A Prime Minister’s task force has been set up and headed by Deputy Prime Minister Le Minh Khai to address the difficulties of businesses and people during the Covid-19 outbreak.
|Production at Garment 10 Company. Photo: Khac Kien
The move was announced in decision No.1447/QD-TTg recently signed off by Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh.
Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung, Minister of Finance Ho Duc Phoc, and Minister of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs Dao Ngoc Dung will serve as the deputy head of the task force, while its members are officials from government agencies, ministries, and the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV).
The main objective of the task force is to support the Government and prime minister in addressing issues that concern businesses and people who are severely affected by the pandemic.
“The task force will be active in gathering information from the business community and the public that are severely affected by the pandemic and recommend appropriate solutions,” noted the decision.
The move is seen as welcoming news for businesses at a time when around 85,500 enterprises nationwide were forced to suspend operation in the first eight months of 2021, a third of them coming from Ho Chi Minh City, the country’s major economic hub.
Upon breaking down, 43,200 enterprises have temporarily closed their businesses, or an increase of 25.9% year-on-year, over 30,000 waiting for dissolution process, up 24.5%, and 12,200 having completed the process, up 17.8%.
This averaged 10,700 enterprises having exited the market each month.
“The emergence of the fourth Covid-19 outbreak and subsequent restriction measures are causing significant hardship on businesses, especially those in the southern region,” asserted the General Statistics Office.
Since the latest outbreak, the Government has been quick in providing new support for businesses, including a subsidy on electricity prices of VND16.3 trillion (US$713.5 million); a support package worth VND10 trillion ($437.7 million) for telecom subscribers; and financial relief of VND26 trillion ($1.13 billion) for workers and employers.
Businesses, however, said that they find it difficult to access these support programs, mainly due to strict requirements, which are not suitable to the actual situation of businesses.
Chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) Vu Tien Loc expects such a task force could help solve the issue.
“It is of urgency for enterprises to keep business running as they are the foundation for the economy to recover once the pandemic is contained,” said Loc.
“The pandemic, nevertheless, would bring in the opportunity to accelerate the reform,” he continued, saying active measures from the Government and strong response from businesses would help the economy move forward.
Economist Vo Tri Thanh, meanwhile, stressed the necessity of a task force that would not only solve the short-term issue for businesses but also propose solutions for their long-term recovery.
“The Government remains steadfast in pursuing the twin goal of both containing the pandemic and boosting growth, but priorities for each goal should depend on the situation in each locality,” he added.
While the Government is pushing for more support to aid businesses, Thanh called for local firms to continue enhancing their corporate governance capability and resilience against external shocks.