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BUSINESS IN BRIEF 4/3   2009-03-04 - VietNamNet/VNA, TN

Cross-border payment service launched at Lao Bao border gate

A cross-border payment service for Vietnam and Laos, via the Lao Bao-Densavan border gates, was launched on March 3 by the two neighbouring provinces of Quang Tri in Vietnam and Savannakhet in Laos.

At the launch ceremony, which took place in the Lao Bao Special Economic Zone in Huong Hoa district in the central province of Quang Tri, Vilayvanh Phomekhe, member of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party Central Committee and Mayor of the Savannakhet province, and Le Huu Phuc, member of the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee and Mayor of Quang Tri province, described the event as a move that continues the development of the special relationship enjoyed by Vietnam and Laos, particularly the two border provinces.

They announced that the two provinces would create favourable conditions to ensure that the cross-border payment service is implemented efficiently and smoothly. The payment service will be managed by the Vietnam Bank of Agriculture and Rural Development (Agribank) and Lao’s Phongsavanh Bank.

According to the director of the Agribank branch in Quang Tri, Ho Sy Trong, the cross-border payment scheme will stimulate the development of the two country’s economic ties. Businesses can make payments in either Lao kip or Vietnamese dong, he said.

Do Tat Ngoc, chairman of the Agribank Board of Directors, said that the Lao Bao-Densavan border gates are the first among the 10 Vietnamese provinces bordering Laos to provide cross-border payment services. The bank will cooperate with its Lao partners to expand the cross-border payment to other areas.

Agribank Vietnam has successfully managed cross-border payment services on the Vietnam-China border for many years

Banks disburse over 93 trillion VND in subsidised loans

Eighty-five banks, participating in the Government’s interest rate subsidy programme, extended loans totaling more than 93 trillion VND to individuals and organisations in February, the State Bank of Vietnam has reported.

This sum included 72.62 trillion VND from State commercial banks, 18.85 trillion VND from joint stock commercial banks, and the remaining 1.54 trillion VND from foreign banks and joint venture banks.

According to the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV), the Government’s interest rate subsidy programme is a stimulation measure, suitable to the requirements of the national economy.

The programme has given practical assistance to organisations and individuals, helping them to weather the current financial storm, while assisting commercial banks in addressing trapped capital and expanding the scope of their credit programmes and customer bases.

The SBV has supervised commercial banks’ execution of the scheme to ensure it has been carried out smoothly, openly, and transparently.

The banking regulator affirmed that the freezing of deposit interest rates at an appropriate level has helped to stabilise the monetary market.

“The monetary market and interest rates continue to be stable,” noted an SBV spokesman.

More capital expected for East-West Avenue project

An additional 12.5 billion Japanese Yen in funds is shortly to be pumped into the East-West Avenue and Water Environment project, according to the project’s manager.

Le Toan, director of the project management unit revealed on March 3 that the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) is to provide this amount to cover costs which have arisen due to an increase in the prices of construction materials, equipment and labour, as well as costs of additional work items.

On the same day, during a reception for the envoy of the Japanese Embassy in Vietnam and JBIC representative, the chairman of the HCM City People’s Committee, Le Hoang Quan, agreed with the recruitment of Obayshi as the contractor to treat cracks recently discovered in Thu Thiem tunnel.

The East-West Avenue project, funded by Japanese ODA, commenced in 2005 and is expected to complete in 2010.

Thu Thiem tunnel is a principal component of the project.

Contract marks resumption of Japanese ODA flow

Vietnam and Japan have signed their first contract since the latter agreed to resume its provision of official development assistance (ODA) to the southeast Asian nation.

The contract covers consultation and management services for the construction of a stretch of road in southern Vietnam.

Under the contract, signed by the Vietnam Expressway Investment and Development Corporation under the Ministry of Transport, Nippon Koei of Japan and the Southern Transport Consult Joint-stock Company will provide consultation and supervisory services for the construction of a 50 km-long section of road, running from Ho Chi Minh City to the southern province of Dong Nai.

The contract, funded by Japanese ODA, is worth more than 1.2 billion JPY, or approximately 91 billion VND (roughly 18 million USD).

It is part of a package project worth more than 932 million USD, which has been provided in the form of credits by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The construction is scheduled to begin during the second quarter of this year and is expected to be completed in 2012

HCMC to mull ways to assist enterprises

HCM City

Ho Chi Minh City will support enterprises this month to stop them closing down or laying off employees, HCMC People’s Committee Chairman Le Hoang Quan said at a meeting Monday.

Quan said the city officials would hold a meeting next week to discuss ways to assist with businesses’ capital concerns.

The city official suggested enterprises focus on manufacturing and trading while devoting special attention to the domestic market and essential goods.

Also at the meeting Monday, Saigon Trading Group (Satra) General Director Huynh Van Minh said Satra’s affiliates are in more serious trouble this year than last year with fewer orders.

Minh asked that enterprises be allowed to take out new loans to pay debts.

HSBC named best in Asia, Vietnam

HSBC Vietnam has been named the Best Sub-Custodian Bank in Asia in 2009 by Asset Magazine’s Triple A Awards.

It was also crowned the Best Trade Finance Bank in Vietnam.

HSBC was the first wholly foreign-owned bank in Vietnam when it started operations earlier this year.



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