|Phạm Thì Hồng Hà, director of the HCM City Department of Finance, speaks at a meeting held to review the city socio-economic performance in the first nine months.|
HCM CITY — HCM City authorities said they would focus on economic recovery in the remaining months of the year after failing to meet most economic targets in the first nine months due to the impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Speaking at a conference on Tuesday, Phạm Thì Hồng Hà, director of the city Department of Finance, warned however that the economy could face a sluggish rebound.
Her department plans to propose an issuance of Government bonds, and would work with the Ministry of Finance to achieve the capital mobilisation target from next year, she said.
Public spending in the first nine months is only 32 per cent of the year’s plan, she added.
The city, the pandemic epicentre with more than 419,000 cases since late April, is struggling with a shortage of labour as companies reopened early this month following the easing of lockdown measures, endangering efforts to restart the country’s export-led economy, experts warned.
Companies are struggling to achieve normalcy since a large number of their workers have left the city, they said.
Lê Minh Tấn, director of the Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, said the city would need to find 60,000 workers this year and 120,000-140,000 in the first quarter of next year.
Around 150,000 workers have returned to the city from their hometowns, mostly in the Mekong Delta and Central Highlands, he said.
The department would improve employment floors around the city, he said.
He urged businesses to encourage workers to return.
The city has provided relief to 5.13 million people or 78 per cent of eligible people, he said, and urged districts to speed up progress reach everyone by October 22.
It has received 71,000 tonnes of rice from the Government, and distributed it to 4.7 million people.
Phan Văn Mãi, chairman of the city People’s Committee, said the focus would be on the “twin goals” of continuing to contain the outbreak and revitalise the economy in the last three months of the year.
It is considering allowing resumption of dining-in at restaurants and street vendors and lottery sellers to sell their wares, he said.
Lê Hòa Bình, vice chairman of the People’s Committee, said the city has contained the COVID outbreak, with the number of new infections, hospitalisations, severe cases, and deaths decreasing significantly in the past few weeks.
It plans to remove the checkpoints at its borders with other cities and provinces to ensure easier circulation of goods and restore supply chains, he said.
“Nearly 99 per cent of people aged 18 and over have received their first vaccine shot and more than 76 per cent have got the second.”
The city Welfare Centre has provided social security packages to more than 2.1 million people and more than 14,300 gifts, according to Bình.
Total retail sales of goods fell by an estimated 17.4 per cent to about VNĐ636.3 trillion in the first nine months, and exports by 3.4 per cent to US$31.5 billion.
The index of industrial production is likely to have fallen by 12.9 per cent.
The city economy shrank by 4.98 per cent in the first nine months and is expected to contract by 5.06 per cent for the whole year. — VNS