|Garment products are made by workers of TNG Investment and Trading Co in Thái Nguyên Province. — Photo sotaichinh.thainguyen.gov.vn|
HÀ NỘI — The northeastern province of Thái Nguyên has established a special task force to remove difficulties for local businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Led by the provincial People's Committee chairman Trịnh Việt Hùng, the task force gathers representatives from the province's departments of planning and investment; finance; labour, invalids and social affairs, as well as the provincial Industrial Zones Authority and relevant departments and branches.
The task force will proactively address difficulties the business community has been facing amid the pandemic, thereby drawing up measures to help them weather the storm.
In order to ensure its maximum operational efficiency, the task force will also team up with leaders of sectors and organisations and business associations to remove obstacles for local firms.
The launch of the task force is among measures the province has come up with, besides policies supporting businesses from assorted economic sectors that were affected by COVID-19 following the principle of being quick, efficient, and for the right people.
Thái Nguyên is one of the localities that have controlled the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the long-lasting impact has also caused many difficulties for over 7,800 enterprises in the province such as rising shipping costs, increasing gasoline and oil prices, shortages of raw materials for production and a lack of labourers.
Up to 397 enterprises in the province temporarily stopped operating over the past nine months of 2021, up 32 per cent year-on-year while 74 firms dissolved, an increase of 14 per cent year-on-year, according to the provincial Department of Finance.
During the nine-month period, the number of employees working in industrial enterprises in the province decreased by 9.48 per cent over the last year's corresponding period or equivalent to a decrease of about 11,500 employees, the department said.
Trần Huy Luân, chairman of Minh Cầu Trading and Services Co told Việt Nam News that the pandemic had a significant impact upon his company's business performance.
"Now we are struggling to overcome difficulties brought by the the fourth wave of COVID-19," he told Việt Nam News.
After one F0 case was detected, his company had to close its chain of supermarkets and all employees had to be isolated for testing. After 21 days of quarantine, the chain has resumed operation, but the purchasing power has decreased as local customers have curbed their spending, Luân said.
Phạm Thị Thu Hà, Deputy General Director of Thái Nguyên Casting JSC, was quoted as saying that her company was operating moderately in order to ensure jobs for its workers amid the increasing prices of raw materials and rising transportation fees.
Hà said she hoped that price of raw materials could be soon stabilised to help facilitate the operation of local enterprises.
In order to help local firms weather the COVID storm, Thái Nguyên Province drawn up a wide range of policies to support businesses from a range of sectors.
Efforts were also taken to ensure effective implementation of the policies on loans and payables’ loosened payment, fee reduction, and exemption, in parallel with the deployment of diverse concessionary credit programmes to benefit firms.
As one of these moves, Thái Nguyên urgently reviewed affected businesses and local people who were eligible to benefit from support packages under Resolution No 68 and Decision No 23 of the Government, according to the provincial portal.
As of August, the province completed the reduction of contributions to the Insurance Fund for Occupational Accidents and Diseases for 3,015 units with over 164,000 employees with a total amount estimated at over VNĐ9.8 billion (US$420,000). It is expected that the total amount of reduction would be over VNĐ57.8 billion ($2.48 million) by the end of this year.
The provincial branch of the Bank for Social Policies approved a loan for one enterprise to pay salaries for 260 employees and restore its production and business with an amount of over VNĐ3 billion. Two enterprises borrowed over VNĐ282 million to pay wages for 72 employees who had to stop work so that they can restore production and business.
One company was supported to temporarily suspend contributions to the retirement and survivorship fund for 51 employees with over VNĐ149 million. In addition, over VNĐ2.9 billion was given to 507 F0s and F1s, who finished their treatment and completed their medical isolation and 587 employees who temporarily suspended the performance of labour contracts, taking unpaid leave; labourers stopping work; officers working in art areas; tour guides, and 27 business households affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Local firms can now have their mind at ease doing business in the province as the government and Thái Nguyên authorities have taken drastic measures with efficient policies to advocate business development,” Nguyễn Văn Thời, president of Thái Nguyên Business Association told Việt Nam News.
Thời who is also the director of TNG Investment and Trading Co said amid the pandemic, his company reported revenue of over VNĐ4.5 trillion in the nine-months, up 17 per cent year-on-year or equivalent to 80 per cent of the yearly target. Its pre-tax profit also saw a yearly rise of 31 per cent to nearly VNĐ170 billion in the period.
These encouraging figures were attributed to new export orders his company had received in the period as many garment firms in the south had to shut down due to the fourth wave of COVID-19 and its efforts to diversify business areas with a focus on producing masks and protective clothing for pandemic prevention and control, Thời said.
In the "new normal" stage, Thời said his company will give priority to vaccinate all employees that he considers key for the firm's stable operation. To date, 90 per cent of his employees have received first doses while nearly half of them have got a second dose.
Building up business scenarios in all situations, strictly following the Ministry of Health's 5K message, ensuring a sufficient number of labourers and maintaining credibility with customers will be also included, he told Việt Nam News.
Having export orders until June next year, Thời forecasts a robust year for his company in 2022. — VNS