Procedural hurdles prevent Covid-19 jobless from benefiting from HCMC support package

By Manh Tung   May 29, 2020 | 07:00 pm PT
Procedural hurdles prevent Covid-19 jobless from benefiting from HCMC support package
A street vendor, one of the people affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, receives donated food on Tran Hung Dao Street, District 1, HCMC, April 2, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Nguyet Nhi.
Only a small proportion of people who lost their jobs to the Covid-19 pandemic have benefited from Ho Chi Minh City’s VND1.8 trillion ($77.8 million) financial support package.

Two months after the package was announced, only 6,400, or around 10 percent of 62,500 employees at factories and other businesses, have received the stipend of VND1.8 million ($78) a month, the Department of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs said on Friday.

Some 6,300 of 14,100 teachers and staff at private pre-schools have received VND1 million.

Only 22,000 out of 284,000 self-employed workers, including street vendors and xe om drivers, who lost their livelihoods received VND1 million. The rate ranges from 44 percent of eligible people in District 11 to 0.46 percent in District 1.

In Districts 8 and Binh Thanh, more than 20,000 street workers each have not received any support.

Le Minh Tan, director of the labor department, blamed the low numbers on employers being slow to check with social insurance agencies.

Some of them had failed to pay social insurance premiums for their employees, which made them ineligible for the stipend, he said.

Also, many self-employed workers are low-skilled manual laborers who failed to apply correctly for the assistance, the department claimed.

In March, HCMC authorities approved the support package targeting 600,000 workers and teachers at private pre-schools who lost their jobs and poor families.

When Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc approved a VND62 trillion ($2.6 billion) financial support package for poor people and small businesses affected by the pandemic in early April, the department called on HCMC authorities to enlist street vendors and the like to receive VND1 million a month for three months.

Vietnam has not recorded any community transmission for 43 days. The nation's Covid-19 tally stands at 328, with 279 patients having been discharged from hospitals.

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