HANOI, April 3 These are some of the leading stories in the official Vietnamese press on Wednesday. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.
THOI BAO KINH TE VIETNAM
-- The central bank will try to cut dong loan rates for businesses and production to 9-10 percent and those on previously granted loans to below 13 percent, State Bank of Vietnam Governor Nguyen Van Binh said.
-- Vietnam raised 65.45 trillion dong ($3.13 billion) via government bonds in the first quarter, meeting 43.6 percent of the year's plan, the finance ministry said.
-- Partly private SeABank said it would offer a credit package worth 2 trillion dong ($95.6 million) at a rate of 9.9 percent for small and medium-sized companies between now and the year end.
ECONOMIC AND GENERAL NEWS:
-- The number of Vietnamese people having health insurance is projected to rise to 80 percent of the population by 2020, from nearly 68 percent in 2012, a government plan said.
-- Vietnam has ordered a stricter ban on the transport and trade of poultry through border gates to prevent the H7N9 bird flu strain from spreading into the country, after two people died in China.
-- Vietnam's cement sales in the first quarter rose 15 percent from a year ago to 7.55 million tonnes, helping to reduce the inventory by 45 percent to 40,000 tonnes, the construction ministry said.
-- National carrier Vietnam Airlines said it will reduce airfare on several domestic routes by 38-58 percent for tourism companies until the year end to boost air travel.
-- The Ministry of Internal Affairs said it has suggested to raise state employees' base salary, used in calculating the actual income, by 9.5 percent to 1.15 million dong ($55) a month, which is expected to take effect from July 1.
-- The border patrol forces in the central province of Quang Binh said they have arrested three Laotian people for trafficking nearly 22,000 ecstasy pills into Vietnam.
-- Vietnam will evacuate its citizens from South Korea if a war breaks out in the Korean peninsular, but it will take cautious moves given the not-so-complicated situation there, said Deputy Labour Minister Nguyen Thanh Hoa. Around 75,000 Vietnamese are working in South Korea, the ministry said.
THOI BAO KINH TE VIETNAM
-- Son La hydropower plant, Vietnam's biggest such plant, is expected to produce more than 8 billion kilowatt hours of electricity this year, following the first quarter's output of more than 1.2 billion kilowatt hours, the plant's management board said.
-- Vietnam's state budget deficit between January and March was an estimated 50.7 trillion dong ($2.42 billion), or 31.2 percent of the year's plan, a finance ministry report said. (Reporting by Hanoi Newsroom; Editing by Bijoy Koyitty)