nam to Australia. The two other routes connect Viet Nam with Sydney and Melbourne.
According to the airline's statement, there will be three flights per week on the new generation Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. The flight duration is nine hours and 30 minutes.
In addition, Vietnam Airlines also launched a promotion programme for passengers departing from March 28 to April 28, 2017. The tickets are priced at VND14.69 million (US$650) and will be sold from now to February 28. The price does not include taxes and fees.
HN to collect VND10 trillion from auctioning land     
The capital city plans to collect VND10 trillion (US$444.5 million) from auctioning land use rights this year.
Under plan No 14/KH-UBND of the municipal People’s Committee, more than 102ha of land will be auctioned in total, including nearly 57.5ha comprising 68 projects.
The city will spend an estimated VND948 billion in clearing land and developing technical infrastructure for projects with area from 5,000sq.m.
The People’s Committee said the land use rights auctioning was aimed at exploiting efficiently the land resource and raising capital for social and technical infrastructure development.
In 2016, Ha Noi collected more than VND4.2 trillion from auctioning more than 23.8ha of land. 
HCM City’s customs department to control taxable prices     
HCM City’s customs department has said that it will closely control prices of taxable consumer goods with high import value and high tax rates to manageefficiently the taxable prices of import goods and to avoid loss to State revenue.
The customs offices will hold talks about tax consultation with enterprises on fixing taxable prices because enterprises have often declared low taxable prices while the customs offices have imposed high taxable prices on import goods.
Accordingly, the department has directed its sub-departments to study and implement the finance ministry’s regulations on taxable price management.
The consumer goods include under 9-seat auto, other kinds of autos, motorbikes, bicycles, alcohol, beer, beverages, cosmetics, fabrics, meats, fresh, chilled and frozen seafood, instant food, metal ware, electronics, refrigerators, tablets, mobile phones, vegetables, fruits, confectionery, tiles, sanitary equipment and different types of engines.
Customs offices must update data in the system and propose amendment, addition and building of new reference prices to the General Department of Customs after consultations or inspections following customs clearance. 
VCCI leader believes in government’s reform determination
Chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) Vu Tien Loc has expressed his confidence in the government’s resolve to push reforms spreading to grassroots levels. 
The reforms are in line with government resolution No.19 on improving the business climate and national competitiveness in 2017 with a vision to 2020. 
According to Loc, confidence should be fostered by the actions of civil servants while communicating with citizens and businesses. 
It is time to create stronger impetus to improve the competitiveness of the country and each enterprise, thereby tapping opportunities brought about by global economic integration, he said. 
He called for clearing barriers for businesses, reducing overlapping inspections and simplifying administrative procedures, adding that high administrative and capital costs are posing remarkable difficulties to firms. 
Loc said the government should not only create a level playing field but also direct development via planning. 
The VCCI reported that 2016 marked a record year with more than 110,000 newly-established enterprises registering total capital of nearly 900 trillion VND (39.1 billion USD). 
Last year, the government changed laws on investment and businesses and revoked thousands of business conditions via circulars, decrees and legal regulations. 
Numerous localities and authorities at all levels improved their provincial competitiveness indexes by rating departments, agencies, districts, communes and civil servants based on public feedback. 
Several localities established public administrative centres, reshuffled investment promotion agencies and connected with e-government services while improving professionalism and integrity of officials.
Book on Vietnam’s economic development debuts in India
The book “Vietnam: The Emerging Asian star from a war-stricken nation”, which deals with various aspects of the Southeast Asian country’s economy, made its debut at a ceremony in New Delhi, India, on February 7.
The release was part of activities marking the 45th anniversary of Vietnam-India diplomatic ties (January 7) and the 10th anniversary of their bilateral strategic partnership. 
Published by Bloomsbury, the 160-page hardcover book was written by many authors and edited by Director of Fore Management School Dr. Jitendra Das and Dr. Hitesh Arora. 
It gives a deep insight into Vietnam’s securities market, financial reforms, impacts of foreign direct investment, women’s role in the economy, innovation and creativity, opportunities and challenges of e-commerce, comparison of skills of workers in India, China, the Philippines and Vietnam with those in the US, and consumption trend in the country. 
Speaking at the event, Dr. Das said thanks to the renovation cause, Vietnam has emerged from a war-stricken country into an export-oriented economy with one of the fastest growing rates in the region during the past several years. 
As a member of almost all key agreements in the region and the world, Vietnam has become an attractive destination to investors from many countries worldwide, including India, he said. 
Vietnamese Ambassador to India Ton Sinh Thanh said Vietnam’s economy has grown by an average 6-7 percent a year over the past three decades. 
In the near future, Vietnam will continue restructuring its economy, with focus on improving business climate, developing high-quality workforce and modern infrastructure, he said, adding that Vietnamese and Indian leaders have defined economic links as a strategic field in the bilateral comprehensive strategic partnership established last year.
He also expressed his belief in the bright future of Vietnam-India friendship and cooperation.
Israel assists Dien Bien farmers in growing safe vegetables
The Israeli Embassy and CARE International in Vietnam will assist farmers in the northern mountainous province of Dien Bien in growing vegetables in greenhouses.
A delegation from the Israeli Embassy and CARE International in Vietnam paid a fact-finding trip to Dien Bien on February 7-8.
During a working session with the local authorities, Yaniv Tessel, head of the economic and trade division at the Israeli Embassy in Vietnam, said each household participating in the project will be partly financed to build a 200-sq.m greenhouse.
Each greenhouse costs 1,680 USD, of which Israel donates 680 USD and the remainder is sourced from Dien Bien province and participating households.
Jointly carried out by Top Greenhouse Company Israel and CARE International, the pilot project will provides farming techniques for 100 local households.
Lo Van Tien, Vice Chairman of the Dien Bien People’s Committee, said the province pledged to create favourable conditions for the implementation of the project.
Over 400 mln USD mobilised through G-bond auctions in January
The State Treasury of Vietnam conducted four auctions at the Hanoi Stock Exchange for 10.032 trillion VND (442.72 million USD) of Government bond as of January 31, according to the Ministry of Finance.
In January, two loans worth 179.7 million USD from Japan for the Economic Management Competitiveness Credit (EMCC) and Support Programme to Respond to Climate Change in Vietnam (SRPCC) were signed.
During the month, disbursement of ODA and soft loans was estimated at about 7.9 million USD.
Disbursed investment through the state treasury system was 8.15 billion VND as of January 31, reaching 2.6 percent of the set target.
Ministry: Pepper remains key export in 2017
The Ministry of Industry and Trade expects pepper to remain a key foreign currency earner for Vietnam this year, with targeted export turnover of 1.6 billion USD despite a fall in output in some farming areas.
With an expected year-on-year export growth of 13 percent, pepper is hoped to be among the 13 commodities earning shipment revenue of more than 1.5 billion USD in 2017.
In 2016, Vietnam shipped abroad 177,000 tonnes of pepper worth 1.42 billion USD, rising by 34.3 percent in volume and 12.9 percent in value.
The markets with the strongest surges in pepper imports from the country were Pakistan (up 3.14 times), the Philippines (3 times), the US (31.3 percent), Egypt (23.2 percent), Spain (14 percent), and India (12 percent).
In January 2017, about 8,000 tonnes of pepper were exported, raking in 56 million USD, down 18 percent in volume and 37 percent in value.
Many insiders attributed the fall to the Lunar New Year holiday, which made importers step up purchases at the end of 2016 and eased activities in January.
They believe that as a leading exporter with some of the best pepper in the world, Vietnam will enjoy faster export growth in 2017.
The Vietnam Pepper Association (VPA) predicted the country’s pepper output will hike at least 15 percent in the 2016-2017 crop although the yield in some localities could decline due to diseases and last year’s drought.
A survey conducted by the VPA shows that the production of old pepper farms (more than 10 years old) in the districts of Bu Dop (Binh Phuoc province), Dak R’lap (Dak Nong district), Cu Kuin and Ea H’leo (Dak Lak), and Dak Doa and Chu Puh (Gia Lai province) may drop about 30 percent from the 2015-2016 crop. Chu Se (Gia Lai) and Ea Ktur (Dak Lak), which are long-standing pepper growers, may record a tumble of 60-70 percent.
However, cultivation areas are expanding, increasing by 15-20 percent in 2016 from the previous year, due to higher pepper prices. The area of pepper farmed since 2010, with relatively high productivity – 5 tonnes per hectare on average, accounts for 10-20 percent of the area to be harvested between this February and April.
The output of the 2016-2017 crop is likely to grow 15-20 percent from the 2015-2016 crop, bringing this year’s pepper production to about 180,000 tonnes, the VPA noted.
Saigon bank among largest businesses of Vietnam
The Saigon Commercial Bank (SCB) was named among the nine largest private enterprises and 44 leading businesses of Vietnam, announced the Vietnam Report and Vietnamnet online newpaper in Hanoi.
The ranking reaffirmed the position of SCB in Vietnam’s financial market. The bank has focused on training high quality human resources, infrastructure and modern technology.
It was also listed in the VNR500 as one of Vietnam’s 500 largest enterprises in consecutive years.
Business leaders meet to discuss boosting trade with Vietnam
Vietnam Ambassador Truong Manh Son sat down on February 7 with many of the top business leaders in the Czech Republic to discuss ways of opening new opportunities for commercial trade.
At the meeting in Prague, Ambassador Son explained there are many prospects that will flow from the Vietnam-EU free trade agreement that is expected to come into force as early as 2018.
The trade pact will remove onerous tariffs that hinder overseas trade and present numerous openings for small and medium-sized businesses in both economies to grow and create jobs, noted Ambassador Son.
He encouraged Czech leaders to explore new market opportunities in Vietnam, noting in particular, the agriculture, aquaculture and manufacturing opportunities in the electronics supply chain.
VCCI: Higher environment tax on fuels to hit business hard
An environment tax hike sought for fuels by the Ministry of Finance will erode the competitiveness of enterprises and the country’s economy as a whole if it gets the go-ahead, according to the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI).
VCCI has written to the ministry expressing concerns on the proposed tax spike in a comment on draft amendments and supplements to the environmental protection law.
The ministry proposed an environment tax of VND4,000-8,000 per liter of gasoline (compared to the current VND1,000-4,000), VND3,000-6,000 per liter of jet fuel, VND1,500-4,000 per liter of diesel oil, VND300-2,000 per liter of kerosene, VND900-4,000 per kilogram of heavy fuel oil, and VND900-4,000 per kilogram of lubricant.
These are just tentative tax ranges, the ministry said, so specific tax rates would have to be decided by the National Assembly. The ministry argued wider tax ranges would allow for more room to maneuver in line with socio-economic development policy for a particular period of time.
However, VCCI said the ministry’s argument did not make sense since the environment tax is not much relevant to socio-economic development policy, so it should not be adjusted based on such policy. Therefore, VCCI asked the ministry to remove that argument from its tax change proposal.
VCCI pointed the proposed environment tax hike would hurt enterprises and the economy. It said fuels are an important input in the transport, agriculture and seafood sectors, so if the environment tax is raised, it would deal a blow to them.
VCCI quoted the pricing management agency at the ministry as saying that fuels make up 25-45% of costs of vehicles and 39.5% of costs of airlines. Fuels account for 33-59% of production cost in the seafood sector and transport makes up 35-40% of farming cost. 
These sectors employ large numbers of disadvantaged people and are undergoing modernization. Higher fuel bills would cause a big dent to their mechanization process, VCCI said.  
Input costs and financial obligations of enterprises are on the rise as the world oil price has inched up and the road toll burden has become heavier for transport firms given the mushrooming of build-operate-transfer road projects. Social insurance payments for employees tend to go up, piling financial pressure on employers.
VCCI called for a comprehensive and objective assessment of the impact of an environment tax increase for fuels on the economy and social welfare.
The Ministry of Finance reported environment tax revenue accounted for 4.1% of total budget collections last year and 99% of it came from fuels. VCCI calculated the percentage would rise to 9.8% if import, special consumption and value-added taxes were included.
VCCI said the proportion would be 15% if the highest rates in the proposed environment tax ranges were applied and import tariffs were reduced and lifted in line with Vietnam’s commitments to trade agreements.
The proposed environment tax ranges which are believed to shore up budget collections would do more harm than good in the long term, VCCI stressed.
Ease of doing business: Vietnam plans big push to catch up with Singapore, Thailand
The goal is to cut half the time needed for business registration and simplify customs procedures this year.
Vietnam aims to improve its business environment to reach the average level of the regional top four economies Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines, together known as ASEAN 4.
Under a new plan for this year, the government said the country should try harder to crack the top 70 countries in terms of the ease of starting a business, the top 80 in terms of protection of minority investors, and the top 30 in transparency and access to credit under the World Bank's criteria.
According to the World Bank’s ease of doing business index, Vietnam ranked 82nd out of 190 economies globally in 2016.
By the end of this year, the country should be able to reduce the time required for business registration from six days to three days.
The time a company has to spend on tax and social insurance procedures will be cut to 168 hours per year.
Vietnam also wants to shorten the time dealing with construction permits to below 120 days. Customs clearance will be simplified so that it will take only 70 hours for exports and 90 hours for imports, instead of 10 days last year.
According to the Global Competitive Report of the World Economic Forum, Vietnam dropped to number 60 last year from 56 in 2015, behind all the top four ASEAN economies.
PM asks for more drastic restructuring of industry and trade sector
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has urged the industry and trade sector to restructure and create great Vietnamese products in the 4th Industrial Revolution.
At a recent online conference to review the industry and trade sector, the Prime Minister said the sector is shifting from an industry dependent on limited natural resources to a sustainable industry based on innovation, science, technology, and competitiveness.
The Vietnamese government leader underlined the need to enable fair competition, create a transparent legal framework, and enhance the role of groups, private companies, cooperatives, and foreign-invested enterprises. It is essential to encourage the private sector to take part in industrialization, modernize and grow.
Inter-bank rates drop sharply after Tet     
Interest rates for Vietnamese dong loans of different tenors have dropped sharply on the inter-bank market following the Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday.
On Monday, the overnight rate was quoted at 4.25 per cent per year, down 1 per cent against the week prior to Tet, which took place from January 16 to 20.
The rates for one-week loans stood at 4.48 per cent per year, while it was 4.6 per cent for two-week loans and 4.72 per cent for one-month loans, down significantly compared with pre-Tet levels.
The decline of inter-bank interest rates was similar to previous years, as after Tet, liquidity in the banking system is often stable owing to growing deposits of residents and enterprises.
Money dealers have forecast rates on the inter-bank market in next few weeks will move sideways or inch down.
Bao Viet Securities Company forecast that the central bank is expected to withdraw money via the open market operation (OMO) after Tet.
In the week prior to Tet, when capital demands rose sharply to meet payment and import requirements, the central bank had to make a net injection of VND93.48 trillion (US$4.11 billion) via OMO to support liquidity for the banking system. 
VietGazprom to invest in gas-to-power project
Russia’s VietGazprom is planning to invest in a gas-to-power project in the central province of Quang Tri.
Kovtun Andray, head of Gazprom International’s representative office in Vietnam, revealed this at a recent meeting with the provincial People’s Committee.
Accordingly, VietGazprom is surveying plans to bring gas to the mainland of Quang Tri from the Bao Vang field, 120km offshore on the continental shelf of central Vietnam, and construct a 340MW gas-to-power plant in the province’s Quang Tri Southeastern Economic Zone, Dau tu (Vietnam Investment Review) reported.
After completing the survey, VietGazprom will submit the project to Gazprom International for approval in March 2017.
Nguyen Duc Chinh, Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee, said Quang Tri will support and create the most favourable conditions for VietGazprom to complete the survey as the Vietnamese Government is very interested in cooperation between Vietnamese and Russian businesses.
He also expected the project, if it is implemented, to boost the province’s socio-economic growth.
Vietnam Expo 2017 to be held in Hanoi in April
The 27th Vietnam International Trade Fair – Vietnam Expo 2017, themed “Enhancing Regional and Global Economic Links”, will take place in Hanoi from April 19-22.
As one of the important trade promotion events to welcome Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting 2017 and a bridge linking Vietnam with countries and territories in the region and the world, the annual event is hosted by the Ministry of Industry and Trade and organised by the Vietnam National Trade Fair & Advertising Company. 
The fair will display diverse products of local companies, particularly those winning the Vietnam Value Awards, focusing on quality, design and price which are locally made such as industrial and household plastics; tires and rubber products; electricity meters, cable and lines; water tank and heater; beer and beverages; and handicraft. 
As part of the event, a forum on Vietnam’s export promotion, a fact-finding tour of industrial parks and a business networking programme are due to be held. 
A new point of the fair is an industrial and development booth designed by the Trade Promotion Department. It will showcase outstanding industrial products of localities, as well as represent and provide guidance on investment policies. 
Additionally, a space for Vietnam-Republic of Korea product design, which is a joint effort with the Korean Institute for Design Products, aims to display signature products of the two countries. There will also be advisory counters here to provide advice to businesses. 
According to the organising board, Vietnam Expo 2017 is expected to attract more than 500 firms from 23 countries and territories with APEC members covering 600 booths. 
The Republic of Korea, which is among the founding members of APEC, has been invited to the Vietnam Expo 2017 as an honorary country.
Businesses from Belarus, Uganda, Singapore, the Czech Republic, Japan, Malaysia, India, the RoK and China have so far registered for the event.
New eight projects licensed in Ba Ria – Vung Tau
Chairman of the southern Ba Ria – Vung Tau provincial People’s Committee Nguyen Van Trinh presented investment licenses to four foreign-invested and four domestic projects during a local ceremony on February 6. 
The projects, the first ones licensed in the province this year, were worth a total of 311 million USD and 3.588 trillion VND (156 million USD). 
The province has so far recorded 301 foreign-invested projects worth nearly 26.7 billion USD and 451 domestic ones valued at over 245.5 trillion VND (10.67 billion USD).
The total social investment neared 41 trillion VND (1.78 billion USD) last year, up 6.8 percent annually. Upwards 33.6 trillion VND (1.46 billion USD) of which was sourced from domestic and foreign enterprises. 
At the event, President of Hyosung Corporation’s Chemical Division Choi Young-gyo signed a memorandum of understanding with the province, pledging to pour 1.2 billion USD into a polypropylene manufacturing facility, a liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) warehouse, and a LPG and petrochemical port. 
Nguyen Hong Linh, Secretary of the provincial Party Committee, vowed to take synchronous measures to reform administrative procedures and create a vibrant and responsible business climate. 
The province will also hold regular dialogues with business owners and clear arising hindrances, he stated. 
On the occasion, nine well-performing firms were honoured for their contributions to local development. 
Last year, the provincial economy grew 5.6 percent, contributing in excess of 32.5 trillion VND (1.41 billon USD) to the State budget and more than 10 billion VND (434,000 USD) to social welfare programmes, as well as generating over 22,000 jobs.
Binh Phuoc province vows to swiftly address business obstacles
The southern province of Binh Phuoc is working to strongly improve the local investment climate, by dealing with problems facing enterprises in a swift and effective manner.
The affirmation was made by Secretary of the provincial Party Committee Nguyen Van Loi during a working session on February 6 with executives of Taiwanese-invested company New Apparel, based in the Bac Dong Phu Industrial Park.
Loi also asked businesses to directly phone him to have their issues settled in a timely fashion.
He believed that meetings with enterprises will promote a trustworthy investment environment and help attract investors. He also requested officials at provincial agencies to maintain contacts with companies to expeditiously address such problems as labour shortage, electricity and water supply, and security.
New Apparel General Director Peter Chang said the firm is also building a factory covering 100ha in the Bau Bang Industrial Park of neighbouring Binh Duong province to supply fibre materials for other garment factories.
It is employing 2,500 workers and plans to recruit an additional 2,500 this year. The number of its employees is set to reach 8,000 once its factories work at full capacity.
At the working session, Deputy Director of the Binh Phuoc Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Le Van Mai said the province will cooperate with New Apparel at weekly job fairs and give assistance in personnel training to help it deal with the shortage of skilled labourers.
Binh Phuoc, part of the southern key economic region, is calling for investment in 13 industrial parks. Eight of the parks have drawn 164 projects, including 64 domestic ones worth over 3.5 trillion VND (154.9 million USD). The province is also home to 30 industrial clusters.
PM wants shrimp exports to reach 10 billion USD by 2025
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc asked the shrimp industry to strive for an export value of 10 billion USD by 2025 during a conference on shrimp production held in the southernmost province of Ca Mau on February 6.
Vietnam has become the world’s third largest shrimp exporter and the world’s leading exporter of giant tiger prawn, heard participants. 
Shrimp export accounted for nearly 50 percent of the total seafood export with the highest value of nearly 4 billion USD achieved in 2014.
Giant tiger prawn and white-legged shrimp - brackish water species - are being farmed in 30 provinces and cities and have been key export products. The central provinces of Ninh Thuan, Binh Thuan, Khanh Hoa and southwestern provinces like Ca Mau and Bac Lieu are main shrimp producers. Ca Mau has the largest shrimp breeding areas.
According to Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) Nguyen Xuan Cuong, shrimp, with its high value, has been chosen as one of important products for restructuring the seafood in particular and agriculture in general.
Speaking at the conference, Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung said that Vietnam’s shrimp industry still has a lot of room for more development, not only because the world’s demand is large but also because the area suitable for farming shrimp in Vietnam is very large, particularly the Mekong Delta.
The Deputy PM recommended the MARD to review relevant institutions to revise and support the shrimp industry and work with localities to make planning based on the global demand and the restructuring of the agricultural sector and scenario responding to climate change.
PM Phuc said the shrimp industry should work to account for 10 percent of the country’s GDP.
He asked the State Bank of Vietnam to instruct commercial banks to provide sufficient capital for the industry, especially for high-tech breeding.
He also reminded the industry insiders to diversify export markets to avoid risks stemming from heavy reliance on a single market.  
He assured that the Government will stand side by side with businesses to protect their legitimate rights and benefits in price-dumping lawsuits, but will give severe punishments to violations damaging the prestige of Vietnamese shrimps.
He assigned the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to quickly design an action programme for the shrimp industry’s development.
HOSE launches first trading session in lunar New Year
The Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange (HOSE) launched its first lunar New Year trading session on February 6 with the presence of Politburo member, Secretary of the municipal Party Committee Dinh La Thang.
Thang expressed his hope that HOSE will continue accompanying the local authorities to implement key development plans and contribute further to the stock market’s sustainable development.
This will help the southern metropolis become a leading financial centre in the country and in the region as well, he said, adding that the city will create optimal conditions for HOSE to grow stronger.
He noted that local businesses are pushing ahead with equitisation plans in line with the government’s policy, which is expected to heat up the stock market in the time to come.
Founded in 2000, HOSE makes up over 90 percent of the value of the Vietnamese stock market.
In 2016, HOSE recorded respective year-on-year increases of nearly 30 percent and 24 percent in capitalisation and liquidity.
Alumina plant expected to stimulate Dak Nong’s economy
The Nhan Co alumina plant in Dak Nong province is expected to stimulate economic development in southern Central Highlands in general and in Dak Nong in particular. 
The plant, a key industrial project invested by Vietnam National Coal-Mining Industries Holding Corporation Limited (TKV), is slated to start official production in the first quarter of 2017. The project has total investment of 16.8 trillion VND (754 million USD) and a capacity of 650,000 tonnes of alumina per year.
According to Hoang Hai Quoc Minh, director of the Dak Nong-TKV Aluminium Company, the Nhan Co alumina factory, now in trial run, has produced 60,000 tonnes of alumina and 33,000 tonnes of aluminium hydroxide. The company has exported aluminium hydroxide to Japan and the Republic of Korea in early February. 
Meanwhile, alumina will be supplied to the Dak Nong Aluminium Electrolysis Plant, which is now under construction.
Minh said the Nhan Co project marks a turning point in TKV’s mining operation in the Central Highlands and will significantly boost local GDP growth by contributing to the State budget, creating jobs and increasing local income.
During the construction of the plant, the TKV granted scholarships for 766 local young people to receive training, and invested 70 billion VND in building local infrastructure.
The Nhan Co plant is one of the two trial projects important to the development of the bauxite-alumina-aluminium industry in Vietnam. The other project is the Tan Rai alumina plant, also in the Central Highlands.
Thua Thien-Hue aims to attract 6 trillion VND of investment in 2017
The central province of Thua Thien-Hue has set a target of luring 20 projects to its economic zones and industrial parks with a total investment of about 6 trillion VND (272 million USD).
To this end, the province’s Economic Zone and Industrial Park Management Board will launch investment promotion programmes with focus on fostering partnership with investors in infrastructure as well as financially strong firms, said Nguyen Que, deputy head of the Board.
Que revealed that currently, the board is working with major domestic firms including FLC Group, VinGroup, Bitexco and Viglacera, and strengthening coordination with foreign partners including JICA, KOICA and JETRO in investment promotion.
For projects being implemented in Chan May-Lang Co Economic Zone, including the second phase of the Lang Co Laguna, Minh Vien Lang Co resort and Wharf 3 in Chan May Port, the provincial authorities have been assisting in construction process and capital disbursement. 
According to Chairman of the Thua Thien-Hue People’s Committee Nguyen Van Cao, the province has applied a number of measures to call for more investment, including improving investment and business environment and fixing the consequences of the sea environment incident that happened last year.
In the coming time, Thua Thien-Hue will also enhance the quality of business associations and trade organizations to better the connectivity among enterprises. The province will invest over 2 trillion VND in socio-economic infrastructure and industry development programmes in 2017.
At the same time, Thua Thien-Hue will also restructure its vocational training system and step up administrative reform, striving to conduct over 50 percent of administrative procedures online and apply the one-stop shop model at the provincial and district administration centres, thus raising the satisfaction rate among local residents and businesses to over 80 percent, said Cao.
Last year, local economic zones and industrial parks attracted 14 projects with total investment of nearly 4.9 trillion VND, bringing the total number of projects located in their facilities to 140 worth over 63.7 trillion VND. Of the projects, 36 are run by foreign investors with registered capital almost reaching 31 trillion VND (approximately 1.4 billion USD).
State Bank works on credit organisation restructuring project
The State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) has announced that it is finalizing a project on restructuring credit organisations and handling bad debt for the 2016-2020 period, to be submitted to the Politburo. 
After the project receives approval, the SBV will develop plans to implement measures as set out in the project.
According to the SBV, besides improving the safe level of credit organisations, the SBV will focus on enhancing efficiency and effectiveness of state management and discipline in the field, as well as intensifying the fight against law violations in monetary and banking fields.
The comprehensive restructuring across financing, operation and governance of credit organisations will be accelerated using methods and roadmaps suitable with specific characteristics of each credit organisation.
Handling bad debt will be accompanied by preventive measures in order to minimize new bad debt.
In 2017, the asset management company (VAMC) will play a greater role in handling bad debt to maintain the rate of bad debt at the safe level (below three percent of the total outstanding loans).
Canadian firm invests in garment factory in Binh Dinh
The planning and investment department of Binh Dinh province has issued an investment certificate to Seldat Vietnam Company Limited to build a garment factory in An Nhon town.
The 1.2 million USD project will be funded by an investor from Canada. The factory, to be built in Nhon Khanh commune’s An Hoa hamlet, will have five garment lines and a design capacity of two million products a year, most of which will be exported to the US.
The plant will be constructed on a 2,440sq.m site and is expected to become operational in the second quarter of this year.
This is the first licence that has been given to a foreign direct investment (FDI) project in the central province this year. Currently, there are 69 FDI projects in Binh Dinh with a total registered capital of 783 million USD. Investors are from countries such as the US, China, Japan, France, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.
Last year, the province implemented reforms and simplified administrative procedures to create an attractive investment environment. Binh Dinh will continue its work on conducting dialogues with firms in the province to understand their problems and propose solutions so as to improve its business environment and boost its socio-economic development.
Vietnam aims to quicken electricity sector restructuring
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has approved a project on restructuring the electricity industry from 2016-2020, with a vision to 2025, to increase transparency and fair competition in the field. 
From 2016-2018, power generating corporations under the Electricity of Vietnam (EVN), the Vietnam Oil and Gas Group (PVN) and the Vietnam National Coal – Mineral Industries Holding Corporation Limited (Vinacomin) will be equitised in line with the plans ratified by the PM. EVN, PVN and Vinacomin will continue managing power generating corporations and hold at least 51 percent of stake in them. 
Power generating corporations will be responsible for implementing new investment projects in accordance with the National Power Development Plan for 2011-2020, with a vision towards 2030. 
They will work to carry out projects to improve the efficiency of corporate management, maintain competitiveness, ensure profitable production and business, and increase the ratio of equity capital for investment and development as required by financial institutions. 
Renewable energy plants are encouraged to join in the pilot electricity wholesale market.
Regarding electricity supply and retail, electricity companies will maintain the organisation as one-member limited companies, with 100 percent of their charter capital owned by EVN. 
Regulatory mechanisms will be built among power companies to meet requirements of the power wholesale market. 
The National Load Dispatch Centre of Vietnam (NLDC) will be responsible for operating power systems and the power market, and building a plan to transform the NLDC into a one-member limited company with independent accounting. 
Renovation will be also carried out in the electricity regulatory department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade to satisfy management and supervision of requirements for the competitive wholesale market. 
As from 1019, Capital divestment will be accelerated in power generating corporations to reduce State owned stakes to below controlling level. Those corporations are scheduled to be separated from EVN, PVN and Vinacomin after two years of equitisation. 
Build-operate-transfer power plants will be encouraged to join the competitive wholesale market.

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