Đào Quang Vinh, former Director-General of the Institute of Labour, Science and Social Affairs of the Ministry of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs, talks to the newspaper Countryside Today (Nông thôn ngày nay) on whether the Government should launch a second package to help people affected by the COVID-19 pandemic
Do you have any comments on the Ministry of Labour, War Invalid and Social Affairs’ decision to disburse US$2.7 billion to support vulnerable people impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?
Basically speaking this support package has not really met the set objectives. The package is valued over VNĐ62 trillion or $2.7 billion, yet by now, some VNĐ17 trillion has been disbursed. People who have benefited from the support are those who served the country, poor households and people who live on social welfare.
However, in the COVID-19 pandemic, these groups of people are not the most affected by the pandemic. The most affected groups are people who have lost their jobs.
According to reports from local governments nationwide, they have faced quite a lot of difficulties in defining who is entitled to receive the Government financial support due to a lack of specific criteria on who should be on the list. Furthermore, the cumbersome administrative procedures have also caused slow disbursement.
Based on experiences from the first package, should we launch the second package?
We should not. Why? Because until now the budget allocated for the first package has not been fully disbursed. What we should do is have more human resources to carry out the first package. If we still want to have the second package, we should draw lessons from the first package and what was done well and what was not.
What I’m worried about most is the poor co-ordination among the groups involving in the first support package.
Of course, target groups to benefit from the second social supporting campaign will include small and medium enterprises and super small enterprises and household enterprises as well as working people who are seriously affected by the pandemic.
If the Government decides to continue with the second package, what should we focus on?
First of all, we need to change the working method. With experiences from other countries, we should impose a very strict rule on what we should do and what should not. Due to our limited resources, choosing the right beneficiary groups is the most important thing. Parallel with that we should hold high the principle of transparency and accountability in all activities.
Adding to that we need to develop good and workable procedures to disburse the second package as soon as possible in the spirit of self-accountability.
Do you think that Việt Nam should adjust its policy on emergency cases?
In the course of developing policies to respond to natural disasters, epidemics and others, we should include a chapter on risk assessments, including activities on how to control its negative impacts and lessons learned. Of course, in the context of a pandemic, rapid response should come first. Of course, what we can do is minimise the shortcomings, including losses, but not to avoid them. — VNS