Efforts to return to the "new normal"

Sunday, 2021-10-31 14:22:37
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Workers at Linh Trung Export Processing Zone No.1 (Ho Chi Minh City). (Photo: VNA)
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NDO - After a month of gradually returning to the new normal state, economic activities in Ho Chi Minh City have gradually been restored and are becoming more and more vibrant, especially in the service and trade sectors.

Restoring production, "reopening" food services

By the end of October 2021, the proportion of workers present at factories of manufacturing enterprises, especially exporters in the footwear, leather, and garment industries, increased rapidly. In some places, nearly 90% of employees have returned to work.

According to the Management Board of Ho Chi Minh City Export Processing zone and Industrial Park Authority (HEPZA), as of October 28, the total number of enterprises operating in the "new normal" state was 1,322 out of 1,412 enterprises, achieving a rate of 94% compared to the number of enterprises operating under normal conditions, with a total number of employees of nearly 211,000 people out of 288,161 people (accounting for 73%). HEPZA also forecasts that the number of employees returning to work will continue to increase when businesses perfect their production plans and meet the safety conditions for disease prevention and control according to the set of production safety criteria prescribed by the city's Steering Committee for COVID-19 prevention and control.

For the service sector, the municipal People's Committee allows food service businesses to serve customers on the spot from October 28. These establishments must meet COVID-19 safety criteria, not sell alcoholic beverages, operate at a maximum of 50% capacity, and are only allowed to sell until 9pm.

Particularly, food service businesses in District 7 and Thu Duc City are allowed to pilot the sale of alcoholic beverages. According to Tran Quoc Nhan (District 7), the reopening of on-site catering services has created many advantages for people in daily life, business, social communication, creating more jobs for workers.

According to the city's Department of Industry and Trade, up to now, 100% of supermarkets and convenience stores have reopened, the source of goods is abundant; and the selling price has cooled down. Many supermarkets deploy promotions to stimulate demand.

Deputy Director of the Department of Industry and Trade Le Huynh Minh Tu said that the supply of essential goods to the city is currently stable. The average source of goods gathered at the transhipment points of the three wholesale markets is 1,800 tonnes per night.

It is expected that by the end of October 31, the city will have 145 of 234 traditional markets back in operation.

Transportation activities also have many changes. The municipal People's Committee has temporarily suspended the deployment of checkpoints and checkpoints for COVID-19 prevention and control at roads and gateways to the city from October 26, in order to help smooth circulation and travel for passengers and freight.

Many solutions urgently deployed

Deputy Director of the City Tax Department Thai Minh Giao said that the city's tax industry is drastically implementing four groups of tax exemption and reduction policies to support businesses and people to overcome difficulties caused by the impact of the COVID-19 epidemic under Resolution No. 406/NQ-UBTVQH15, dated October 19, 2021, of the National Assembly Standing Committee and Decree No. 92/2021/ND-CP, dated October 27, 2021, of the Government.

Accordingly, the NA Standing Committee decided to reduce 30 percent of corporate income tax for enterprises whose revenue in 2021 is less than VND200 billion VND (US$8.7 million) and experiencing a revenue reduction compared with that of 2019. The NA Standing Committee also agreed to exempt individuals and households in pandemic-hit areas from personal income tax, value added tax and other taxes in the third and fourth quarter of 2021. The value added tax for goods and services including transportation, food, accommodation services and those relating to tourism promotion will also be reduced from November 1 to December 31 this year. The NA Standing Committee decided to exempt enterprises and organisations which incurred losses in 2020 from fees for late payments arising in 2020 and 2021.

Director of the Department of Industry and Trade Bui Ta Hoang Vu said: The industry and trade sector is urgently implementing a plan to connect supply - demand with localities in order to find more sources of high quality goods at reasonable prices to serve the city market, contributing to the formation of sustainable supply chains.

The Department of Industry and Trade has worked online with 22 provinces and cities in the southern region to exchange and unify solutions, coordinate to promote trade and supply of goods between the parties during the COVID-19 epidemic. In addition, the city has focused on promoting intra-regional tourism activities and connecting inter-provincial tourism in the form of tourists travelling within the region by themselves or in groups, inter-provincial tourists travelling in groups.

Vice Chairman of the municipal People's Committee Phan Thi Thang and the city's tourism industry leaders worked with the provinces of Khanh Hoa, Phu Yen and Binh Dinh on the resumption of tourism activities. Accordingly, these cities and provinces have agreed to reopen their tourism activities from November 1 as well as to research, build and organise a variety of tourism programmes to connect and create inter-regional products. Previously, Ho Chi Minh City and Tay Ninh Province also resumed tourism activities from October 16. On October 30 and 31, the city worked with the two provinces of Ben Tre and Long An on this issue.

In order to recover the economy in the last months of the year, Chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City People's Committee Phan Van Mai directed departments, agencies, branches, Thu Duc City People's Committee, and districts to urgently develop plans to restore the economy, develop production and business in accordance with the situation of the industry, field, and localities, immediate handling problems within its competence, and proactively report to the Ho Chi Minh City People's Committee any issues beyond its competence.

In addition, on reforming methods and improving operational efficiency of Working Groups; the municipal People's Committee also proposed the State Bank of Vietnam branch in Ho Chi Minh City to assume the prime responsibility for, and coordinate with the Department of Industry and Trade, Thu Duc City, and districts to continue implementing policies on supporting businesses in terms of debt rescheduling, exemption and reduction of interest and fees.

Chairman Phan Van Mai emphasised that the city will return to the "new normal" state in November 2021, but not the whole "new normal", just partly. The fields are gradually reopened under the principle of ensuring safety for epidemic prevention.

People buy food at a commercial centre in Binh Tan District on October 29. Photo: LIEM HOANG

HOANG LIEM - QUY HIEN