Head of Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh’s Economic Advisory Council Nguyen Duc Kien told The Hanoi Times of his assessments as Hanoi is accelerating the economic reopening.
|Head of Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh’s Economic Advisory Council Nguyen Duc Kien.|
Hanoi has recently adjusted the city’s growth target from 7.5-8% to 4.54%, what is your view on this approach?
It is understandable for Hanoi to revise down the growth forecast, as multiple Covid-19 outbreaks since early 2021 have caused severe consequences on public health and economic performance.
From my point of view, the newly-adjusted growth target remains encouraging as Hanoi is among localities that have been hit hard by the pandemic. The Covid-19 situation and subsequent restriction measures have disrupted production and business activities, not to mention Hanoi is one of the country’s major industrial and services hubs.
Similar to other provinces/cities, Hanoi is planning to reopen the economy. What is your view on the city’s anti-Covid-19 measures and zoning plan based on risk levels?
During this fourth Covid-19 outbreak, Hanoi has come up with an economic recovery plan in line with the progress of the vaccination program. In this regard, there is a scenario for reopening in case 50% of people aged 18-65 are vaccinated, and another one when the rate goes up to 100%. This shows Hanoi is taking the right direction towards the goal of both containing the pandemic and boosting economic development.
Hanoi has also succeeded in tracing and identifying Covid-19 cases in the community, in turn preventing a total collapse of the health system. This is shown by the low Covid-19 fatality rate.
I think it is safe to say that Hanoi has been successful in containing the pandemic despite the huge population and high density of people living in close space.
In the past few days, the number of infection cases in Hanoi has been on the decline, which shows the strong efforts from both the authorities and the public in fighting the pandemic. However, Hanoi should pay more attention to assess the impacts of the pandemic on social life to mitigate its consequences on socio-economic development.
Hanoi is currently using a color-coding of red, orange, and green to classify risk levels of areas in the city. The red zones, where the strictest measures are applied, consists of 10 districts, which is a huge number. I think the city should continue to narrow the figure to avoid economic losses.
Which economic activities should be first reopened at this moment?
Manufacturing and processing should be the first to be reopened, followed by the services sector, focusing on take-out services. Meanwhile, in localities with high vaccination rates such as Dong Anh, Bac Thang Long – Noi Bai, or Thuong Tin, economic activities should be fully reopened.
What steps should Hanoi take to ensure safety from now on?
Every business should strictly comply with anti-Covid-19 measures to avoid the risk of disruption, while the city should continue to raise public awareness on infection risks, along with a push for a high vaccination rate.
Enterprises must understand they are the first to suffer if there are infections in their working environment and should have various plans to deal with accordingly.
What are the driving forces for the Hanoi economy for the remainder of the year?
Hanoi’s economy continues to be dependent on domestic consumption, exports, public investment, and FDI. The priority for the city should be to reopen the economy as fast as possible so that enterprises could return to business.
For Hanoi and other cities, the important factor is not the number of newly-established enterprises, but how to nurture the existing ones to develop and grow.
As such, Hanoi should look for a supporting package to aid businesses in the city in addition to what the Government has been providing, so that enterprises can focus on recovery and development for about two years after the pandemic.
Thank you for your time!