[Round-up] JICA Funds $848 Million for Vietnam, Fed Hails SBV’s Bad Debt Cleanup Efforts

Tuan Minh

18:07 01/04/2016

BizLIVE - JICA has signed agreements to provide $848 million in ODA for four projects in Vietnam. Fed has highly valued Vietnam’s efforts to clear toxic debts.

[Round-up] JICA Funds $848 Million for Vietnam, Fed Hails SBV’s Bad Debt Cleanup Efforts

Fed has highly valued Vietnam’s efforts to clear toxic debts.

Labor Employment Policies to Be Reviewed
The system of policies on labor and employment must be reviewed and amended to be more easily-approached and ensure the rights and interests of employers and employees during Vietnam’s integration into international markets, a deputy minister of labor said in Hanoi on Thursday.
Vietnam’s participation in the ASEAN Economic Community, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement and other free trade agreements has offered various job opportunities to Vietnamese workers, especially those who are skilled and good at foreign languages, he added.
Vietnam Urged to Promote Part Suppliers
The localization rate in Vietnam is too low as the number of Vietnamese part supplying businesses accounted for only 3% of the country’s total, Phan Dang Tuat, former director of the Institute for Industrial Policy and Strategy was quoted by the Vietnam News Agency as saying.
Vietnam has 1,383 businesses operating as part suppliers out of a total 500,000 firms, divided into three groups of mechanic, electronics, rubber and plastic, he told a forum in Hanoi on Thursday.
“Vietnam should promote the building of a start-up model for companies in the sector. Ministries and agencies should study how to establish more firms in the industry,” he added.
JICA Provides $848 Million in ODA for Vietnam
The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) on March 31 signed agreements to provide a total of 95.167 billion yen ($848 million) in official development assistance (ODA) for four projects in Vietnam.
The four projects include North-South Expressway Construction Project, Lach Huyen Port Infrastructure Construction Project, Lach Huyen Road and Bridge Infrastructure Construction Project, and Support Program to Respond to Climate Change.
Fed Hails Vietnam’s Efforts to Clear Bad Debts
Vietnam is among few countries that have quite successfully cleaned up non-performing loans, thanks to large efforts made by the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV), Jerome Powell, a governor of the U.S.’s Federal Reserve (Fed), told Deputy SBV Governor Nguyen Thi Hong in Hanoi on March 31.
Fed is keen on economic and financial developments in Vietnam and hopes to share experience in macro management with SBV, Mr. Powel said.  
Vietnam’s Fiscal Deficit Hits $2.1 Billion in Jan-Mar
Vietnam reported a state budget deficit of 47 trillion dong ($2.1 billion) in the first three months of this year, the Ministry of Finance said at a press conference on March 31.
Total budget revenue increased 0.3% year-on-year to 230.5 trillion ($10.3 billion) in the first quarter of this year while budget spending totaled 277.5 trillion dong ($12.4 billion).
Revenues from crude oil were estimated at nine trillion dong ($402 million), less than half of revenues in the same period of 2015.  
Vietnam among South Korea’s Export Spotlights in March
Vietnam continues to be South Korea’s export market with the highest growth rate, the Vietnam News Agency reported, citing a report released by the Korean Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) on April 1.
In March, exports from South Korea to Vietnam enjoyed an increase of 13.5% compared to the same period last year. The figure was followed by the European Union with 12.7%, and India with 11.7%.
Vietnam Ranks 2nd in Asia’s Consumer Confidence: MasterCard
Vietnam is the second-most optimistic country in consumer confidence in the Asia-Pacific, only after Myanmar, VNA reported, citing the MasterCard Index of Consumer Confidence.
Although the Asia-Pacific recorded a decline in consumer confidence, with an overall index of below 60 points, consumers in Myanmar, Vietnam and India remained upbeat about market potential for the next six months.
Nearly 30% of Foreign Firms in Vietnam Pay Bribes for Investment Licenses
About 29% of foreign-invested enterprises (FIEs) admit that they paid bribes when attempting to acquire their investment licenses and 35% paid bribes when competing for government contracts, according to the Provincial Competitiveness Index 2015 survey.
Up to 89% firms responded that they were disadvantaged in the selection process if they refused to pay a bribe during procurement, says the report. Among them, 29% always paid bribes, 32% usually and 28% sometimes.
Vietnam’s Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), which measures manufacturing performance edged up 50.7 in March from 50.3 in February, signaling a further modest monthly improvement in the sector, according to a report by Nikkei and Markit.
The latest improvement in operating conditions was supported by a faster rise in new business amid reports of stronger customer demand. New export orders also increased at a sharper pace during the month.
Vietnam’s gross domestic product (GDP) is likely to grow 6.9% in 2016 despite the existence of the downside risks emanating from the contraction in agricultural output, ANZ said in a note titled “Greater Mekong Outlook” released on March 31.
The Australian bank expects Vietnam’s economic growth to slow to 6.5% in 2017.