VIETNAM BUSINESS NEWS JUNE 23 – VietNamNet

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Nearly 18 months since the introduction of the 2021 Law on Public-Private Partnership (PPP) in Vietnam, it’s still difficult to get investors to warm up to PPP projects despite the huge potential for growth, as the country ramps up efforts to build modern infrastructure, said industry experts and policymakers in a meeting in Hanoi on June 21.

The Law on Public-Private Partnership was supposed to, in theory, address three major problems endemic in Vietnam’s infrastructure projects; slow progression, overbudget and poor quality. However, according to many in the field, the law has failed to tackle a number of fundamental issues, which has discouraged and hindered investors to commit to infrastructure projects. 

Dr Tran Chung, President of the Vietnam Association of Road Traffic Investors (VARSI) President, said the relationship between the State and investors, as of right now, was extremely one-sided. PPP contracts, in essence, were agreements in which the State and investors work together to share risks, benefits and responsibilities for projects. Ideally, they should be equal partners and treated as such under the law. The 2021 Law on PPP, however, has failed to clearly define their rights and responsibilities. 

“In reality, the State (or local governments acting on behalf of the State) almost always considered themselves to be regulators and investors as those to be regulated, not as equal partners,” he said. This old-school mindset was a major issue in getting investors to show interest in PPP projects. 

Dr Duong Dang Hue from the Ministry of Justice, said there were instances in which local governments imposed unreasonable demands on investors that broke several laws. He said local governments or governmental offices were likely to secure far greater bargaining and decision-making power compared to investors, which ultimately hurts projects and discourages investors from joining in the future. 

“Current laws do not specify investors must raise capital exclusively from financial institutes and therefore such demand was unlawful and unacceptable,” Hue said. He called for a comprehensive review of the 2021 Law on PPP and the immediate release of a detailed guideline in the meantime to regulate the relationship between the State (and its representative bodies) and investors. 

Dr Vu Tien Loc, President of the Vietnam International Arbitration Centre (VIAC), said the PPP model has been a successful one employed by many countries around the world to attract investors in building infrastructure projects. The 2021 Law on PPP, once updated, will help resolve many of investors’ concerns and contribute to a trusting relationship between the State and investors.
Only half of listed companies comply with information disclosure norms
     
Some 385 listed companies on the Ha Noi and Ho Chi Minh stock exchanges, or 52 per cent, have met all information disclosure requirements, according to a survey conducted by the 2022 IR Awards programme.
The survey, done between May last year and April this year by Vietstock, the Viet Nam Association of Financial Executives and FILI magazine, was based on criteria for disclosure of information set by the Ministry of Finance and other agencies.
According to the organisers, the percentage of listed companies meeting information disclosure standards has risen since 2011 from only 3 per cent to 52 per cent.
In 2021 and 2022 the number exceeded 50 per cent, showing that businesses are increasingly paying more attention to compliance, they said.
Of the 385 listed companies that complied with information disclosure obligations, the banking industry led with 13 out of 19 doing so.
Disclosure is a mandatory obligation for all listed companies on the country’s two stock exchanges.
1.1 million users of Mobile Money service nationwide
As many as 1.1 million people have so far used Mobile Money service, including nearly 660,000 in rural, mountainous, remote, border and island areas.
After six months of the pilot implementation, over 500,000 Mobile Money accounts were opened with 2,400 recharge points, 2,100 service payment acceptance points, mainly essential services such as electricity, water, public services, and tuition fee.
The VNPT has now partly achieved its initial expectation in deploying Mobile Money service, especially in approaching customers in new segments.
Nguyen Dang Hung, Deputy General Director of the National Payment Corporation of Vietnam (NAPAS), said that the cooperation is likely to complete the connection between bank accounts and Mobile Money ones to the first telecommunications service provider in the third quarter of 2022.
According to Le Anh Dung, Deputy Director of the State Bank of Vietnam’s Payment Department, his agency will continue to coordinate with the Ministry of Information and Communications and the Ministry of Public Security to closely monitor and evaluate the pilot implementation of the Mobile Money service, and address relevant problems.
Three mobile network operators – Viettel, VNPT and MobiFone – are providers of Mobile Money service. The service is expected to be a push towards cashless payment in Vietnam, a country where only 50% of the population have a bank account, and most people pay for goods valued at less than VND100,000 (US$4.41) in cash.
Hanoi’s IPs attracts FDI inflows
Industrial and export processing zones based in Hanoi have unveiled that it attracted four new investment projects and 12 expanded projects featuring a total investment capital of US$ 81 million during the opening five months of the year.
At present, the number of secondary investment projects has reached 707, of which 305 are foreign direct investment (FDI) projects with total registered capital of over US$6.1 billion, along with 402 domestic projects with registered capital exceeding VND18.000 trillion.
During the first half of the year total revenues of enterprises in Hanoi’s industrial parks hit US$4,869 million, whilst exports reached a figure of US$3.12 million.
Moving into the second half of the year, Hanoi’s IPs aims to attract roughly US$400 million, up 28.8% compared to 2021, whilst businesses in IPs strive to rake in US$8.2 billion and contribute US$229.4 million to the state budget.
Hue-Danang steam train project boosted
Vietnam Railway Corporation is seeking Ministry of Transport permission to connect the Hue-Danang steam train line with the Hanoi-HCM City railway route.
The corporation has signed a contract with the Indochina Rail Tourist Service Company for the operation of steam trains travelling between the two central cities of Da Nang and Hue to serve tourists. The project has a total investment of VND81 billion (USD3.6 million).
The Indochina Rail Tourist Service Company has bought three locomotives and 10 carriages for the 36 km journey from Hue to Danang.
The stream trains will mostly serve tourists with VIP seat carriages, restaurants, power generators and kitchens.
Vietnam, Malaysia partner in promoting timber trade
The timber industries of Vietnam and Malaysia have signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) to further develop timber trade in both countries.
The signatories were the Timber Exporters’ Association of Malaysia (TEAM), the Malaysian Furniture Council (MFC), the Vietnam Timber and Forest Product Association (ViForest), the Bình Dương Furniture Association (BIFA), the Handicraft and Wood Industry Association of Đồng Nai (DOWA) and the Wood Industry Association of HCM City (HAWA).
The MoC will not only strengthen economic cooperation between the two countries but also create opportunities for Vietnamese and Malaysian manufacturers to promote their exports and imports.
Malaysia’s export of timber products to Việt Nam in 2021 reached US$38.44 million while Malaysia spent $148.25 million on importing wooden products from Việt Nam.
MoIT develops scheme for agricultural produce exports
     
The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) will promote a scheme for official exports of agricultural products via an e-commerce channel, according to the ministry’s official.
At the National Assembly meeting, Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Hong Dien said that MoIT has completed the project and was collecting opinions from several ministries and sectors on this project. So far, 18 out of 63 localities nationwide have sent their views on the scheme.
The ministry will complete the scheme based on the opinions of provinces and cities. It expects to submit the scheme to the Government for approval this month.
If Viet Nam wants to see higher export growth, it must promote official exports, said Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Do Thang Hai.
Therefore, the authorities need to encourage producers, farmers, and businesses to enhance official exports while also focusing on solving difficulties in the production and export of farm produce, Hai said.
In addition, the MoIT will continue to take advantage of 17 signed free trade agreements (FTAs) in strengthening negotiations on exporting more agricultural products, Dien said. Besides that, the nation is also developing e-commerce channels to boost the export of farm produce.
Tech important to promoting dairy industry
     
Viet Nam has significant room to promote the dairy industry with the application of technology in farming and processing to establish a value chain, given the rising demand for dairy products in the domestic and global markets, according to the Viet Nam Ruminant Husbandry Association.
With more than 28,000 farms with a total of nearly 375,000 cow heads and an output of more than 1.2 million tonnes per year, the dairy industry met only 42 per cent of domestic market demand, while the rest relies on imports.
According to General Department of Customs statistics, Viet Nam spent an average of US$1 billion per year to import milk in 2018-20. In 2021, Viet Nam imported dairy products worth $1.138 billion, an increase of 12.56 per cent against 2020.
Hoang Kim Giao, President of the Viet Nam Ruminant Husbandry Association, said that the development of cow herds faced several problems, including the pressure from disease prevention, farmers lacking knowledge about nutrition for high yield, and limited application of high-tech cow raising techniques.
Many high-tech dairy cow farms were established recently, such as the Moc Chau diary complex in Son La Province of Vinamilk, with a total investment of VND3.15 trillion with a cow herd of 4,000, which was expected to supply about 20 million litres of milk per year.
Tong Xuan Chinh, Deputy Director of the Department of Livestock Production under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, said that Viet Nam was currently leading Southeast Asia in terms of the industrialisation level of the dairy industry, with the output growth consistently higher than the growth in the herd.
The domestic dairy industry earned respective revenues of VND113.7 trillion (US$4.9 billion) and VND119.3 trillion in 2020 and 2021, mainly from fresh and powdered milk. In 2021 alone, the industry produced over 1.77 billion litres of fresh milk, up 4.5 per cent year-on-year.
Hoa Sen Holdings Group plans to sell all HSG shares
     
Hoa Sen Holdings Group has just registered to sell all 17.74 million HSG shares of Hoa Sen Group, reducing its ownership rate from 3.6 per cent to 0 per cent.
The expected transaction time is from June 23 to July 22 through the method of agreement and order matching.
The deal aims at solving the financial needs of the company.
Le Phuoc Vu, Chairman of Hoa Sen Group and Chairman of Hoa Sen Holdings Group, currently owns 84.3 million HSG shares, equivalent to a holding rate of 17.09 per cent.
HAGL’s profit reaches over $18.5m in first five months
     
Hoang Anh Gia Lai JSC (HoSE: HAG) just announced its business results in the first five months of the year with three main sectors – livestock, fruit and supporting businesses.
Accordingly, it reported a revenue of VND326 billion (US$14 million) in the livestock industry, VND866 billion in the fruit sector and VND283 billion in supporting business.
Therefore, the total net revenue by the end of May 31 reached nearly VND1.5 trillion, with profit after tax of VND431 billion.
In the first five months, the livestock industry has completed nine clusters of barns to raise more than 27,000 breeding sows and 600,000 market hogs per year.
Hoang Anh Gia Lai (HAGL) also announced continuing investment in planting fruit trees on a land bank of about 10,000 ha in Viet Nam, Laos and Cambodia. Of which, banana trees are still the main tree with a planting area of ​​7,000 ha, including 5,000 ha of bananas that have been put into stable operation and 2,000 ha of new investment. The average planned yield is 50 tonnes per ha.
Listed companies reluctant in capital raising plans
     
Listed companies are being more careful with their capital mobilisation plans, as the market is in an unfavourable condition and the Government tightens the bond market management.
On the stock exchanges, many listed companies postponed plans to issue shares, bonds and buy back bonds before maturity.
SSI Research said that in the first quarter of 2022, the total amount of issued corporate bonds reached VND61.9 trillion, up 34 per cent over last year, of which most was from real estate businesses, with VND38.2 trillion, equivalent to 62 per cent.
But in April, the volume of issued bonds dropped sharply. Accordingly, real estate businesses only issued VND820 billion worth of bonds, compared to the monthly average in 2021 of VND26 trillion.
In addition, the volume of bond repurchases before maturity in April was VND11.9 trillion, nearly equal to the repurchase volume in the whole first quarter of 2022.
VN needs to ensure cyber security: experts
     
Viet Nam need to focus on reinforcing its cyber security to protect important information systems of the State and businesses, experts said.
Viet Nam’s digital economy is expected to reach US$43 billion by 2025. However, it has been facing many dangerous, complicated and large-scale cyberattacks.
The country is among the top 10 nations most exposed to cyber attacks and malware, and ranked seventh in terms of countries with the most cyber crime victims.
Viet Nam recorded nearly 5,500 instances of cyber attacks in the first five months of the year, including malware attacks, phishing attempts and website defacement (changing visual appearance of a website).
During a conference on information security held on June 17, Colonel Do Minh Kim, deputy head of Office 3 of the Cyber Security and Hi-tech Crime Prevention Department under the Ministry of Public Security, said that there have been many Advanced Persistent Threats (APT) conducted against crucial information systems of the State and businesses.
Cyber attacks mainly make use of security holes in routers, security software, online meeting applications, and public service portals.
Development of e-contracts in Viet Nam crucial to digital economy
     
The development of e-contracts in Viet Nam is crucial to the country’s digital economy, helping businesses to effectively manage and save costs and time while creating a professional working environment.
Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Sinh Nhat Tan said that on September 25, 2021, the Government issued Decree 85, detailing and providing e-contract authentication services and conducting a legal framework for the conditions, obligations and registration process for the operation of organisations who provide e-contract certification services known as the CeCA-Certified eContract Authority.
The deputy minister said his ministry had assigned the Vietnam e-Commerce and Digital Economy Agency and other agencies to outline solutions to develop and widely apply e-contracts in the country, making it a key to developing its economy.
As Vietnamese businesses have long been signed with foreign partners in the form of e-contracts involved in cross-border transactions and import-export activities.
The Vietnam e-Commerce and Digital Economy Agency has worked with relevant bodies to develop solutions to assist third parties such as commercial banks and tax agencies to check and authenticate the value as it is written in printed contracts.
Le Duc Anh, Director of the Centre for Information and Digital Technology (CID) under the Ministry of Trade and Industry, said the Agency had assisted businesses in integrating the Viet Nam’s Electronic Contract Development Axis.
Under the axis, 17 businesses have sent their applications for registration of development of e-contracts. Of them, six businesses have conducted surveys and joined the axis to ensure requirements to meet business criteria and technical standards of e-contracts development.
HCM City posts economic growth of 3.82 percent in H1
Ho Chi Minh City recorded growth of 3.82 percent in gross regional domestic product (GRDP) in the first half of 2022, according to its Statistics Office.
Product tax collection increased 2.03 percent, trade and services 4.83 percent, agriculture – forestry – fisheries 1.77 percent, and industry – construction 2.23 percent.
Notably, trade and services generated nearly 99.66 trillion VND (4.3 billion USD) in revenue in June and almost 556.49 trillion VND in the first six months, respectively rising 41.1 percent and 6.2 percent from a year earlier.
Meanwhile, the southern economic hub has welcomed nearly 216,000 international arrivals since the beginning of June, doubling the figure in the same period last year. The six-month number also surged 100 percent year on year to approximate 478,000, equivalent to 13.7 percent of this year’s target, the municipal Tourism Department reported.
Local airlines spread wings to reach lucrative markets this summer
Although the expansion of international flight markets is occurring at a slow pace, more routes are gradually being deployed by airlines to take advantage of the summer holiday, according to the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam.
India is widely considered to be a potential new market for Vietnamese tourism.  Airlines such as Vietjet Air and Vietnam Airlines of Vietnam, and IndiGo of India, have resumed flights between the two countries. In particular, Vietjet Air has been licensed to run more than 20 new routes from Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang, and Phu Quoc to new Indian destinations such as Bangalore, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Chennai, Kolkata, and Gaya. It has also proposed increasing the frequency of flights to Delhi and Mumbai starting from July.
Furthermore, Singapore and Malaysia also represent lucrative markets for Vietnamese airlines. Vietnam Airlines and Vietjet Air have moved to gradually increase the frequency of flights from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to Singapore, whilst also opening new routes from Da Nang and Nha Trang to Singapore in May and June. Vietjet Air is scheduled to launch three new routes from Hanoi, Da Nang, and Nha Trang to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia from July.
Meanwhile, the Korean market is now preparing to welcome the return of Korean airlines to Da Nang and Nha Trang. Vietjet Air has been granted air transportation rights to operate the Da Nang – Busan route starting from July.
By the middle of June, roughly 30 foreign airlines and three local airlines (Vietnam Airlines, Vietjet Air, and Bamboo Airways) have been licensed to operate both to and from 22 countries and territories globally.
Competition tightens up for Vietnamese timber sector
After related US delegations held talks with Vietnam’s Ministry of Industry and Trade on trade issues last week, it has become apparent that Vietnam’s wood and timber industry will need to up its game to hold and eventually increase its market share in the United States.
Delegations of the United States Department of Commerce (DOC) and the US Trade and Development Agency visited Vietnam last week, working with the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) on a number of trade issues.
However, no content was announced after the working session between the two sides, except that the MoIT’s Deputy Minister Do Thang Hai suggested, “The DOC urgently resumes its dialogue with Vietnam on the issue of the objectivity and fairness in trade remedy investigation cases.”
Meanwhile, since June 6, the DOC has already investigated two issues: scope ruling and evasion of trade remedy tax (anti-circumvention) with wooden cabinets imported from Vietnam.
The examination is conducted at a time of high inflation in the US, forcing people to pay more for food, gas, and rent, thus reducing their ability to buy furniture.
The American Kitchen Cabinet Alliance in April filed a petition with the DOC, alleging that Vietnamese exporters importing cabinet parts from China were subject to trade remedies, as these would fully assemble their products in Vietnam before exporting these to the US.
From 2019 to 2021, after the US imposed tariffs on China, imports of products under investigation from China into the US decreased by 54 per cent, from $2.5 billion to $1.6 billion.
Meanwhile, exports from Vietnam to the States increased by more than 130 per cent, from $1.37 billion to $2.7 billion. However, the volume of imports from China into Vietnam also increased nearly four times, from $232 million to $810 million.
Vietnam launches information system about its livestock industry
The system was officially launched on June 17, opening the foundation for the agriculture sector’s digital transformation.
Addressing the event, Deputy Minister of Information and Communications Nguyen Huy Dung said that one year ago, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Le Minh Hoa and he chaired a meeting on digital transformation in the agriculture sector where Minister Hoa mentioned the problems that the sector needs to solve, including information ambiguity in supply and demand, market information, production capacity, and management, among others.
Talking about the role of the livestock industry’s data, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Phung Duc Tien said this would be an important platform for the sector to improve management capacity, develop the industry in line with the demands of the market, and better control quality and food safety.
The system is also meant as a platform to help connect and share information between state agencies, businesses, and livestock breeders. It will update information about livestock facilities, total flocks, output, animal feed, markets, and other related issues.
The Department of Livestock Production under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and technology giant VNPT have been working on software to collect and update information about the livestock industry. To date, the software has been piloted in seven cities and provinces and 269 animal feed factories across the country.
Hoa Phat plans to develop two projects worth $5.2 billion in Phu Yen
Steel maker Hoa Phat Group proposed Phu Yen People’s Committee to develop a seaport and technical infrastructure for Hoa Tam Industrial Zone with the total investment capital of VND120 trillion ($5.2 billion).
The construction will be implemented within 36 months from the handover of the land. Once these two projects come into operation, they will contribute VND6 trillion ($280.86 million) per year to the province’s budget and generate 120,000 jobs.
The province is investing in the seaport and large-scale projects, which are important motivations to foster the province’s socioeconomic growth.
Developers seek path to licence plans
Nearly 40 long-delayed real estate ventures by 30 developers in Ho Chi Minh City are being looked at by local government agencies to discover what can be done to speed up their completion.
Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee asked relevant authorities to research solutions regarding a series of large-scale real estate developments. According to the Ho Chi Minh City Real Estate Association (HoREA), domestic developer AA VinaCapital has asked competent bodies to put through its project Nam Thanh Pho, located in Tan Phu commune of District 7.
The 2,400-squarre metre land plot was leased from Phu My Hung Development JSC in 2008 and paid a one-time leasing fee for the lifespan of the project at nearly $3.8 million. AA VinaCapital had also paid all other related fees to the local authorities, and the investor was given a land use rights certificate in 2010.
Based on the detailed planning approved by the Management Board of the Southern Zone in 2012, AA VinaCapital completed more than 90 per cent of related procedures and was waiting for the go-ahead to start construction. However, it has still not been able to commence construction due to the project investment certificate being adjusted in February 2020, which competent bodies have yet to finalise.
In a document sent to the local authorities, VinaCapital said it had poured more than $19.5 million into the project. “Over the past three years, the company has made every effort to carry out all necessary procedures to start construction as soon as possible. We propose local authorities to approve the adjustment of the investment certificate as soon as they can, helping to create conditions for the project to be licensed for construction and put into operation soon,” it said.
This is just one of 38 projects funded by 29 real estate developers that have been newly assigned by Chairman of Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee Phan Van Mai to the city’s Department of Construction to coordinate with relevant authorities to deal with. Together, they aim to urgently study and guide investors to wipe out obstacles before the end of this year.
According to HoREA, at least six of the projects are waiting for legal review by Ho Chi Minh City authorities. Many other ventures have been handed over to buyers for many years, but ownership certificates have not yet been released. Without it, users cannot apply for a bank loan and, if they want to transfer the units, the price must be lower.
As for developers, they are not only burdened by investment stockpiles because of obstacles in administrative procedures but also lose opportunities in the context of rising real estate prices. That is on top of the inevitable complaints from buyers that developers also have to endure, affecting their reputation.
It is estimated that Ho Chi Minh City has over 60 projects that have been delayed for at least five years due to administrative procedures. Among those are schemes from developers such as Novaland, Nam Long, Phu Long, Quoc Cuong Gia Lai, and Him Lam. Projects include social housing initiatives and commercial housing ventures.
SBV says will maintain forex market stability
The State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) will likely pump more foreign currencies this year to keep the forex market stable as the recent interest rate hike by the U.S. Fed is piling pressure on the domestic market, said an official with the central bank.
Pham Chi Quang, deputy director of the Monetary Policy Department under the SBV, said given foreign reserves exceeding US$100 billion, the central bank has been selling the greenback to keep the domestic forex market stable. “In the coming time, the SBV will increase the frequency of market intervention to spur forex supply for domestic demand,” Quang said.
By boosting forex supply, the central bank will enable credit institutions to promptly meet the demand for foreign currency, he said.
The move by the central bank is seen as a response to the Federal Reserve’s recent decision to raise the policy rate by 0.75 percentage points, which is the single highest rate hike over the past 28 years. This is the third time this year Fed has hiked the policy rate, and the U.S. central bank is poised to continue its monetary tightening policy.
The rate hike has resulted in the greenback appreciating strongly, while the currencies of many other developed and developing economies have tumbled. These developments have adversely affected Vietnam’s forex market stability in terms of the forex supply-demand balance and the appetite for the dollar.
Techcombank gets US$1 billion syndicated foreign loan
Techcombank, which trades its TCB shares on the Hochiminh Stock Exchange, has successfully secured a syndicated loan worth US$1 billion from foreign lenders.
This is the third time that the lender has accessed a syndicated foreign loan after the first loan of US$500 million in 2020 and the second of US$800 million in 2021, the local media reported.
The third syndicated loan was offered by 26 international banks from Britain, India, Taiwan, Indonesia, Japan, France, Singapore, China and Australia.
Techcombank will use the loan to fund its business operations, improve its customer services and meet their demand for mid- or long-term loans.
Gov’t to pump VND460 trillion into Mekong Delta
Some VND460 trillion sourced from the State budget will be invested in various projects in the Mekong Delta in the 2021-2025 period, heard a conference in Can Tho City on June 21.
The conference was chaired by Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh on the 2021-2030 Mekong Delta development and investment plan. Speaking at the event, Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung said that of the total capital, VND320 trillion would be invested in numerous projects in the region, up 23.3% against the 2016-2020 allocation, while the remaining VND140 trillion will flow into some ministries to boost the region’s development.
The capital allocation will help complete several key regional projects, including Trung Luong-My Thuan-Can Tho, Can Tho-Ca Mau and Chau Doc-Can Tho-Soc Trang expressways, national highways, seaside roads, airports and salinity control.
Inbound air passengers soar over 45% in May
The resumption of international air routes and tourism services led to a 45.8% month-on-month increase in the number of air passengers arriving in Vietnam in May. Nearly 650,000 international tourists flew to the country last month, the local media reported.
Of the total, Vietnamese airlines transported 254,200 international passengers in May, up 58.2% against the April figure, according to the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam. Between January and May, over 33 million passengers traveled through local airports, up 28.9% year-on-year.
Local airlines carried 16.33 million passengers during the five-month period, up 26.6% year-on-year. Inbound air passengers onboard the local carriers’ flights to the country amounted to 590,900, increasing 904.2% against the same period last year.
Meanwhile, foreign air carriers transported 959,600 international passengers to Vietnam in the first five months of the year, up 585% year-on-year.
Since mid-June, some 30 international airlines and three Vietnamese air carriers, Vietnam Airlines, Vietjet Air and Bamboo Airways, have been resuming international services to and from Vietnam, according to the authority.
Compared to the pre-Covid period, all air transport markets but Brunei, Indonesia, Macao (China) and Myanmar have been reopened to Vietnam.
Preferential loans of up to US$346 mln for customers launched
In the context of credit limitations in banks, Vietnam Thuong Tin Commercial Joint Stock Bank (VietBank) has just launched a preferential loan program of up to VND8,000 billion (US$346 million) dedicated to individual customers serving livelihood demands and business activities.
Accordingly, from now to September 30 of 2022, individual customers having a demand of loans for business activities or consumption will enjoy a preferential interest rate from six percent a year with no early repayment fee.
In addition, in the first cycle of payment, customers will enjoy an additional preferential interest rate from 0.1 to 0.2 percent point in case they use the financial services of the bank.
The leader of Vietbank said that the preferential loan package aimed at contributing to reducing financial pressure during the production recovery process after the Covid-19 pandemic.
Some 70 investors want to renovate degraded condominiums in Hanoi
 
Hanoi has planned to spend VND500 billion (US$21.7 million) in the period of 2021-2025 to assess the status of more than 1,500 old apartment buildings.
As many as 70 investors have registered to take part in renovating downgraded condominiums following Hanoi’s call for investment from the private sector, according to the municipal Department of Construction.
Notably, the municipal government has conducted inspections and made plans to renovate and rebuild the old apartment building with funding from the municipal budget.
Under the plan, all dwellers of the six condos classified as “dangerous” must be relocated by March 2022. The six dilapidated apartment buildings include four in the district of Ba Dinh, including C8 Giang Vo condo, G6A Thanh Cong, Ngoc Khanh, and the apartment blocks of the Ministry of Justice at 148-150 in Son Tay Street, and two others at 51 Huynh Thuc Khang Street in Dong Da District.
These buildings, built from 1954 to 1990 are now severely degraded and experience water leaks often. They also have a poor fire protection system and no parking space. However, only an apartment at No.51 Huynh Thuc Khang in Dong Da District has been vacated so far.
Along with that, the Hanoi Department of Construction has also inspected 126 old apartment blocks in the city and just issued a set of criteria to evaluate the results of quality inspection of old apartments in Hanoi.
Accordingly, the assessment is carried out in six steps, including the surveying works, assessing the dangerous level of the structure and the extent to which the building is damaged, among others.
Vietnam Grand Sale 2022 set to last for over one month
 
The Vietnam Grand Sale 2022, the national promotion month, is set to take place nationwide from November 15 to December 22.
The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) revealed the plan in its decision No.1183 on holding annual promotional activities, to further stimulate domestic consumption and contribute to economic recovery in the post-pandemic period.
According to the ministry, the event would be held in both online and offline formats to facilitate the participation of businesses and producers from different economic sectors. Under the Vietnam Grand Sale 2022, merchants are allowed to offer discounts of up to 100%.
The Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency is responsible for coordinating with provinces/cities, business associations, and merchants to promote the program, which is in line with the ongoing campaign of “Vietnamese prefer Vietnamese goods”.
Merchants and businesses looking to join the program are advised to run their advertisement on the national public services portal at https://dichvucong.gov.vn.
Gov’t approves chemical industry development strategy till 2040
Deputy Prime Minister Le Van Thanh has signed a Decision approving Viet Nam’s chemical industry development strategy till 2030, with a vision to 2040.
Accordingly, the chemical industry will be developed in a sustainable and eco-friendly manner towards green growth and circular economy.
Under the strategy, the chemical industry is expected to achieve annual average growth rate of 10-11 per cent by 2030 and 7-8 percent by 2040.
The sector is projected to account for around 4-5 percent of the country’s industrial production over the span, and raise annual average export growth rate to 9-11 percent during 2021-2030 and 7.5-9 percent for 2030-2040 period.
By 2040, the strategy targets to increase supply of petroleum products for local consumption to 60 percent, active plant protection substances to 50 percent, basic chemicals to 80 percent, technical rubber to 50 percent and batteries to 50 percent.
The chemical industry will be divided into 10 sub-sectors including fertilizers, pesticides, pharmaceutical chemicals, petrochemicals, basic chemicals (including explosive precursors and industrial explosives), rubber products, electrochemistry, detergents, paint–printing ink and industrial gases.
Mekong Delta to develop 1 million hectares of high-quality rice
The Mekong Delta will plant one million hectares of high-quality rice in the coming time with the aim to improve farmers’ income, ensure food security and serve export.
The task is set in a directive on some missions to promote sustainable agricultural and rural development in the region in response to climate change, recently signed by Deputy Prime Minister Le Van Thanh.
The directive’s goals are to develop the Mekong Delta quickly and sustainably, proactively adapt to climate change, create breakthroughs to improve the material and spiritual life of local people, and focus on developing agriculture and rural areas in the direction of ecological agriculture, modern countryside, and civilised farmers.
Especially, measures must focus on directing and implementing the regional planning scheme for the 2021-2030 period, with a vision to 2050; the strategy for sustainable agricultural and rural development for the 2021-2030 period, with a vision to 2050; the national strategy for natural disaster prevention and control to 2030, with a vision to 2050; the agricultural restructuring plan for the 2021-2025 period; the national target programme on building new-style rural areas for the 2021-2025 period; and the master programme for agricultural development in the Mekong Delta to adapt to climate change.
Airlines·asked to take stricter measures against staff’s smuggling, trade violations
Vietnamese airlines are required to implement preventive measures against illegal trade and commercial fraud activities taking place among flight crews, per the latest directive from the Civil Aviation Administration of Việt Nam (CAAV).
According to the document, airline management must have increased responsibility for preventing commercial fraud and the trade of smuggled or counterfeit goods among their staff.
The management boards must also strictly follow labour regulations towards their employees. Staff who abuse their position for smuggling will be suspended and banned from other positions in aviation companies.
Airlines will also be responsible for reporting to CAAV when foreign authorities conduct inspections on their flight crews.
Airport management supervises the implementation of the directive, which aims for stronger prevention of good smuggling and commercial fraud among flight crews in the areas of their authority. 
The directive was made following a case where the Australian border force questioned nine flight attendants over suspected money laundering.
7News reported on the case but did not specify the airlines or the flight crews’ nationality. However, images obtained by the news channel showed Vietnamese passports alongside large amounts of cash. 
Vietnam Airlines confirmed that the flight attendants were their staff, and all of them had been allowed to fly back to Việt Nam on two different flights.
The national flag carrier on Saturday released a statement regarding the incident, saying it was a random examination of passengers and flight crews exiting the country. 
Vietnam to actively apply blockchain technology in various fields
Understanding the effectiveness of blockchain technology in different aspects of life, the Government has issued Decision No.100/QD-TTg/2019 about traceability, including the use of blockchain technology, and Decision No.2117/QD-TTg/2020 about applied technologies in the field of digital technology in order to boost the development of the blockchain market in Vietnam.
CEO of Vietnam Blockchain JSC. Do Van Long commented that owing to negative incidents of digital currency, many people tend to think that blockchain is merely digital currency, which is extremely mistaken. In fact, this advanced technology can be used to create digital property or to upgrade existing information management systems to gain a higher level of security and transparency.
Technology Director of FPT Group Vu Anh Tu also stated that besides the popular use of blockchain in digital currency, it can effectively boost innovative technological startups thanks to its wide applications.
Statistics from Vietnam Blockchain Association reveal that among 200-top successful blockchain enterprise in the world, 7 were founded by Vietnamese people. Vietnam is one of five leading countries in this technology. At present, about 10 Vietnamese innovative startups in the blockchain field have the capitalization of over US$100 million, most of which are related to digital currency.
In Vietnam, Military Commercial Joint Stock Bank (MB) is the first to employ blockchain technology in Letter of Credit (L/C service). It allows the full documentation process of L/C from document issuance to presentation, which is expected to better protect clients against frauds in international transactions.
Viettel is using blockchain technology in forming e-medical records, while FPT is employing it in its solution of akaChain – helping businesses to reduce the time and cost in such operations as client identification, credit scoring.
Director Tu shared that there are other useful implementations of blockchain technology such as production chain or insurance – healthcare management, e-identification. In the entertainment field, many celebrities have released their own Non-Fungible Token Collections (NFT).
Deputy Director in charge of the Southern Department Nguyen Manh Cuong (under the Ministry of Science & Technology) commented that since blockchain technology is mostly used in the financial field, people seem to forget its other potential applications like tracing the origin of agricultural products, logistics.
The Ministry of Science and Technology has introduced guidance to support the growth of this promising technology in socio-economic fields, with the pilot from businesses that have feasible blockchain implementations for social benefits right in 2022.
Source: VNA/SGT/VNS/VOV/Dtinews/SGGP/VGP/Hanoitimes
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