Vietnam: ‘Following the crowd’ in place of understanding the market

Vietnam: ‘Following the crowd’ in place of understanding the market

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Economists have pointed out that “following the crowd” is Vietnam’s biggest problem in programming its economic development.

Minister of Planning and Investment Bui Quang Vinh said at a workshop on institutional reform on March 6 that he has got worn out because of the local authorities’ proposals to allow opening casinos in their localities.

“I am now under a hard pressure that makes me too tired. At first, only one casino project was suggested, but the number has risen to 10,” he complained.

“If a province develops casino, other provinces will decide that they also need to develop casinos to develop the local economies. It is because local authorities cannot think of any other way to make money,” Vinh commented.

Vietnam is now witnessing the “casino rush” which follows the “seaport rush” and “airport rush” in the past.

The minister was joking that in order to cut down the number of casino projects, it would be better to divide Vietnam into seven regions, including the northeast, northwest, Hanoi, central region, Central Highlands, the eastern and western parts of the southern region.

“If so, Vietnam would have seven airports, seven seaports and seven casinos at maximum,” he said.

Seaports and airports everywhere

A report showed that Vietnam now has 21 civil airports, including seven international airports, namely Noi Bai, Da Nang, Cam Ranh, Phu Bai, Tan Son Nhat, Phu Quoc and Can Tho, and 14 domestic airports.

Meanwhile, according to Giao Thong Van Tai newspaper, Vietnam plans to have 26 airports to be put into operation by 2020, including 10 international and 16 domestic airports.

Lai Xuan Thanh, Head of the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV), denied the opinion that Vietnam has too many airports.

Malaysia, with 28 million people and the territorial area nearly the same with Vietnam, has 37 operational airports. Thailand, the country with 70 million, has 34 airports. The Philippines, with 103 million people and smaller territorial area than Vietnam, has 46 airports.

South Korea also has 20 airports, but its population is just about a half of Vietnam’s (50 million) and the area is just 1/3 of Vietnam’s (100,000 square kilometers).

However, a lot of airports have been staying “redundant” in reality. The Phu Bai airport in Hue City, Cam Ranh in Nha Trang, Lien Khuong in Da Lat, Phu Quoc and Can Tho all have been deserted. As for domestic flights, the number of passengers going through the airport is just approximately ¼ of the designed capacity.

Despite the low efficiency of the operational airports, Vietnam still considers building more airports or expanding the existing ones. Local authorities plan to upgrade Vinh airport in Nghe An province and Cat Bi in Hai Phong City into international airports.

Especially, the Ministry of Transport insists on the construction of the Long Thanh international airport in the south, denying the experts’ opinions that this should not be an urgent project for now, once the expansion of the existing Tan Son Nhat, Bien Hoa, Can Tho and Lien Khuong can help improve the service capacity.

Breweries mushroom

Sabeco, the biggest Vietnamese owned brewery in the south, which has injected money in 24 projects and now can put out 1.8 billion liters of beer a year from its operational 20 breweries, plans to develop another three projects in 2014-2015.

Meanwhile, Habeco has set up more than 10 breweries in the northern and central regions.

Talk Vietnam

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