Gov't loans to support East Sea fishermen

Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 08:10

The resource-rich East Sea is tense due to China's illegal placement of the Haiyang Shiyou-981 oil rig in Viet Nam's exclusive economic zone and continental shelf. The Southeast Asian country's deep-sea fishing industry and its fishermen have been under intense pressure in their fight for survival. The State Bank of Viet Nam's Governor Nguyen Van Binh spoke to the press on the sidelines of the National Assembly meeting about the Government's plan to provide finances to fishermen. The following is an excerpt of the interview:

The Government has approved loans to fishermen at 3 per cent interest for building new fishing boats and improving capacity of fishing. What are the sources for the funding?

Governor Nguyen Van Binh.
The decision is aimed at helping fishermen build new boats, repair the current fishing vehicles and ensure that their boats have higher fishing capacity. More importantly, it eyes their support to claim Viet Nam's sovereignty in the East Sea.

The State Bank of Viet Nam and commercial banks will spare VND10 trillion for the programme while municipal and State authorities will also look for funding from the State budget to back up the programme.

All boats built via this programme will be guaranteed, and the Government will pay 70 per cent of the insurance fees.

Leaving the Government's programme aside, will the central bank launch special policies to support fishermen?

We are considering possibilities of giving fishermen interest-free loans for terms ranging from 10 to 15 years. The point is, we have to set up a very sound management mechanism so as to make sure lenders will be able to collect on primary loans. I believe, if that is done, the priority is big enough to keep fishermen working.

When will the central bank kick off the package to support fishermen?

The Prime Minister has instructed the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) to draw up a Governmental decree guiding practices. The Government also asked MARD and other related parties to quickly put together the legal framework. I hope that these steps will help in disbursing capital to fishermen soon. I reaffirm that capital sources are ready and can go whenever required.

Given these plans, fishermen are facing high risks. For example, a Vietnamese boat sank after being rammed by a Chinese vessel. Do you think banks and insurers need to share the costs with fishermen in such cases?

Insurance policies will play a more important role in the future so as to help banks and fishermen handle incidents. Changes will be made if necessary. Notably, in the instance mentioned above, the boat that sank was insured. — VNS

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