Overcoming COVID-19 Pandemic to Sustain Business Activities

11:12:52 AM | 16/3/2022

Supporting businesses to overcome current difficulties and expand post-COVID-19 development is one of key tasks of the industry and trade sector of Bac Lieu province.

Manufacturing and trade exchange on the move

Mr. Phan Van Sau, Director of the Bac Lieu Department of Industry and Trade, said, in 2021, the COVID-19 pandemic stalled production, processing, import and export, distribution and transportation of freights. Increased logistics costs, labor shortage and especially costs for pandemic preventive measures resulted in reduced competitiveness of local products in the market.

Especially, at the peak of the pandemic, local businesses struggled to comply with mandatory pandemic prevention measures to adopt “three on-site compliances for factory production” and “one-road, two-destination option”. Some seafood and garment companies even had to halt operations for failing to meet pandemic prevention regulations and for having infections, resulting to their failure to complete contractual orders, which gave rise to loss of customers, markets, jobs and incomes for their workers.

“Most of local industrial and trade enterprises are small and medium in size and weak in financial capacity. Therefore, they are very vulnerable to the pandemic,” he said.

To remove difficulties for them to maintain production and ensure trade exchange, the industry and trade sector came up with many business support solutions, Sau added. The Department of Industry and Trade worked out plans to continue production and business and prepare conditions to restore production after the pandemic is controlled. The sector effectively applied regulations on power price reduction and electricity bill reduction for businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The department coordinated with investors to ensure progress of key industrial development projects, especially wind power projects, 3,200-MW Bac Lieu LNG Power Project, and other power source and grid projects.

The above solutions brought about positive results. The province's Index of Industrial Production (IIP) rose by 9.44% in 2021, becoming one of 48 localities in the country with a rising IIP. The output of some major industrial products increased over 2020. Renewable energy and sustainable energy underwent drastic changes. In the year, seven wind power projects, with a combined installed capacity of 370 MW, were completed and put into operation, bringing total wind power plants to eight with a combined installed capacity of 469.2 MW (the largest in the Mekong Delta region and the third in the country). Particularly, the seven projects completed in 2021 cost VND15,232 billion of investment capital.

Trade was maintained and developed. The supply and demand of essential goods was met. The business network and distribution system was increasingly consolidated and expanded to promptly satisfy the demand for input materials and output products. Merchandise export valued US$776.14 million in 2021, fulfilling 87.6% of the yearly plan and equaling 98.86% of the 2020 value.

Applying social distancing as per Directive 16 and Directive 19 of the Prime Minister, the industry and trade sector actively regulated, circulated and provided essential commodities in a timely manner for enterprises and consumers; expanded online sales channels to deliver goods to people who did not need to go to supermarkets and stores to buy consumables. In 2021, total retail revenue of consumer goods and services amounted at VND56,836.85 billion, equal to 81.52% of the full-year plan and 90.02% of the 2020 value.

Continued support for businesses

Currently, although the province’s trade and industry are growing well, local businesses are still exposed to difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, supporting them to live through this tough time and develop in the post-COVID-19 era is one of key tasks of the industry and trade sector in 2022 and beyond.

Director Phan Van Sau said, the department will strictly carry out resolutions and plans on industrial, handicraft and energy development. At the same time, the agency will further support enterprises to develop production and conditions development plans, prepare conditions to restore production in the so-called normality after the COVID-19 pandemic is controlled. The department will focus on supporting investors to speed up construction of key industrial development projects; stimulate industrial production development, especially export-oriented processing. It will concentrate investment in technological innovations, production expansion and export boost by enhancing competitive advantages, added value, technological prowess, energy conservation and efficiency environmental protection.

On merchandise export, the department will launch effective measures to promote sustainable exports as a driving force for economic growth; actively support industrial processors and exporters to increase investment in technology and equipment upgrade and scale up production to raise quality, value and competitiveness for local exports. Simultaneously, it will encourage enterprises to invest in processing and exporting new products for new markets to diversify products and rapidly increase the province’s export value; and stimulate them to diversify import markets to avoid input dependence on one market.

On trade and service development and international economic integration, the province will inspire and facilitate distributor and retailer network development; cherish domestic market development and adopt consumption stimulus solutions while focusing on developing services by enhancing quality and competitiveness and ensuring best service for customers.

By Vietnam Business Forum