POLITICS IN BRIEF 24/1

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POLITICS IN BRIEF 24/1

The UK Department for International Development (DFID), the Embassy of Denmark, and the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands co-signed an Amendment to the Joint Funding Agreement with the Ministry of Planning and Investment to incorporate an additional commitment of 17 million pounds in grant funding from the UK, to further support Vietnam’s National Target Program for Rural Water Supply and Sanitation

EU countries support program for rural water supply and sanitation

The National Target Program for Rural Water Supply and Sanitation phase 2 (2005 – 2010) has been jointly funded by AusAid, the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Netherlands Minister for Development Cooperation with a total commitment of 125 million US dollars.

The program has already helped provide access to clean water for 79% of the rural population, and 51% of rural households now have hygienic latrines. The initial focus has also been on providing access to water and sanitation for public entities, with 75% of schools, 77% health clinics, 67% commune committee offices and 45% markets, now served.

“In joining other donors in co-funding this program, we recognise the commitment of the Government of Vietnam and look forward to working together to support sustained progress over the next 3 years, focussing especially on sanitation for poor households” - said Ms Fiona Louise Lappin, Head of DFID Vietnam.

Mr. Peter L. Hansen, Ambassador of Denmark stressed again the two most critical issues of the program, namely rural sanitation and the Operation and Maintenance of water and sanitation schemes. ”We expect that together with funding from AusAID, Denmark and the Netherlands, the additional funding from the UK will be used wisely and effectively to help Vietnam achieve the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target 7, not only quantitatively but also qualitatively”.

This joint donor program will help support the Vietnamese Government to achieve the targets of the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation National Target Program and to ensure that momentum in provision of rural water and sanitation is maintained beyond 2010 when the current phase is due to end.

Talent must be respected, used properly: deputy PM

“Talent must be utilized properly and paid satisfactorily,” Standing Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Sinh Hung said at an Interior Ministry conference that ended in Ho Chi Minh City on January 21.

”Talented people must be respected and employed suitably and our administrative apparatus must be more streamlined, more effective, and more efficient,” he said.

For this, the ministry should have proper policies for recruitment and employment of talented people to develop a qualified workforce, he said.

Mr. Hung praised the ministry and interior departments in provinces and cities for their performance last year and contribution to the country’s development.

The ministry should provide more assistance to the Government in reforming public administration, strengthening the State apparatus, improving personnel management, and recruiting, training, and appointing civil servants, he said.

He also called on the ministry to strengthen democracy and transparency in the process of recruitment, selection, appraisal, and promotion of civil servants.

The conference was held to review the ministry’s performance in 2009 and finalize its plans for this year.

Lai Chau must continue with poverty reduction: Party leader

The Party General Secretary has emphasized the necessity for the northern mountain province of Lai Chau to continue with hunger eradication and poverty reduction in a sustainable manner.

The Party leader, Nong Duc Manh, made the statement while working with the Standing Board of the provincial Party Committee, on the last leg of his tour of the north-western region, on Jan. 21 and 22.

He requested that the provincial Party Committee select potential areas of focus for the work, and push for breakthroughs in socio-economic development.

Hydroelectricity is a one of Lai Chau’s major assets, Manh said, and Lai Chau should invest in traffic planning, resettlement of local residents and the development of new production industries for resettled families.

Hydroelectric construction will yield a great source of capital for hunger eradication and poverty reduction as well as infrastructure construction in disadvantaged areas, thus helping improve the lives of ethnic minorities, he added.

The Party leader also suggested Lai Chau develop its processing industry to create a source of high-quality goods and raise the incomes of local people.

Lai Chau and other north-western provinces should pay special attention to education and training and put in place policies on the training, appointment and duties of officials.

According to a report by the provincial Party Committee, the provincial economy maintained an annual growth rate of 15 percent during the 2006-09 period, almost doubling 2004’s figure. Its food output recorded a 3.6 percent year-on-year increase in 2009 while its number of heads of cattle posted an annual increase of 7.8 percent and its forest coverage reached 42 percent.

In 2008 and 2009, the province planted more than 4,000 ha of rubber trees in Sin Ho and Phong Tho districts.

All of its communes have completed the universalization of primary education, and 51 percent have universalized junior secondary education.

Additionally, the rate of poor households in the province fell from 60.4 percent in 2005 to 28.2 percent at present under the new criteria.

On Jan. 21, Party General Secretary Manh visited Sin Ho district and talked with ethnic people in Ta Tu 1, a newly-resettled village. He praised the people of the village for facilitating the pace of construction of the Son La hydroelectric power project.

Egypt’s investment minister pays visit

Egyptian Minister of Investment Mahmoud Mohieldin will arrive in Ha Noi today to start his four-day visit trip to promote investment opportunities in Egypt as well as enhance business co-operation between the two countries.

A delegation of 30 enterprises is accompanying him. They operate in the fields of financial services, construction, transportation and logistics, pharmaceuticals, communications and information technology, food and tourism. The delegation will meet senior governmental officials and Vietnamese enterprises to further boost investment and trade between the two nations.

The minister was invited by the Vietnamese Government to visit following a recent meeting with the Governor of Viet Nam’s central bank, Nguyen Van Giau, in Cairo, where they discussed ways to enhance bilateral economic

co-operation. The meeting also provided an opportunity for the minister to review Egypt’s economic performance and programmes to renovate the investment climate in Egypt.

He also met with Vietnamese Ambassador to Egypt, Pham Sy Tam. They discussed plans to create effective channels to enhance the bilateral economic and investment co-operation in the context of Viet Nam achieving significant economic developments in recent years. The meeting also covered policies to promote investment in Egypt and proposed technical co-operation between the two nations. Over the past years, Egypt has seen significant advances in trade and investment promotion with East Asian countries, notably in the areas of infrastructure development, fisheries, food and pharmaceutical industries.

Partnership ties with Japan to be expanded: President

Viet Nam is looking to enhance comprehensive co-operation with Japan, President Nguyen Minh Triet told Toru Hashimoto, governor of Osaka Prefecture, at a reception in Ha Noi yesterday.

Triet also said Viet Nam-Japan relations had huge potential for growth in economics, trade and investment.

The President also spoke highly of the strong commitment the Japanese Prime Minister and government had shown in promoting strategic partnerships with Viet Nam.

The President said he welcomed existing co-operation between Osaka Prefecture and HCM City, and said he hoped relations would be expanded to other localities in Viet Nam.

Triet said Viet Nam always welcomed Osaka investors.

The Japanese delegation representing 17 companies in Osaka was here to promote trade.

Osaka has opened a trade and investment promotion office in HCM City.

Hashimoto also briefed Triet on the outcome of the meeting of enterprises in Osaka and HCM City held on Thursday in the city.

He said Osaka took the opportunity to lure Vietnamese businesses to his city and Japan.

Since Viet Nam-Japan relations were elevated to the level of a strategic partnership, ties between Osaka and Vietnamese localities should also be raised, Hashimoto said.

Slovakian Speaker to visit

Speaker of the National Council of the Slovak Republic Pavol Paska will arrive with a delegation on a five-day official visit to Viet Nam next Tuesday. The group has been invited by National Assembly Chairman Nguyen Phu Trong.

President visits country’s leading paediatrician

President Nguyen Minh Triet visited Associate Professor Dr Nguyen Thanh Liem, director of the Central Paediatric Hospital, yesterday.

President Triet thanked Liem for his highly valuable contributions to society and advancing the practice of medicine in Viet Nam.

Triet noted that research projects carried out by Liem proved that Vietnamese were starting to pioneer some areas of medical technology. These areas should be targeted by policies for support and growth, he added.

He also applauded Liem’s work that employed robots to perform endo-surgery.

Liem is a well-known paediatrician and was the first doctor to perform child kidney transplant surgery in Viet Nam, opening treatment options for children with chronic kidney and fatal liver diseases. He is also credited with pioneering surgical techniques for children with delta myastheni

Viet Nam kicks off preparations to host World Economic Forum

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has set up a steering board to organise the World Economic Forum on East Asia 2010, which will be hosted for the first time by Viet Nam in June.

Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai will chair the board and one yet-to-be-named deputy foreign minister will act as deputy head.

The board is responsible for guiding and co-ordinating with ministries, sectors and localities to organise the event.

The annual event is expected to draw approximately 400 delegates, including government leaders from regional countries, representatives of leading world enterprises, scholars and media.

Leaders from across East Asia are expected to discuss how countries can ensure the region’s ongoing competitiveness and enlarge its voice in global co-operation.

The 2009 forum was held in Dalian, China.

Party needs stronger role in business management

In addition to developing grassroots Party organisations in businesses, importance should be attached to raising capacity of Party members and promote the leadership role of Party organisations in business management, National Assembly Chairman Nguyen Phu Trong told a Ha Noi Party Committee seminar yesterday.

At the seminar on "the leading role of grassroots Party organisations in various forms of enterprises in Ha Noi", Trong stressed that Party organisations had a role to provide idealogical orientations for business development.

"Reality has shown that businesses with Party organisations have attained better achievements with workers working more enthusiastically," he said.

Party leadership helped businesses better implement Party policies, creating conditions for more effective operations and more harmonious decisions on the benefits of workers, enterprises and the State.

Participants at the seminar spoke of the need of Party leadership in all forms of businesses, including private and foreign-invested enterprises. Entrepreneurs and business leaders who were qualified and voluntarily joined the Party should be admitted, they said, asking that regulations on monthly Party meetings be be more flexible to facilitate participation.

VN defends right to tackle treason

Viet Nam, as a State governed by law, would tackle any violations undermining its national security, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Nguyen Phuong Nga said yesterday.

Nga said this was to ensure respect for the common benefits of peace, stability and development.

She was responding to a query from reporters on how Viet Nam reacted towards comments from Britain, the United States and the European Union about this recent trials of a number of law violators.

"The detention, investigation, trial and conviction of these people were in accordance with Vietnamese and international laws," Nga said.

"It is regretful that comments from the US, Britain and the EU lacked goodwill and interfered in Viet Nam’s internal affairs," Nga said.

ASEAN role backed

Four major economic conglomerates have donated a total of VND80 billion (US$9.6 million) to help the Government host the ASEAN Year 2010.

A document to this effect was signed in Ha Noi yesterday between the ASEAN Year 2010 Material-Logistics Subcommittee and the four conglomerates: the Viet Nam National Petroleum Corporation (Petrol-imex), which donated VND30 billion, the Bank for Investment and Development of Viet Nam (BIDV), the Viet Nam Military Telecom Corporation (Viettel), and the Viet Nam National Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam), which each donated VND50 billion.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Gia Khiem praised the donations.

"This is veritable proof of the sense of responsibility of the country’s major enterprises. Through this action they have contributed to the success of a year when Viet Nam chairs ASEAN," said Khiem, who is also chairman of the National Committee for ASEAN 2010.

On behalf of the donors, PetroVietnam General Director Phung Dinh Thuc declared it was an honour to contribute to the major diplomatic event of the year and help ensure its success.

HCM City chairman inspects key traffic projects

Contractors must ensure the timely progress of the city’s key traffic projects, Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee Chairman Le Hoang Quan said during an inspection of some major public works on January 23. Of these projects, the city’s North-South road axis is scheduled to open for traffic the soonest, on January 30.

At the construction site for the Thu Thiem Tunnel, the chairman physically checked all four sections of the underground traffic system and was assured by contractors that the first section would be put in place on schedule, March 7.

Chairman Quan said he had ordered authorities of the wards in which the East-West Highway passes through to improve orderliness and safety at construction sites.

The city’s government will adopt a specific management statute for the highway within the first quarter of this year, he added.

Of the 42 routes that connect residential areas to the East-West Highway, 35 have now been completed and it is expected that all of the routes will be put into use on February 10, four days ahead of the Tet (lunar New Year) holiday, said Vuong Hoang Thanh, deputy head of the East-West Highway Project Management Unit.

While inspecting the construction of the Ba Chiem, Phuoc Kieng and Rach Dia bridges, which belong to the city’s North-South road axis, Mr. Quan asked the investor and contractor to accelerate work so that the road can be inaugurated on January 30.

The axis is a major roadway that will link the Hiep Phuoc Port to inner HCM City districts as well as connect the city with western and southeastern provinces, he said.

PV

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