Vietnam mulls another $1.13 bln pandemic support package

By Hoang Thuy   July 1, 2021 | 06:45 am GMT+7
Vietnam mulls another $1.13 bln pandemic support package
Poor people receive charity good in HCMC, June 28, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran.
Vietnam plans to aid those financially affected by Covid-19 with a VND26 trillion ($1.13 billion) package.

The package is a follow-up to a previous initiative of VND62 trillion ($2.6 billion) Vietnam issued last year for the poor and businesses hit by Covid-19, Minister of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs Dao Ngoc Dung told a government meeting Tuesday.

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh demanded the labor ministry thoroughly ensures the package could reach those in need, including informal laborers like street vendors.

The financial support package released in April last year included nearly VND36 trillion ($1.55 billion) from the central government and local administration budgets.

It targeted six categories of individuals and businesses.

Those having lost their jobs due to the Covid-19 crisis for 14 days or more would get a monthly allowance of VND1.8 million.

Part-time workers who were unemployed but have not received related benefits would access a monthly allowance of VND1 million.

Poor and near-poor households would receive VND250,000 per month while those with a record of meritorious services to the nation would get VND500,000 per month.

Household businesses with revenues below VND100 million a year who’ve had to suspend operations due to the Covid-19 pandemic would also be supported with VND1 million per month.

Businesses that suffered financial difficulties as a result of Covid-19 were allowed to borrow money from the Vietnam Bank for Social Policies at zero percent interest to pay their employee salaries for three months. The loans would cover a maximum 50 percent of the local minimum wage, with businesses responsible for paying the remainder.

As of May this year, nearly VND14 trillion of the package had been disbursed to help 13.2 million people.

The Economic Committee of the legislative National Assembly on June 15 said the policy to use the package has not been effective enough to help laborers and businesses vulnerable to the pandemic.

Many people in need have complained about complicated procedures preventing them from getting the support.

The committee suggested the government make a comprehensive assessment of past support policies to make them more effective.

Two months into the new wave, Vietnam has recorded over 13,200 community infections in 50 of its 63 cities and provinces, with localities home to most industrial zones in Vietnam, including Bac Giang and Bac Ninh in the north and Ho Chi Minh City and Binh Duong in the south, among those hardest hit.

The labor ministry predicts if the epidemic continues to adversely affect industrial zones, 2-2.5 million factory workers would lose their jobs.

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