“What should we do – continue to complain about difficulties to get subsidies from the state budget, or become self-reliant to rise up,” said Ben Tre Provincial Party Committee Secretary Phan Van Mai.
Ben Tre provincial Party Committee Secretary Phan Van Mai
Mai began his conversation with VietNamNet at the provincial guest house at 8 pm. He came to the meeting without an assistant and without documents. He only brought the book ‘Khat vong Ben Tre 2045’ (Ben Tre’s aspirations 2045) which he co-authored.
Mai said the total budget expenditure of the province is VND11 trillion, but only 50 percent comes from Ben Tre. He hopes that in the next five years total receipts will cover 70-80 percent of expenditures.
Of the VND11 trillion, VND2-3 trillion is spent on investment and development, while regular expenses account for VND7-8 trillion.
“We are striving to cover 70-80 percent of regular expenses by 2025 and to balance the budget by 2030,” Mai said, adding that this is an ambitious goal but attainable.
In order to reach the goal, there is only one way to follow – “think differently and do differently”, he said.
The resolution of the provincial 11th Party Committee Congress 2020-2025 tenure shows Ben Tre’s development orientation towards the east. It says Ben Tre needs to mobilize and use resources effectively for rapid and sustainable development. It aims to become a well-developed province of Mekong Delta by 2025 and of the whole country by 2030.
Developing towards the east means towards the sea, exploiting the great potential. Ben Tre is also considering an encroachment on the sea.
“We plan to develop the province towards to the east, i.e. the sea, to expand the geographical space. If we succeed, this will pave the way for Ben Tre to develop. Secondly, we will speed up digital transformation.”
Ben Tre has great space in the east with land and water, and as a portal for inter-provincial and international connections that provide a strategic position.
The eastern part has become busy with wind power projects, and 4,000 hectares of hi-tech farming area, with a large industrial zone development plan and deep-water seaport, from which it is easy to connect with HCM City by land, just 60 kilometers away, and to Ba Ria – Vung Tau by sea, just 30 kilometers.
|The eastern part has become busy with wind power projects, and 4,000 hectares of hi-tech farming area, with a large industrial zone development plan and deep-water seaport, from which it is easy to connect with HCM City by land, just 60 kilometers away, and to Ba Ria – Vung Tau by sea, just 30 kilometers.|
But it will take time and resources to open up new space. The eastward strategy cannot be fulfilled overnight. In addition to resources from the state budget, Ben Tre plans to mobilize resources from the public to develop infrastructure. This is the first thing that needs to be done to implement the strategy, because infrastructure plays a decisive role in shortening the physical and economic distance between Ben Tre and major economic centers of the country.
Ben Tre is creating coastal roads in a rush and building more bridges across Tien River to shorten the travel distance between the province and HCM City to 60 kilometers.
“In my view, this should be done under the mode of public-private partnerships (PPP), which means that the state budget, which is limited, should only provide seed capital.
Advancing toward digital space
In 2020, the provincial Party Committee released Resolution No 01 on digital transformation in 2020-2025 with the vision until 2030, which says the province would carry out digital transformation with three pillars – digital government, digital economy and digital society.
The digital transformation would cover every field and citizen, while businesses and people will be the major beneficiaries. The province is striving for the 4th-level for nearly 100 percent of public services, planning to use digital apps to prevent saline intrusion and hatch shrimp, and encourage youth to start businesses in digital technology.
‘Revolutionary spirit’ is the biggest asset
Ben Tre is known as the homeland of coconuts and of the Dong Khoi Revolution (General Uprising January 17, 1960). And now, the province is entering a new uprising, an economic revolution.
During the talk with VietNamNet, Mai mentioned the heroic history of Ben Tre many times.
“Why does Ben Tre, a heroic land with dynamic people, remain poor after years of liberalization? What should we do – continue to complain about difficulties to get subsidies from the state budget, or become self-reliant and rise up?” Mai said.
Tran Ngoc Tam, chair of Ben Tre province People’s Committee, said Ben Tre has a low starting point, so it cannot obtain the high growth of other provinces in the region.
“That is a concern for the provincial leaders and for myself. We need to make a breakthrough to develop the local economy,” Tam said.
But the province is facing challenges. Saline intrusion and climate change will sink Ben Tre if it cannot ‘rise, rise, and rise’, Tam said.
‘Khat vong Ben Tre 2045’ co-authored by Vo Thanh Hao, Phan Van Mai and Tran Ngoc Hai, who were all leaders of Ben Tre province, introduced Ben Tre as follows: “Despite the advantageous geographical position and potential to develop gardening and ocean economy, Ben Tre remains a poor province, ranked 46th in gross regional domestic product (GRDP), 58th in GRDP per capita and 54th in GRDP growth rate. These show where Ben Tre is and why it needs to change.”
Việt Nam condemns attacks against civilians in Afghanistan
HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam has condemned attacks targeting civilians and essential infrastructure in Afghanistan at a UN Security Council’s virtual meeting on the situation on Tuesday.
Ambassador Đặng Đình Quý, Permanent Representatives of Việt Nam to the UN, urged all relevant parties to stop the violence, fully respect international humanitarian law, and ensure unhindered humanitarian access for those in need.
The Vietnamese representative commended efforts made by the UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS) and its partners in supporting demining and offering mine risk education.
Quý stressed the need for addressing economic, humanitarian, and food security challenges as well as promoting women and youth engagement in all aspects of society in Afghanistan.
He affirmed Việt Nam’s support of efforts of the UN, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), countries, regional organisations and other international partners in promoting the peace process in Afghanistan.
The event, chaired by Eva-Maria Liimets, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Estonia and Council President for June, was attended by foreign ministers from Afghanistan, Norway, Ireland, India, and the UK.
Delegates expressed their serious concerns over recent escalating violence and civilian casualties as well as the stalled peace negotiations between the Afghanistan Government and the Taliban.
Deborah Lyons, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan and head of the UNAMA, stated that the UNAMA continues to work to tackle humanitarian challenges, assist the peace negotiation process, and promote development and reconstruction.
Participating council members shared the concerns and called for parties involved to quickly achieve practical results in negotiations.
According to the UNAMA, civilian casualties in Afghanistan increased by 29 percent in the first quarter of 2021, with 573 people killed, 1,210 injured. The nation is also facing a severe humanitarian crisis, with more than 18.4 million people, or more than a third of the population, needing humanitarian assistance. —
President urges deepening Vietnam-UK strategic partnership
President Nguyen Xuan Phuc has urged Vietnam and the UK to continue deepening their bilateral strategic partnership to meet the interests of the two countries and contribute to regional and world peace, stability and cooperation.
|President Nguyen Xuan Phuc (right) and First Secretary of State and Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs of the UK Dominic Raab. (Photo: VNA)|
The President made the remark at a reception for First Secretary of State and Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs of the UK Dominic Raab in Hanoi on June 22, who is on an official visit to Vietnam and attending the high-level policy dialogue of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM).
He said the two sides should give priority to the effective implementation of the UK-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (UKVFTA) towards creating breakthroughs in trade and investment cooperation, affirming that Vietnam will create all possible conditions for UK businesses to invest in potential fields such as banking, insurance, financial services, digital services and renewable energy.
Phuc hailed the UK as a leading country in Europe and the world in researching, developing and administering COVID-19 vaccine, and asked the UK to help Vietnam access vaccine supply and production technology.
Secretary of State Raab underlined that the UK attaches importance to developing relations with Vietnam as the UK is adjusting its policy towards the Indo-Pacific region post Brexit. He informed President Phuc that he had discussed with Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son measures to implement the content of the bilateral strategic partnership, with a focus on the resumption of delegation exchange, cooperation mechanisms and orientations for coordination to optimize opportunities brought by the UKVFTA.
The official said he was impressed by Vietnam’s work in controlling COVID-19, and affirmed that the UK is ready to contribute vaccine to global efforts to control the pandemic, including providing vaccine to friendly countries and strategic partners like Vietnam.
He thanked Vietnam, with its rising role in the region, for actively backing the UK in promoting its cooperation with ASEAN and negotiating on joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
The two sides agreed to work closely at important multilateral forums in 2021 such as the UN Security Council, ASEM and the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26).
President Phuc spoke highly of the UK’s role and contribution to peace, security, and maritime freedom in the region and the world.
The UK official affirmed the importance of ensuring maritime and navigation freedom, security and peace in the East Sea, and emphasized compliance to international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS 1982).
Deputy PM proposes UK further facilitate Vietnam’s access to COVID-19 vaccine supplies
Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh has proposed the UK’s Government further facilitate Vietnam’s access to COVID-19 vaccine supplies and consider transferring its vaccine production technology to the Southeast Asian country.
|At the meeting between Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh (R) and Dominic Raab, British First Secretary of State and Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs (Photo: VNA)|
At a reception in Hanoi on June 22 for Dominic Raab, British First Secretary of State and Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, Minh said the UK is a leading nation in COVID-19 vaccine research and development and is one of the countries which have contributed the most to the COVAX Facility.
The Deputy PM spoke highly of the positive development of the Vietnam – UK strategic partnership in the recent past and expressed his belief that Raab’s current visit would create a new driving force for the bilateral cooperation.
Raab, who has been on an official visit to Vietnam where he also attended the Asia – Europe Meeting (ASEM) High-level Policy Dialogue, affirmed that Vietnam is an important strategic partner of the UK, particularly when the European nation has enhanced its engagement and cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region in the post-Brexit period.
To step up cooperation in line with the “Joint Declaration on the Vietnam – UK Strategic Partnership: Forging Ahead for Another 10 Years”, the two sides agreed to soon resume the exchange of delegations, especially high-ranking ones, and cooperation mechanisms when the conditions allow.
Minh took this occasion to suggest the UK to create favourable conditions for Vietnamese exports to enter its market in a bid to tap opportunities brought about by the UK – Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (UKVFTA).
He also affirmed that Vietnam is willing to create best conditions for British firms to expand their investment, particularly in potential fields such as renewable energy, digital economy, banking, insurance, financial services, and education – training.
The Deputy PM said the two nations should continue their cooperation at international forums such as the UN Security Council (UNSC) during 2020-2021, when Vietnam works as a non-permanent member of the council, and ASEM.
Minh pledged that Vietnam would work closely with the UK to ensure the success of the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) hosted by the UK in November this year.
Raab thanked Vietnam for supporting the UK’s efforts to secure the ASEAN Dialogue Partner status, as well as in negotiations to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
Having emphasised the importance of ensuring the freedom of navigation and overflight, security and peace in the East Sea, the two officials noted that the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) is the legal framework for all activities at sea and ocean.
Top diplomats of Vietnam, UK hold talks in Hanoi
Vietnamese Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son held talks with the visiting British First Secretary of State and Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, Dominic Raab, in Hanoi on June 22.
|Vietnamese Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son (R) and the British First Secretary of State and Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, Dominic Raab, in Hanoi on June 22. (Photo: VNA)|
Son welcomed Raab once again paying an official visit to Vietnam and directly attending the Asia – Europe Meeting (ASEM) High-level Dialogue in Hanoi, voicing his belief that the trip will provide a new driving force for relations between the two countries.
In reply, Raab affirmed the wish to intensify the strategic partnership and close coordination with Vietnam as the UK is orienting its policy towards the Indo-Pacific region.
The two ministers expressed their delight at the positive strides in bilateral cooperation, especially since 2020, when the countries issued the “Joint Declaration on the Vietnam – UK Strategic Partnership: Forging Ahead for Another 10 Years”, and signed and enforced the UK – Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (UKVFTA).
They agreed to soon resume the exchange of delegations and key cooperation mechanisms such as the security – defence strategy dialogue and the joint economic and trade committee (JETCO).
Both host and guest also spoke highly of the thriving economic links despite impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic, with bilateral trade hitting 5.6 billion USD in 2020 and the UK’s direct investment in Vietnam reaching 3.92 billion USD at present.
They emphasised the need to capitalise on great opportunities offered by the UKVFTA so as to give a stronger boost to bilateral trade and investment, especially in potential areas like the digital economy, financial services, and renewable energy development, thereby contributing to post-pandemic recovery.
The two sides discussed directions to further bolster bilateral cooperation in the spheres of security – defence, health, development cooperation, education – training, science and technology, as well as expand cooperation between the two foreign ministries.
|The talks in Hanoi on June 22. (Photo: VNA)|
Son suggested the UK side, in the spirit of the strategic partnership, continue to support Vietnam in accessing COVID-19 vaccine supplies and consider transfering vaccine production technology to Vietnam.
They spoke highly of the Vietnam – UK cooperation at multilateral forums, especially their coordination at the UN Security Council (UNSC) during 2020-2021, when Vietnam serves as a non-permanent member of the UNSC, and within the ASEM framework.
The Vietnamese minister affirmed that he would work closely with the UK side to ensure the success of the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) hosted by the UK in November this year.
For his part, Raab thanked Vietnam for supporting the UK in its efforts to secure ASEAN Dialogue Partner status, as well as in negotiations to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
The two sides also exchanged views on international and regional issues of common concern, emphasising the importance of ensuring the freedom of navigation and overflight, security and peace in the East Sea, and upholding international law, with the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) – the UN “charter of the oceans” considered the legal framework for all activities at sea and ocean.
Following the talks, the two ministers met with Vietnamese diplomats who received the UK’s Chevening Scholarships in 2020 – 2021.
Son thanked the British Government for providing scholarships for and helping Vietnam train high-quality human resources, including diplomats, over the past three decades.
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