Firms find it hard to access $1.1-billion government aid

By Anh Minh   August 1, 2021 | 08:32 pm PT
Firms find it hard to access $1.1-billion government aid
A garment export factory in HCMC before the city imposed social distancing. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran.
Many enterprises have found it difficult to access the government stimulus of VND26 trillion ($1.13 billion) since it requires them to meet an “unreasonable” criterion related to income tax.

They need to have paid tax for 2020 though tax regulations allow them to pay in a cycle of three to five years, and does not require them to do so annually.

The government’s own think tank, the Private Economic Development Research Board recently wrote to Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh to point out that the stipulation is "unreasonable."

The aid, in the form of easy loans, is meant to help enterprises pay salaries to furloughed employees and revive their business.

Many businesses have been hard financially by the pandemic since last year, and so expecting them to pay the tax for 2020 is unfair, and the government should consider removing the criterion, the board said.

"Such criteria are making most enterprises unable to access the aid," it said.

On July 25 Minister of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs Dao Ngoc Dung reported to the National Assembly that in the first week 62 businesses with over 13,500 employees had obtained loans worth VND50.4 billion.

He said the procedures are fairly flexible, and the time it takes for disbursal has been cut by two-thirds compared to the previous aid package of VND62 trillion.

The board also recommended that the government should allocate more vaccines to the pandemic-stricken southern cities and provinces, the country’s industrial hubs, like HCMC, Binh Duong and Dong Nai.

Meanwhile, businesses continue to press the government for permission to buy Covid-19 test kits and do tests by themselves.

They also called on the labor ministry to allow employees to exceed the overtime ceiling rate of 40 hours per month after social distancing is over.

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