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Archive for August 20th, 2008|Daily archive page

Laos pledges help to Vietnamese banks

In Uncategorized on August 20, 2008 at 3:04 pm

HCM City (VNA) – The Bank of Laos will create the most favourable conditions for Sacombank and other Vietnamese commercial banks to expand their operation networks in Laos in the future, said its Deputy Governor Bounsong Sommalavong.

Deputy Governor Sommalavong, who is in Vietnam from August 18-22 to explore Vietnam’s banking and securities market activities, made the pledge during his working session with the Saigon Thuong Tin Commercial Joint Stock Bank (Sacombank).

Earlier, the State Bank of Vietnam gave the nod to Sacombank to open its branch in Laos and Cambodia. The bank is striving to put its branch in Laos into operation by the end of this year.

The opening of Sacombank branch in Laos is expected to facilitate trade between the two countries.

Vietnam currently ranks fourth among foreign investors in Laos.-

Draft bill aims to curb import of luxuries

In Uncategorized on August 20, 2008 at 3:02 pm

Hanoi (VNA) – The Finance Ministry is working on draft revisions to the law on special consumption tax with the aim of curbing the import of luxury goods.

The draft, which will be submitted to the National Assembly for approval in November, will extend the list of 13 luxury items regulated by the present law by adding tobacco products, cars of less than 24 seats, motorbikes of cylinder capacity of 175 cu.cm or higher, and electronic gaming machines.

Among these, cars will be the hardest hit, with the tax level levied on cars of 6-9 seats will be raised from the present 30 percent to 50, 60 and 70 percent, depending on their cylinder capacity.

Finance Minister Vu Van Ninh asserted that the planned tariffs are still in line with Vietnam ’s WTO commitments while helping curb inflation and stabilise consumption trends in the long term.

Pundits said the current tariffs on luxuries, already at a high level, have not been able to constrain the influx of these items into Vietnam over the recent time. In the first seven months of 2008, luxuries imports pushed import turnover to 51.9 billion USD, up nearly 57 percent year-on-year, resulting in a trade deficit of 15 billion USD, up 137.7 percent and equal to 40.7 percent of the country’s export turnover.

The import of CBU (completely-built unit) cars, the focus of the controlling policy, though on a decline as from the second quarter of 2008 due to three consecutive tax rises from 60 percent to 83 percent, still saw increases of 265 percent in value and 290 percent in quantity for the seven-month period.

Other luxury items such as clothing, handbags and perfume of world famous brands are also enjoying an annual growth rate of 30 percent in revenues. For mobile phone, the import turnover this year is forecast to reach a record of around 1.3 billion USD.

Last but not least, gold was imported in a very large quantity in the first six months.

According to the Vietnam Gold Business Association, the first half of 2008 saw 60 tonnes of gold imported while the quota for the year is 73.5 tonnes.

It is forecast that Vietnam will have to spend around 4 billion USD for gold import.-

Draft bill aims to curb import of luxuries

In Uncategorized on August 20, 2008 at 3:00 pm

Hanoi (VNA) – The Finance Ministry is working on draft revisions to the law on special consumption tax with the aim of curbing the import of luxury goods.

The draft, which will be submitted to the National Assembly for approval in November, will extend the list of 13 luxury items regulated by the present law by adding tobacco products, cars of less than 24 seats, motorbikes of cylinder capacity of 175 cu.cm or higher, and electronic gaming machines.

Among these, cars will be the hardest hit, with the tax level levied on cars of 6-9 seats will be raised from the present 30 percent to 50, 60 and 70 percent, depending on their cylinder capacity.

Finance Minister Vu Van Ninh asserted that the planned tariffs are still in line with Vietnam ’s WTO commitments while helping curb inflation and stabilise consumption trends in the long term.

Pundits said the current tariffs on luxuries, already at a high level, have not been able to constrain the influx of these items into Vietnam over the recent time. In the first seven months of 2008, luxuries imports pushed import turnover to 51.9 billion USD, up nearly 57 percent year-on-year, resulting in a trade deficit of 15 billion USD, up 137.7 percent and equal to 40.7 percent of the country’s export turnover.

The import of CBU (completely-built unit) cars, the focus of the controlling policy, though on a decline as from the second quarter of 2008 due to three consecutive tax rises from 60 percent to 83 percent, still saw increases of 265 percent in value and 290 percent in quantity for the seven-month period.

Other luxury items such as clothing, handbags and perfume of world famous brands are also enjoying an annual growth rate of 30 percent in revenues. For mobile phone, the import turnover this year is forecast to reach a record of around 1.3 billion USD.

Last but not least, gold was imported in a very large quantity in the first six months.

According to the Vietnam Gold Business Association, the first half of 2008 saw 60 tonnes of gold imported while the quota for the year is 73.5 tonnes.

It is forecast that Vietnam will have to spend around 4 billion USD for gold import.-

Hue eyes air connection with to Japan

In Uncategorized on August 20, 2008 at 2:59 pm

Thua Thien-Hue (VNA) – The authorities of central Thua Thien-Hue province and Japan’s Shizuoka city have met in Hue city to discuss a plan to open flights connecting the two cities.

They hope to conduct the first flight from Hue city’s Phu Bai International Airport to Shizuoka city on the occasion of the inauguration of Shizuoka’s Fujisan ( Fuji Mountain ) International Airport in early March 2009.

Regular flights connecting two cities are expected to attract more Japanese tourists to Hue city and vice versa, as well as facilitate the travel of overseas Vietnamese students and the two countries’ businessmen.

The cooperation in opening the new air route is part of the two cities’ cooperation programme signed in April 2005, which has been also extended to various fields, particularly urban and environmental management, and cultural exchange.-

Official confident in State enterprise equitisation despite delay

In Uncategorized on August 20, 2008 at 2:59 pm

Hanoi (VNA)- Deputy Head of the Enterprise Renewal Department Nguyen Trong Dung has reiterated the Government’s resolution to boost the equitisation of State-owned enterprises (SoEs) despite slow progress made in the recent past.

He said his agency is awaiting the Prime Minister’s approval for its new plan on SoEs equitisation to speed up the tempo and ensure the quality of the process.

The move asks responsible agencies to reconsider the proportion of shares for foreign strategic partners and revise relevant policies in favour of the target enterprises.

A recent survey conducted on 1,600 one year and odd old SoE-turned joint-stock companies has shown that their charter capital increased 58.6 percent on average, revenues up 48 percent, profits 331 percent and employees’ incomes, almost 52 percent.

However, the recent past witnessed a huge reluctance for equitisation among corporations and consortiums, which experts blamed on the sluggish stock market and high inflation.

Statistics released by the Enterprise Renewal Department revealed that so far this year just 10 of 45 State-owned corporations and economic groups on the Government’s list for this year’s equitisation have started their process. Many of them have delayed their equitisation and initial public offerings (IPO) schemes in the wake of the diving stock market, high inflation and bank loans interest hikes.

Dung acknowledged the failure of the relevant pricing policy which offers the same prices of shares for both individual investors and strategic partners. The policy has failed to draw investments from potential investors, especially foreign partners with financial, management, technological and market power, he said.

In fact, in addition to the Vietnam Garment and Textile Group which has submitted an official proposal for postponing equitisation timetable till 2009, many other groups such as the Vietnam Industrial and Commercial Bank, mobile phone giants Mobifone and Vinaphone and the Vietnam Airlines are open to an option of delaying their equitisation schemes till next year.

Despite all above difficulties, SoEs equitisation will continue in an effort to renew enterprises and improve their competitive edge and performance as well as to draw foreign investment, emphasised the official.–

Vietnam learns Japan’s public private partnership experiences

In Uncategorized on August 20, 2008 at 2:58 pm

Hanoi (VNA) – A seminar took place in Hanoi on August 20 to provide Vietnam with Japanese experiences in boosting public-private partnership (PPP) in infrastructure development.

The event, co-hosted by the Ministry of Planning and Investment and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), heard various reports on Japan’s experiences in financing PPP projects and applying this model to the development of the power industry.

Addressing the seminar, Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Bich Dat said Vietnam’s policy is to mobilise all resources from the non-state sector to contribute to developing infrastructure and other areas.

“We are well aware that poor infrastructure is not only a hindrance to national development but also a factor lowering the investment environment’s attraction and competitiveness”, Dat said.

The deputy minister also spoke highly of Japan’s reports and described them as useful experiences and important suggestions for Vietnam during its process of designing policies on applying the PPP model in the country.-

TAQ2008.007 Vietnam remains attractive for FDI, says PwC

In Uncategorized on August 20, 2008 at 2:57 pm


Hanoi (VNA) – PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has made public its annual report on world investment, saying Vietnam remains attractive for foreign investors.

The second PwC Emerging Market 20 Index showed that Vietnam is now ranked 5th most attractive emerging market destination for investments in manufacturing, compared to its number one position in 2007.

The change in rank reflects mostly changes in the selection of the countries PwC considered for the update, PwC’s report said.

Based on macroeconomic data, a number of countries studied last year, for example the Czech Republic, Hungary and Saudi Arabia no longer meet the criteria for inclusion in the Model. On the other hand, three of the four countries preceding Vietnam, namely Egypt, Bulgaria and Serbia did not qualify for inclusion to the index calculations last year, it added.

Amongst the Asian countries in the PwC EM20 Index, India tops the Manufacrturing Index, followed by Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, China, the Phillipines and Indonesia.

Countries like Vietnam and Cambodia are still relatively small economies, their low-cost bases can some times offer higer margins to manufacturers.

The report said the BRIC countries including Brazil, Russia, India and China continue to offer good opportunities for investment.

The PwC is the world’s largest business advisory group, operating in 150 countries and territories. The PwC established offices in Ha Noi and Ho Chi Minh City in 1994.-

More efforts made to boost ethnic pupils’ literacy

In Uncategorized on August 20, 2008 at 2:54 pm

– The Ministry of Education and Training has told provinces and cities to use ethnic languages to teach Vietnamese to ethnic children at kindergarten schools or offer a two- to three month Vietnamese training course for ethnic children before they enter the first grade.

The move is expected to facilitate ethnic minority children’s learning as many of them still cannot read and write Vietnamese fluently after completing the first grade, despite the Ministry of Education and Training’s efforts at improving education in rural areas.

For the school year 2007-2008, 40 rural provinces recorded low rates of learning the Vietnamese language after the first grade, according to a report released at a recent conference held by the ministry.

Nearly 22 percent of students who had completed the first grade in northernmountainous Ha Giang province could not read or write Vietnamese, with 17 percent in Dac Nong province, 16.8 percent in Gia Lai province in the Central Highlands and 15.3 percent in central Ninh Thuan.

Nguyen Vinh Hien, deputy education minister, said textbooks, which are all in Vietnamese, and teaching methods were unsuited to ethnic minority students.

Some academic content of the textbooks are too difficult, he said.

Vietnam has 53 ethnic minorities with a population of 11 million. About 70 percent of ethnic children cannot understand and speak Vietnamese before they attend primary school.

Using students’ ethnic languages to teach them in the first grade and both languages at primary school is one method encouraged by the ministry.

Hoang Thu Huong, an official from the ministry’s pre-school education department, said the method of teaching Vietnamese to ethnic children in kindergarten had been successful in Gia Lai province.

“Ethnic children who learn Vietnamese in kindergarten can follow the teaching curriculum of the first grade,” Huong said.

But many of the children did not attend school, she said.

Mong Ky Slay, head of the ministry’s ethnic minority education department, said there was a shortage of teachers who can master their students’ ethnic languages.

Using both languages had not been successful in general because classes can contain children from three to five ethnic minorities.

The ministry would decide on one approach after surveying results in various provinces. Nguyen Van Dong, head of the Gia Lai province’s primary education, said provincial teacher training colleges should offer ethnic minority languages courses to teachers.

Only five percent of primary teachers nationwide are ethnic minorities.

Tran Thi Tham, deputy director of the Lao Cai province’s department of education and training, said teachers needed to learn the ethnic languages of their students.

Lao Cai province had also sent its teachers to Tay Bac University to learn the H’Mong language, she said.

Vietnam has only four universities – Tay Bac, Tay Nguyen, Quy Nhon and Can Tho – that teach ethnic minority languages.-

Ho Chi Minh City to set new poverty baseline

In Uncategorized on August 20, 2008 at 2:54 pm

– The Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee has asked government agencies to set a new poverty baseline for the 2009-2015 period.

Any city resident earning 12 million VND (750 USD) or less a year and a rural resident earning 10 million VND (625 USD) will be considered poor.

Poor households under the former poverty line used from 2006-2010 are those with an income of no more than 6 million VND a year (375 USD). The readjustment was made by the city to reflect rising costs in today’s economy.

As of the second quarter, there were 17,033 poor households, accounting for 1.37 percent of city households.

The Department of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs wants to reduce the poverty rate to 0.6 percent by the end of this year, and to zero within two years.

The City People’s Committee said in the near future any poor person unable to work because of old age, poor health or disability would be removed from poverty alleviation programme and would receive financial support from the city.

The central city of Da Nang is also aiming for lowered poverty rate. The rate of poor households in the central city has dropped by nearly half to 2.9 percent since the beginning of the year, according to a local official.

The director of Da Nang City’s Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, Nguyen Thi Thanh Hung, said the local government had called on mass organisations and businesses to provide assistance in cash and items to 4,970 poor, disadvantaged households.

Of that number, nearly 2,200 households have been able to escape from poverty, accounting for nearly 63 percent of the year’s target.

The city has urged public agencies, charitable organisations and funds for the poor as well as companies to provide housing, electricity and water for poor households.

The municipal authorities have also focused on providing health care, education, legal assistance and job training to poor households.

It has launched a programme for agricultural, industrial and fisheries promotion to give poor households training in farming.

Despite high inflation, local authorities have invested several billions VND from the local budget for social welfare for the poor.

The city has initiated a so-called “three-haves” programme – a house, job and a civilised city environment. Free health care services for 72,000 poor and elderly people have also been earmarked. About 5,000 poor students of primary and secondary schools have been given free school tuition and equipment to continue their studies.

In order to achieve targets set by the Ministry of Education and Training to enrol children in school, the local government has paid special attention to providing scholarships for disadvantaged rural students.

The local youth and women’s unions have worked together to organise free vocational training for poor youth to help them acquire stable jobs.-

Australia-funded water plant inaugurated in Dong Thap

In Uncategorized on August 20, 2008 at 2:52 pm

Dong Thap (VNA) – A water treatment plant was launched in Sa Dec town, southern Dong Thap province on Aug. 20 to bring clean water and improved sanitation to more than 111,000 people.

The plant is part of the Australian-funded Three Towns Water Supply and Sanitation Project in the Mekong Delta provinces of Bac Lieu, Kien Giang and Dong Thap in the 2001-2009 period.

The Australian Government, through the Australian Agency for International Development Agency for International Development (AusAID), contributes 48.9 million AUD to the project, including 15 million AUD for the water plant in Sa Dec town.

The project aims to improve the living conditions and alleviate poverty for around 280,000 in the three localities.

The project combines water supply and sanitation infrastructure, community development and awareness programmes and institutional strengthening to ensure sustainable improvements for the people of the three towns. Particularly, it focuses on access to safe water and improved sanitation by the poor and by minority groups.

The two other plants in Ha Tien town (Kien Giang province) and Bac Lieu town (Bac Lieu province) were put into operation earlier in 2008.-