HCM CITY — Full reopening, institutional reform and improving medical capabilities are needed to enable HCM City and Việt Nam’s economic recovery, economists told a conference yesterday.
Vũ Tiến Lộc, chairman of the Việt Nam International Arbitration Centre, said, “HCM City has been shifting its focus from ‘zero-COVID’ to living with the pandemic and now to overcoming it.”
The city’s economic development drives the entire country, he said.
He proposed several solutions to aid its recovery, one of them being “opening as much as possible”, including lifting all restrictions on international flights.
The others include ensuring social security for people who are struggling, helping businesses and co-operative groups recover and improving traffic infrastructure to foster short- and long-term economic development.
A VNĐ350 trillion (US$15.42 billion) package to revive the country’s economy passed in January would facilitate these solutions, he said.
Assoc Prof Trần Đình Thiên, former rector of the Việt Nam Institute of Economics, said using the stimulus package “requires synchronised action across the board,” and so pandemic regulations, preventive measures and practical situations have to be factored in.
He said for instance if businesses are unable to access the package, the problem may lie in policies and administrative procedures, and in that case institutional reforms may be required.
Dr Cấn Văn Lực, a member of the National Financial and Monetary Policy Consultation Council, said this is a great opportunity for effecting institutional reform and improving the investment climate since many foreign investors are keen on Việt Nam.
Trần Du Lịch, a member of the Prime Minister’s economic advisory group, said HCM City is one of the worst affected places by the pandemic, and so requires more intensive recovery policies.
The pandemic has laid bare many of the city’s problems in terms of economic structure and living conditions, making disruptive restructuring imperative, he said.
Removing chokepoints that are hindering public and private investments, and providing financial support to small businesses are among the key tasks the city should focus on for economic recovery, he added.
Assoc Prof Trần Hoàng Ngân, rector of the HCM City Institute for Development Studies, called for waiving land rentsand cutting loan interest rates.
Trần Anh Tuấn, deputy director of the city Department of Industry and Trade, said work is on to make the city Việt Nam’s international financial hub.
Just last week it signed a memorandum of understanding with Imex Pan Pacific Group for studying policies to build the hub, he said.
The city is also seeking over VNĐ6.5 trillion from the Government to renovate 168 district- and ward-level medical facilities.
The conference was organised by Người Lao Động newspaper. — VNS