14 business associations seek loosened regulations on COVID-19 battle

September 17, 2021 | 17:42
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As many as 14 business associations sent a document on September 16 to the prime minister, seeking for loosened COVID-19 regulations to facilitate the recovery of business and production activities.
14 business associations seek loosened regulations on COVID-19 battle
Business community is facing many difficulties due to COVID-19

The proposal is made in the context that social distancing and prolonged lockdowns over the past 2-3 months in many cities and provinces, especially those in the south, are causing many difficulties for businesses.

The associations include the Vietnam Leather, Footwear and Handbag Association, the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association, the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers, Vietnam Beer - Alcohol - Beverage Association (VBA), and the Vietnam Electronic Industries Association, and others.

Accordingly, people should be allowed to travel and join social activities, except for those involving large gatherings, if they have negative COVID-19 test no older than 14 days (for the fully vaccinated), or a certificate of recovery; or a negative test no older than five days for people having received one shot; and within three days for those who have not been vaccinated.

Local authorities should also allow businesses to decide their business and operation models and the means of preventing and fighting against COVID-19. They should not ask companies to suspend operations after infections occurring in a small area or a separated unit.

Specifically, at production areas (cooperatives, service companies, factories, construction sites, ports), they should follow the regulations including building a COVID-19 prevention plan and strictly following 5K rules. They should organise operation by areas with flexible eating hours and limited contact.

To support business recovery, the 14 associations also proposed cities and provinces to establish business support working groups and have direct contact with the prime minister’s special working group to timely deal with problems facing businesses.

They also propose the government to direct ministries and agencies to work on the exemption and reduction of taxes and fees, electricity and water prices, and quicken the implementation of the measures and solutions in the government’s Resolution No.105/NQ-CP dated September 9 on supporting the enterprises, cooperatives, and business households in the context of the COVID-19 epidemic.

According to the associations, the fourth wave of the pandemic with the delta variant has lengthened social distancing in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and many southern provinces for 2-3 months. Wide-scale and lengthened blockade caused many difficulties and challenges for businesses that they cannot suffer any longer.

Compared to the same period last year, the index of industrial production (IIP) of Ho Chi Minh City in August 2021 fell 49.2 per cent while total retail sales and service revenue dropped 59.4 per cent. Many enterprises are facing risks of bankruptcy. Moreover, there have been interruptions in domestic and international supply chains, joblessness, and difficulties in production consumption among fishermen and farmers.

The VBA said that the beer, alcohol, beverage industry has been seriously affected by the pandemic. According to statistics from the government-run General Statistics Office (GSO), before the fourth wave, the production capacity of the industry was already below 80 per cent compared to that before the occurrence of COVID-19.

Not only domestic businesses, foreign ones in Vietnam are also expecting the efficient implementation of Resolution 105. Recently, Japanese and South Korean businesses have proposed the government to have more flexible regulations to facilitate business activities.

Resolution 105 meets the expectations of businesses. Pham Thi Ngoc Thuy, director of the Private Economic Development Research Board, said that the resolution covers 11 business concerns and the government assigned tasks for ministries, agencies and cities and provinces to deal with them.

The government also asked cities and provinces to work with businesses on the model and conditions for safe production and business activities.

According to businesses, the resolution clearly shows balance between COVID-19 prevention and fight, and socioeconomic development. However, businesses remain concerned about its performance.

Over the past two years, this is not the first time the government has issued measures to support the business community. However, not all supporting policies have been carried out quickly and efficiently enough. Tran Hoang Ngan, director of Ho Chi Minh City Institute for Development Studies said that the resolution should be implemented faster than any other before.

Phan Duc Hieu, National Assembly deputy and standing member of the Economic Committee of the National Assembly, emphasised, “If local authorities and ministries implement Resolution 105, it will bring about more positive results than expected. However, if they are sluggish, many enterprises will be unable to recover and even go bankrupt.”

By Bich Thuy

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