|Workers during a shfit last week at a textile company in Hà Nội. — VNA Photo
HÀ NỘI — Businesses have taken measures to minimise the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, said a research committee on private firms under Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc’s Advisory Council for Administrative Procedure Reform.
According to a survey by the committee, most enterprises supported the Government’s approach to fighting the pandemic. Many businesses have allowed workers to work from home and those that could not have used safety practices such as keeping workers at a 2-metre distance, providing hand sanitiser and requiring masks to be worn in the workplace.
Other methods included preventing departments and branches from coming into close contact with one another and tighter sanitary inspections of dormitories.
More than half of the firms said they have used IT to allow work to continue uninterrupted compared with a mere 3 per cent at the onset of the pandemic, especially in e-commerce, distance-learning and online consultancy services. They have also started seeking new markets and customers to reconfigure products and services to better meet consumers’ needs.
“Proactive measures have been taken to allow businesses to operate despite the difficulties raised by the virus outbreak,” read the survey’s findings.
However, 8 per cent of private enterprises said they had no choice but to shutter operations. Notably, only 3 per cent of the enterprises asked said they have invested more in research and development and 2 per cent said they have taken steps to reduce risks, both being key long-term solutions, according to business experts.
As many as 60 per cent of firms said they have not been behind in paying workers, either in full or the minimum amount required by the State, with 26 per cent providing some form of financial assistance to workers during State-mandated social distancing.
However, 27 per cent said they were forced to reduce either workers’ salary or hours while 10 per cent admitted they can no longer afford to keep paying their employees.
A common request by businesses was for the Government to allow delayed payments to the social security fund, union fees and retirement plans for up to a year to improve cashflow.
Businesses have also voiced concerns over Government ministries and agencies’ lack of urgency in rolling out support policies, cumbersome red tape and time-consuming procedures. They have also demanded the Government quickly establish a strategy for a post-pandemic economy to soften the blow to business and to take advantage of new opportunities. — VNS