Social housing: Loan interest rate maintained at 5%
The State Bank of Viet Nam (SBV) has decided to keep preferential loan interest rate unchanged at 5 per cent for purchase, rent or hire of social housing projects in 2018.
The decision took effect from the beginning of this year, replacing Decision No 2544/QD-NHNN, dated December 30, 2016, on interest rate for loans applicable in 2017 for social housing projects.
The interest rates will be applied for house buyers who have already sought loans from the VND30 trillion (US$1.32 billion) housing stimulus package launched in 2013 as the minimum repayment term is 15 years, and from the Viet Nam Bank for Social Policies (VBSP).
The VND30 trillion (US$1.32 billion) housing stimulus package aimed primarily at social policy beneficiaries and estate developers of such projects. Of which, VND21 trillion, accounting for 70 per cent of the package’s total has been given to home buyers of projects. The remaining 30 per cent has been provided to social housing projects’ investors.
Following three years of implementation, the housing stimulus package ended in 2016-end.
In the middle of last year, the National Assembly Standing Committee submitted a proposal to add VND2 trillion to the Viet Nam Bank for Social Policies (VBSP) for middle-term public investment in the 2016-20 period. A part of the capital would be used for social housing projects.
Some VND1.2 trillion of the investment has been disbursed, so far. However, both social housing project developers and low-income earners have found it hard to access the preferential credit.
Deputy Minister of Construction Le Quang Hung said the ministry proposed to the VBSP to quickly implement the lending this year.
VIB rolls out biometric authentication logins
The Vietnam International Bank (VIB) announced on Wednesday that customers will be able to access their accounts using two forms of biometric authentication logins: facial recognition and fingerprint identification.
VIB claims to be the first Vietnamese bank to offer customers secure access to their accounts using Face ID. Earlier, in November, its strategic partner — the Commonwealth Bank of Australia — was also the first bank in the world to apply this function.
With the new method, all smartphone users who want to log into the VIB Banking App or MyVIB can now use their camera or touch the built-in fingerprint sensor on their phones. They only need to activate this feature once and then the application automatically recognises them for the next login.
The application of biometric authentication has emerged as a trend that can not only bring more convenience but also increases security for customers, especially those who conduct banking transactions online, VIB’s Deputy CEO Tran Nhat Minh said.
Previously, VIB also allowed customers to buy airline tickets on MyVIB while enabling customers to transfer money on social networks in just five minutes via the MyVIB Social Keyboard — a new application that won the bank Viet Nam’s Outstanding Innovative Banking Product/Service Award in 2017 from the International Data Group (IDG).
This award for MyVIB Social Keyboard recognised VIB’s efforts in promoting the innovation in technology in order to reflect the vision “to be the most innovative and customer centric bank of Viet Nam”.
Kienlongbank, JCB to develop card services
Kien Long Commercial Joint Stock Bank (Kienlongbank) has become an official member of JCB International after signing a co-operation agreement with JCB International Credit Card Co Ltd.
Under the agreement, Kienlongbank will be licensed to issue JCB international credit and debit cards, as well as link with legal entities accepting JCB card payments.
Kienlongbank JCB cardholders will be eligible to participate in loyalty programmes and enjoy special discounts offered by partners of Kienlongbank and JCB.
The two sides will cooperate to develop and complete credit card services and diversify financial and banking products, thereby increasing and consolidating their market share.
Vo Van Chau, general director of Kienlongbank, said one of the key activities of the bank’s business development strategy is to continually diversify card products, expand transaction channels and bring more value-added benefits to customers.
HCMC’s outstanding loans up
Total outstanding loans by commercial banks in HCM City in 2017 rose 18.5 per cent from 2016 to more than VND1.74 quadrillion (US$76.73 billion), according to the State Bank of Viet Nam’s HCM City branch.
Figures from the State bank’s branch also show total mobilised capital of credit institutions in the southern metropolis was VND2 quadrillion, an increase of 15 per cent year-on-year.
Lending rates for short-term loans in five prioritised sectors of agriculture, exports, supply-parts industries, small- and medium-sized enterprises and hi-tech businesses last year were kept at around 6-6.5 per cent, down 0.5 percentage points compared to the end of 2016.
Several lenders in the city said their 2017’s targets have all been reached. In particular, the retail sector showed great potential to grow faster in the new year.
Deputy Governor of the State Bank of Viet Nam Dao Minh Tu urged commercial banks in the city to closely watch the market to ensure timely lending to firms in order to help them boost production and cover expenses for import and export of goods to meet the demands of consumers for the upcoming Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday.
In addition, banks should ensure enough cash for ATM withdrawals during the holiday, he added.
Moody assigns first-time rating to LienVietPostBank
Moody’s Investors Service on Tuesday assigned first-time ratings and assessments to LienVietPostBank.
Under the ratings, Moody’s assigned LienVietPostBank’s long-term local and foreign currency deposits and issuer ratings of B2 with a stable outlook.
The ratings reflected baseline credit assessment (BCA) at B2 and the Government’s support to the bank at a positive level of B1.
BCA at B2 also showed improvements in assets’ quality and the profitability index at the bank. In addition, Moody’s also assigned LienVietPostBank’s short-term local and foreign currency deposits and issuer ratings of Not Prime, Counterparty Risk Assessments of B2 (cr)/NP (cr).
The ratings were released as the bank’s loans mostly focused on enterprises and retail, accounting for 54 per cent and 32 per cent of its total outstanding loans by the end of June 2017, respectively.
The bank has gradually shifted its lending structure toward retail.
In addition, Moody’s also assessed LienVietPostBank with a high liquidity of 39 per cent of its tangible assets by the end of 2016.
As of June 30, 2017, its total deposits accounted for 76 per cent of its total assets.
Moody’s expected that the bank’s capital resources would be improved thank to stable mobilisation from individual deposits with low costs, which LienVietPostBank has enjoyed due to its postal network nationwide.
According to Moody’s ratings, LienVietPostBank has similar ratings with five other commercial banks of Asia Commercial Bank (ACB), Military Bank (MB), Viet Nam International Bank (VIB), Techcombank and An Binh (ABB).
LienVietPostBank has been the first Vietnamese bank to receive the Asia Pacific ICT Alliance Awards (APICTA) 2017 award for its Vi Viet e-wallet – an online banking service, last month. APICTA is considered as the Oscar Award in the ICT sector in the Asia Pacific region. Vi Viet was awarded the second prize for Financial Industry Application.
By the end of November, the bank’s charter capital reached VND6.46 (US$284.3 million) trillion, total assets reached VND154 trillion, total capital mobilisation at VND141 trillion and total debt reached VND98 trillion.
It reported a pre-tax profit of VND1.7 trillion in the first 11 months of the year.
LienVietPostBank has the largest network among joint stock commercial banks, with 200 branches and over 1,000 transaction offices, nationwide.
StoxPlus to organise credit risk conference
A conference on “Credit Risk Management for Trade and Investment in Viet Nam” will be held in Ha Noi on January 11 to address credit risk management practices in Viet Nam and strategies to gain the trust and confidence of foreign firms seeking to partner with Vietnamese companies.
Some 200 participants – CFOs, finance and accounting professionals, risk management and investment officers of companies that receive FDI, financial institutions and companies that have trading and investment relations with Vietnamese companies—are expected to participate in this event.
It is co-hosted by StoxPlus and Credit Information Centre, endorsed by Vietnamese Party Central Committee’s Economic Commission and supported by Japan’s Nikkei Inc.
According to StoxPlus, Viet Nam is one of the most open economies in the world with import-export turnover at approximately US$405 billion, or 187 per cent of GDP, in 2017. Trade contributes significantly to the country’s economic growth. However, Viet Nam ranked 68 out of 190 nations and territories for ease of doing business, according to a survey by the World Bank in 2017.
The low ranking is explained by many factors, including the low level of information transparency, lack of financial corporate data, low coverage of credit ratings and related protection products such as credit risk insurance. Although measures have been taken to address this situation, a number of issues have been raised by market participants.
At the conference, high-level officials of Ministry of Planning and Investment and the State Bank of Viet Nam and experts from Viet Nam National Credit Information Centre, the World Bank, risk solution firms and foreign investors will share their knowledge on information infrastructure and credit risk management practice in Viet Nam.
Some key themes to be addressed in the conference include improving the investment environment for Viet Nam with corporate financial transparency; enhancing credit information and technologies for credit institutions to improve risk management in Viet Nam and enhancing corporate information to help foreign investors gain confidence in doing business in Viet Nam.
The event will take place at Lottle Hotel Ha Noi, No. 54 Lieu Giai Street, Ba Dinh District, Ha Noi.
Viet Capital Bank provides credit package to Nam An Hoa project
Kien Giang Construction and Investment Consulting Corp has started construction on the Nam An Hoa residential area project in Kien Giang Province’s Rach Gia City.
Covering an area of over 100,000sq.m, the project has a total investment cost of over VND700 billion (US$30.8 million), of which Capital Bank has provided a credit package of VND300 billion. The project is expected to be completed in 2021.
The project includes 252 townhouses, 36 garden houses and 64 land plots for resettlements. Once completed, it will provide accommodation for about 1,800 residents.
Nguyen Quoc Su, chairman of the Rach Gia City People’s Committee, said planning for the new construction would include removing makeshift homes and helping local residents whose houses were cleared to make way for the project to relocate in better living conditions.
The project, which is near the new Kien Giang General Hospital, will only use 50 per cent of the land for construction. The rest will be allocated for public facilities such as parks, kindergartens, wastewater treatment stations and green spaces.
Cement consumption reaches 80 million tonnes in 2017
The country’s cement sector saw a successful year in 2017 as its consumption reached 80 million, up 6 per cent from last year.
This figure was recorded by the Department of Construction Material under the Ministry of Construction.
The department said the local cement consumption this year was some 62 million, increasing 3 per cent from last year. The cement export volume was 18 million tonnes, representing a 20 per cent year-on-year hike and surpassing 20 per cent of the set target.
Viet Nam now has 82 cement production lines, with a total capacity of around 100 million tonnes.
In 2017, the country’s cement output reached 83-85 million tonnes, up 4 to 6 per cent from the previous year.
The ministry said the economy this year saw development, with many construction projects, especially in terms of property, transport and infrastructure. However, the local cement consumption had slightly increased due to prolonged rains and storms nationwide.
Meanwhile, the cement and clinker exports surged to 18 million tonnes this year, surpassing one million tonne of the set target.
Ministry permits 200,000 tonnes of iron ore exports
The Ministry of Industry and Trade has allowed Viet Phat Company in the northern province of Lao Cai to export 200,000 tonnes of limonite ore to ease the company’s financial burden.
Earlier, the company signed a contract with Viet Trung Mineral and Metallurgical Company Limited to buy 500,000 tonnes of limonite ore, a type of iron ore, from Quy Xa Mine. However, the Viet Phat Company sold 300,000 tonnes to Hoa Phat Steel Company in the 2017-18 period, creating a redundancy of 200,000 tonnes.
The Viet Phat Company asked the ministry to allow them to export the redundant ore to ensure the stability of their financial situation.
Limonite ore is one of the raw minerals the government prohibits and limits exports.
Lao Cai Province then sent a document to the ministry to consider the export.
The ministry required the company to give priority to selling the iron ore to local firms if, during the export process, domestic companies added to the demand.
It added that the decision was suitable to ease the challenges faced by iron ore exploitation and processing firms.
In September, the ministry also allowed the iron ore magnetite exports of another company in the province, totalling more than 11,000 tonnes.
Nghe An Province promotes Vinh orange brand
The People’s Committee of central Nghe An Province on Thursday opened the first Orange Fair 2017 in Vinh City to promote the Vinh orange.
Tran Quoc Thanh, director of the Nghe An Province Department of Science and Technology, said that the Vinh orange was the first farming product of the province, which was successfully developed with geographical indication.
“The Vinh orange is now a national brand and is protected nationwide,” Thanh said.
The Vinh orange is known for its good taste and quality, and in the 1960s, it was exported to several East European markets.
The geographical indication of the Vinh orange, which indicates the geographical origin of this fruit in Vinh City, was developed since 2007. The orange is grown in seven districts, namely Quy Hop, Nghia Dan, Con Cuong and Nghi Loc, as well as Thanh Chuong, Tan Ky and Yen Thanh.
Thanh said that the brand helped increase the value of the fruit. However, the problem was that oranges grown in different localities were wrongly labelled as Vinh oranges, he said.
He said that an enhanced market watch, together with the promotion of the Vinh orange brand would help prevent this.
Vinh oranges were displayed at more than 40 kiosks at the three-day fair.
The fair also aimed at promoting the sales of the Vinh orange in domestic and international markets.
Ha Noi to gain new six industrial clusters
The municipal People’s Committee has released a Decision for the establishment of six new industrial clusters in suburban districts, with a total area of 123ha.
The city’s Phuc Tho District will have Lien Hiep Industrial Cluster, with an area of 8.1ha. The industrial cluster aims to resolve the scattered situation of the trade village and environmental pollution to facilitate business development. The industrial cluster will operate on a small scale for small- and-medium sized enterprises in the sectors of mechanics, agricultural processing, garment embroidery for export, rattan and bamboo.
The Ung Hoa District will have the Bac Van Dinh Industrial Cluster, covering an area of 50ha for the development of light industry, agricultural processing and manufacturing.
The Quoc Oai District will establish the Yen Son Industrial Cluster, covering 8.76ha for the production of insulation materials, rubber foam and forestry processing.
The Cam Thuong Industrial Cluster will be set up in Ba Vi District, with an area of 15.59ha for garments and textiles, leather shoes, electronics and building materials.
The 20.6ha Phuc Tho Industrial Cluster will develop clean technologies, cover multiple sectors and be environmentally friendly.
The Ba Vi District will have a 20ha Dong Giai Industrial Cluster, serving the industry and handicraft sectors.
The establishment of industrial clusters aims to create a legal framework for investment management for industrialization and modernization, thus creating jobs for locals.
Phu Yen province sets up fund for SMEs
The south central coastal province of Phu Yen launched a credit guarantee fund for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) on December 28.
The fund director, Tran Van Anh, said that the fund establishment aimed at tackling financial difficulties for businesses, creating conditions for them to access bank loans, thereby helping them expand production and improve their competitiveness.
The fund’s initial charter capital is VND65 billion (US$2.8 million), sourced from the province’s budget and is expected to increase to VND90 billion.
According to Anh, enterprises eligible to receive support from the fund must have an efficient business plan and prove their ability to repay the debt. They are required to have no bad debts at credit institutions and the State budget.
The fund will give priority to firms, which contribute capital to the fund, operate in prioritised sectors in accordance with the government’s policies or do business in disadvantaged areas.
Ngo Da Tho, chairman of the province’s SMEs association, said that one of the biggest obstacles for local enterprises is shortage of capital; thus the provincial People’s Committee’s decision to set up the fund is really significant.
According to the province’s Department of Planning and Investment, in 2017, the department granted business licences to 357 new firms, with a total registered capital of nearly VND2.6 trillion.
Currently, the province is home to 2,700 enterprises and targets to have 4,500 operating ones by 2020.
AIA links up with Viet Capital Bank
AIA Viet Nam signed a strategic co-operation agreement on Wednesday in HCM City with the Viet Capital Bank to distribute comprehensive financial products, including a database and analytics system.
To serve Viet Capital Bank customers, AIA will bring the latest technologies such as Interactive Point of Sale (iPoS), digital services, consultations, and paperless products that can be viewed through customers’ MyPage on an iPad.
At the same time, the bank will offer JetClaim, insurance rights service provided within 60 minutes and an online insurance fee collection service.
“The AIA’s unique wellness programme called AIA Vitality – designed to help customers make choices and adopt habits to live a longer, healthier and better life – will bring long-term benefits to our customers,” Ngo Quang Trung, general director of Viet Capital Bank, said.
EVN saves 55 million USD in production, business costs
The Electricity of Vietnam (EVN) Group and its subordinate firms cut down production and business costs by more than 1.25 trillion VND (55.2 million USD) in 2017 thanks to their efforts to improve business effectiveness and productivity.
The group reported its operation outcomes in 2017 at a conference held in Hanoi on January 4.
EVN Deputy General Director Vo Quang Lam said by the end of last year, the firm had directly provided electricity for 25.6 million customers, an increase of 0.8 million from 2016.
EVN and its subsidiaries encountered an array of difficulties in 2017, Lam said, noting that natural disasters and abnormal weather caused damage of over 600 billion VND (26.4 million USD) for the power system. Increases in prices of coal and gas for electricity production, water resource tax, and forest environmental service fees also hindered the financing of power projects, he said.
Despite these facts, the group produced and bought 192.45 billion kWh of electricity in 2017, up 8.6 percent from the previous year, ensuring power supply for socio-economic activities and major events like the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting.
The EVN operated the electricity system and market in accordance with demand, optimised power generation sources, and capitalised on hydropower while ensuring water for irrigation in downstream areas.
Lam highlighted that all electricity-relevant services of EVN have been provided online since the end of 2017 to improve service quality.
In the Doing Business report, Vietnam’s Getting Electricity index last year climbed 32 places from 2016 to rank 64th among 190 countries and economies. It surpassed the 70th position targeted by the Government, thus greatly helping to improve the business environment and national competitiveness.
He added the group’s System Average Interruption Duration Index (SAIDI) was 1,077 minutes, down 35 percent from 2016. Notably, the Ho Chi Minh City Power Corporation recorded a 54-percent decline in its SAIDI to 235 minutes.
According to the EVN leader, productivity rose 9 percent year on year to 1.92 million kWh per person.
Lam said the group continued to hire an independent consultant to assess its clients’ satisfaction, which has continually increased. The satisfaction reached 7.97 points in 2017, up 0.28 point from the previous year.-
Government clarifies preferential tax lists for goods imported from RoK
The Government has issued two decrees on Vietnam’s special preferential import tax lists as part of efforts to implement the free trade agreement between Vietnam and the Republic of Korea (VKFTA), and another deal between ASEAN and the RoK (AKFTA).
Decree No. 149/2017/ND-CP details preferential taxes of Vietnam to implement the VKFTA in 2018-2022, and conditions for beneficiaries to enjoy the tax.
It specifies that only goods included in the list of goods applying special preferential taxes, which are imported and directly transported from the Republic of Korea (RoK) to Vietnam, can enjoy the incentives. The goods must satisfy origin regulations stated in the agreement and have certificates of origin.
Meanwhile, Decree No. 157/2017/ND-CP defines preferential taxes to conduct the ASEAN-RoK Trade in Goods Agreement as part of the AKFTA in 2018-2022 and conditions for applying the preferential import taxes.
Under the document, eligible goods must be named in the special preferential import list. They must be imported to Vietnam from ASEAN-RoK Trade in Goods Agreement signatories including Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, the Republic of Korea and the non-tariff zones of Vietnam.
They must be directly transported from these countries to Vietnam under regulations of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, while meeting requirements for origin.
The two decrees became effective on January 1, 2018.
Xuan Dai Bay targets 1.2 million visitors in 2030
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has approved a master plan for the development of Xuan Dai Bay national tourist site in the south central province of Phu Yen to 2030.
Xuan Dai Bay national tourist site spans Song Cau town and Tuy An district, with total core area of 1,200 hectares, excluding water area.
The bay features many beautiful beaches such as Vung La, Vung Su and Vung Chao, along with many islands and peninsulas. Experts say the site has high potential in tourism development, especially for resorts, beach sports and eco-tourism.
The plan hopes that the bay will welcome about 850,000 tourists, including 25,000 foreigners in 2020 and about 1.2 million visitors, including 35,000 foreigners in 2030. Total revenue from tourism is expected to exceed 400 billion VND (17.64 million USD) in 2025 and 900 billion VND (39.69 million USD) in 2030.
Along with the domestic market, the plan also targets foreign markets including West Europe, North America and East Europe, along with northeastern Asian countries such as the Republic of Korea, Taiwan (China) and Japan, as well as nearby countries including Thailand, Laos and Cambodia.
The plan focuses on developing resorts, cruisers, sport tourism, eco-tourism, culture-history tourism and cuisine tourism.
In order to reach the goals, the plan detailed a number of solutions, including those on planning and planning management, tax policies, investment attraction and community-based tourism. It also gives measures to complete the tourism infrastructure system and develop human resources.
Int’l media praise Vietnam’s 2017 economic achievements
International media have run articles highlighting that the year 2017 marked Vietnam’s rapid economic growth.
In its recent article, Asian Correspondent said not only was Vietnam the top-performer in the region, but it ranked second behind India – the only country which achieved growth of over 7 percent in 2016 – in the list of fastest-growing economies worldwide.
It stressed that there are multiple reasons for Vietnam’s strong performance in recent years – especially in comparison to other ASEAN countries, including the country’ strategy of diversification of its economy – in terms of both the range of goods produced, and its export destinations.
According to the newspaper, Vietnam has become an increasingly attractive investment destination due to its rapidly expanding population and its demographics, with a youthful population amounting to a large and capable workforce, consisting of both skilled and unskilled labour. Vietnam’s geography also remains an important factor, with its long coastline allowing free-flowing seaborne trade with countries in the surrounding region and beyond.
Tourism is seen as is one of the main drivers of Vietnam’s economic growth, according to Mayo Advertiser tourism website. With attractions such as Ha Long Bay, Hoi An town and Da Nang city, Vietnam is a perfect place for honeymoon.
Meanwhile, Forbes mentioned efforts made by the Communist Party of Vietnam in fighting corruption, saying that the on-going crackdown on corruption among Vietnam’s numerous state-owned enterprises is to ensure “graft doesn’t spoil its economic miracle.”
In addition, some news agencies also stressed challenges related to economic development, education, environmental pollution and aging-population that the country is facing.
Asia Times said though Vietnam is growing fast on nearly all economic fronts, overcrowded roads, ports and airports threaten to throttle the expansion.
According to the General Statistics Office, Vietnam’s GDP in 2017 was estimated to increase 6.81 percent – the highest rate in the last decade. The country is forecast to continue succeeding in attracting FDI and expanding manufacturing industry, contributing to heighten its GDP.
Southern Power Corporation improves power supply reliability
The Southern Power Corporation (SPC) of the Electricity of Vietnam has said it will supply up to 66.154 billion kWh of electricity for commercial use in 2018, or a 9.74 percent increase from 2017.
Apart from ensuring stable power supply and safely operating power lines and transformer stations, the SPC will improve power supply reliability index.
In 2017, the SPC’s total power output rose by 9.5 percent to 63.089 billion kWh while the daily production hit 177.8 million kWh, up 8.5 percent annually.
The output of power for commercial use reached 60.280 billion kWh, or 100.04 percent of the plan and up 9.67 percent from 2016.
Establishment decision of Thai Binh economic zone announced
The People’s Committee of Thai Binh province on January 3 announced the Prime Minister’s decision on the establishment of Thai Binh Economic Zone.
The Thai Binh Economic Zone covers an area of 31,000 hectares in 30 communes and one town in the districts of Thai Thuy and Tien Hai.
It is one of 17 economic zones in Vietnam, which functions as both industrial cluster and coastal service-trade-urban area. Investors in the zone will receive incentives in line with the Government’s policy.
Speaking at the decision announcement ceremony, Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Nguyen Hong Dien said this was a very important event, marking the first step of formation and development of the Thai Binh Economic Zone.
Once operational, the zone will capitalise on potential in local workforce, land and natural gas resources, and convenient transport networks, he noted.
The zone is expected to contribute significantly to the province’s socio-economic development in the future.
A steering committee for the construction of the Thai Binh Economic Zone will be set up and led by Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Nguyen Hong Dien.
Also at the ceremony, the establishment of a management board for economic zone and industrial parks of Thai Binh province was declared, with Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Pham Van Ca working as its head.
Vietnam investments boost Laos’ socio-economic development
Vietnam and Laos are two neighboring countries that boast a long-standing traditional friendship. Over recent years, hundreds of Vietnamese companies have made investment in Laos, generating more jobs, raising income for local people and changing the face of remote and difficulty-stricken areas.
12 years ago, Bachiang was one of the most poverty-ridden districts of Champasak province. The locality’s face has been changed rapidly since the Viet-Laos Rubber Corporation invested in planting rubber trees here.
The investment has improved the local people’s living conditions, helping them to abandon normadic life and farming.
Vi Inthakumman, a worker at Viet-Laos Rubber Corporation said: “In the past, my family did farm work only. I even had to mow to earn our living. In 2005, my husband and I started working for the Viet-Laos Rubber Corporation. We now can afford housing and children’s schooling. Thanks to the improved infrastructure, the living conditions of local people have been better than before.”
Another worker at Viet-Laos Rubber Corporation Thavon Sukchaleun told reporters: “My family did not have a place to live before but now we have a home and jobs. We even have our health checked by Vietnamese doctors every year. We are very grateful.”
The Viet-Laos Rubber Corporation started its investment in Bachiang in 2005. It now generates jobs for more than 3,000 local people. The business has paid attention to ensuring social security, improving the lives for Lao people.
According to Nguyen Tuan Dung, Deputy General Director of Viet – Laos Rubber Corporation, the project was implemented under a cooperation programme between the two countries and in line with the Laos-Vietnam friendship. The company laid down as its policy to invest in ensuring social security, building schools, roads and power grids. The project aimed to turn Bachiang from a poor district into the one where local people could have higher income.
Vietnam now stands as one of the biggest investors in Champasak, pouring money into rubber mostly. Vietnamese-invested projects have been welcomed not only by local people, but also local authorities.
Buasone Vongsongkhon, deputy head of Champasak province hailed the significance of the project to the province socio-economic development, saying that so far, Vietnamese investments in Champasak had proved their effective, contributing to boosting the province’s socio-economic development, changing the lives of people in the locality.
By the end of 2016, Vietnam had invested nearly 4 billion USD into more than 400 projects in Laos, focusing on hydropower, mining, transport, industrial plants and services. The investments have helped strengthen the traditional relationship, special solidarity and comprehensive cooperation between the two countries.
Firms showcase goods for Tet in Quang Tri
Up to 180 businesses are displaying their goods, including textiles and garment, footwear, home appliances, food and handicrafts, at a trade fair which opened late last week in the central province of Quang Tri.
The province’s Department of Industry and Trade, one of the fair’s organisers, said the event will create opportunities for businesses to better understand the demands of local people, especially for the upcoming Lunar New Year holiday, as well as advertising their trademarks and seeking new trade partners.
The fair, which comprises 500 booths, will wrap up on January 8. It is expected to welcome 100,000 visitors.
Phu Yen pours VND2.12 trillion into aquaculture
Authorities in the central coastal province of Phu Yen will spend nearly VND2.12 trillion (US$93 million) developing aquatic resources from now until 2025.
According to provincial Deputy Chairman, Tran Huu The, the master plan will involve aquaculture, harvest and processing and building infrastructure for fishing and logistics, including breed stock production.
From now until 2020, the province will invest more than VND1.45 trillion in conducting 13 key projects setting up sustainable development for aquatic resources. These projects include building Long Thanh aquaculture infrastructure system, upgrading infrastructure for the Hoa An aquaculture production centre in Song Cau Township, building a fishing port, a tuna auction market and a tuna processing factory, with a capacity of 1,800 tonnes per year in Tuy Hoa City.
In Song Cau Township, the province will also construct a frozen seafood processing factory with a capacity of 3,500 tonnes per year and a factory to produce feed for lobsters, which can make 1,000 tonnes per year.
The master plan is aimed at giving a boost to the potential of local aquaculture and production in modernisation, contributing to developing the local economy. The province has set a target to reach an average growth of 5.2 per cent per year from now until 2030.
Chu Lai EZ draws record $1.4b in 2017
The Chu Lai Open Economic Zone attracted 23 projects in 2017. Three were foreign investment projects worth US$16 million.
Total investment of US$1.4 billion was made during the year, 13.5 times as much as the year before.
Director of the Economic Zone Authority (EZA), Do Xuan Dien, said this was the biggest growth in investment since the economic zone opened in 2003.
He said business promotions and forums were held in the province, HCM City, Macau-China and this year’s APEC meeting in Quang Nam.
Dien said infrastructure and administrative reforms had been promoted to smooth the way for investors.
He said the zone had attracted 138 projects, of which 34 were FDI projects worth $1 billion involving total investment of $3.68 billion since 2003.
Eighty-eight projects worth more than $1.3 billion, are in operation, including 24 FDI projects worth $227 million.
At an investment promotion conference in June, the province presented investment licences to 32 projects with a total registered capital of $15.8 billion. The biggest licence was a US$10 billion framework agreement signed between Exxon Mobil and the State oil and gas giant PetroVietnam (PVN) to develop a power plant using natural gas from the Blue Whale field off the coast of Quang Nam.
A series of huge tourism property projects also began construction in 2017, including Vinpearl South Hoi An worth $213 million; An Thinh resort complex ($191 million); beach resort Opal Ocean View ($205 million); Binh Duong resort complex ($206 million) and an infrastructure project at Tam Thang Industrial Park ($220 million).
Last year, Japan’s Mazda Motor Corporation, in co-operation with local Truong Hai Automobile Joint-Stock company (Thaco), started construction of a new Mazda plant at a total investment of $380 million.
The 32,400ha zone has invested $39 million to dredge the main ports of Tam Hiep and Ky Ha for ships with a capacity of 10,000 DWT (deadweight tonnage) and 20,000 DWT.
Direct sea routes were launched from Chu Lai to Incheon in Korea, and Fangcheng in China for hosting textiles, automobiles, logistics experts, exports and investment flows from Korea and Japan.
According to Nguyen Hong Quang, head of the provincial secretariat, the budget carrier VietJetAir and US partner Parsons Brinckerhoff have proposed a master plan for development of Chu Lai airport as an international airport in 2020-25.
It will host in host 2.3 million passengers and handle 1.5 million tonnes of cargo per year.
HCMC exports earn $35b in 2017
HCM City’s export revenue reached an estimated US$35.55 billion last year, a year-on-year increase of 16.1 per cent, according to the city Department of Industry and Trade.
The department said the city’s exports have changed significantly, to put them in line with the city’s export targets as well as with changes in the economic structure.
Specifically, the export of agro-forestry-fishery products has reduced its proportion of the city’s total export turnover. Agro-forestry-fishery exports accounted for 18.4 per cent in 2015, then reduced to 16.4 per cent in 2016 and 15.4 per cent in 2017.
Meanwhile, exports of industrial products have continuously increased and accounted for the highest portion of the city’s exports at 75.3 per cent.
Exports of computers, electronic products and accessories were among the products with the highest export revenue, and had stable growth in the past, with exports from firms located at the HCM City Hi-Tech Park accounting for 90 per cent of the total export revenue in this group.
Regarding export markets, the department said exports to markets that Viet Nam has free trade agreements with such as the EU, ASEAN, China, South Korea, Japan, Australia and New Zealand have tended to increase significantly.
To raise the efficiency in exports, the department has identified the list of goods that have high export potential and competitiveness.
The department is working with the Institute of Public Policy – University of Economics HCM City and experts of Fulbright University to develop the Export Development Project in the 2017-20 with an orientation to 2030. The project is expected to be sent to the city People’s Committee for approval in the first quarter of this year.
Phu My Fertiliser Plant restarts operation
Phu My Fertiliser Plant, a member of the Petrovietnam Fertiliser and Chemicals Corporation (PVFCCo), began operation after more than one month of overall maintenance.
This was the largest and most complex maintenance, with a total of 5,252 work items. The maintenance period started on November 22, 2017, focusing on the combination between the existing plant and the NPK chemical technology plant to increase production capacity.
With this combination, the plant’s capacity has increased by 90,000 tonnes of NPK fertiliser per year, up some 20 per cent of its current capacity.
The plant, which is listed as DPM on the stock market, is estimated to have produced nearly 826,000 tonnes of fertiliser this year, exceeding 7 per cent, as compared to its yearly target. The trading volume of the plant is about 811,000 tonnes, surpassing 3 per cent of the year’s plan.
As a result, PVFCCo continues to hold more than 40 per cent of the national nitrogenous fertiliser market.
Can Tho focuses on investment promotion in key countries
Can Tho will focus on investment and trade promotion activities in key countries, including the United States, Japan and South Korea, this year.
Nguyen Khanh Tung, director of Can Tho Trade, Investment Promotion and Exhibition Centre, said this at a conference on plans of investment and trade promotion, trade fair and exhibition this year, held by the centre in Can Tho City on January 2.
Tung said Can Tho will focus on attracting investment in large projects, including a logistics centre, the Viet Nam-Japan Industrial Park in Can Tho, a concentrated information technology zone and a high-tech agricultural zone.
In particular, this year, the city will push for investment in the Viet Nam-South Korea Incubator Park, specialising in information technology.
In addition, Can Tho will hold 15 events that promote investment in its hi-tech agriculture sector in Lam Dong Province, HCM City and Dong Thap Province and introduce Can Tho’s investment environment, policies, potential and opportunities to investors in the United States, Japan and South Korea.
During the conference, Truong Quang Hoai Nam, vice chairman of the municipal People’s Committee, said the centre sould seek cooperation with other departments and sectors to develop the city’s trade and investment promotion activities.
Last year, Can Tho City attracted 77 foreign direct investment projects with total capital of US$656 million.
Meanwhile, trade promotion activities also helped Can Tho increase its revenue from exports and services to $1.77 billion in 2017, 13.9 per cent and 5.9 per cent higher than the yearly plan of 2017.
PM asks PetroVietnam to enhance business efficiency
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on Wednesday asked the National Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam) to enhance its business efficiency and contribute to ensuring energy security and asserting national sovereignty.
Phuc was speaking at a ceremony where the decision to appoint Tran Sy Thanh, former secretary of the Lang Son Province Party Committee, as the new chairman of the PetroVietnam Members’ Council was announced
Phuc urged PetroVietnam to strive to fulfill its socio-economic development tasks following the country and the group’s oil and gas development strategy to 2025 with a vision to 2030, stressing its significant contribution to the socio-economic development.
PetroVietnam should closely watch developments on the East Sea and enhance cooperation in implementing offshore oil and gas projects on the continent shelf of Viet Nam, Phuc said.
He also asked the group to hasten restructuring following the approved plan for the 2017-20 period. Accordingly, the restructuring plan must be submitted to the Government within the first quarter of this year.
Focus should also be on hastening major national projects such as Blue Whale gas project, Nghi Son Oil Refinery, Dung Quat Oil Refinery, along with power projects, he added.
In addition, problems at its five loss-making projects must be handled thoroughly, including Dinh Vu polyester plant, Dung Quat shipyard and three bio-fuel plants.
The Prime Minister highly appreciated the higher-than-target results of PetroVietnam in 2017.
The group’s oil production output exceeded the target by 10.5 per cent, gas output by 3 per cent, power generation by 2.4 per cent, and petrol and oil production of Dung Quat Oil Refinery by 19.5 per cent. Its contribution to the State budget was 30.8 per cent higher than the target.
Thanh took the position which was considered a “hot seat” and left vacant since March.
Some of its former chairmen had been arrested and under investigation for alleged violations of State regulations on economic management.
Labour productivity needs a boost
Manufacturing enterprises should implement breakthrough solutions to improve productivity of labour, raising the industrial production index of the nation in 2018, Nguyen Bich Lam, director of the General Statistics Office (GSO), said.
In addition, management agencies, ministries and local authorities would continue to reform their institutions and create a favourable business environment for enterprises, he said.
Lam also said since the domestic economy depends on many sources of imported materials, therefore, to limit trade deficit in the future, Viet Nam needs to promote the development of the processing and manufacturing industry.
Further, the nation needs to pay attention to gradually reducing the trade deficit of the economy, especially reduction of the trade deficit in the service sector, he said.
The GSO reported that in 2017, although production of the mining sector was down sharply against 2016, national industrial production continued its strong growth due to contribution of the manufacturing and processing industry’s growth in production. This industry accounted for a large part of the national industrial production.
In 2017, the national industrial production index increased by 9.4 per cent compared with 2016, much higher than the year-on-year growth rate of 7.4 per cent in 2016.
Last year, the processing and manufacturing industry saw the highest production growth rate at 14.5 per cent year-on-year over the past six years, contributing the maximum to the national industrial production growth.
The industry of electricity production and distribution increased by 9.4 per cent in terms of production and the industry of water supply and waste treatment saw year-on-year growth of 8.7 per cent in production. Meanwhile, production of the ore mining industry decreased 7.1 per cent year-on-year.
Pham Dinh Thuy, head of GSO Department of Industrial Statistics, said Viet Nam’s industrial production growth is still based on growth in the number of enterprises, investment capital and labor force, while productivity, quality, efficiency and competitiveness have not increased.
In 2017, some industries witnessed an increase in production index, including production of electronics, computers and optical products (up 32 per cent), metal production (up 17 per cent), production of rubber and plastic products (up 14 per cent) and production of textiles, paper and paper products (up 10 per cent).