On the morning of August 20, 2021, Ho Chi Minh City People's Committee held a conference to accompany foreign-invested enterprises (FIEs) in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic to overcome difficulties and restore operation.
The conference was attended by Secretary of Ho Chi Minh City Party Committee Nguyen Van Nen, Vice Chairman of Ho Chi Minh City People's Committee Vo Van Hoan, director of the city's Department of Planning and Investment Le Thi Huynh Mai, and representatives of Ho Chi Minh City authorities, foreign business associations, the Investment and Trade Promotion Center, and FIEs in the city.
|AEON group proposes Ho Chi Minh City to support businesses for recovery in new normal |
In the conference, Yasuyuki, AEON Vietnam’s general director, represented the eight member companies of AEON Group in Vietnam and expressed high appreciation for the city’s support for FIEs.
He also shared obstacles in long-term business operation and investment, such as a lack of human resources due to social distancing, shortage of delivery force (shipper), difficulty in inter-district delivery, affecting transportation of essential goods for customers, especially online channels; high cost of COVID-19 testing; inconsistent procedures at checkpoints in the green zones across the city, hampering employees and suppliers holding the necessary IDs and certificates. In addition, shopping malls – one of the business segments of AEON Group in Vietnam – and many tenants face difficulties because of business or leasing contract suspension without plans to reopen.
Accordingly, in order to support the leaders of Ho Chi Minh City authorities in the dual goal of maintaining socio-economic development while effectively preventing the pandemic to achieve economic recovery Furusawa presented the following recommendations from AEON Group:
(1) Extending the schedule of value-added tax (VAT), social and medical insurance submission from three to six months. This will provide companies with the temporary funds to take care of employees and maintain business operation. Additionally, while considering reducing corporate and personal income tax (CIT/PIT), Ho Chi Minh City can consider adding more special countermeasures such as simple and quick procedures on execution;
(2) Offering better rates to reduce the cost of COVID-19 PCR testing for large enterprises. Currently, enterprises have to shoulder great expenses for PCR testing every three days;
(3) Continuing to prioritise and implement vaccination programme (second dose) to retailers in Ho Chi Minh City;
(4) Promoting cashless payments among consumers and enterprises for quick and smooth implementation;
(5) Simplifying and speeding up export-import procedures. Currently, there is a significant backlog of containers in storage as several customs and customs clearance units have temporarily stopped working because of COVID-19. After the pandemic, demand will increase along with imports, and without a solution, the situation will be more difficult for both customs authorities and businesses).
At the conference, Yasuyuki once again affirmed: “AEON understands that all countermeasures from Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee are necessary to prevent COVID-19, so despite the difficulties, AEON Group always supports and accompanies the Vietnamese government and Ho Chi Minh City authorities. AEON Group will continue to stand side by side with them in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic by ensuring continuous retail operations to provide citizens with some much-needed peace of mind during the pandemic.”
In fact, the pandemic in Ho Chi Minh City is wreaking havoc across the society and economy. In this context, AEON Group has been making every effort to join hands with the Vietnamese government and Ho Chi Minh City authorities to stabilise the supply and price of essential goods while supporting suppliers in Green Lane registration to remove difficulties in goods transportation and distribution.
In addition, in collaboration with Ho Chi Minh City Department of Industry and Trade, AEON has opened more than 350 mobile selling points to provide citizens in all districts of Ho Chi Minh City with over 700 tonnes of essential goods for over a month, making it easier for citizens to purchase food during social distancing.
At the same time, it has been promoting local agricultural products at its supermarkets in Ho Chi Minh City, including Bac Giang lychee, Tien Giang longan, Long An dragon fruit, and Dalat produce.
In June, responding the call of the prime minister, AEON Group in Japan and eight member companies in Vietnam contributed VND25 billion ($1.1 million) to the Vietnamese government's COVID-19 vaccine fund at the office of the Ministry of Finance.