Throughout the COVID-19 epidemic, Vietnamese enterprises were faced with numerous hurdles, such as a shortage of input materials along with a sharp decrease in terms of the output market for the consumption of goods and exports.
Plenty of businesses, especially small and medium enterprises (SMEs), were forced to suspend operations, narrow their production scale, and delay trade and investment promotion activities. These moves served to negatively affect business activities over the subsequent weeks.
During a recent videoconference held between the Prime Minster and local firms, several representatives proposed that the Government strive to swiftly implement a range of practical solutions in a bid to help businesses overcome difficulties in a timely manner. In addition, business production should be restored as a way of boosting economic development now that the COVID-19 pandemic has been brought under control.
Truong Dinh Hoe, General Secretary of the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), said the epidemic has had an enormous impact on the nation’s seafood production and exports, with the supply chain of both raw materials and finished products suffering major disruption. This has led to issues relating to a shortage of cash flow and products which has caused great difficulties for enterprises.
Local firms look to bounce back
Despite these challenges, Hoe expects the seafood export industry to overcome issues caused by the COVID-19 quickly and enjoy a full recovery, striving to reach the goal of this year's export turnover being as high as the levels recorded in 2019.
According to Le Tien Truong, general director of the Vietnam Textile and Garment Group (Vinatex), the COVID-19 epidemic saw the textile and apparel industry suffer a decline of approximately 50%, with the overall negative impact on the market being negated as a result of the Government’s great efforts to contain the disease occurring alongside the creativity of businesses.
“The production and business situation of the textile and apparel industry remains very difficult, although corporations have stepped up efforts to reduce losses, it has failed to maintain the efficiency achieved in 2019. The production and business efficiency seen in 2020 is estimated to drop about 50%, while revenue and export turnover also fell by 25%,” Truong said.
In order to accelerate measures as a means of supporting local enterprises, the Vinatex leader suggested commercial banks should implement a flexible assessment method for firms by allowing them to extend investment debts. For unfinished projects whose parameters may change or have deteriorated due to the epidemic, banks should maintain disbursement on schedule, he noted.
As a way of helping businesses be well prepared to deal with post-epidemic difficulties and take full advantage of the Europe-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement when it comes into force, Truong has proposed that relevant ministries and sectors swiftly provide firms with guidelines and circulars in order for enterprises to make the most of the “golden” benefits brought about by the trade deal.
Enterprises require harmonious interventions
According to Duong Quang Thanh, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Vietnam Electricity (EVN), despite being hit by the impact of the COVID-19 epidemic, EVN has moved to reduce electricity prices for affected customers. Most notably, April saw EVN implement social distancing measures in line with Government policy while ensuring a sustained supply of electricity nationwide.
With the easing of restrictions on social distancing measures, production and business activities have gradually been restored, leading to a surge in demand for electricity. Indeed, the daily average electricity production for the entire system during the first week of May surged by 15% in comparison to the previous month.
“EVN has devised a scheme in a bid to ensure the power supply in the coming months, with electricity demand in accordance with the set plan from the beginning of the year. We are committed to ensuring there is sufficient electricity for production activities while expanding the scale to take into account the balance between electricity supply and demand in the 2021 to 2025 period,” he said.
As a means of ensuring that the national electricity supply contributes to production recovery and economic growth in the period following the COVID-19, EVN suggests that the Government direct provincial and municipal People's Committees to co-ordinate efforts with power units in order to enhance communication and supervise the implementation of electricity saving.
According to Tran Ba Duong, Chairman of Truong Hai Automobile Joint Stock Company (THACO), the State should be responsible for supporting businesses who have suffered from the crisis and give priority to firms in need, particularly SMEs and startups.
With businesses undergoing various levels of profits and losses during the epidemic, the THACO representative proposed that the Government devises an overall solution aimed at pushing forward economic recovery. This can be done through harmonious intervention methods to resolve current difficulties while encouraging the spirit of innovation for a common goal of creating a transparent, fair, and suitable business environment for the market economy.