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Political Headlines January 3

Cambodian NA chair to visit Viet Nam; Deputy PM calls for further red tape cuts; PM asks for more from local agriculture sector; Solidarity – source of strength of Vietnam-Cuba ties 

Cambodian NA chair to visit Viet Nam

The Chairman of the Cambodia National Assembly (NA), Heng Samrin, will lead a delegation from the Cambodian legislature on an official visit to Viet Nam on January 4-5.

The visit is made at the invitation of the Vietnamese NA Chairman, Nguyen Sinh Hung, the NA Committee on Foreign Affairs announced yesterday, Jan 2.




Chairman of the Cambodian National Assembly (NA) Heng Samrin (left) and Cambodian PM Hun Sen. (Source: VNA)





During the visit, Chairman Heng Samrin, who is also President of the National Council of the Solidarity Front for the Development of the Cambodian Motherland, and the Cambodian delegation will attend a ceremony to mark the 35th anniversary of the victory in the southwest border defence war and the joint victory of Viet Nam and Cambodia over the Khmer Rouge's genocidal regime (January 7).

Deputy PM calls for further red tape cuts

Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has said there is a strong need to simplify administrative procedures relating to investment, construction and land for the benefit of enterprises and locals.

He was addressing a meeting yesterday with the concerned ministries and sectors on introducing administrative reforms in investment, construction and land.

Phuc noted that there are quite a few inconsistencies in some regulations, such as the Laws on Investment, Enterprises and Construction, which cause problems for both management agencies and businesses.

Several administrative procedures overlap and are complicated, he stated, adding that the "one-stop" mechanism has, so far, not been implemented effectively.

He pointed out that it is more apt to describe the current implementation of the "one-stop" mechanism as "one door with numerous locks".

During the meeting, representatives from various ministries and sectors admitted to several shortcomings in the current administrative procedures.

The deputy PM urged all sectors and ministries to improve the quality of the staff involved in implementing the "one-stop" mechanism, while enhancing supervision and transparency.

He also urged ministries, companies and local authorities to work together to create a list of required procedures and estimated time periods for handling various procedures.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment also needs to consider the various shortcomings and limitations of the legal documents pertaining to land, planning and investment and work closely with the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) in preparing proposals for the required amendments by the second quarter of this year.

MPI Deputy Minister Dang Huy Dong said a review on the ministry's administrative regulations relating to investment, construction and land showed that investors had to follow 18 different procedures relating to land, construction and the environment to obtain permission for proceeding with a project.

To simplify administrative procedures, he noted that it is necessary to introduce the "one-stop" mechanism, which permits investors to submit all the required documents at a single window.

PM asks for more from local agriculture sector

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said that the agriculture sector needed to restructure with a focus on improving added value and sustainable development.

"Restructuring agriculture can only succeed when technological advances are applied in production," Dung told a conference in Ha Noi on Tuesday.

Farmers should be at the centre of the process, he stressed as the participants were working to set farming tasks for this year.

He said mechanisms and policies should be conducive to rural investment, particularly in cultivation, industry and services, while more attention being paid to agricultural processing and labour-intensive fields to generate jobs for rural workers.

The leader also pressed for more investment in rural infrastructure and vocational training.

At the event, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Cao Duc Phat reported that the sector grew 2.67 per cent last year, closely matching the 2.68 per cent rise seen in 2012.

This year, growth is targeted at 2.6-3 per cent, with a 3.1-3.5 per cent rise in production value. Agro-forestry-fishery exports are expected to hit US$28.5 billion, while the rate of forest coverage must reach 41.5 per cent.

To achieve these targets, the sector should adopt new plans to develop technology transfers and provide vocational training for farmers, Phat said.

Social resources would be raised to build new-style rural areas, improve irrigation and raise resilience to climate change and natural disasters, he added.

Solidarity – source of strength of Vietnam-Cuba ties

The geographical distance between Vietnam and Cuba could not be a deterrent to their solidarity, but rather, made it stronger to support both in overcoming all difficulties and challenges.

It is rare to find the heartfelt, intimate and pure friendship like the one Vietnam has given to Cuba, Cuban Ambassador to Vietnam Herminio Lopez Diaz remarked in an interview with Quan doi Nhan dan (People’s Army) newspaper on the occasion of the 55th anniversary of Cuba’s National Day (January 1, 1959-2014).

According to the diplomat, that solidarity and friendship have always been fostered, in wartime and in peace time, helping the Vietnam-Cuba relationship stand the test of time over the past five decades.

Former Cuban President Fidel Castro’s historical visit to the liberated zone in southern Vietnam in September, 1973 is a symbol of the noble solidarity as it was the first and only visit by a head of state to the zone when Vietnam was in wartime, he said.

Over the years, dialogues have been maintained and all-level visits exchanged by the two countries to enhance their mutual understanding. Among those were Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong’s visit to Cuba and President Raul Castro’s visit to Vietnam.

The diplomat spoke of a lot of potential for the two countries’ economic and trade cooperation today.

He stressed special interests in receiving Vietnamese businesses to visit and explore investment deals in Cuba’s special economic zone called Mariel, which was set up as part of the country’s economic update process.

The Ambassador assured that Vietnamese investors will be given such incentives as being protected from lawsuits lodged by third parties and allowed to send their dividends and profits overseas free of tax or fees.

Regarding the bio-tech field, he pointed to the possibility for the two countries to cooperate in producing vaccines and medicines or in trading and commercialising Cuba-made bio-products in Vietnam and other countries in the region.

The training of human resources is an area that Cuba can help Vietnam, he added while highlighting Vietnam’s effective cooperation with Cuba in rice growing as it can help Cuba ensure food security in the future.

He underlined that new policies on foreign investment and businesses that Cuba is pursuing can create certain momentum for the two countries to increase their cooperation in various fields, contributing to raising their relationship to a new height.

Delta province eyes economic progress

Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc urged the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta Province of Hau Giang to boost industrialisation and modernisation for continued development of the province.

He also asked officials to focus on additional training for workers to assure a skilled workforce is available for businesses and industries operating in the locality.

Speaking to local residents at a meeting yesterday to mark the province's 10th anniversary, Phuc said Hau Giang should have in place an economic development programme, while investing more in infrastructure, applying advanced technologies in production, as well as continuing programmes to reduce poverty and eliminate hunger.

During the meeting, Hau Giang Province was presented with the President's Independence Order, second class.

On the same day, the province renamed its largest street, Hau Giang Avenue, to Vo Nguyen Giap Avenue after the legendary General, who passed away in late September, 2013.

In celebrating its many achievements during the past 10 years, the province also unveiled several measures to speed up economic development in the coming years.

Huynh Minh Chac, the provincial Party Committee Secretary, said efforts would continue to change the structure of the agricultural economy in rural areas and accelerate construction of rural infrastructure.

The province would fully tap the potential available in agriculture, industry, handicrafts, and services to exploit land effectively and create jobs and incomes, he said.

It would focus on improving infrastructure and services in industrial parks and clusters and in urban areas, he said.

Besides improving its investment environment and speeding up administrative reform, the province would also set up mechanisms to encourage domestic and foreign investment in industry to advance industrialisation and modernisation, he promised.

Investment would be stepped up in education and training and science and technology to gradually improve the quality of human resources, he said.

Its action plan also includes greater attention on harmonising economic development with environmental protection and improving the social welfare and healthcare systems, he said.

The province was created in 2004 by dividing the former Can Tho Province into Can Tho City and Hau Giang Province.

Despite facing many challenges, the province achieved average economic growth of 12.39 per cent a year in 2004-13.

Foreign trade went up by 10.26 per cent a year in the last decade to US$350.4 million last year.

It has 26 foreign invested projects with a combined investment of $727.6 million.

In 2009, the province moved up 11 places to the 13th position among the country's 63 cities and provinces in the Provincial Competitiveness Index.

In 2012, it moved further up to the 11th place.

The province has convenient land and water transport systems, and can fully meet investors' electricity, water, and telecom needs.

The province has earmarked around 14.9ha of land in 10 places to build low-income housing.



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