Vietnam is seeing exponential growth in demand for Korean cosmetics, according to The Korea Herald.

The newspaper quoted data by the Korea Cosmetics Association as saying that Korean cosmetics exports to Vietnam from January to May this year surged by 43.4% compared to the same period last year, raking in US$187.5 million.

This is the highest growth rate the Republic of Korea has acquired from the Vietnamese cosmetics market, followed by the United States (25.7%) and Hong Kong-China (16.7%).

Elsewhere, cosmetic exports to China, which has historically been the RoK’s biggest cosmetics exports destination, stood at at US$1.2 billion, a drop of 25.7%.

its cosmetics exports to the Japanese market also saw a 5.3% decrease to US$323.9 million.

“Additional data showed that K-beauty's performance in Vietnam has been gaining traction,” said the media outlet.

It also cited data from the US Department of Commerce showing the RoK had the largest market share in terms of Vietnamese imported cosmetics market at 30%, followed by the EU at 23%, Japan at 17%, Thailand at 13%, and the US, 10%.

The Korea Herald stressed that currently, 90% of all cosmetics consumed in the Vietnamese beauty market are from foreign brands.

According to a survey conducted by the Korea International Cultural Exchange Agency on consumers aged 15 to 59 in Vietnam, 91.2% respondents said they have purchased at least one Korean cosmetic product over the past year, and some 68.8% buy Korean beauty products frequently.

“The growth in Korean beauty products in the Vietnamese market points to the possibility that the country could potentially function as an alternative market for Korean beauty companies, whose performance in China has been stalling recently,” said The Korea Herald.

It also reported that Statista, a German data analysis platform, noted that the Vietnamese beauty market is likely to grow to US$2.7 billion next year.

Businesses moan about weak local logistics industry

Many businesses moaned that they are facing difficulties due to the weak capacity of the domestic logistics industry.

At the seminar ‘Green logistics - from trends to practices and roles in food production and export’, businesses said that they bumped into problems because of the weak local logistics industry.

Currently, 68 percent of logistics enterprises in the country demand sea transportation while 50 percent commodities are transported by road and air, railway and inland waterways transport account for the same rate of 8 percent.

However, in contrast to the needs of businesses, the capacity of the domestic logistics industry is mainly road transport, accounting for the majority with the rate of 74.4 percent, inland waterway tops 19 percent and the rest is air, rail and sea transportation.

Ho Chi Minh City attracts 2.9 billion USD in FDI in H1

Ho Chi Minh City attracted 2.9 billion USD in foreign direct investment (FDI) from the beginning of this year to June 20, an increase of 30.7% compared the same period last year, the city’s Statistics Office has announced.

In the first half of this year, the country's economic locomotive granted new investment certificates for 514 projects with a combined registered capital of 231 million USD, marking an increase of 69.1% in the number of projects compared to the same period last year.

Of the projects, 207 were in wholesale, retail, and repair of automobiles and motorbikes with registered capital totaling 93.9 million USD, accounting for 40.6% of the newly registered capital.

Among the nations and territories pouring capital into the city, Singapore ranked first with 89 projects and a total registered capital of 126 million USD, accounting for 54.6% of the newly registered capital.

It was followed by Japan with 43 projects and 21.7 million USD, accounting for 9.4%, Hong Kong (China) with 36 projects and 12.7 million USD, accounting for 5.6%.

According to the city People's Committee, as of May 20, the city had 11,868 valid foreign investment projects with a total new investment and added investment of more than 56.8 billion USD.

AI-powered agents for enterprises introduced in HCM City

Trusting Social, a leading Asian fintech artificial intelligence (AI) company, officially launched its generative AI platform called Agent Foundry that provides trainable, AI-powered autonomous agents to enterprises.

Agent Foundry integrates Microsoft’s cloud and AI technologies, including Azure cloud service, which is secure and open-source friendly; and GitHub Enterprise, the developer and productivity tool for Startups Founders Hub.

Foundry agents include ALICE, a generative AI-powered sales and relationship management agent that helps brands reach out to millions of consumers; ANANSI, a business and data analytics agent; and ALAN, an AGI-based software programming agent.

They combine high-level business reasoning with powerful Big Data predictive modeling, vast industry domain knowledge, a wide range of digital skills from using office applications to advanced data analytics and coding, and enterprises’ rich customer data to assist knowledge workers to become more productive.

They appeal to enterprises thanks to their design that adheres to high standards for data privacy, security, social sensibility and controllability, their ability to strictly follow business rules, learn on the job, and proactively take action in a business context with minimal human supervision.

Nguyễn An Nguyên, CEO of Trusting Social, said the company was thrilled to bring AGI products to the Vietnamese and Southeast Asian markets. The company aims to serve multiple industries, starting with the financial sector and soon expanding to consumer goods, telecommunications, and professional services, according to Nguyên.

The launch of Agent Foundry shows the company’s decade-long commitment to advancing AI to enable businesses to serve consumers better with lower costs.

Nguyễn Quỳnh Trâm, country general manager of Microsoft Vietnam, said this collaboration with Trusting Social would empower world-class financial access for unbanked users.

“AI is a defining technology of our time, we are optimistic that it will benefit underserved communities in Việt Nam and Southeast Asia,” she said.

Last year, Trusting Social was selected to join the Microsoft for Startups Founders Hub, a new digital and truly inclusive platform for Founders in Asia. The company was provided free access to Microsoft's technology, tools, and resources to develop its AGI-empowered tools to deliver financial access for all.

At the event, a two-year Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between Trusting Social and Microsoft on collaboration in research and development.

Both sides will pursue strategic research, technical development, and go-to-market collaboration.

Trusting Social will integrate Microsoft Azure's cloud computing platform, services, solutions, and other technologies in connection with data analytics, OpenAI, and cognitive services for an Azure AI project. 

HCM City rolls out three-month consumer spending promotion

Authorities in HCM City will run a promotion programme from now until September 15 with attractive discounts to increase spending. 

Nguyen Khac Hieu from the Import-Export unit of the HCM City Department of Industry and Trade, said the annual programme previously lasted one month but this year city authorities have decided to extend the promotion campaign to three months to boost demand amid economic challenges.

Around 3,000 companies are participating in 7,000 sales promotions.

As part of the programme, there would be a ‘cashless payment month’ event, river tourism festival and super sales for fashion, cosmetics and jewellery products.

Travel agencies would be allowed to launch summer travel tours for students and their parents, who will be offered a discount voucher when shopping cashless at certain malls.

Thousands of products from fresh food to technology products, appliances and apparel at supermarket chain Saigon Coop will be offered with discounts of up to 60 percent.

Total retail sales of consumer goods and services nationwide in the first five months of this year increased by 12.6 percent year-on-year, according to the General Statistics Office.

Binh Thuan province develops dragon fruit value chain

Binh Thuan province develops dragon fruit value chain hinh anh 1
Binh Thuan dragon fruit that meets VietGAP standards is packed for export. (Photo:
The People's Committee of the south-central province of Binh Thuan is seeking ways to facilitate the sustainable development of its dragon fruit production chain.

The province targets to improve economic efficiency for cooperatives and businesses, while increasing competitiveness and expanding the fruit's consumption.

At a workshop late last week to connect local enterprises with partners at home and abroad to expand the market for dragon fruit, experts said the province needed to focus on producing organic dragon fruit and developing a production roadmap to meet the needs of market diversification.

Accordingly, the plan would help expand the green dragon fruit export market, increase export volume to traditional export markets and enhance trade promotion activities.

At present, Binh Thuan mainly produces fresh dragon fruit, of which 80-85% are for export and about 15-20% are for the domestic market.

Binh Thuan province now encourages farmers to increase product quality in dragon fruit production while not expanding production areas for the sustainable development of this product.

Nguyen Duc Tri, Deputy Director of the provincial Agricultural Extension Center, said VietGAP standards are also applied for the sustainable development of dragon fruit production. That has increased the value of dragon fruit products and met the demand of export markets. On the other hand, the use of pesticides is also minimised, increasing the prestige and quality of Binh Thuan dragon fruit products.

By the end of 2022, the area of dragon fruit trees in the province was about 26,977 hectares, down 5,283 hectares compared to 2021; production reached more than 600,000 tonnes. In the period of 2020-2022, the whole province had only 9,063 hectares of dragon fruits that met VietGAP standards.

Binh Thuan province is forming a dragon fruit production region with high technology in the districts of Ham Thuan Nam and Ham Thuan Bac.

The Binh Thuan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development has also requested the Sub-Department of Crop Production and Plant Protection and relevant agencies to strengthen the management and supervision of the use of planting region codes and codes of dragon fruit packing establishments that have been granted to organisations and individuals in the province.

It would also coordinate with the Market Management Department to strengthen inspection and control of the labelling at dragon fruit packaging facilities in accordance with existing regulations.

Binh Thuan’s dragon fruit has been exported to 17 countries such as India, China and Malaysia.

Mitani Sangyo group explores investment opportunities in Binh Duong

Secretary of the Party Committee of Binh Duong southern province Nguyen Van Loi held a meeting with Special Advisor of Mitani Sangyo group of Japan Mitani Mitsuru on July 6 to discuss investment possibilities.  

The Binh Duong leader welcomed the Japanese group to the province, and told the guest that Binh Duong has actively invested in modern and uniform technical infrastructure.

According to Loi, the province now is home to 4,120 foreign-invested projects of 65 countries and territories with total registered capital of over 40 billion USD. Japan is the second biggest foreign investor in Binh Duong with 344 projects worth nearly 6 billion USD.

The official said he hopes Mitani Sangyo will continue to expand investment in Binh Duong, stressing that the combination of the Japanese group’s strengths in finance, technology, international markets and business administration and Binh Duong’s advantages will generate great benefits to both sides.

He pledged that the province’s authorities are committed to creating the best possible conditions for foreign investors, including those from Japan.

Mitani said Mitani Sangyo, operating in chemicals, resin, information systems, air conditioning systems, and energy, entered Vietnam in 1994.

He added that the group plans to conduct a survey on further investment opportunities in Vietnam in November this year.

Vietjet offers 77% discounted tickets on both domestic and int’l routes

Budget airline Vietjet Air is offering millions of tickets with discounts up to 77% on July 7 at website and Vietjet Air mobile app, together with 100,000 VND E-Vouchers.

Passengers can visit website, Vietjet Air app and apply the promotion code SUMMER77 to fly across Vietnam and internationally with flexible flight times from August 1, 2023 to March 31, 2024. At the same time, on the double day, passengers will get an additional 100,000 VND E-Vouchers at, accumulate points for the SkyJoy loyalty program, enjoy many attractive benefits at SkyJoy app or

Vietjet Air has launched new routes, including Ho Chi Minh City - Jakarta (Indonesia), Ho Chi Minh City - Kochi (India), Ho Chi Minh City - Brisbane (Australia), Ho Chi Minh City - Tokyo (Haneda, Japan), Da Nang - Hong Kong, Phu Quoc - Hong Kong (China). Especially, passengers always feel secure when flying with all Vietjet flights, being offered free travel insurance SkyCare. Passengers are fully protected from medical expenses to problems related to journey incidents (such as delayed flights, lost luggage and documents).

Government regulates supply, use of cross-border insurance services

The Government recently issued Decree 46/2023/ND-CP regulating the supply and use of cross-border insurance services in Viet Nam.

According to regulations under the decree, those providing cross-border insurance and insurance brokerage services are foreign insurance and insurance brokerage enterprises with headquarters in countries or territories with which Viet Nam has signed international treaties on trade, including agreements on the supply of cross-border insurance services in Viet Nam.

Users of those services are foreign-invested economic organisations and foreigners working in Viet Nam.

The decree stipulates that in order to be allowed to provide cross-border services in Viet Nam, a foreign insurance or insurance brokerage company must have a licence from a state management agency in charge of foreign insurance where the firm is headquartered, and must provide proof that it has been operating legally for at least 10 years until the time it begins to provide cross-border insurance services in Viet Nam.

It also must have a document certifying that it has not violated legal regulations on insurance business and brokerage operations, and other legal regulations within three consecutive years preceding the year it begins providing cross-border insurance services in Viet Nam.

The regulations also require total assets of at least US$2 billion for a foreign insurance enterprise; and $100 million for a foreign brokerage firm in the fiscal year preceding the year of providing cross-border services in Viet Nam.

Foreign insurers have to be rated at least "BBB" by Standard & Poor's or Fitch, "B++" by A.M.Best, or "Baal" by Moody's, or have equivalent ratings in the previous fiscal year; and have gained profits in the three consecutive fiscal years preceding the year it begins to provide cross-border insurance services in Viet Nam.

Foreign insurance companies are required to provide cross-border insurance services in Viet Nam through an insurance brokerage company licensed and operating in Viet Nam, while foreign brokerage firms must provide brokerage services for foreign insurance firms or branches of foreign insurance firms licensed and operating in Viet Nam.

Urgency to continue business condition reform: seminar

Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Tran Duy Dong emphasised the urgency of fostering business environment reform, particularly in relation to the slowdown in recent efforts to improve business conditions at a seminar titled "Removing Barriers to Business Conditions for Business Development" held in Ha Noi on Thursday.

He highlighted the Government's unwavering commitment to improving the business environment and national competitiveness in Resolution No 01/NQ-CP, issued in 2023, with four key solutions to achieve this goal.

The first area involves reforming the list of investment sectors, conditional business activities, and business requirements. The second area focus on the continued promotion of management reforms, specialised inspections of import and export goods and the effective implementation of the National Single Window. The third area entails rectifying inspections and examinations of enterprises to ensure they do not disrupt normal business operations. The fourth area concentrates on implementing solutions to enhance the quality of business support services.

Nevertheless, Dong expressed concern that efforts to improve the business environment have slowed down since 2020, receiving insufficient attention from ministries, sectors and local authorities.

Over the past two years, barriers related to business conditions have expanded with certain ministries and departments having issued and enforced stricter regulations concerning business requirements, Dong said. He noted that if this situation is not rectified promptly, it could undermine the progress made during the previous reform period.

The Ministry of Planning and Investment has conducted a comprehensive review of business reform between 2016-19. The review showed a significant number of decrees were issued, amending multiple regulations and simplifying approximately 50 per cent of business conditions.

Regarding the list of conditional business lines, there have been revisions over the years. The initial list of 267 industries was reduced to 243 in 2016 and further to 227 according to the Investment Law of 2020.

However, Nguyen Thi Minh Thao, head of the Business Environment and Competitiveness Research Department at the Central Institute for Economic Management (CIEM), indicated that while the number of conditional business lines has decreased, the content has expanded. Many industries have regulations on business conditions in specialised laws, surpassing the number listed in the Investment Law of 2020.

Some businesses face difficulties due to excessive certificate requirements, hierarchical licensing restrictions, and frequent adjustments to sub-licences, even when there is no change in content, Thao said. She cited examples of shortcomings in the business environment including regulations on fire prevention and fighting and environmental permits.

To further reform and improve the business environment, CIEM proposed various measures to address these issues. They recommended further reductions in the list of investment and conditional business regulations, as well as simplifying business conditions. They also called for stricter control over the addition of new regulations that could create unnecessary barriers. Improving the effectiveness and efficiency of consultation and examination of legal documents was another crucial aspect emphasised by CIEM.

During the workshop, representatives from various associations and businesses expressed their expectations for the Government to reinstate the reform programme and enhance the business environment.

They emphasised the importance of continuous direction in implementing solutions to improve the business environment. These solutions include amending legal regulations on business conditions, promptly addressing enterprise difficulties and shortcomings, and strengthening monitoring and independent assessment of reform outcomes.

Deputy Minister Tran Duy Dong said the ministry is currently conducting a comprehensive review of conditional business sectors and business requirements across 15 areas of State management overseen by various ministries and sectors. This review aims to identify difficulties in the business environment, including barriers related to conditional business sectors, business requirements and related administrative procedures.

"Based on the identification of shortcomings in the business environment, industries, and business conditions, the Ministry of Planning and Investment will propose corresponding plans and solutions to the Government and the Prime Minister," Dong said.

PM requests promoting rice production, export

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh has issued an official dispatch on enhancing the implementation of tasks and measures to promote rice production and export.

The dispatch notes that the world's situation was complicated and unpredictable in the first months of 2023, negatively affecting the recovery and growth of the global economy as well as the production and export of food and foodstuffs, including rice.

Viet Nam's rice exports in the first half of this year increased by 22.2 per cent in volume and 34.7 per cent in value compared to the same period last year, contributing to the growth of the agricultural sector and the country’s economy.

However, rice exports still face many difficulties, such as market development failing to match potential, fierce competition from rice exporting countries, and high input costs, according to the dispatch.

The PM instructed the ministers of Agriculture and Rural Development, Industry and Trade, and Foreign Affairs, as well as the chairpersons of the People’s Committees of provinces and cities to focus on carrying out measures to step up rice production and exports in the coming time.

Accordingly, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development will coordinate with concerned ministries, agencies and localities to continue to perfect mechanisms and policies to create favourable conditions for farmers and businesses to step up research and development of high-quality rice varieties in line with the market requirements. Digital transformation should be promoted along with the application of scientific and technological advances in production to increase productivity and improve rice quality.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade was requested to work with relevant ministries, agencies and localities to diversify rice export markets and organise trade promotion activities to maintain traditional rice export markets such as the Philippines, China, Indonesia, and the Africa as well as develop new, potential markets.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs was directed to strengthen the activities of overseas Vietnamese representative agencies in capturing market information to support rice exporters and coordinate with ministries and agencies to further enhance the promotion of Vietnamese rice brands and products in foreign countries and territories.

Chairpersons of the people’s committees of provinces and centrally-run cities were assigned to make rice production plans, and closely collaborate with ministries, agencies, the Vietnam Food Association (VFA) and rice traders to actively remove difficulties related to rice export.

The VFA will provide information on the global rice market as well as the demand of partners for rice exporters and concerned localities, and actively initiate trade promotion programmes relevant to each market, contributing to promoting the brand of Vietnamese rice. 

Government, SMEs work to seek ways for navigating challenges

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh chaired a meeting between permanent Government members and the executive committee of the Vietnam Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Hanoi on July 6 to seek solutions to challenges facing SMEs.

Due to impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the world situation, SMEs have suffered from declining orders, struggling sales, and high input costs, which have affected their revenue as well as jobs and income for workers, the association reported.

PM Chinh applauded the contributions and achievements by SMEs, which account for over 97% of the total businesses nationwide.

He cited a recent survey as finding that up to 59.2% of the 10,000 interviewed companies said their biggest problem is the shortage of orders; 51.1%, access to capital; and the remainders, difficulties related to administrative procedures and legal rules.

Current challenges face not only the Vietnamese economy but many others in the world, he noted.

The Government always listens to businesses and exerts efforts to tackle the problems SMEs encounter, he affirmed, highlighting the extension of tax and land rent payment deadlines; the reduction or exemption of taxes, fees and charges (totaling about 200 trillion VND, or 8.4 billion USD); the facilitation of the corporate bond and real estate markets; the promotion of administrative reforms and the improvement of the business climate; assistance for businesses to recover fast and develop sustainably; and the establishment of 26 working groups of Government members to work with localities in this regard.

Talking about the difficult access to capital and the high interest rates, PM Chinh said the banking sector has cut key interest rates for four straight times while striving to lower lending interest rates, increase outstanding loans, and facilitate credit access.

He asked the banking sector to take stronger actions to implement the Government’s resolutions on removing obstacles to production and business activities and creating jobs. Particularly, it needs to step up easing the monetary policy by increasing the money supply, aligning credit growth with credit demand, and reducing interest rates, especially lending ones.

The sector was also requested to boost the disbursement of the 120 trillion VND credit package for social housing development and the 10 trillion VND package for wood and fisheries businesses, and launch more consumption stimulation measures.

As inflation has been placed under control and gradually brought down, it is necessary to give more priority to realising the growth target and promoting the three growth drivers of investment, export, and consumption, the leader went on.

With regard to administrative procedure reforms, the Government has assigned its Office to coordinate with the Ministry of Home Affairs to keep reforming and streamlining administrative procedures, step up the decentralisation of power and the appropriate allocation of resources, and improve inferior agencies’ implementation capacity.

It will continue devising priority mechanisms for SMEs to develop new areas such as innovation, digital transformation, green transition, the circular economy, the sharing economy, the PM noted.

In terms of order shortages, he held that it is important to increase trade promotion; capitalise on the existing free trade agreements (FTAs); negotiate new ones; diversify markets, products and supply chains; and improve product quality.

He added that this is the time for enhancing solidarity among the Government, ministries, sectors, localities, and businesses to surmount difficulties.

PV GAS to receive first imported LNG shipment

Petrovietnam Gas Joint Stock Corporation (PV GAS) is expected to receive the first imported liquefied natural gas (LNG) shipment from supplier Shell on July 10.

Specially, the Greece-flagged Maran Gas Achilles ship will transport 70,000 tonnes of LNG from Bontang port in Indonesia to Thi Vai LNG warehouse in southern Ba Ria – Vung Tau province.

Deputy General Director of PV GAS Tran Nhat Huy said that the company has completed the construction of the infrastructure of the Thi Vai LNG warehouse and it is ready for LNG import and export.

PV GAS said that LNG infrastructure will basically meet the energy demand for the Southern region in the future.

The Thi Vai LNG warehouse will be the first and largest LNG warehouse in Vietnam with a capacity of 1 million tonnes per year in its first phase. PV GAS has a plan to expand the warehouse’s capacity to 3 million tonnes per year in the second phase.

Revenue rises remain tough despite budget surplus

Despite a surplus in the state budget this year so far, both revenues and expenditures are contracting in many economic sectors, with the former outnumbering the latter due to a lower-than-expected pace of developmental investment.

The General Statistics Office (GSO) last week reported that in the first half of this year, the economy recorded a $2.97 billion surplus in the state budget. However, it said that such a surplus is not a positive signal for state coffers because of the dual reductions in both revenues and expenditure, in which the former has been bigger than the latter. “Enterprises and people are facing massive difficulties, so it is difficult to increase revenues, while the government has had to limit spending,” the GSO said.

Specifically, total state budget revenues are estimated to reach $36.49 billion, tantamount to 54 per cent of the year’s estimates and down 7.8 per cent on-year.

Domestic revenues are estimated to stand at $29.95 billion, down 4.7 per cent as compared to the corresponding period last year. What is more, revenues from crude oil exports sat at more than $1.27 billion, down 15 per cent on-year. Also, revenues from export-import activities are estimated to come at $5.26 billion, down 20.6 per cent on-year.

According to the General Department of Tax, state budget revenues from real estate, land, and securities plunged. For instance, in the first four months of this year, revenue from personal income tax (PIT) from property transfer was around 42 per cent of that in the same period last year, and PIT revenue from securities transfer dropped by half on-year. Revenues from housing and land registration fees plummeted 48.2 per cent on-year.

What is more, revenues from land use dropped strongly month-after-month. For example, such revenues hit an average $678.26 million a month in Q4 of 2022, while that of the first four months of this year reached of $347.82 million a month.

According to the GSO, in the first six months of this year, lower-than-collection expenditures have led to the above-said budget surplus. Total state budget expenditures are estimated to reach $33.52 billion – equivalent to 38.8 per cent of the year’s estimates and up 12.9 per cent on-year.

All types of spending kept an on-year expansion, such as recurrent spending ($22.39 billion – up 5.5 per cent); spending for development investment ($8.98 billion – up 43.3 per cent), and expenditure for interest payment ($2.12 billion – down 0.8 per cent). “All the expenditures have ensured requirements for socioeconomic development, national defence and security, state management, and payment for due debts,” the Ministry of Finance stated.

One of the biggest obstructions to increasing state budget expenditures is the slow-paced disbursement of public investment.

Figures from the Ministry of Planning and Investment showed that cumulative public investment disbursement for the first six months of this year reached 22.2 per cent of the prime minister’s approved allocation of VND707.4 trillion ($29.5 billion) for the fiscal year 2023, an increase of about 9 per cent compared to the same period in 2022. So far, nearly all of this huge sum has been allocated to disbursing ministries and provinces

“But public investment disbursement remains slow. There are so many causes, with the biggest are disconnected projects and cumbersome procedures which have yet to be decentralised, coupled with lax disciplines. This has led to slow disbursement with effectiveness not high,” said Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh at a recent meeting with ministries and localities on the issue.

He required ministries, state agencies and localities to disburse at least VND675 trillion ($28.46 billion) in public investment, or 95 per cent of the goal, within this year.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) proposed that effectively accelerating public investment will help Vietnam earn various positive results such as employment, larger engagement of private investment into the economy, and this will lead to enterprises’ bigger contributions to the state budget.

“It is critical to accelerate the disbursement of $29.5 billion in public investment. Along with the continued implementation of the stimulus programme endorsed in January 2022, this spending will generate substantial multiplier effects, creating strong motivation for the whole economy,” the ADB said. “In the long term, financial reform should continue, to reduce dependence on bank finance and enhance transparency in bond markets.”

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh signed a directive on June 23 on revamping and strengthening the law on finance and the state budget.

According to the directive, audit and inspection activities have revealed that violations of regulations in the management of the state budget, public investment, public assets and debt, and pricing and pricing appraisal still occurs in many ministries, sectors, and localities.

What is more, the directive said that the implementation of a number of recommendations by audit and inspection agencies remains slow and there has been a lack of responsibility in handling and overcoming violations. The collection and reporting of handling results are still limited, not meeting the prescribed deadlines.

Under the directive, the government will strictly prohibit spending money from the wrong sources, and borrowing money from other budget sources without permission.

It also states that authorities at all levels are required to control budget expenditures strictly, complying with the law on the state budget. They must also perform the spending tasks stringently according to the assigned funding sources. In cases where there are no longer spending tasks, the state budget must be refunded under legal regulations.

HCMC fostering digital transformation, digital economy

Vietnam Software & IT services (VINASA) yesterday started Biztech Vietnam 2023, aiming at forming connections among businesses (B2B) in promoting digital transformation. 

Deputy Director of the HCMC Department of Information and Communications Vo Thi Trung Trinh informed that HCMC plans to transform itself into a smart urban area by 2030.

It will undergo fundamental and comprehensive reform in the operations of its digital governmental apparatus and digital enterprises sited in the city, while boosting the prosperity and civilization of its digital society.

To fulfill those goals, the city has adopted various measures to support businesses to carry out their own digital transformation process.

On this occasion, VINASA announced nearly 70 digital solutions of 50 technology enterprises, along with a promotion program of 30 percent discount or one-year free of charge for technological solutions for digital transformation (with an estimated value of VND50 billion – US$2.1 million).

HCMC now has 268,000 businesses, 7,000 of which are information – communications companies.

PM urges banks to ease lending requirements for SMEs

Banks are urged to thoroughly review and ease credit requirements and reduce interest rates to provide timely support to businesses, especially small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh made the call at a meeting with the Vietnam Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (VinaSME) on July 6.

At the meeting, Vu Van Than, chairman of VinaSME, said SMEs had experienced a decline in revenues and job opportunities due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the global situation.

"The unfavorable economic environment has resulted in fewer orders, difficulties in production, and high costs of raw materials and fuel," Than said.

He suggested that the Government and relevant ministries create a favorable environment for businesses to access credit, further reduce interest rates, and consider establishing funds that use credit leverage to finance their operations.

SMEs currently account for 97% of all businesses in the country. A recent survey of 10,000 businesses found that 59% cited order-related issues as their biggest difficulty, 51% faced challenges in accessing capital, and the rest encountered obstacles in administrative procedures.

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh stressed that the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) should pursue a more accommodative monetary policy in addition to the measures already implemented by the government and ministries, such as tax cuts, debt deferral, and fee adjustments.

"This includes increasing money supply and credit availability, reducing interest rates, and easing credit conditions to support production and business activities," he said.

The Prime Minister also stressed the need for businesses and banks to foster better communication, share responsibilities, and address challenges together.

"Banks should try to understand the perspective of businesses and vice versa," Chinh said, urging localities to work with banks and businesses to solve problems in specific sectors and projects.

According to the State Bank of Vietnam, credit growth at the end of June was a modest 3.6%, only about one-third of this year's 14-15% target. After four rounds of adjustments in the State Bank's policy rates, commercial banks reduced deposit rates by an average of 0.7%, while lending rates fell by 1% year-on-year.

In terms of preferential credit packages, the Prime Minister recommended that the banking sector focus on promoting a credit package worth VND120 trillion (US$5.06 billion) for social housing projects, along with an additional VND10 trillion (US$422.5 million) for enterprises in the timber and forest products industry.

The Government plans to assess available funds and explore supportive solutions for human resource training, with a priority on developing mechanisms to enable small and medium-sized enterprises to venture into new areas such as innovation, digital transformation, and the promotion of green, circular, and sharing economy models, Chinh said.

The Prime Minister has tasked the SBV with studying and implementing credit packages to stimulate consumer demand. The Ministry of Planning and Investment will review regulations for allocating infrastructure investment projects to SMEs.

To address the lack of orders, the Ministry of Industry and Trade has been tasked with intensifying trade promotion efforts; promoting the effectiveness of existing free trade agreements (FTAs); initiating negotiations for new FTAs; diversifying markets, products, and supply chains; and improving the quality of basic products.

Vietnam Blockchain Week underway in HCM City

The GM Vietnam - Vietnam Blockchain Week opened in Ho Chi Minh City on July 7, bringing together top projects in the field.

During its two-day course, blockchain experts are set to discuss topics revolving around the market landscape, the current state of the Web3 industry, and the potentials and innovations in this arena.

There is also a technology exhibition area featuring renowned blockchain projects such as Animoca Brands, Ava Labs, Binance, ChainanalysisCircle, Coinbase, ConsenSys, and Delphi Digital, among many others.

Through these activities, GM Vietnam hopes to provide new perspectives and shape the upcoming trends in the market, which cover the next phase of blockchain infrastructure, strategies for more accessible projects and ecosystem development, ways to bridge the gap between Web2 and Web3, and career opportunities.

 A representative of the Vietnam blockchain association introduces policies and regulations for decentralised assets. (Photo: VNA)
The event is expected to welcome more than 2,000 attendees, including developers, entrepreneurs, investors, and the blockchain community.

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