Policies relating to smuggled tobacco, bank cards, child care and teachers’ probationary periods are set to take effect this month.
The finance ministry’s Circular 122/2018/TT-BTC on the management and use of funds raised through auctions of smuggled tobacco products takes effect on February 1.
Since the middle of last year, following a decision by the Prime Minister, Vietnam has auctioned quality smuggled foreign cigarettes for re-export on a trial basis. The revenue from these auctions is used for anti-smuggling efforts including funding cigarette quality tests and the storage and transportation of seized goods.
The revenue will also be spent to reward people who report cigarette smuggling to authorities. The award is a maximum of 100 million VND (4,300 USD) in cases where the smuggled cigarettes are worth less than 5 billion VND (216,000 VND) and no more than 200 million VND (8,600 USD) when the goods are valued at more than 5 billion VND.
A Ministry of Education and Training circular, which takes effect on February 8, regulates a longer probation period for fresh high school teachers. Newly trained teachers at high schools will have probation period of 12 months instead of nine.
Meanwhile, probation periods for teachers at pre-schools, primary schools, colleges and universities remain unchanged as regulated in the ministry’s March 2016 circular on the matter.
A circular by the Ministry of Labour, Invalid and Social Affairs – Circular 36/2018/TT-BLDTBXH – instructs policymakers to consult children on any programme, policy or plan relating to children in order to create safe and friendly conditions for young people to contribute their opinions on changes that will impact their lives.
According to Circular 41/2018/TT-NHNN by the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV), Vietnam will gradually replace bank cards that use magnetic strips with chip cards. The circular takes effect on February 18.
The SBV plans to have at least 30 percent of active cards in the country meet domestic chip standards by the end of 2020. The number will rise to 60 percent by the end of 2021 and all cards by the end of 2022.
To meet the plan, the SBV required banks, card-issuing institutions and point of sale (POS) terminal suppliers to have all their automatic teller machines (ATMs) and POSs accept chip cards by the end of 2020.
The SBV estimates Vietnam currently has some 70 million bank cards with magnetic strips, which can be easily hacked due to weak security features.
International card-issuing organisations have asked Vietnamese banks to switch to chip cards that meet EMV standards to increase safety amidst a growing number of card information thefts. EVM stands for Europay, MasterCard and Visa after the companies created the global standard. Cards that meet the standard have embedded microprocessor chips that store and protect data.
According to banks, issuing a chip card can cost some 1.50-2.50 USD. The country’s banks will have to spend between 105 million USD and 175 million USD for the transition, not to mention the additional costs of upgrading their ATMs and core banking systems to adapt to the change.