Defense ministry to dissolve military firms purely doing business

The Ministry of National Defense will divest from or dissolve military enterprises purely doing business in fields of construction, commerce and services, affirmed Lt. Gen Nguyen Trong Nghia, deputy chairman of the General Political Department of the People's Army of Vietnam on Thursday.

Workers making telecoms equipment at a plant of Viettel, a state-owned enterprise operated by the Ministry of Defense (Photo: SGGP)

Workers making telecoms equipment at a plant of Viettel, a state-owned enterprise operated by the Ministry of Defense (Photo: SGGP)

At a press conference on military and defense performance results in the first half this year in HCMC, Mr. Nghia provided specific information about a project to streamline military businesses which has been submitted to the Prime Minister.
According to the project, the Ministry of Defense proposed to keep 17 military state owned military enterprises to do military and defense missions combined with production.
In addition, the ministry wants to keep 12 joint stock companies which the state holds 50 percent capital. They have operated production and trading to serve national defense.
At the conference, the press queried about contrariwise opinions on the policy advocating the military to do business by leaders of the Ministry of Defense at recent forums and conferences. Reporters asked whether the Central Military Commission of the Communist Party of Vietnam has not agreed with the policy.
At a working session between Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and the HCMC People’s Committee on June 23, Deputy Minister of National Defense Le Chiem said that the military did not do business to focus on building up a regular modern army.
In reply, Major General Vo Hong Thang, head of the ministry’s Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs affirmed no disagreement about the policy within the commission.
The deputy minister did not say it all so the public has not fully understood his opinion, said Mr. Thang. The statement that the military did not do business mean the military do not purely do business but attach it to defense, he explained.
Talking about the Ministry of Defense’s transfer of some national defense land plots in HCMC to groups and private companies to exploit such as petrol depot K168 and Z751 plant, Mr. Thang said that the transfer started from HCMC’s requirements to prevent environmental impact to residential areas and suit the city’s plan.
“When removing plants, the ministry and the Government were short of funds, so the government permitted the ministry to conduct BT (Build-Transfer) projects,” said him.
Investors built new plant and petrol depot. In return, the ministry delivered land for them to exploit and use and reclaim investment capital, he said. The land transfer process was conducted basing on local opinions and proposals, approved by the Prime Minister. The ministry just did relevant procedures.
He affirmed that there was no priority to military businesses. Their products have been trusted by consumers and sold faster than other goods in the market because of good quality.
Previously, the ministry granted 1,000 red number plates for vehicles of some military businesses but it has recently withdrawn them. At present, only army firms which the state holds 100 percent capital are granted red plates for their eaders.
In the first half this year, the Ministry of Defense’s economic activities brought an economic revenue of VND189 trillion (US$8.32 billion), pre-tax profit was estimated to reach VND22 trillion ($968 million). The amount submitted to the state budget was VND21 trillion. The number of workers totaled 185,000 people with income averaging VND11.8 million ($519) a person a month.
Besides contributing to the Ministry of Defense, military businesses have implemented many army rear policies and social welfare programs.

By TUAN VU – Translated by Hai Mien

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