BUSINESS NEWS 28/8

Traditional taxi firms demand equal treatment with ride-hailing apps

BUSINESS NEWS 28/8


Traditional taxi companies have demanded that app-based taxis with less than nine seats should be treated the same as them to “ensure fairness, transparency and the same responsibilities towards customers.”

They made this proposal at a conference in HCM City on Aug 22.

If accepted by authorities, all vehicles will have to put up the sign ‘TAXI CAR’ on the car glass, list full information on the vehicle as prescribed and carry a ‘TAXI’ sign on the roof.

This recommendation has also been made in a draft decree by the Ministry of Transport on conditions for the automobile transport business.

Speaking at the meeting, Truong Dinh Quy, deputy general director of Vinasun Corporation, said: “Ride hailing firms like Grab did not comply with Decision 24 on the pilot scheme for ride-hailing services, resulting in violation of legal regulations governing ride-hailing transport operations.”

Huynh Thi Le Thuy, deputy general director of the Representative Office of the Ministry of Justice in HCM City, said it was vital to ensure cars booked through ride-hailing applications are managed in the same way as taxis.

It was also important to create a level playing field between traditional taxi firms and apps like Grab, she said.

“Vietnamese enterprises should not lose competition rights in the domestic market due to unreasonable regulations,” she said.

At the end of last year a HCM City court ordered Grab to pay VND4.8 billion (US$210,300) in compensation to Vinasun.

Vinasun blamed Grab as the sole reason for its earnings drop since its entry into Viet Nam.

The court also found Grab guilty of predatory pricing and abusing the transport ministry’s Decision 24 on piloting contracted passenger transportation.

Grab claimed to be a technology firm but Vinasun refuted this, saying it was a taxi company with a large number of drivers.

In Southeast Asia, the rise of ride-hailing companies like Grab and Go-Jek has shaken up urban transportation and caused traditional taxi operators to lose market share.

Flush with money and technology, ride-hailing innovators have been able to attract new users with convenience and low fares.

Grab came to Viet Nam in 2014. Competition has since become intense with several local players and Indonesia’s Go-Jek entering the fray.

The conference was not attended by Grab executives.

Other topics discussed at the event included technology application in inland waterway management and solutions to improve its efficiency and legal issues related to the application of digital technologies in aviation.

Implementation of regulations on foreigner management reviewed

The National Assembly’s Committee for Foreign Affairs hosted a conference in Hanoi on August 22 to review the implementation of legal policies on the management of foreigners in Vietnam.

A representative of the Ministry of Public Security said its authorized agencies approved the entry in Vietnam for more than 21.6 million foreigners from January 1, 2015 to December 31, 2018.

In the reviewed period, 209 people were denied entry in Vietnam, many of whom are members of reactionary and terrorist organisations abroad.

From February 1, 2017 to December 31, 2018, the ministry’s Immigration Department granted 422,928 e-visas to foreigners.

As many as 924 foreigners were granted permanent residence cards from January 1, 2015 to November 15, 2018, mainly in southern Dong Nai province (429) and Ho Chi Minh City (252).

According to the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, the number of foreign workers in Vietnam increased to 88,845 in 2018 from 72,172 in 2013.

Speaking at the conference, Head of the Party Central Committee’s Commission for External Relations Hoang Binh Quan said no country in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has such a big investment and trade environment as Vietnam.

He suggested revising the 15-day visa exemption policy because tourism is very developing nowadays and foreign travellers could stay for months, not only for several days.

The revision will help promote tourism growth and socio-economic development, he said.

Construction sector eyes 65 percent of trained personnel by 2020

The construction sector has expected that 65 percent of its workforce will be trained by 2020.

A survey showed that the number of construction workers who had attended college or vocational education only accounts for 11.8 percent, while the rate of high skilled workers only stands at 7 percent.

Although the number of trained workers has been on the rise, they have yet to meet the sector’s demand and there is a gap between their levels.

Experts pointed out that the fact is one of the reasons for low productivity, sluggish progress and poor quality of products, posing risks of reducing competitiveness both on domestic and foreign markets.

The construction sector’s demand for human resources is estimated to increase by 400,000-500,000 each year, bringing the total number to about 8-9 million in 2020.

President of the Vietnam Federation of Civil Engineering Association Tran Ngoc Hung said training programmes need to be revised to meet demands of the labour market and update new knowledge.

Vocational training establishments need to have policies and funds to improve their infrastructure to serve teaching activities, he added.

Quang Ninh begins construction of Ha Long-Cam Pha coastal road

The northeastern province of Quang Ninh on August 22 started the construction of a coastal road connecting its Ha Long and Cam Pha cities.

The project, which has a total investment of over 1.36 trillion VND (58.65 million USD) sourced from the local budget, is carried out between 2019 and 2020 as part of the provincial transport development plan through 2020 with a vision to 2030.

The road has a total length of 18.7km, including 10.2km passing through Cam Pha city.

It is designed to have four lanes for vehicles with a maximum speed of 60km per hour.

The road will help develop a chain of urban areas in the eastern area of Quang Ninh province.

It is also expected to attract domestic and foreign tourists to spiritual, resort and medical tourism sites in the province, especially popular destinations such as Ha Long Bay and Bai Tu Long Bay.

The management board of Quang Ninh transport construction investment projects - the investor of the coastal road - has so far completed land clearance for 3.6km among the total 18.7km.

Dong Nai works to create breakthrough in FDI attraction

The southern province of Dong Nai is completing its transport infrastructure and boosting administrative reform to improve local business climate as a measure to luring more foreign investors.

Currently, a series of key transport projects are underway in the locality, including the Long Thanh international airport, and the Dau Giay – Phan Thiet and Ben Luc – Long Thanh highways.

According to Ho Van Ha, Director of the provincial Planning and Investment, the province houses 35 industrial parks (IPs), of which 32 have been put into operation with occupation rate reaching 78.5 percent.

Dong Nai is home to 1,804 foreign-invested projects worth nearly 33 billion USD from 45 countries and territories, with the Republic of Korea, Taiwan (China) and Japan the top investors.

Ha said Dong Nai prioritises high-tech and environmentally friendly projects, while rejecting labour-intensive and low-tech ones.

The inflow of foreign direct investment (FDI) to Dong Nai topped 1.14 billion USD in the first seven months, or 114 percent of the 2019 target.

Statistics from the provincial management board of IPs showed a high FDI disbursement rate during the period at 107 percent, with 800 million USD disbursed.

The total FDI attraction and disbursement are projected to hit 2 billion USD and 1.5 billion USD for the entire year, respectively.

Vietnamese, Indian firms discuss trade, investment

Trade and investment ties between Vietnam and India are not commensurate with their potential, meaning there is still a lot of room for them to grow, the India-Vietnam Business Forum heard in Ho Chi Minh City on August 21.

A 12-member delegation from the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) led by Joseph Michael Kallivayalil, which is visiting Vietnam to explore opportunities for economic engagement, investment and trade, took part in the forum.

Vo Tan Thanh, Director of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI)’s HCM City branch, said the event, with the participation of leading Indian players in the field of infrastructure construction, information technology, aviation, renewable energy, pharmaceuticals, medical equipment and rubber, is a good opportunity for businesses from the two countries to acquire useful information about trade and investment relations between the two sides, and find business opportunities.

India and Vietnam are both dynamic and rapidly developing economies in Asia, he said, adding trade between the two countries reached 10.69 billion USD last year, a year-on-year increase of 40 percent and they target 15 billion USD by 2020.

Indian Ambassador to Vietnam Pranay Verma said Indian investments in Vietnam are worth around 1.7 billion USD, including investments routed through third countries. They are mostly in energy, mineral exploration, agro-processing, sugar manufacturing, agro-chemicals, IT and auto components.

The Indian government is encouraging Indian companies to invest in Vietnam, he said, adding that Indian has set up a project development fund with a corpus of five billion Indian rupees (80 million USD) for Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam to facilitate Indian investment and broaden the manufacturing base of Indian companies in the region.

Kallivayalil highlighted key areas in which businesses from the two countries could enhance cooperation like education, agriculture, manufacturing, electronics, logistics and construction equipment.

In education, for instance, there is a need to promote tie-ups between universities and academic institutions in the two countries for faculty, research and skill exchanges.

In manufacturing, he said that Vietnam offers tremendous opportunities in the manufacturing sector. India needs to properly understand its investment laws and taxation policies to facilitate investment from India.

There is a need to strengthen logistics services between the two countries. India can also access many products manufactured in third countries from Vietnam at competitive prices and with lesser transportation costs, he added.

The forum was followed by business-to-business meetings to enable a further exchange of information and cooperation opportunities.

Banks launch recruitment drives to prepare for year-end

Several banks have recently announced they would recruit a large number of personnel to meet their business expansion plans in the last quarter of the year - the busiest time for banks.

HDBank announced a plan to recruit 1,000 new staff for transaction offices and branches in Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi and 44 other cities and provinces nationwide. The positions to be filled are for individual and corporate customer relationship managers and consultants.

HDBank currently has about 6,200 employees at 285 transaction offices and branches nationwide, in addition to nearly 8,000 employees at its consumer finance subsidiary HD Saison.

A number of other banks will also have to step up recruitment from now to the year-end as they have announced plans to hire thousands of employees this year, but no significant progress has been made.

For example, ACB in March launched a nationwide effort to recruit 1,000 people for various positions in the bank’s business, operations and information technology divisions this year, but the number of the bank’s employees decreased by 168 people in the first half of this year.

The same move was seen at Nam A Bank, which said it would recruit 2,000 employees from managers to consultants in 2019 to expand the network and develop nationwide, but the number of personnel at the bank basically remained stable in the first six months according to the bank’s financial statements.

Earlier, in the first six months, many banks also recruited a large number of employees, such as Vietcombank with 1,136 new employees; TPBank, 682; MBBank, 739; and Techcombank, 529.

Industry insiders said banks have been expanding their networks and deploying new business activities, so demand for workers is growing.

BIDV, EXIM Thailand sign cooperation agreement

The Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV) and the Export-Import Bank of Thailand (EXIM Thailand) have signed a cooperation agreement.

Under the document, the two sides will step up collaboration in such potential spheres as project sponsorship, client introduction and service supply to clients of each other, international payment and financial sponsorship.

At the same time, they will exchange information about issues of their concern.

Thai Ambassador to Vietnam Tanee Sangrat expressed his hope that the agreement will effectively materialise cooperation transactions between the two sides as soon as possible.

The deal is also expected to help the two banks carry forward their strength, thus offering the best services to clients of both sides.

BIDV is the first Vietnamese bank to sign a cooperation agreement with EXIM Thailand.

Motorbike taxi drivers and transporters must have specific badges

The Hanoi Department of Transport has proposed that motorbike taxi drivers should wear badges while working.

The proposal is part of the regulations on taxi and transportation services that use two-wheeled and three-wheeled vehicles. The drivers of three-wheeled vehicles must be over 15 years old, healthy and thoroughly understand the traffic rules. Moreover, they must register with the local authorities and will be given a badge to operate.

Motorbike transporters must be over 16 years old to drive more than 50cc motorbikes. Having vehicle registration certificates and IDs on their person while working would be mandatory. The drivers must also prepare two helmets for them and their passengers.

In order to start a transportation business, certificate of business registration, permanent residence certificate or temporary residence certificate, a copy of the passenger and cargo transport registration are required. All businesses and drivers must apply for the badges issued by the ward and communal authorities.

The badge should be worn on the left chest of the drivers. The drivers must return the badge to the authorities if they do not work for over 30 days. If the badge is lost, the driver must report to the local authorities and the company to get guidance on how to apply for another badge.

The Department of Transport also issued many regulations regarding parking locations and how to use technology in the management system at companies.

The department suggested implementing the regulations starting from January 1, 2020.

Illegal foreign currency transactions rampant in Danang

Many shops in Han Market, Danang City, have been found to be illegally offering foreign currency trading for tourists.

A seller in Han Market received Thai baht from tourists without question. After being asked whether her shop trades in foreign currency, the seller denied the accusation and said that the tourists couldn't exchange the money. However, when a group of Chinese tourists arrived, the seller continued receiving the Chinese yuan. The shop even had a drawer full of foreign currency to give change to tourists.

Vo Minh, director of of the State Bank of Vietnam in Danang said in accordance with the regulations, only the Vietnam dong could be used for transactions inside Vietnam. Tourists must exchange their money into Vietnam dong at approved agencies and commercial banks.

"Most banks in Vietnam can exchange money for tourists. There are also 48 agencies that have been allowed to carry out foreign currencies exchanges at hotels, airports and entertainment areas," Minh said.

Shops that carried out transactions in foreign currencies were operating illegally and would face a hefty fine if they are caught. The Department of Tourist has issued guidance for tourists on how to exchange money when arriving in Vietnam. Minh said they had also raised this problem via the media.

Tiki acquires ticket selling startup

E-commerce firm Tiki has acquired ticketing startup Ticketbox to have a foot in Vietnam's entertainment industry as it seeks to attract more online shoppers.

The acquisition, announced Tuesday, was done by Tiki Investment, a subsidiary of Tiki established last year with a charter capital of VND250 billion ($10.8 million).

The deal, whose value was not revealed, came after Tiki chairman Tran Ngoc Thai Son took over the CEO chair of Ticketbox in July.

HCMC-based Tiki, the second most visited e-commerce website in Vietnam, estimates the country’s event ticket market to be worth $40 million this year, up 50 percent from last year, and the movie ticket market, $160 million.

This is the first time Tiki has bought a company.

In June it had announced plans to sponsor 100 music videos by Vietnam’s most popular artists to attract more e-commerce traffic.

Ticketbox, established in 2013, sells tickets online for concerts, musicals and conferences and partners with event management companies to organize concert.

The company plans to sell tickets for 5,000 events from now until January, and will begin selling movie tickets from November.

Binh Duong vows to facilitate Taiwanese investors

The southern province of Binh Duong will continue improving the local investment climate, focusing on accelerating administrative reforms and sharpening its investment competiveness in order to better facilitate foreign investors including those from Taiwan.

Vice chairman of the province’s People’s Committee Mai Hung Dung delivered this statement during a meeting with Taiwanese enterprises which are investing in the province on Wednesday.

Binh Duong will concentrate on perfecting infrastructure facilities, expanding industrial zones to provide investors with a sufficient land source besides improving the quality of the province’s personnel, Dung said.

At the same time, local authorities also want to learn about issued faced by enterprises to help them perform better.

During the meeting, representatives from Taiwanese firms outlined difficulties in recruiting workers as one of their biggest issues when investing in the province. That has not only affected these companies’ ability to fulfil orders but also caused difficulties for their expansion plans, they said.

The online newspaper baochinhphu.vn cited Wu Chun-ying, president of the Binh Duong-based Taiwan Business Association as saying that many member enterprises, especially ones operating in industrial zones, are having trouble seeking labourers.

These firms have encountered difficulties in both recruitment of unskilled workers and skilled workers, he said, adding that the labour shortages had pushed Taiwanese firms to increase wages for workers to easily recruit and retain them.

 

Answering these concerns, Deputy Director of the provincial Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Pham Van Tuyen said his department will help the firms find labourers in neighbouring localities, adding that Binh Duong’s centre for employment services has teamed up with similar ones in other localities to recruit workers for the firms.

In the long term, the department plans to focus more on improving skills for the workers to increase labour productivity, Tuyen noted.

Binh Duong now ranks third in the country in foreign direct investment attraction with more than 3,650 valid projects, worth a total of US$33.1 billion.

Among 64 countries and territories investing in the southern industrial hub, Taiwan is top with 843 projects, worth $5.53 billion. Most Taiwanese-financed projects operate in the fields of textile and garment, footwear, automobile support, healthcare, pharmaceuticals and food processing.

In the first seven months, Taiwanese enterprises have registered to inject $237 million in the province.

Viet Nam emerges as attractive destination for Australian investors

Viet Nam has emerged as an attractive destination for international investors including those from Australia, thanks to its cheap labour, young population, high education standards, and government policies which offer tax breaks and other incentives for foreign firms.

An article published in the Australian Financial Review said the Southeast Asian country, best known to Australians as a laid-back holiday destination, is now on the radar for big businesses, attracted by these advantages.

Wes Maas, a former South Sydney rugby league player who founded NSW-based construction materials, equipment and services company Maas Group, first saw the potential in Viet Nam several years ago, the article said.

From buying equipment from Viet Nam, he opened a plant, valued at A$315 million (US$220 million) in the country's south last month, recruiting 320 staff including 45 engineers.

Maas told the Australian Financial Review that the biggest attraction was finding a skilled workforce to pre-build, prepare and manufacture the underground mining equipment it exports out of Viet Nam around the world.

Another Australian firm – SunRice Group – also acquired a Vietnamese processing mill in the country's south last year and has established breeding programmes and works with local farmers to introduce more sustainable and advanced growing practices, according to the article.

The company said its 260,000 tonne mill in Viet Nam now plays a key role in the company's plans to increase global demand for its branded rice product.

Australian logistics giant Linfox also inaugurated a $23-million warehouse project earlier this year in the northern province of Bac Ninh after entering the market for 13 years.

Statistics from the Ministry of Planning and Investment's Foreign Investment Agency showed that Australian businesses had pumped more than $124 million into Viet Nam in the first seven months of 2019. That helped Australia rank 15th among 99 countries and territories investing in the country.

As of July 2019, Viet Nam was home to 465 Australia-financed projects with capital totalling more than $1.89 billion.

According to ANZ, Viet Nam accounts for 0.1 per cent of total Australian investment abroad.

Indian, Vietnamese firms discuss trade, investment

Trade and investment ties between Viet Nam and India are not commensurate with their potential, meaning there is still a lot of room for them to grow, the India-Viet Nam Business Forum heard in HCM City on Wednesday.

A visiting 12-member delegation from the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) led by Joseph Michael Kallivayalil, which is visiting Viet Nam to explore opportunities for economic engagement, investment and trade, took part in the forum.

Vo Tan Thanh, director of the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI)’s HCM City branch, said India and Viet Nam are both dynamic and rapidly developing economies in Asia.

Trade between the two countries has surged to reach US$10.69 billion last year, and they target $15 billion by 2020, he said.

Pranay Verma, India’s ambassador in Ha Noi, said Indian investments in Viet Nam are worth around $1.7 billion, including investments routed through third countries. They are mostly in energy, mineral exploration, agro-processing, sugar manufacturing, agro-chemicals, IT and auto components.

“Indian investment in Viet Nam is not significant in comparison to India’s cumulative outbound FDI stock that reached $155 billion in 2017.

“We therefore have significant potential that remains untapped.

“The Indian corporate sector has a growing interest in investing in and doing business with Viet Nam, both bilaterally and as a hub for reaching out to East and Southeast Asia.

“Our government is also encouraging Indian companies to invest in Viet Nam. We have set up a project development fund with a corpus of five billion Indian rupees ($80 million) for Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Viet Nam to facilitate Indian investment and broaden the manufacturing base of Indian companies in the region.”

The CII is also planning to open an office in HCM City to facilitate investment by Indian companies, he said.

Thanh from VCCI said: “Viet Nam is a promising market with a stable political and economic environment, attractive investment policies, competitive labour costs, availability of raw materials, and potential market access due to free trade agreements that Viet Nam has concluded recently such as the CPTPP and EU-Viet Nam FTA.

“The high growth rate of the Indian economy shows many bilateral development opportunities in areas such as financial services, IT, digital technology, renewable energy, healthcare, tourism and aviation.”

The event, with the participation of leading Indian players in the field of infrastructure construction, information technology, aviation, renewable energy, pharmaceuticals, medical equipment and rubber, was a good opportunity for businesses from the two countries to acquire useful information about trade and investment relations between the two sides, and find business opportunities, he said.

Verma said Vietnamese investment in India is not very large at around $30 million.

“Vietnamese investors can find significant opportunities in India. Indian growth presents opportunities for two-way engagement in financial services, IT, digital economy, hydrocarbons, defence, renewable energy, mining, healthcare, tourism and civil aviation.

“We want Viet Nam to collaborate with us in our flagship programmes - Make in India, Clean India, Start-up India and Digital India.”

Kallivayalil highlighted key areas in which businesses from the two countries could enhance co-operation like education, agriculture, manufacturing, electronics, logistics and construction equipment.

In education, for instance, there is a need to promote tie-ups between universities and academic institutions in the two countries for faculty, research and skill exchanges.

In manufacturing, he said: “Viet Nam offers tremendous opportunities in the manufacturing sector. We need to properly understand its investment laws and taxation policies to facilitate investment from India.

“There is a need to strengthen logistics services between the two countries. India can also access many products manufactured in third countries from Viet Nam at competitive prices and with lesser transportation costs.”

The forum was followed by business-to-business meetings to enable a further exchange of information and co-operation opportunities.

Firms urged to upgrade technology to save energy

Renovating, upgrading and rearranging production lines are important for businesses to save energy and improve productivity as well as product quality, heard attendants at a forum held in Ha Noi on Wednesday.

A report from the Ministry of Industry and Trade at a forum on saving energy showed energy consumption in the industrial sector accounted for more than 47 per cent of the country’s total consumption. Currently, primary energy sources do not meet the economy’s energy demand. Viet Nam has to import coal for electricity generation and will import liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) from 2023.

Hoang Quoc Vuong, deputy minister of Industry and Trade, said with GDP growth of 7 per cent, the country would need 235 billion kWh electricity by 2020, 352 billion kWh by 2025 and 506 billion kWh by 2035. Although the growth rate of electricity demand in the future would be much lower than before, at about 8.5 per cent in 2021-25 and 7.5 per cent in 2026-30 (those in the previous period was more than 12 per cent year), the power demand would still very high.

Viet Nam’s electricity system has about 54,000MW including fossil and renewable energy. The country will need some 60,000MW for power demand in 2020 and 130,000MW by 2030.

“This has been a big challenge for the country’s energy sector as many power projects have seen slow progress. It is not easy to arrange capital for new investment projects on power generation and grid. Meanwhile, coal and gas for power generation have been imported," he said, adding that using energy effectively would contribute to ensuring electricity supply.

Statistics from the ministry’s Energy Efficiency and Sustainable Development Department revealed that in 2011-15, Viet Nam saved 5-8 per cent of its total energy consumption, equivalent to 11-17 million tonnes of oil.

Consumption in energy-intensive industries also declined gradually in this period, such as steel production (down 8.09 per cent), cement (6.33 per cent) and textiles (7.32 per cent).

Trinh Quoc Vu, the department’s deputy director, said according to the national programme on economical and efficient energy use for 2019-30, Viet Nam plans to reduce the energy consumption by up to 16.5 per cent in the steel sector, 10 per cent in chemical manufacturing, 11 per cent in cement production and 24.81 per cent in plastics production compared to 2015-18.

Experts said applying new technologies is an effective way to save energy in the industrial production amidst surging demand and problems in power supply.

Assoc. Prof., Dr. Tran Dinh Thien, former Director of the Viet Nam Institute of Economics, said sustainable and efficient energy use needs special attention, warning of a surge of old and energy wasting technologies in Viet Nam as many investors shift projects to the country to avoid the impact of US-China trade tension.

Other participants said apart from promoting energy saving habits, new technological solutions should be applied to improve energy efficiency.

Chairman of the Viet Nam Automation Association Nguyen Quan, also former Minister of Science and Technology, said about 30 per cent of the electricity output is currently used for lighting. If half of the amount of electricity consumed in this field is saved by using LED lights, it is equivalent to the energy generated by a 4,000MW nuclear power plant. New technologies will also help save about 10 per cent of the electricity used by the 10 million air conditioners nationwide.

Do Huu Hao, chairman of the Viet Nam Energy Conservation and Energy Efficiency Association, also highlighted the need to renovate technology and improve productivity to save energy, calling for activities to assist businesses to apply energy efficiency solutions.

Banks launch recruitment drives to prepare for year-end

Several banks have recently announced they would recruit a large number of personnel to meet their business expansion plans in the last quarter of the year - the busiest time for banks.

HDBank announced a plan to recruit 1,000 new staff for transaction offices and branches in HCM City, Ha Noi and 44 other cities and provinces nationwide. The positions to be filled are for individual and corporate customer relationship managers and consultants.

HDBank currently has about 6,200 employees at 285 transaction offices and branches nationwide, in addition to nearly 8,000 employees at its consumer finance subsidiary HD Saison.

A number of other banks will also have to step up recruitment from now to the year-end as they have announced plans to hire thousands of employees this year, but no significant progress has been made.

For example, ACB in March launched a nationwide effort to recruit 1,000 people for various positions in the bank’s business, operations and information technology divisions this year, but the number of the bank’s employees decreased by 168 people in the first half of this year.

The same move was seen at Nam A Bank, which said it would recruit 2,000 employees from managers to consultants in 2019 to expand the network and develop nationwide, but the number of personnel at the bank basically remained stable in the first six months according to the bank’s financial statements.

Earlier, in the first six months, many banks also recruited a large number of employees, such as Vietcombank with 1,136 new employees; TPBank, 682; MBBank, 739; and Techcombank, 529.

Industry insiders said banks have been expanding their networks and deploying new business activities, so demand for workers is growing.

Reckitt Benckiser boosts footprint in Vietnam’s healthcare market

Reckitt Benckiser Group Plc. (RB), a British multinational producer of health, hygiene, and home products, yesterday signed a memorandum with Vietnam’s Ministry of Health to launch the OSCAR project on the prevention of neonatal jaundice, aiming to boost its presence in the country.

With the first phase worth of over VND10 billion ($434,800), Reckitt Benckiser (RB) will sponsor 100 phototherapy devices for treatment of neonatal jaundice in 96 province/district-level hospitals in 10 cities/provinces across the country.

Besides, RB will also support the development and dissemination of training materials on early detection, diagnosis, and treatment of the disease to healthcare workers as well as providing documents and information about the disease for parents. In collaboration with RB, the Maternal and Child Health Department (MCHD) under the Ministry of Health (MoH) will provide professional support throughout the project's implementation process.

Each phototherapy device can operate for at least 44,000 hours (approximately five years). Health experts expect the 100 phototherapy devices can support early treatment of neonatal jaundice for at least 150,000 newborns in five years.

Addressing the signing ceremony, Prof Dr Nguyen Viet Tien, Acting Deputy Minister of Health, said that neonatal jaundice is one of the most common diseases in newborns. About 85 per cent of full-term babies and most premature babies suffer clinical jaundice. About 6.7 per cent have jaundice in the first 24 hours, 20 per cent of whom need to get treated for neonatal jaundice.

Neonatal jaundice in East Asia occurs 6 times more often than in Europe. While neonatal jaundice is not a serious disease, if it is not detected early and treated in time, it will leave very severe sequelae (such as Kernicterus) for children, and can even result in death.

“The OSCAR project initiated by RB to prevent neonatal jaundice will help mothers and caregivers detect the disease early while improving the knowledge and skills of healthcare workers in early detection and effective treatment of neonatal jaundice to help reduce the burden on families and society and reduce infant mortality,” said Tien.

Bech Soren, general manager of Reckitt Benckiser Vietnam, said: “RB is more than a company. It is a growing community that is present in over 60 countries with more than 40,000 talented and responsible partners, aiming to make the world a happier and healthier place. In Vietnam, we are committed to supporting community health improvement projects, especially for mothers and children. Through our leading global brand, Mead Johnson, we have had a fantastic co-operation with Healthcare Professional and the Ministry of Health."

According to him, the first community project in Vietnam is screening, diagnosis, and treatment of some congenital metabolic disorders (METABOLICS). RB has sponsored solutions and speciality milk to infants and young children who have congenital metabolic disorders. The project began in 2014 and since then saved over 250 children. The second community project is OSCAR which targets to minimise infant fatalities and to minimise complications caused by neonatal jaundice.

“With the efforts of RB and the strong support from MCHD, I believe that the OSCAR project will bring joy to parents when witnessing their children grow up healthily and happily. This is very meaningful to RB’s sustainability target in the world and in Vietnam,” he said.

At present, RB has several major brands in Vietnam, including Enfa, Strepsils, Durex, and Gaviscon, among others.

German investors to enjoy preferential policies in Thai Binh province

The northern province of Thai Binh has employed a wide range of preferential policies for foreign investors, including those from Germany, said Secretary of the provincial Party Committee and Chairman of the provincial People’s Council Nguyen Hong Dien.

He made the statement while meeting with authorities and enterprises from Thüringen state, the world’s leading wind turbine maker Enercon and the Vietnamese Embassy in Germany during his visit to Europe from August 18-25.

Thai Binh is home to 12 industrial parks, 50 industrial complexes and one economic zone, with favourable transport conditions and an abundant labour force. The province also has huge potential to develop agriculture, mining, renewable energy, leather shoes, garment and textile, among others.

Meanwhile, Thüringen has long-lasting relations with Thai Binh since the 1950s through agricultural projects and the ties will be enhanced after Vietnam and the EU’s agreements on free trade and investment protection take effect, Dien noted.

Working with Enercon, he said he hoped the corporation would seek investment opportunities in building an equipment production plant and a human resources training centre in the locality, adding several wind power projects have been developed in the province to take advantage of the 54-kilometre coastline.

Enercon and other businesses in Thüringen state expressed their interest in investing in the locality.

Vietnamese Ambassador to Germany Nguyen Minh Vu said the embassy will make efforts to help Thai Binh seek partners and call for German investment in local industrial parks and economic zone.

During his trip to Europe, Dien and his entourage will also study high-tech farming and renewable energy in Switzerland.

Exports of vegetable, fruits to China plunge in July

Earnings from vegetable and fruit exports to China, Vietnam’s largest market, stood at 144.2 million USD in July, a year-on-year drop of 44.2 percent, statistics of the General Department of Vietnam Customs showed.

The decrease in the Chinese market was the most significant among Vietnam’s 10 major export markets in the period.

Vietnam raked in 247.3 million USD from exports of vegetable and fruits in July, bringing the figure in the first seven months to 2.3 billion USD, a mild drop of 1.8 percent compared to the same period last year.

The Vietnam Association of Vegetables predicted the country’s exports of vegetable and fruits will continue to face difficulties in the rest of 2019 as China has rolled out stricter import standards.

To date, nine Vietnamese fruits can be officially imported into the Chinese market, namely dragon fruit, watermelon, litchee, longan, banana, mango, jackfruit, rambutan and mangosteen.

New resolution hoped to facilitate foreign investment attraction

General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee Nguyen Phu Trong has signed a resolution on orientations to perfect institutions and policies to enhance the quality and efficiency of foreign investment cooperation through 2030.

The objectives of the Resolution No. 50-NQ/TW include making mechanisms and policies in foreign investment cooperation more competitive, meeting requirements in reforming the growth model and restructuring the economy, protecting the environment, dealing with social issues, and improving the quality, efficiency and competitiveness of the economy.

It is expected to bring the Vietnamese business environment and competitiveness to among the top four countries in the ASEAN before 2021 and top three before 2030.

The resolution highlights the significant role of the foreign-invested sector in the economy, while stating that the sector is encouraged to develop and cooperate, and compete equally with other economic sectors. The State respects and protects the rights and interest of investors, ensuring harmony in interests between the State, investors and workers, it states.

Meanwhile, it underscores that projects with advanced and environmentally-friendly technology and high added value will be prioritised, along with the need to diversify partners and investment methods.

Looking back on foreign investment attraction over the past 30 years, the resolution notes many policies and regulations have been issued to build a favourable investment and business environment.

The foreign direct investment (FDI) sector has seen rapid growth with the presence of an increasing number of multinational groups and large-scale projects.

However, the resolution also points out that institutions and policies regarding foreign investment have yet to suit development requirements, adding that the number of small-scale projects with low technology remains high, the sector’s connection with other economic sectors is still loose, and the localisation ratio maintains modest.

It gives specific targets in foreign investment attraction, with investment in the 2021-2030 hoped to hit up to 20-50 billion USD each year.

The ratio of businesses using advanced technology and modern management without harming the environment is expected to increase by 50 percent in 2025 and 100 percent in 2030.

The localisation ratio is set to rise from the current 20-25 percent to 40 percent in 2030, while the percentage of trained labourers is expected to reach 80 percent in 2030.

To this end, the resolution mentions several solutions, including the synchronisation of the legal system to deal with existing problems, and ensuring equal treatment among foreign and domestic investors.

A security evaluation mechanism will be applied to foreign-invested projects with risks of harming national security, according to the resolution which also encourages the transfer of technology and management methods to Vietnamese firms as well as the use of local labourers.

Projects damaging the environment and failing to effectively use land will be strictly handled, the resolution notes.

Ministries discuss tightening control over used goods, waste import

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MoNRE) and relevant agencies on August 22 discussed measures to tighten control of used goods import and the re-export of waste shipments which failed to meet environmental protection regulations.

According to the Vietnam Environment Administration, as of the end of June, the number of scrap containers which have been stuck at Vietnam’s seaports for over 90 days reduced to 7,450 from the peak of 10,124 in November 2018.

At the event, Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Vo Tuan Nhan said more than 500 containers of scrap had been re-exported, including 289 ones of plastic waste and 98 others containing iron and steel scrap.

He urged competent ministries and agencies to act quickly to handle and curb negative impacts of scrap containers which failed to meet environmental protection standards and prevent them from entering Vietnam.

Nhan also asked ministries and agencies to propose solutions to hasten the re-export of imported waste and keep a close watch on the import of used goods. Communication campaigns are needed to prevent violation, he added.

A representative from the General Department of Vietnam Customs said scrap classification is important in order to handle the stuck containers, adding that shipping companies are slow in re-exporting the waste. He proposed that the Ministry of Transport not grant licence to those shipping companies that do not re-export waste.

Ministries should compile legal documents to prevent the import of waste that do not meet environmental protection requirements, said the Ministry of Public Security.

The MoNRE asked the Ministry of Finance to revise and provide a list of importers who violate the regulations but have yet to undertake procedures of sending back the waste, while the Foreign Ministry was asked to study experience of regional countries in the issue.

 
 

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