The decentralisation process in Viet Nam, particularly in allowing provinces to issue investment licences, has created administrative vacuums and sowed confusion among both officials and enterprises, speakers said at a seminar in HCM City yesterday, Sept 9.
The Government’s management agencies should make policies governing business activities more transparent and widen enterprises’ access to information, they said.
Many enterprises ran into inconsistencies among functional offices when they faced a problem and needed guidance to resolve it.
Prof Nguyen Mai, president of the Viet Nam Association of Foreign Invested Enterprises (VAFIE), said a major cause of the problem was the lack of uniformity in viewpoints among policy-making bodies at different levels.
"To serve their own localities’ benefits, many of provincial administrations broke regulations, and thus the unity of the legal system as whole was broken, creating unfair competition," he said.
Nguyen Dinh Luong, former head of the Vietnamese mission negotiating the US –Viet Nam Bilateral Trade Agreement, added that along with the decentralisation, guidance from higher levels reduced and in many cases, was not clear.
This was made worse by lower level authorities instituting incomprehensible administrative procedures that spoiled good policies, he added.
A mechanism should be established for accessing information in a transparent manner from State agencies, said Tran Huu Huynh, head of the legal division at the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The seminar, titled "Viet Nam’s economy: opportunities and challenges after the global financial crisis" was jointly organised by the Vietnam Investment Review Group and VAFIE.
Hanoi to build Thang Long opera house
Construction of the Thang Long opera house will start soon to mark Hanoi’s 1,000th anniversary.
Photo: VOV The project appraisal board on September 9 presented the two best blueprints to Nguyen The Thao, Chairman of the Hanoi Municipal People’s Committee.
According to the municipal Department of Architectural Planning, the new Thang Long opera house will be built on an area of 22 hectares in the West Lake area.
It will have a 1,200-1,500-seat theatre, a 1,800-seat multi-functional area and an area for outdoor performances.
At present, almost all performances in Hanoi are held in the Hanoi Opera House and the Au Co Performing Arts Centre, which have 900 seats and 730 seats, respectively.
US$165 million for poverty reduction in six mountainous provinces
The Ministry of Planning and Investment, in coordination with the World Bank, launched the Northern Mountains Poverty Reduction Project (second phase) in Hanoi on September 9.
The second phase of the project will be carried out from 2010 to 2015 in 230 villages in 27 districts in Lao Cai, Yen Bai, Son La, Hoa Binh, Lai Chau and Dien Bien at a cost of US$165 million, US$150 million of which will come from the World Bank and the rest from the Government.
Cao Viet Sinh, Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment, said these 6 northern provinces have a high number of poor households, for example Dien Bien (30 percent), Ha Giang (26 percent) and Son La (25 percent).
Mr Sinh emphasised that the project will not only help local people escape poverty but will teach them how to do business to earn adequate incomes.
Victoria Kwakwa, World Bank Director in Vietnam, said the WB applauds Vietnam’s effort to achieve its millennium development goals, including poverty reduction. The WB wants to contribute to Vietnam’s poverty reduction programme, she said.
Officials confiscate 2,000 mooncakes
Market watch officials seized 2,000 moon cakes that did not have proper quality declarations from the producer Son Long Dong Khanh on Wednesday in Binh Chanh District, HCM City.
The officials also discovered 24,000 anti-humidity bags that did not have the proper documentation.
On the same day, the team discovered the producer Tan Do illegally changing the shelf-life designations of their cakes from 30 to 45 days and confiscated 40 cakes that were missing quality certificates.
Moon cakes are popular during Mid-Autumn Festival.
Over 10,000 motorists fined for road offences
Ha Noi Road and Railway Traffic Police issued nearly 11,000 traffic fines totalling VND2.5 billion (US$128,500) in the first week of the month for traffic safety violations.
More than 1,500 motorcyclists were fined for not wearing helmets and 794 citations were issued to drivers who stopped their vehicles in forbidden zones.
The city also reported nine traffic accidents that left nine people dead during the week.
Talk on infectious diseases held in Ha Noi
International and local health experts shared experiences in controlling emerging and re-emerging vector-borne and zoonotic viral infections in Southeast Asia at a workshop in Ha Noi yesterday, Sept 9.
The workshop, held by the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology and the American National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, was a chance for scientists to foster research collaboration and better diagnose, treat and prevent infectious viral diseases like SARS, avian influenza, dengue fever and Japanese encephalitis.
Mobilephone services to be offered in tunnel
The HCM City People’s Committee has approved a plan to cover mobile phone service for vehicles travelling through Thu Thiem Tunnel, which was completed on September 2.
The management board of the East-West Highway and Water Environment Project is responsible for selecting an eligible and experienced unit to install a mobile phone communications network for the tunnel.
The network will provide services for users of the city’s mobile phone service providers.
Thu Thiem Tunnel, Viet Nam’s first built under a river and the longest in Southeast Asia, is 1,500m long.
The six-lane tunnel will link the city’s District 1 and 2.
Ministry focuses on coping with climate change
The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) will invest VND143.5 billion in an action plan to cope with climate change from 2010 to 2015.
The plan’s inauguration ceremony was jointly organised by the MoIT and the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) in Hanoi on September 8.
The Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade, Hoang Quoc Vuong, said that the plan will regulate several programmes carried out by the MoIT regarding the safe and efficient use of energy, bio fuels, cleaner production, and the development of renewable energies.
The action plan will be divided into three phases, with 29 main tasks and projects.
The first phase will focus on raising public awareness of the impact of climate change to industrial and commercial activities affecting the MoIT as well as drawing up methods of adapting and mitigating to the green house effect.
The second phase, which will run from 2011-2015, will update and recognise the risks of climate change, that face a number of core industrial and commercial sectors.
By 2013, the ministry plans to have completed and appraised the impact of climate change rising sea levels and the control of the green house effect due to industrial and trade activities, along with carrying out several low carbon and eco-friendly pilot projects.
During the find phase, to be carried out after 2015, the ministry will increase pilot projects with capital provided by the State, businesses and donors, with a focus on adapting economically to climate change.