HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam will need to prepare to get the economy up and running as soon as the COVID-19 outbreak draws to a close, Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc said.
He made the comment in a cabinet meeting on Friday as the Government prepares for a four-in-one teleconference with all localities in the country, slated for March 31, to discuss resolving bottlenecks and difficulties for businesses, speeding up public investment disbursement, supporting workers and ensuring social welfare for Vietnamese, and maintaining public security and social order in dealing with COVID-19.
He said that at the moment, the Government and the people were expending utmost efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 that had so far impacted 200 countries and driven down the global economy to a zero-growth projection.
However, Việt Nam remains a poor country and needs to get back up and running once the pandemic ends, trying to maintain the impressive growth Việt Nam has been recording in recent years, according to the Prime Minister.
“We must be like a compressed spring, ready to bounce back with vigour once released,” PM Phúc said, adding that it would be “a failure if the other markets that Việt Nam has close ties can recover quickly while Việt Nam trails behind".
Other than the spreading COVID-19 pandemic, in the first few months of the year, Việt Nam has been dealing with several challenges including drought and salt intrusion in the Mekong Delta, bird flu and African swine flu, impacting all facets of society and the economy.
Businesses were struggling, especially tourism and air transport, he said, adding that the target of receiving 20 million tourists might not be realised when the main method of transport was by air.
Regarding public investment capital disbursement, PM Phúc said that the disbursement rate reached only 13 per cent, just a little higher than the rate of the same period in 2019, meanwhile the amount of Việt Nam’s public investment capital – including official development aid – currently reached about VNĐ700 trillion, or nearly US$30 billion, a sizeable resource that needed to be freed up.
He asked the transport ministry and Đồng Nai Province to put in place measures to facilitate the disbursement of transport infrastructure projects and Long Thành international airport.
According to PM Phúc, the finance ministry is preparing a larger package than the previously approved VNĐ80 trillion (US$3.39 billion) to prop up hard-hit businesses and workers by the COVID-19 outbreak. Millions of workers will directly benefit from the policy once it is enacted.
He said that as businesses and livelihoods took a hit there would likely be risks to public order and security, asking for the public security ministry to be ready to deal with emerging situations and prevent incidences from happening in the first place.
Unemployment and reduced wages for millions of workers, ensuring food security and essential supplies while preventing hoarding and price gouging will also be high on the agenda.
“We may discuss a lot of things, but the overarching theme after all, is the life and the livelihoods of the Vietnamese people, of Vietnamese workers and social policy beneficiaries,” PM Phúc said. — VNS