|Over the last two weeks, shrimp have been selling between VND190,000 (for 20gr shrimp) and VND320,000 (for 50gr shrimp) per kg in the Mekong Delta.— File Photo
by Le Hung Vong
Shrimp breeders from central and southern provinces are pleased that exports and prices are on the rise as the local tra fish industry had been in troubled waters.
Over the last two weeks, shrimp have been selling between VND190,000 (for 20gr shrimp) and VND320,000 (for 50gr shrimp) per kg in the Mekong Delta.
Ngo Thi Hau from Phuoc Long Commune in Bac Lieu Province said shrimp prices were VND50,000 per kg higher than last year.
Damages caused by pests to the local shrimp-breeding industry have been reduced greatly, according to figures released at a conference held by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in Can Tho earlier this month.
The areas under shrimp breeding affected by pests in the first 10 months of the year fell by half compared with the same period last year.
This year Ca Mau Province, the largest shrimp breeding locality in Viet Nam, has 296,000ha under shrimp breeding, including 5,400 ha under intensive culture.
As of early October, the province attained total production of 242,700 tonnes of shrimp, accounting for 85.2 per cent of the year's target.
The delegate from the Mekong province of Ben Tre said the transfer of areas under coconut cultivation into shrimp-breeding ponds, insufficient investment in breeding facilities, and the poor quality of breeding shrimp were among the main cases that made the breeding industry less productive.
Pham Khanh Ly, deputy chief of the aquaculture division under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the shrimp breeding sector had improved from two years ago when many shrimp breeding areas across the country were hit by pests, causing big losses to farmers.
This year, owners of many shrimp breeding ponds have earned high profits as the demand for Vietnamese shrimp from big markets such as the US, Japan and South Korea has been on the rise, said Ly.
Shrimp exports significantly contributed to the export turnover of US$5.5 billion attained by the local seafood sector in the first 10 months of 2013, an increase of 7.3 per cent compared with the same period last year.
Shrimp exports are expected to reach $2.8 billion for 2013, up by 27 per cent over 2012, and an increase of $300 million to $400 million compared with targets set earlier this year.
VASEP said they were "significant figures" as the country saw slumps in exports of a number of other seafood products over the same period, including a decrease of 2 per cent scored by tra fish, a 4.5 per cent decrease by tuna, and a 12.3 per cent decrease in crab exports.
HCM City faces fines
HCM City is facing fines of VND2.5 billion ($119,050) per day for delays in site handover for the Metro Line No 1 that would link Ben Thanh Market in District 1 and Suoi Tien Tourism Park in District 9.
Construction of the Metro Line No 1 began on August 28 last year. It was scheduled to become operational in 2018.
Under a contract signed with the consortium of Japan's Sumitomo Corporation and Vietnam's Civil Engineering Construction Corporation No 6 (Cienco 6), the city should have handed over the cleared site to the contractor at the end of last year.
The HCM City Management Authority for Urban Railways (MAUR) has extended the handover schedule on several occasions, with the last one having been set for September 30. But now some 100 households remain living on the site.
In an announcement on the project's construction progress released in late October, the city's People's Committee said the belated site clearance was mainly in Thu Duc District and Di An Town in Binh Duong Province.
According to the deputy chief of MAUR, Le Hong Ha, the city authority has been negotiating with the Sumitomo - Cienco 6 consortium to reduce the fines set for delays in site handover.
He said it was difficult for HCM City to pay the VND2.5 billion/day fine as stated in the contract.
To hand over the site to the contractor as soon as possible, the city's authorities have asked Thu Duc District and Di An Town to accelerate site clearance compensation and re-settlement formalities for households living on the site.
The nearly 20-km-long Metro Line No 1 would pass through the city's districts of 1, 2, 9, Binh Thanh and Thu Duc, and Di An Town of Binh Duong Province.
The first 17.1-km of the line is an overhead section that runs from Ben Thanh Market in District 1 to the Suoi Tien area in District 9.
The 11-station overhead section, from Ba Son Shipyard in District 1, will run along Van Thanh Park and the Tan Cang area in Binh Thanh District, and Ha Noi Highway and Suoi Tien Park. This construction is the first of the project's three packages.
Under a contract signed with MAUR, the consortium of Sumitomo - Cienco 6 will design, survey, execute, supply equipment, test, operate, offer utility services, and maintain stations of the 17.1-km overhead section of HCM City's Metro Line 1.
The package is worth $560 million.
The Metro Line No 1 also consists of a 2.6-km underground section connecting Ben Thanh Market and Ba Son Shipyard, with three undergound stations. It is divided into three packages.
The other packages are for construction of an underground section between Ben Thanh Market and Ba Son Shipyard and for mechanical-electrical devices and maintenance.
Line 1 will cost $2.2 billion, with 83 per cent of the capital coming from Japanese Official Development Assistance and the rest coming from the city budget.
Commercial banks taking part in the Government's VND30 trillion ($1.42 billion) stimulus package have granted loans of VND333.1 billion ($15.86 million) to 939 household and individual clients.
According to the State Bank of Viet Nam (SBV), as of October 31, loans of VND220.9 billion ($10.52 million) from the package had been disbursed to 905 homebuyers.
Vietcombank has committed loans of VND109.4 billion to 309 clients, Vietinbank VND82.3 billion to 253 clients, BIDV loans of VND 101.9 billion to 234 clients, Agribank VND26 billion to 93 clients, and MHB VND13.5 billion to 50 homebuyers.
SBV said BIDV, Vietinbank and Agribank have also signed contracts to provide loans of VND870.4 billion ($41.45 million) from the package to seven property firms in HCM City, Thua Thien - Hue, Can Tho, Bac Ninh, Hai Duong and Da Nang. These include disbursements of VND122.6 billion ($5.84 million) to four of these property firms.
SBV also urged commercial banks under the VND30 trillion stimulus package to report on any hindrances facing homebuyers under the programme.
In related news, the HCM City People's Committee has directed district, commune and ward administrations to simplify formalities for homebuyers in their respective localities.
The directive comes following residents' complaints about cumbersome procedures that prevent them from accessing preferential loans. These loans are designed to help low-income people buy their own homes, and are also expected to enable a real estate market revival.
According to Nguyen Hoang Minh, deputy director of the SBV's HCM City branch, as of September, 137 individual clients in HCM City had signed contracts for loans of VND78.46 billion ($3.74 million). Of this, VND22.6 billion ($1.08 million) had been disbursed to 58 applicants, he said. — VNS