Ensuring social security aligned with fighting COVID-19 epidemic

Wednesday, 2020-03-25 18:24:57
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PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc chairs a Government meeting in early March on the prevention and control of the COVID-19 epidemic.
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NDO - The COVID-19 epidemic has affected many aspects of socio-economic life, with a serious impact on service sectors such as tourism, entertainment, catering services, and education. Several production industries and sectors have encountered temporary labour shortages and interruption in the supply of raw materials, resulting in suspension of operations. Many enterprises, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises and enterprises located in epidemic-hit areas have had to narrow their production and business activities or halt their operations.

In order to fulfil the "dual task" of fighting against the epidemic and promoting socio-economic development, the Prime Minister issued Directive No. 11 on March 4 stating urgent tasks and solutions to remove difficulties for production and business while ensuring social security and a strong response to the COVID-19 epidemic.

With this spirit of drastic action, the concerned ministries and agencies have quickly worked to develop specific and effective solutions.

The Governor of the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) signed Circular No. 01/2020 on March 12, allowing credit institutions and branches of foreign banks to proactively reschedule debt payment deadlines and exempt and reduce interest rates and fees for customers affected by the COVID-19 epidemic.

This is a legal basis for credit institutions and branches of foreign banks to take action to support businesses and people hit by the epidemic.

The SBV also proposed that credit institutions should have a plan to classify debt types, assess the potential risk of bad debts, postpone and extend debt payment deadlines, and support businesses in difficult situations. In addition, a credit support package of VND250 trillion (US$10.7 billion) will be provided for enterprises to meet their capital needs for production and business activities.

Credit institutions are also asked to accelerate administrative procedure reforms, shorten the time to review loan dossiers, and improve loan accessibility for customers.

In particular, the Vietnam Bank for Social Policies should develop an action plan to support needy people, disadvantaged households and policy beneficiaries affected by the epidemic.

The Vietnam’s Social Insurance has also decided to suspend payment for social insurance for those affected by the epidemic until the end of June or December 2020 and not calculate interest for late payments.

After that, the Vietnam Social Insurance body also issued a document on March 17 allowing businesses which are impacted by the epidemic to suspend payments into social insurance retirement and death gratuity funds.

Enterprises where at least 50% of staff members have lost their jobs can complete procedures to suspend payments to the retirement and death funds by the end of June. The suspended payments will also be exempt from interest.

In case the epidemic continues to spread after June, impacted enterprises can apply for an extension of the exemption by the end of this year.

The Ministry of Labour - Invalids and Social Affairs is also focusing on handling labour problems and building a plan to provide training for labourers and support workers who are laid off due to the epidemic.

At the same time, the ministry has devised solutions to manage foreign workers in Vietnam, especially those coming from epidemic areas or moving through epidemic regions while assisting businesses in finding alternative labour sources in case of labour shortage.

Amidst the new developments of the epidemic, the Prime Minister issued Directive No. 13 on March 11 on continuing to promote the prevention and control of the COVID-19 epidemic and remaining alert and ready for any situation.

The PM also emphasised the spirit of "fighting the epidemic like fighting an enemy" and that the country is ready to sacrifice economic benefits to protect the health and life of the people.

At the same time, the government leader requested ministries, sectors and localities to actively implement epidemic prevention and control solutions, develop specific and effective solutions to promptly remove difficulties for production and business, and ensure social security.

It is believed that, with the participation of the entire political system together with the efforts and determination of the entire Party, people and the army, our country will overcome all difficulties so as to fulfill the "dual task" of effectively fighting against the epidemic and ensuring social security and socio-economic development in 2020.