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No place for indifference



Assistance from the authorities concerned is needed to develop estate projects – PHOTO: THANH HOA

The author holds that the mechanism for dismissing and firing officials who fail to fulfill their duties should be considered a breakthrough policy for 2020, or at least for the next term of the Government.

Those who have learned the Literature textbook of Grade 7 may not forget the short story “Let It Go” by writer Pham Duy Ton. The story took the rural area of Vietnam in the early 20th century as the background. It tells about a rainy night when a dike section of the Red River was broken and people were hurriedly wading in water, working hard to mend the dike while officials were playing to tom, a card game using a deck of 120 cards and played by five persons, in the communal house, disregarding the calamity.

Vietnam will celebrate her 75th National Day this year. The story by Pham Duy Ton was based on the social situation before the August Revolution in 1945, but the situation it described seems to somehow exist in today’s society in a different form.

At a conference between the Prime Minister and businesses late last year, the author stated that quite a few civil servants and officials were indifferent, insensitive and irresponsible in performing their duties, and were slow in resolving problems and obstacles for people and businesses. The author thinks that once people have chosen the public service as their careers, they should have the spirit of engagement and foster the public value for the service of the country and society. Civil servants and officials should think of “Conscience-Honor-Responsibility” in whatever they do. Conscience is meant to not be ashamed of oneself. Honor is to not be embarrassed to families and friends. Responsibility is to not feel guilty to people and society. Regretfully, not many people pay attention to these ethics.

As an example, a real estate enterprise recently sent a letter to the Ministry of Construction petitioning for removal of legal hurdles which have sent it into a difficult situation on the verge of bankruptcy. Of note, though its project has been suspended for two years due to prolonged procedural revision of State management agencies, an official from the ministry said the agency had yet to learn in detail the file of the case (1). It’s a big enterprise with a big project which has a big impact on the interests of its business, investors, homebuyers, employees, banks, shareholders and the State as well, but the Ministry of Construction, in the capacity of a State management agency, has failed to grasp the problem.

To real estate traders, the failure of some condotel projects in recent years is still fresh in their minds. Some people argued that excessively high profit commitment is the direct cause of the failure of some condotel projects, but the fundamental cause is that the legal troubles regarding those projects have never been resolutely tackled by ministries and local authorities. The Prime Minster has assigned the Ministry of Construction to the task of studying and issuing standards, norms and guidelines for condotels, as well as the regulation for the operation of condotels, and of working towards the amendment of relevant laws. It’s not as yet known whether the ministry has fulfilled this assignment.

We don’t know the concrete responsibility of the Ministry of Construction regarding this issue, but even if the ministry is not directly related, it should have a sense of responsibility, proactively helping businesses resolve problems or guiding them how to handle difficulties, instead of embracing the mindset of indifference, seeing it as the responsibility of other ministries or agencies, not its own.

The irresponsibility of State agencies may cause many serious consequences. As an example, condotel projects or the project of the enterprise which has sent the petition to the Ministry of Construction may lead to bankruptcy for the businesses concerned. Further, in the case of an enterprise which has large market capitalization on the stock exchange and good prestige at home and to international partners and financiers, the bankruptcy of such an enterprise will erode the confidence that international investors and financiers have for Vietnam. Last but not least, the difficulties facing those enterprises are not their own but may be representative of challenges for other real estate enterprises who have not asked for help as well as for the business community in Vietnam.

The tragedy for businesses is not their poor capacity but the irresponsibility of State agencies, the inconsistent, incomplete and intransparent policies, or prolonged inspections without a definite conclusion for the businesses or people concerned. No matter what the final conclusion may be, the inspected businesses are the ones to bear the brunt, with the irrecoverable loss of their prestige, image or asset value. Who can compensate for the loss? The Government has pledged to protect the property rights of people and businesses, but how the protection is ensured in this case? There is currently no institution to protect effectively the property rights of businesses and people as well as to define the responsibility for compensation for losses of businesses and people due to the action or inaction of State agencies. 

There are thousands of businesses going bankrupt, being dissolved and suspending operations every year. The figures repeat year after year, making many officials feel familiar with and turn a blind eye to them. However, the Government, ministries and sectors have yet to have any analysis or assessment to find out the cause of the “death” of such thousands of businesses. One cannot easily put the blame on a general subject like the market economy. No matter what the cause may be, be it the market or the business itself, it eventually has the responsibility of the State, and specifically the responsibility of a certain agency, ministry or sector.

Also at the above conference, the Prime Minister said, “We should be aware that the loss of a certain legitimate Vietnamese enterprise or brand does not mean the failure of the business itself but the Government and local authorities as well; in all, the failure of all of us.” Unfortunately, many ministries and local authorities do not see it as their failures. It’s not the failure of the State only, as the failure has many consequences for the economy and employees. In the above case, the property rights of businesses and the interests of homebuyers, shareholders and investors are not protected; and banks face the risk of bad debt, tarnishing the investment and business environment for which the Government has worked hard to hammer out a policy in its freshly issued Resolution No. 2 on improving the business environment.

Anxious about the sluggishness of many ministries and sectors in improving the institution and handling outstanding documents, the Prime Minister’s task force has worked with 11 ministries and agencies to urge them to fulfill their assignments. Data of the Government’s Office show that ministries have a backlog of 24 guidelines for laws effective from January 1, 2020 and earlier, including 21 decrees and circulars for the areas under the management of six ministries. Furthermore, to provide guidelines for laws which will take effect from July 1, 2020, ministries must issue and present to the Prime Minister to issue 62 documents, including 35 decrees and 27 circulars, with 22 decrees and 16 circulars on the part of the 11 relevant ministries. In addition, the Government’s Resolution 01-2020 lists 137 major tasks for specific ministries and sectors, much less than the 186 tasks stated in Resolution 01-2019. This is a progress and renovation in the Government’s resolution drafting and task assignment, which makes it easy to monitor, supervise, assess and account for the performance of ministries and sectors.

Nevertheless, fewer tasks do not mean less responsibility. Without definition of the responsibility for public service, even a task cannot be fulfilled, as evidenced by the stories above. Should the author be asked what the breakthrough policy for 2020 is, the answer is the mechanism for dismissing and firing officials who fail to fulfill their assigned tasks. This should be seen as the breakthrough policy for 2020 or at least for the next term of the Government. Officials who are irresponsible and fail to fulfill their tasks must be dismissed.




Vietnam-Australia Digital Forum 2023: Making Vietnamese digital enterprises go global



The Vietnam – Australia Digital Forum 2023 was held in Sydney, the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW), on August 4 to promote the cooperation in information and communication technology as well as the digital field between the two countries.

Vietnam-Australia Digital Forum 2023: Making Vietnamese digital enterprises go global hinh anh 1The signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Vietnam’s Posts and Telecommunications Institute of Technology and its Australian partners. (Photo: VNA)

Sydney – The Vietnam – Australia Digital Forum 2023 was held in Sydney, the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW), on August 4 to promote the cooperation in information and communication technology as well as the digital field between the two countries.

The event was co-organised by Vietnam’s Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC), the Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade) and the NSW Trade and Investment Department in charge of the Vietnam market.

The forum took place as part of Vietnamese Minister of Information and Communications Nguyen Manh Hung’s visit to Australia, Director of the MIC’s Department of International Cooperation Trieu Minh Long told Vietnam News Agency correspondents in Sydney.

In 2023, one of the key tasks that the ministry focuses on implementing is to support Vietnam’s digital business community  go global. In addition to activities in Australia, it also implements programmes in other countries and regions around the world such as the US, Japan, and Europe.

Long highlighted strengths of Vietnam’s digital technology enterprises, saying some of them have been successful in foreign markets, even in choosy markets like the US and Japan.

One of the advantages of Vietnamese businesses when accessing the Australian market is that the two countries have good diplomatic and economic relations, along with the strong Vietnamese community in Australia.

Speaking at the forum, Consul General of Vietnam in New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia Nguyen Dang Thang said that developing a digital platform is a breakthrough solution to promote faster digital transformation, reduce costs and increase economic efficiency.

International cooperation is also an important solution to carry out digital transformation, especially promoting the transformation in society, thereby creating momentum for the digital transformation process in government agencies, he added.
Highlighting the two countries’ new cooperation opportunities, Thang said Vietnam and Australia have a strong cooperative relationship, high political trust which is an important point for cooperation in cybersecurity.

Karla Lampe, Director of NSW International Engagement & Market Development under the NSW’s Department of Enterprises, Investment and Trade (DEIT), emphasised that Vietnam and Australia are maintaining strongest-ever partnership, both from economic perspective and from the ties between the two governments. Both New South Wales and Vietnam have large technology companies and influential individuals in the media.

She expressed her hope that the two countries further promote economic and trade ties in the future, and outline ambitious digital transformation goals.

At the forum, representatives from agencies, organisations, research institutions and businesses of the two countries discussed issues related to information and communication technology, and digital technology to learn about policy incentives, the investment environment in Vietnam and Australia.

At the end of the forum, they witnesses the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Vietnam’s Posts and Telecommunications Institute of Technology and its Australian partners including Western Sydney University, the University of Canberra, SET Education, the Association of Vietnamese Australian Scholars and Professionals (VASEA)./.


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Vietnam lures over 16 billion USD in foreign investment



As of July 20, total newly-registered capital, additional capital, and capital contributions and share purchase by foreign investors stood at nearly 16.24 billion USD, up 4.5% compared to the same period of 2022 and 8.8% compared to the first half of the year.

Vietnam lures over 16 billion USD in foreign investment hinh anh 1


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Vietnam’s macro-economy stays stable, inflation controlled: official



Vietnam’s marco-economic continues to stay stable and inflation is controlled Minister-Chairman of the Government Office Tran Van Son told a press conference following monthly cabinet meeting in Hanoi on August 5.

Vietnam’s macro-economy stays stable, inflation controlled: official hinh anh 1The regular press conference takes places on August 5 in Hanoi. (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi – Vietnam’s
marco-economic continues to stay stable and inflation is controlled Minister-Chairman of the Government Office Tran Van Son told a press conference following monthly cabinet meeting in Hanoi on August 5.

Son said that the cabinet meeting for July focused on assessing and discussing the socio-economic situation in July
and first seven months of 2023; the progress of the programme on
socio-economic recovery and development; public investment capital
allocation and disbursement; and the implementation of three national target
programmes among others.

According to Son, participants to the meeting held that in July,
the socio-economic situation was improved compared to the previous month,
contributing to the country’s performance in the first seven months.

So far, the macro-economic situation has remained
stable, while inflation has been controlled. In the first seven months, the
average consumer price index (CPI) increased 3.12%, while all the major
economic balances were ensured.

State budget collection exceeded 1 quadrillion VND
(42.13 billion USD), equivalent to 62.7% of the estimate. Meanwhile, the
country’s exports fetched 195.4 billion USD, with a trade surplus of 16.5
billion USD.

In July, the Index of Industrial Production (IIP)
rose 3.9% month on month and 3.7% year on year. Total revenue from retail of
goods and services increased 7.1% year on year in July and 10.4% in seven

At the same time, the country welcomed more than 1
million foreign visitors in July and 6.6 million in the January-July period,
6.9 times higher than that in the same period last year.

In seven months, 267.63 trillion VND of public
investment capital was disbursed, completing 37.85% of the yearly target, 3.38%
increase year on year. Meanwhile, the country attracted nearly 16.24 billion
USD in foreign direct investment (FDI), up 4.5%.

In July, 13,700 new businesses were established,
raising the total number of new firms to 131,900 in seven months.

Social welfare, security and defence were also
kept stable.

To date, nearly 93.8 trillion VND of the
socio-economic recovery and development programme has been disbursed. Requests
of localities have also been responded to in a timely manner.

Son said that Prime Minister Pham
Minh Chinh clearly pointed out tasks focusing on removing difficulties for production and business, giving
priority to promoting growth, creating jobs, ensuring livelihoods for people
associated with stabilising the macro-economy, controlling inflation, and ensuring
major balances of the economy.

The PM also asked
ministries, agencies and localities to accelerate the disbursement of public investment capital, and carry out the socio-economic
recovery and development programme, as well as three national target programmes. He urged agencies
to strengthen
forecasts, warnings and provide timely information on
natural disasters and readiness for rescue works, Son said, adding that the PM assigned
specific tasks to particular ministries, sectors and localities in the time to


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