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Archive for October 1st, 2008|Daily archive page

ADB lends 250 million USD to Philippines

In Uncategorized on October 1, 2008 at 1:45 pm

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is extending a 250 million-USD loan to strengthen the policy reform initiatives of the Philippine government for fiscal management, investment climate and social sectors.

The loan is a second of a three-part Development Policy Support Program (DPSP) aimed at helping the Philippines achieve its medium-term development goals, the Manila-based bank said, adding that the first DPSP loan was approved in February 2007.

ADB said that the second loan would help the Southeast Asian nation address challenges brought by recent global economic slowdown through greater flexibility in fiscal policy in 2008 and 2009, further enhance tax revenue collection, and support the government’s conditional and targeted cash transfer programme.

The third DPSP loan is expected to be processed in 2009 and submitted for ADB Board consideration upon the completion of the second loan. –

Environmentally-aware companies to get support

In Uncategorized on October 1, 2008 at 1:44 pm

Hanoi (VNA) – The Fund for Environment Protection had provided more than 100 billion VND for 40 projects to implement cleaner production technology by the end of August 2008, contributing to improving businesses’ competitiveness and protecting the environment.

The figure was reported at a seminar on “Saving energy, cleaner production and access to the Fund for Environment Protection’s capital for environment protection projects” held in Hanoi on Sept. 30.

Speaking at the seminar, Truong Manh Tien, Director of the fund, said that the seminar represented effective measures to help businesses to obtain preferential loans from the fund rapidly and with ease, aiming to minimise environmental pollution, boost production and increase the competitiveness of Vietnamese businesses.

The fund has also provided more than 6 billion VND for activities to address environmental issues such as oil spills, flooding and epidemics, Tien said.

To better meet the financial demand of environmental protection activities, the Government has increased the charter capital of the fund to 500 billion VND.

Participants at the seminar, including environmentalists, managers and business people, presented reports on cleaner manufacturing processes which will benefit the economy and the environment, and energy savings solutions for small- and medium-sized enterprises.

At the seminar, the Fund for Environment Protection outlined financial support mechanisms and procedures for businesses wishing to receive preferential loans from the fund.-

Half of 12-yr-olds have tooth decay

In Uncategorized on October 1, 2008 at 1:42 pm

HCM City (VNA) – Up to 50 percent of 12-year-old students in Ho Chi Minh City suffer from tooth decay, according to a recent report by the city’s Dental Hospital .

The Department of Preventive Health under the Ministry of Health has also reported that more than 80 percent of primary school students nationwide suffer from gum disease and tooth decay.

The shocking figures were attributed to a lack of awareness about dental care, and a high consumption of sweets, as more urban children experienced dental problems than rural ones, even though city kids reportedly took better care of their teeth.

According to the hospital, a lack of dental care centres in schools has added to the problem. One hundred and eighty five institutions, or less than 50 percent of the city’s total, report they have dental care centres, but many have stopped operation due to lack of staff and poor pay.

Doctor Le Dong Khanh, deputy chairman of the national school-based dental care plan said Vietnam did not have a long-term programme for dental care in schools.

Other experts say that the country has one of the world’s highest instances of tooth decay among children.

Khanh said many studies have found that the rate of tooth decay and gum disease has fallen in places with good dental programmes after six years of implementation.

From 2006-2010, the national school-based dental care plan aims to set up 200 to 300 dental care clinics each year with staff and facilities for 400,000 to 600,000 students. As the result, from 3-5 million students, or 70 percent of children nationwide, should benefit.

Up to now, the programme has been unable to instill an understanding of the importance of dental care and many existing centres are lacking facilities, said Khanh. In addition, parents need to take more responsibility in educating their children, especially young children, about dental care.

Many parents were found to regularly neglect personal oral hygiene, making it even more challenging to teach the practice to children.

Khanh said schools, parents and doctors needed to cooperate on this issue.

While waiting for the national programme on dental care to take effect, Protect Vietnamese Smiles (PVS) has checked and treated around 3 million children of primary and kindergarten ages and educated them on oral hygiene while distributing free dental care products. In the last 0 years, PVS has contributed 100 billion VND (5.8 million USD) to dental care.-

IT week 2008 aims to boost use of technology

In Uncategorized on October 1, 2008 at 1:41 pm

Ha Noi (VNA) – The 17th IT Week Vietnam will take place in Hanoi from Oct. 29-Nov. 2 with a series of exhibitions and seminars taking place focusing on advanced information technology.

The IT week has been an annual event since 1998, bringing opportunities for IT-concerned businesses, organisations and individuals to exchange experiences, introduce new products and seek business partners, said Nguyen Long, Secretary General of the Vietnam IT Association, at a press briefing on Oct. 1.

According to the association, almost all ministries, provinces and cities now have their own websites, however, the number of public administrative services on offer are still limited.

Currently, only 27 percent of businesses, mainly large ones, use IT in business administration.

According to a draft programme regarding IT applications for State-owned agencies for the 2007-2010 period, Viet Nam has set the target of having an online presence for all provincial and ministerial-level agencies, plus having 50 percent of all documents exchanged by State agencies done so via the internet and 30 percent of business enterprises publishing their reports on the net.-

SME’s doing much better than estimated

In Uncategorized on October 1, 2008 at 1:40 pm

HCM City (VNA) – Small- and medium-sized enterprises are developing strongly, with only 3.8 percent of them facing business and production difficulties, according to the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV).

The SBV’s Credit Department said despite widespread rumours that many SMEs would go bankrupt, only a few would do so.

About 23 percent of SMEs are operating profitably and 73.2 percent have had average growth, the SBV said.

Only 3.8 percent were recognised to have difficulties, the agency said.

The bank based its observations on SME business results as well as their payment of bank debts on schedule.

Some 163,673 SMEs have credit relations with commercial banks, accounting for more than half of the total number.

These enterprises have a combined capital of 482.1 trillion VND (29.2 billion USD), of which 45.31 percent are raised from bank loans.

Loans that commercial banks have given to SMEs are worth 299.47 trillion VND (18.1 billion USD), accounting for 27.3 percent of the economy’s total or up by 16.65 percent compared with last year’s figure.

The rate of bad debts in SMEs was 3.64 percent, up by 1 percent compared with that of last year.

Commercial banks have in recent years begun considering SMEs as potential customers and many banks have given them capital-lending priorities, including interest-related incentives.

The Export-Import Commercial Joint Stock Bank (Eximbank), for example, applied a lending interest rate of 17.5 percent for SMEs, much lower than the current rate of 19 percent a year.

Many commercial banks have given up to 70 percent or even 95 percent of their total loans to SMEs.-

ADB provides 410 mln USD for expressway project

In Uncategorized on October 1, 2008 at 1:39 pm

Hanoi (VNA) – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a 410.2 million USD loan to Vietnam to construct a four-lane expressway that will ease traffic congestion in and around the country’s southern economic hub of Ho Chi Minh City.

The 51-kilometre expressway will start from the centre of Ho Chi Minh City and end at the junction with National Highway 1 at Dau Giay in Dong Nai province. This major project includes the construction of a 1,700-metre bridge over the Dong Nai River at Long Thanh district.

According to the Manila-based bank, the Ho Chi Minh City-Long Thanh-Dau Giay Expressway will contribute to a more streamlined traffic flow, which will have a significant impact on economic activities in Vietnam’s largest city, the surrounding provinces, and the Greater Mekong Sub-region.

“Better roads assist people and businesses by lowering transport costs and transportation time,” John Cooney, Director, Infrastructure Division of ADB’s Southeast Asia Department, said in a press release on September 30.

The entire expressway project, scheduled to be completed in 2014, will cost 932 million USD, with other funding coming from the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) and the Vietnam Expressway Corporation. –

Japan’s JFE Steel eyes 5 billion USD project

In Uncategorized on October 1, 2008 at 1:39 pm

Quang Ngai (VNA) – Details of a 5 billion USD steel complex capable of producing 6-10 million tonnes a year were put into discussion between the central province of Quang Ngai and the JFE Steel group of Japan on September 30.

The complex will be built close to the central coast within the expanded Dung Quat Economic Zone. Head of the JEF Steel group’s Planning and Cooperation Department Akihiko Ishida said the project will apply advanced technology consuming energy economically and friendly to the environment.

Gas produced as by-product during the steel making process will be collected to generate energy, he added.

Part of the gas production output will help feed the steel factory and the rest be sold to other enterprises in the Dung Quat economic zone and locals as well.

The complex is scheduled to employ between 2,000 and 3,000 workhands with two-thirds being engineers and skilled workers.

Provincial People’s Committee Chairman Nguyen Xuan Hue discussed with the Japanese investor on detailed requirements related to traffic, water supply and electricity systems as well as human resource development so that the province may give a helping hand.

The two sides reached consensus on several other issues in the feasibility study to be submitted to the Government for consideration.–

RoK leads foreign investors in capital addition

In Uncategorized on October 1, 2008 at 1:38 pm

The Republic of Korea (RoK) is standing first amongst 26 foreign investors that poured additional capital into their valid projects in Vietnam over the past nine months, according to the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI).

In the period, RoK investors added 192.7 million USD to 54 projects, representing 22.5 percent of the total capital addition to foreign operating projects in the country.

The RoK also poured 1.4 billion USD in 217 new projects, ranking ninth in term of capital volume.

In a meeting with Vietnam ’s Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung in Hanoi in late August, RoK Minister of Land, Infrastructure and Transport Chung Jong Hwan asserted that RoK businesses saw Vietnam as a destination for long-term and effective investment which has advantages of favourable investment environment and many similarities with their own country.

His view was shared by officials from the Korean Trade Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) and the Cosmo Vietnam Company, an affiliate of the GS Group.

Hong Sun Yong from KOTRA said that it is the good time now for RoK investors to start in Vietnam, following his fact-finding tour of Vietnam in late August.

Cosmo Vietnam General Director Tae Eon made a similar call at the inaugurating ceremony of a plastic factory in Mekong delta Long An province’s Loi Binh Nho Industrial Zone on Sept. 23, and said his company has plans for long-term investment in the country.

The General Department of Taxation recently held a dialogue on tax policy with RoK businesses with the aim of timely removing obstacles for investors.-

Machinery, technology exhibition opens in HCM City

In Uncategorized on October 1, 2008 at 1:38 pm

The International Machine Tools and Metalworking Technology Exhibition (METALEX Vietnam 2008) opens at HCM City ’s International Exhibition and Convention Centre (HIECC) on Oct. 1.

Co-organised by Thailand’s Reed Tradex and Vietnam’s Small and Medium sized Enterprises Association, the exhibition gathered more than 500 suppliers of mechanical and electronic equipment from Vietnam and 25 other countries and territories worldwide.

The three-day event features over 1,000 products in some 200 booths and a number of conferences.

Metalex 2008 is expected to host about 10,000 visitors, including entrepreneurs and experts.-

HCM City reports six-fold increase in FDI

In Uncategorized on October 1, 2008 at 1:37 pm

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam’s southern largest economic hub, absorbed more than 8 billion USD in foreign direct investment (FDI) in the first nine months of this year, a record six-fold year-on-year rise.

Of the amount, 7.83 billion USD came from 405 newly licensed projects and the remainder was added to 110 existing projects, reported the city’s Statistics Department.

Real estate remained the biggest FDI recipient during the January-September period, followed by IT, finance and industry.

Projects of note included a 3.5 billion USD project funded by Malaysia ’s Berjaya Land Bhd Corporation to develop urban centres and universities, the 1.2 billion USD Thu Thiem software park, and the 930 million USD Vietnam Financial Centre in the city’s District 10.

These achievements are attributed to HCM City ’s efficient implementation of solutions to curb inflation, promote economic development, and speed up administrative reform regarding licensing procedures and project site clearance.

The foreign-invested sector led other economic sectors in terms of industrial production, posting a growth rate of 19 percent compared with a mere 4 percent recorded by the state sector and 11.2 percent by the non-state area.

HCM City has to date housed 3,045 valid FDI projects totalling 25.3 billion USD, over 9.5 billion USD higher than that a year ago.-