The second draft decree on this issue – brought by the Ministry of Planning and Investment upon collection of opinions from Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam, Deputy Prime Minister Le Van Thanh, and the opinions of 15 ministries – reflects the current situation as well as takes into consideration proposals from across cities and provinces.
The government has to implement flexible and effective measures to prevent and control the COVID-19 pandemic, creating conditions for enterprises to stabilise and maintain production and business activities. However at the same time, it must ensure stable production, smooth and efficient circulation of goods, and overcome supply chain disruptions.
Applying fast-track customs clearance for aid or donation from abroad for the healthcare sector to deal with the pandemic will be one such solution. This will allow enterprises to submit scanned copies certified by digital signatures for documents that must be submitted as originals in the form of paper or notarised originals to resolve bottlenecks of customs clearance of goods.
Local authorities must also support cost-cutting and remove difficulties in cash flow for businesses. This involves the proposal of policies to suspend or reduce the social insurance premiums in 2021 for businesses until June 2022; developing a plan to support air transport enterprises, which will be reported to the prime minister in September; and requesting shipping companies to publicly and transparently list shipping rates to eliminate unreasonable increases in freight rates that lead to cost burden for businesses.
Governmental agencies must look at reducing electricity prices for goods warehouses of logistics and processing enterprises in agro-forestry-fisheries and a number of commodity industries which have export turnover of over $1 billion, while continuing to reduce electricity prices for tourist accommodation establishments.
There should be issued policies on relaxation and reduction of taxes, fees, charges, and land rents; and preferential tax policies for imported goods to finance COVID-19 prevention and control after being approved by the government.
At the same time, an extension on the deadline for paying excise tax on automobiles manufactured or assembled in Vietnam would be welcome, along with continuing to reduce registration fees for domestically manufactured or assembled cars for an additional period of time.
Research is needed to allow travel businesses to temporarily withdraw deposits for domestic and international travel and tourism services; reduce deposit withdrawal settlement time from 60 days to 30 days; and extending the reduction of the license fee for travel service businesses and issue tourist guide cards until the end of 2021.
Also requiring a continuation is administration of monetary policy to control inflation, contributing to stabilising the macro-economy; and encouraging credit institutions to continue reducing lending interest rates for existing loans and new loans to support production and business.
Furthermore, supplementing policies are crucial on debt rescheduling, exemption, and reduction of interest and fees, keeping the same debt group for customers affected by the pandemic, as well as considering exemption of trade union fees for members of businesses affected by the pandemic both this year and next.
Regarding labour issues, experts propose policies to flexibly apply and relax regulations and conditions on the grant and extension of work permits for foreign experts working in Vietnam; and adjusting regulations on tax finalisation and bad debt and for borrowing capital to pay wages to employees when restoring production and business.
The Vietnamese government has continuously proved that it always accompanies the business community to immediately implement measures to remove bottlenecks in production and business in order to minimise damage and negative impacts on the production.
By Dr. Oliver Massmann from Duane Morris LLP