Highlights in Post-Covid-19 Response

9:28:26 AM | 2/7/2020

Not only joining hands with the Government in effective pandemic prevention, localities across the country have timely introduced many solutions to support businesses in their areas to quickly recover and develop after the Covid-19 pandemic.

Bright spots in the pandemic prevention

In the complicated situation of the Covid-19 pandemic, in addition to following the general direction of the Government, localities were also flexible in designing appropriate solutions to prevent the spread as well as minimize the impact of the pandemic on social and economic life. Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City are considered two bright spots in effective disease prevention.

Being the most heavily affected area of ​​the Covid-19 pandemic with the highest risk from both outside and inside and the highest number of cases nationwide, Hanoi has taken drastic, thorough and effective solutions.

As soon as the first case was discovered, Hanoi City had an emergency meeting in the night to handle the situation. With the decisive and quick actions of the authorities, people from bewilderment and anxiety have returned to a state of balance and trust. In less than two months, the city’s Steering Committee for Prevention and Control of Covid-19 has continuously met at about 40 online sessions with districts, towns and departments, agencies and sectors to direct drastic implementation of measures in order to prevent and control the pandemic. In particular, quickly zoning and isolating infected and suspected cases are the first step and the most important one.

Along with that, effective propaganda measures, turning each citizen into an "anti-pandemic fortress" with the motto "fighting the pandemic like fighting the enemy" has been promoted in the community, the anti-pandemic forces from the wards, communes and groups have to come to residential quarters as soon as there is a suspected case to find out the cause, and carefully investigate the health status, travel route and those who have contacted the suspected case to take measures to isolate and set up health checkpoints. In Son Tay Town alone, the local authorities have established 115 health checkpoints, 18 mobile control teams, 5 mobile teams to patrol in order to control people entering and leaving the village, reminding everyone to wear masks and restrict travel.

At the same time, in the spirit of "no one will be left behind", as of April 22nd, the Fatherland Front Committee received donations in cash and goods worth over VND101 billion and promptly transferred sympathies and hearts of all strata to the frontline forces participating in the pandemic prevention. On the other hand, the "rice ATM”, "0 dong supermarket" or the gift points with banner "Anyone in needs, please come and take some" have increasingly appeared, not only helping increase resources, but also being the most obvious evidence for the participation of both the political system and the people of the capital in joining hands to create the victory over the pandemic.

Similar to Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City is also one of the bright spots in the prevention of pandemic. This is the first locality to close restaurants and bars. With the characteristic of having many industrial zones in the area, in order to both prevent pandemics and minimize negative impacts on the economy, Ho Chi Minh City has issued a set of indicators to assess the risk of SARS-CoV-2 virus infection at enterprises in the area, including 10 component indices. It states that if an enterprise has an infectious risk index of 80% -100%, then it has to stop production, while if the index is less than 80%, businesses will be allowed to operate but must take measures to reduce the risk. Based on this set of indicators, the HCM City People's Committee had grounds to request PouYuen Vietnam Co, Ltd in Binh Tan District to suspend production activities for two days from April 14 to 15 to handle the situation. Also from this set of pioneering infectious risk indicators, the districts have grounds to review and grade enterprises to ensure labor safety.

In addition, there are 16 main station posts and 46 sub-station posts located at the gateways, wharves, bus stations, and terminals where vehicles travel in and out of the city to strictly control the compliance with regulations on pandemic prevention.

Besides, Ho Chi Minh City is also the first locality to have a policy to support more than 600,000 workers who lost their jobs due to the pandemic, through spending VND2,753 billion to combat Covid-19 pandemic, of which VND1,800 billion used to support the unemployed workers.

Supporting businesses to recover

In the context of the serious global economic downturn caused by Covid-19 pandemic, Vietnamese enterprises have also suffered very negative and heavy impacts. In order to support businesses, localities across the country have quickly grasped directives from the Government, flexibly applying them to local situations to come up with appropriate policies and solutions.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has identified five frontier points to restart the economy including: Enhancing investment attraction of domestic economic sectors, especially private investment; Enhancing the attraction of foreign direct investment (FDI); Increasing exports; Promoting disbursement of public investment; Encouraging to increase domestic demand. Ministries and agencies must join efforts while localities must remove difficulties for enterprises.

In addition, the Government has been and will continue to have many policies to support businesses and people affected by the pandemic, such as monetary support packages (about VND30 trillion), fiscal support packages (about VND180 trillion), social security support packages (over VND62 trillion), electricity price support packages (about VND12 trillion), telecommunication price support packages (about VND15 trillion).

The management agencies and local administrations will consider and supplement additional taxes and fees to be exempted or reduced; extend the delay of payable amounts of enterprises; and loosen the ceiling on credit growth limit. The authorities need to implement consistently and thoroughly the reform of administrative procedures and improve the business investment environment. At the same time, they need to accelerate the disbursement of public investment and control monopoly status, promoting connection between manufacturers and distributors, banks and businesses; well exploiting new opportunities from new free trade agreements; enhancing trade promotion; formulating and implementing supporting industry development strategies and national programs to improve the management capacity of the business community.

Following the directions of the Government, the Hanoi Tax Department has quickly come up with solutions to support taxpayers, restore production and business activities, thereby generating revenue to offset the damage caused by the pandemic. Along with that, it has promoted propagation, guidance for businesses and taxpayers to comply with the provisions of tax policies and laws. It has also promptly supported and answered problems in order to remove difficulties and create conditions for enterprises to restore and develop production and business. In Ho Chi Minh City, right after the social distancing measures eased, many businesses have gradually brought production activities back to normal, and actively taken measures to promote sustainable development. The city is also preparing infrastructure, helping to accelerate the production and supply chain, as well as preparing for the wave of investment flows from other countries to Vietnam. Banks should give priority to lending sufficiently and facilitate the provision of capital to enterprises having investment projects on infrastructure, technological innovation, products and markets. At the same time, many groups of specific support solutions have been introduced to reduce production and business costs for enterprises, support and encourage production to replace imported goods, especially advantageous materials and equipment in local areas, expand the technology chain for production and business, and speed up the digitization process in enterprises.

Other provinces and cities across the country also have many positive solutions to support enterprises to restore production and business. Ca Mau province has implemented many specific solutions and programs: the State Bank branch in Ca Mau province has directed credit institutions to balance, fully and promptly meet the capital demand for production and business. At the same time, reforming administrative procedures, shortening the time to review loan applications, improving the ability to access loans for businesses have been prioritized.

Quang Ninh province has organized an online conference to all localities in the province, with the participation of representatives of more than 400 enterprises, investors at home and abroad with production and business activities in the province.

Accordingly, in order to solve the difficulties against enterprises, Quang Ninh province has continued to facilitate access to capital, credit, finance, tax, trade, electronic payment for enterprises, review and reduce administrative procedures, costs for people and businesses, create favorable conditions for production and business, promote production and import; quickly restore and develop the tourism and service industry; and accelerate implementation and disbursement of investment capital.

It can be said that, with their agility and creativity, localities have well implemented pandemic prevention, and at the same time, greatly assisted businesses in the area to recover and take advantage of the "golden opportunity" to make a breakthrough in development, thus soon stabilizing the socio-economic situation.

By Giang Tu, Vietnam Business Forum