Francophone country ties treasured     

Viet Nam treasures its cooperation with the International Francophone Organisation (OIF) and its member countries, Vice President Nguyen Thi Doan and Deputy Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son said during separate meetings with Ousmane Paye, Special Advisor of the OIF Secretary General, in Ha Noi yesterday, Jan 16.

Vice State President Nguyen Thi Doan (right) meets Ousmane Paye, Special Advisor of the OIF Secretary General, in Hanoi.

During the meetings, Doan expressed delight with the organisation's role in promoting peace, crisis settlement, sustainable development and cultural and environmental co-operation, all of which contribute to solving global problems.

She spoke highly of the organisation's activities in Viet Nam and hoped the OIF would continue to intensify links with Viet Nam and the broader Asia-Pacific region.

The two sides also discussed expanding cooperation in key domains such as French, economics and sustainable development.

Welcoming Paye, Son affirmed Viet Nam's consistent policy to enhance links with African countries, especially in economics. He proposed that the OIF continue to assist Viet Nam in popularising French and human resources training.

Viet Nam would also work to promote OIF–ASEAN cooperation, said Son, adding that he would welcome a visit from the OIF Secretary General this year or early next year.

Ambassador confident of Vietnam-Argentina ties

The political and economic-trade ties between Vietnam and Argentina will develop strongly following the upcoming visit to Hanoi by President Cristina Kirchner.

Ambassador to Argentina Nguyen Van Dao was granting an exclusive interview to VOV prior to Kirchner’s visit from January 18-21, which marks the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries.

Both sides will hold high-level talks and sign a number of cooperation agreements, including one on investment promotion, the diplomat said.

Argentinean businesses are undertaking several projects in Vietnam, notably a wind power project in southern provinces. Both sides are considering cooperation in oil & gas and telecommunications.  

Despite the negative impact of the global economic recession, two-way trade hit more than US$1 billion last year, and is expected to amount to US$1.5-2 billion in the near future.    

The two countries are also developing plans to boost bilateral cooperation in science-technology and the environment.
Marking 40 years of diplomatic ties this year, Vietnam and Argentina will increase delegation exchanges to concretise cooperation areas of politics, economics, trade, investment, and culture, said the diplomat.

India seeks better ties with HCM City

India wants closer ties with HCM City, the country's vice president, Mohammad Hamid Ansari, told city leader Le Hoang Quan at a meeting last night.

The city has attracted several Indian investors, traders, and professionals over the years, and India's relations with it have gained momentum, he said.

He appreciated the city's support for more frequent business, cultural, and educational exchanges between itself and India.

Recently India and HCM City have organised several events to mark the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between India and Viet Nam and the 20th Commemorative Year of the India-ASEAN partnership.

Worthy of note were an India-ASEAN Car Rally, an Indian Coast Guard ship's visit to Sai Gon Port, and several cultural performances including a classical Odissi dance.

Before his meeting with the city leaders, the visiting dignitary and his wife Salma visited the War Remnants Museum and Viet Nam History Museum, where he also saw a water-puppet show.

Confidence votes to be taken annually: Assembly

Members of the National Assembly's Standing Committee adopted a resolution yesterday that clarifies the "vote of confidence" procedure for positions elected or approved by the National Assembly and local People's Councils.

The resolution also adds new positions to the list, including chairman and deputy chairman of ward and commune level People's Council and People's Committee. If one individual holds two or more of the above positions, the vote of confidence will apply to his or her highest position.

Voting procedures would be conducted regularly at the first annual session of the National Assembly and People's Councils at all levels, starting in the second year of each official's tenure.

If an official receives a majority of "low confidence" votes for two consecutive years – or a two-thirds majority of "low confidence" votes at a given session - a "no confidence" vote will take place.

For the official to be eligible for dismissal, a majority of the deputies must vote "no confidence."

Voting results will be made public at NA sessions, The resolution will take effect at the beginning of next month.

World Bank's support appreciated

The World Bank Board of Directors will likely approve a US$250 million programme to enhance Viet Nam's economic competitiveness in March, officials announced following talks on reforming the financial sector and restructuring State-owned enterprises (SOEs) held in Ha Noi yesterday, Jan 16.

During the talks, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Van Ninh said restructuring credit organisations and SOEs was a crucial element of the country's economic recovery plan.

The World Bank's Country Director for Viet Nam, Victoria Kwakwa, briefed her host on the results of the WB-funded credit programme to reduce poverty in Viet Nam, which has seen total investment so far of $150 million.

She applauded Viet Nam's commitment to reforming the financial sector and SOEs in 2013, expressing her continued support to the country during the process.

The two sides also discussed a wide range of related issues, including mechanisms to increase the effectiveness of State management of SOEs and the role that State capital should play in businesses.

PM urges transparent SOE operations

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has asked State-owned enterprises (SOEs) to increase the transparency of their operations and affirm their main role in stabilising the macro-economy.

Chairing a Government meeting with leaders of State-owned economic groups and corporations in Hanoi on January 16, Dung stated that business and production results must be published in a transparent, honest and timely manner so the public understand how SOEs operate.

The Government leader urged the resolute implementation of SOEs restructuring under the approved plan. He asked SOEs to focus on their core business lines and withdraw investment capital from non-major businesses.

Dung asked that groups and corporations facing financial difficulties clarify the responsibility of involved managerial officials and restructure their capital and assets.

“Withdrawing investment must be implemented closely to avoid any negative impacts,” he noted.

According to the PM, the Vietnamese economy made positive achievements in curbing inflation, stabilising the macro economy and ensuring social welfare in 2012, despite numerous difficulties caused by the global economic downturn.

Economic groups and corporations overcame difficulties and sustained production. They continued to help maintain the macro economy and made important contributions to socio-economic infrastructure and key national works, he added.

The PM also pointed out that SOEs need to overcome prolonged losses, weak corporate administration, scattered and ineffective investment, and slow restructuring.

He noted that SOEs should remain a core force in the 2013 economy as many difficulties and challenges remain ahead of them.

According to the Steering Committee for Enterprise Reform and Development, State-owned groups and corporations recorded total revenues of over 1,621 trillion VND (77.2 billion USD) in 2012, accounting for 92 percent of the annual target and up two percent from 2011.

They also reported pre-tax profits of 127.5 trillion VND last year, down five percent from 2011.

Each group and corporation has developed its own comprehensive restructuring plan. 21 businesses were restructured in 2012, of which 13 were equitised, five were merged and three were turned into one-member limited liability companies.