Customs cries out over import tricks
Cat Lai Port customs has uncovered 1,750 pairs of shoes and 12 containers of bricks imported as non-commercial goods and this is considered one of fraudulent ways to cope with the regulation to restrict imported commodities set by the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
The two aforementioned cases were given by Bui Viet Hung, head of management department of the HCMC Customs Department in a review meeting of the customs sector. According to Hung, this situation has been seen repeatedly since the industry and trade ministry released Announcement 197 and Circular 20 on restricting the import of some non-essential commodities.
The ministry has yet to stipulate numbers and value of goods imported for non-trade purposes and this loophole has allowed enterprises to claim their imported products as non-commercial goods while they are all for business. As a result, the local customs agencies have found no way to tackle this issue so far.
“These individuals and firms seems not to violate the prevailing regulations but what they have done in reality is abnormal and the responsibility obviously falls on customs if such goods are released onto the market,” Hung noted. Thus, he called for appropriate solutions from relevant authorities in order to deal with this as soon as possible.
HCM City’s wholesale markets report slow sales
The purchasing power at wholesale markets in HCMC these days is weaker than that in previous years even though this is the time when numerous traders from other provinces have flocked to the city to purchase goods in preparation for the upcoming Lunar New Year.
Tan Binh Market specializing in garments and textiles these days is at peak business with parking lots near the market being fully occupied with motorbikes and trucks coming from other provinces. According to local traders, the busy trading situation here will last for the next few days.
However, the demand is said to be pretty low, having sharply tumbled against last year. “Most customers this year tend to spend only between some VND1 million to VND2 million on clothes,” an apparel seller told the Daily.
In previous years, the seller said, there were a lot of clients from the Mekong Delta, the central provinces and neighboring provinces ready to buy products worth dozens of millions of Vietnam dong.
Le Hong Vinh of the market’s management board asserted that “the market’s purchasing power this year is not as strong as that in other years.”
In fact, the boisterous trading atmosphere is seen at a number of stands such as clothes and footwear but fabric and cosmetic booths are really desolate.
The same situation also happens at Binh Tay Market in District 5. Ung Thi Lien, head of the confectionery vendor team in the market, complained that there were few buyers from the Mekong Delta and her present customers were mainly from central and Central Highlands provinces.
Many sellers this year avoid stocking large volumes of confectionary and jam while makers have reduced the output volume as well.
State management fails to keep up with urbanization pace
The fast pace of urbanization coupled with unsolved woes in recent years has outstretched the management capacity of local authorities, claimed the Ministry of Construction.
Recent statistics by the ministry shows that the nation has a total of 755 urban areas as of the end of last year compared to 629 in 1999. On average, there are about 12 new urban areas established and many existing areas expanded annually.
Hanoi and HCMC are two special cities in the nation besides ten first-grade, 12 second-grade, 47 third-grade and 50 fourth-grade and 634 fifth-grade cities. Based on the urban management classification, there are five central cities, 55 provincial cities, 40 provincial townships and other smaller towns.
The above figures exclude some 630 new urban projects covering a total area of over 100,000 hectares that have been set up nationwide.
The housing area per capita has jumped to 18.6 square meters from the previous 9.7 square meters, with that in cities being 23.1 square meters and in rural areas 16.6 square meters.
Phan Thi My Linh, head of urban development at the construction ministry, warned that the fast urbanization pace has been beyond the local authorities’ management capacity. This is proven by the overwhelming presence of a large number of cities and projects failing to meet standards set for urban architecture, she noted.
Most urban areas have faced increasingly severe issues such as traffic congestion, traffic accidents, flooding and pollution while local governments have found no ways to settle such problems thoroughly.
HCM City remains top place in industrial production
Ho Chi Minh City continue to lead the country in industrial production in 2011 with a value of nearly VND740 trillion (USD35.17 billion).
Nguyen Van Lai, Director of the city’s Department of Industry and Trade, said the city contributed 42 percent of the industrial production value in the southern key economic zone and accounted for 27.4 percent of the country’s total.
Lai, however, pointed out that the growth has failed to bring higher economic value for the city as products’ added value remains low. The city is facing the problems of high-quality human resources shortage and an imbalance in labour demand and supply.
In 2012, the city targets to raise industrial production value by 19.2 percent to VND881 trillion (USD41.88 million).
The four spearhead industries, including mechanical manufacturing, electronics – information technology, chemicals – plastics and food processing, are to make up at least 57.5 percent of the total value of industrial production.
HCM City is home to about 86,000 factories, 15 industrial and export processing zones, one high-tech area, one software park and ten industrial clusters.
By 2015, the country’s economic hub aims to set up an additional seven industrial zones and 20 industrial clusters. Priority will be given to developing such sectors as garments and textiles, computer electronics, assembly production, manufacturing mechanics and supporting industry.
Big Vietnamese banks seek new manganement for new year
The year of 2011 has seen the biggest human resource change at the top levels of Vietnamese banking sector, with many banks appointed new leaders.
This is just part of the ongoing financial restructuring that is occurring in the country.
On December 26, Vietnam Technological and Commercial Joint Stock Bank (Techcombank) appointed Simon Morris, who was formerly managing Khan, the largest bank in Mongolia, as it new CEO. He replaced Nguyen Duc Vinh. Vinh was the CEO of Techcombank bank for 12 years.
Vietnam Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Industry and Trade (VietinBank) recently appointed new general director, Nguyen Van Thang. Thang’s contract will last until 2014.
Early 2011, TienPhongBank made replacements in many of its key positions, aiming for more efficient operations and better returns.
Also, Vietnam Bank for Agiculture and Rural Development (Agribank) made many changes as a result of the discovery of a number of corruption cases. In the last year the domestic banking sector saw 94 cases related to credit violations and corruption; of those, Agribank was related to 64.
Some other banks, including Vietnam International Bank (VIB), also made changes in their leadership in hopes of improving results.
More banks have tended to select foreign CEO. They are also tending to fast-track young people who have expertise in accounting.
An Binh Joint Commercial Joint Stock Bank (ABBank) plans to make management changes early this year.
Banks forecast that 2012 will pose more challenges as credit growth will be attempted to be limited to 15-17%. Under the Governor of the State Bank of Vietnam, Nguyen Van Binh’s instruction, the banking system will be subject to drastic restructuring this year.
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