VIETNAM BUSINESS NEWS MARCH 15

HCM City offers 70,000 job vacancies in Q2

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam’s largest economic hub, has 68,600 to 73,500 job vacancies in the second quarter of 2021, according to the city’s Centre of Forecasting Manpower Needs and Labor Market Information (FALMI).

The jobs are mostly in IT-electronics, mechanical engineering, chemicals-plastics-rubber, architecture-construction engineering, transport-warehouse-port services, customer services, healthcare and medical services, accounting and auditing, finance-credit-banking, real estate, and tourism-restaurant-hotel.

The municipal Youth Employment Service Centre (YES) plans to hold a programme to support job seekers from April 3 to May 3, involving 50 enterprises and expected to recruit more than 10,000 workers in different fields.

Nguyen Quang Cuong, YES Director, said that the programme will be a bridge connecting businesses and labourers, creating chances for labourers, especially the youth, to find suitable jobs in the context of many difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since the beginning of this year, the Centre for Employment Services under the municipal Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs has organized three job fairs with the participation of 50 recruiters, including two online events and one offline event.

The second in-person job fair is expected to be held on March 26./.

German, Vietnamese firms to jointly build water treatment plant in Long An

Germany’s Aone Deutschland AG and Viet Nam’s AquaOne Corporation will cooperate in constructing the Vam Co Dong River Surface Water Treatment Plant in the southern province of Long An under a newly-signed agreement.

The project will provide clean water for production and daily life of local people, given that the Mekong Delta has been severely affected by drought and saltwater intrusion.

The water treatment plant will be built on an area of 71.5ha in Duc Hoa District, Long An at an estimated cost of nearly VND5 trillion (nearly US$218 million).

Its first phase is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2023 with a designed capacity of 200,000 cu.m per day and night. The second phase, scheduled to finish by 2025, will have a capacity of 300,000 cu.m per day and night. Its total capacity can reach 1.2 million cu.m per day and night once all stages of investment are completed.

The framework agreement was signed in Leipzig, the German state of Saschen, late last week by Aone Deutschland chairman Christophe Hug and AquaOne chairman Do Thi Kim Lien in the presence of Mayor of Leipzig Burkhard Jung and Vietnamese Ambassador to Germany Nguyen Minh Vu.

Speaking at the signing event, Mayor Jung highlighted the development of the relations between the two countries in various areas, such as culture, sports and economics, saying the deal signing translates the strategic partnership between the two countries into reality.

Ambassador Vu expressed his delight at the growing ties between Viet Nam and Germany in general, and between HCM City and Leipzig city in particular. With the EU-Viet Nam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) which took effect last year, and the EU-Viet Nam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA) which will enter into force in the near future, cooperation in economics, trade and investment between enterprises of the two sides will grow further, he said.

Lien said the Vam Co Dong River Surface Water Treatment Plant will apply advanced technologies in managing, operating and monitoring clean water production and supply.

Hug, meanwhile, said his corporation wants to share the latest technologies in water treatment with developing countries, in order to not only provide benefits for people but also fulfil its commitment to promoting sustainable and environmentally-friendly development. 

Foxconn to invest $700 million more in Viet Nam

Taiwanese electronics giant Foxconn has said it plans to invest an additional US$700 million in Viet Nam, reported Taiwan News.

Foxconn started investing in Viet Nam in 2007, mainly in Bac Ninh, Bac Giang and Vinh Phuc provinces.

The Apple supplier's total investment in Viet Nam was $1.5 billion by December last year.

Foxconn's total revenue in the Southeast Asian country reached $3 billion in 2019 and $6 billion last year and is expected to reach $10 billion this year. It also targets to add 10,000 jobs this year.

It expects to increase revenue in Viet Nam to $40 billion in the next three to five years. 

Rooftop solar power to have new price mechanism this month

VIETNAM BUSINESS NEWS MARCH 15

The rooftop solar power system of a company at an industrial park in Bien Hoa city, Dong Nai province


The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) will issue a new price mechanism for rooftop solar power this month, with prices likely to fall to below 6 US cents per kWh, according to Hoang Tien Dung, Director of the ministry’s Electricity and Renewable Energy Department.

Rooftop solar power will fetch only 5.2-5.8 US cents per kWh, depending on each project, Dung told the media.

The new rates have been calculated based on an assessment by foreign consultants on the changes to and development of renewable energy and the price of solar power equipment in Vietnam and around the world, he said.

Dung added that an estimate of various costs, such as those for initial investment, operations and maintenance, installation, and connection were also taken into account.

The lower price is partly owing to a sharp decline in solar power equipment prices in the recent time.

Solar panels are now far more efficient, allowing more electricity to be produced than previously, he noted, adding that this will be beneficial to investors while the government can take advantage of the increasing supply of clean energy at affordable prices and the falling level of investment required to develop national electricity networks.

He went on to say that, for end-users, the new rates will be much lower than those of Vietnam Electricity (EVN). People and businesses will be encouraged to install rooftop solar panels for their own use, instead of selling all power generated to the national grid to enjoy high returns, he said.

Vietnam expects to produce 25,000-26,000 MW of solar power by 2030./.

Anti-dumping investigation into polyester filament yarn extended

The Ministry of Industry and Trade has decided to extend its investigation and application of anti-dumping measures on certain polyester filament yarns originating from China, India, Indonesia and Malaysia.

Earlier, it issued a decision on the investigation and application of anti-dumping measures on these products.

The work will conclude within 12 months since the investigation decision was made, or April 6, 2021, in line with clause 3, article 70 of the Law on Foreign Trade Management.

However, the ministry is authorised to extend the investigation for another six months.

The extension aims to ensure the investigation is conducted comprehensively and objectively./.

Stocks rebound strongly on vaccine expectations

Although it may take time for its impact on the economy to become apparent, expectations for the positive effects of vaccination in the future may prompt certain industries and businesses to recover faster than the economy as a whole. Furthermore, stock prices of some companies may rebound even earlier in line with such expectations.

On February 24, the first 117,000-dose batch of Covid-19 vaccines arrived in Vietnam. Given her roadmap for import, production and nationwide inoculation this year and a clear identification of priorities, the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic in Vietnam is expected to be increasingly effective. Subsequently, socio-economic activities will soon likely become normal again and may enter an acceleration phase to compensate for the stagnation period in 2020.

In fact, confidence and activities of production, business, and consumption at home have gradually increased since late 2020, even when there were no vaccines. Statistics show that the purchasing managers’ index (PMI) of Vietnam’s manufacturing sector grew from 51.3 in January to 51.6 in February 2021, marking the third consecutive month it has been above the 50-mark and suggesting that business conditions have further improved.

As per the recent data from the General Statistics Office, the index of industrial production in the first two months of the year picked up 7.4% year-on-year. Meanwhile, the number of newly registered enterprises was 18,100 with VND334.8 trillion worth of capital pledged, up 4% and 52.2% respectively over the same period last year. On the consumer demand side, the total retail sales of consumer goods and services reached VND904.5 trillion, a rise of 5.49% against the year-ago period.

Although it may take time for its impact on the economy to become apparent, expectations for the positive effects of vaccination in the future may prompt certain industries and businesses to recover faster than the economy as a whole. Furthermore, stock prices of some companies may rebound even earlier in line with such expectations.

Stocks that may benefit

HVN shares of Vietnam Airlines picked up nearly 5% in the opening session of March, following the rise of more than 26% in February, marking their strongest growing streak in almost a year. After the “painful” year of 2020, when the aviation industry was the hardest-hit, even though it is still grappling with business losses, the national flag carrier has seen their stock making some positive movements since early February.

The catalyst for HVN, in addition to the plan for new investment in the Long Thanh airport project, or the possibility of the airline getting licensed to transport vaccines in the near future, is arguably the fact that vaccination is being widely carried out across the globe, which will help restore the demand for air travel, especially from the second half of this year onwards. Also, the plan to implement the “vaccine passport” is believed to return life to normal and resume international traffic between nations.

Another stock, AST of TASECO Air Services JSC, also grew more than 20% in February. That more flights will be back in service also means the consumption of goods and products at airports will go up again. Meanwhile, SCS shares of Saigon Cargo Service Corp. are recently recommended by Viet Capital Securities Co. (VCSC) with a total profitability estimated at nearly 26%, thanks to the hope that a major part of the firm’s profit this year will come from the handling of vaccines imported to Vietnam.

Those sectors most heavily affected by Covid-19, besides aviation and travel services, are believed to soon respond positively to the information about vaccines, despite the fact that it may not happen until the end of this year when outbound tourism resumes.

VTD shares of Vietourist Travel JSC, following a drop of nearly 70% in 2020, displayed signs of bottoming out in end-January and have since then bounced back.

NVT shares of Ninh Van Bay Travel Real Estate JSC had recorded seven consecutive ceiling-hitting sessions as of March 1, marking a surge of 80% since the beginning of February. Similarly, VNG shares of Thanh Thanh Cong Tourist JSC unexpectedly hit the ceiling on the first trading day of March, after a fall of more than 25% in January. 

Even hotels, one of the greatest victims of the pandemic, are given an opportunity for significant recovery this year. DAH shares of Dong A Hotel Group JSC, which is among the 10 stocks posting the sharpest plunge in 2020 when they tumbled from VND18,000 per share in early July to only VND4,000 in late November—a loss of over 79% within five months—seem to have arrived at their bottom at around VND3,500 each in early February and have regained more than 20% since then.

NST shares of Ngan Son JSC—of the group of beverage and tobacco makers—ranked second among the top 10 biggest losers last year, as the company was badly hit by Covid-19 and forced to suspend or just perfunctorily operate some segments, resulting in a modest profit of only VND980 million, down more than 93% from 2019. However, this stock has recently shown signs of an upward trend, gaining nearly 20% in February.

CLC shares of Cat Loi JSC, another member of the beverage and tobacco industry, also hit the ceiling on the first trading day of March, taking their growth to 35% since the beginning of February, in spite of the profit decline in 2020 versus 2019.

Analysts call for easing gold policies, cite changed circumstances

With gold no longer being a speculative asset class or cash substitute, the Government should have a more reasonable policy for managing it, according to experts.

According to banking expert Dr Can Van Luc said gold cannot be considered speculative since the Government has put it under strict watch since 2014.

Domestic prices are usually 5 million VND (216 USD) per tael of 37.5gm higher than global prices, with the gap attributed to the limited supply of both jewellery and bars.

For many years the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) has not permitted the import of gold bars to produce jewellery and has a monopoly on bullion production and import-export.

So speculation has mostly died down.

He told Nguoi Lao Dong (The Labourer) newspaper: "However, in the long run authorities should have a solution to equalise domestic and international gold prices. Such a big difference can lead to speculation and smuggling of gold into the country."

According to economist Ngo Tri Long gold is no longer used to make payments like it used to be, and so if it is considered just a commodity, it is necessary to be globally connected, especially when Vietnam is deeply integrating into the international market.

The country does not produce much gold, and so has to import, and authorities should soon ensure there is an increase in the supply for gold to bring down prices.

The Vietnam Gold Traders Association has petitioned the SBV to grant licences to businesses to produce and sell gold bullion.

On the afternoon of March 11 in HCM City, Saigon Jewelry Company bought gold at 55.4 million VND (2,390 USD) per tael and sold it at 55.8 million VND (2,410 USD).

Globally, the metal traded at 1,736 USD an ounce (or 2,091 USD) per tael, making domestic prices by 7 million VND per tael higher./.

Vietnamese compostable production line gets trademark in US

AnEco has successfully registered its trademark in the US, opening up a great opportunity for An Phat Holdings’ compostable production line to enter this market.

The AnEco trademark registration was approved by the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). This means the AnEco trademark will be protected for 10 years and can continue to be renewed in the aftermath.

The successful registration of the trademark in the US allows AnEco to be protected by US law from all infringements of other organisations and individuals and paves the way for business cooperation, bringing AnEco compostable product line to the US consumers.

Earlier, An Phat Holdings set up a representative office and established subsidiary An Phat International in the US to prepare steps to enter this demanding market.

Being the strategic product line of An Phat Holdings, AnEco was born in 2015 to change consumer behaviours on the use of plastic products, offering practical alternatives to disposable plastic products, contributing to reducing plastic waste for a greener planet.

Along with quality research and development and diversification of its product portfolio, AnEco aims to achieve all the highest international certifications for its biodegradable product line.

AnEco products have gained many rigorous certifications for compostable capability and safety in contact with food such as BPI Compostable (US), DIN CERTO (Germany), OK Compost HOME, OK Compost INDUSTRIAL and Seedling logo by TUV Austria (Austria), Food Contact by SGS.

AnEco’s export market has been expanded to nearly 20 countries, including fastidious markets such as the US, Germany, Italy, Australia./.

Travel agencies promote small group tours

Travel agencies and localities are making plans to stimulate domestic tourism and give priority to small-group tours to destinations near their homes.

From Feb 22 - 28, the number of tourists booking tours at Vietravel Tourism Company rose by three times compared to the previous week.

Vietravel aims to attract travelers with discounted packages and promotions, said Nguyen Nguyet Van Khanh, deputy director of marketing and promotion at Vietravel.

Tran Thi Bao Thu, director of marketing and communications at Fiditour Travel Joint Stock Company, said that an increasing number of travelers were asking for tours directly at the office or via the online website.

This year travelers are choosing private tours to Phu Yen, Quy Nhon, Da Lat, Phan Thiet and Vung Tau with family or a group of friends. More travelers are planning to use their own car to maintain safety against COVID-19.

Travel agencies are preparing for a domestic tourism boom in late March, especially because of the April 30 and May 1 national holidays, and the summer holiday.

Phung Quang Thang, director of Hanoitourist Travel Company, and chairman of the Hà Nội Travel Association, said that its members have launched stimulus programmes in response to the current situation.

The Ban (Bauhinia) Flower Festival, for example, is slated to open on March 17 in the northwestern province of Dien Bien.

Despite the positive signs, travel agencies are taking preventive measures against COVID-19 and ensuring safety for tourists.

Attractive destinations such as Tay Bac (Northwest Vietnam), Con Dao, Phu Quoc, Nha Trang, and Da Nang are being introduced to travelers by VietSense Travel Company.

In addition to promoting tourism images, Hanoi is ensuring tourists’ safety, Tran Trung Hieu, deputy director of the Hanoi Department of Tourism, said.

The Yen Tu National Forest and Historical Site is working with the Tung Lam Development Joint Stock Company on traffic divergence to ensure a safe distance among people joining the Buddhist ceremony. Only groups of under 20 will be allowed.

High-quality tourism projects and wellness resorts, with health care, hot mineral mud baths and body scan mediation, should be built to meet demand, Thang said.

According to experts at the World Tourism Organisation, domestic and green tourism activities are expected to be of more interest in 2021, accounting for over 90 percent of the global smokeless industry.

Because visitors prefer tourist destinations with outdoor activities, travel businesses aim to offer more rural tourism or family travel programmes.

Trips featuring stunning landscapes and local delicacies will be emphasised.

Owing to the growing demand for health and wellbeing, sports and entertainment tourism will be reactivated, Tran Thanh Vu, general director of Vinagroup, has said.

Virtual tours are also being offered to stimulate interest in different destinations. Moc Chau is one of the localities applying virtual reality effectively. Tourists can sit on their sofa, put on their headphones, and virtually explore a trip to the northwest region in a fully immersive 360-degree experience./.

Quang Tri to hold investment promotion conference in late June

The central province of Quang Tri plans to hold an investment promotion conference at the end of June to introduce its investment opportunities to foreign and domestic investors, according to the provincial website.

The provincial People's Committee described the conference as a good chance for investors to tap into business and investment opportunities in the locality, contributing to promoting its socio-economic development.

During the event, Quang Tri will deliver its call for investment into major sectors including industry-construction, agriculture, services and tourism. The energy sector, in particular, is seen by local authorities as key to the province's development while agriculture is the foundation of the local economy and tourism is expected to gradually become a key economic sector.

In recent years, Quang Tri has placed great importance on implementing investment promotion activities, facilitating the improvement of mechanisms and policies and speeding up administrative reforms to improve its business and investment environment.

Local authorities will improve the efficiency of investment promotion activities and strengthen coordination with ministries and regional units in deploying investment promotion while addressing difficulties for investors in a timely manner.

During the 2016-20 period, the province attracted about 300 projects with capital totalling 150 trillion VND. Of which, 25 came towards energy; 34 in wood processing; 17 in farming and seafood and 15 in tourism and services./.

Mekong district produces high-quality sweet potatoes for export

Đồng Tháp Province’s Châu Thành District has expanded the cultivation of high-quality sweet potatoes for export and will develop processed sweet-potato products that meet the standards of the country’s ‘one commune – one product’ (OCOP) programme.

The Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta district, which is the province’s largest sweet potato producer, has developed cultivation models under good agricultural practice (GAP) standards.

In June last year, the district’s Agriculture Service Centre launched a model to reduce production costs for 42 farmers in Tân Phú Commune. The farmers, who grew a total of 50ha of sweet potato, were instructed in proper techniques that help to reduce the use of input materials and increase yield and quality.

Phan Thanh Phương, one of the farmers in Tân Phú’s Tân Thuận Hamlet, said the production cost of seeds, fertiliser and labour was about VNĐ22 million (US$950) per hectare a crop, down 10 – 20 per cent compared to traditional farming methods.

He was provided part of the production cost to buy high quality seeds and organic fertiliser, and prepare soil for sweet potato cultivation. He was also instructed in VietGAP techniques.

Phan Phi Hoàng, a farmer in the same hamlet, said in the last sweet potato crop, the centre provided financial support to reduce production costs.

“After participating in the model, I know how to use organic fertiliser and apply biosafety,” he said.

The centre’s training courses on advanced techniques have helped farmers change outdated habits and switch to VietGAP farming techniques. 

Trained farmers apply biosafety when choosing quality seeds, preparing land for cultivation, and preventing and controlling pests.

Châu Thành has more than 3,400ha of sweet potato, accounting for 98 per cent of the province’s total sweet potato area, according to the province’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Farmers in Châu Thành plant various sweet potato varieties, with Japanese purple-flesh sweet potato variety accounting for more than 98 per cent of the district’s total area.

The district has established two co-operatives, two co-operative groups and two farmer clubhouses for growing and trading sweet potatoes. Participating farmers exchange information about production and markets. They are also provided advanced farming techniques that help increase quality and yield.

 

These groups have helped their members secure outlets through contracts.

Sweet potatoes in the district are mostly sold fresh and exported to Cambodia and China.

The district plans to manufacture high-quality sweet potato products that will be identified as OCOP products.

Huỳnh Thanh Hiệp, director of the Nam Huy Đồng Tháp Co. Ltd in the district’s Hòa Tân Commune, said his company and others are buying sweet potatoes in the district to manufacture dried sweet-potato products.

His company and others are producing high-quality sweet potato products to meet standards in the OCOP program. Besides dried sweet-potato products, sweet potatoes are also used to produce cakes, jam and other products.

Previously, the district’s sweet potatoes were planted to sell fresh to consumers.

Sweet potato is one of five key products in the district's agriculture restructuring plan.

Võ Đình Trọng, head of the district Bureau of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the district would develop value chains for sweet potato cultivation.

The district would also tighten the management of producing and trading sweet potato seed and build a collective brand name for the district’s sweet potatoes, he said. 

HCM City eyes $48.1 billion in exports in 2021

HCM City has targeted posting export revenue of US$48.1 billion this year, giving a boost to the shipment of its key earners.

In the first two months of the year it pocketed $7.6 billion from exports, a year-on-year increase of 26.5 per cent.

According to the municipal Department of Industry and Trade, China remained the largest importer of the city's businesses, with export turnover reaching $1.7 billion, up 31.6 per cent year-on-year, followed by the US with $1.1 billion and Hong Kong (China) with $737 million.

The southern hub is encouraging newly-established firms to focus on manufacturing key industrial products with potential during the 2021-2025 period, including in mechanics, rubber-plastic, food-foodstuffs, IT-electronics-telecommunications, garment-textiles, and pharmaceuticals.

It is building an inter-sector coordination mechanism to develop markets for key local products, while working to attract skilled workers to create high-quality products with greater added value.

The Department of Industry and Trade is working with relevant parties to develop a domestic supporting industry supply chain, helping local companies cut input costs and improve their competitive capacity.

They will work together to enhance trade promotion and support businesses to reach out to the world. 

Analysts call for easing gold policies, cite changed circumstances

With gold no longer being a speculative asset class or cash substitute, the Government should have a more reasonable policy for managing it, according to experts.

According to banking expert Dr Can Van Luc said gold cannot be considered speculative since the Government has put it under strict watch since 2014.

Domestic prices are usually VND5 million (US$216) per tael of 37.5gm higher than global prices, with the gap attributed to the limited supply of both jewellery and bars.

For many years the State Bank of Vietnam has not permitted the import of gold bars to produce jewellery and has a monopoly on bullion production and import-export.

So speculation has mostly died down.

He told Nguoi Lao Dong (The Labourer) newspaper: "However, in the long run authorities should have a solution to equalise domestic and international gold prices. Such a big difference can lead to speculation and smuggling of gold into the country."

According to economist Ngo Tri Long gold is no longer used to make payments like it used to be, and so if it is considered just a commodity, it is necessary to be globally connected, especially when Viet Nam is deeply integrating into the international market.

The country does not produce much gold, and so has to import, and authorities should soon ensure there is an increase in the supply for gold to bring down prices.

The Vietnam Gold Traders Association has petitioned the SBV to grant licences to businesses to produce and sell gold bullion.

On the afternoon of March 11 in HCM City, Saigon Jewelry Company bought gold at VND55.4 million ($2,390) per tael and sold it at VND55.8 million ($2,410).

Globally, the metal traded at $1,736 an ounce (or $2,091) per tael, making domestic prices by VND7 million per tael higher. 

Vietnam trade with UAE skyrocket

The total trade turnover between Vietnam and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the first two months of this year increased 58 per cent over the same period last year.

Citing data from the General Department of Vietnam Customs, the total export turnover between the two sides in the first two months reached $809 million, up 58 per cent compared to the same period last year.

In particular, Vietnam's export turnover to the UAE reached nearly $737 million, up nearly 60 per cent. Imports reached $72 million, up 44 per cent.

According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the UAE is one of the 10 largest export partners of Vietnam globally, as well as the largest export partner of Vietnam in the Middle East and Africa. Vietnam has always been running a trade surplus towards this market.

Specifically, phones and accessories are still the main export items of Vietnam to the UAE, reaching $551 million, up nearly 108 per cent over the same period last year, and accounting for two-thirds of the total export turnover.

All agricultural and aquatic products have positive growth. Of this, cashew nuts reached $10.3 million, nearly six times as much as same period last year; seafood reached $10.6 million, up 18 per cent; and vegetables and fruits reached $7.5 million, up 12 per cent. These are all key export commodities of Vietnam, with high added value as well as sustainability in exports.

Meanwhile, due to the influence of COVID-19, the turnover of goods such as footwear and textiles decreased, reaching $14 million and $11 million, down 23 and 11 per cent, respectively.

Regarding the structure of imported goods, most of Vietnam's main imports from the UAE have grown well. Of this, plastic raw materials, a major import item, reached $41.8 million, up 66 per cent over the same period last year. Animal feed and raw materials reached $8.7 million, up 9 per cent. Among imported products, only petroleum products saw a decrease in turnover, reaching only $2.5 million in the first two months.

According to the Vietnam Trade Office in the UAE, the UAE is considered a gateway to penetrate the Middle East and Africa, Vietnamese goods exported to this market will have more opportunities to export goods to other countries.

FiT for rooftop solar to drop 30 per cent

The new feed-in tariff for rooftop solar energy may be set at 5.3-5.8 US cents per kWh, 30 per cent less than the 8.38 US cent that was previously applied to projects starting operation before December 31, 2020. 

The Ministry of Industry and Trade is completing a draft decision on the feed-in tariff (FiT) for rooftop solar energy, which will replace part of Decision No.13/2020/QD-TTg on the mechanism of encouraging the development of solar power in Vietnam, which expired on December 31, 2020.

Decision 13 defined a rooftop solar power project as a system of solar PV panels with a total capacity not exceeded 1MW (or 1.2MWp) set up on a building roof and directly or indirectly connected to the electricity grid of a maximum voltage of 35kV.

According to the Electricity and Renewable Energy Authority (EREA) under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the ministry will collect opinions from ministries and relevant authorities before submitting the draft to the prime minister for approval.

The EREA mentioned that Decision No.13 plays an important role in promoting the development of rooftop solar. By the end of 2020, there were 101,029 operational rooftop solar projects connected to the power grid with a total capacity of 9,300MWp. The total generated power from this segment was 1.5 billion kWh.

Along with the proposed reduction of the FiT, there are two other highlights to the draft. Notably, small-scale projects will be prioritised by receiving higher FiT rates. Besides, a maximum of 80 per cent of the total generated power will be available for commercial sales, while the remaining 20 per cent will have to be consumed by the generators themselves to cover their own operations.

Danang pilots support policies to attract MICE tourists

The Danang government has given its nod to pilot some support policies for the first 100 groups of meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) tourists traveling to the city in 2021.

The city will support communications, greeting and transport activities; infrastructure; issuance of licenses for the MICE business and provide tour guides. The support policies will be applied until the end of the year, the local media reported.

MICE travelers arranged by tour operators to visit Danang City will be categorized into groups of 100-299 visitors, 300-499, 500-999, 1,000-1,999 and more than 2,000 tourists.

After the pilot program was announced, many MICE tour organizers registered to bring tourists to Danang City, according to the Danang Tourism Promotion Center.

From March 12 to 14, Viettours will bring 400 guests of Prudential to Danang City to participate in the Prudential Banca Kickoff 2021 conference.

Besides, 120 guests of the Dai Phat Trading and Service Company will participate in an event in Danang City from March 12 to 15. Their trip will be arranged by Vietravel.

Mai Thi Thanh Hai, deputy director of the Danang Tourism Promotion Center, said that the city was well prepared to welcome MICE tourists, while ensuring Covid-19 infection prevention and control measures are followed strictly.

In early April, the city is expected to welcome 1,600 MICE tourists who will enjoy its support policies.

Solar power price may plunge

The Ministry of Industry and Trade has proposed reducing the solar power price by 30% from 8.38 to 5.2-5.8 U.S. cents per kWh, depending on the capacity of projects.

The higher the capacity of solar power projects, the lower the price. Such a policy will encourage households to install solar power systems rather than farms and industrial parks, the local media reported.

In addition, the ministry has suggested the proportion of electricity volume that can be used by solar power producers to reduce pressure on the national grid. These proposals will be submitted to the Government this month.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade has recently established a working team to inspect solar power projects following the prime minister’s requirement to handle violations at such projects, especially the abuse of preferential policies.

The ministry has asked localities and the Vietnam Electricity Group (EVN) to inspect operational solar power projects with a capacity of 100 kilowatts peak each and above.

Data from EVN shows that solar power projects developed in the past few years have reached a capacity 20 times higher than the national target of 800 megawatts. The total capacity of ground-mounted solar power projects has been over 8,800 megawatts, while the combined capacity of rooftop solar power projects has reached some 8,000 megawatts.

The uncontrolled development of rooftop solar power projects has put severe pressure on the national grid.

Therefore, since early this year, EVN has drawn up and employed solutions to cut the solar power volume and increase the volume of other kinds of renewable energy.

Nearly 90% of firms severely hit by Covid-19

In a survey involving nearly 10,200 enterprises across the country, 87.2% said they were negatively affected by Covid-19 last year, 11% said they had not been affected and 2% said they had done good business, according to a report jointly released by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and the World Bank on March 12.

Representing the research group to deliver the report, Dau Anh Tuan, head of the Legal Department at VCCI, said the enterprises were asked about the impact of the pandemic on them, their response solutions and the effectiveness of the Government’s support policies last year, Tuoi Tre Online newspaper reported.

Among the over 8,600 domestic firms that participated in the survey, 87.1% of them said they had been severely affected by the pandemic. The sectors facing the biggest impact comprised garment, information and communications, electric equipment production and motor vehicle production.

Similarly, 87.9% of foreign-invested companies in Vietnam were impacted. Meanwhile, 11.4% saw no impact and 0.8% reported seeing positive business results.

Due to the impact of Covid-19, 35% of local private firms and 22% of foreign-invested firms said they had laid off their employees. Nearly 30% of employees at various enterprises were sacked last year.

According to the surveyed firms, the pandemic made it hard for them to access customers. They also faced a lack of money and had to reduce the number of laborers, while supply chains were broken.

VCCI Chairman Vu Tien Loc said small and micro enterprises and those that had operated for less than three years faced the biggest impact.

However, more than 70% of enterprises assessed the Government’s support policies as effective.

In March 2020, the prime minister issued Directive 11 on missions and solutions to remove obstacles facing enterprises’ production and business and ensure social welfare. Last year, 95 documents were issued by agencies at different levels to support firms to overcome Covid-19.

The Government also launched a credit package worth VND250 trillion, a VND62-trillion package to support social welfare, a VND180-trillion package to help reduce taxes, fees and land rentals and extend the payment deadlines and a VND160-trillion package to pay salaries for laborers.

However, enterprises have found it easier to access the package to extend the tax, fee and land rental payment deadlines, but hard to access the credit package to pay employees’ salaries, Tuan noted.

Most of the surveyed enterprises expected the Government to continue coming up with solutions to support firms, such as extending the deadlines to pay taxes, social insurance premiums and the labor union fee.

Auto sales continue to plummet in Feb

The local automobile market continued its downward spiral as auto sales in February plunged by 22% month-on-month, according to a new report released by the Vietnam Automobile Manufacturers Association (VAMA).

In February, over 13,580 vehicles of all types were sold by VAMA members, dipping by 48% year-on-year.

Some 6,940 passenger cars, over 3,760 commercial vehicles and 179 special-purpose automobiles found buyers last month, dropping by 53%, 34% and 39%, respectively, against the previous month.

The number of locally-assembled vehicles slumped by 41% month-on-month to 8,610 units, while imported completely built-up auto sales plummeted 58% to 4,975 vehicles.

In January, VAMA members sold 26,430 units, down 45% against the figure seen in December 2020, the last month for the 50% cut in the car registration fee for locally assembled or manufactured cars.

The fall was attributed to the suspension of the 50% reduction in the registration fee for locally made cars from January 1. Besides, the resurgence of Covid-19 outbreaks contributed to the decline in auto sales.

In the first two months still, the number of autos sold in the local market amounted to 40,000, up 21% year-on-year, with over 30,000 passenger cars finding buyers, up 19% year-on-year. Some 9,500 commercial vehicles were delivered to customers, up 28% year-on-year, while the number of special-use vehicles sold decreased by 15% to 470, according to the VAMA statistics.

Facing the same face as VAMA members, non-VAMA member TC Motors sold over 3,020 automobiles in February, down 50% month-on-month.

Tra Vinh province calls for many investment projects

The Mekong Delta province of Tra Vinh is calling for many investment projects, a local official said on March 14.

Speaking at a meeting between provincial officials and representatives of businesses, Deputy Director of the Department of Planning and Investment Hong Ngoc Hung said the projects include seven at the Dinh An economic zone, three in tourism, two in industry, and three in agriculture.

To lure investment, the province has rolled out various incentives in terms of tax, land use fee, site clearance and compensation, and interest rate, according to the official.

Tra Vinh is now home to nearly 3,000 enterprises with total investment capital of over 41.51 trillion VND (1.8 billion USD), employing nearly 10,000 labourers, he said, adding that small and medium-sized enterprises account for nearly 99 percent.

In his remarks, Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Le Van Han highlighted contributions by the business community, cooperatives and business households to the province's socio-economic development.

Last year, Tra Vinh’s economy expanded 3.32 percent and its budget collection exceeded 15 trillion VND, 38 percent higher than the estimate and up 7.1 percent year-on-year, he said.

Han urged the enterprises and cooperatives to raise the competitiveness of their goods and services, and step up restructuring and application of scientific-technological advances.

Tra Vinh will always accompany businesses, adjust relevant mechanisms and policies and help enterprises in the province to overcome difficulties and challenges, especially amidst the integration period and the COVID-19 pandemic, he pledged./.

SAV to promote experience sharing, training among State Audit Institutes

The State Audit Office of Vietnam (SAV) will continue promoting the sharing of experience and training among State Audit Institutes (SAIs), which is the top priority of the Asian Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions (ASOSAI), during its final year as ASOSAI Chair in 2021, according to SAV Governor Ho Duc Phoc.

In an interview with the Vietnam News Agency, Phoc said the move aims to help SAIs make a timely response to constant changes in the public financial management environment.

The SAV is currently working with the ASOSAI’s Capacity Development Committee (the Board of Audit of Japan) and its committees and working groups to share knowledge and good practice and bolster the role of the ASOSAI in supporting its members amid the COVID-19 pandemic, to build an organisation with professional and dynamic SAIs that are able to respond to challenges and emerging issues in the region and the world.

Regarding the audit of water resources in the Mekong River basin, Vietnam continued working with international experts to provide training and set up audit plans for SAIs in January-February. The SAIs will conduct independent audits in coordination with the SAV and with instructions from experts.

In the fourth quarter, the SAV will chair an international conference to share the results of the audit as well as good practice in environmental audits and the sustainable development goals (SDGs).

Due to the complex developments of the pandemic, the State Audit Office of Thailand has proposed holding the 15th ASOSAI Assembly online, with a theme of “ASOSAI and the new normal”. The assembly will work on four aspects: strategic Government roles, the implementation of the SDGs, information technology (IT) application, and responding to emerging issues. These are the main pillars in the AOSAI’s strategic plan for 2022-2027, which was prepared based on regional challenges and to meet the needs of ASOSAI members.

It will be a major challenge for the ASOSAI in general and the SAV in particular, as ASOSAI Chair for the 2018-2021 tenure, to ensure the success of the assembly. The SAV and other SAIs needs to make meticulous preparations for the event, both in content and technical infrastructure.

As ASOSAI Chair, the SAV has made significant contributions to its development. It has been acknowledged by regional and international SAIs and received major assistance from development partners to consolidate management skills and capacity, helping to build the ASOSAI into a professional and modern supreme audit organisation.

The SAV has developed auditing in certain new fields, including IT audits, environmental audits and natural resources audits, and build-operate-transfer (BOT) and build-transfer (BT) project audits, as well as audits on a number of major areas regarding land, education, and healthcare. It has made unceasing efforts to improve auditing capacity and efficiency through gaining experience from SAIs that have advanced skills in the audit of new areas.

It has seen breakthroughs in emerging fields over recent years and posted impressive achievements in environmental audits, management audits, and land and natural resource use audits.

Along with promoting the application of IT in its management and professional endeavours, the SAV has also installed new technologies to better conduct its activities.

Aware of the role technology plays in the sector’s activities, the SAV has studied and integrated new technologies that yield fruitful results compared to traditional methods. It has access to advanced technologies pioneered by SAIs from the UK, Japan, and China, to improve professionalism and efficiency in auditing activities.

Applying IT in audits is a sustainable platform for the development of the SAV in the context of deep digital economic integration. The SAV has issued a strategy on developing its IT during 2019-2025 and vision to 2030, with a view to modernising its activities and enhancing advanced technologies in its operations, with focus sharpened on building its own digital infrastructure and deploying digital technologies, big data analytics, and artificial intelligence.

The ASOSAI was founded in 1979 and pursues a mission common among working groups of the International Organisations of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI), that “Professional supreme audit institutions promote good State governance”, and with the core values of “Professionalism, Cooperation, Equality, Creativity”.

Its goal is to promote mutual understanding and cooperation among member SAIs through the exchange of ideas and experience in public auditing, creating the conditions necessary for the training of State auditors to improve working quality and efficiency.

The SAV became a member in 1997. In its initial period of membership, it primarily sent auditors to attend training courses and workshops sponsored by the ASOSAI, to enhance professional capacity. Since 2010, the SAV has undertaken a more active role in the association’s professional activities./.

Source: VNA/VNS/VOV/VIR/SGT/Nhan Dan/Hanoitimes

 
 

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