BUSINESS NEWS 19/7

Ministry asked to speed up public investment disbursement

BUSINESS NEWS 19/7

The Government has asked the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) to focus on removing difficulties and speeding up the progress of public investment disbursement.

In Resolution No. 50/NQ-CP issued recently, the Government requested the MPI to promptly finalise the allocation and adjustment of public investment plan, while cutting down capital for projects with slow disbursement to increase capital for other projects, and strengthening online bidding.

Each ministry, sector and localities must form a working group to inspect and define the responsibility of individuals and collectives in slow disbursement of public investment, according to the resolution.

The Government also asked the MPI to work with other ministries, sectors and localities to review and update the growth scenarios for each quarter and the whole year as well as each sector, thus giving suitable directions.

Heads of ministries, ministry-level agencies and the People’s Committees of centrally-run cities and provinces were asked to give specific solutions to existing problems and call for the involvement of the whole political system in completing the set tasks and create breakthrough in their area and locality.

The State Bank of Vietnam must monitor and analyse the impacts of the world financial and monetary market for the deployment of flexible monetary policies, thus controlling inflation and stabilise macro-economy.

The central bank was asked to create favourable conditions for enterprises and people to get loans for production and business, while strengthening the application of cashless payment and tackling bad debts.

Vietnam Airlines plans to push for organizational restructuring

Vietnam Airlines plans to push for organizational restructuring in the second half of this year, according to its business performance report for the first half, released on July 16.

The national flag carrier expects to complete its 20 narrow-body Airbus A321neo fleet, take delivery and operate the first three wide-body Boeing 787-10s out of an order of eight, and finalize its investment plan for 50 more narrow-body aircraft in the 2021-2025 period.


In the first half, the Vietnam Airlines Group (including Vietnam Airlines, Jetstar Pacific, and VASCO) reported VND51.662 trillion ($2.2 billion) in consolidated revenue, up 5.5 per cent year-on-year, and VND1.650 trillion ($70.8 million) in pre-tax consolidated profit, or 30 per cent higher than planned.

Vietnam Airlines earned VND38.328 trillion ($1.6 billion) in revenue, up 5.8 per cent year-on-year, and VND1.787 trillion ($76.6 million) in pre-tax profit, up 21.8 per cent year-on-year and 13.6 per cent higher than planned.

It safely carried over 13.9 million passengers, a 2 per cent increase year-on-year, and more than 180,000 tons of cargo, up 1.6 per cent, on 73,650 flights. Its on-time performance (OTP), averaging 90 per cent, remained among the highest globally.

Demand-responsive load factors led to significant fuel savings and higher seat utilization of 80.3 per cent. Thanks to its operational efficiency, the Vietnam Airlines Group continued to spearhead the local aviation market, carrying approximately 51 per cent of the aggregate passenger volume.

Having boosted its charter capital to more than VND14.182 trillion ($608.6 million), Vietnam Airlines had its shares (HVN) officially listed on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange (HoSE) on May 7. The Group also convened an Annual General Meeting of Shareholders and paid cash dividends to shareholders.

It also finalized key business projects, such as an organizational restructuring plan for the 2021-2025 period, a fleet development plan for 2021-2025 with a vision towards 2030, and an investment policy on 50 narrow-body aircraft in the 2021-2025 period, all of which have been submitted to the State Capital Management Committee for feedback.

Vietnam Airlines has been certified as a four-star airline for the fourth consecutive year, having successfully met the rigorous rating criteria of Skytrax. Its areas rated 4.5-5 stars increased by 16 per cent against 2016, when it first received the four-star certificate. Meeting 85 per cent of the four- and five-star criteria is a stepping stone for the carrier to become Vietnam’s first five-star airline after 2020.

Motorbike sales continue falling

Motorbike sales in the second quarter of this year dropped by 4.39% on-year, according to the Vietnam Association of Motorcycle Manufacturers (VAMM).

The association reported that its five members Yamaha Vietnam, Piaggio Vietnam, SYM Vietnam, Honda Vietnam and Suzuki Vietnam saw total sales of 749,516 vehicles between March and June, down 4.39% against the same period of last year.

This was the second consecutive quarter that motorbike sales fell.

In the first quarter of this year, 753,934 motorbikes were sold in Vietnam, down 6.13% on-year.

In the first half of this year, the total motorbike sales were estimated at 1.5 million vehicles, equal to 8,300 sold each day on average.

Honda Vietnam dominated the domestic motorbike market with 74%, followed by Yamaha Vietnam, Piaggio Vietnam, SYM Vietnam and Suzuki Vietnam.

Despite the decline, experts still said that due to Vietnam typical urban planning and poor quality public transport, motorbikes would continue to be the major means of transportation.

A study done by Germany-based Dalia Research in 2017 indicated that Vietnam tops the world in the number of people using motorbikes for daily transportation. It said 79% of Vietnamese use motorbikes for commuting, while the global average is just 10% globally.

Vietnam, Laos foster cooperation in deposit insurance

The Deposit Insurance of Vietnam (DIV) and the Depositor Protection Fund of Laos (DPF) have held talks to review their cooperation last year and exchange ideas for the future partnership.

The DIV delegation was led by Deputy Director General Vu Van Long while the Lao side was headed by DPF Director General Sengdaovy Vongkhamsao.

The two sides reviewed results of cooperation over the past year and discussed a plan for future cooperation as well as amendments to their signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

The DIV shared experience with the DPF in coordinating and implementing joint works with the World Bank and updated the other side on results of partnership with the WB last year.

The DPF wanted to learn from the DIV’s experience in capital management, deposit data collection, management and arrangement of information data and internal network systems, and human resource management.

The DPF suggested the two sides continue exchange experience in deposit insurance in 2020 with focus on exchange of data and supervision of their member banks following the International Association of Deposit Insurers (IADI) Core Principles for Effective Deposit Insurance Systems, for example, Cross-border Issues.

The DPF also collaborated with the DIV to organise a workshop on managing deposit protection funds and building people’s awareness with speakers from the DIV.

Government asks for measures to restructure industrial sector

The Government has asked for drastic measures to review and choose suitable foreign-invested projects, while applying solutions to attract investment and technology transfer from world leading firms with environmentally friendly high technologies.

According to Resolution No. 50/NQ-CP, the Government requested the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) to work harder to transform the structure of the industrial sector towards higher ratio of processing and supporting industry, with greater attention to spare part and accessory production.

The MoIT should collaborate with relevant ministries, sectors and agencies to strengthen State management to prevent avoidance of trade defence measures and origin frauds, while tightening the issuance of certificates of origin.

At the same time, strict disciplines should be applied to handle violations in Vietnamese-origin claims.

The Government ordered the ministry to increase communications to popularize opportunities and challenges from free trade agreements that Vietnam has signed, especially the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), and the EU-Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA).

The ministry was requested to coordinate with other ministries and sectors to finalise procedures, enabling the National Assembly to approve the EVFTA and EVIPA at the eight session scheduled to take place later this year.

Ministry asked to speed up public investment disbursement

The Government has asked the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) to focus on removing difficulties and speeding up the progress of public investment disbursement.

In Resolution No. 50/NQ-CP issued recently, the Government requested the MPI to promptly finalise the allocation and adjustment of public investment plan, while cutting down capital for projects with slow disbursement to increase capital for other projects, and strengthening online bidding.

Each ministry, sector and localities must form a working group to inspect and define the responsibility of individuals and collectives in slow disbursement of public investment, according to the resolution.

The Government also asked the MPI to work with other ministries, sectors and localities to review and update the growth scenarios for each quarter and the whole year as well as each sector, thus giving suitable directions.

Heads of ministries, ministry-level agencies and the People’s Committees of centrally-run cities and provinces were asked to give specific solutions to existing problems and call for the involvement of the whole political system in completing the set tasks and create breakthrough in their area and locality.

The State Bank of Vietnam must monitor and analyse the impacts of the world financial and monetary market for the deployment of flexible monetary policies, thus controlling inflation and stabilise macro-economy.

The central bank was asked to create favourable conditions for enterprises and people to get loans for production and business, while strengthening the application of cashless payment and tackling bad debts.

Winners of Vietnam Tourism Awards 2019 honoured

Vietnam's top tourism awards have been handed out in Hanoi, honouring organisations, enterprises and individuals.

The Vietnam Tourism Awards presentation ceremony on July 15 was attended by Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam, also head of the State Steering Committee on Tourism, and Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyen Ngoc Thien, among others.

Over the past 20 years, the awards have contributed to improving the quality of tourism services, building the national tourism brand, and developing tourism into a spearhead economic sector, said Nguyen Trung Khanh, Direct General of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT).

Tour providers, travel enterprises, hotels, airlines, automobile carriers, restaurants and entertainment and tourist sites were honoured.

In addition, tourist stops, golf courses, tourism investors, training establishments of human resources in tourism and media agencies were won awards.

The top 10 five-star hotels included Intercontinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort, Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi, JW Mariotte Hotel Hanoi, Four Seasons, The Nam Hai and Ben Thanh Rex Hotel.

Top five entertainment tourist sites honoured were Sun World Ha Long Park (Quang Ninh), Sun World Ba Na Hills (Da Nang), Vinpearl Land Phu Quoc (Kien Giang), Dam Sen Cultural Park (HCM City) and Bao Son Paradise Park (Hanoi).

This is the first time the Vietnam Tourism Awards honoured agencies, with Vietnam Television, VnExpress.net, Vietnam Journey Channel (Radio Voice of Vietnam), Culture newspaper (Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism), and Vietnamplus.vn (Vietnam News Agency) scooping gongs.

Vietnam – good land for major groups

Commitments to provide fair and equal treatment as well as protection for investors of both sides in the freshly signed EU-Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA) are expected to help Vietnam attract major groups.

In a recent interview with the Vietnam News Agency, PhD Phan Huu Thang, former Director of the Foreign Investment Agency under the Ministry of Planning and Investment, said the EVIPA was signed at the same time as the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA).

The EVFTA’s commitments on trade and services are stronger than World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules and those in other deals. For example, seven years after the agreement takes effect, 99.2 percent of tariff lines will be removed, helping promote investment from the EU and other countries into Vietnam, he said.

In addition, Vietnam has committed to providing better conditions for the EU in professional services, finance, telecommunications, and transportation as well as the fields of the bloc’s strengths like manufacturing, clean energy and renewable energy to attract attention from European investors, he added.

Compared to other agreements on investment protection and promotion Vietnam has signed with EU member nations, the EVIPA will help Vietnam achieve a balance between attracting investment and protecting national interests.

The EVIPA supplements some regulations to ensure the right to adjust policies of the investment receiving country, especially policies on public health protection, environmental safety, consumers and cultural diversity, he said.

The signing of the EVIPA is a big triumph in the international economic, political and investment ties of Vietnam, helping increase the country’s position in the global arena and boost investment from the EU and elsewhere, Thang stressed.

He added that if Vietnamese businesses could optimise opportunities from the EVFTA and EVIPA, they would be successful in working with EU investors.

Vietnam should redouble its efforts to improve the investment environment and legal system as well as policies related to investment, businesses, land and planning, while pushing ahead with administrative reforms and improving public services, he said.

The country should build a national action programme to implement the agreements to increase the quality of foreign investment into Vietnam, he added.

Potential risks for exports to U.S.

Vietnam’s exports to the United States have recently soared, bringing about opportunities to both gain more market shares in the states and potential risks.

Under the impact of the U.S.-China trade war, Chinese goods are subject to high U.S. tariffs, leaving room for enterprises from other countries, including Vietnam, to penetrate the U.S. market. At present, Chinese leather products, shoes and handbags are not yet put in the group of commodities subject to a 25% U.S. tariff. However, Diep Thanh Kiet, vice chairman of the Vietnam Leather, Shoe and Handbag Association (Lefaso), said many big international footwear companies have contacted Lefaso members for a shift of U.S.-bound orders from China. Vietnam currently exports US$4 billion worth of footwear to the U.S. after China, with some US$15 billion.

The woodwork industry, which generates export revenue of more than US$8 billion for Vietnam, has also experienced visible growth in exports to the U.S. The latest report by Forest Trends shows that woodwork exports to the U.S. have increased strongly, especially since mid-2018 when the U.S.-China trade tension flared up.

Last year, Vietnam’s woodwork exports to the U.S. reached US$3.6 billion, up nearly 30% from 2017. In the first four months of this year, the figure is nearly US$1.4 billion, 1.4 times higher than the year-earlier period. To Xuan Phuc, an analyst from Forest Trends, has forecast that if this growth momentum continues, Vietnam will become the seventh largest woodwork exporter to the states this year, rising from its current 12th position.

The footwear and woodwork are two of the many industries of Vietnam which can have an opportunity to penetrate further into the U.S. market. According to the calculation by Associate Professor and Dr. To Trung Thanh from the National Economics University, the goods overlapping (the similarity in the export structures of countries) of Vietnam and China in the U.S. grew fast in the period 2010-2018. The overall overlapping index increased from 14.51 in 2000-2002 to 42.02 in 2010-2018. The indexes for manufactured and processed exports in the respective periods are 19.25 and 40.43.

A report by the General Statistics Office shows that the U.S. is the largest market for Vietnam’s exports in the first five months of this year, generating an export revenue of US$22.6 billion, up 28% year-on-year. Some exports with the highest growth are smart phones and parts, with 109.2%; electronics, computers and parts 58.4%; and textiles and garments 9.8%.

Exports from Vietnam to the states have increased rapidly since 2010. The total exports in 2018 reached US$47.53 billion, more than triple the figure in 2010 (US$14 billion). 

Potential risks

Kiet said the shift of orders from China to Vietnam would help the footwear industry select appropriate products and improve the quality of local production. However, the production capacity of Vietnamese footwear enterprises is small, equivalent only to the same of Guangdong Province in China; so it’s difficult to receive a wave of orders from U.S. customers. He cautioned against a bad scenario where Chinese enterprises will set up factories in Vietnam and compete directly with local businesses in labor and land, thus causing disadvantages for their local counterparts.

Apart from direct competition with local enterprises, the fresh investment from China may put Vietnam into the radar of the U.S. administration.

Assoc. Prof. To Trung Thanh noted that Vietnam’s exports to the U.S. would face three major risks.

The first risk is the origin of goods.

The second risk is the unpredictable policies and protection measures of the Trump administration, which will increase risks for Vietnamese exports to the U.S. The U.S. administration has set many strict regulations for imports. Besides general regulations, each state has its own rule for goods standards.

The third risk is the fall in external demand as an indirect impact from the trade war. With the instability in the global investment and trade trends, the production chains may be affected, and even be disrupted in the phases in Vietnam.

Phuc said to avoid risks, enterprises should be transparent in their production and trading activities, especially with the input materials, as well as ensure sufficient conditions for the origin of exports to the U.S. and evidences for the goods origin in case of inspection.

In addition, enterprises should develop product quality assurance systems like the food safety system to cope with rising non-tariff barriers. For the U.S. market, they should study carefully business information, regulations and practices as well as trade partners before embarking on export activities. Most importantly, it’s necessary to diversify the export markets to better withstand unpredictable risks from the U.S.-China trade war.

FDI’s most profitable sector in 2017: White Book

Foreign direct investment (FDI) enterprises made more than VND384 trillion in profit in 2017, accounting for 43.8% of the total pretax profit of all enterprises in Vietnam, according to the White Book on Vietnamese businesses, launched on July 10 by the Ministry of Planning and Investment.

Nguyen Bich Lam, general director of the General Statistics Office, said that all enterprises reported a combined pretax profit of VND876.7 trillion in 2017, up 23.1% against 2016.

Following the FDI sector, non-State-owned businesses generated VND291.6 trillion in profit, up 55% year-on-year and making up one-third of the total.

Meanwhile, State-run firms were least profitable in 2017, earning nearly VND201 trillion. The State sector also posted the lowest profit growth, at 1.8%.

As for the return on assets (ROA), FDI companies reported impressive business results, with ROA reaching 7%, well above enterprises’ average of 2.9%. Meanwhile, the respective rates of State-owned and non-State-owned enterprises were 2.2% and 1.8%.

FDI firms also had a high return on equity (ROE) of 18.1%, while the ROE of State-owned businesses was 11.4% and the remainder, 6%.

The White Book also includes information on the contribution of enterprises to the State budget, but the information has yet to be disclosed.

However, according to economic expert Bui Trinh, non-State-owned enterprises earned low revenue and profit but contributed the most to the State budget. They accounted for nearly half of the corporate tax revenue in 2016.

Meanwhile, enterprises contributed 28% to the State budget, and FDI firms, 26%.

Thus, tax policies were not preferential for non-State-owned enterprises.

This is the first edition of the annual White Book on Vietnamese businesses, which is intended to take stock of enterprises active in Vietnam in terms of sector, business model and location.

The Government, ministries, agencies and localities can use it to draw up strategies, action plans and policies to ensure the sustainable development of enterprises.

The White Book will be made available on the portal of the Ministry of Planning and Investment on July 22 and the print edition will come out on August 1.

Alibaba’s 29 property projects under probe

The Ministry of Public Security has written to the southern province of Dong Nai asking for documents involving 29 property projects developed by local firm Alibaba Group as part of an investigation into these projects.

Alibaba has reportedly offered land in 29 projects in Dong Nai Province over the last two years, with 27 projects in Long Thanh District, one in Nhon Trach District and one in Xuan Loc District, the local media reported.

Alibaba was denounced for dividing agricultural land, land for traffic infrastructure and land owned by residents in the province into smaller lots, and selling them without proper documents. Meanwhile, the Dong Nai government confirmed that it did not issue any decisions to hand over these land lots to Alibaba and is coordinating with the Ministry of Public Security to investigate the case.

Last year, the authorities of Dong Nai Province and Long Thanh District received many complaints from Alibaba’s customers, accusing the firm of cheating them in the sale of land lots in Dong Nai. The real estate firm later refunded its customers as required by the provincial government.

In 2017, the HCMC government prohibited Alibaba from getting involved in projects in the TayBac Urban Area in Cu Chi District, where it claimed to be the investor of some of the projects, without licenses from the city.

Phu Quoc preferred for tourism projects in Kien Giang

Phu Quoc Island is the most popular destination for tourism investment in the Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang, attracting 256 of the province’s 300 tourism projects.

 

The province attracted VND334.9 trillion pledged in 300 tourism projects covering over 10,600 hectares of land over the first six months of 2019, according to statistics on the province’s six-month performance, published by the Kien Giang Department of Tourism on its website.

Of the total 300 projects across the province, 43 are under construction and 68 others are operational.

The statistics also show that on Phu Quoc Island alone, total registered capital of VND327.4 trillion has been pledged into 256 projects, covering 9,700 hectares of land. Of these projects, 38 covering 3,525 hectares of land are under construction and 40 others costing a total of VND11.7 trillion have been put into operation.

The island off Kien Giang Province attracted most of the tourist arrivals in the province in the six-month period. Some 97% of international visitors travelled to Phu Quoc Island.

The majority of the tourism revenue earned by the province came from Phu Quoc Island, which contributed over VND3.8 trillion and welcomed 2.26 million visitors in the first six months of this year.

Between January and June, Kien Giang Province welcomed 4.3 million local and international tourists, earning VND4.3 trillion in tourism revenue, surging by 42.6% year-on-year.

A 2019 investment promotion seminar is expected to take place in Rach Gia City on July 29. At the event, the province will call for investment for several projects, including 14 involving the tourism sector, but none of them will be developed on Phu Quoc Island.

Besides this, the province will call on investors to develop a wastewater treatment project worth up to VND2.6 trillion in Duong Dong Town on Phu Quoc Island.

Ben Tre starts building first hospital with heliport

Construction of the first hospital to have a heliport in Ben Tre Province, which is the second branch of Ben Tre General Hospital, officially started on July 14, sources said.

Speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony for the hospital, which is funded by Pacific Healthcare Group and Nguyen Dinh Chieu Hospital, Truong Van Toan, general director of the group and director of Ben Tre General Hospital as a member of the group, noted that the second branch is the first in the province to be built according to international hospital standards.

The hospital, covering 12,675 square meters, is expected to have 450 in-patient beds and cost VND2.25 trillion, Toan said, adding that the hospital will serve an estimated 2,000 patients per day.

The hospital is designed to have one basement, 11 floors and a rooftop heliport, which is expected to serve rescue missions and emergency services, Toan stated.

When it is put into operation in September 2021, a team of doctors from Nguyen Dinh Chieu Hospital will work at the new hospital, meeting 30% of its personnel requirements.

“Pacific Healthcare Group will support the hospital with training and recruitment for the remaining 70% of human resource requirements,” Toan remarked.

Apart from the manpower aspect, the second branch of Ben Tre General Hospital will be fully equipped with modern facilities to keep pace with the highest standards for examination and treatment services.

At the event, Cao Van Trong, chairman of Ben Tre Province, proposed the investors in the project strictly apply their commitments regarding the construction process and ensure the progress of the project.

Besides this, he asked provincial departments and agencies to create the most favorable conditions for investors to complete their projects.

Smartphone use, internet access critical to building ‘smart’ HCM City

To achieve smart-city status, at least 90 percent of residents in Ho Chi Minh City should be using a smartphone by 2022, a top official said at a communications conference held in the city on July 16.

Nguyen Manh Hung, Minister of Information and Communications, said that smartphones were being used by only 60 percent of people in the city that leads the country’s telecommunications industry.

To improve the city’s economy and solve its urgent problems, the use of new technologies must be promoted more aggressively by the city authority, he said.

The city should also aim to have all households connected to the internet so that a foundation for an e-government can be built, he added.

Hung said the city would have 5G internet available in research areas, industrial parks and universities by 2020 and throughout the entire city by 2022.

“We cannot develop a smart city and build an e-government unless all people have smartphones and access to the internet,” he said.

In an earlier meeting, Hung called upon local technology giants Viettel, Vingroup and FPT to manufacture 5G devices by 2020.

He said the country had an ambitious goal to produce 5G equipment to serve local demands and for export.

Speaking at the conference, Nguyen Thien Nhan, Secretary of the HCM City Party Committee, said that city leaders had met with businesses to discuss cooperative efforts to build smart urban areas and creative urban areas.

The city has given priority to growing in a sustainable manner and providing full public services to residents.

He said a smart city would improve the living environment and economy, as well as reduce pollution.

“More importantly, with a smart city, residents will play a critical role in supervising Government activities,” he said.

Nhan said that HCM City had already launched major components for smart urban areas, including the first phase of a common database and plan, a simulation and socio-economic-strategy forecasting centre, an information security centre, and e-government.

The database will include information about socio-economic development policies that can be accessed by businesses, citizens, managers and investors.

Nhan said that leaders and managers should be less reactive and more proactive by forecasting and preventing problems before they occur.

Among the initiatives, smart systems for traffic management, parking lots, toll collections and environmental management will provide updates on air, water, waste and noise parameters.

With a population of 10 million, the city should choose one key area to develop smart urban area first and then develop other areas later, he said.

Nhan recommended that the city focus on a new “innovative urban area” in District 9 in the city’s eastern part.

The eastern part of the city contributes 30 percent to the city’s GDP. The area has the highest density of high-tech training, research and application centres in the city.

Digital transformation

On July 15, the minister also had a meeting with representatives of businesses in HCM City, at which he said city businesses needed to make the digital transformation to remain competitive and enhance their value.

He said to encourage them to change from traditional to digital enterprises, the Government offers incentives such as permits to import technology products for research and development, tax breaks for IT experts and helping create links between businesses and universities to ensure a flow of high-quality human resources

Digital transformation is the process of changing from traditional models by applying new technologies such as big data, the internet of things and cloud computing.

"The transformation does not require businesses to invest in infrastructure but only to change their mindset," Hung said.

Digitisation changes operational and leadership methods as well as work processes and corporate culture, and could help enterprises increase their revenue by 30 percent while cutting costs by 30 percent, according to experts.

But not all companies in Vietnam are ready for it. The factors that preclude companies from digitising include lack of skills and resources and cybersecurity.

Dong Thap province taps into community-based tourism

Community-based tourism is a type of tourism bringing sustainable economic development benefits to Dong Thap province, which has been renowned for spectacular lush tropical orchards, gorgeous fields of lotus blossoms, and amazing dishes.

According to Vice Director of the provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism Ngo Quang Tuyen, community-based tourism model has created a highlight in the local tourism, making the province become the third most attractive locality in the Mekong Delta region.

Also, it contributed greatly to the local tourism revenue, which stood at estimated 500 billion USD in the first half of 2019, up 25 percent year on year.

Deemed as the land of lotuses, visitors to Dong Thap province could not miss visiting the Dong Sen Thap Muoi eco tourist site in Thap Muoi district to take a boat trip around immense lotus ponds to enjoy the beauty of lotuses in full bloom. Besides, they will be certainly excited about going fishing in the middle of the vast lotus fields, and tasting local staples made from lotus.

Earlier, there were only five families offering tourism services at the site; and the number now nearly doubles, and their lotus fields greet average more than 10,000 visitors a month.

Meanwhile, Cao Lanh city has already developed culinary eco-tourism, education eco-tourism and resort tourism at Tan Thuan Dong tourism village. Two families in Tan Thuan Dong commune have spent more than 800 million VND improving infrastructure and landscapes over the past two years, making the village qualified to serve both domestic and foreign visitors. Since its opening, the village has hosted around 25,000 arrivals, including 3,000 foreigners.

Seeing the potential of community-based tourism, farmers in Lai Vung district have opened their citrus orchards for tourism. They have gained some 24 billion VND from greeting over 75,000 visitors so far.

However, Tuyen described Sa Dec city as the most successful developer of community-based tourism. The city is oriented to become the flower city of the southern region with pictresque flower gardens, and a flower museum with hundreds of flower kinds which are famous both inside and outside the country.

Such flower gardens as Hai Cao, Happy Land Hung Thy and Ngoc Lan, Hoa Ech Homestay and Bamboo House Homestay are attractive destinations, according to Tuyen.

Furthermore, feasting on various kinds of cake made from rice powder is a fantastic experience in Tan Phu Dong village.

Tuyen said community-based tours lured a great number of visitors to Sa Dec. Last year, the city welcomed over 1 million arrivals in total.

Furthermore, several destinations have become popular among tourists like Homestay Tu Ca Linh in Tam Nong district, Tam Viet clean vegetable and organic paddy field cooperative in Hong Ngu district, and honeydew farm in Thanh Binh district.

The province has developed tourism in tandem with promoting local agriculture and cultural values.-

PM asks for acceleration of non-stop toll collection implementation

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has issued an official dispatch asking for the speeding up of the implementation of automated non-stop toll collection on all build-operation-transfer (BOT) highways across the country with a deadline of end of the year.

The PM said the Ministry of Transport and other ministries and agencies have actively deployed automated toll collection and gained positive results. However, the process remained slow, failing to meet requirements.

In a move to soon apply automated non-stop toll collection nationwide and create favourable conditions for drivers as well as ensure transparency in toll collection, the PM asked the Ministry of Transport and People’s Committees of localities to promptly take measures to speed up automated toll collection following the National Assembly Standing Committee’s resolution and the Prime Minister’s decision and directive on the issue.

All toll stations nationwide must apply automated non-stop toll collection before December 31, he said.

Toll collection of BOT projects failing to apply the automated non-stop toll collection as requested will be suspended.

The Ministry of Transport was tasked to increase inspection and supervision, ensuring smooth operation of automated non-stop toll collection systems. The ministry was responsible for supporting BOT investors and toll tax collectors in applying the model.

The Ministry of Transport should review and propose supplements and amendments to the Prime Minister’s decision dated 2017 on regulations implementing the automated model to ensure the regulations meet current context.

The PM asked the Ministry of Information and Communications to increase information dissemination to raise drivers’ awareness of the automated toll collection and related regulations.

The Ministry of Transport was required to review the application of the non-stop toll collection system and report results to the Prime Minister in January, 2020.

In order to pay a toll through the automated system, automobile owners will be granted an e-tag free of charge along with a toll payment account.

The cards are required to be placed on the front window of the automobile, and when the vehicle passes a toll collection lane, a Radio Frequency Identification system installed at the toll station will activate a camera to photograph the vehicle’s plate number while reading the e-tag.

The toll will be deducted from the driver’s account and a text message will be sent to the account holder’s mobile phone.

More than 700,000 vehicles were given e-tags as of June, according to the Ministry of Transport.

Vietnam, Laos foster cooperation in deposit insurance

The Deposit Insurance of Vietnam (DIV) and the Depositor Protection Fund of Laos (DPF) have held talks to review their cooperation last year and exchange ideas for the future partnership.

The DIV delegation was led by Deputy Director General Vu Van Long while the Lao side was headed by DPF Director General Sengdaovy Vongkhamsao.

The two sides reviewed results of cooperation over the past year and discussed a plan for future cooperation as well as amendments to their signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

The DIV shared experience with the DPF in coordinating and implementing joint works with the World Bank and updated the other side on results of partnership with the WB last year.

The DPF wanted to learn from the DIV’s experience in capital management, deposit data collection, management and arrangement of information data and internal network systems, and human resource management.

The DPF suggested the two sides continue exchange experience in deposit insurance in 2020 with focus on exchange of data and supervision of their member banks following the International Association of Deposit Insurers (IADI) Core Principles for Effective Deposit Insurance Systems, for example, Cross-border Issues.

The DPF also collaborated with the DIV to organise a workshop on managing deposit protection funds and building people’s awareness with speakers from the DIV.

Switzerland helps Vietnam apply remote-sensing technology in rice production

The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) will provide non-refundable aid word 365,000 CHF (nearly 369,000 USD) for the project Remote Sensing-based Information and Insurance for Crops in Emerging Economies – third phase (RIICE 3).

An agreement to this effect was signed by the SDC and the Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) in Hanoi on July 17.

The funding, which accounts for 82 percent of the project’s total value, aims to carry out the final steps to integrate the RIICE into the MARD’s rice cultivation and production monitoring system.

Swiss Ambassador to Vietnam Beatrice Maser Mallor said domestic partners have applied cutting-edge technologies such as remote sensing and cloud computing to assist relevant sides in the rice production value chain.

With such technologies, agricultural agencies can promptly access accurate data, thus improving rice production efficiency and enhancing the management of natural disaster risks, she said.

MARD Deputy Minister Le Quoc Doanh said the project has helped Vietnam promote agricultural restructuring, especially in the context of climate change.

The overall aim of the project is to reduce the vulnerability of rice farmers in low-income countries in Asia and beyond.

The RIICE is implemented through a public-private-partnership between the German Development Agency (GIZ), the SDC, the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), Sarmap company and SwissRe.

The parties make use of remote sensing technologies to map and observe rice growth in selected regions in Asia (Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam).

Such information helps governments to make necessary provisions to meet potential food shortages given that rice is the most important food crop for most Asian countries.

Additionally, such information can help stakeholders involved in rice production to better manage the risks involved. A key option at hands for governments is to establish agricultural insurance solutions to protect rice smallholders. In the same way, the risks involved in agricultural lending by banks to rice smallholders can be reduced through insurance that protects the farmers’ loans against defaulting due to yield losses and thus trigger more investments in agricultural production.

Vincommerce to become leading retailer in Asia-Pacific

Vingroup Conglomerate’s retail arm, VinCommerce, aims to become one of the leading retailers in the Asia-Pacific via a cooperation deal with Australian-based XAct Solutions Company recently inked in Hanoi.

Both sides will work together to build an international-standard supply chain for VinCommerce with a wide range of advanced solutions. The project will start with the construction of six warehouses nationwide to preserve all products in VinCommerce system in accordance with international criteria.

The just-in-time delivery model will be set up, allowing the Vietnamese firm to provide products for its entire system of nearly 2,500 stores nationwide in an efficient manner.

Particularly, information technology will be key to the project’s success as big data will be deployed to manage goods supply.

Overall, the project should cut operating costs for VinCommerce, as well as bring to customers high-quality products at rational prices.

According to Bryon Patching, co-founder of XAct Solutions, theVinCommerce retail system is developing quickly and after completing its supply network, the firm will be able promote the retail business of the brands that it owns.

VinCommerce will be the first retailer in Vietnam to have a complete system, from operation and goods and asset management to optimisation of transportation methods, he said, adding that VinCommerce will have a competitive edge in Asia-Pacific.

Meanwhile, Vincommerce deputy director Le Thi Kim Thuy affirmed collaboration with XAct Solutions will help VinCommerce’s supply chain run in line with international standards.

This is part of the moves to sustainably develop VinCommerce, and bring practical benefits to Vietnamese consumers, she stressed.

Hanoi to host water supply, treatment technology exhibition

The premier exhibition on water supply and wastewater treatment technologies (VIETWATER 2019) will take place in Hanoi from July 24 to 26 at the Hanoi International Exhibition Center (ICE).

VIETWATER 2019 will occupy 3,500 square metres of exhibition area and welcome over 200 exhibitors from 30 nations and territories, with international group pavilions for Taiwan, the Republic of Korea, Thailand and China.

In addition, an international conference themed “Water Management towards Sustainable Development Goals” will be held on July 25, sponsored by the Vietnam Water Supply & Sewerage Association (VWSA) and the Vietnamese Ministry of Construction.

 
 
 
 
 
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