Supermarkets appeal for government help

By Dy Tung, Thi Ha   August 20, 2021 | 07:41 pm PT
Supermarkets appeal for government help
Furusawa Yasuyuki, general director of Aeon Vietnam, at a meeting between HCMC authorities and retailers on August 20, 2021. Photo courtesy of HCMC Media Center
Faced with prolonged losses due to the Covid-19 pandemic, supermarkets want tax breaks and a reduction in the cost of testing for the disease.

At a meeting between HCMC authorities and retailers on Friday, Furusawa Yasuyuki, general director of Aeon Vietnam, said the retailer is facing a series of difficulties due to the pandemic. They include labor shortages since many employees live in locked-down areas, scarcity of delivery people, high testing costs, inconsistent regulations at checkpoints, and temporary closure of shopping malls.

He called for deferring payment of VAT and social and medical insurance premiums for employees by three to six months, cutting corporate income tax for a certain period, and reducing Covid testing costs.

He said some of its affiliates have employees tested every three days at a cost of VND1.5-3 million ($65-130) per person. HCMC should prioritize people working in essential goods distribution for the second dose of Covid vaccination.

It should encourage consumers to use electronic payment methods, and simplify import procedures, he added.

Leading local retailer Saigon Co.op too sought a delay in tax payment for retailers and early vaccination for workers in retail. Many of its Co.opmart, Co.opXtra and Co.op Food stores have had to close after Covid infections were found in them, it said.

Ho Chi Minh City, the current epicenter of Vietnam's fourth coronavirus wave since late April, has recorded 167,717 local cases and 5,939 deaths.

The city of 13 million has undergone a series of social distancing orders, with the latest one being extended until September 15.

"If we don’t have comprehensive, vigorous and timely measures to cope with the pandemic, we face a very high risk of production, distribution and export chains breaking," Vo Van Hoan, vice chairman of the HCMC people’s committee, admitted.

By late September, the city plans to vaccinate 75 percent of its population aged over 18.

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