VND 1,600 billion for scientific research this year

Ha Noi, Jan. 29 (VNA) -- The Science, Technology and Environment Ministry will invest VND 1,600 billion (USD 110 million) in scientific, technological and environmental research this year.

The money will be used to implement State-sponsored scientific and technological tasks, hi-tech, agricultural and rural development programmes, and to maintain and strengthen the State's capacity to manage scientific organizations and boost environmental protection.

Production of VietsovPetro

Ha Noi, Jan. 29 (VNA) -- The Viet Nam-Russia Petroleum Joint Venture (VietsovPetro) plans to pump 13 million tonnes of crude oil and bring ashore 1.5 billion cu.m. of gas this year.
VietsovPetro tapped 154,000 tonnes of crude oil and brought ashore 15 million cu.m. of gas from the Bach Ho (White Tiger) and Rong (Dragon) oil fields in four days of the traditional Lunar New Year, from Jan. 23-26.

The joint venture's current daily output of 38,500 tonnes of crude oil and five million cu.m. of gas is double last year's production.

New degree to help small and medium business

Ha Noi, Jan. 29 (VNA) -- The Planning and Investment Ministry is drafting a decree intended to give small-to-medium business development new momentum.

The enterprises - 90 percent of them State-owned - make up 26 percent of Viet Nam's gross domestic product, GDP, and last year provided stable employment for more than eight million people.

In so doing, they played an important role in Viet Nam's socio-economic development.

Law reform boosts social progress

Ha Noi, Jan. 26 (VNA) -- Cutting its poverty rate by more than half during the past 15 years can be attributed to Viet Nam's reform of social policy, says Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs Minister Nguyen Thi Hang.

Hang says that in addition to increased spending for social development - 25 percent of last year's budget - the Government has devised policies that encourage individuals to make money in complience with the law, while encouraging all society and the international community to become involved in dealing with social problems.

Vietnam plans measures to encourage foreign investment

Ha Noi, Jan. 26 (VNA) -- Viet Nam is devising uniform solutions to both attract more foreign investment and make it more efficient.

For example, State management agencies will issue guidelines for implementing the Foreign Investment Law in the first four months of this year.

They will follow this by submitting a formula for the trial equitization of foreign-invested enterprises, FIEs, to the Government in the second quarter to help them participate in the securities and capital markets.

Cinnamon areas expand to meet export demands

Ha Noi, Jan. 26 (VNA) -- Viet Nam is to expand its cinnamon areas from 16,000 ha to 50,000 ha in an effort to earn USD 15 million from cinnamon-bark exports by the year 2005, says the Agriculture and Rural Development Ministry.

Between 3,000-5,000 ha of the planned cinnamon areas will be exploited each year to ensure raw material for both export and essential oil production, it says.

Vinamilk- successful dairy company

Ha Noi, Jan. 25 (VNA) -- The Viet Nam Dairy Products Co. (Vinamilk) has almost defeated multinational rivals.

Between five and seven years ago, milk was a luxury product. However, with the appearance of Vinamilk with its 100 categories of products milk and dairy produce have become familiar to all families.

Environment protection is accelerating


Ha Noi, Jan. 25 (VNA) -- Viet Nam is seeking to limit the use of fossil fuels and develop replacements so as to reduce environmental pollution, says Deputy Science, Technology and Environment Minister Pham Khoi Nguyen.

He says the ministry has helped the government issue policies aimed at accelerating environmental protection, including those that encourage the development of new and cleaner fuel sources.

Gas to pump from off southern shore of Vietnam

Ha Noi, Jan. 25 (VNA) - Gas is soon to be pumped from the shared Viet Nam-Malaysia gas field off sourthern Viet Nam by PetroVietnam and Malaysia's Oil and Gas Co.

The gas will be used to fuel electricity generation in the Mekong delta provinces of Tra Vinh and Can Tho and is part of PetroVietnam's plans to exploit the country's potential to produce an estimated yearly 2,200 billion cu.m. of the fuel.

Other projects planned by PetroVietnam for the effective use of gas for both industry and daily life include:

Plan for rural public healthcare development

Jan. 25 (VNA)-- Viet Nam plans to invest some USD 98.7 million to boost the development of its rural public healthcare system by 2006. The investment will be focused on building 212 medical clinics; 13 preventive medical centres, 13 hospitals and 99 general clinics in 13 provinces, as well as medical-worker training.

The Asian Development Bank has pledged USD 68.3 million in soft loans and the United Nations Children's Fund, UNICEF, has granted USD 1 million for the programme.