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BUSINESS IN BRIEF 29/4   2009-04-29 - VietNamNet/VNA, TN

HCM City to work with provinces to spur growth

HCM City early this week signed a cooperation programme with provincial authorities in Bac Lieu and Soc Trang for social and economic growth from 2009-15.

Speaking in Bac Lieu, the secretary of the HCM City Party’s Committee, Le Thanh Hai called for further cooperation between the city and Bac Lieu to develop trade, eco-tourism, and transport and financial sectors that have untapped potential.

He said the signing of a cooperation agreement would help Bac Lieu province develop many social and economic programmes.

He asked local authorities to make a greater effort to attract investment from foreign and domestic businesses, especially businesses in HCM City.

In Soc Trang, leaders of HCM City and Soc Trang province stressed the need to expand cooperation between the two localities to tap their potential in agriculture and seafood.

Hai said the cooperation was essential to help Soc Trang build infrastructure and alleviate poverty in rural areas.

He pledged that the city would strengthen cooperation with Soc Trang to build transport infrastructure to lure domestic and foreign investments and help local businesses expand domestic markets to stimulate consumption and improve human resources.

The HCM City Party leader also stressed the need to help improve the living conditions of ethnic minority Khmer households in Soc Trang, of which 30 percent are poor.

After the signing of the cooperation agreement between city-based enterprises and Soc Trang province, the city’s Sponsorship Association for the Poor announced its plan to provide cataracts and heart surgery for 500 poor people in the province in 2009-10.

HCM City plans more cooperatives

HCM City

The Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee has devised a plan to establish more business cooperatives, primarily in the trade and service sectors.

The committee said it would conduct research to develop cooperatives in housing, health care and school sectors.

Another aim will be the merger of small-scale trade and service cooperatives into unions or larger cooperatives.

Priorities will be given to agricultural service cooperatives, who provide input materials and purchase products for cooperative members and farmers.

Agricultural service cooperatives are located mostly in the city’s outlying districts of 9, 12, Go Vap, Thu Duc, Binh Tan, Hoc Mon, Cu Chi, Nha Be and Can Gio.

At the end of last year, the city had nearly 500 cooperatives with a total of 60,000 members, operating in various sectors, including trade, services, agriculture and transport.

The cooperatives, with at least seven members each as mandated, provide jobs for an additional 40,000 labourers.

The city also has 3,600 cooperative teams which have at least three
members each.

This year the city has targeted a growth rate for the cooperative sector of 9 percent and aims to have members earning a profit of 15 percent of their capital contributed to the cooperative.

The city also aims to raise the annual average income of labourers working at cooperatives this year to 19.2 million VND (1,100 USD).

The city will provide professional training for 1,000 people who manage cooperatives.

It will also help cooperatives promote their products, apply and upgrade their production technologies.

Israel’s airline opens general sales agent in Vietnam

El Airlines (EL AL) of Israel will inaugurate its general sales agent in Ho Chi Minh City on May 4.

EL AL is the biggest Israeli carrier which operates passenger and cargo flights from Tel Aviv to 48 destinations in four continents.

The airlines is working to expand its global coverage with 77 sales offices so far worldwide.

It is ranked by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) as one of the world’s three most efficient air carriers.

Germany helps railway sector raise business performance

Germany has effectively helped restructuring and increase the business performance of the railways sector through a 2.1 million EUR project.

The Vietnam Railways Corporation (VRC) and the German Technical Cooperation (GTZ) jointly held a seminar in Hanoi on April 28 to review the project, which was carried out from 2001-2008.

Addressing the seminar, VRC Deputy General Director Nguyen Dat Tuong said the sector’s performance has improved remarkably after the restructuring, posting an annual revenue growth of over 12 percent in the 2003-2008 period. Especially, the sector has attracted investment from the foreign-invested and private sectors in railway transportation.

Under the project, the State management of the railways sector has been separated from business functions with the establishment of the Vietnam Railways Administration and the Vietnam Railways Corporation.

The project also helped drafting the Railways Law, making a legal framework for the development of the sector, ensuring equal participation of businesses of various economic sectors.

In addition, the Vietnam Railways Corporation has also developed new services with support from the project, including container trains between Hai Phong-Lao Cai, Hanoi-Sai Gon and Da Nang-Saigon, and the Sai Gon-Phan Thiet tourism route.

VRC officials also benefited from many training courses to improve capacity of management of business and service quality.

Manfred Breihaupt, a senior expert of GTZ overseeing the project, said that the project played an important role in attracting support from other donors.

On this occasion, VRC leaders called on domestic and foreign partners, especially those from ASEAN, to continue to invest and cooperate in train service in Vietnam.

Plan proposed to avoid $2.8 bln in post-harvest losses

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has proposed to the government a plan that it says will help save VND50 trillion (US$2.8 billion) in post-harvest losses incurred every year by the agricultural sector.

The plan involves offering loans of up to 70 percent to farmers and businesses for the purchase of agricultural machines and equipment for production, building drying grounds and warehouses. The plan envisages an expenditure of VND39.5 trillion ($2.2 billion) by 2020.

The state budget would provide VND5.3 billion of this amount, VND21 trillion ($1.1 billion) would be raised through loans, and the rest would be contributed by farmers and enterprises.

The ministry has also suggested reducing import tariffs on agricultural machinery from 5 percent to zero percent.

If approved, the plan is expected to be implemented mainly in the Mekong River and Red River deltas, the nation’s two major rice baskets.

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