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Planning Ministry Earmarks $2.6bn of Financial Aid for Workers Affected by Covid-19

Some major sectors of Vietnam’s economy have had to close to limit the spread of Covid-19, sending scores of workers into temporary unemployment. How will they be supported during this period of hardship?

On April 6, Vietnam’s Ministry of Planning and Investment presented their report on the nation’s economic health in the first quarter of 2020, and things are looking grim in a few areas, reports Thanh Nien.

According to the data, 29,700 new businesses were registered during this quarter nationwide, with a total capital of VND351 trillion. But, the first three months also saw the exit of 34,900 businesses, a slight year-on-year increase of 2%. Of these firms, 18,600 businesses are temporarily closed, a 26% rise compared to the same period in 2019, and 4,100 have been dissolved, while 12,200 others are in the process of dissolving.

In a worrying trend that’s also plaguing economies across the globe, the ongoing coronavirus epidemic in Vietnam has paralyzed key industries, leading to widespread joblessness. The report estimates that from January 1 to March 26, 153,000 Vietnamese workers have submitted their application for unemployment benefits, mostly in fields like transportation, textiles, shoe-making, tourism services, and F&B.

The jobless rates are highest in the tourism and air travel sectors, reaching as high as 98%, while 78% of workers at transportation, textile and shoe-making firms have had their work curtailed or suspended. The ministry warns that should the local Covid-19 epidemic drag on, 250,000 workers will lose their job, while some 1.5 to two million others will face suspension.

Thus, the planning and investment ministry has announced a VND62 trillion (US$2.6 billion) package of financial assistance to around 20 million individuals, Thanh Nien reports in a separate article.

Those who are already receiving monthly government benefits — such as war veterans, senior citizens, disabled children, etc. — are entitled to an additional VND500,000 a month.

Poor and near-poor households will receive VND1 million a month per household. A poor household is defined as one whose members earn less than VND700,000 a person a month for rural areas, and less than VND900,000 a person a month for urban areas. For near-poor households, the figures are VND1 million and VND1.3 million, respectively.

Employees who are on temporary suspension or unpaid leave for at least 14 workdays will receive VND1.8 million a person per month. Those whose work contract was terminated and workers without a labor contract are entitled to VND1 million a person per month.

Businesses and services that were affected by the nationwide social distancing order from the end of March are entitled to VND1 million a month if their taxable revenue is below VND100 million a year.

[Photo by Nguyen Viet Thanh via Flickr user ILO Asia-Pacific]