Public property needs better management
HA NOI (VNS) — The use of public property must be managed transparently to minimise legal loopholes that enable it to be misused by individuals and agencies.
This was said at a meeting held by the Ministry of Finance this week to review the matter.
Public property includes land, houses, cars and other assets which are worth more than VND500 million (US$23,000).
According to the National Database, as of December last year, the total value of public property had reached nearly VND1,000 trillion (US$45.8 billion).
Property worth VND690.5 trillion (US$31.6 billion) was managed by more than 59,000 Government agencies, accounting for 69 per cent of total assets.
Speaking at the meeting, the head of the ministry's State Asset Management Department, Tran Duc Thang, said several agencies allocated with public property had used their capital to increase operational efficiency whilst giving pay rises to employees and making additional contributions to the State Budget.
However, the shortcoming remained in the management and use of public property. Many assets managed by certain State-owned enterprises had been misused, said Thang.
He said the mechanism to allocate public capital to self-financing enterprises allowed them to use the assets to make a profit.
However, the method of defining the value of public property and self-financing enterprises was not up to scratch.
According to statistics released by ministries and local authorities, only 579 public self-financing enterprises nationwide had been allocated public capital worth VND19 trillion (US$971 million).
The ministry would review and adjust processes and procedures used to define the value of property as well as increase the number of Government self-financing agencies that receive public assets, Thang
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Thai firm replaces Swiss company to manage Ho Chi Minh City hotel
Thailand-based Absolute Hotel Services (AHS) has taken over the management role in a five-star hotel under the management of Switzerland-headquartered Mövenpick Holding AG in Ho Chi Minh City.
The takeover was completed with the opening of Eastin Grand Hotel Saigon, formerly known as Mövenpick Hotel Saigon, on Nguyen Van Troi Street, Phu Nhuan District on Wednesday, the hotel said the same day in a press release.
Le Duc Binh, deputy general director of A-1 International Vietnam Corporation, the Vietnamese owner of the hotel, said at the opening ceremony that this is the third time in 21 years that the firm has changed the management group for the property.
The hotel, opening in 1994 as Ho Chi Minh City’s first international hotel, was known as Omni Saigon Hotel and changed its name to Mövenpick Hotel Saigon in July 2008.
“Due to some specific reasons, like other companies owning many popular hotels in Vietnam and around the world, we have appointed a new professional management company to manage our hotel,” Binh said.
“This is a normal move of the owning company for better performance to meet desired results,” he added.
Eastin Grand Hotel Saigon, consisting of 268 well-appointed deluxe rooms and suites, all of which are equipped with modern amenities and provide large conference rooms and a variety of dining options.
With the official opening, the new hotel is now part of the Eastin chain of 61 international hotels and residences covering Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Myanmar, India, and the Middle East.
Vietnam's fast rising property market leaves hard times behind
Brought to its knees when its property market bubble burst four years ago, Vietnam is riding into another boom, with construction starting in Ho Chi Minh City on two of the world's tallest skyscrapers and buyers snapping up new projects fast.
The speed of the market's turnaround has been startling. Successful property transactions have doubled from a year ago, and developers have halved their unsold inventory from $6 billion at the peak of the crisis at the start of 2013.
"I can sell about three to five units per month now, much better than before, when I could only sell the same in the whole year", said Dung, a freelance property broker in Hanoi, who asked to be referred to by her first name.
The Southeast Asian country's government is hoping that lessons learnt from the last burst bubble will help prevent the latest property cycle crashing like the last one.
Buyers and developers defaulted on loans, leaving banks crippled by toxic debt and unable to provide credit to tens of thousands of failing businesses. The empty shells of abandoned, half-built condominiums and office blocks littered cities, showing how Vietnam had hit the wall.
Clearing up the mess, the state's asset management firm has bought $8 billion of non-performing loans – a lot of which stemmed from real estate.
The government is restructuring the banking sector. In 2013 it gave the real estate sector a $1.4 billion stimulus and has placed stronger financial requirements on property developers.
From July 1, the government relaxed rules on investment by foreign firms, foreign buyers and "Viet Kieu", the overseas Vietnamese whose families left their homeland after the country was reunified in 1975.
The moves to open up the property market were the latest in a slew of reforms that experts say shows the party's progressives are in the driving seat heading into a scheduled leadership change in January.
Buyers from overseas
Easing restrictions on buyers from overseas has had pronounced results. Vingroup recently held two sales opening events for projects exclusively targeting foreigners and "Viet Kieu" in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. The property firm said it received deposits for 112 apartments within two hours.
According to The Eastern, a condominium jointly developed by a Vietnamese and a South Korean company, 70 percent of units sold from May to July were to foreigners and firms buying accommodation for foreign employees working at Saigon Hi-Tech Park, home to firms like Intel and Samsung.
Underlying demand, however, should also come from one of Asia's fastest rates of middle class expansion, with the economy growing 6.28 percent in the first half of this year – the fastest pace since 2008.
But it is the overseas money that excites realtors most.
"There are 4.2 million Vietnamese overseas and about 30,000 foreign executives working here long-term," Le Hoang Chau, president of Vietnam's Real Estate Association, told Reuters. "That shows potential for a bright future."
Units launched in Ho Chi Minh City in the first half of this year were 174 percent up on the same period in 2014 and 91 percent up in the capital Hanoi, according to the Vietnam office of global commercial real estate firm CBRE.
An average high-end apartment now fetches $1,800 per square metre in the southern