Mekong Monitor: Vietnam establishes anti-panic commodities trading floor amid pandemic

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Vietnam establishes anti-panic commodities trading floor amid pandemic
(19 April 2020) Vietnam has established an anti-panic commodities trading floor to boost e-commerce and help the public purchase necessities at a stable price. The trading floor was launched by CIB Corporation on 18 April and will be managed by Vietnam’s Ministry of Industry and Trade. It will assist local authorities, manufacturing companies, logistic companies and consumers by mitigating false demand and supply fluctuations. According to CIB Corporation CEO Albert Ma, if there is any demand for necessities, consumers can pre-order online in a limited quantity and the orders are guaranteed to be supplied by manufacturing enterprises in a timely manner. He added that keeping the demands transparent can avoid psychological panic during the COVID-19 pandemic and regulate real supply-demand to avoid social waste.
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Thai energy firm invests US$456.7 million in solar power plants in Vietnam
(21 April 2020) Thailand-listed Super Energy Corporation Public Company Limited will invest US$456.7 million in four solar power plants in Vietnam’s southeastern province of Binh Phuoc, the company said in a regulatory filing to the Stock Exchange of Thailand. The four solar power plants are expected to have a total installed capacity of 750 megawatts and estimated to produce returns on investment of around 17% for each plant. The Vietnamese government currently gives priority to solar and wind energy to reduce environmental impacts and to build energy security for the country. Binh Phuoc province is expected to become one of the country’s largest solar energy producers as it has high potential for solar electricity, particularly in Loc Ninh district where the intensity of solar radiation, at 5.14 KWh per square metre per day, is higher than other places in the region.
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Lao government to consider compensation for unemployed workers
(22 April 2020) Employees who are members of their companies’ social insurance scheme may be eligible to receive about US$56 (500,000 kip) from the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) as part of measures to help people affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Lao deputy minister of Labour and Social Welfare, Padeumphone Sonthany. If implemented, the NSSF will pay compensation to unemployed workers for a two-month period in May and June. The businesses heavily affected by the closure under the current lockdown are processing and garment factories, construction material manufacturers, restaurants and shops, as well as businesses related to the special and specific economic zones. The proposal is one among several that was put forward by businesses and will be tabled at the cabinet’s monthly meeting scheduled for 23 April.
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Tax exemption for hotels, guesthouses extended to more provinces
(21 April 2020) The Cambodian government has given a three-month tax exemption to hotels, guesthouses, restaurants and travel agencies in Phnom Penh and several provinces as the tourism industry feels the pinch from the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Tith Chantha, a secretary of state at the Ministry of Tourism, the tax exemption was made in line with the government’s measures aimed at assisting the private sector and workers affected by the pandemic. The tax exemption for March until May 2020 are for hotels, guesthouses, restaurants and travel agencies located in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Preah Sihanouk, Kep, Kampot, Bavet city and Poipet city, which are registered with the General Department of Taxation. Earlier in February, the government announced a monthly tax exemption from February to May for hotels and guesthouses in Siem Reap province only.
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Rice export continues despite pandemic
(21 April 2020) Vietnam’s deputy prime minister Trinh Dinh Dung on 20 April ordered the advancing of the export quota of 100,000 tonnes of rice, which was set for May 2020, in order to ease difficulties for firms that have rice stuck at ports but are unable to submit customs declarations. After chairing a meeting on rice export during the COVID-19 outbreak, Dung said glutinous rice can be exported as normal. He added that the Ministry of Industry and Trade has been assigned to coordinate with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to review and assess the domestic supply and demand of rice to manage the export. In the current situation, rice export must be carefully considered against national food security and the protection of the legal rights of farmers and relevant organisations.
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About Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS)

The Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Economic Programme was launched by the Asian Development Bank in 1992 connecting five developing ASEAN countries, namely Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam and Thailand, and Chinese provinces of Yunnan and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous region. The region has some of the most robust economies sharing the Mekong River Basin thanks to its reform and liberalisation. The subregion is growing at a faster pace than the whole of East Asia and the Asia Pacific as the GDP growth rate for 2017 was at 6.4 percent, according to the World Bank. The population at the subregion as of 2016 is at 340 million while the GDP at PPP is at US$3.1 trillion in 2016. In 2015, trading within the region was at US$444 billion.

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