Construction materials industry to maintain high growth
The building materials industry has grown at 8-12 percent in the past three years and is expected to maintain good growth next year, a seminar heard in HCM City on December 26.
Pham Van Bac, head of the Ministry of Construction’s construction materials department, said this year most construction materials manufacturers operated at full capacity.
Demand for their products was very high, including overseas, with exports accounting for 30 percent of total sales of certain materials.
Pham Thiet Hoa, director of the Investment and Trade Promotion Centre of HCM City (ITPC), said: “The construction materials industry has made remarkable progress both in terms of quality and quantity. Vietnam, from being a country that had to import most construction materials, has become an exporter of some key items.”
He quoted figures from the General Department of Vietnam Customs that show the country exported 1.67 billion USD worth of materials to 120 countries and territories last year.
Increasing urbanisation and a building boom are set to boost domestic demand in the coming years, he said.
Bac said construction materials producers have increasingly adopted advanced technologies and focused on unbaked building materials to replace burnt-clay products in response to Government policies.
The Government has issued legal documents on researching, producing and using unburnt construction materials to boost the use of environment-friendly building materials, he said.
By 2020, it hopes unbaked construction materials would account for 40-50 percent of the materials used, he said.
Unburnt bricks are made from coal ash discharged by thermal power plants, cement and some other materials, he said, adding that the country’s annual capacity is seven billion this year, rising to 12.5 billion in 2020.
Tran Ba Viet, vice chairman and general secretary of the Vietnam Concrete Association, said: “Demand for construction materials is very high in Vietnam because our country is in the development phase.”
Annual demand from the construction sector is 20 billion bricks, expected to rise to 42 billion by 2020, but to produce one billion burnt bricks requires 1.5 million cubic metres of clay, he said.
Thus, without a move towards non-fired bricks, the environment would face severe consequences, he said.
Vietnam is still at the starting phase of using unbaked building materials, and authorities should compile a handbook on choosing suitable products and using them in the proper way, he said.
Bac said his ministry is working to complete and issue technical standards and production norms for non-fired bricks.
Hoa said the ITPC would promote consumption of new and environment-friendly building materials.
The seminar on “Developing new and eco-friendly building material market” was organised by the ITPC in collaboration with the city Department of Construction and the management board of the project on “Enhancing the production and use of unbaked bricks in Vietnam” by the Ministry of Science and Technology.
The seminar also featured an exhibition on technology used in making unbaked construction materials and new and environment-friendly construction materials.
Vinatex targets 8 percent export growth in 2019
The Vietnam National Textile and Garment Group (Vinatex), the largest textile maker in the country, expects its export turnover to rise up to 8 percent in 2019, the group said at a press conference on December 27.
According to Vinatex Executive Director Cao Huu Hieu, the group is striving for 5 percent increase in industrial production, 7 percent growth in revenue, and 12 percent hike in profit.
It exported more than 3 million USD worth of products in 2018, a year-on-year surge of 10.9 percent, and gained 46.3 trillion VND (1.98 billion USD) in industrial production value, up 9.7 percent against the previous year. Meanwhile, total revenue rose 6.6 percent to 48.6 trillion VND (2.08 billion USD).
Although the group has secured orders until the end of 2019’s Quarter 1, high input costs are deemed as a formidable challenge to the corporation, he said, adding that the minimum wage is forecast to expand 5.3 percent, resulting in a rise in social insurance premium and labour cost.
Garment and textile firms must outline rational measures for each market scenario. To be more specific, they should join hands with their customers and partners to set up value chain to overcome difficulties, Hieu stressed.
He underlined that Vinatex has paid due attention to quality of orders and customers, and worked to be in top five producers in Vietnam.
Besides investing heavily on modern machines and equipment that meet international standards to manufacture excellent products, the group will channel focus to improving labour productivity and increasing workers’ income, he added.
3-trillion-VND steel wire factory approved in Quang Ngai
Investment on the Bekaert Vietnam-Dung Quat steel wire and wire rope factory in the central province of Quang Ngai has recently been approved, according to the Dung Quat Economic Zone and Quang Ngai Industrial Parks Authority.
The factory will be invested in by NV Bekaert SA Company of Belgium with 2.91 trillion VND (125 million USD), becoming the second largest foreign direct investment project in Quang Ngai province, following one of the Doosan Vina Heavy Industry.
The project will cover 40 ha at the VSIP Quang Ngai in Tinh Tho commune of Son Tinh district.
Upon completing legal procedures, construction of the factory will start in 2019’s third quarter and it will become operational in 2021. The factory will manufacture steel wire rope used in car tyres, as well as other products for automobile and other industries, with annual capacity of nearly 80,000 tonnes.
Pharma sector optimistic about business prospects
Vietnamese pharmaceutical companies are optimistic about the business prospects of the sector, with nearly 80 percent of firms anticipating an annual industry growth rate of more than 10 percent.
This information was gathered in a survey released alongside a list of the top 10 most prestigious pharmaceutical companies in the country by Viet Nam Report Company (VNR) on December 26 in Hanoi. The report compiled information from the IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science, the World Bank and market research firm Nielsen.
The IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science listed Viet Nam as a “pharmerging market” because its population is entering an aging stage. The World Bank warns that Vietnam is experiencing rapid population aging. The proportion of the population aged 65 and over was 6.5 percent in 2017 and is expected to reach 21 percent by 2050, causing an increasing demand for healthcare. Nielsen reported health was one of the top two concerns of Vietnamese consumers in 2018.
In addition, Vietnamese people have been paying more for healthcare services due to increasing average income per capita coupled with rising environmental pollution that causes diseases.
Statistics from the Vietnam Drug Administration under the Ministry of Health showed the industry would continue to experience double-digit growth over the next five years and would reach 7.7 billion USD in 2021.
However, all of the surveyed firms said their biggest difficulty was their reliance on imported materials. In 2017, Vietnam imported 375 million USD of materials for pharmaceutical production, 78 percent of which from China and India.
There has not been significant investment into traditional medicines to reduce reliance on imported products even though the country has a rich supply of medicinal herbs.
The survey also revealed many big local and foreign businesses have rushed to invest in the country’s pharmaceutical sector due to its huge potential.
Euromonitor International said the average spending on drugs in Vietnam was at 49.9 USD per capita in 2016, one-third of the global average.
The market potential has been attractive to foreign groups such as Abbott, which owns 51.7 percent of shares in Domesco, bought Glomed Pharmaceutical, Taisho (which has 34.3 percent at Hau Giang Pharmaceutical Joint Stock Company) and Stada Service Holding BV. Local companies such as Vingroup, FPT, Masan Group, Vinamilk, The gioi Di Dong and Digiworld have also jumped into the sector.
Several local firms have sought ways to co-operate with foreign companies to take advantage of available markets and distribution channels instead of directly competing. Cooperation can help domestic firms attract capital and gain technologies and experience from big global groups.
The list of the 10 most prestigious pharmaceutical companies was based on three criteria: financial capacity and performance on audited financial reports last year, communication prestige, quality product and distribution.
Most of the companies in the list have stable financial capacity, long-term experience and potential for growth as well as high quality products and wide distribution.
Vietnam non-life insurance company partners with Korean bank
Petrolimex Insurance Corporation (PJICO), a top 5 non-life insurance company in Vietnam, has signed a cooperation agreement with the Republic of Korea’s Woori Bank.
The two sides will jointly build added benefits to meet the increasing demand of customers for package insurance.
PJICO insurance products will be delivered through the Korean bank’s network system, including motor vehicle insurance, health insurance, and property insurance.
Woori Bank is a leading Asian bank and the oldest of its kind in the RoK with 119 years of operation and 410 branches in 25 nations.
PJICO is a member of Petrolimex with 23 years of establishment and development.
Effective mechanism needed for animal husbandry sector
The animal husbandry sector in Vietnam has produced quality products that can compete with foreign brands, at home and in export markets. It is expected that the sector will access bigger markets with an effective development mechanism.
Linkages between breeders, animal feed firms, slaughter and processing firms is a typical model of animal husbandry sector.
However, this production chain has not been expanded since few chicken farms can meet the requirements of origin traceability, a key factor to gain market access.
For years, fragmented production which does not follow modern production chains and standards has caused headaches for the animal husbandry sector. Another issue is the dependence on traders, which causes fluctuating prices for production and negative impacts on breeders.
Experts said the most important thing is to drastically restructure the husbandry sector, reducing household-scale models, increasing farm and business model, while following modern and industrial production chains.
2018 is considered a successful year of the livestock production sector, with the improvement of pork and chicken meat, in both quality and quantity. However, without suitable planning, redundancy may occur, threatening the economic effect of breeder as well as the sustainability of such an important sector for the country.
Binh Duong eases admin with aid of Zalo
Binh Duong Province has begun to issue acknowledgements and post updates on Zalo when Government offices receive applications and documents from the public.
Last week, authorities launched a new interface for the province’s e-portal as part of efforts to improve public administration.
It will enable applicants to monitor the progress and receive results online on “Binh Duong Smartcity” on Zalo.
Lai Xuan Thanh, director of the province Department of Information and Communications, said when anyone submits a document at a State office, they will receive an electronic receipt on Zalo or can scan a QR code printed on the receipt to keep track.
Policies, notices and other information will also be sent on Zalo.
Many provinces like Dong Nai, An Giang and Tien Giang have finished integrating administrative services into Zalo.
Twenty more are doing it now.
Zalo, an app developed by VNG Corporation, announced on May 21 that it had reached 100 million users.
Viettel Group embraces industry 4.0
The term “fourth industrial revolution” is bandied about in the media, but what is it and how can it help improve living standards?
Viettel Group deputy general director, Do Minh Phuong, said: “The fourth industrial revolution includes the internet of things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), Big Data, 3D printing, smart energy, organic food, and green living and the revolution will deploy all technological advancements to address existing problems.”
Technologies like Big Data, IoT and AI, which are at the core of Industry 4.0 – another term for the fourth industrial revolution — are dependent on data storage and processing.
Viettel IDC is one of the biggest data solution providers in Viet Nam.
Five years ago only enterprises with deep pockets dared set up data centres with a number of servers, which cost up to VND100 million (US$5,000) each, and involving many other expenditures.
Viettel IDC set up a 500sq.m centre at a cost of $15 million to serve 500 customers. It required 500 rack positions for 2,400 servers.
Since 2013, cloud and visualisation technologies have allowed the company to have just a 30sq.m room with six rack positions and 72 servers to serve 5,000 customers.
The latter centre cost just a seventh of the previous one but capacity in terms of customers doubled. Tariffs for customers have also reduced 23 times in comparison with previous years.
The falling tariffs mean more customers can access cutting-edge technologies, and in the last two years Viettel IDC has quadrupled its number of clients.
In the past, both customers and network service providers used to obsess about spam. But service providers would focus on key words and subscribers sending too many messages, and it was not an effective method.
Since 2015, Viettel has been adopting new technologies like machine learning, Big Data, natural language processing, and anomaly detection to stop spam, and has managed to cut the number down from 10 million a day to just 150,000.
The anti-spam system works like the human brain.
Having enough servers to store large volumes of data is the way to help develop IoT in Viet Nam.
Recently Viettel introduced a parking application based on IoT for use in HCM City. Firstly, a GPS locates the car, cameras find empty spaces to park in and online payment allows customers to pay easily.
“The Viettel My Parking app is very friendly, convenient and saves time and effort for drivers,” Nguyen Dong Hai of Binh Duong Province said.
More problems, more benefits
Viettel is also using industry 4.0 technologies to solve its own problems.
In the past, analysing staff had to spend a lot of time to combine information from hundreds of business reports to identify demand and customers’ habits, but now they get accurate answers by clicking a few keys.
The company has over 20,000 staff and it has to regularly monitor their efficiency.
At Viettel Telecom’s operation centre, green, yellow and red buttons flash continuously on screens, tracking employees’ performances. Yellow and red mean the performance is not good and the system immediately sends a warning to these workers and their managers.
Managers sitting in Ha Noi can know about the performance of any worker, even if they are working in a remote or mountainous area.
Salaries, promotions and demotions are based on this.
The services each subscriber uses are identified for their nearest base transceiver station (BTS) and updated every hour.
This data is vital for Viettel Telecom to get a comprehensive overview and make adjustments or adopt new business strategies for individual localities.
Viettel has an operation centre in all 10 of its international markets too.
Besides, it has another technical operation centre in Ha Noi to manage its 150,000 BTSs and 360,000km of fibre-optic cable in its 11 markets around the world.
The company has also developed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), which just require 10 square metres of space and can fly straight up.
They can monitor things like natural resources and high-voltage transmission lines and prevent smuggling.
Viettel has set up a tank simulator using virtual reality technology enabling crews to train. This system is helping resolve problems related to equipment, space and costs.
Last year it signed agreements with 16 cities to make them smart cities, and with 14 provinces, nine ministries, and 19 corporations and banks for information security.
It has also succeeded in manufacturing secure 4G smartphones, becoming one of only five companies in the world with the capability.
In future smartphones will become a wallet, a computer, a key, and a remote control for smart devices, and for this information security will obviously be a vital need.
Cities will soon set up smart camera systems to enhance public security and order and ease traffic congestion.
For all these, Viettel has invested in an extensive and highly modern 4G infrastructure and set up a VND1 trillion (US$43.5 million) venture fund to invest in enterprises, both Vietnamese and foreign, with cutting-edge technologies.
Last year the group reported a turnover of $11 billion, double the 2016 figure, making it one of the 25 largest telecom companies in the world.
Profit before tax was nearly $2 billion, 13 per cent up and accounting for 60 per cent of all profits earned by State-owned companies.
MoIT streamlines procedures
The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) on Monday connected its additional five administrative procedures into the Viet Nam National Single Window (NSW).
The move aims to improve the ministry’s special inspections on import-export goods and facilitate trade. The ministry also completed its targets in the action plan to promote NSW and Asian Single Window (ASW).
The procedures include granting import/export licence for industrial explosive pre-substances; granting import/export licence for industrial pre-substances; procedures on non-commercial tobacco imports; procedures on requesting a written agreement on joining the pilot project for self-certification of origin in ASEAN; and procedures for informing the criteria on tobacco material and rolling paper imports.
To implement the new administrative procedures through the NSW, the General Department of Customs instructed customs officers to access the e-customs system to find information relating to the procedures. Businesses will not be required to provide the paper documents for the five above-mentioned procedures when implementing customs clearance.
The ministry now has 11 administrative procedures connected to the NSW system.
Administrative reform in the MoIT has seen remarkable improvements. In 2015, the ministry was in 17th position out of 19 ministries, but by 2017, it jumped to fifth position.
The ministry has promulgated many documents on administrative procedures this year to create a foundation to effectively implement the reforms.
It cut 54 administrative procedures in 10 sectors and has proposed removing or simplifying 202 out of 561 administrative procedures in the investment and business sector by 2020.
VNPT achieves profit growth of more than 20% for five straight years
The Viet Nam Posts and Telecommunications Group (VNPT) posted a profit of nearly VND6.45 trillion (US$275.43 million) in 2018, a year-on-year increase of 25 per cent and 9.4 per cent higher than its goal.
The information was released at a conference held by the group on Monday in Ha Noi to review its operation in 2018 and set plans for 2019.
This is the fifth consecutive year that VNPT has achieved profit growth of more than 20 per cent.
Its total number of phone subscribers was about 34 million, including 31.3 million mobile subscribers.
The group’s total number of broadband Internet subscribers reached 5.2 million, an increase of 11.1 per cent compared to 2017, of which FiberVNN subscribers reached five million, a year-on-year increase of 27 per cent.
In 2018, the group contributed nearly VND4.48 trillion to the State budget, reaching 117.5 per cent of its yearly plan and representing a rise of 18 per cent from the previous year.
The return on equity ratio was 10.2 per cent, exceeding the plan by 9.6 per cent for an increase of 23 per cent compared to 2017.
VNPT has expanded its internet network to Hong Kong through opening points of presence (POP) IP and helping optimise and expand international leasing channels directly to territories to improve service quality. It has also completed IoT negotiations with 159 operators in 89 countries on a total of 454 mobile networks that have exploited international roaming services.
This year, the group provided 60 new value added services, including some that bring new revenue such as Big Data telecom, VNPT Cloud Contact Centre, smart agriculture and its F-secure security service for businesses.
SSI wins Asset Triple A Country Awards in 3 categories
SSI Securities Corporation has won in three categories at the Asset Triple A Country Awards for 2018.
It won the awards for Best Corporate and Institutional Adviser – Domestic, Best Brokerage and Best IPO from leading Asian financial magazine The Asset.
At the end of September this year, SSI had more than 149,000 accounts comprising 147,000 individual accounts and more than 1,800 institutional customers.
Last May, together with other international players, it managed the sale of 267.8 million shares of Vinhomes Joint Stock Company worth a total of US$1.35 billion. This was the largest offering in the history of Southeast Asia.
The Asset Triple A Country Awards are Asia’s recognition of preeminent institutions in the banking, finance, treasury and capital markets.
State Treasury raises $7.09 billion via G-bonds
The State Treasury of Viet Nam mobilised nearly VND165.8trillion (US$7.09 billion) through Government bond auctions on the Ha Noi Stock Exchange (HNX) in 2018.
In the last session of Government bond auctions this year on December 26 at the HNX, the State Treasury mobilised VND4.31 trillion of G-bonds.
Some VND10 trillion worth of G-bonds were offered, including 10-year bonds and 15-year bonds valued at VND5 trillion each.
Accordingly, the State Treasury raised VND4 trillion worth of 10-year bonds with an average yield rate of 5.1 per cent per year, the same rate offered in the previous auction on December 19.
Bonds with a 15-year term raised VND10 billion at an annual interest of 5.3 per cent, the same rate offered in the previous auction.
A total of VND3 trillion was raised in the sub-session sales for the 10-year and 15-year bonds.
Digiworld easily achieves finance targets
Digiworld Joint Stock Company on Monday reported it achieved its annual profit and sales targets by November.
Profits were VND103 billion ($4.5 million), or 102 per cent of the full-year target, on revenues of VND5.5 trillion (VND241 million), well above the target.
Tablets and laptops accounted for VND2.22 trillion ($97.4 million) or 96 per cent of the sales target, but phone sales exceeded 180 per cent of the target to reach VND2.17 trillion ($95 million). Office equipment and consumer goods accounted for VND1.1 trillion ($48 million) and VND60 billion ($2.6 million), the latter being only 30 per cent of the target.
Laptops and mobile phones used to account for a major proportion of revenues in the past, but now office equipment sales are growing strongly and steadily, the company said.
DGW, established in 1997, is the authorised distributor of more than 30 global technology brands and has a distribution network of 16,000 points of sale.
SHS to sell nearly 102 million shares to raise capital
Sai Gon-Ha Noi Securities JSC (SHS) plans to issue more than 101.8 million shares to provide funding for its business activities and double its charter capital.
Of the amount, SHS will issue 26.3 million bonus shares to pay a dividend for its 2017 earnings, equal to a dividend payout rate of 25 per cent.
Funding for the share issuance will be extracted from its 2017 post-tax profit.
Shareholders will have to complete registration to receive payment by January 15, 2019.
SHS will later offer 70.3 million shares to existing shareholders at VND12,000 (US$0.53) per share to raise VND843 billion ($37 million).
The deadline for shareholders’ registration is also set at January 15, 2019. Transactions will take place between January 21 and February 19, 2019.
The remaining amount of shares (5.26 million) will be issued under an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) at VND12,000 per share.
This ESOP is expected to bring in VND63 billion for the company.
The share issuances may increase the firm’s charter capital to VND2.07 trillion from the current VND1.05 trillion. The company will have more capital to carry margin lending, financial investment and issuance underwriting.
In the first nine months of the year, SHS posted VND932.7 billion in combined revenue and VND270.6 billion in post-tax profit, up 27 per cent and 8.3 per cent year on year, respectively.
The company has fulfilled 69 per cent and 75 per cent of its full-year revenue and post-tax profit targets.
SHS is listing nearly 105.3 million shares on the Ha Noi Stock Exchange. Its shares gained 2.4 per cent to end Thursday at VND12,900 each.
Lao Cai Gold JSC to trade on UPCoM
The Lao Cai Gold JSC has gained approval from the Ha Noi Stock Exchange to trade its 10.5 million shares on the Unlisted Public Company Market (UPCoM), making it the first gold miner to trade on the Vietnamese equity market.
The decision was announced on Tuesday. Lao Cai Gold JSC will trade with code GLC.
The debut date for the firm remains unknown.
Lao Cai Gold JSC was founded in September 2017 and is headquartered in Lao Cai Province’s Van Ban District.
The company’s initial charter capital was VND45 billion and it had five shareholders at the beginning.
Lao Cai Gold JSC has increased its charter capital to VND105 billion (US$4.6 million).
The biggest shareholders are the Vietnam National Coal and Minerals Group (Vinacomin or TKV) and its subsidiary Vinacomin Minerals Holding Corporation (Vimico), holding 33 per cent and 27 per cent of the firm’s capital, respectively.
Other shareholders include Lao Cai Minerals JSC (15 per cent of charter capital), Thai Nguyen Co Ltd (15 per cent) and Dong Bac Company (10 per cent).
The core business of Lao Cai Gold JSC is to explore and exploit the Minh Luong gold mine with annual gold production of 500 kilogrammes.
Techcombank chairman’s son raises stake to 3.95%
The private-equity financial institution Techcombank has announced shareholder Ho Anh Minh has bought 44.7 million shares to increase his ownership to 3.95 per cent from 2.66 per cent.
Minh, son of the bank’s chairman Ho Hung Anh, carrying out transactions from December 14 to December 19, 2018, now owns 138 million Techcombank shares.
During the same period, Nguyen Huong Lien, sister-in-law of chairman Anh, sold 45 million Techcombank shares via put-through transactions to cut her stake to 1.99 per cent from nearly 3.28 per cent.
Lien now holds more than 69.6 million shares in the bank’s capital.
The bank’s chairman Anh holds 39.3 million Techcombank shares. The ownership of Anh and his relatives is more than 595 million shares, equal to 17 per cent of the bank’s charter capital.
Techcombank is listing nearly 3.5 billion shares on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange with code TCB. The bank shares inched up 0.2 per cent to end last week at VND27,300 (nearly US$1.2) per share.
Higher limits could help end loan-sharking: experts
Increasing the limits of unsecured loans given by banks will prevent people from approaching loan sharks, an online conference hosted by the State Bank of Viet Nam (SBV) heard on Wednesday.
The conference focused on discussing the implementation of Decree 116 issued by the Prime Minister on credit policies for agricultural and rural development and measures to tackle loan-sharking.
Dao Minh Tu, the SBV’s deputy governor, said agriculture and rural development is a sector enjoying credit priorities since it plays a key role in socio-economic development.
By the end of last November, outstanding loans to agriculture and rural areas was worth VND1.69 quadrillion (US$72.6 billion), or 24 per cent of total outstanding loans in the banking system, according to the central bank.
The figure represents a 14.5 per cent increase year-on-year, higher than the overall credit growth rate.
Some 70 credit institutions and more than 1,100 people’s credit funds and social policy banks lend to agriculture and rural areas.
The SBV has recommended that the Government should adopt policies to promote lending to this sector to enable the implementation of the 2013 agriculture restructuring plan under Decision 899.
For instance, Decree 116 dated September 7, 2018, which amended agricultural and rural credit policies, has helped farmers and other people in rural areas borrow from banks.
One of its major provisions is to double credit limits for farmers who seek loans without assets to mortgage.
Farming households and co-operatives in rural areas can now get unsecured loans of up to VND200 million compared to the previous VND100 million.
For those not living in rural areas but running farming businesses in rural areas, the maximum loan has doubled to VND100 million.
Tu said: “Decree 116 together with mechanisms and solutions offered by the banking system has responded in a timely fashion to demand for capital for consumption, manufacturing and business activities from individuals and enterprises.
“It has also enhanced poor and low-income people’s access to credit in rural and remote areas, reducing the number of people looking for black credit.” Black credit refers to usury.
But loan sharks operate in a sophisticated manner in southern and central highlands provinces, which severely affects the socio-economic development of these regions, he said.
“If credit institutions do not strictly control and monitor customers’ use of loans, it might lead to them using the loans illegally, enabling black credit to increase and adversely affect the banking system.”
According to unofficial statistics from the Ministry of Public Security quoted at the conference, more than 7,600 crimes related to usury have been uncovered in the past four years, including 56 murders.
The police have busted 124 criminal gangs and arrested 831 people involved in loan-sharking and illegal debt collection.
Reports from the SBV show that the banking sector has found 218 cases of black credit involving VND117 billion in 16 provinces and cities.
Tu said to prevent loan-sharking requires a co-ordinated effort by the banking system, authorities, local administrations and social organisations across the country.
The SBV has issued regulations for consumer lending by finance companies in rural and remote areas to prevent usury.
There are 27 non-bank credit institutions, including financial companies and finance leasing companies, with outstanding loans of more than VND131 trillion, including VND90 trillion worth of consumer loans.
The central bank also requires credit institutions, especially in remote and rural areas, to expand people’s access to banking services by simplifying lending procedures and diversifying banking products.
Masan Group inaugurates meat processing complex in Ha Nam
Masan Group inaugurated its MNS meat processing complex at the Dong Van IV Industrial Park in Kim Bang District of the northern province of Ha Nam on Sunday.
The complex, spanning an area of 10ha, was built at a cost of nearly VND1.1 trillion (US$47.1 million). It has an annual capacity to process 140,000 tonnes of pork.
It uses an advanced production line from Dutch company Marel, which will be handled and monitored by European experts.
Addressing the inaugural ceremony, Chairman of the Ha Nam People’s Committee Nguyen Xuan Dong said the project promotes agricultural reform towards industrialisation and modernisation.
The complex will create stable jobs and improve local labourers’ livelihoods, he added.
Dong also asked Masan Group to comply with policies and laws of the country and regulations of Ha Nam Province, as well as pay attention to workers’ lives. Local authorities will continue to create optimal conditions for businesses, he pledged.
Dragon fruit prices rise sharply
Dragon fruit prices at Cho Gao Dragon Fruit Co-operative in the southern province of Tien Giang are increasing sharply during the Christmas period, bringing profits for farmers.
Nguyen Van Long, a dragon fruit grower in Cho Gao District, said red flesh dragon fruit prices are around VND40,000 per kilo (US$1.7), some three to four times higher than in October, when dragon fruit prices hit rock bottom.
Dragon fruit is not in season, therefore high demand is pushing up the price, Long added.
According to Cao Van Hoa, deputy director of Tien Giang’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, dragon fruit is identified as one of the specialities of the locality. The province now has more than 6,000ha of dragon fruit orchards, producing an annual output of hundreds of thousands of tonnes of fruits.
Cho Gao District is the biggest plantation area in the province with about 5,400ha; of which more than 4,600ha are fruit-bearing, the annual output is over 100,000 tonnes.
Recently, in order to promote its economic potential, the locality has scaled up agricultural production, applying intensive farming technology in line with VietGAP, GlobalGAP standards to avoid decreasing prices and increase income for farmers.
First FujiMart opens in Ha Noi
FujiMart Vietnam Retail, a joint venture between Japanese trading house Sumitomo and local retail and real estate conglomerate BRG Group, officially opened its first Vietnamese supermarket in Ha Noi on Sunday.
This is also the first FujiMart supermarket deployed by Sumitomo in Southeast Asia.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, BRG Group’s chairman Nguyen Thi Nga said BRG Group and its strategic partner, Sumitomo, are happy to introduce a successful retail model in Japan to the Vietnamese market. Both corporations hoped to give customers an experience of the Japanese shopping style along with a range of safe and healthy goods for the community.
According to Keisuke Hitotsumatsu, general director of Fujimart Vietnam, BRG Group and Sumitomo Group have great resources to invest in the FujiMart project, especially Sumitomo’s more than 50-year experience in supermarket chain operation and business, while BRG has extensive experience in Viet Nam.
The first FujiMart is located at No 142 Le Duan Street, Dong Da District, Ha Noi.
Forestry, seafood export reaches record high
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development said on Monday the total export value of forestry and seafood products reached a record high at about US$18 billion this year.
Viet Nam gained $9 billion in total of seafood products this year, a year-on-year rise of 8.4 per cent, said Nguyen Quang Hung, deputy director of the ministry’s Directorate of Fisheries.
He was speaking at a conference on production and business of the fishery industry this year and tasks in 2019 held in Ha Noi yesterday by the general department.
The meeting heard how export value surged 26.4 per cent year on year to $2.26 billion for tra fish, 13.9 per cent to $675 million for tuna, 15.5 per cent to 1.52 billion for other kinds of fish, 9.1 per cent to $785 million for mollusk and 23 per cent to $145 million for crustaceans.
Meanwhile, the total export value of shrimp dropped 7.1 per cent year on year to $3.58 billion, including $2.48 billion from white-leg shrimp, down 2 per cent and $810 million from tiger shrimp, down 7.8 per cent.
Tra fish production gained a total output of 1.42 million tonnes this year, up 8.4 per cent compared to 2017, the general department said.
The fishery industry also developed high economic value products such as cold-water fish, tilapia, mollusks, giant freshwater shrimp and lobster to contribute to the ministry’s total export value.
In 2019, the fishery industry set a target of increasing growth in production value at 4.25 per cent against this year, the total fishery output at 7.9 million tonnes and seafood export value at 11.1 per cent to $10 billion.
To achieve the goals, the directorate proposed the Government approve the Marine Economic Development Strategy for 2030, with a vision to 2045 and allow the ministry to develop and implement a pilot project on marine aquaculture development in 2019-20.
Meanwhile, the ministry would increase investment in infrastructure construction for the fisheries sector such as fishing ports and anchorage areas for fishing vessels, said Nguyen Ngoc Oai, acting general director of the directorate.
The industry will not increase the output of exploitation but promote the use of scientific and technological advances for higher value of products, post-harvest preservation, and reduction of losses in post-harvest.
The Viet Nam Administration of Forestry reported that Viet Nam gained a year-on-year increase of 15.9 per cent in export value to $9.3 billion. This figure included $8.8 billion from wood and wood products.
The forestry industry achieved a trade surplus of about $7 billion this year, Pham Van Dien, deputy director of the administration said at its conference on production and business of the forestry industry this year and key tasks next year held in Ha Noi yesterday.
The import value of wood and wood products reached $2.3 billion this year.
Now, Viet Nam has 4,500 enterprises processing and exporting wood and forest products, including 1,863 exporters. They involved more than 700 foreign-invested businesses with a large production scale and application technology for production.
In 2019, the forestry sector has set targets of growth rate at 5.5-6 per cent in production value and export value at $10.5 billion.
At the conference, the administration proposed the Government allow it building a brand for Vietnamese wooden products.
No pork shortage for Lunar New Year festival
There will be no shortage of pork in the months approaching the Lunar New Year (Tet) holiday despite an increase in demand, Nguyen Xuan Duong, Acting Director of the Animal Husbandry Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development said.
Duong said that the market demand for pork regularly increased by 25 percent ahead of the Tet holiday. If there were no sudden diseases or extreme weather conditions which might affect pork supply, the supply would meet market demand, Duong said.
The department’s statistics showed that pork output reached 3.81 million tonnes in 2018, an increase of 2.2 percent over last year.
In some provinces and cities like Dong Nai, Hanoi, Thai Nguyen and Ha Nam, pig husbandry has shifted from scattered scale to large-scale production.
Pork prices after tumbling to a ten-year low of 35,000-38,000 VND per kilogramme (live weight) a year ago started to recover from April to 50,000-58,000 VND in the third quarter of this year, then eased to currently 44,000-50,000 VND.
The department targeted to keep pork prices at around 40,000-45,000 VND in 2019.
Duong said that disease prevention would be enhanced together with promoting safe pig raising and slaughtering.
Focus would be placed on developing pig production chains and gradually reducing scattered production to ensure food hygiene and safety and promote exports of high-value products.
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