2022: A year to ‘live with’ and to ‘overcome’ the pandemic

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The year 2022 will not only be the time to live with but overcome the Covid-19 pandemic with a proactive attitude.

VietNamNet talks with National Assembly deputy Vu Tien Loc, Chairman of the Vietnam International Arbitration Center (VIAC) and former Chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), about solutions to implement the VND350 trillion fiscal and monetary support package for socio-economic recovery and development.

Tâm thế 2022 không chỉ sống chung mà là vượt qua đại dịch Covid-19
National Assembly deputy Vu Tien Loc.

What is the meaning of this support package in your opinion?

The Government is working on the implementation of two programs at the same time: pandemic prevention and control and socio-economic recovery and development.

Among the solutions offered by the Government, there is the fiscal and monetary policy. This is a special policy, with a specific nature, that is different from usual fiscal and monetary policies. Since making such fiscal and monetary policies is the function of the National Assembly, the Government has submitted it to the National Assembly for approval.

The National Assembly held an extraordinary session to consider and approve the Government’s proposals, which was a very responsible response, demonstrating the National Assembly’s companionship and initiative with the Government in the response process to the Covid-19 pandemic.

This support package has a large enough scale and resources, can affect both supply and demand, has central goals, identifies the right subjects that need support to solve urgent problems, and avoids wasting resources.

With this support package, in your opinion, how should we fight the pandemic to achieve the goal of socio-economic recovery and development set by the National Assembly?

We have passed through different stages of disease prevention and control and socio-economic development. In the early period we pursued the goal of “Zero Covid”, launched a war against Covid-19, then we have moved on to the phase of living with Covid-19, in other words, safe, effective, proactive adaptation within the safety threshold.

I think at the present stage, we not only have to live together but have to overcome Covid-19 with a proactive attitude. This is the message that I proposed to the Government in April 2020: preparing to live with the pandemic and preparing an economic recovery program for the next two years with specific solutions.

In the end, humanity will have to treat Covid-19 like a seasonal flu in order to resume normal socio-economic activities.

We are in an unusual situation, so measures must also be of an unusual nature as the ones discussed at the recent extraordinary session of the National Assembly. The package of fiscal and monetary solutions is a specific solution for this period.

In your opinion, how can this policy package be absorbed into the economy to restore socio-economic development in the next two years as proposed by the National Assembly?

I think we need specific solutions for all socio-economic sectors, not just fiscal and monetary measures. That means the mechanism should be more open, a specific mechanism for business investment in the whole society and applied at least during the economic recovery period for the next two years.

We offer monetary and fiscal solutions and we say that the monetary solution must be appropriate, suitable for the absorptive capacity of the economy and the tolerance of the monetary and fiscal system. But the absorption of the economy depends greatly on other institutional reforms, not just monetary and fiscal solutions.

Thus, the fiscal support package and the financial and monetary support package are called monetary support packages. Besides, non-financial and non-monetary support packages are “soft” support packages, which are very important institutions, mechanisms and policies.

Because money is limited, the institutional support package has huge room. In relation to other economies, our competitiveness is not high so our business environment needs more improvement. That is the room for institutional reform.

But institutional reform needs time, so is it appropriate in such a special situation at present?

This is an opportunity to promote reform. In normal conditions, solutions to support businesses, and solutions to simplify institutions are very controversial, but at the time businesses and the economy are in difficulty, and it is easy to agree with each other. When piloting measures in the response phase, if they are operated well, those reforms can become habits of thought and become regulations.

Institutional support and the reduction of administrative procedures are a very important basis. Besides, market opening is also very significant. We need a steadfast plan to open the market without delay or faltering because of Covid-19.

Are you worried about the differences in pandemic-fighting policies among localities?

The Government’s determination to open the market must be steadfast. I emphasize that we must try to maintain production and business according to a consistent plan. Open in the broadest sense, open for economic activities, no blockades, no siege, and even open the border.

What do you expect from this support package?

Opening up and institutional reform must go hand in hand with fiscal and monetary policies to support the socio-economic recovery and development program.

In addition, there are other measures to improve the capacity of enterprises. Currently, ministries and agencies have many capacity building programs for businesses such as digital transformation, green transformation, improving corporate governance, human resource training, and trade promotion.

Thus, opening the market to create a path, creating space for activities; institutional reform to remove constraints and create more favorable conditions; and supportive measures to promote and support businesses.

I hope all of those will form an ecosystem for businesses to strongly enter the economic recovery phase.

Thu Hang – Tran Thuong

An economic recovery package worth VND350 trillion, the largest package so far, to be disbursed in 2022 and 2023, offers many supportive measures. Workers experiencing difficulties can borrow money to buy or rent social housing.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused local firms to face an array of risks, with there being a large and possible long-lasting vulnerability for them.

The Government needs to carefully monitor and outline economic stimulus packages to assist businesses affected by the pandemic to quickly recover the national economy, according to experts.

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