HCM City has allowed eateries to reopen, but many remain closed since they cannot meet or afford the stringent COVID prevention requirements. — Photo khoahocdoisong.vn
HCM CITY — Businesses and households in the food and beverage business in HCM City said though they have been allowed to reopen they cannot meet the strict COVID-19 prevention requirements.
They can only operate if their workers live on the premises, but they pointed out no eatery has provisions to house employees.
They are only allowed to remain open from 6am to 6pm but their busiest time is after 6pm when many people eat dinner, they said.
The requirement that all employees need to test for COVID every two days increases costs while revenues remain low.
Inter-provincial transport restrictions mean restaurants and cafés cannot buy groceries and other supplies they need, which causes a major problem, they said.
In the event, they have petitioned the city People's Committee to support retail and food businesses by loosening COVID regulations, prioritising vaccination of employees working in these sectors, waiving value-added tax for 2021 and halving it for the next two years, halving income tax for 2021 and providing a 30 per cent rebate for the next three years, waiving employees’ social insurance premiums for the time they were closed due to social distancing, and delaying payments for six months from the end of social distancing.
They also sought two-year loans at 4 per cent interest for those of them affected by COVID.
HCM City proposes VAT cut
HCM City has called on the Government to reduce value-added tax (VAT), currently 10 per cent, by half to help businesses recover after the outbreak ends.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been a huge challenge for businesses irrespective of sector and size and in all regions and countries, including Việt Nam.
At a meeting with city leaders on September 10, many businesses called for reducing VAT, extending rent reductions and reducing administrative and tour guide licence fees for tourism businesses until the end of 2021.
Analysts said the VAT reduction would be a huge incentive at a time of declining incomes.
Cement companies said a VAT reduction would help them liquidate some of their inventories since it would push up demand.
HCM City’s tourism sector has taken a tremendous hit with 90 per cent of travel firms suspending operations.
An estimated 20,000 workers, or 70 per cent of the industry’s workforce, are off work without pay and likely to remain so until the disease is contained.
Besides reducing VAT, the city also wants the Government to extend the cut in land rentals for tourism businesses and administrative and tour guide license fees until the end of the year. — VNS