Striving for an export growth rate of 8% in the 2016-2020 period

Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung speaks at the event (Photo: VNA) Hanoi (VNA) – Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung asked local authorities and people to fully grasp disaster and incident situation to stay ready for response while chairing a meeting of the National Committee on Incident, Disaster Response and Search and Rescue in Hanoi on August 4. In the near future, he urged the committee to instruct ministries, agencies and localities to continue revising and supplementing solutions to disaster risks such as flash flood, landslides and tsunami. At the same time, they should raise public awareness of disaster response and search and rescue, and increase supervision over the effort. According to him, search and rescue forces should enhance international cooperation, bilaterally and multilaterally to share meteorological and hydrological data, while improving forecasting capacity and learning from experience in incident and disaster prevention and search and rescue. He requested continuing to negotiate search and rescue areas at sea between Vietnam and regional countries in line with the International Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue 1979 (Convention SAR79) approved by the Prime Minister. Dung expressed his concern that among 499 disaster warnings last year, 119 were fake. Meanwhile, search and rescue equipment are insufficient, especially those used for underground works and firefighting. From early this year to July 30, 2017, there were 1,768 disasters, incidents and accidents nationwide, down 203 cases year-on-year. However, the death toll amounted to…... [read more]

A doctor gives advice on ARV therapy to an HIV carrier (Photo: VNA) Hanoi (VNA) – Only more than a half of HIV carriers hold health insurance cards, said the Health Ministry’s Department for HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control. According to the department, many of HIV carriers do not buy health insurance due to their fear of discriminations and waiting for being checked up, while others can not afford insurance fees or meet sufficient requirements to own a health insurance card. As of May, 82 percent of HIV treatment clinics at hospitals and two-function medical centres signed contracts with health insurance agencies. Of the total, 44.4 percent are providing services through health insurance. At present, nine provinces sign contracts on examination and treatment payments for HIV patients with insurance agencies. The department stressed that to increase health insurance coverage among HIV carriers, the Prime Minister directed provincial and municipal People’s Committees to allocate budgets to ensure all people living with HIV have health insurance cards. The department is also reviewing the demand for insurance cards of several disadvantaged localities in order to use international aid to support them. As international donors are phasing out assistance for HIV/AIDS control in Vietnam, patients have to pay for health checks, regular tests and antiretroviral (ARV) treatment next year if they do not have health insurance cards. [Vietnam strengthens HIV-drug addiction integrated treatment] The Vietnamese Government targets bringing 100 percent of people with HIV into the health…... [read more]

NDO – Concerned authorities and local people should be firmly aware and ready to deal with any natural disasters and incidents in their areas, while ensuring the close coordination among the relevant forces needed for the deployment of effective response measures. >>> Deputy PM directs flood recovery efforts in Yen Bai >>> Flash floods and landslides ravage northern localities Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung made the suggestion during a meeting held by the National Steering Committee on Disaster Response and Search and Rescue on August 4 to discuss its 2016 operations and the work for first months of 2017, as well as the tasks for the remaining months of the year. Over the recent times, the country has experienced a range of natural disasters and incidents and the National Committee, in which the armed forces play a key role, has closely monitored the situation and regularly directed the relevant forces to respond in a timely manner, contributing to minimising the damage to people and their properties, while at the same time helping to stabilise the lives of affected people in drought and flood-hit areas. According to the National Committee, there were 4,576 natural disasters, accidents and incidents (excluding road traffic and railway accidents) in 2016, an increase of 279 cases over the same period of the previous year, causing huge damages. Natural disasters killed 736 people in 2016, up 68 from 2015 (10%), caused 194 people to go missing, (down 11%) and injured 755 people (down 4%). Regarding damage…... [read more]

Recently, the Hanoi People’s Committee approved a scheme on organising and operating Children’s Council for the 2017 - 2020 period. The move aims to enhance children’s participation in issues of their own interests. Such classes are organised by the Vietnam Association for Protection of Children’s Rights. Attending the classes, kids are encouraged to speak their mind on issues concerning them, and also equipped with soft skills. The model is expected to lay a foundation for kids to get involved in the formulation of social policies. Under the programme promoting children’s engagement in issues related to their own affairs in 2016 – 2020 approved by the Prime Minister, Hanoi is one of the first five cities and provinces in Vietnam to pilot the model “Children’s Council”.  Each council comprises 41 kids aged 9 to 15 nominated and selected from their districts. The Municipal People’s Council meets with the Children’s Council annually to collect their opinions. To better the development of policies regarding minors, the establishment of children’s council is necessary. Yet, it still requires more work to improve. The children’s council model, along with Child Law, is expected to improve the building of policies concerning kids. The ideology of kids’ absolute obedience to their parents is no longer suitable in the modern world. Instead, a communication channel between children and their parents, teachers and society like Children’s Council is needed. It not only helps minors enrich their knowledge and skills, but also helps policymakers put forth more…... [read more]

While vowing to continue removing all business roadblocks and facilitate private enterprises to further engage in existing state-controlled economic sectors, the government has reaffirmed its set target of 6.7 per cent GDP growth this year. Reacting to positive developments in the private sector, PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc reaffirmed the growth target for the year RELATED CONTENTS: CEO Confidence Index below expectations Second Vietnam Private Sector Forum to take place tomorrow Calls for 6 more countries to access visa exemptions Tourism forum to raise issues of concern On August 3, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc reaffirmed the government cabinet meeting that the government will remove all impediments and prejudice against private firms and that “All efforts must be made to hit the target of 6.7 per cent this year.” The government estimated that the agricultural, industrial-construction, and commercial-services sectors are expected to grow by 3.05, 7.91, and 7.19 per cent, respectively, in 2017. “The Vietnamese investment climate has been significantly improved and investors and enterprises are more confident,” Phuc added. At the the second Vietnam Private Sector Forum 2017 in Hanoi earlier this week, chaired by the prime minister and attended by representatives of about 1,000 private firms in Vietnam, an on-site survey was conducted about firms’ confidence in Vietnam’s economic prospects. Results showed…... [read more]

The meeting was meant to review the progress of the national target programs on sustainable poverty reduction and new-style rural development and set the committee’s tasks to accomplish the targets of this year. Speaking at the event, Hue said public capital disbursement remained slow, equivalent to over 30 percent in seven months.  At the meeting. He asked the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MoPI) to review resources allocation in the two national target programs to devise proposals to add into the Government’s resolution on speeding up the progress and quality of public investment disbursement. The MoPI must coordinate with the ministries of Finance and Agriculture and Rural Development to promptly issue a detailed guideline on criteria for basic construction debts in the national target programs on new rural development. Hailing the efficiency of credit for new rural development, Hue required the Vietnam Bank for Social Policies (VBSP) to study resources to increase credit for the campaign. The Deputy PM also called for special attention to be paid to “soft criteria” of poverty reduction, like cultural values, living environment, social safety and order, and livelihoods. According to Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Van Hieu, the total State funding for the national target programs this year amounts to over VND 15.23 trillion (USD 662.2 million), including VND 8 trillion (USD 347.8 million) reserved for the National Target Program on New-style Rural Development and the remaining for the National Target Program on Sustainable Poverty…... [read more]

Vietnam welcomed 10 million international visitors last year, the largest number ever, but more spending on tourism promotion is needed, a team of tourism enterprises told the second Vietnam Private Sector Forum (VPSF) early this week. The promotion of tourism remains poor and lacks uniformity and inefficiency. Spending totals about $2 million each year, compared to $69 million in Malaysia, $80 million in Singapore, and $105 million in Thailand. “Investment in promoting Vietnam’s tourism sector is among the lowest in the region, even lower than in Cambodia and Laos,” the team noted. It proposes three issues for the Prime Minister to consider: reviewing and adjusting the overall strategy and master plan for Vietnam’s tourism development by 2020, introducing policies and plans to make tourism a spearhead economic sector with turnover of $35 billion by 2020, and creating a mechanism to provide support in capital and interest rates for tourism enterprises. In response, Mr. Nguyen Van Tuan, General Director of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, said that Vietnam’s tourism sector is in the middle of an unprecedented period of high growth, and while growth potential is great there are many bottlenecks. In terms of funding for promoting the country’s image, Mr. Tuan said a tourism assistance fund is expected to be established by the end of this year and will have some VND400-500 billion ($17.6-$22 million) at its disposal. He added that instances of bad behavior in the country’s tourism sector needs to be monitored by localities and that policies…... [read more]

Ministries at odds over fate of Thach Khe iron mineNgoc Lan HANOI – The Ministry of Industry and Trade has insisted on continuing Thach Khe iron ore mining project while the Ministry of Planning and Investment has proposed suspending it. The Ministry of Planning and Investment on July 13 wrote to the Prime Minister proposing that the country’s largest iron mining project in Ha Tinh Province be suspended due to low commercial viability. Months earlier, the government of Ha Tinh Province had also sent a petition to central agencies suggesting that the project be put on hold due to impacts on environment and poor business performance.  The Ministry of Planning and Investment in its document said that if the project is canceled as proposed, an interdisciplinary team should be set up to proceed with the liquidation process, including the settlement of financial problems and half-done construction components after an overall assessment.  The interdisciplinary team will be led by the ministry, and is comprised of representatives of Ha Tinh government, Vietnam National Coal and Mineral Industries Group (Vinacomin) and Thach Khe Iron Company (TIC). After receiving the Ministry of Planning and Investment’s document, the Government Office asked related ministries, including the Ministry of Industry and Trade, to give their feedback. According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Ministry of Planning and Investment failed to provide a scientific rationale for suspending the project. A halt should be carefully weighed as it would affect the business environment of Ha Tinh Province…... [read more]

Thousands of scholarships and gifts are expected to be offered to children from difficult backgrounds under the programme“Thap sang nhung uoc mo” this year (Photo: VNA) Hanoi (VNA) - As many as 1,000 scholarships and 5,000 gifts are expected to be offered to children from difficult backgrounds under the programme called “Thap sang nhung uoc mo” (To light up dreams) this year. The scholarships and the gifts are worth at least one million VND (44 USD) and 500,000 VND (22 USD) each, respectively, said the Vietnam Association for Protection of Children's Rights (VAPCR) on August 2. The programme, the 4th version, aims to encourage and honour outstanding students who have overcome their difficulties to obtain good results in their study, as well as enterprises and donors for their support for the programme. As scheduled, the VAPCR will present 450 scholarships and 105 presents to disadvantaged children in Dak Nong, Dak Lak, Tien Giang, Hau Giang, Bac Lieu, and Tra Vinh provinces from September 8-30, while handing over scholarships and gifts to 50 others from northern provinces in Hanoi on September 23. VAPCR Vice President Ninh Thi Hong said the association has mobilised half of the expected scholarships and gifts, expressing her hope that the association will continue receiving support from organisations and individuals to help needy children. The programme’s main event will be organised in the Mekong Delta province of Ben Tre on October 1 on the occasion of the Mid-Autumn festival which falls on…... [read more]

The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) has opposed the Ministry of Planning and Investment’s proposal sent to the government calling for the termination of the Thach Khe Iron Mine project in Ha Tinh Province. Thach Khe Iron Mine project raises concerns over environmental problems. The 3,877 hectare Thach Khe Iron Mine project was approved in 2007. The Thach Khe Iron JSC was then set up with VND2.40trn (USD105m) charter capital. However, the project has been largely inactive and work was suspended in 2011.    Thach Khe Iron JSC still lacks the required finance even though the total investment required has been cut twice in three years. The approved investment was VND14.50trn (USD616m) in 2014 but it was reduced to VND13trn in 2016 and VND12.1trn in 2017. These approved total investments still failed to take into account costs. The lack of long-term outlets was also in question. Only the Hoa Phat Company agreed to buy 3 million tonnes of iron per year during the 2017-2021 period. In addition, there are various concerns about the adverse environmental impact on the surroundings and local lives. Earlier, Ha Tinh Province also proposed to close the mine over environmental concerns. However, the MoIT disagreed with the MPI’s opinions, saying that they will send a specific report to the government on the project. According to the MoIT, the investor Thach Khe Iron Joint Stock Company has poured thousands of billions of VND into the project over the past ten years. So, scraping the investor would…... [read more]

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