SOCIETY IN BRIEF 20/7

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Khmer homes linked to grid More than 6,000 households, most of them ethnic Khmer, in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Tra Vinh have been linked to the power grid under an ongoing project that seeks to achieve universal electrification. At the end of the VND228 billion (US$10.94 million) two-phase project, nearly 19,000 households would have been connected. An additional 418 transformer stations would have been built to supply power to the families living in 83 remote villages in seven districts. In just the first phase, the ratio of households with power will increase from 87 to 94 per cent. Thach Tha My, a Khmer farmer living in My Chanh village, Chau Thanh District, said: "My family has 0.35ha of farm land. I used to buy power from neighbours at high prices for farming. "Because many families share the same electricity line, the voltage is not stable. "Thanks to the project, we now have electricity for household and agricultural purposes and no longer have to pay … [Read more...]

Official held for revealing State secrets

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Police in Ho Chi Minh City have arrested a state official for providing secret State materials to overseas reactionary organizations. The official, Pham Chi Dung, who had been working for a State agency in HCMC, was arrested on July 17 for further investigation, police said. Police also searched his home and office for materials related to the case. A source said that after four reactionaries, Le Cong Dinh, Tran Huynh Duy Thuc, Le Thang Long and Nguyen Tien Trung were tried in January 2011 for "working to overthrow the people's administration", some reactionary organizations that these men had been involved in continued conducting acts of sabotage against Vietnam. After a lengthy investigation, police had collected enough evidence to conclude that Dung was the person who has provided those organizations with secret materials. Dung had received thousands of dollars as reimbursement from these organizations, investigators said. At the above-mentioned trial, the Ho Chi Minh … [Read more...]

Reducing import surplus

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The import surplus in May was valued at US$750 million, accounting for 12.3 percent of the total export turnover, the lowest import surplus so far this year. Speaking at an online conference between Hanoi and HCMCity on June 8, the Minister of Industry and Trade, Vu Huy Hoang, emphasised that although exports show some signs of picking up, more effective measures need to be put in place to deal with the import surplus. Exporters still in a fix According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT), the export sector is experiencing several positive signs, with an export turnover of almost US$6.1 billion in May, up 14.4 percent over the previous month and 37.5 percent higher than the same period last year. In the first five months, Vietnam's total export turnover hit US$25.8 billion, reaching 42.7 percent of the set target for the whole year and representing a year-on-year increase of 12.6 percent. This is attributed to a strong growth in the export of industrial products despite … [Read more...]

Fraudulent forest officials suspended

Part of Dam Doi protective forest destroyed for illegal shrimp farms (Photo: Tien Phong Online)

Two high raking forest management officials, charged with illegally granting land in the Dam Doi Protective Forest in Ca Mau Province to family members to build shrimp farms, have been suspended, the chairman of Dam Doi Ward People's Committee, Doan Quoc Khoi, announced yesterday. Khoi said that Duong Thanh Thanh, head of Dam Doi Ward Forrest Management, Mai Thanh Truc, head of the Dam Doi Protective Forest Management and 60 staff members connected to the case were suspended from the their duties. They will face appropriate disciplinary measures. Earlier, the Dam Doi Ward People's Committee had abolished the decision issued by deputy chairman of Dam Doi Ward People's Committee Tran Xuan Khuya on July 2008. According to the decision, 62.8 hectares of land of Dam Doi Protective Forest would have been to given 14 families of local farmers to turn it into shrimp breeding farms. Despite Dam Doi Protective Forest Management's proposal saying all the local farmers were poor and … [Read more...]

Mind maps help city teacher popularize literature studies

A teacher in a continuing school has used the concept of mind maps pioneered by Tony Buzan to get his students enthusiastic - and proactive - about literature. "Last year, I found various books in related to a new concept, mind maps, by Tony Buzan. The more books I bought to read, the more interested I became. It got me thinking that this concept can probably be applied to my subject", said Hoang Duc Huy, who currently teaches Literature in District 4's Continuing School in HCMC. Extra class hours or recess is the period Huy chose to apply the new method to his students. He also recommended that his students try it after class as well. So, the students were encouraged to surf the internet at home to find materials, including pictures and other content, to draw their own mind maps relating to the just-completed lesson. Usually considered a boring subject by most students, Huy is proud that every student of his has applied the new method of learning. "But not all lessons will have … [Read more...]

Caterpillars devastate pine forest in central Vietnam

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Caterpillars have ravaged 500 hectares of a state-owned pine plantation at the resin collection period in central Vietnam's Thanh Hoa province. Pham Chi Dung, director of the Tinh Gia Forest Park, said the pests were swarming onto the trees at an extremely high rate of 2,000 per tree. Another 500 ha is now in danger of being devoured by the pests. … [Read more...]

Cashew exporters secure firm foothold in markets

Vietnam has secured its place as the world’s top cashew exporter for eight consecutive years, supplying roughly 60 percent of the cashew nuts in the global markets. According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the sector pocketed 276 million USD in revenue during the first two months of 2015, posting an annual increase of 44.7 percent. Last year, as many as 1.2 million tonnes of cashew nuts were shipped abroad, generating nearly 2 billion USD and representing the largest figure recorded so far, according to the Vietnam Cashew Association (Vinacas). The internationally recognised Vietnamese cashew is now sold in 50 countries, with 30 percent of total exports destined for the US and the remaining for China , the Netherlands , India , Germany , Japan , and others. Cashew nuts have become one of the key export staples of Vietnam ’s farming sector, following rice, rubber and coffee. Despite challenges in 2015, such as the Euro devaluation and the oil crisis, the … [Read more...]

FTAs: a driving force for economic growth

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(VOVworld) – Participation in free trade agreements (FTA) will generate motivation for businesses and economic growth in the future. The comment was made at an online conference organized by the government web portal on Friday. According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Vietnam has signed 8 FTAs with Chile, Japan, and ASEAN members and partners. Vietnam is negotiating 7 FTAs including the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Vietnam-EU Free Trade Agreement. Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Quoc Khanh said: "As Vietnam will participate in several FTAs, the government has built a strategy for FTA negotiation and participation. It identifies partners, interests, and challenges. Participation in FTAs must generate a driving force in line with Vietnam’s reform effort with minimum adverse impact. It will also manage the international integration roadmap to avoid overlap." Most opinions agreed that global economic integration is the best way for businesses to … [Read more...]

Trade deal hurting local auto makers

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The Vietnam Association of Mechanical Industry (VAMI) has requested the Prime Minister and the Ministry of Finance to adjust the import tax imposed on complete built up (CBU) trucks. This has been requested so the revised tax is more in keeping with tax levied on trucks, which are locally-assembled with imported parts that are complete knock down (CKD). The proposal was made after VAMI members evaluated the import tax imposed on CBU trucks and the current tariff regulated under the finance ministry's circular, which is an implementation of the ASEAN–China Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA) for the 2015 to 2018 period. VAMI said the ministry had allowed a number of imported CBU trucks the kind of preferential tax rate, which is unfair for domestic manufacturers who have been producing and assembling trucks with CKD parts. It added that when importing CKD parts, besides import tax, domestic firms are also burdened with many other costs, such as investment capital plugged into … [Read more...]

Fast-food chains kick off cyber-war

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VietNamNet Bridge – The competition among fast-food brands in Vietnam has become fierce as they now have to struggle on the internet. The total fast food revenue in the Vietnamese market in 2011 was VND870 billion, an increase of 30 percent over 2010, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT). The 30 percent annual growth rate of the fast food sector proves to be attractive to any investor, which explains why more and more foreign fast food chains have been set up in Vietnam. Five years ago, KFC, Jollibee and Lotteria were known to all Vietnamese, because they were the only foreign fast food brands in Vietnam. But today more than 10 well-known brands exist in the 90-million consumer market. In the market competition, service providers have to apply new sale methods to attract more customers. Selling products online is one of the methods chosen by many brands. The service allows fast food chains not only to approach customers far from the central districts … [Read more...]

Garment exports hit US$3.4 bln in Jan-Feb

(VOV) - Garment exports in the January-February period surged 18% to US$3.4 billion on-year, signalling a good sign for this year’s export target of US$28-28.4 billion, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT). The US remained the largest export market for Vietnamese garment and textiles, accounting for 8.4% of the country’s market share. This year’s exports to the highly lucrative market is forecast to explode 13% to US$11 billion over a year earlier. Meanwhile, the EU continues to be a key market for Vietnamese garment and textiles in the time ahead after the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) comes into effect. Accordingly, a tax cut of 12 to zero % on Vietnamese garment products will help Vietnamese firms sharpen their competitiveness. … [Read more...]

Retail sales of goods and services rise by 11.4 percent in the first two months

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The Hanoitimes - According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the total retail sales of consumer goods and services achieved 542.6 trillion VND in the first two months of 2015, increasing by 11.4 percent against the same period of last year. The retail sales of trading activities gained nearly 413.2 trillion VND accounting for 76.2 percent of the total retail sales and saw a 10.6 percent annual increase. Over 64.2 trillion VND was generated through hotel and hospitality sector, accounting for 11.8 percent of the total figure while services contributed to 60.8 trillion VND at 11.2 percent. Tourism accounted for only 0.8 percent of the total retail sales with 4.5 trillion VND, up 0.4 percent from the same period last year. In February, retail sales increased by 3.7 percent in the comparison to January, reaching over 276 trillion VND, A sery of promotional programmes were offered by businesses in February to stimulate purchasing power and the supply of goods and services at … [Read more...]

Prices of domestic petrol rise over 1,600 VND per litre

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The Hanoitimes - According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the retail price of several fuel varieties has raised on the afternoon of March 11. Accordingly, prices of RON 95 and 92 gasoline jumped 1,616 VND per litre to 17,880 VND while prices of bio fuel E5 gasoline increased by 1,606 VND per litre to 16,950 VND. This is the first price increase for retail petrol prices in 2015 following two consecutive declines on January 6 and January 21, respectively. The price of diesel and kerosene rose by 713 VND per litre to 15,880 VND and 16,320 VND, respectively. Mazut now costs 12,760 VND per litre, up 910 VND. The Ministry of Industry and Trade has attributed the rise to the global increase in petrol prices. Thu Minh … [Read more...]

Domestic petrol price hike

(VOV) - Domestic petrol prices are jumping up from VND713-VND1.616 per litre on the afternoon of March 11, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade. Prices of RON 95 and 92 gasoline are increasing by VND1,616 per litre while prices of bio fuel E5 gasoline are rising by VND1,606 per litre. The price of diesel and kerosene is going up by VND713 per litre while the price of mazut (fuel oil) is hitting the highest level of VND911 per kilo. This is the first price increase for retail petrol prices in 2015 following two consecutive declines of VND310 per litre and VND1,900 per litre on January 6 and January 21, respectively. The MoIT has attributed the rise to the global increase in petrol prices. … [Read more...]

Petrol prices to rise

(VOV) - Domestic petrol prices are jumping up from VND713-VND1.616 per litre on the afternoon of March 11, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade. Prices of RON 95 and 92 gasoline are increasing by VND1,616 per litre while prices of bio fuel E5 gasoline are rising by VND1,606 per litre. The price of diesel and kerosene is going up by VND713 per litre while the price of mazut (fuel oil) is hitting the highest level of VND911 per kilo. This is the first price increase for retail petrol prices in 2015 following two consecutive declines of VND310 per litre and VND1,900 per litre on January 6 and January 21, respectively. The MoIT has attributed the rise to the global increase in petrol prices. … [Read more...]

Industrial output up 12 percent in early 2015

A worker inspects equipment at a foreign-invested company in the northern port city of Hai Phong (Photo: VNA) Annual Vietnamese factory production increased 12 percent within the first two months of 2015, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade. Increased output was seen in nearly all sectors; the processing-manufacturing and electricity generation-distribution sectors grew between 12-14 percent from the same period last year. Notably, seafood processing recorded a production growth of almost 21 percent. February alone saw a 7 percent increase in industrial production index, despite a nine-day Lunar New Year holiday. As of February 1, inventory was also following the upward trend, with stored optical and paper products soaring by 122 and 57 percent, respectively.-VNA … [Read more...]

National retail sales rise 11.4% in two months

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The total value of retail sales in the first two months of 2015 reaches over VND542.6 trillion (US$25.5 billion) NDO - The total value of retail sales for goods and services in February was estimated at over VND276 trillion (US$12.97 billion), up 3.7% over the previous month, lifting the total retail sales in the first two months of this year to over VND542.6 trillion (US$25.5 billion), a year-on-year increase of 11.4%. According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT), the trade sector posted a retail sales value of around VND413.2 trillion (US$19.4 billion) in two months, up 10.6% over the same period last year, accounting for nearly 76.2% of the total national retail sales value. Meanwhile, the hotel and restaurant sector reported a value of VND64.2 trillion (US$3 billion) in two months, a year-on-year increase of 12.5%, making up 11.8% of the total retail sales value. The service sector recorded a value of VND60.6 trillion (US$2.84 billion), up 16.5% over the … [Read more...]

Businesses concern about electricity price increase

Steel companies are much affected from the electricity price increase that will start on March 16 (Photo: SGGP)

According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the electricity price increase of 7.5 percent from March 16 will push up production costs at businesses by 0.2-0.8 percent. However, many companies said the ministry’s calculation should comprise the hike in production costs of materials for their production. Those that will be most affected from the electricity price hike are from steel, cement, paper industries and material producers. According to Vietnam Steel Association, electricity accounts for 7 percent in production costs of a ton of steel billet, which consume an average of 400-600 kWh of electricity. A ton of steel needs 70-80 percent steel billets. As a result, the electricity price increase will directly impact steel production costs and the product price will be forced to surge in the time ahead. Mr. Le Quang Hung, director general of Saigon Garment Manufacturing Trading Joint Stock Company, said that electricity price hike will directly affect the enterprise's … [Read more...]