AmCham praises Viet Nam’s progress in law

"We are pleased to see progress on important legislation, including the Unified Enterprise Law and the Common Investment Law. These laws, when enacted, represent an excellent opportunity for Viet Nam to demonstrate that it is taking practical and significant steps to meet its obligations under international bilateral trade agreements and its commitments under the WTO entry process."

Intel signs deal to help develop 'digital Vietnam'

The world's largest chipmaker Intel has signed an agreement with the Vietnamese government to improve the accessibility of information technologies throughout the country, the company's CEO said.
Intel president Paul Otellini said the foundation would aim to boost communication infrastructure across ministries, government, provinces and various organisations.

The company also wants to help Vietnam develop a robust local IT industry and increase computerisation in schools.

Otellini denied revealing how much the company would spend on the program.

Anti-corruption bill requires officials declare assets

Vietnam’s new bill on anti-corruption has, for the first time, legalized the responsibility of state officials, civil servants and army and police officers to declare assets of 50 million VND (roughly 3,150 USD) and up.

Officials’ declared assets must also include those of the spouse and children as well, according to the bill, stressing likely confiscation of assets for officials who fail to prove assets were acquired legally.

US students volunteer in central Hue province

Eleven students from a college in the US journeyed to the central city of Hue back on May 20, to take part in a month long program of charity work in the region, according to event organizers.
The 11 American students, part of the Break Away Association at Johnson State College, had a chance to attend the kick-off ceremony of Vietnam’s Youth Volunteer Campaign, the Green Summer 2005, in Hue June 4, organizers said.

HCMC property market heats up with available condos

The recent rising number of available condominiums in Vietnam’s southern hub Ho Chi Minh City, fueled by support from local banks, has given a big boost to the local property market after a stagnant period.

In the last few months, a huge number of housing projects to build condo blocks have been announced, attracting the attention of local house buyers.

In particular, buyers are falling for the attractive, low-priced condos within a housing program launched by a group of two local property developers and two banks, which will supply 20,000 to 30,000 condos.

VN bourse welcomes foreign firm


HCM CITY — An auction was held last Friday to sell shares of the Taya (Vietnam) Electric Wire and Cable Company, the first ever held for a foreign-invested business.

The auction was held at the HCM City and Ha Noi stock markets.

More than 2.440 million shares of the VND183 billion (US$11.5 million) Taiwanese-owned company were sold for almost VND46.2 billion, with the average price at VND18,922.

The highest price was VND29,100, while the lowest was VND18,000, the same as the starting price.

Commercial banks need equitisation


HA NOI — Bankers and their regulators met yesterday to discuss ways to raise foreign direct investment in the banking sector, with most agreeing that an immediate equitisation of State-owned commercial banks would give the slugglish sector a financial kick-start.

Nguyen Hoang Hai, general secretary of the Viet Nam Association of Financial Investors, said that State-owned commercial banks should move quickly to value their uncollectable loans and total assets in order to take the necessary steps towards equitisation.

New decree fights money laundering


HA NOI — The Government issued a legal framework for anti-money laundering that provides guidance for setting up systems to report and investigate suspicious transactions.

Experts have warned that cash-based economies such as Viet Nam are hotspots for money launderers. The move is seen as a strong commitment to combat these activities.

Decree No 74, issued on Tuesday, will come into effect on August 1.

Population growth slowing but not shrinking, says UN


HA NOI — Viet Nam’s population growth has slowed but the numbers are not shrinking, reports a newly-published review by the United Nations Population Fund, UNFPA.

The review shows that worries about a supposed "baby boom" in 2003 needs to be reassessed, it says in a statement issued yesterday.

It shows also that the country’s population programme needs to be strengthened to ensure the continued deceleration of population growth for stable and quality development during the next 40-50 years.

Nation gets tough on fraud, smuggling and corruption


HA NOI — The Ministry of Public Security reported they uncovered 176,534 economic crimes in the 12 years prior to 2005, including 9,960 cases of corruption.

The report was released on June 8 at a conference to review, in the presence of Secretary and Head of the Inspection Commission of the Party Central Committee, Nguyen Van Chi, public security force operations against smuggling and corruption.