Central province approves hi-tech farming project


Quang Ngai High-Tech Agricultural Joint Stock Co under Tran Viet Group got approval in principal from the Quang Ngai People's Committee to develop a hi-tech farming project in the locality.

The project, expected to cost about VND294 billion (US$13 million), will cover 196ha in Mo Duc District. It will also include an agricultural processing plant with an annual production capacity of 10,000 tonnes of products, according to the provincial portal.

During a working session early this week, the committee chairman Tran Ngoc Cang said once operational, the project will help to create more local jobs, contributing to restructuring the province’s agricultural sector as well as accelerating its socio-economic development.

The chairman also asked the investor to fulfil its commitment to using high technology and assessing environmental impacts related to the project in addition to considering purchasing local farm produce.

In order to develop safe and organic agriculture, the province has requested all relevant bodies to create favourable conditions for investors in agriculture, especially in site clearance and investment procedures, the committee has said.

Attracting hi-tech and safe agricultural projects has opened a new direction for Quang Ngai’s agricultural sector, helping it develop safe and organic agricultural production, heading towards sustainable development, it said.

In the 2008-18 period, the central province had attracted 54 projects in agriculture sector with total registered capital of more than VND2 trillion. Of the total, 12 were working in clean and hi-tech farming, statistics from the provincial Agriculture and Rural Development revealed.

Vinafood 2 not to pay 2019 dividends

Viet Nam Southern Food Corporation (Vinafood 2) has set 2019’s revenue at nearly VND21.29 trillion (US$913.73 million), a year-on-year increase of 19 per cent, and does not plan to pay a dividend to compensate for losses in 2018.

The information was revealed in documents for 2019’s annual shareholders’ meeting, which will be held on June 25.

This year, Vinafood 2 plans to invest VND106 billion in basic construction to serve production and business.

In addition, the document also has a proposal to add some business lines, including: real estate, agencies for petrol, oil, lubricant and related products, retail of petroleum, lubricating grease and cooling products for motor vehicles, motorcycles, motorbikes and other motor vehicles, parking management and vehicle management activities.

In 2018, the company suffered losses, so it proposed not to set up funds and pay dividends. It is predicted that the corporation will not pay dividends this year because its after-tax profits will be used partly to cover losses in 2018.

Becamex IDC to pay 6 per cent dividends

The Investment and Industrial Development Corporation (Becamex IDC) will pay a 6 per cent dividend payout in cash on August 1.

That means every shareholder will receive VND600 (US$0.26) for each share they own.

That values the firms August dividend payment at VND607.5 billion ($26 million).

Becamex IDC will finalise the list of beneficiary shareholders on June 28.

In 2018, the company earned VND6.5 trillion and VND2.34 trillion in total revenue and post-tax profit, respectively.

The company plans to raise its charter capital to VND20 trillion in 2019 and move from UPCoM to the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange (HoSE).

If the exchange-switching plan is approved, Becamex IDC will list all of its one billion shares on the southern bourse.

Becamex IDC has more than one billion shares, of which nearly 24.8 million shares are traded on the Unlisted Public Company Market (UPCoM) with code BCM.

In early December 2017, the previously State-owned Becamex IDC tried to sell more than 311.2 million shares to cut State capital to 51 per cent in an IPO.

But only 6 per cent of the shares, equal to 19 million shares, were sold.

The firm tried to sell another 296.5 million shares but only five million were offloaded successfully.

Becamex IDC debuted on UPCoM on February 21.

The companys shares jumped 11 per cent to close yesterday at VND26,200 per share.

World Bank offers new credit to develop urban centres

The World Bank (WB) Board of Executive Directors on Wednesday approved a US$194.36 million credit plan to help four secondary cities in Viet Nam build critically-needed municipal infrastructure and strengthen urban planning.

The Dynamic Cities Integrated Development Project aims to increase access to improved urban services in Ky Anh in Ha Tinh Province, Tinh Gia in Thanh Hoa Province, Hai Duong in Hai Duong Province and Yen Bai in Yen Bai Province.

Approximately 200,000 residents are expected to benefit directly from the project, of which more than half are women.

The project will help reduce flood risks, improve sanitation, reduce travel times on new and improved roads and develop high-quality public spaces.

The project will also improve connectivity to industrial parks, export processing zones, commercial establishments and tourist attractions, benefiting workers and merchants as well as visitors.

These improvements in turn are expected to help boost productivity, enable exports, create more jobs, and help generate sustained economic growth.

“Secondary cities are set to play an increasingly important role in Viet Nam’s growth poles through efficient movement of goods, people, services and information,” said Ousmane Dione, WB Country Director for Viet Nam.

“These four selected cities have demonstrated significant potential to become dynamic economic hubs at the provincial and regional levels. This operation would help to fill the infrastructure gap by providing much-needed financing to deliver quality services with lessons and best practices gained from World Bank engagements in other cities around the world,” he said.

A major problem in these cities is the uneven access to basic services, including drainage systems, wastewater collection and treatment and road networks. This has resulted in increasing traffic congestion, flooding and the deterioration or lack of public spaces. In addition, all four cities are either located along the coast or in mountainous areas, making them vulnerable to disasters and the impacts of climate change.

The project will help address these problems with both structural and non-structural support, including a series of infrastructure investments in each city, and technical assistance to strengthen the capacities of the cities to adopt a comprehensive and integrated urban planning approach that links physical development to long-term socio-economic strategies, climate change adaptation and disaster risk management plans.

The total cost of the project is $276.17 million, of which $194.36 million will come from the International Development Association.

Building material prices on the rise

The cost of building materials has been on the rise due to increasing electricity tariffs at the peak time for construction.

Many shops selling materials such as cement and steel have increased their prices since the beginning of this month.

The SCG Cement – Building Material Viet Nam Company Ltd announced to its distributors it was raising the cement price by VND29,700 per tonne including value-added tax (VAT) starting this Sunday.

Vicem Hoang Mai Cement Joint Stock Company has also increased prices by VND30,000 per tonne including VAT from the beginning of this month.

SSE Steel Company said the price of steel billet and other input materials had been hiked.

Vice chairman of the Viet Nam Steel Association Nguyen Van Sua said the power price rise of 8.36 per cent since March had made steel prices increase by VND100,000 per tonne. In steel production, electricity prices often account for 8 to 9 per cent of total costs.

Statistics from the association showed that steel producers using electric arc furnaces for production were affected most by the power tariff hike. The total steel output from companies using electric arc furnaces accounts for 65 per cent of the country’s total steel output.

He said high iron ore prices were also a major reason for enterprises to increase selling prices of finished steel products. The main factor causing the sharp increase in iron ore prices was a dam collapse in February at Brazil's Vale - the world's largest ore mining group.

According to Vale's estimates, sales of iron ore in 2019 would fall by 75 million tonnes from previous expectations. The most optimistic scenario was for sales to fall by about 50 million tonnes from the previous forecast.

In addition to steel and cement, the prices of other building materials this month were higher than the previous month.

Ceramic tiles prices increased by VND1,000-2,000 each.

Offshore wind power seminar held in Hanoi

An offshore wind power seminar took place in Hanoi on June 12, as part of the second Vietnam Wind Power Conference.

Speaking at the event, deputy head of the Electricity and Renewable Energy Authority Do Hong Quan said the event aims to update the latest technology in offshore wind power and suggest solutions to challenges faced by Vietnam in the field.

Consultant Ivan Chia from Energy & Resources Group said offshore wind power is more competitive than other kinds of energy because of easy transportation of turbines by ships or barges and low carbon dioxide emission.

He suggested using high-quality turbines, building wind power farms over 20km distant from the mainland and with a total capacity of over 500 MW to cut maintenance costs.

Bernard Casey, Vietnam Development Director of Ireland’s Mainstream Renewable Power, said the company signed a deal with Phu Cuong Group to build an 800 MW wind power farm in the Mekong Delta province of Soc Trang at a total cost of 2 billion USD. The first stage will have a total capacity of 150 – 200 MW.

Asia-Pacific Market Entry Manager Andreas Waern Madsen from Denmark’s MHI Vetas Company said the firm has 20 years of experience in manufacturing offshore wind turbines. Since 2016, it has produced turbines of greater size in Denmark and the UK.

The event was co-hosted by the Global Wind Energy Council, the German Agency for International Cooperation, and the embassies of Denmark and Ireland.

Germany helps improve Vietnam’s SMEs via innovation programme

The Central Innovation Programme for Small- and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), also known as ZIM, was introduced to Vietnamese and German firms and organisations at a workshop in Berlin on June 12.

The ZIM programme has been carried out within the framework of a letter of intent on scientific and technological cooperation signed in December 2012 between the Vietnamese Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST) and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. It looks to help transfer advanced technologies and improve the technical capacity of SMEs and scientific-technological organisations in Vietnam.

Tran Dong, Counsellor for Science and Technology at the Vietnamese Embassy in Germany, said the workshop was one of the three similar events held by the MoST to introduce the ZIM programme. The two previous events took place in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City in late May.

The Berlin workshop aimed to give instructions on the approval process, financial mechanisms and methods for supporting the connection of Vietnamese and German scientists and businesses.

He added that during the Vietnam visit last March by German Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Peter Altmaier, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc asked the European country to assist Vietnam to develop SMEs and some other fields, including digital technology, startups and innovation.

Meanwhile, Counsellor Dang Chung Thuy at the Vietnamese Embassy highlighted the importance of bilateral cooperation in researching, developing and commercialise technologies in the two countries’ SMEs.

He noted that with a dynamic economy, the Government’s efforts, the private sector’s investment and human resource advantages, Vietnam is becoming a startup and innovation hub in Asia-Pacific.

Felix Richter, Coordinator for International Cooperation at AiF Projekt GmbH, said apart from Vietnam, the ZIM programme has cooperated with 25 other countries. Each year, it issues announcements to invite businesses to propose feasible projects to seek funding.

He expressed his hope that the programme will expand its sponsorship scope to attract more SMEs and foster cooperation between the two countries.

Government to continue facilitating US firms’ operation in Vietnam: Deputy PM

The Government of Vietnam will continue creating optimal conditions for US businesses, including Hanesbrands clothing company, to operate effectively in the Southeast Asian country, Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung affirmed on June 12.

At a reception of Jerry Cook, Vice President Government and Trade Relations at Hanesbrands, in Hanoi, the Deputy PM congratulated the group on its successful operation in Vietnam in recent past and welcomed it to expand investment in the country.

He proposed the group pay more attention to social and charitable activities to help improve the quality of life for locals.

The presence of US major groups, including Hanesbrands, has significantly contributed to the promotion of trade and investment relations between the two countries, he said.

The Vietnam-US comprehensive partnership has developed pragmatically and effectively in all fields over the past time with the focus on economy, trade and investment relations, Dung said, adding that two-way trade stands at around 28.4 billion USD at present.

Jerry Cook said Hanesbrands has received big assistance from the Vietnamese Government, ministries, departments and localities over the past time.

US businesses highly appreciate the assistance of the Vietnamese Government, especially its efforts in improving the business and investment environment, he said, adding Hanesbrands is increasing the number of its factories and expanding the scale of production in Vietnam.

In the time ahead, the group wants to strengthen cooperation with Vietnamese ministries, departments and localities, particularly in the fields of customs and taxation, the official added.

Hanesbrands is running seven plants in Vietnam with nearly 12,000 workers, producing 26 percent of the group’s total products in the globe.

The export turnover of Hanesbrands Vietnam in 2018 was estimated at 400 million USD.

Vietcombank takes big stride in international market

The Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Foreign Trade of Vietnam (Vietcombank) has been named in the 17th annual Global 2000 – Forbes’ ranking of the World’s Largest Public Companies in 2019.

Ranked the 1,096th and with its market value hitting 10.9 billion USD, the bank took the lead among Vietnamese companies included in the list. The others are the Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV), property and retail giant Vingroup and the Vietnam Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Industry and Trade (VietinBank).

Over the past five years, the Vietcombank’s market value increased nearly three times, as compared with 2015 when it embarked on the 2016-2020 restructuring period.

Companies on the 17th annual Global 2000 account for more than 40 trillion USD in annual revenue and upwards of 186 trillion USD in global assets. The rankings are based on a composite score of revenue, profits, assets and market value.

Vietcombank, VietinBank and BIDV have been included in the rankings since 2016.

Forbes Vietnam recently announced Vietnam’s 50 top listed companies for 2019, which accounted for 63 percent of total market capitalisation on the Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi stock exchanges.

Vietcombank is the only representative of large-scale State credit institutions to be included in the list for seven consecutive years.

For three consecutive years, Vinamilk led the market in terms of profitability, but last year, Vietcombank surpassed the dairy company to become the champion in post-tax profit with growth rate of 60 percent.

The bank’s profit exceed 2 trillion VND (86 million USD), even higher than the combined number of VietinBank and BIDV.

With market capitalisation amounting to over 10 billion USD, Vietcombank has also surpassed Vinhomes, Vinamilk and PV Gas to become the largest in this regard.

In 2018, Vietcombank entered The Asian Banker magazine’s rankings of the 30 strongest banks in the Asia-Pacific region for the first time. The magazine has also repeatedly named the bank with the strongest balance sheet in Vietnam.

Last year, Vietcombank pulled its bad debt down to below 1 percent (0.97 percent) for the first time since its equitisation. Its return on average assets (ROAA) and return on average equity (ROAE) were 1.37 and 25.42 percent.

The bank opened its first overseas branch in Laos the same year. Of note, it has become the only Vietnamese bank to get the approval of the US Federal Reserve (FED) to open a representative office in the US.

Vietcombank is stepping up efforts to complete procedures for the opening of its first branch in Australia.

The bank set the target of raising its pre-tax profit to 1 billion USD by 2020.

Nepal tourism promoted in Hanoi

The Tourism Board and the Society of Travel and Tour Operators of Nepal have joined the Hanoi-based CapTour Club to organise a conference promoting Nepal tourism in the capital city.

At the event, held on June 10, representatives from 15 Nepalese tour operators exchanged information with their Vietnamese peers, aiming to form partnerships in tourist exchange between the sides.

Travel companies from Nepal said they hope to serve Vietnamese visitors to their country and are ready for cooperation to bring more Nepalese tourists to Vietnam.

Speaking at the conference, Nguyen Hong Dai, chairman of the CapTour Club, said Nepal offers enticing experience for visitors for its pristine beauty and ancient Buddhist relics.

He noted Vietnamese people visiting Nepal still have to transit in Thailand as a direct air route is yet to be operated between the two countries.

He hopes that in 2020, after the opening of Nepal’s Gautam Buddha International Airport, a direct route will be launched.

The conference was part of a programme on Nepal tourism promotion in Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand from June 10 to 14.

In 2018, Nepal hosted 12,454 visitors from Vietnam; 53,250 from Thailand; and 3,790 from Cambodia.

Business environment improves following Government’s Resolution 02

The implementation of the Government’s Resolution 02/NQ-CP issued early this year has brought about improvements in the business environment, heard a working session on the impacts of the document held on June 12 under the chair of Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam.

Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Vo Thanh Thong said the ministry and the Government Office had coordinated with World Bank experts to update the indexes on Vietnam’s business environment for the bank’s Doing Business report, slated to be announced in October this year.

Accordingly, the procedures and time for starting a business reduced from 8 and 17 days to 5 and 8 days, respectively; the procedures and time for getting a construction permit decreased from 10 and 166 days to 10 and 62 days. The payments of tax per year dropped to only one time a year from the previous 5 times, and the time taken to file value added tax was cut from 219 hours to 129 hours a year.

The WB also noted that recently-issued documents had helped speed up the settlement of contract disputes and insolvency.

However, the deputy minister said that some ministries have not fulfilled the requirements set by the resolution. Few ministries have issued full guidance documents on implementing tasks under the resolution in the first quarter as required, resulting in confusions and difficulties in building and carrying out action plans.

Many ministries have drafted decrees on adjusting business conditions but are slow to submit them to the Government for approval. Most ministries have not issued documents guiding subsidiaries, enterprises and localities regarding the reform in business conditions.

Deputy Minister of Public Security Nguyen Van Son said enterprises and people still complain when doing administrative procedures, particularly the attitude of civil servants who do not give full explanations on procedures, forcing enterprises and people to return many times.

Concluding the working session, Deputy PM Dam urged ministries and agencies to tighten public discipline and order in implementing Resolution 02 in order to create substantial changes.

Ministries and agencies should hold inspections to check the pace of reform, and dialogues with business associations to learn about existing problems, he said.

The Deputy PM requested that ministries and sectors submit reports on the pace of cutting business conditions within next week and propose solutions to problems raised by the business community.


He suggested the Ministry of Planning and Investment consider the ranking of ministries, sectors and localities in implementing Resolution 02.

Portal launched to connect borrowers with credit institutions

The National Credit Information Centre of Vietnam (CIC) and the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) has officially launched a portal connecting borrowers and credit institutions.

Through the portal, borrowers can easily choose credit packages and register loan needs at the appropriate credit institutions, saving travel costs and time when using banking services.

The borrower connection portal is also aimed at improving the transparency of credit information. Borrowers are allowed to view their own credit information and credit scores to monitor their credit levels as well as prevent fraud.

In addition, customers will be advised by CIC on how to improve their credit scores and access credit at credit institutions.

Credit institutions participating in the portal are introducing credit packages and preferential policies for customers. They will be able to use the platform to approach borrowers, reduce the time and cost of finding and selecting customers and ensure openness and transparency.

According to CIC’s General Director Do Hoang Phong, CIC provides guidance and solutions on its website and through its smartphone application "CIC Credit Connect - Connecting loan needs".

At the launch ceremony for the platform, SBV’s Deputy Governor Nguyen Kim Anh said the move showed CIC has applied new technologies to help borrowers and credit institutions.

Anh said CIC needs to improve the features of the portal, focusing on convenience for customers when registering online and ensuring the safety and confidentiality of their information.

Credit institutions must coordinate with CIC to introduce and regularly update credit packages, serve the needs of customers and give feedback to CIC to improve and develop the portal, Anh added.

Van Don Economic Zone needs 358.2 million USD for infrastructure

The People’s Committee of northeastern Quang Ninh Province has released a plan to implement Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s conclusion on the development of Van Don Economic Zone (EZ) that would require more than 8.35 trillion VND (358.2 million USD) to expand its infrastructure by 2030.

The plan aims to make Van Don an economic hub of Vietnam and get the city listed as one of the best places to live in the Asia-Pacific region.

The provincial budget will allocate 2.4 trillion VND in the 2019-2025 period for investment into infrastructure. The province has proposed supplementing this with 2.1 trillion VND from the State budget. The Van Don EZ will also mobilise 350 billion VND from land funds and use its State budget collection for re-investment. It was estimated that the State budget collection would be some 3.5 trillion VND in the 2026-2030 period.

Quang Ninh province set five key tasks to reach the goals. The priority task was to develop the EZ’s infrastructure including air, road and waterway transport systems and tourism infrastructure.

The plan proposed studying expanding the annual capacity of Van Don Airport to more than five million arrivals and 30,000 tonnes of goods by 2030.

It also suggested attracting investors to build helipads on the province’s islands to facilitate transport between Van Don and Ha Long, Mong Cai and other islands.

The plan would also accelerate the construction of Van Don – Mong Cai Expressway and bridges connecting Cam Pha city to Van Don EZ.

The province also planned to build a coastal route along the new urban areas of Bai Tu Long Bay and upgrade the roads on Quan Lan – Minh Chau islands and the cable car route from Cai Bau to Tra Ngo – Cai Lim islands.

Van Don expected to attract investment in maritime infrastructure as well, including Hon Net– Con Ong Port, Cái Bầu Island Port and tourism ports on Minh Chau, Quan Lan, Ngoc Vung, Thang Loi and Van Canh islands.

The plan would give priority to supporting strategic investors in tourism and resort complexes. It would help investors complete investment procedures for the construction of high-end hotels in the Bai Dai and Cai Rong urban areas.

Other key tasks include the development of a modern high-tech tourism industry, high-tech agriculture and sustainable aquaculture.

Institutional, legal weaknesses hamper SOE restructuring: CIEM

Shortcomings in terms of institutions and laws are the main cause of the sluggish restructuring of State-owned enterprises (SOEs), which may fail to fulfill many important targets by the end of 2020, according to the Central Institute for Economic Management (CIEM).

At a workshop in Hanoi on June 12, head of the CIEM’s department for enterprise reform and development research Pham Duc Trung said by the end of next year, SOEs are hoped to have a more reasonable structure through equitisation and divestment of State capital.

Vietnam also expects to complete the divestment of State capital from firms in which the State doesn’t need to hold capital, improve businesses’ performance, and thoroughly handle poor-performing and loss-making SOEs by the end of 2020.

Trung said although the targeted number of equitised firms may still be reached, many important targets will be definitely unable to be fulfilled, including the attraction of private investment in SOEs, and the investment of State capital divested from SOEs into the fields that really need the State’s presence.

Therefore, the target of a more reasonable structure for SOEs hasn’t been reached, he said, adding that State capital is still present in almost all business fields in the economy.

[Equitisation of State-owned enterprises remains slow: official]

The State economic sector hasn’t clearly played its role as the one that leads and creates momentum for economic development and is the important force for the State to orient and regulate the economy, he said.

Noting institutional and legal shortcomings that have hampered the SOE restructuring, the CIEM official said the State’s ownership and management haven’t been separated, posing risks of unequal treatment and unfair competition in reality.

Additionally, the State’s investment in socio-economic development and serving other economic sectors is still mixed with its investment in SOEs and SOEs’ investment.

Le Xuan Ba, an economic expert, said in the State economic sector, SOEs are the most crucial element but they have performed poorly. Meanwhile, these businesses are still considered to be the main force in the economy.

This viewpoint is wrong right from the beginning, so the old mindset should not be sustained, he added.

Trung, from the CIEM, said to improve the State economic sector’s efficiency, Vietnam needs to detail the role of this sector, which should be tasked with ensuring the infrastructure system and essential public services for activities of other economic sectors; ensuring defence, national security and a safe business environment; and equally and efficiently allocating assets owned by the whole people to other sectors.

Economic expert Tran Tien Cuong said it is necessary to increase using the State-issued macro-economic policies instead of using SOEs as a tool to regulate the macro-economy. SOEs should only be used as a support tool together with policies to regulate the macro-economy, and this role must be institutionalised and made transparent, he added.

Cuong also called for the enhancement of the State’s monitoring and auditing of its capital and assets, along with stronger analysis, assessment, discovery and warning of SOEs’ problems.

OV businesspeople learn about business opportunities in An Giang

A conference in the Mekong Delta province of An Giang on June 12 helped overseas Vietnamese (OV) businesspeople learn about agriculture and tourism projects in need of capital.

Speaking at the event, Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Le Van Nung lauded OV businesspeople as an important resource to develop agriculture and tourism, hoping that they will invest in high-tech farming and tourism to fuel local economy.

The province’s gross regional domestic product (GRDP) expanded by 6.52 percent in 2018. Its key products such as rice, tra fish, vegetables were shipped to 76 countries globally, bringing home 840 million USD.

The locality attracted 8 million tourists and earned 4.8 trillion VND (208.6 million USD) thanks to its diverse terrain with rivers, mountains, plains, pagodas, temples and relic sites, which is a potential to develop ecological and spiritual tourism.

It is now home to 19 firms invested by OVs with a total registered capital of 17.85 million USD.

OV businesspeople discussed measures to help An Giang boost farm produce export to the US and EU, attract investment in hi-tech agriculture, ecological and resort tourism.

Vice Chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City Committee for Overseas Vietnamese Affairs Tran Duc Hien expressed hope that OV businesspeople will choose suitable investment projects following the event, contributing to turning An Giang into a tourism and high-tech agriculture hub in the Mekong Delta.

At the event, IMM Group Vietnam and the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development signed an agreement on providing support to pitch for agricultural investment.

The provincial Business Association also inked a deal on creating an environment for trade and investment with the Business Association of Overseas Vietnamese.

PM urges acceleration of electronic toll fee collection

Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc has asked Minister of Transport Nguyễn Văn Thể to report on the progress of applying non-stop electronic toll fee services nationwide before June 20.

The leader’s order aims to accelerate the application of electronic services and ensure transparency of toll collection.

The report must detail the progress of applying technology at every toll station, as well as difficulties and proposed punishments for those who delay the work.

During a Q&A session at the National Assembly last week, a deputy raised concerns that so far only 30 per cent of toll stations nationwide have non-stop toll collection services.

Minister Thể said the deadline for all tool booths across the country to install the systems is December 31. Toll booths will also add cameras to monitor traffic and revenues.

Once the electronic toll fee collection is applied, drivers will be able to top up their account through text or banking services to pay toll fees at Build-Operate-Transfer booths nationwide.

Each car will be given an electronic tag (e-tag) which is attached to the windscreen or lights.

Through e-tags, the system will identify the vehicle and transmit its image and information to a data centre at high speed. Confirmation of the vehicle’s information and deduction of the required amount from the account will be almost immediate, so the barrier will lift without the vehicle having to stop. Electronic devices will also be used to supervise the entire toll collection process.

More than 700,000 vehicles have been given e-tags, according to the transport ministry.

Minister Thể added that by the end of this year, vehicles which do not have e-tags or sufficient funds in their account will be asked to go through the manual toll lanes.

Waiting times due to traffic congestion at manual toll stations have delayed goods transportation and wasted fuel for drivers, not to mention the negative effects of emissions on the environment and the risk of traffic accidents.

20,000 job vacancies available in HCM City market

Ho Chi Minh City-based companies will need to fill some 20,000 job vacancies in June, the city’s Centre for Forecasting Manpower Needs and Labour Market Information (FALMI) said.

Although the number of job openings is lower than May, employers need more skilled workers, which account for 72.05 percent of the total demand.

Most of the vacancies are in the city’s four key industrial sectors and nine service sectors such as engineering-automation, garment- leather shoes, transport-warehouse-import-export and electricity-refrigeration- industrial electricity.

FALMI Director Tran Thi Anh Dao said that local enterprises require experienced workers to ensure their business operation and production development.

As for the job seekers, they tend to find jobs in IT, architecture-construction, accounting-auditing, sales, transport-warehouse-import-export, customer service, and administration.

Around 94.59 percent of the job applications are from experienced workers.

Regarding salaries, 26.65 percent of the job seekers ask for 5-8 million VND (214.12-342.6 USD) in payment, 41.07 percent propose salaries range of 8-10 million VND (342.6-428.24 USD), and 18.49 percent want jobs that secure them 10-15 million VND (428.24- 642.37 USD). Meanwhile, only 8.8 percent of them negotiate salary from 15 million VND (642.37 USD), and the remainders want under 5 million VND (214.12 USD) in payment.

There will be some 170,000 job vacancies in the city this year, 80 percent of which are for experienced workers in digital marketing, customer service, logistics service, retail sales and fashion service.

Exports up 7.1 per cent in five-month period

Vietnam racked up some US$101 billion from exports during the first five months of 2019, recording a year on year rise of 7.1 per cent, according to Vietnam Customs.

Apparel exports jumped 11.5 per cent to US$12.2 billion in the first five months of 2019.

Statistics newly released by the General Department of Vietnam Customs show that exports brought home US$21.9 billion in May alone, up 7.2 per cent against the previous month.

Three categories saw their five-month export turnover hit at least US$10 billion. The export of telephones and components edged by 2.2 per cent on year to reach US$19.7 billion following consecutive drops in the previous months.

The overseas shipments of machinery, equipment, and spare parts recorded US$12.547 billion in value, an annual rise of 13.1 per cent, while apparel exports jumped 11.5 per cent to US$12.2 billion.

Elsewhere, the country spent US$101.555 billion on imports during the five-month period. Most notably, imports reached US$23.2 billion during May, a surge of 10.5 per cent compared with April.

Given this, the country sustained a trade deficit of US$434 million in the first five months of the year.

New credit to develop critical urban infrastructure in Vietnam

The World Bank Board of Executive Directors on June 11 approved a US$194.36 million credit to help four secondary cities in Vietnam build critically-needed municipal infrastructure and strengthen urban planning.

The Dynamic Cities Integrated Development Project aims to increase access to improved urban services in four urban centers of Ky Anh (Ha Tinh Province), Tinh Gia (Thanh Hoa Province), Hai Duong (Hai Duong Province), and Yen Bai (Yen Bai Province).

Approximately 200,000 residents are expected to benefit directly from project activities, of which more than half are women. In Vietnam, secondary cities are broadly defined as cities with populations ranging from 100,000 to 500,000.

The project will help reduce flood risks, improve sanitation, reduce travel times on new and improved roads, and develop high-quality public spaces. The project will also improve connectivity to Industrial Parks, Export Processing Zones, commercial establishments, and tourist attractions, benefiting workers and merchants as well as visitors.

These improvements in turn are expected to help boost productivity, enable exports, create more jobs, and help generate sustained economic growth.

“Secondary cities are set to play an increasingly important role in Vietnam’s growth poles through efficient movement of goods, people, services, and information.” said Ousmane Dione, World Bank Country Director for Vietnam.

“These four selected cities have demonstrated significant potential to become dynamic economic hubs at the provincial and regional levels. This operation would help to fill the infrastructure gap by providing much-needed financing to deliver quality services with lessons and best practices gained from World Bank engagements in other cities around the world,” he said.

A major problem in these cities is the uneven access to basic services, including drainage systems, wastewater collection and treatment, and road networks. This has resulted in increasing traffic congestion, flooding, and the deterioration or lack of public spaces.

In addition, all four cities are either located along the coastline or in mountainous areas, making them vulnerable to disaster risks and the impacts of climate change.

The Project helps address these problems with both structural and non-structural support, including a series of infrastructure investments in each subproject city, and technical assistance to strengthen the capacities of the cities to adopt a comprehensive and integrated urban planning approach that links physical development to long-term socio-economic strategies, climate change adaptation, and disaster risk management plans.

The total cost of the project is US$276.17 million, of which US$194.36 million comes from International Development Association (IDA).

Seminar looks to find best waste treatment model for Vietnamese localities

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment’s Vietnam Environment Administration (VAE) organised a seminar in Ho Chi Minh City on June 12, selecting a waste treatment model that suitable for Vietnam’s development conditions.

According to VEA deputy general director Nguyen Hung Thinh, fast-growing economy and population growth pose great challenges in waste management and treatment.

Urban citizens dump about 38,000 tonnes of waste per day while the amount generated in rural areas is 32,000 tonnes, he said, stressing that only 85 percent of the garbage is treated in cities and some 40-50 percent in rural localities.

As a lack of proper solutions to the problem is harming the environment, Thinh called sector, branches and localities to apply advanced technologies as well as enhance technology transfer between domestic and foreign firms to better treat waste.

Park Jung-jun, deputy director of the Republic of Korea’s Ministry of Environment’s Environmental Industry and Economy Division, stressed that the RoK has overcome various environmental issues, and it has developed the world’s leading technologies for waste treatment.

The RoK is able to provide a wide range of environmental equipment and solutions which suit conditions in each country, he said, adding that the country has operated 377 environmental projects in 82 countries worldwide, including Vietnam.

Park said in the coming time, the RoK will boost international cooperation in the sector, supporting developing countries with their environmental improvement plans by inviting experts to study RoK’s waste treatment models, and providing training courses for Vietnamese officials and experts.

Meanwhile, Mai Huy Tan, director of the Vientam-Germany Bridge Ltd, said that Germany’s INTEC-Thermolytic Cracking Process (TCP) technology can treat all kinds of waste without classification at source. Besides, the belt chain can work more than 30 years and does not cause any harm to the environment.

The seminar was held on the sidelines of the 11th International Exhibition on Environmental Technology, Energy and Environmentally-friendly Products (ENTECH Vietnam 2019) at the Saigon Exhibition and Convention Centre (SECC) in HCM City's District 7, which takes place from June 12-14.

Vietnam international commercial mediation centre debuts

The Vietnam International Commercial Mediation Centre (VICMC), the first of its kind set up under a license of the Ministry of Justice, has made its debut.

As a member of the Vietnam Society of International Law (VSIL), the VICMC is established and operates for non-profit purposes. It aims to bring another approach to non-litigation settlement of commercial disputes among businesses and investors.

At the launching ceremony, Deputy Minister of Justice Dang Hoang Oanh spoke highly of efforts of and coordination among related ministries, sectors and organisations in the establishment of the centre.

She hoped that the VICMC and its members would make greater efforts to be professional, independent and fair in mediation activities, contributing to improving the business environment in Vietnam.

The Ministry of Justice will accompany the VICMC in its activities in particular and mediation activities in Vietnam in general, she affirmed.

In addition to mediation activities, the VICMC will perform its social responsibility through mediation training, study and promotion of mediation activities in Vietnam.

Japanese-invested gypsum factory built in Ba Ria-Vung Tau

Yoshino Gypsum Vietnam Co., Ltd began construction on a 50 million USD gypsum factory in Phu My town in the southern province of Ba Ria - Vung Tau on June 13.

Speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony, Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Nguyen Thanh Long expressed his belief that the factory will help improve local production technology and generate jobs for locals.

The factory will provide gypsum products that meet Japanese standards of quality for the construction material market in Vietnam, he said.

Ba Ria – Vung Tau will continue improving its business environment and facilitate the operation of businesses, he affirmed.

Sudo Eisaku, Chairman and CEO of Yoshino Gypsum Vietnam Co., Ltd, said the project is wholly-owned by Yoshino Gypsum of Japan.

It is expected to be put into operation in December 2020. Yoshino Gypsum will apply the most advanced Japanese technologies to produce gypsum products for the Vietnamese market.

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