HCM City to spend $3.3m to support small traders at traditional markets affected by pandemic

HCM City is considering a financial support package worth more than VND76 billion (US$3.31 million) from the State budget to support small traders at traditional markets affected by the pandemic.

 

According to the city’s Department and Industry and Trade, it would be disbursed from now to the end of the year.

The department has proposed that the Department of Planning and Investment petition the People’s Committee to ask the People’s Council to approve the package.

The amount of support would be equivalent to 50 per cent of the maximum market fee payable to market management stipulated in the city’s Decision 24.

Based on the area of the shop, traders at grade-one markets (14 markets) would receive VND100,000 per sq.m per month, grade-two markets (52 markets) VND70,000 per sq.m per month, and grade-three markets (168 markets) VND50,000 per sq.m per month.

According to the Department of Industry and Trade, small traders at traditional markets are facing many difficulties as purchasing power has dropped significantly. Nearly 60,000 shop owners at traditional markets would benefit from the package.

To be eligible, beneficiaries must have fulfilled their financial obligations to the market manager and their tax obligations to the State, and have a tax identification number.

A small trader at Ba Chieu market in Binh Thanh District, who declined to be named, said the level of support was not much, but it was encouraging for small traders (such as clothing, fabrics, fashion, and shoes) who have seen sharp drop in the number of shoppers at traditional markets.

In February, city authorities ordered traditional markets to reduce their rent for traders by 50 per cent for six months.

According to many shopkeepers, sales at traditional markets last year fell by 60-80 per cent from previous years.

Ben Thanh Market, one of the city’s oldest markets and a major tourist site, has only a few dozen visitors during weekends compared to thousands during normal times. Most of its 3,000 stalls, which sell food, garments, footwear and handcrafts, are closed.

Most shops that sell Vietnamese handicrafts and fried seafood, favoured by both foreign and local visitors, have been closed since March last year.

The same situation has occurred in other wholesale markets in the city, including An Dong in District 5, Binh Tay in District 6 and Soai Kinh Lam in Cho Lon (Big Market) in District 5.

Stall owners used to hire at least three salespeople, but have had to let many go since they cannot afford to pay them. Many of them have had to shut their shops due to lack of business.

Taxes are one of the biggest concerns of small businesses, which pay an average of VND4-6 million a month.

Stall owners want the city to reduce or waive taxes for six months, saying it would be of greater help in reducing their financial burden and would help them stay open. 

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