Ministry orders stricter management of medical equipment

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has issued a regulation to provide financial support to poor patients, especially those who have fatal diseases but cannot afford treatment. Under the regulation, benefactors will include low-income people, ethnic minorities, those who live in remote and mountainous areas, and people who are currently receiving social assistance. Coverage would also be extended to cancer patients, those who need cardiovascular surgery and other procedures such as kidney dialysis but cannot afford treatment. Apart from medical fees, the Government will also provide financial assistance to patients to help cover their food and transportation costs during treatment. Funding for the programme will come from the State budget as well as donations from individuals and organisations. The assistance will be provided at state-owned medical facilities beginning on April 15, 2012. Patients who wish to seek treatment independently, or whose need for treatment outstrips the capabilities of the medical centres where they live would not benefit. Increase in hospital fees The Ministries of Health and Finance has issued a joint circular to increase prices of 447 medical services at state-owned medical stations beginning April 15. The new hospital fees represent a 30%-40% increase from current rates.... [read more]

Speaking at the 2015 ASEAN Business and Investment Summit, PM Najib Razak said foreign direct investment in the region will continue rising after the formation of the AEC and the member economies will grow sustainably, bringing in prosperity and improving living standards. The AEC will also create more economic and job opportunities in ASEAN, and help the association continue to be an attractive destination for international investors and businessmen, he said. The PM also emphasised the important role of public-private partnership and the private sector in driving the economy forward. According to the ASEAN Integration Report (AIR) announced the same day, the economic growth of ASEAN in 2015 will continue at 4.6%, which is higher than the global average of 3.3%. The rate for 2016 is predicted to rise to 4.9%. Regional economic integration should continue to help accelerate the economic recovery and boost growth. After 2015, the ASEAN economy will continue transforming to overcome global economic challenges. According to the AIR, the structure of ASEAN economies has changed since the passing of the AEC blueprint in 2007, with the proportion of service sector in 2014 climbing to 50.2%, while industry and agriculture have fallen to 38% and 11%, respectively. The share of intra-bloc trade out of total trade is relatively sustainable at 25%. In 2014, it increased 58.9% in comparison with 2007, higher than outside-bloc trade of 51.7%. According to the report, ASEAN is a key destination for FDI capital, which hit US$136.2 billion in 2014. FDI outside the…... [read more]

The agreement was reached during the third annual high-level economic dialogue chaired by Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment (MPI) Nguyen Chi Dung and Matthias Fekl, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, Promotion of Tourism and French Nationals Abroad, in Hanoi on April 15. The French side also proposed Vietnam consider removing barriers to French apple import. The two sides reaffirmed the significance of the annual economic dialogue in implementing the bilateral strategic partnership reached in September 2013. They welcomed the growth in trade with a 10.6 percent rise in 2014 to hit 3.54 billion EUR (US$3.76 billion). Both sides voiced their support of fair and transparent trade exchanges. Vietnam suggested France help speed up the EU’s approval of the framework Partnership and Cooperation Agreement with Vietnam as well as the conclusion of negotiations for the EU-Vietnam free trade agreement (EVFTA) in 2015. Meanwhile, they highlighted that French projects in Vietnam, especially in science and technology and aerospace, are evidence of joint efforts in enhancing cooperation and investment affiliation. France has assisted Vietnam through preferential and export sponsorship while sharing its experience in building legal frameworks for public-private partnerships and providing official development assistance to Vietnam. The two sides expressed their interest in increasing partnerships for sustainable growth, focusing on environmental protection, green production, emission reduction and climate change response. This focus has been evidenced by a number of French projects in Vietnam, including a 20 million EUR (US$21.2 million) Support Programme to Respond to Climate Change in Vietnam and…... [read more]

“Currently, Vietnam has opened its markets to Japan’s beef, pork and poultry products,” said Minister Phat, and in exchange we are discussing the proposition that Japan open its doors wide to mangoes, dragon fruits and lychees. Most notably, the two sides agreed to promote the public-private partnership (PPP) model in agriculture, pay more attention to improving the value of agricultural products, specifically concentrating on improving post-harvest handling and production methods.... [read more]

Deputy Minister of Information and Communications Nguyen Minh Hong delivered the statement at a conference themed “Public – private partnership in IT development” in Hanoi on June 18. The conference was jointly held by the Vietnam Software Association (VINASA) and the Asian-Oceania Computing Industry Organisation (ASOCIO) as part of the latter’s plenary session this year in Vietnam from June 17-20. Deputy Minister Hong said Vietnam wishes to learn IT development experiences from ASOCIO member economies. Over the recent years, Vietnam’s IT industry grew by leaps and bounds at more than 20 percent in 2009 gaining over US$6.26 billion or 7 percent of the GDP. Last year, the domestic software industry grew by 35-40 percent to earn US$880 million while the digital content industry increased by 50 percent to hit nearly US$700 million. According to the latest study of A.T.Kearney, a leading consultant company from the US, Vietnam is one of the top ten countries in terms of software outsourcing.... [read more]

Thang highlighted the comprehensive cooperation and active support from the French Government for Vietnam’s transport sector in recent times, especially in the fields of railways, aviation and urban transport. The two ministers discussed ways to speed up the ongoing French-funded projects, such as the upgrade of Yen Vien – Lao Cai railway line and the traffic signal system on the Hanoi-Vinh railway section. They agreed that it is necessary to resolve difficulties in policies and capital sources to accelerate the progress of these projects as planned. Both ministers agreed to cooperate in infrastructure development projects under the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model, open new air routes in 2012 and train Vietnamese staff in the fields of aviation management, maritime, railway and urban transport. The French minister is paying a working visit to Vietnam from January 13-15 at the invitation of Minister Thang.... [read more]

ILO to continue employment support New centre supports migrant workers A recent report of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) shows that 50.4 percent of unemployed people are those aged between 15 and 24. However, experts said the figure is just the tip of the iceberg because the inequality, insecurity, and vulnerability is increasing. The quality of work for youth is decreasing while the lack of employment is following an upward trend. According to employment service centres and companies, workers still find it difficult to seek a job despite the fact that businesses are facing labour shortages. At present, more than one million people enter the working age in Vietnam and it is a difficult task for them to seek a satisfactory job. ILO experts said that most of the new graduates cannot meet employers’ requirements while many of the businesses differentiate students graduating from public universities with those from private ones. They said gender discrimination is another reason that blows the chance of well-qualified graduates. In addition, the poor orientation of vocational training cannot support students in choosing a right job for them, they said. José Manuel Salazar, Executive Director of ILO Employment Sector, proposed three ingredients for successful settlement of the employment crisis for the youth including apprenticeships, entrepreneurship, and employment services. The first one, he said, is the dual training system combines practical training in a company with theoretical training in a vocational training institution. This model of collaboration can be adapted across very different economic and cultural…... [read more]

Funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the project will be managed and carried out by the ADB and the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI). M4P2 aims to increase participation of poor people in public private partnerships in infrastructure services, distribution networks and private sector employment. The Head of DFID Vietnam, Fiona Lappin, said the project is expected “to harness one of the core strengths of the private sector in Vietnam” - its ability to generate and invest in new ideas and use them to benefit the poor, by using viable commercial business models that have a strong social impact. The new approach, which empowers farmers by linking them up to large enterprises, has been piloted to enable rural Vietnamese markets to function better and give poor people the chance to take part in them, she added. ADB’s Country Director for Vietnam Tomoyuki Kimura said “the project has worked across a number of markets and has proved to be successful,” adding that “as markets expand further they can become a powerful way of pulling people out of poverty, in a sustainable manner.” Seven sub-projects carried out by a range of companies, from household enterprises to joint venture companies, transnational groups and state-owned enterprises, reflect the diversity of businesses operating in Vietnam’s agricultural sector. The projects ranging from cheap mushroom growing technologies, to organic tea produced by ethnic minority groups, fertiliser produced from cassava waste, semi-washed Robusta coffee, pomelo and quality controlled…... [read more]

Food security problems linger UNDP report on climate change issued in Hanoi The event will be attended by global leaders, practitioners, scientists, civil society organisations and the private sector, with a focus on climate-smart agriculture as a driving force for green growth. The conference aims to call on countries to apply best practice and technologies in climate-smart agriculture and food security. It will highlight the importance of government-led partnerships with non-state agencies in building strategies, policies and appropriate market-based approaches to promote climate-smart agriculture. Delegates will also discuss measures to boost public private partnerships (PPPs) in support of climate-smart agriculture. Other priority activities that will be highlighted during the conference include the streamlining of climate-smart agriculture into national and regional strategies, identification of new financing opportunities and the expansion of research and training initiatives. They will also examine the promotion of risk management and implementation of new measurement methodologies.... [read more]

According to a news released issued by the ADB on November 2, the project is aimed at ensuring upper secondary graduates have the skills to meet the country’s labor needs. “Vietnam’s thriving economy has highlighted a gap between what schools teach and what employers need. This project will help prepare young people for the job market, with a special focus on increasing opportunities for women and girls, people with special needs, and students coming from poor households,” said Eiko Izawa, Senior Education Specialist in the Southeast Asia Department at ADB. The Second Upper Secondary Education Development Project focuses on improving teaching standards by introducing international standards, new training methods and providing new training materials; upgrading curricula, including investing in textbooks; and providing targeted support for students who are struggling academically. It builds on earlier ADB assistance to improve the sector. Vietnam’s economy has been booming since the 1980s, with the country reaching middle income status in 2010. However, future growth will depend on a labor force skilled enough to meet the needs of the job market. At present less than 30 percent of young workers, or half the workforce, have completed upper secondary schooling. Although enrolment and completion rates for upper secondary have increased sharply over the past decade, academic performance remains relatively low compared to other ASEAN members. Retention is an issue, with only about three-quarters of impoverished students completing upper secondary school, well below the national average. The project will open up opportunities for teachers to receive training…... [read more]

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