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Tougher measures needed for power saving

In Uncategorized on December 17, 2010 at 2:27 pm




Tougher measures needed for power saving


QĐND – Friday, December 17, 2010, 20:56 (GMT+7)


Developing electricity and controlling energy to sustain the national economy only focuses on supply resources without paying due attention to controlling electricity use, say energy experts.

According to Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade, Hoang Quoc Vuong, Vietnam consumes approximately 80 billion kWh of electricity every year. In 2010, the country has saved 1 percent of the total electricity output (around 1 billion kWh). If electricity use is applied strictly and properly, savings of 3-5 percent can be made.


Disregard of power saving


Around 3,000 households across the country consume high levels of electricity almost 3 million kWh/year. However, Vietnamese businesses give no or little attention to saving power. 25 percent of businesses say that it is impossible to save electricity. Only one business says it will try its best to invest more to save power and reduce electricity by half in the future. These figures were released by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and the Asian Institute of Competition in the third quarter of this year.


The Energy Saving Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) says that State and government agencies have devised a 10 percent power saving plan, but efficiency is still low due to a lack of solutions and sanctions. In addition, a cut in the number of lights on roads in provinces and cities and management of light systems for advertising and other services have proved inefficient.


The Chief of the MoIT Energy Saving Office, Nguyen Dinh Hiep, says that industry and construction have a great potential for power saving but most small and medium-sized enterprises involved in these two sectors find it difficult to save electricity because they still use outdated technology, which consumes greatly energy and requires huge costs to replace. In addition, technological renovation is an uphill task that needs more time to be dealt with.


Power saving needs a stricter process from production, transmission to consumption.
The Deputy Director of the Electricity of Vietnam (EVN), Dang Hoang An says that by late 2008, EVN reduced the loss of electrical energy to 9.24 percent (under double figures). To reach the goal of reducing electrical energy loss for the following years, a score of measures need to be taken, with a focus on technical management, business administration and an upgrade of electricity networks.


EVN aims to reduce energy losses to below 8 percent by 2012. This is a challenging plan, as the electricity sector is facing a lot of difficulties such limited investments and the improper upgrading of electricity networks.


Another issue of concern is that the economy uses a lot of energy but the efficiency is not high. Vietnam leads many regional countries in electricity consumption, so it is clear that power savings must be in line with a target for reducing electricity use, says An.


An quotes the WB’s survey that efforts to create GDP from 1kWh electricity plants in Vietnam are poor. If Vietnam does not pay attention to saving electricity and natural resources in the next few years the country will face pressure in supply and demand.


Exhausting primary energy


National energy security is closely connected with primary energy. Vietnam will have to import around 30 million tonnes of coal per year by 2020, 57 million in 2025 and 121 million tonnes in 2030. Meanwhile world’s two largest coal producers– Indonesia and Australia – export around 200-210 million tonnes each.


According to EVN, 2015 will be the first year Vietnam will start to import coal. The country will import 30 million tonnes of coal in 2020, equal to one sixth of Indonesia’s total export volume. On December 22, 2010, the Lai Chau hydroelectric power plant will be inaugurated with a capacity of 1,200MW and will be the last big capacity hydroelectric power plant to be built.


The problem is where will Vietnam will buy coal and how the price of electricity will be affected at that time?


He added that it is time to balance energy needs because the country will have to import primary energy in the next five years. Ensuring national energy security, including electricity can happen only when there are proper measures to control supply and demand.


Nguyen Tien Chinh, head of the Department of Scientific Technology and Development Strategy of the Vietnam National Coal and Mineral Industries Group says that the country should consider carefully how much coal we have, when building thermal electric power plants which use coal. The country does not have clear plans for power savings and pays not enough attention to controlling imported technologies and uses too much energy for cement and steel plants.

Source: VOV

Source: QDND

More incentives needed for private sector

In Uncategorized on October 27, 2010 at 2:40 pm




More incentives needed for private sector


QĐND – Wednesday, October 27, 2010, 20:39 (GMT+7)

The private business sector needs a greater effort and more favourable policies to see a stronger growth, both in quantity and quality.


Since the Business Law was introduced, the private sector has seen a significant growth in quantity. The number of private businesses has increased by 15 times from 31,000 in 2000 to the present figure of more than 400,000. The average chartered capital also rose from VND1.29 billion in 2001 to VND11.2 billion in 2009, 1.44 percent of businesses have a registered capital of more than VND200 billion and 0.6 percent have more than VND50 billion.


According to the 2008 index, while a state-run business needs VND436.5 million to create a new job, a private company needs only VND250 million. This shows how effective the private sector can be.


Le Duy Binh from Economica Company said there should be better policies for the sector to develop support industries for not only foreign but also Vietnamese state-run companies.


Economic expert Pham Chi Lan said that limited premises for business and production and a lack of capital are behind the sector’s low profits.


Private businesses find it hard to access bank loans because they do not have the premises to mortgage, she said, adding that their weaknesses in management and outdated technologies also prevent private businesses from developing.


It is estimated that only 2 percent of private businesses in Vietnam have access to modern technologies, much lower than Thai businesses (30 percent), Malaysia (51 percent), and Singapore (73 percent).


Phan Vinh Quang, Deputy Director of Star Vietnam, said that although the private sector has taken advantage of Vietnam’s cheap workforce, they can not develop as expected.


Poor business management and lack of and confidence also stand in their way of progress, said Vinh.


Nguyen Dinh Cung, Vice President of the Central Institute for Economic  Management, said the businesses environment has improved in recent time but the key to success depends on business themselves.

Source: VOV

Source: QDND

Promoting domestic products: long-term plan needed

In Uncategorized on October 17, 2010 at 10:25 pm




Promoting domestic products: long-term plan needed


QĐND – Sunday, October 17, 2010, 20:41 (GMT+7)


Vietnamese businesses have responded well to the “Vietnamese Using Vietnamese Products” campaign since its was launched a year ago and they have achieved significant results.

The sales of domestic products such as garments and textiles, food, and confectioneries have seen sharp increases and consumers now have more options.


In the second phase of the campaign, most domestic businesses hope they will enjoy an even sharper growth rate of about 13.6 percent, twice as much as in 2010.


More than 60 million people live in rural area in Vietnam which is a great potential market and consumers have had more chances to buy high-quality products through campaigns to bring Vietnamese goods to rural areas. It has created impetus for businesses to improve their products to meet consumer demands.


According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, there have been 68 campaigns to bring Vietnamese goods to rural areas with the participation of 857 businesses and they have attracted 4.7 million customers with a turnover of VND1,500 billion.


Pham Duc Tien, Deputy of the Hanoi municipal Department of Industry and Trade (DoIT), said in addition to promotions, the city recently held two campaigns to bring domestic products to 31 trade fairs in seven suburban districts.


Many manufacturers have also opened retailers in rural areas, said Tien.


Representatives of many provincial DoIT agree there should be a long-term policy to ensure further success.


Tran Vinh Nhung, Deputy Director of Ho Chi Minh City DoIT, said his department is working closely with other DoIT in the southern key economic region to create a supply of Vietnamese products to meet consumer demands and stabilise prices.


Ho Chi Minh City will focus on establishing a network of retail outlets and commercial centres in high-demand areas like industrial parks and suburbs, Nhung said.


Binh Duong DoIT Director Nguyen Thi Dien said although the province has held 17 trade fairs in rural areas and industrial parks, each with a turnover of more than VND1 billion, they have not met all consumer demands. Therefore, businesses should work with the DoIT to make the campaign more effective.


Dien also suggested promoting a “Vietnamese Product Week” to support local campaigns.


Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang said his ministry has agreed with the Vietnam Cooperative Alliance on a pilot programme to encourage agricultural cooperatives to become distributors for businesses.


If successful, the model will then be expanded nationwide, Hoang said.


Dinh Thi My Loan, Secretary General of the Vietnam Retailers Association, said as traditional retail models still hold the lion share of the market in Vietnam, her association will try to expand in different directions.


Imports are another factor that stands in the way of domestic production and the effectiveness of the campaign. Modernising the technology to improve the quality of domestic products is necessary to improve the competitiveness of Vietnamese businesses.


Truong Quang Hoai Nam, Director of the MoIT’s Domestic Market Department, said the MoIT is designing the nation’s 2011 trade promotion programme in which associations and businesses will cooperate to provide customers with more information and minimize unfair competition.

Source: VOV

Source: QDND

Improvement of lifeline canal needed

In Uncategorized on October 13, 2010 at 7:49 am

The country’s inland navigation system plays a critical role in the nation’s economy but it is a waste that the use of inland waterway transport has not yet reached its full potential in Vietnam.


Inland waterways relieve congestion on already over-crowded highways and railways that run through cities. It is therefore needed to improve and upgrade waterway traffic to reduce pressure on land traffic.

A section of Cho Gao canal which is lifeline for the whole navigation system of the Mekong delta (Photo: SGGP)

The Southeast Asian nation is generously endowed with navigable inland waterways in the south, especially Cho Gao canal in the Mekong delta province of Tien Giang.


The 28 km long waterway route from Ho Chi Minh City to Cho Gao Canal in Tien Giang Province is the only waterway linking the city with the delta region.


Although it is not long canal, it plays a vital role in waterway system of the South because freights from the city and the southeastern region to the Mekong delta are carried by ships in two ways but it has to go through the important canal, Cho Gao, according to Tran The Ky, the HCMC Department of Transport’s Deputy Director.


Around 15 million of goods are transported via the inland waterway from Ho Chi MInh City to Mekong delta provinces each year and vice versa. The Cho Gao canal is, thus, congested with vessels and boats, with an estimated 1,500 of them passing through every day by statistics of the department. It took two days to resolve a serious traffic gridlock happened in the canal in May, 2008.


According to the waterway transportation association of Vietnam, traffic congestion in the canal has caused much loss to enterprises. It costs only VND60,000 to transport a ton of goods from Tien Giang province to HCMC but if there was a congestion in the canal, it would take away billions a day.


An upgrading project raised by the Ministry of Transport (MOT) nine years ago to dredge and expand the canal to ease traffic congestion and to build an embankment along the sides.


However, the project still can’t satisfy the increasing demands and severe landslides has badly affected the canal, a fresh VND4 trillion (US$224 million) upgrading project including widening the canal, dredging and construction of an embankment along the canal. In addition, a traffic control station will be built to deal with traffic gridlocks and accidents. The project will commence in next year and complete in 2014.


There are also significant environmental benefits to the inland waterway system. Waterway with Cho Gao Canal is lifeline for the whole system in the region so MOT will focus on developing more the waterway system.

Source: SGGP

NA: Careful consideration is needed before implementing large-scale projects

In Uncategorized on June 8, 2010 at 2:31 pm




NA: Careful consideration is needed before implementing large-scale projects


QĐND – Tuesday, June 08, 2010, 21:1 (GMT+7)

At a working session in Hanoi on June 8, many National Assembly (NA) deputies raised concern about financial sources, implementation duration and resettlement for the project to build the Hanoi-HCM City express railway.


The Hanoi-Ho Chi Minh City express railway project is a large-scale project that needs a total investment of US$56 billion. It will run as long as 1,570 km across 20 provinces and cities. With a design speed of 300km/h, it will take about five and a half hours to complete the journey from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City.


To proceed with the project, 4,170ha of land will need to be requisited and 9,500 households will need relocating so the project can be completed by 2035.


Most NA deputies agreed to the project, saying it would help to ease traffic congestion, improve the transport network and boost the country’s business operations between regions. However, some also pointed out challenges, such as the huge investment required, resettlement-related issues and the long-term duration of the project’s implementation.


Huge investment


NA delegate Sung Thi Chu from Yen Bai province said the US$56-billion estimated figure is a huge amount as it accounts for up to two third of the nation’s annual GDP. To implement the project, Vietnam will have to borrow massive amounts from foreign countries, and this will increase the country’s debts for decades. Therefore, she added, the NA should consider the project carefully.


Mr Chu’s view was shared by deputy Tran Ngoc Vinh from Hai Phong province, who noted that at present, only 11 countries in the world have an express railway. Some developed countries in the G7 group have not even built an express railway. Vietnam’s State budget is limited, while many other fields still need investment, he said.


Mr Vinh suggested upgrading the current railway network and building high-speed ships as an alternative.


He emphasised that borrowing official development assistance (ODA) loans is not always an advantage because some countries like Thailand and the Philippines have stopped borrowing these loans.


Long duration for implementation


As scheduled, the project will be carried out from 2014 to 2035. This is a long period of time that may affect the effectiveness and quality of the project. According to NA deputy Hoang Van Toan from Vinh Phuc province, it is essential to shorten the project’s duration. Vietnam should apply modern technologies to reduce the duration to 10 years, he said.


Delegate Dao Xuan Nay from Binh Thuan province said the project should be completed more quickly and also be split into several different routes, from Hanoi to Vinh, and from HCM City to Nha Trang.


People’s daily lives need to be ensured


Delegate Sung Thi Chu stressed the need to ensure people’s living conditions in their new resettlement places. The total expenditure for land acquisition and compensation is estimated at more than VND30,000 billion. More than 9,500 households will be relocated, most of them farmers. So, the NA should pay due attention to creating jobs for them and helping them stabilise their lives, she said.


NA deputy Luong Phan Cu from Dak Nong province said it may take more time to implement the project as it affects an additional 16,500 households.


Source: VOV


Source: QDND

Capital needed from both domestic and foreign businesses

In Uncategorized on May 24, 2010 at 5:18 pm

Curbing inflation and ensuring social welfare needed

In Uncategorized on May 23, 2010 at 5:16 pm




Curbing inflation and ensuring social welfare needed


QĐND – Sunday, May 23, 2010, 20:58 (GMT+7)

Controlling inflation and ensuring social welfare were top issues in focus in a group discussion at the ongoing seventh session of the 12th National Assembly in Hanoi on May 22.


NA deputies discussed an appraisal report on socio-economic tasks and the State budget in 2009; plans for socio-economic development and the State budget in the first quarter of this year; and the final accounts for the 2008 budget.


Thanks to joint efforts by the Party, State and people under NA supervision, Vietnam has overcome challenges to halt the economic slowdown, curb inflation, ensure social welfare, and maintain a relatively high economic growth rate.


The economic growth rate reached 5.32 percent in 2009, higher than the NA target of 5.2 percent. Vietnam’s economy has seen positive changes in the past few months with an economic growth rate of 5.83 percent, nearly double the rate recorded in the first quarter of last year.


Reducing trade deficit and State budget overspending


The above mentioned growth figures demonstrate the efforts made by the entire political system to cope with challenges and create confidence for people throughout the country.


However, NA deputies expressed concern over the threat of high inflation, which will affect the macro economy and sustainable development, especially when the competitiveness of the national economy remains weak.


NA deputy Nguyen Van Nhuong from Quang Binh shared his views that top priority should be given to major solutions for stabilizing the macro economy and controlling inflation to help the national economy rebound.


Mr Nhuong noticed with deep concern that State budget overspending in 2009 was nearly VND116,000 billion, accounting for 6.9 percent of  GDP, and the trade deficit was  high, equivalent to 21.6 percent of export turnover.


Mr Nhuong said that the Government should pinpoint the cause of this high trade deficit to reduce budget overspending to 6 percent this year.


In addition, the Government needs to introduce sanctions on limited imports of foreign electronic components and imported cars.


NA deputy Nguyen Thi Bach Mai from Tay Ninh said that the NA should work out effective solutions to adjust consumer price index to a lower level to ensure people’s livelihoods.


Poverty reduction and environmental protection


A Government report submitted to the NA indicated that eight targets have not been reached, focusing on social affairs and the environment. It is worth noting that the number of operational industrial parks and export processing zones that have standard waste water treatment systems is only 50 percent, lower than the 2008 figure of 60 percent.


A NA representative from Dak Nong, Bui Thi Hoa, said it is important to ensure the living environment for the people. However, the loose management of waste treatment in foreign companies and enterprises has caused huge losses of natural resources and human lives. The Government should clarify the responsibility of environmental management agencies to deal with environment-related issues properly.


NA Deputy Nguyen Thi Bach Mai asked the NA to review some social targets such as job creation and reducing the number of poor households and malnourished children.


NA Deputy Ngo Van Minh from Quang Nam said the Government should review the implementation of key national programmes for poverty reduction and tackle difficulties in this issue in the near future.


Source: VOV


 


Source: QDND

Ban on sewage needed to keep most lakes clean

In Uncategorized on May 21, 2010 at 5:11 pm




Ban on sewage needed to keep most lakes clean


QĐND – Friday, May 21, 2010, 21:7 (GMT+7)

The Hanoi Committee has announced that the second phase of a mass clean up of the city’s lakes will start later this month.


“Most of the lakes have varying levels of pollution,” said Ngo Thai Nam, deputy director of the Hanoi Environment Protection Department (EPD).


Waste water and algae are just two of the problems currently affecting the nine lakes that have been earmarked for treatment in the phase including Giang Vo, Van Chuong, Thien Quang, Nghia Tan, Van Quan, Ho Vo, Den Lu, Giap Bat and Ao Lam Du.


Pollution has become a big problem for people living by the lakes. In March this year, local citizens were subjected to the smell of rotting dead fish in Truc Bach.


An investigation by the EPD showed that the fish died due to seriously polluted water and tens of other lakes were affected by the same problem.


To date, 65 lakes in Hanoi remain to be dredged and cleaned, but there are no plans for operations at 33 others, including Thuy Su, Kim Lien and Me Tri.


The project started in September 2009 with a total investment of VND2.6 trillion (136.8 million USD). It is planned to finish in September this year. In the first phase, 46 lakes were treated and the quality of water improved.


“Water quality is getting better but sometimes it is only a temporary fix. In some cases, the problems return due to a lack of preservation,” said Nguyen Le, general director of the Hanoi Water Drainage Company.


Professor Vu Hoan, chairman of the Union of Science and Technology Associations said that the city had tried a number of treatment techniques but the pollution still returned.


Nguyen Van Luong, director of the Hanoi EPD, said the best way to solve the problem was to ban the release of all untreated sewage into the city’s lakes.


“Comprehensive management of the lakes is needed but this is complicated at the moment as it involves local authorities, co-operatives and individuals,” he said.


Educating local people on how to protect the environment was also an important task, Luong added.


There are several waste water treatment facilities, but they do not have the capacity to deal with the city’s waste.


Source: VNA


Source: QDND

Tough US measures needed to beat climate change: experts

In Uncategorized on May 19, 2010 at 5:06 pm

WASHINGTON, May 19, 2010 (AFP) – The United States has to lead the global fight on climate change by breaking with business-as-usual and setting tough standards for the amount of greenhouse gases it emits into the atmosphere, US scientists said Wednesday.


In one of three multi-hundred-page reports on climate change by the National Research Council, scientists said the United States should set a budget that would limit greenhouse gas emissions to a total of between 170 and 200 gigatons of carbon dioxide equivalent between 2012 and 2050.

(Indonesia) Workers of PT. Belayan River Timber work in the forest in Long Hubung on March 30, 2010, part of its 97,500-hectare concession near Samarinda on southeastern Borneo. AFP photo

That limit would correspond to a reduction of US emissions from 1990 levels by 80 to 50 percent, depending whether the upper or lower “budgetary level” is chosen, and would require “a major departure from business-as-usual emission trends,” the report said.


US emissions have been rising at a rate of one percent per year for the past three decades, and in 2008 reached around seven gigatons of carbon dioxide equivalent.


Even if emissions stuck at the 2008 rate and if the higher budget target of 200 gigatons was chosen, the US would exceed its emissions budget by 2041.


The NRC report urged the US to lead the way on reducing emissions so that other nations will follow, the scientists said.


“Although limiting emissions must be a global effort to be effective, strong US actions to reduce emissions will help encourage other countries to do the same,” they said.


The cap-and-trade system — where a total level of allowable domestic emissions is set, companies are given emissions quotas, and the small polluters can sell their surplus to firms that exceed theirs — was one of the most effective ways of reducing emissions, the report said.


Cap-and-trade was declared dead by Republican Senator Lindsey Graham two months ago, but a climate bill proposed this month by Democratic Senator John Kerry and Independent Joe Lieberman proposed setting up just such a system, even though it did not call it by name.


The senators’ plan would cut US carbon emissions by 17 percent by 2020 from 2005 levels, going up to 83 percent by 2050.


The scientists warned, though, that putting a price on carbon would only work if the United States also improves energy efficiency, speeds up the development of renewable energy sources, develops new-generation nuclear power, and retrofits, decommissions or replaces facilities that belch greenhouse gases into the air.


One of the other reports issued as part of what the NRC calls its most comprehensive climate change study to date reaffirms US scientists’ strong belief that climate change is occurring and is caused largely by human activities.


Climate change skeptics last year seized on a leak of thousands of emails and other documents from researchers at the University of East Anglia in Britain, which appeared to show scientists saying global warming was not as serious as previously thought.


A few months later, another scandal rocked the world of climate science, when the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was accused of basing a report about ice disappearing from the world’s mountain peaks on a student essay and an article in a mountaineering magazine.


The third report released Wednesday urges US policymakers to take steps to reduce the country’s vulnerability to climate change impacts that cannot be avoided, while stressing that adapting to climate change was not an alternative to limiting it.


The trilogy of reports were released as the US and more than 190 other nations continue to hammer out the details of a successor treaty to the Kyoto Protocol, which set a target of industrialized nations cutting emissions blamed for global warming by an average of five percent by the end of 2012 from 1990 levels.


The United States was the only major nation to reject the treaty, arguing it was unfair because it made no demands of fast-growing economies such as China, now the world’s top carbon emitter.

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Source: SGGP

Better strategies needed in order to maximize economic potential of Mekong Delta

In Uncategorized on May 14, 2010 at 8:51 am

The Trade-Tourism-Investment Promotion Centers established in the Mekong Delta have underachieved do insufficient cooperation and an overemphasis on industry.

Gao Giong eco-tourism area in Dong Thap Muoi marsh in Dong Thap Province.

Most of the programs have focused on foreign investment, primarily the construction of factories and have not paid enough attention to local markets, environmental concerns, and infrastructure.


“The regional cities and provinces should join hands together to present an image of the Mekong Delta that attracts foreign investment, especially leading high-tech groups and countries with expertise developing agriculture” said Mr. Luu Phuoc Luong, deputy head of the Government Steering Board of South West Region.


However, in order to develop the region as intended, more attention must be paid to local concerns.  Also, the total capital invested in Vietnam by the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) must not exceed 10 percent of the national FDI target.


According to Mr. Bui Quoc Trung, deputy head of Foreign Investment Department of the Ministry of Planning and Investment, only Can Tho City, and the Long An, Hau Giang and Kien Giangn provinces have administered FDI policies fairly.


The Mekong Delta Information Center, a project created under the Ministry of Planning and Investment, will provide information of economy, society, trade, agriculture, tourism and more of Mekong Delta region to local and foreign enterprises and investors.


Based in Ho Chi Minh City, the project, has been budgeted at more than VND100 billion (US$5 million).  It is scheduled to kick off in the second quarter of this year and become operational by the fourth quarter of 2011.


 

Source: SGGP

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