Improving Policy Access for Cooperatives

10:37:39 AM | 31/3/2021

Up to 41% of total cooperatives are unaware of the zero-interest lending policy applied to layoff allowances for their employees; and 38% do not know power bill reduction policy for business entities, according to a survey conducted by the Vietnam Cooperative Alliance (VCA) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in four provinces and cities in Vietnam adversely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Limited access to preferential policies

VCA President Nguyen Ngoc Bao said, since the Covid-19 outbreak in Vietnam in January 2020, Vietnam has successfully controlled the pandemic and achieved relatively good results in keeping it at bay, thus enabling the country to recover and develop social and economic activities. The Government introduced many support policies, each of which is instrumental and inspirational to all actors in all sectors such as tax exemption, access to the accommodative fund, simplified administrative procedures and other special incentives. However, in reality, some policies did not mention cooperatives in their scope of regulation, resulting in many limitations in accessing these policies.

In addition, up to 41% of total cooperatives are unaware of the zero-interest lending policy applied to layoff allowances for their employees; and 38% do not know the power bill reduction policy for business entities.

To actively cope with the pandemic and adopt sustainable business models; build the spirit and sense of actively preventing the pandemic, adapting to climate change, minimizing risks and damages, developing and scaling up new cooperative models for each cooperative member and each cooperative, many cooperatives have also sought solutions to improve resilience and mitigate damage caused by the pandemic.

The findings showed that 76.8% of the cooperatives applied digitalization to exchange information and adopted collective decision-making meetings; 37.4% used information technology in training and communication; 35.6% supported their members and workers with personal protective equipment.

Besides, some cooperatives still made more revenue than in 2019. Profitable cooperatives accounted for 17.8% (mainly active in some agricultural sectors.)

Clearly defining cooperatives as policy beneficiaries

Dr. Pham Thi Hong Yen, Head of International Cooperation Department - VCA, said that for cooperatives to access to support policies, in the coming time, the Government should define that cooperatives are policy beneficiaries; and amend current regulations to enable cooperatives to access those policies in a flexible and practical manner.

Up to 82.2% of cooperatives reported a shrinking revenue, 42.5% of which lost more than half of their revenue as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In the long term, it is necessary to focus on solutions and policies on financial support and development of professional skills and workmanship, she said. Cooperative support and development policies need to be practical and suitable with specific characteristics.

Communications should also be promoted so that cooperatives that really need support don't miss out. The policy enforcement mechanism for cooperatives should also be simpler, clear, accessible and easy to implement.

Ms. Sitara Syed, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative in Vietnam, said, it is important that cooperatives have access to resources to respond to immediate impacts of the pandemic, maintain their labor force, keep their operations and ultimately recover and build better in the new normal.

Source: Vietnam Business Forum