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Markets under fire over food hygiene

Update: May, 22/2013 - 10:00
Many traditional markets in Viet Nam are housed in downgraded conditions that failed to ensure food hygiene.—Illustrative image/Photo antoanvesinhthucpham

HA NOI (VNS)— Many traditional markets in Viet Nam are housed in downgraded conditions that failed to ensure food hygiene.

However, a Ministry of Industry and Trade conference on Monday said that pouring money into upgrading or transferring them should be carefully considered.

Ministry statistics show that 28 per cent of nearly 9,000 markets in the country are little more than makeshift shacks.

According to the director of central Ha Tinh Province's Department of Industry and Trade, Tran Nhat Tan, most markets in rural areas suffer from degraded infrastructure. Fee collections are just enough to run management and make minor repairs.

Hygiene and fire prevention were not fully understood, Tan said, adding that only two communes in Ha Tinh had markets that met standards.

The same situation is common in other provinces. Despite the negative factors, traditional markets remain the most popular with Vietnamese, who buy 80 per cent of their goods from them.

According to Vo Van Quyen, director of the ministry's Department of Domestic Market, the number of markets kept increasing but were unevenly distributed. Some run-down markets drew crowds while other well-built markets were deserted.

Quyen said that wholesale markets accounted for less than 1 per cent of the total figure, failing to meet business demands.

Privatise investment

Phu market in Quoc Oai District, Ha Noi became seriously run down after decades of use. It needed around VND5 billion (US$239,000) to be upgraded.

However, the market's current small traders seemed not interested in paying extra fees and taxes after work was finished, said Tran Dai Tu, head of Cho Phu Trade and Service Co-operative.

Hang Da, Cua Nam and Thanh Cong markets were examples of markets which did not operate efficiently after being upgraded into trade centres.

Decree 114/2009/ND-CP about market development and management suggested the privatisation of market development, but this was ignored due to a lack of mechanisms to encourage investors.

According to the chairman of Ha Noi Trade Corporation, Nguyen Huu Thang, the conflict over benefits among investors,... traders and market management boards remains unsolved.

Deputy Minister Ho Thi Kim Thoa told the conference that policies to encourage enterprises to pour money into improving markets in particular and trade infrastructure in general were necessary.

The capital sources for market development would be diversified, from the State, enterprises, traders and local residents, while support would be provided to poor rural and remote localities to build markets.

Market planning nationwide would be reviewed to ensure the demands of residents and business people were met, Thoa said, adding that the market management capacity also needed to be enhanced. — VNS

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