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Vietnam slashes power usage at its largest solar farm

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HANOI — Vietnam has cut the utilisation rate of power produced at its largest solar farm by 40% due to the lack of a pricing mechanism in place, authorities said on Tuesday, in a move that could be a blow to the country’s drive to increase the use of renewable energy.

The power trading unit of state-owned utility EVN had cut the utilisation rate to 278 megawatts (MW) from 450 MW at the Trung Nam – Thuan Nam solar power plant in the province of Ninh Thuan, the government said in a news release.

Vietnam, which last year pledged to become carbon-neutral by 2050, is seeking to increase its installed power generation capacity with a focus on renewables.

The EVN unit said the utilisation cut effective from Sept. 1 was due to the “lack of a pricing mechanism”, according to a letter reviewed by Reuters that was sent to the developer of the power plant, Trung Nam Group.

“We cannot utilise the portion of installed capacity for which a feed-in tariff hasn’t been approved by authorities,” EVN deputy chief executive Nguyen Anh Tai said in the government’s news release.

The existing pricing mechanism, at 9.35 U.S. cents per kWh, is applicable only for the first 2,000 MW of solar capacity in the province.

Trung Nam in a separate letter had asked the ministry of industry and trade and EVN to resume full utilisation of the solar farm.

Resuming full utilisation would help the investor cover its investment cost and “avoid bankruptcy”, according to the letter reviewed by Reuters.

Vietnam’s renewable energy developers frequently face concerns about local regulations and their relationship with EVN, said Hanoi-based energy analyst Nguyen Thanh Son.

“The government needs to separate the power transmission operations from EVN and quickly marketize the electricity sector.”

U.S. climate envoy John Kerry said last week in Hanoi that Vietnam’s utilisation rate of installed renewable energy sources was too low.  

EVN in March urged people to save energy as it warned of electricity shortages due to tight coal supplies.  

Source: https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/society/20220913/vietnam-slashes-power-usage-at-its-largest-solar-farm/69062.html

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Over 41,500 workers lose jobs in Vietnam in latter half of 2022

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Some 1,235 enterprises in Vietnam are facing difficulties in production, affecting 472,000 workers, and more than 41,500 people have had their labor contracts terminated since the middle of the year, according to the Vietnam General Confederation of Labor.

These figures are drawn from a statistic conducted by the confederation in 44 provinces and cities across the country during the half-year period.

Of the 41,558 people who lost their jobs, nearly 30,300 were female workers aged 35 or older, and more than 9,400 were pregnant and raising children under one year old.

The job cuts occurred mainly in textile, garment, footwear, and wood processing enterprises as they lacked foreign orders, faced increasing input costs and declining consumer demand from major markets such as the U.S., the EU, and Japan, according to the confederation.

The union forecasts that those difficulties will last until the middle of 2023, leading to more layoffs and reductions in working hours, and seriously affecting workers’ income.

The agency also does not rule out scenarios where business owners run away, owe salaries, social insurance and other benefits, or purge workers over 35 years old from their companies to recruit younger people at lower pay.

By the end of November, there were 144 collective work stoppages in industrial parks, export processing zones, and economic zones, an increase of 53 times over the same period in 2021. 

The main reason is that wages and benefits were cut while workers had lost income during the two years of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Phan Van Anh, vice chairman of the Vietnam General Confederation of Labor, asked trade unions to proactively urge enterprises to pay unpaid wages and reward employees at the end of the year.

Trade unions must also negotiate with employers to arrange working time to minimize job loss, especially for female workers aged 35 years old and in difficult situations.

On October 26, the Vietnam General Confederation of Labor announced a plan to give support totaling VND500 billion (US$20.2 million) to workers in celebration of the upcoming Lunar New Year holiday, which will begin in the latter half of January.

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Source: https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/society/20221130/over-41500-workers-lose-jobs-in-vietnam-in-latter-half-of-2022/70257.html

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Boy dies after school lunch in south-central Vietnam

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Police in Binh Dinh Province, south-central Vietnam are investigating a case where a five-year-old boy in Hoai An District died after having lunch at his kindergarten on Tuesday.

Teachers at Tang Bat Ho Kindergarten prepared T.H.A. and his classmates for a nap after lunch at around 11:25 am on the day, but later found that the five-year-old was still awake and showed unusual signs indicating poor health, Mai Van Len, a local official said on Tuesday evening.

The teachers immediately took A. to Hoai An District Medical Center for emergency treatment and informed his family of the incident. 

However, A. was determined to have passed away before reaching the medical center at around 12:00 pm the same day.

Authorities are investigating the cause of his death.

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Source: https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/society/20221130/boy-dies-after-school-lunch-in-southcentral-vietnam/70256.html

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Indian senior executive gets 15 years for embezzling $78,000 in Vietnam

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A Vietnamese court has sentenced an Indian man to 15 years in prison for embezzling nearly US$78,000 from a Vietnam-based subsidiary whose parent company is an Indian firm where the man was deputy general director.

Defendant Soumyodiptha Saha, 35, an Indian citizen, received the jail term at his first-instance trial held at the People’s Court of Ho Chi Minh City on Monday.

The man was found to have appropriated the aforementioned amount from Ho Chi Minh City-based B9 Beverages Co., Ltd., whose parent company is B9 Beverages Pvt. Ltd. headquartered in India, according to the indictment.

In 2019, B9 Beverages Pvt. Ltd. recruited Saha and appointed him deputy general director in charge of finance affairs, whose duties were to control financial transactions related to the  company’s subsidiaries in other countries, including B9 Beverages Co., Ltd. in Vietnam.

The Vietnamese subsidiary opened an account at Standard Chartered Bank (Vietnam) Limited in Ho Chi Minh City, for its payment transactions, in 2009.

As a senior executive in charge of accounting affairs of this subsidiary, Saha was authorized to approve payments of under $10,000 at his discretion using this account.   

Taking advantage of this privilege, from August 30 to October 28, 2019, Saha transferred a total amount of more than VND1.9 billion ($77,930) worth of 27 transactions from the account to an account held by a Vietnamese woman, Nguyen Song An, at Techcombank in Vietnam.

An left Vietnam in March 2020 via Tan Son Nhat Airport in Ho Chi Minh City after withdrawing the entire amount in her account. 

When Saha’s act of embezzlement was discovered, the man told investigators that An is his wife and they married in India in 2019.

At the trial, Saha declared that he and his wife were quarreling in January 2020 when he went to Vietnam and revealed to An the origin of the money he had transferred to her.

The man added that they have since lived in separation, without his knowing about her whereabouts. 

Saha told the court that he did not intend to appropriate his company’s money but he only “borrowed” it to help his wife to repay her debts, Thanh Nien (Young People) newspaper cited the foreigner as saying.

After Saha was prosecuted, Saha’s mother in India repaid all the appropriated money to the aggrieved party, B9 Vietnam Company, which confirmed the repayment and later filed a petition with the court to waive its claim against the Indian man. 

Judging that the foreigner’s act has seriously violated the rights and interests of B9 Beverages Co., Ltd. that is under the protection of the laws of Vietnam, the trial panel finally decided to impose the 15-year jail term.

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Source: https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/society/20221130/indian-senior-executive-gets-15-years-for-embezzling-78000-in-vietnam/70255.html

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