Viet Nam to stay on dual-target virus strategy

The government is to continue with the country's dual-target strategy, pursuing socio-economic development while keeping the spread of the novel coronavirus in check, said Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh during an online meeting with local government leaders and the business community across the country on Sunday.

 

"We cannot afford to commit all available resources to fight the virus. Conversely, we cannot put the people's wellbeing at risk for the sake of economic development," said the PM.

The Government, therefore, is to focus on keeping COVID-19 at bay while implementing laws and protocols to help the business community resume and maintain operations.

The government leader highlighted the business community's contribution to the successful effort to contain the virus in HCM City and other provinces in the Mekong Delta including Binh Duong, Dong Nai and Long An.

The Government, for their part, has rolled out a number of policies to support businesses and workers affected by the pandemic such as Government Decree 105/NQ-CP to assist businesses, Government Decree 116/NQ-CP to assist workers and their employers. The Government has also required Vietnam Electricity, the country's main power provider, to offer a 10 per cent cut on power bills for cities and provinces that have had to go under lockdown.

Several other major support policies are also on the way including Government decrees 52, 54, 80 to provide additional support to businesses with land-use fee reduction, tax payment deadline extension and assistance for small-and-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

The PM said the pandemic was a particularly challenging time and that's why the country and its people must stand together to overcome adversity and turn disaster into opportunity by speeding up the Viet Nam digitalisation transformation.

"We cannot thank you [the business community] enough. We intend to respond in kind with actions that show our appreciation for your confidence," said the Government leader.

Since the beginning of the fourth outbreak of the virus (in late April), the PM has held numerous meetings and exchanges with businesses, domestic and international, to identify difficulties and limitations as well as to discuss solutions to address them.

During the meeting, businesses voiced their support for a government initiative to reopen in the new normal, stressing the importance of a strategy to live with the virus.

HCM City Real Estate Association (HoREA) asked the Government for additional interest cuts and access to new sources of finance as the real-estate sector, after a long struggle during the pandemic, was said to be at a breaking point.

Nguyen Quoc Hiep, president of the Vietnam Association of Construction Contractors, called on the Government to help support construction workers and to issue safety measures to allow construction projects to continue in areas with low COVID-19-risk.

The tourism sector, among the hardest hit by the pandemic, was especially concerned over the implementation of COVID-19 passports.

Nguyen Quoc Ky, chairman of the board of Vietravel - one of the country's leading tour operators, said obstacles still remained in the implementation and usage of COVID-19 passports as there was no Central government guidelines on inter-province travel.

"As things stand, we are pessimistic about the tourism sector's ability to recover. Especially when regional competitors and major markets are well on their way for a reopening," Ky said.

In order to provide wider support to the business community, the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) has proposed the Government slash 30 per cent on business income tax for businesses with annual gross sales of VND300 billion or less instead of a similar proposal with a VND200 billion cut-off.

VCCI also called for the Government to use the State budget to help bankroll expenses incurred by certain businesses to fight the spread of the virus. Businesses that properly implemented virus safety measures may be entitled to future reductions in their duties to the State budget. 

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