Thứ Sáu, 28 tháng 4, 2017

Vietnamese woman mortgages house to send $40k to US ‘boyfriend’

A woman in central Vietnam’s Quang Nam Province has been scammed off over VND900 million (US$40,000) by a purportedly American boyfriend she had met on Facebook.

Quang Nam police said on Friday that it had just received a denunciation penned by N.T.P., who claimed to have been scammed by an online boyfriend.
P. had been exchanging Facebook messages with a man by the name of Muller, who claimed to be the ‘Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army’, stationed in Afghanistan, according to the woman’s account.
Muller reportedly confessed his love for P., offering to send her a large sum of money as a gift to prove his sincerity.
A few days later, the man called P. on the phone, telling her that the gift had been confiscated by Hanoi authorities, and that P. would have to pay VND37 million ($1,600) in order to receive it.
Confident in her boyfriend’s words, P. transferred the sum without a second thought, only to be asked to make multiple further transactions that added up to over VND900 million ($40,000).
Not having the large amount of cash readily available, P. mortgaged her house and other properties for bank loans.
It was not until P. had waited too long without receiving any gift that she realized she had fallen victim to a scam and reported her case to the police.
Earlier this year, a Vietnamese woman from Lam Dong Province in the Central highlands was also duped into transferring VND366.5 million (US$16,000) to a self-claimed U.S. military official she had met on Facebook, using similar con technique.

Thứ Năm, 27 tháng 4, 2017

Lifting farmland limits is key to agriculture development: expert

In 2016, when agriculture suffered from drought, low production and low yield, which led to a negative growth rate, the lowest since 2011, experts said that Vietnam’s agriculture needed critical reform.

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At a working session earlier this year in the northern province of Ha Nam, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said that Vietnam needs to shift from ‘untied agriculture’ into ‘tectonic agriculture’.

Government officials and experts have recently mentioned the farmland limit policy as a barrier to large-scale agriculture production which hinders development.

They have called to lift the farmland limit to push up land accumulation and pave the way for large-scale production.

Expansion of land limits and accumulation of land for large-scale production are expected to be the foundation for the branding of farm produce.
Government officials and experts have recently mentioned the farmland limit policy as a barrier to large-scale agriculture production which hinders development. 
Pham Chi Lan, an economist, understands the value of the new policy. However, she said the policy needs to be implemented so that land won’t fall into the hands of a few wealthy landowners.

ADB (Asian Development  Bank) commented that it is agriculture which is the key to development of Vietnam, not industry or trendy phrases such as ‘4.0 industrial revolution’.

Sixty five percent of the population live in rural areas, directly or indirectly living on agriculture. And, 47 percent of the labor force works in agriculture.

So, the new farmland policy, once applied, will play an important role for the whole economy, not only for agriculture.

Lan believes that innovation would create new opportunities for Vietnam’s agriculture.

First, farmers will have more land for cultivation because the old principle ‘every farmer has land to cultivate’ has been removed.

“Many farmers don’t cultivate fields any longer. Why do we still have to allocate land to them just because of the principle of allocating land to everyone?” she asked.

“In the past, there were too many farmers, while there was limited land fund. But the number of farmers has decreased, so the farmers who still devote themselves to rice fields have opportunities to use more land,” she said.

Second, the land accumulation will organize large-scale production, empowered by mechanization and high technology.

However, Lan pointed out that the new policy does not simply mean giving more land to farmers, and that the state needs to do more than this.

“The state needs to educate farmers about the rights and benefits they have and the responsibilities they have. It is also necessary to re-organize agricultural production,” she said.

Thanh Lich, VNN
Kudos, brickbats greet proposal to double overtime limits

A labour ministry proposal to double the overtime limit for workers to 400 hours per year has evoked a mixed response from workers, and clear disagreement from some officials.

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A labour ministry proposal to double the overtime limit for workers to 400 hours per year has evoked a mixed response from workers, and clear disagreement from some officials. - Photo

In draft revisions to the 2012 Labour Code, the Ministry of Labour, Invalid and Social Affairs has proposed that Vietnamese employees are allowed to work overtime for up to 400 hours per year.
The current limit is a maximum of 200 extra hours per year per worker, according to Article 106 of the 2012 Labor Code. In some specific areas like textiles and garments, leather, aquaculture processing, telecommunications, water and power supplies, overtime is capped at 300 hours per year.
The latest proposal came at the request of many enterprises who’ve argued for several years that more overtime is needed to improve production efficiency, increase workers’ incomes and raise the competitiveness of Vietnamese labour market.
A study by the ministry showed that the maximum number of overtime hours allowed in Viet Nam was currently 30 hours per month, much less than other countries in the region. The limit was 36 hours per month in China, 45 hours in Laos, 56 hours in Indonesia, 72 hours in Singapore, 104 hours in Malaysia, and no limit in Cambodia and the Philippines.
The ministry said its proposal sought to harmonise the benefits of enterprises and labourers, and boost the competitiveness of Viet Nam’s labour market to match other countries in the region.
Good and not-so-good
Several female workers felt overtime limits should not be increased by much because they needed time to take care of their children and families, the An ninh thu do (Capital Security) online newspaper reported.
It quoted Nguyen Thi Duyen, a female worker at the Bac Thang Long – Noi Bai Industrial Park as saying working overtime helped her increase her income, but she preferred to spend time for her children.
If the draft was approved, enterprises would have a legal basis to ask workers for more overtime work, she said.
Hoang Thu Hang, a female worker in an industrial park in Bac Ninh Province, applauded the proposal.
She said almost workers of industrial parks came from other provinces and had to cover their living expenses and save some money.
If the overtime limit was increased, she could earn more, Hang said.
Not good at all
Le Dinh Quang, deputy head of the Labour Relations Department under the Viet Nam General Confederation of Labour, said he did not agree with the proposal.
Quang said any increase in overtime limits should be carefully calculated to avoid the situation that enterprises take undue advantage of workers.
A representative of an export processing zone in Ha Noi said specific assessments of Vietnamese physical conditions had to be made before green lighting the proposal.
He said that workers at the processing zone had reported feeling faint as they worked. This meant they were suffering from high work intensity.
Other experts also advised caution about increasing overtime limits, saying workers needed enough time to rest so that they could reproduce their capacity. 
Top executive of BMW dealer in Vietnam arrested on smuggling charges

 Three people, including the top executive of the authorized Vietnamese dealership of BMW, have been arrested in an investigation involving a batch of the German luxury cars smuggled into Vietnam.

Nguyen Dang Thao is seen in this photo posted on Euro Auto's website.

Officers of the economic police unit under the Ministry of Public Security (C46) confirmed on Thursday that one of the arrestees is Nguyen Dang Thao, general director of Ho Chi Minh City-based Euro Auto, while keeping the names of the other two undisclosed.
Some local media sources said Thao no longer keeps the executive post at Euro Auto – BMW’s official authorized importer in Vietnam providing renowned BMW products and services.
However, the company’s board section on Euro Auto’s website still lists Thao as the general director, according to a check on Thursday by Tuoi Tre News.

The arrest came after the C46 launched a probe into Euro Auto importing and selling a suspicious batch of BMW cars late last year.
In December 2016, the BWM dealer was found to have sold a shipment of imported cars while it was still pending clearance from the Ho Chi Minh City customs agency, in addition to violating multiple regulations, according to the finance ministry.
Euro Auto was also unable to present certificates of origin (C/O) and other papers, documents, and receipts for its imports – a sign of fraud and customer scamming.
An inspection by the finance ministry found that Euro Auto had used fake documents, such as sales contracts and commercial receipts, to import the BMW cars in question.
Also in December, the finance ministry requested that the Ho Chi Minh City customs department suspend all shipments imported by Euro Auto from clearing customs and call on the municipal procuracy to launch a probe into the import and business activities of the car dealership.
The investigation was initiated shortly after, and the three individuals involved were arrested four months thereafter.
Nguyen Dang Thao had been Euro Auto’s director of sales and marketing before being appointed general director in 2015.
 FDI attraction up 40.5% in four months

As of April 20, as many as 734 newly-registered projects were granted with investment certificates with a total registered capital of US$4.88 billion, equal to 96% of the same period last year, according to the Foreign Investment Agency, under the Ministry of Planning and Investment.

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345 projects increased US$4.36 billion in capital, a year-on-year increase of 241.8%.
Foreign investors spent US$1.35 billion contributing capital to and purchasing shares from local firms, up 106.8%.
The total registered and additional capital in four months reached US$10.95 billion, up 40.5%.
As of April 20, US$4.8 billion in FDI were disbursed, up 3.2%.
The export value of the foreign-invested sector attained US$44.05 billion (including crude oil), up 16.1% and accounting for 71.82% of the total export value.
The processing and manufacturing sector took the lead in attracting FDI with US$7.36 billion, accounting for 69.53%.
The mining and retails sales sectors occupied the second and third positions with US$1.28 billion and US$546.68 million, making up 12% and 5.16%, respectively.
Among 83 nations and territories investing in Viet Nam, the Republic of Korea was the largest investor with US$4.05 billion, accounting for 38.25%. It was followed by Japan and Singapore with US$1.85 billion and US$1.1 billion, respectively.
The northern province of Bac Ninh led in attracting FDI with US$2.7 billion, making up 25.51%, followed by the southern provinces of Binh Duong and Kien Giang with US$1.53 billion and US$1.28 billion, respectively.

Thứ Tư, 26 tháng 4, 2017

Stricter fuel standards cause headache to major oil refineries

Higher fuel quality requirements have perplexed Vietnam’s major oil refineries.
Major fuel trading businesses were recently required to supply diesel oil level 4 (Euro 4 standard) to the market no later than on January 1, 2018, a move which put Vietnam’s two existing refineries—Dung Quat and Nghi Son—into a tight spot.
The two refineries need more time to upgrade their facilities to reach the required standards.
Dung Quat, Vietnam’s first oil refinery based in the central province of Quang Ngai, had its initial investment project approved in 1997 and revised plan approved in 2005.
At the time the technical blueprint was approved, the products made by Dung Quat were ensured to meet or surpass contemporary quality requirements.
The first batch of products came out in February 2009 and the facility was ready for commercial operation from May 2010, with products strictly meeting Vietnamese quality standard requirements.
In September 2001, following the enactment of the prime ministerial Decision 49/2011/QD-TTg (Decision 49) which requires the supply of Euro 4 fuel products to the market starting from January 2017, Dung Quat has set to upgrading and expanding its production lines.
For a combination of factors, its targets for quality improvement and capacity expansion have yet to be fully completed.
Dung Quat’s upgrade and expansion project was scheduled for completion in 2022.
A recent report by domestic state-owned fuel giant and Dung Quat’s management authority PetroVietnam stated that even when the upgrade and expansion was finalised, Dung Quat could only produce and supply petrol and diesel oil meeting Euro 2 standards.
With the current production capacity of 2.48 million tonnes of petrol and 2.33 million tonnes of diesel oil per year, Dung Quat can satisfy only part of the local fuel demand.
Nghi Son complex (NSRP), based in the north-central province of Thanh Hoa, has run into similar difficulties.
NSRP’s investment project was approved in April 2008 and its master technical design was approved in December 2009.
The bidding process took place in March 2009. This means all important steps for the project’s deployment were implemented before the enactment of Decree 49. 
According to the blueprint, the products made by NSRP will met or surpass existing quality requirements. The oil refinery is to begin test-runs and market its first batch of products within this year.
Once operational, NSRP will be producing 1.47 million tonnes of common diesel oil and 2.2 million tonnes of top-grade diesel oil per year.
Both Dung Quat and Nghi Son oil refineries will have a large part of their production falling short of Euro 4 standards, making it hard for these two oil refineries to satisfy the recent requirements on Euro 4 standards.
Earlier, Notice 398/TB-VPCP dated December 2016 of the Government Office stipulated that passenger cars and buses with diesel engines shall be applied Euro 4 emission standards from January 1, 2018, while the deadline for trucks with diesel engines will be extended to 2022.
Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung, however, via Document 436 TTg-CN dated March 2017, asked the Ministry of Industry and Trade to require major fuel trading businesses to work out a plan ensuring the supply and distribution of Euro 4 and 5 fuel products in the market to meet the requirements of Decision 49.
Right in this year’s fourth quarter, these firms must improve infrastructure conditions and other commercial factors to be able to supply Euro 4 diesel oil to the market no later than January 1, 2018.
By Thanh Huong, VIR
Vietnam’s notorious pyramid firm Thien Ngoc Minh Uy shutdown raises doubts

Thien Ngoc Minh Uy, infamous for duping Vietnamese consumers into joining its multi-level marketing network, has requested to stop operating as a pyramid firm, raising doubt whether they really want to withdraw from the lucrative business.

Thien Ngoc Minh Uy is infamous for duping Vietnamese consumers into joining its multi-level marketing network.Tuoi Tre

Thien Ngoc Minh Uy was fined a total of VND1.5 billion (US$66,964) by Vietnam’s Ministry of Industry and Trade in 2016 for 80 separate offences, before being hit with an additional fine of VND215 million ($9,598) earlier this year.
The offences include breach of the contracts it signed with network members, failing to meet the level of required training for new members, operating without notifying the local authorities and violating label regulations on its goods.
The trade ministry has said it would handle all violations concerned with the pyramid company strictly; however, Thien Ngoc Minh Uy has recently filed a petition to withdraw from the multi-level marketing scheme, meaning the ministry is also completing procedures to approve their request.
According to the law, once officially able to cease operating its ‘pyramid’ scheme, Thien Ngoc Minh Uy is still required to fulfill all of their obligations to the members of its network.
Given the said violations by Thien Ngoc Minh Uy, the trade ministry has transferred the case file to the investigative police unit under the Ministry of Public Security, which will take a final decision on whether to criminally punish the company.
Old wine, new bottle?
While multilevel marketing is legal in Vietnam, fraudulent variants of the scheme have fooled people with promises of easy money, before eventually scamming large sums of cash from them.
In 2015, Vietnam’s multilevel marketing sector reported more than VND7 trillion ($312.5 million) in revenue, with 1.4 million distributors receiving a total of VND2.1 trillion ($93.75 million) in commissions, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
In most network marketing firms, salespeople not only sell their products, but also encourage others to join the company as distributors. Participants will from then on not only receive commissions for the sales they generate, but also for the sales of the other distributors they recruit.
While people hope that the withdrawal from the multi-level marketing industry by Thien Ngoc Minh Uy will save many from falling victim to the same ‘easy money’ trap, some remain skeptical about the unusual move by the pyramid marketing firm.
It has been speculated that the withdrawal is just another strategy by which Thien Ngoc Minh Uy can continue to attract members to its network, a tactic known as ‘old wine in a new bottle.’
On Tuesday, Thien Ngoc Minh Uy announced on its Facebook page that the trade ministry was handling its request to stop its multi-level marketing operations, accompanied by an outline of its new business model.
The company said it would become a holding company with multiple subsidiaries operating in various business sectors, including multi-level marketing.
This means that while Thien Ngoc Minh Uy will not officially be involved in the multi-level marketing sector, one of its subsidiaries will be a pyramid firm, recruiting new members on behalf of the parent company.