More than 2,900 companies owe social insurance in HCM City, with total overdue payments of VND141 billion (US$6.71 million), according to the city's Social Insurance Agency.
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Of that amount, 80 per cent occurred in the first six months of this year, with the construction and property sectors responsible for the highest portion.
The agency said social-insurance debt rose steadily during the first half of the year due to the economic crisis, when many enterprises shut down or suspended operations.
Cao Van Sang, director of the agency, said that for the first half of the year, it filed lawsuits against 97 enterprises who owed VND42.2 billion in social insurance.
"This hardly covers the debt owed by enterprises that were dissolved or that fled the country or fled to other localities," Sang said.
Between 2008 and this year, more than 510 enterprises that evaded social insurance payments (worth a total of VND221.6 billion) were sued, he said.
Only half of the money has been reclaimed.
The agency said it could not identify all of the companies that had shut down because it did not have enough staff to do the work. In addition, poor cooperation among relevant agencies was another hindrance.
Nguyen Van Het, director of the social insurance office in the city's District 12, said that 20 companies in the district that shut down during the first half of the year still owed nearly VND1 billion in social insurance payments.
However, that number might be even higher, he added. The district has been unable to track down all the companies because it lacks a sufficient number of staff, and other agencies offer little cooperation. Dong Nai collects social insurance debts
The Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs in south-eastern Dong Nai Province has collected VND30 billion (US$1.4 million) from local enterprises that had social-insurance debts outstanding for more than three months.
The money was collected after the department conducted extended inspections at 86 enterprises that owed a total of nearly VND70 billion (US$3.3 million) since the beginning of June.
The department also fined three other enterprises VND90 million (US$4,300) for failure to pay the debts. Hoi An water cut-off scares away tourists
International and local tourists have abandoned hotels and restaurants in the ancient town of Hoi An in the central province of Quang Nam over a water supply cut-off that has lasted for five days.
The problem started on July 1 when the Hoi An waterworks plant, which is in charge of supplying water to all 5,000 hotels and restaurants in the locality, was struck by lightning, and it still has not been repaired.
Hotels, restaurants and houses in Hoi An had actually not been provided with enough water for several days before the incident due to the water level of the local Vinh Dien and Dien Ban rivers, which has dropped dramatically thanks to a drought. This has caused salt water intrusion into the rivers.
Truong Van Bay, deputy chairman of the Hoi An People’s Committee, said yesterday, July 4, he instructed the management of the water plant to resolve the problems and resume providing clean water as soon as possible.
He added that locals and owners of travel services providers have lodged their complaints directly to him as the water cut-off has caused losses for their business. 180 workers hospitalized for food poisoning in HCM City
As many as 180 employees of two garment companies in HCM City were hospitalized on July 4 after having normal meals the evening before.
The incident happened at Truong Vinh Trading Industrial Garment Co. Ltd and Smart Elegant Vietnam International Garment Co. Ltd, both located in District 12.
The employees said they had fried fish, cooked pork, boiled cabbage and sour soup for the dinner.
Shortly after having dinner together, many of them showed symptoms of severe stomachache.
The situation got worse, and representatives of the two companies took those employees to hospitals nearby for fears that they had got food poisoning.
Inspectors from the HCM City Health Department took specimens of food to determine the cause of the poisoning case.
Most of the employees have now been discharged from hospital, leaving only 20 who are still being treated. Drug trafficker with 15kg of heroin caught in Son La
Police in the northern province of Son La yesterday, July 4, arrested a suspected drug trafficker with 15 kilos of heroin in Moc Chau District's Co Cham Village.
Song A Tenh, 41, from northern Hoa Binh Province, admitted to police officers that he bought the heroin from two ethnic Mong people in the district and was transporting the drugs to lowland provinces for sale.
The heroin was hidden in two boxes under a pile of peaches in the truck, which had the registration 29C 13389.
This is the biggest amount of heroin found in the province.
On Tuesday, police also busted a drug trafficking ring, confiscated 82 cakes of heroin and 35,000 tablets of Amphetamines. The suspects in this case have not been identified. VNN/VOV/VNS/Tuoi Tre