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January payment transactions via national public service portal valued at 11.8 mln USD
January payment transactions via national public service portal valued at 11.8 mln USD hinh anh 1
Over 644,000 payment transactions with a total value of more than 279 billion VND (over 11.8 million USD) were processed through the National Public Service Portal in January, according to the Ministry of Information and Communications.

Over 338,000 accounts were registered, while over 7.2 million records were synchronised with the portal in the month.

Since its debut in December 2019, the portal provided 4,377 public services online with over 4.3 million registered accounts.

The portal has so far attracted over 1.1 billion visits, and processed over 8.5 million records online and over 4.6 million online payment transactions worth over 3.8 trillion VND.

To improve the business environment and national competitiveness in 2023, the Government has requested the ministries, sectors and localities to soon complete national databases and effectively implement the project on developing the application of population database, e-identification, and e-authentication for national digital transformation in the 2022-2025 period, with a vision to 2030.

The national public service portal provides 14 groups of online payment services, with eight for people and the rest for businesses.

Vietnam Airlines to fully restore flight network to China

National flag Vietnam Airlines will resume five more routes between Vietnam and China in March and April, meaning nine out of its 10 routes to the destination are back to operation after the pandemic.

In March, its flights between Hanoi and Beijing will resume with a frequency of three flights a week. Meanwhile, the carrier will increase the weekly frequency of flights linking Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City of Vietnam to Guangzhou and Shanghai of China to four from the current one to two flights.

From April, Vietnam Airlines will reopen four routes between Da Nang and China’s Guangzhou, Shanghai and Chengdu as well as between Hanoi and Chengdu. The routes will operate two flights a week to provide service between the two communities.

In addition, from September, the airline plans to operate the wide-body aircraft Airbus A350 and Boeing 787 on its routes between Hanoi and Beijing; and between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City and Shanghai.

With the optimistic scenario that China continues to ease related procedures and demand recovers well, Vietnam Airlines expects the number of passengers flying between the two countries this year to reach about 80% of the 8.1 million recorded in 2019, the year before the COVID-19 pandemic.

January’s State budget revenue estimated at 7.78 billion USD

Vietnam’s total State budget collection in January is estimated at 183.7 trillion VND (7.78 billion USD), equal to 11.3% of the yearly estimate and down 0.5% year-on-year, announced the Ministry of Finance on February 7.

Specifically, the domestic revenue is estimated at 160.4 trillion VND, up 3.1% y-o-y, and that from crude oil at 5.3 trillion VND, up 67.7% y-o-y.

Meanwhile, import-export activities contributed about 28 trillion VND to the State budget, equivalent to only 65% of that in the same period last year.

On the other hand, total State budget expenditure in the month was estimated at 114.9 trillion VND, equaling 5.5% of the yearly estimate.

For the development investment expenditure alone, the total planned investment capital from the State budget for 2023 is 756.1 trillion VND.

FDA recalls Vietnamese Diep Bao Cream amid possible health risks

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced that Vietnamese Diep Bao Cream sold in the United States is being recalled due to possible lead contamination.

According to the FDA, people who record high blood levels of lead may show no symptoms, although the condition may cause damage to the nervous system and internal organs. Acute lead poisoning may lead to a wide range of symptoms, including abdominal pain, muscle weakness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, and bloody or decreased urinary output. In addition, children are particularly vulnerable to lead poisoning.

The administration stated that Diep Bao Cream had been sold by Herndon, Virginia-based Shop Me Ca, as well as through Facebook pages and Vietnamese Moms’ Facebook groups. The cream is mainly used to treat atopic dermatitis, which leads to dry, itchy, and inflamed skin.

The FDA noted that the product is packaged in an white cardboard box with a 10-gram white plastic tube inside. All of the labeling is in Vietnamese.

The sale of the product has been suspended while FDA, OHA, and the company continue to investigate the source of the problem.

With regard to the news, Ta Manh Hung, deputy director of the Drug Administration of Vietnam, signed a document on February 7 asking the Department of Health of Ho Chi Minh City and the southern province of Dong Nai to urgently take samples of Diep Bao cream products on the market. This should be done to check product quality, especially heavy metal indicators.

According to quick reports released by the health departments, the product has not been issued with receipt number for the cosmetic product proclamation.

Fruit and vegetable exports record impressive growth

Fruit and vegetable exports received positive signs during the initial months of the year with the number of export orders to the major markets such as the United States and the EU growing by 20% to 30% against the same period from last year, according to industry insiders.

Nguyen Dinh Tung, general director of Vina T&T Group, said the group signed a contract to export 1,500 containers of durian to Chinese market late last year, adding that despite factors relating to high inflation, as well as a decline in consumer demand in several export markets, there are bright prospects ahead for fruit exports at the beginning of the year.

Ngo Thi Thu Hong, director of Ameii Vietnam Joint Stock Company, emphazised that the firm’s export orders had soared by about 30% on-year, noting that it is also exporting fruits such as durian and seedless lemons to markets such as the EU, Japan, and China.

Hong revealed that the company has launched durian products for exports to the Chinese market as it was granted a planting area code in December, 2022.

Along with the Chinese market, the firm has also shipped durian to the EU market with customers purchasing between one and three tonnes per week in a stable manner.

With regard to the EU market, Tran Van Cong, the country’s agricultural counselor in the EU, pointed out that each year the market imports fruit and vegetables worth about US$120 billion, accounting for 40% of the global total import and export turnover.

However, Vietnamese fruit and vegetable export turnover to the EU market has reached about US$190 million, making up a small proportion compared to the market share that the EU is importing.

In the structure of fruit and vegetable exports to the EU market over recent time, fresh products account for approximately 70%, while processed products make up only 30%.

According to details given by the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the consumption amount of fruit and vegetables has seen an increase in the EU. However, the EU market has set forth a range of stringent requirements on traceability and product quality standards, especially food safety and hygiene.

Therefore, local businesses are advised to fully grasp information about the market, including consumer tastes, standards on rules of origin, food safety and hygiene, to make further inroads into the demanding market.

IFC invests another $100m in SeABank to boost access to housing loans

IFC on Tuesday announced it has invested US$100 million in Southeast Asia Commercial Joint-Stock Bank (SeABank) which aims to boost access to housing loans.

With a rapid annual urbanisation rate of 3 per cent, half of the Vietnamese population – about 50 million people – is expected to live in urban areas by 2040. This creates the need for an estimated 374,000 additional housing units every year. However, the limited availability of long-term funding has restricted access to housing finance, especially challenging for lower and middle-income homebuyers, who need longer-term funding due to low levels of income.

Through the investment, SeABank expects to at least double the number of lower and mid-end housing loans by 2026. In addition, the project is expected to create thousands of new jobs in construction and other related sectors.

SSIT seeks approval for the entry of large vessel

The Vietnam Maritime Administration (VMA) has responded to the request for the entry of a vessel of 200,148 DWT into the SP - SSA International Terminal (SSIT).

Initially, SSIT was open to vessels of 160,000 DWT or below. After some inspections, the Transport Construction Investment Management Authority held that the terminal has the capacity to handle vessels of up to 199,273 DWT.

Accordingly, SSIT has been given the go-ahead to accommodate vessels of 199,273 DWT or below since October 2022. The largest vessel that has docked at the terminal by far is the MSC Amsterdam of 186,541 DWT.

Regarding the request for entry of the vessel MSC Jade of 200,148 DWT, VMA said it had asked CSG - SSA International Container Service Joint Venture -SSIT operator - to carefully consider the request and report to the Ministry of Transport on its feasibility.

"Right after receiving the request for entry, we asked the shipping company MSC to have another vessel, which has a deadweight of fewer than 200,000 tonnes, enter the terminal," said an SSIT representative.

However, the shipping company said it is not easy to change the vessel because doing so requires major adjustments to shipping contracts. To not break the DWT limit, the shipping company said it would reduce the deadweight of the vessel to no more than 180,000 DWT.

SSIT operator said it had consulted experts and the experts said SSIT would still be able to handle a vessel of 200,148 DWT as an excess of 875 DWT would be minor. However, it would be safer if the shipping company could lighten the vessel as said.

All things considered, the SSIT operator has requested permission from the Ministry of Transport for the entry of the vessel MSC Jade into the terminal. 

National flag carrier Vietnam Airlines posts highest flight delay rates

Interbank interest rates surged last week as the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV), the country’s central bank, shifted from net cash injections to withdrawals from the banking system.

February 2 saw the interbank rate for the 9-month term jumping to 13% per annum from the previous 9.61%, but the transaction volume was merely VND200 billion.

The overnight rate remained stable, at 6.26% a year, a little bit higher than the earlier session and 1.7% higher than the year-ago period.

Overnight lending accounted for about 95% of all transactions, topping VND225,700 billion.

Other interbank rates on loans with tenures of one week, two weeks, one month, three months and six months increased to 6.46%, 6.66%, 7.57%, 8.94% and 11.45% per year, respectively.

The rates stayed high despite the central bank’s steady cash injections in the banking system since the end of the Lunar New Year, indicating the liquidity problem plaguing the banking system is not yet over.

On February 3, the SBV withdrew VND15,000 billion from the banking system via sales of treasury bills with a seven-day tenure and a coupon rate of 5.79% a year.

Yesterday, February 6, it further drained another VND10,000 billion from the market by selling T-bills with seven-day terms and an annual coupon rate of 5.49%.

The interbank rates would stay high in the coming time as other central banks keep raising their interest rates amid inflation pressures, according to market observers.

In late 2022, the rates for overnight, one- and two-week terms, and one- and three-month terms registered at 4,5%; 5,2%; 5,6%; 6,2% and 6,7% per year, respectively.

Transport Ministry gets extra VND31 trillion for public investment

The Government has allocated an extra VND31.4 trillion to the Ministry of Transport to fund key traffic infrastructure projects in the country.

The allocation of additional capital, approved by Deputy Prime Minister Le Minh Khai yesterday, February 6, will be set for the ministry’s five major expressway projects that had received the National Assembly’s approval earlier, the local media reported.

Of the five projects, an expressway linking the capital city of Hanoi with neighboring Haiphong City will be developed by the Vietnam Infrastructure Development and Finance Investment JSC, or VIDIFI.

Vietnam Expressway Corporation is the investor in the four other expressways, comprising Noi Bai-Lao Cai, Danang-Quang Ngai, HCMC-Long Thanh-Dau Giay and Ben Luc-Long Thanh.

The Transport Ministry was told to properly assign capital to each of these projects and ensure it does not exceed the additional investment given to the ministry this time.

The relevant ministries and agencies must take full responsibility before the prime minister and inspection agencies regarding the accuracy of documents and reports linked to the investment allocation.

In 2023, the Government tasked the Ministry of Transport with disbursing nearly VND94.2 trillion of public investment, up 1.7-fold against the 2022 figure.

The ministry this year is set to start work on 24 new projects and complete 29 others. Among them, the ministry will focus on completing seven sub-projects of the big-ticket North-South Expressway project in the 2017-2020 period and the My Thuan-Can Tho Expressway project, facilitating the progress of other projects such as the Rach Mieu 2 Bridge in Ben Tre Province, a bypass of the 

Quang Tri proposes adding power projects to national plan

The government of Quang Tri Province has proposed adding local power generation projects to the National Power Development Plan for 2021-2030, reported the local media.

These projects comprise a 1,800-2,000MW wind farm west of the province and a 1,200-2,000MW pumped-storage hydroelectricity plant. They should be synchronized with the investment progress of the Huong Hoa 500Kv transmission line and substation, according to the province.

Quang Tri proposed putting some power projects into operation by 2030, including the 1,320MW Quang Tri I Thermal Power Project, the 1,500MW Hai Lang LNG Power Center Phase I, and the 340MW Quang Tri Combined Cycle Power Plant.

The province also sought approval from the Government for the province’s coastal planning as it is a basis for carrying out solar and wind power projects in the area.

Until now, 60 onshore wind power projects, three offshore wind power projects, 19 solar power projects, some hydroelectricity projects and gas power projects in Quang Tri have been proposed for inclusion into in the National Power Development Plan for the 2021-2023 period.

Aqua-product exports plunge 31% in January

Vietnam’s aqua-product exports dropped sharply in January, fetching only US$600 million, according to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP).

The first month this year saw a plunge of 31% in aqua-product export value year-on-year due to the week-long Lunar New Year holiday at the end of the month.

The export values of several major products declined in January, such as that of tra fish plunging 50%, shrimp falling 46% and tuna tumbling 32%.

Vietnam’s aqua-product exports to key markets such as the U.S., China and the EU plummeted by 35%-56% in the first month of the year.

Despite high export values in the first three quarters of last year, Vietnam’s aqua-product exports have reversed course since the 4th quarter due to inflation in many international markets.

China’s reopening policy and high economic development of the Asian and Middle East markets are expected to improve the country’s aqua-product export values from the second quarter of this year.

Hanoi seeks to remove hurdles to land use right auctions

Hanoi City has proposed measures to eliminate hindrances to land auctions this year, as its revenue from land auctions last year met a mere 50% of the target.

According to the Portal of the Hanoi People’s Committee, the city planned to collect VND12,450 billion from land use right auctions in 2022. However, only VND7,018 billion was obtained by December 2022, 56.37% of the full-year target.

Some 87 projects with a total area of 14.17 hectares were successfully auctioned across the city last year.

The city’s request to review infrastructure development projects, especially land for social housing, in compliance with Decree 49 of the Government and new requirements of the Investment Law on preparing dossiers for auctioned projects may lead to delays in land use right auctions, unsuccessful auctions or low revenue being collected from this activity, said the municipal authority.

Given the above situation, to expedite the land auction this year, the Hanoi People’s Committee has proposed building a centralized social housing fund while waiting for the projects to be reviewed. Thereby, Hanoi will approve a social housing mechanism and the district-level people’s committees will direct relevant organizations to allocate land for preparing investment projects and apply for an investment policy.

Hanoi City also petitioned to complete the project infrastructure in advance, such as the school, flower garden and planting of green trees to make the auction more effective and attractive to investors and enterprises.

Additionally, the city sought authorization to apply land price coefficients to determine the starting price of the land use right auction without the need to hire a consultant.

Lâm Đồng Province recognises hi-tech coffee growing area

The Lâm Đồng Province People’s Committee has recognised a 371.6ha coffee growing area in Di Linh District as a hi-tech coffee growing area.

Located in Đinh Lạc Commune’s Tân Lạc 1, Tân Lạc 3 and Tân Lạc 4 villages, the area is cultivated by 325 households, four co-operatives and six coffee producing and processing establishments.

In the hi-tech coffee growing area, coffee growing households use machines to till the land and use automatic and semi-automatic chemical spraying mechanisms to prevent and control diseases. They also use composted animal manure to fertilise coffee.

Up to 90 per cent of the area’s coffee beans are dried by driers.

The area is also equipped with automatic weather and soil moisture monitoring facilities.

More farmers in Di Linh, which is the province’s largest coffee growing district, are using high technology to grow coffee to increase yield and quality.

They have also linked with co-operatives and companies to secure buyers and ensure stable prices.

The district has more than 44,000ha of coffee, with an annual output of 144,000 tonnes a year.

Coffee is one of Lâm Đồng’s key plants and the province has more than 170,000ha of coffee, making it the country’s second largest coffee producer after its neighbouring province of Đắk Lắk.

The province’s Di Linh District, and Bảo Lộc and Đà Lạt cities are located 800-1,500 metres above sea level and have favourable conditions for cultivating coffee.

Farmers in the province have increased planting coffee under international standards in recent years.

They are growing 21,000ha of coffee to Rainforest standards and more than 53,000ha of coffee to the common code for the coffee community (4C). The province’s coffee has the highest yield and quality in the country. Coffee production value accounts for 60 per cent of the province’s agriculture production value. 

Vietnam's rice export prices hit two-year high

Vietnam is enjoying global rice price rises as local exporters are receiving more orders.

The export price of Vietnamese rice on February 5 increased by USD15 per tonne compared to last month, with broken rice prices reaching USD453-473 per tonne, the highest level recorded over the past two years.

However, prices were still lower by USD 20 and USD 10 compared to that of Thai and Pakistani rice, respectively. Last December, Vietnamese broken rice enjoyed the world's highest prices, ranging between USD 418-438 per tonne, about USD 20 higher than Thai rice.

According to Do Ha Nam, vice chairman of the Vietnam Food Association, rice prices are rising in the first months of 2023 due to the prolonged Ukraine War and the world's fluctuating socio-economic situation.

Hanoi-Quang Ninh railway project under reconsideration

The Ministry of Transport is going to reconsider the Yen Vien - Pha Lai - Ha Long - Cai Lan railway project in 2024 after it has been suspended for nearly 20 years due to investment problems.

The Yen Vien - Pha Lai - Ha Long - Cai Lan railway project in 2024 after has been suspended for nearly 20 years due to investment problems.

The VND7,665 billion (USD326.30 million)-government invested 131-km project started in May 2005, running from Yen Vien Station in Hanoi through Bac Ninh, Hai Duong provinces, and ending at Cai Lan Port in Quang Ninh Province.

About 43 kilometres of the 131 km rail track was planned to be newly built while the remaining 88 kilometres would be upgraded from the existing Kep - Ha Long railway line.

The project was expected to become a key component in the development of the northern economy, particularly in connecting two corridors and an economic belt between Vietnam and China.

Although scheduled to be put into operation in 2011, only a third of the project had been completed and the transport ministry explained this was due to a shortage in investment.

Many of the constructions are now covered in moss and badly deteriorated. Local residents have complained about their lives being badly affected by the sluggish project.

The ministry recently asked the Railway Project Management Board to look into the project again and make a new construction plan for approval in 2024.

2 packages of Ben Luc - Long Thanh Expressway performed re-bidding procedures

The Department of Transport of Dong Nai Province said that the functional agencies were performing re-bidding procedures for two bidding packages under the Ben Luc – Long Thanh expressway project through the locality.

Accordingly, the two bidding packages included J3 bidding package and A6 package under the Ben Luc-Long Thanh Expressway Project's section through the province of Dong Nai.

The bidding packages of J3 and A6 are completed with around 80 percent and around 34 percent in volume, respectively.

At the current times, there are two other bidding packages under the Ben Luc – Long Thanh expressway project under construction process consisting A5 bidding package with 95 percent of the total volume completion and A7 with nearly 62 percent of completion.

Regarding site clearance progress, the People’s Committee of Nhon Trach District is doing procedures to revoke land from the last household.

The Ben Luc – Long Thanh expressway project having a total length of nearly 58 kilometers, including an over 27- kilometer-long section in Dong Nai Province, started in 2014.

According to the initial plan, the project will be finished in 2018; however, its completion time has been behind schedule due to difficulties and problems in site clearance as well as capital arrangement.

Recently, the Ministry of Transport has just submitted to the Prime Minister an adjustment of the project's investment policy and completion time in 2025 for approval.

Nearly US$1.27 million loan given to businesses

According to the State Bank (SBV)’s, the loan amount from the 2-percent interest rate support package reached nearly VND30 trillion (US$1,268,366) and the amount of interest rate support neared VND78 billion by the end of November 2022.

According to the registration plan in 2022, commercial banks will spend about VND800,000 billion on outstanding loans, and interest support will amount to VND16,000 billion.

The state bank pointed out three difficulties and obstacles in the process of implementing Decree No. 31/2022/ND-CP (Decree 31) on interest rate support from the state budget for loans of enterprises, cooperatives and business households. Plus, customers are afraid of post-inspection, inspection, and audit procedures of competent state agencies; moreover, the bank stipulated conditions for supporting resilience; and some business households do not have a business registration.

Regarding the condition of resilience, the draft amendments and supplement to Decree 31 stipulated that customers who can pay for their debts meet the lending conditions of commercial banks according to current regulations.

Problems still exist with the state bank’s instruction of a loan lender’s revenue, output, profit, or business development and direction of enterprises because many customers can’t confirm recovery in the current context. In the case of building according to the criteria of revenue, output, and profit increasing, but in fact, due to the impact of many uncertain factors, these indicators do not increase, as a result, banks and customers are afraid that they will be punished when authorities pay an inspection later to evaluate policy profiteering. Particularly for the remaining two problems, the draft has not yet provided a solution.

According to the Vietnam Confederation of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), customers are afraid of post-inspection, inspection and audit procedures partly because the provisions of Decree 31 are not really clear. The new Decree only stipulated that the inter-sectoral working group has the right to inspect the interest-supported loans and the inter-sectoral working group works according to the regulations promulgated by the State Bank.

However, at present, the SBV has not issued regulations and has no more specific regulations so that enterprises can be assured that they will not pay an additional fee for inspection activities. In order to be transparent and clear, helping to eliminate the fear of customers, VCCI proposed to have detailed regulations on inspection activities of the State Bank and the working group not to overlap with other inspection activities to minimize time costs for customers. Inspection activities are conducted mainly at commercial banks and only when commercial banks are detected to have signs of violations, inspectors will pay visits to these violating banks.

Regarding the issue of business households without business registration, currently, Decree 01/2021/ND-CP on business registration is exempting households engaged in agricultural, forestry and fishery production from business registration. Meanwhile, Decree 31 required business households in the fields of agriculture, forestry and fishery to have business registration in order to receive interest rate support.

FPT Software gets approval for tech center in Binh Dinh

The Binh Dinh government has presented an investment certificate to FPT Software for a VND2-trillion technology expert training, research and development complex in Quy Nhon City.

The complex will be constructed in Quy Hoa Valley in Ghenh Rang Ward in the third quarter of this year. The facility is set to accommodate around 20,000 tech workers.

The complex is aimed at contributing to developing a highly skilled workforce in the province and attracting foreign talent, moving toward turning Quy Nhon City into an artificial intelligence (AI) hub in Southeast Asia.

The complex will provide Vietnamese tech firms with hi-tech services to enhance their competitiveness and help Binh Dinh Province develop technology into a key sector.

In 2021, FPT Corporation cut a deal to boost digitalization for the province in the 2021-2025 period.

FPT had earlier signed an agreement with Mila, a world-renowned AI institute, for three years, from 2020 to 2023. Under the deal, the two parties will develop an AI research center in Quy Nhon City, covering 94 hectares and costing over VND4.3 trillion. The project is set to comprise an AI and technology research and development center, a software production plant and other components.

Source: VNA/SGT/VNS/VOV/Dtinews/SGGP/VGP/Hanoitimes


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Vietnam remains favoured destination for global investors

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Vietnam spends $2.72 billion to import seafood, foreign crab floods market

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