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BUSINESS IN BRIEF 6/9

Last update: 14:28 | 06/09/2017

Superior quality rice yields hope for Vietnamese farmers



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Experts at a recent conference in Ho Chi Minh City urged Vietnam agriculture to move away from high-yield to superior quality rice varieties to best compete with other rice exporters in the Asian region such as India and Thailand.

The European Union will offer the Vietnamese rice segment import duty-free tariff rate on increased quotas when the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement comes into force, which should happen sometime in 2018, said Tran Ngoc Thach, director of the Mekong Delta Rice Research.

Therefore, Mr Thach advises the segment to change production practices post haste to fully capitalize on the advantages posed by these beneficial quotas and lower border taxes.

According to the Agreement as approved by the Delegation of the EU to Vietnam, the European states will permit duty free import of 30,000, 30,000 and 20,000 metric tons milled rice, fragrant rice, and husked rice, respectively.

The agreement also provides for a 50% reduction in tariffs on broken rice with the remaining tariff phased out over a five year period, noted Mr Thach.

He emphasized the point that many experts believe that the preferential border tax could potentially save the Vietnamese rice segment US$20 million annually, which is a tremendous savings.

Mr Thach continued to say that though Vietnam has been hailed as the globe’s third largest rice exporter, its rice consignments to the EU over the past few years can be described as lacklustre at best.

He noted that over recent years, Vietnamese rice exports dipped because far too many actors in the segment focused too much on planting high-yield rice. Meanwhile, other countries are concentrating on higher-quality rice production.

According to a report by the Vietnam Food Association, Mr Thach said, that rice exports to the EU market dropped from 24,000 to 20,000 metric tons in 2014, a further 18,000 tons in 2015 and again in 2016.

The EU is a demanding market with strict requirements for factors ranging from product quality to environmental standards as well as the brand prestige and production process, Mr Thach said.

In addition, though not being regular rice eaters, EU customers prefer rice of higher quality than Vietnamese rice. That’s why Vietnam has become less competitive against other rice exporting nations.

It is no secret that European consumers are fonder of fragrant rice from Thailand, while the Vietnamese rice segment is only now just beginning to focus its efforts to elevate its image, Mr Thach concluded.

Huynh Van Nghiep, deputy director of the Mekong Delta Rice Research Institution, in turn said it is hard for the Vietnamese industry to compete on an equal footing with Thailand, but the country can learn from the experience of Cambodia.

The Cambodian rice segment is on the mend, Mr Nghiep noted, due to its winning the world’s ‘best rice’ title for three consecutive years.

He suggested if the Vietnamese segment would switch away from growing high-yield and short-term rice varieties that the improved production practices would help create better tasting varieties of rice.

Therefore, to better compete with other countries in the Asian region, farmers and other actors in the industry should expeditiously shift from high-yield to superior-quality rice varieties, Mr Nghiep said.

VN targets US$3.5 billion of rice exports by 2020

The Ministry of Industry and Trade has unveiled a strategy for developing rice exports in 2016-20 that targets reversing a declining trend over the last two years and increasing overseas sales to US$3 billion in 2017.

 It also targets a gradual shift towards export of high-quality, high-value, organic, nutritional, specialty and Vietnam brands of rice and rice-based products.

The export of low-quality white rice is expected to fall to 15% of total shipments by 2020 and 10% by 2025.

 In the latter year medium-quality white rice will account for 20% and high-quality white rice, fragrant rice and glutinous rice for 60%.

The ministry will make efforts to diversify export markets, with a focus on markets with demand for high-quality rice. The ministry has sent the draft strategy to relevant ministries and industries to solicit their opinions.

Middle East targeted for agro-exports

The Middle East is not only a large market for Vietnamese agricultural products but a bridge to the European market, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong discussed the issue outside of the Middle East business co-operation conference held recently in Hanoi.

According to Cuong, the Middle East includes 16 core countries with a population of nearly 400 million. Vietnam can meet many demands for agricultural products from these markets. For example, the annual demand for rice from the Middle East is about five to seven million tonnes and there is huge demand for vegetables, fruits and aquaculture products.

Trade turnover between the Middle East and Vietnam was low because of payment difficulties. Both sides have to use banks in other countries such as China and Singapore for transactions, which increases the financial risks, Cuong said.

"Agricultural product export turnover to the Middle East could reach over US$10 billion," he said.

The ministry has carried out extensive research into the Middle East, especially Iran. They will speed up the process, expecting to earn about US$2 billion from Iran. 

Cuong urged businesses to improve the management, technology and quality of the products. He also encouraged farmers to collaborate to set up co-operatives for different products.

Vietnam’s export turnover of agriculture, aquaculture and forestry products was valued at US$32 billion last year. Statistics from the Ministry of Industry and Trade show that trade turnover with the Middle East had been on the rise in recent years. 
Last year, total turnover reached US$10.9 billion, double that of 2011. Import turnover was US$2.8 billion and export turnover US$8.1 billion.

Domestic maker exports mooncakes to US, China

Mooncakes under Mondelez Kinh Do’s brands have been exported to the US and China so far this year for the upcoming Mid-Autumn Festival.

A representative from Mondelez Kinh Do said Kinh Do mooncakes have been exported to the US for several years and this year they hit retail shelves in the US in late August to serve Asian customers in the Mid-Autumn Festival.

This is the second year Mondelez Kinh Do exports mooncakes to China. This year, the mooncakes called Oreo have hit retail shelves in China.

For domestic market, the company supplies 84 kinds of mooncakes with different flavours. Average prices for a traditional cake is VND40,000-470,000 and  VND600,000-VND3.2 million for a cake of best quality.

Mondelez Kinh Do Vietnam is a new brand company between the two confectionery makers, Mondelēz International and Kido Group.

Binh Duong urges investment in hi-tech fields
     
The southern province of Binh Duong will focus on the attraction of investment in hi-tech industries that are less labour intensive and more environmentally friendly.

The statement was made by Tran Thanh Liem, chairman of Binh Duong People’s Committee, at his meeting with James Ha, chairman of South Korea-based Sae-A Group, held in Binh Duong on Tuesday. Besides the existing industrial parks, Binh Duong Province plans to establish new industrial zones to welcome investment from foreign investors, Liem said, adding that by 2020, 14,000ha will be utilised for industrial parks in the province.

Binh Duong will also develop a number of specific beneficial policies related to administrative procedures, land and facility construction to attract foreign investment, with the expectation that enterprises will continue to invest and expand their production, contributing to economic development of the locality, Liem said.

The province expects to receive feedback and sincere comments from enterprises on issues related to business operation to make reasonable adjustments and avoid difficulties and obstructions in the investment progress, he said.

Speaking at the meeting, James Ha said that at present, Sae-A group has more than 70,000 employees, of which nearly 19,000 are working in Viet Nam.

The group currently operates in the field of textile and garments, however, Ha said, the group plans to expand its investment into electronics and hi-tech in the future.

According to the provincial People’s Committee, South Korea is Binh Duong’s third-largest investor after Taiwan, China and Singapore, with 619 projects valued at more than US$2.69 billion.

In the first months of 2017, many South Korean investors continued to pour investment capital into Binh Duong with 16 new projects and 17 projects registered to increase capital, amounting to total investment of $306 million. 

Top Asia-Pacific reps to mull small business help
     
The 24th APEC Small and Medium Enterprises Ministerial Meeting (SMEMM) and related meetings, scheduled to take place in HCM City from September 10-15, are expected to enhance the competitiveness and creative capacity of micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in the digital era.

The event will create valuable opportunities for businesses to exchange effective cooperation ideas in the context of globalisation and integration, said Ho Sy Hung, Director of the Enterprise Development Agency under the Ministry of Planning and Investment at a press conference in Ha Noi on Tuesday.

Ministers will discuss measures to facilitate business access to markets and deeper engagement in global value chains; enable MSMEs to get access to new technologies, improve management capacity, and increase their competitive edge; and promote entrepreneurship and business ethics.

They are also expected to adopt a number of documents, including a declaration on promoting start-up businesses, and a strategy developing green, sustainable and innovative SMEs.

A series of related meetings will take place during the event such as the 45th APEC Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Working Group Meeting, APEC Online to Offline (O2O) Forum, APEC Startup Forum, and Forum on APEC Digital Economy.

Established in 1989, APEC comprises 21 economies, including Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, the US and Viet Nam.

Viet Nam joined APEC in 1998. SMEs employ more than 50 per cent of the workforce and contribute over 40 per cent of the GDP in Viet Nam.

HCM City sees retail sales boom during National Day holiday
     
Supermarkets and shopping malls as well as traditional markets in HCM City saw a strong uptick in sales during the National Day holidays, which this year lasted from September 2 to 4.

Co.opmart outlets on Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Ly Thuong Kiet, Dinh Tien Hoang, and Binh Trieu and Co.opXtra were crowded from September 1.

Do Quoc Huy, marketing director of Saigon Co.op, which owns the chain, said sales had been up 40 per cent from normal while footfall had doubled.

Fresh and processed foodstuffs and beverages were the top sellers, while sales of household utensils and clothes increased slightly.

Huynh Kim Thu Thuy, director of Co.opmart Dinh Tien Hoang, said the supermarket had increased stocks by 15-20 per cent and kept adding them to ensure there was no short supply.

It had also increased the number of checkout counters, she said.

Programmes to promote consumption of Vietnamese goods launched by many retailers on the occasion greatly contributed to higher sales.

Saigon Co.op has for instance launched the “Tu hao hang Viet” (Proud of Vietnamese Goods) programme, its largest promotion of the year, offering discounts of up to 50 per cent on thousands of products, hundreds of valuable gifts and many times higher points that normal.

Big C, which offered discounts of up to 50 per cent on more than 1,000 essential products during the holidays, said sales had risen by more than 30 per cent.

Fresh and processed foods, beers and other beverages were among the bestsellers, the supermarket said.

Ho Quoc Nguyen, public relations manager at Big C, said stocks had been increased by 30 per cent for the holidays.

The number of customers was up strongly thanks to the promotion programme and also daily entertainment activities held at its outlets, he said.

Sales also doubled at Lotte Mart supermarket, with processed products, seafood, beers and soft drinks being the biggest sellers.

A large number of people visited the Phu Tho Indoor Stadium for the 2017 Sales Promotion Fair, where Vietnamese goods were promoted.

According to the city Department of Industry and Trade, sales at the fair had been higher than expected thanks to many companies offering discounts of up to 49 per cent on products such as food, fashion, electronics and others, with fashion products being the most popular.

At traditional markets like Tan Dinh, Ba Chieu and Thi Nghe, business was slightly better than on normal days, with fresh and processed foods and beverages being the biggest sellers.

With supply being abundant, prices were steady during the holidays.

On September 4-5, sales of fruits, flowers and vegetarian foods at traditional markets increased sharply as customers shopped for the occasion of the full moon. 

Vietnam, Laos sign cooperation deal in agriculture, forestry for 2017-18

The agriculture ministers of Vietnam and Laos signed a cooperation agreement on agriculture, forestry, fisheries, and rural development in 2017-2018 at a meeting in Hanoi on September 5.

Vietnam’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong and Laos’ Minister for Agriculture and Forestry Liane Thykeo co-chaired the annual event on bilateral agro-forestry-fisheries ties. 

Under the agreement, the two countries will focus on cooperating in science-technology and human resources training. The two sides will also increase trade promotion of Vietnamese and Lao agro-forestry products.

They agreed to promote investment, production and processing cooperation programmes in agriculture and forestry while removing difficulties for Vietnamese firms to expand investment in manufacturing activities in Laos.

Minister Cuong particularly underlined a joint programme on cattle breeding development, which he said is important to both Vietnam and Laos, and expected to be a breakthrough in agricultural development.

At the meeting, the two ministers also reviewed the implementation of the agreement signed between Vietnamese and Lao governments in agriculture and rural development in 2016-2017.

In the period, the two countries actively coordinated to carry out projects using non-refundable aid of the Vietnamese government for the Lao counterpart.

Specifically, an agricultural technical service centre in the north-eastern province of Xiangkhouang, built with total investment of 35.6 billion VND (1.5 million USD), was put into operation in December 2016.

The construction of a similar centre in the Laos’ eastern province of Houaphanh was launched in February 2017.

The two sides also held regular visits by high-level delegations, experts and technicians to share experience in agriculture, forestry, water resources, agricultural encouragement, and food safety.

The Vietnamese ministry pledged to support Laos to develop rural areas and diversify goods production, as the Lao side said the country is concentrating on developing production of agro-forestry-fishery products and building new rural areas.

Petrol price continues rising slightly

The Ministries of Industry and Trade, and Finance decided to raise the retail price of RON 92 petrol by 306 VND to maximum 17,792 VND (78 US cents) per litre from 3pm on September 5.

The price of E5 bio-fuel also rose by 285 VND to a maximum of 17,539 VND per litre, while the prices of diesel and kerosene up 155 VND and 149 VND to 13,950 VND a litre and 12,547 VND a litre, respectively.

Meanwhile, the maximum price of mazut was 11,148 VND per kilogram, an increase of 43 VND.

The average global price of RON 92 during the last 15 days prior to September 5 was 65.827 USD per barrel, while the figures for diesel 0.05S and kerosene were 63.823 USD and 63.547 USD per barrel, respectively.

An Giang earns over 500 million USD from export in 8 months

The Mekong Delta province of An Giang earned 506.3 million USD in the past eight months, up 6.5 percent year on year, fulfilling 61.7 percent of the yearly plan, reported the provincial Department of Industry and Trade.

The high result was mostly due to growth in exports of rice and frozen tra fish. In the reviewed time, the province shipped abroad 243,400 tonnes of rice for 112.6 million USD, equal to 92.7 percent of the revenue in the same period last year.  

The province raked in 156.5 million USD for selling 81,300 tonnes of aquatic products.

At the same time, An Giang also earned 64 million USD in exports of garment and textile, up 2.9 percent year on year.

Vo Nguyen Nam, Director of the An Giang Department of Industry and Trade said that the province will continue providing local firms with market information, especially developments and policies of the Chinese market, while removing obstacles facing enterprises in case of negative developments in the markets.

The province will also provide early forecast on the demand and prices of major export products, thus helping local businesses design production plans, he added.

Vinacomin mines 24.58 million tonnes of coal in 8 months

The Vietnam National Coal and Mineral Industries Group (Vinacomin) has produced 24.58 million tonnes of coal in the first eight months of the year, accounting for 68.3 percent of the annual plan.

Of the total output, 21.38 million tonnes were consumed domestically while 866,000 tonnes were exported, raking in over 35.3 trillion VND (1.55 billion USD) in revenue.

In September, the group plans to mine 2 million tonnes of coal and sell 2.5 million tonnes, including 2.34 million tonnes in the domestic market and 155,000 tonnes for export.

Building a production and business plan for 2018 in accordance with the market demand and rational inventory balance will be the main target of the group. Vinacomin will pay due attention to its restructuring, with a focus placed on renovating techniques and technologies, organisation and management system, finance and workforce.

In addition, Vinacomin will also tighten management of natural resources and product quality, and join hands with local authorities to prevent coal losses.

Ho Chi Minh City’s economy on steady growth track

Ho Chi Minh City’s economy continued its steady growth in the first eight months this year, said the municipal authorities during a working session reviewing the city’s performance in the period on September 5. 

Speaking at the event, Director of the municipal Department of Planning and Investment Su Ngoc Anh said the total retail value rose 10.3 percent annually to surpass 599.1 trillion VND (26 billion USD) during the period. The total export is estimated at 22.8 billion USD, up 13.6 percent while the industrial production index went up 7.31 percent. 

Four key industries, namely mechanical engineering, electronics, chemicals – rubber – plastics, and food processing, continued expanding their markets. Investment in advanced equipment to improve quality and competitiveness surged 11.8 percent year-on-year. 

Since early this year, the city has granted licences to 26,614 new firms with a total registered capital of over 358.89 trillion VND, marking 13.1 percent and 82.9 increases in the number of businesses and registered capital, respectively. 

Up to 1,171 business households have switched their status to businesses. Meanwhile, the total foreign direct investment attraction hit 3.23 billion USD, representing a 1.57-fold increase annually. 

Anh attributed the growth to the city’s support in delivering innovation, improving the business climate and refining start-up ecology. At the same time, the city has also facilitated technological transfer in agriculture to produce safe and quality farm produce. 

The total agro-forestry-fisheries value was estimated at over 7.63 trillion VND, up 6.5 percent on the yearly basis. 

Director of the municipal Department of Finance Phan Thi Thang said the city collected in excess of 224 trillion VND to the State budget, or 64.39 percent of the estimate and up 11.47 percent from the same period last year. The total spending stood at 33.58 trillion VND, or 47.54 percent of the estimate and up 20.64 percent. 

Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Nguyen Thanh Phong took the occasion to request agencies concerned to continue perfecting start-up ecology, encouraging innovation and improving the business climate.

Binh Duong calls for investment in less labour-intensive industries

The southern province of Binh Duong will focus on attracting investment in hi-tech, less labour-intensive and environmentally friendly industries in the time ahead.

Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Tran Thanh Liem made the remark while meeting with CEO of the Republic of Korea (RoK)’s Sae-A group James Ha on September 5.

Liem noted his province will enlarge existing industrial parks and build new ones to welcome more foreign investors, thus expanding the total industrial park area to 14,000ha by 2020.

It is going to devise a number of concrete policies to attract foreign investment, hoping that foreign firms will step up operations in Binh Duong and help fuel local economic growth.

The provincial People’s Committee, departments and sectors are ready to provide favourable conditions in terms of administrative procedures, land and factory construction so as to give investors the best possible business environment, he said.

The official added Binh Duong also wants to receive sincere feedback on relevant issues from entrepreneurs in order to make appropriate adjustments.

For his part, James Ha said more than 7,000 of his group’s 19,000 employees in Vietnam are working in Binh Duong. Sae-A is currently concentrating on apparel production, but it intends to expand investment to electronics and high technology, which suits the local industrial development orientation.

According to the Binh Duong administration, the RoK is the third biggest foreign investor in the province, following China’s Taiwan and Singapore, with 619 projects worth over 2.69 billion USD in total. RoK investors have invested 306 million USD in 16 new projects and 17 existing ones so far this year.

Can Tho eyes partnership with Japan tourism agency

The Mekong Delta city of Can Tho wants to establish a strategic partnership with the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO)’s Vietnam office to attract more Japanese tourists to the city, said an official of the city.

Vice Chairman of the Can Tho People’s Committee Truong Hoai Nam made the proposal during a working session with Takahashi Ayumi, head of the JNTO’s Vietnam office, on September 9.

Nam said while Can Tho is a socio-economic hub of the Mekong Delta region, the number of tourists visiting the city is low compared to other localities in the region. Therefore, the city wants to cooperate with other partners to give a boost to the tourism sector. 

The official also noted that the number of Japanese tourists visiting the Mekong Delta, including Can Tho, has to date increased nearly 10 percent from last year. He attributed the outcome to effective collaboration to promote tourism and tourist exchanges between the sides.

For his part, Takahashi Ayumi said Vietnam-Japan political relationship is at its best ever since it was established in 1973, thus opening up cooperation opportunities across multiple fields, including tourism.

He unveiled that JNTO Vietnam has planned a number of promotion events to introduce the Japanese tourism market to Vietnamese while helping Vietnam promote tourism in Japan. 

The agency will also work with the Japanese Embassy in Vienam to organize more international cultural events, and lobby for easing Japan’s visa policy for Vietnamese tourists, among others.

Takahashi asked the Can Tho authorities to consider opening more air routes from Can Tho to Japanese major cities to facilitate travel between the sides.

According to JNTO’s statistics, Vietnamese visitors to Japan saw strong growth in the past 5 years. In the first 6 months of 2017, over 234,000 Vietnamese travelled to Japan, up 28 percent compared to the same period last year. Vietnamese were also among top spenders in Japan with an average spending of 237,000 JPY ( 2,166 USD) per person per trip.

Vietjet carries 260,000 passengers during holiday

The low-cost airline Vietjet Air operated about 1,500 flights, serving nearly 260,000 passengers during the National Day holiday (September 2-4).

The number of Vietjet Air’s passengers this holiday increased 27 percent year-on-year, with punctuality rate reaching 88.3 percent.

The airline also launched various programmes during its flights, such as presenting gifts and domestic flight tickets to customers.

On the occasion, the carrier announced a new route from Ho Chi Minh City to Jakarta (Indonesia) and opened the Hanoi – Yangon (Myanmar) route.

Currently, Vietjet Air boasts a fleet of 45 aircraft, including A320s and A321s, and runs over 350 flights per day. It currently operates 73 routes in Vietnam and across the region to Singapore, the Republic of Korea, China, Thailand, Indonesia, Myanmar, Malaysia and Cambodia.

Public disagree with toll cut of controversial BOT tollbooth

The Ministry of Transport, the People’s Committee of the Mekong Delta province of Tien Giang and investors yesterday met and agreed to cut down tolls for all vehicles through controversial Cai Lay BOT (Build-Operate-Transfer) tollbooth.

However, the toll cut has yet to reach public expectation while the BOT tollbooth has continued halting operation to wait for decision from the Ministry of Transport.

Specifically, the toll will decrease from VND35,000 to VND25,000 for group 1 including less than 12 seater vehicles, less than two ton trucks and buses; from VND50,000 to VND35,000 for group 2 comprising 12-30 seater vehicles, 2-4 ton trucks; from VND60,000 to VND40,000 for group 3 including 31 seater and wider vehicles, 4-10 ton trucks.

The toll will be slashed from VND100,000 to VND70,000 for Group 4 of 10-18 ton trucks and 20 feet container trucks; from VND180,000 to 140,000 for group 5 of 18 ton and heavier trucks and 40 feet container lorries.

The new toll levels will be applied from August 21, 2017.

Owners of vehicles in Groups 1 and 2 who are permanent residents in Phu Nhuan, My Thanh Nam, Binh Phu and Phu An communes in Cai Lay district can travel through the tollgate free of charge. They must not do transport business to enjoy the fee exemption.

The remaining vehicles in the four communes and buses operating in Tien Giang province will see 50 percent reduction. The toll exemption and cut will be effective before September 10 this year.

After knowing the information, drivers and transport firms in the Mekong Delta have disagreed with the toll reduction, saying that the tollbooth should be placed in 12 kilometer Cai Lay bypass road not National Highway 1A where vehicles have already paid road maintenance fee.

A transport expert said that Cai Lay bypass road is separated from another project to fortify road face along 26.5 kilometers of National Highway 1 although they were built by the same investor.

Specifically, the Ministry of Transport permitted the investor to set up the investment project of a road bypassing Cai Lay town on July 28, 2009 at Decision 2174.

The ministry made Decision 3054 to approve the investment project, the bypass’ outline and survey estimates on October 20, 2009.

Meanwhile, the Directorate for Roads of Vietnam Road sent Statement No.95 on developing a bypass of National Highway 1A and fortifying the highway face in Cai Lay town under BOT form on December 4, 2013.

Afterwards, the ministry made Decision 4173 to approve the bypass and road face reinforcement project. So the road face fortifying was just a pretext for the investor to place the BOT tollbooth in the national highway, said the expert.

Replying to the press, the Ministry of Transport still affirmed that the tollbooth position is in accordance with the law.

Citing Circular 159 by the Ministry of Finance that toll stations must be built in the scope of projects, Mr. Nguyen Danh Huy, head of Public Private Partnership Projects Management Board under the Ministry of Transport said that Cai Lay tollbooth locates within the scope of the project.

Expenses for Long Thanh Airport's land clearance compensation rise

The People’s Committee of Dong Nai province yesterday had a working session with authorities of Long Thanh district to discuss and make the final decision about land clearance compensation and resettlement assistance of Long Thanh International Airport project.

Accordingly, total capital for the clearance compensation, building resettlement areas is estimated to be up to VND 23 trillion, an increase of VND 33 billion compared with the general estimation issued 6 months ago. Of these, VND 4 trillion will use for building two resettlement areas for 4,300 residents of the Long Thanh district.

According to Mr. Nguyen Ngoc Hung, Vice Director of Natural Resources and Environment Department of Dong Nai province, the fund for clearance, properties and plants compensation has been sharply increased up to VND 500 billion.

Today, the working delegation of Dong Nai province has a working session with the Ministries of Planning and Investment, Finance, Natural Resources and Environment to agree the feasibility study report before submitting for the Prime Minister’s approval.  

More overseas Vietnamese companies invest in SHTP

Three overseas Vietnamese enterprises in the US have been granted with investment certificates in Saigon Hi-Tech Park (SHTP) in HCMC, which is an initial result from an investment promotion trip by SHTP management board to the country this year.

Three projects include US$215 million KNT Asia, $27 million Onsky Asia and $1 million Reqes software development center.

The certificates have recently granted at a ceremony in the US with the attendance by the representative of the Consulate General of Vietnam in San Francisco.

Head of SHTP management board Le Hoai Quoc welcomed the three new investors, once again introduced that Saigon Silicon City (SSC) in SHTP is the place which HCMC reserves for overseas Vietnamese businesses and committed to strongly supporting companies during operation.

During the trip, the board also witnessed a cooperation signing ceremony between Allied Telesis and SSC to develop a $50 million smart operation center in SSC. This is estimated to be a landmark in the development of SSC and a premise for SHTP to create breakthrough in the near future.

After the two events, many overseas Vietnamese companies have contacted the management board to discuss investment in SHTP and SSC.

HoREA petitions to support low-income buyers

The Ho Chi Minh City Real Estate Association (HoREA) petitioned the State Bank of Vietnam to offer housing credit stimulus package to directly support buyers of social and commercial houses with the price of VND1 billion ($43,986).
 
In its document to the bank to give the feedback on amendment for the circular 36/2014, HoREA urged the bank to offer the credit package soon to help low-cost apartments. As per the HoREA’s petition, when housing market was frozen in 2008-2009 and 2011-2013, the inventories and bad debt in the sector were serious.

The VND30 trillion (US$1.32 billion) housing credit package, which the Government has provided for low income people has helped reducing inventories and clearing bad debt. Thanks to the package, 56,000 beneficiaries have bought their own houses.

Accordingly, HoREA petitioned the bank to continue offering a such credit package.
In its opinion on amendment, HoREA said that the continuance of mid-term and long-term loans until 2018 will be a boost in supporting the economy’s growth because real estate markets is one of sector which boosts huge consumption.

Mining industry indicator continues to dip

Even though mining industry plays a pivotal role in the country’s economy, the industry dipped in two years because of difficult exploitation and dependence on world markets.
 
The mining production indicator in August has seen a year-on-year rise of 8.4 percent.

Amongst them, the mining sector dropped by 5 percent; the manufacturing sector increased by 12.4 percent; electricity production and distribution soared by 9.6 percent; and water supply and waste treatment sector leaped by 7.3 percent.

In eight months of the year, the industry production indicator represented a 6.7 percent year-on-year rise, 7.2 percent lower than the same period last year. For instance, mining sector dipped by 4.8 percent; meanwhile process sector increased by 10.4 percent; electricity production and distribution soared by 12.3 percent and water supply and waste treatment sector is up by 6.8 percent.

Accordingly, the manufacturing sector rose by 10.8 percent contributing 7.5 percentage point to the general increase; electricity production and distribution was up by 8.6 percent attributing 0.6 percentage point to the whole.

Amongst second level industries, metal production, computer and electronic product manufacturing, rubber and plastic product production, paper and paper product rose. Meantime, medical, pharmaceutical and herbal sector fell by 2.1 percent and crude oil and natural gas exploitation dipped by 10.1 percent.

Amongst localities, the northern province of Hai Phong has drastic growth of20.6 percent in industry indicator in eight months compared to same period followed by the northern province of Thai Nguyen with 18.1 percent; Bac Ninh with 14.1 percent and Ho Chi Minh City with 7.3 percent.

LHG issues 1.3mln shares to invest in Long Hau 3 industrial park

Long Hau Joint Stock Company (LHG) will issue 1.3 million shares at a cost of VND 13,000 per share for its current shareholders.

Total revenue from selling shares will be used for land clearance compensation work of Long Hai 3 Industrial Park project.

The park covers an area of 124 hectares with total investment capital up to VND 1,1trillion. It is expected to be completed and put into operation in the 4th quarter of 2019.

For the first half this year, LHG said it profited VND 26.7billion, decrease of 31 percent compared with the same period last year.

SVC sets revenue target at VND 14,5trln

The Sai Gon General Service Corp (Savico- SVC) shareholders have just approved the plan to distribute 12 percent dividend payment rate in 2016.

As plan, SVC will close the shareholder list for this payout on September 15 and is planning a cash dividend payout at a ratio of 12 percent.

The 12 percent dividend is estimated to pay on September 27.

In 2017, SVC said the revenue target will reach at VND 14,5trillion, pre-tax & after-tax profit at VND 250billion and VND 200 billion respectively.

HOREA reports no new case of social housing loan

After the housing credit package worth VND30 trillion (US$1.32 billion) ended last year, there has been no new case getting social housing loan according to Housing Law 2014 so far.

That is quoted from a report which chairman of HCMC Real Estate Association (HOREA) Le Hoang Chau has recently sent to authorized agencies.

According to a decision signed by the Prime Minister, social housing buyers will continue enjoying the preferential interest rate of 4.8 percent a year after the package ended last year. 

However, the extension has not been materialized for new cases partly because the Government has yet arranged budget funds for four banks Vietcombank, Vietinbank, Agribank and BIDV to carry out the policy. So far, only VND1.5 trillion has been allocated for the Vietnam Bank for Social Policies to loan social housing buyers.

HOREA has proposed the Ministry of Planning and Investment, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Construction to soon submit to the Government and the National Assembly’s Standing Committee a budget capital arrangement plan to implement the social housing policy.

Superior quality rice yields hope for Vietnamese farmers, Vietnam, Laos sign cooperation deal in agriculture, forestry for 2017-18, Ho Chi Minh City’s economy on steady growth track