Accompanying enterprises to overcome difficulties amid COVID-19

At an online conference between the Government and representatives from enterprises and business associations on August 8, enterprises proposed the Government, ministries, and localities create policies to remove obstacles for enterprises. In particular, they emphasised the importance of maintaining a stable supply chain to prevent any disruption and provide direct support to employees to prepare human resources for the production recovery phase immediately after the COVID-19 pandemic is under control.

A production line at Nutifood JSC in Binh Duong. (Photo: VNA)
A production line at Nutifood JSC in Binh Duong. (Photo: VNA)

Piled up difficulties

According to the Ministry of Planning and Investment, the fourth outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially since July, is causing more difficulties for enterprises that ever before.

The survey results showed that the resilience of enterprises has continued to decline with the number of newly established enterprises in July down by 34% compared to the same period last year. In the first seven months of this year, newly registered enterprises increased by only 0.8% over the same period last year, the lowest level in the 2016-2020 period.

Enterprises are encountering serious shortages of cash flow to cover their expenses, a shortage of empty containers, and increasing logistics costs in addition to expenses related to pandemic prevention and control.

According to Chairman of the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association (VITAS) Vu Duc Giang, the textile and garment industry is facing huge difficulties as customers are moving orders out of Vietnam due to social distancing, with estimated losses of hundreds of millions of US dollars.

Deputy General Secretary of the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) Nguyen Hoai Nam said that Ho Chi Minh City and the southern provinces account for 70% of the industry's seafood output but seafood production in the south is expected to see great difficulties due to oversized fish, shrimp, and others.

VASEP is very worried as the cost of electricity is too high and enterprises need to receive financial support and a stable power source to serve freezing seafood.

Meanwhile, member of the Executive Committee of the European Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam (EuroCham) Jean Michel Caldagues said that EU enterprises are facing difficulties in transporting goods from Ho Chi Minh City to the North and in exports in general. They expect the Vietnamese Government to create more favourable conditions for foreign experts to enter Vietnam and promote the nation's vaccination strategy, as well as creating conditions for enterprises to proactively seek and inject vaccines. They are worried about the workforce and the shortage of human resources as workers have returned to their hometowns to avoid the pandemic.

Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Dao Ngoc Dung said that enterprises and workers are important cells in the development of the national economy, so taking care of the labour force is a key matter of national survival. It may take enterprises up to 27 months to recover if supply chains and labour forces are broken.

Accompanying enterprises to overcome difficulties amid COVID-19 ảnh 1

Producing dyed textile products at Jasan Textile & Dyeing Co.,Ltd in Pho Noi B Textile Industrial Park, Hung Yen province. (Photo: NGOC CHAU)

Accompanying enterprises

Chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) Vu Tien Loc affirmed that the support package the business community is most in need of from the Government is the strengthening of institutional reform. This can serve as a foundation to help enterprises overcome their difficulties and create conditions for future breakthroughs, even more meaningful than tax and banking interest rate reductions, Loc noted.

Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Hong Dien said that extreme ideas regarding pandemic prevention and control in some places are barriers to production recovery. He added that the world aggregate demand is rising and the world economy is recovering, so it is necessary to seize opportunities and quickly stabilise and promote domestic production.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade requests localities strictly follow the direction of the Government and the Prime Minister and not to impose their own regulations. Meanwhile, the Government needs to support businesses to buy and temporarily store food and restore agro-fishery processing plants, Dien said.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade will also discuss with the Vietnam Electricity Group the reduction of electricity bills for enterprises specialising in processing agricultural and seafood products.

In addition, the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs has agreed with the proposal of large private enterprises such as TH True Milk and Masan to prioritise vaccination for workforces in key economic areas, industrial parks, and high-tech parks in order to maintain production and supply chains.

Deputy Prime Minister Le Van Thanh emphasised it is necessary to focus on solving bottlenecks and promote public investment while putting factories into operation to create growth. It is also necessary to correct the extreme implementation of pandemic prevention and control measures, causing traffic congestion and disruption to the circulation of goods. Localities should apply technology in controlling the movement of goods but not stop freight vehicles to inspect them.

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh affirmed the Party and State understand and share the difficulties of the business community and that the Government will set up a special working group to remove more difficulties for enterprises. The top government leader said we need to take drastic, timely and effective anti-epidemic measures to protect people's health and lives while maintaining and restoring the production and business activities of enterprises, avoiding disruption in the production and supply chains.

“The government will receive the opinions and suggestions of enterprises through the VCCI and business associations in order to devise appropriate policies and solutions. In the near future, the Government will arrange to meet enterprises in each field to discuss more realistic solutions. The Government always accompanies, cares, and supports businesses in tough times, in the spirit of harmonising benefits and sharing risks”, the PM emphasised.