Local Press highlight 8th April 2008
The Prime Minister has assigned the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) to urgently work out criteria to classify investment projects into three categories, including projects that must be delayed, those that should be slackened in construction progress and projects that need more capital in order to be completed and put into operation.
The lists of these projects are requested to be submitted to the Prime Minister later this month.
The move is among the measures to fight inflation, stabilise the macro economy, ensure social welfare and sustainable growth.
Nhan Dan Online 8 .4
Vietnam Innovation Day 2008 to tackle food safety
The Vietnam Innovation Day 2008 programme to be held in June this year will be themed “Food Safety”.
This event will be co-organised by the Vietnam Food Administration, Tuoi Tre Newspaper and the World Bank in Vietnam, and will have four sub themes, including awareness raising on food safety, best practices to improve food safety, new technology to ensure safer products, and better food safety management.
According to the organising committee, the best and innovative ideas on issues relating to food safety will receive the awards from the World Bank and other sponsors to implement within one year. At least 15 awards of up to US $15,000 each will be given to winning proposals.
This is the first time the Vietnam Innovation Day focuses on food safety, according to Professor Doctor Tran Dang, Director of Vietnam Food Administration.
“We launch such a program to encourage the community to propose innovative ideas to address challenges to food safety in the development process”, Mr. Dang added.
Rural Sector Co-ordinator for the World Bank in Vietnam, Mr. Severin Kodderitzsch, stressed the importance of the society’s participation in ensuring food safety. According to Mr. Kodderitzsch, “it is impossible to improve food safety for the people without the society’s involvement and creativeness.”
According to the Action Plan for Food Safety and Agriculture Health in 2006, the cost for human illness relating to food safety, for crop losses due to diseases and business opportunities lost can be more than US $1 billion (nearly 2% of GDP).
Settling these issues will not only improve people’s living standards, but also increase Vietnam’s agriculture products’ competitiveness in global economic integration, which will increase labours’ income and businesses’ profits.
Nhan Dan online 8 .4
Rice exports to be barred before July
The Vietnam Food Association has ordered its member enterprises to stop signing new rice export contracts before July.
The requirement is based on the Prime Minister’s target to limit rice exports to 3.5-4 million tonnes this year to ensure national food security.
The price of export rice has increased from US $400 per tonne of 5 percent-broken rice in February to US $410 in March, the association said. In the latest contracts to export rice to the Philippines, Vietnamese enterprises have negotiated prices of US $750 per tonne.
The average export price in 2007 was only US $309 per tonne.
Due to the impacts of severe weather on rice crops, many of the world’s leading rice exporting countries have had to cut rice export volumes this year. Thailand will lower export volume from 9.55 million tonnes in 2007 to 8.75 million tonnes this year. Vietnam plans to export 3.5-4 million tonnes this year, a million tonnes lower than the amount exported in 2007.
With other countries lowering the amount of rice available on the international market by 4 million tonnes, export prices have been mounting rapidly.
However, an official from the Ministry of Industry and Trade said authorities should compare domestic consumption of rice and export volume to understand how changes in the level of rice exports would affect domestic rice supplies.
Authorities and rice exporters need to ensure stability of production and domestic rice prices in order to help control inflation and ensure food security, as well as produce rice for export.
Dao The Tuan, former director of the Vietnam Agricultural Science and Technology Institute, said that the costs of many staple grains were rising, including wheat, corn and soybeans, all of which were being imported by Vietnam.
He said that rising prices for agricultural products presented opportunities for Vietnam to develop its agriculture sector.
Vietnam remains a priority recipient of ODA from Japan
Minister Daisuke Matsugana from the Japanese Embassy in Vietnam has affirmed that inflation has not affected the effective use of ODA funds in Vietnam. In the fiscal year 2008, Vietnam remains a priority country to receive Japan’s ODA funds.
Regarding the effective use of Japan’s ODA funds in Vietnam in 2007, Mr Matsugana said almost all projects have been successfully implemented and the Japanese side was very satisfied with the implementation of ODA projects in the country. Japan will continue to select Vietnam as a priority recipient of its ODA funds in 2008 while reducing the funds for other countries.
At the CG meeting held in Vietnam late 2007, Japan was committed to providing Vietnam with aid of more than US$1.1 billion in the 2008 fiscal year, up 20 percent compared to last year’s figure. In 2008, Japan will continue to providing ODA funds to Vietnam in the fields of building infrastructure, developing human resources and education.
In the coming time, Japan’s ODA projects will also focus on such fields as energy, environment, and urban transportation, said Mr Matsugana. He added that Japan will also pour around US$20 million into developing central highland areas in the Cambodia-Laos-Vietnam Development Triangle.
The Japanese government will also attach importance to small non-refundable projects in Vietnam’s rural areas.
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