During the past year, Vietnam had to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic, and at the same time had to worry about the economic peak.
Although supposed to have achieved certain results and achievements, looking forward to the roadmap of bringing the country with nearly 100 million people effectively restarting the economy for a new cycle, there are many points that need to be given priority and attention by the government, according to economist Le Dang Doanh.
On March 1, 2021, from Hanoi, the former director of the Central Institute for Economic Management told BBC News in Vietnamese:
“The Vietnamese economy grew positively in 2020 and the government managed to control the first wave of Covid-19, but after the outbreak in Danang, the third outbreak has broken in Hai Duong and it is related to industrial zones, forcing the local authorities to apply social distance, thus affecting Vietnam’s economy.”
“If Vietnam successes in controlling this Covid outbreak early in April and continues to restore its economy, then it is possible that the Vietnamese economy will grow by around 3% to 4%. If it fails, it is difficult to get this target.”
“Regarding the pandemic and economic recovery roadmap, I see that Vietnam clearly needs to have priority to control the pandemic, because Vietnam is a neighboring country of China and countries in ASEAN still have to face this pandemic.”
“Therefore, it is necessary to control the pandemics and control people who enter, promptly quarantine potentially infectious people, in my opinion, that is one of the very important experiences of Vietnam and supported by the people.”
“The second thing is that Vietnam needs to have support packages for businesses, especially extension of time for paying taxes, extending debt repayment time.”
“And at the same time, there are preferential credits, clear targets, and conditions to help businesses, especially small and medium-sized businesses to create jobs. And by doing so, the taxation branch will be able to collect taxes from these businesses again.”
Accept vaccine passport and quick vaccination?
When asked to facilitate rapid reopening in a new economic cycle, better support economic activities after a year against Covid-19, should Vietnam accept vaccine passport, conducting rapid vaccination nationwide or not, Dr. Le Dang Doanh replied:
“In my opinion, these are measures that Vietnam may accept in the near future to reopen international routes, restore tourism activities, in order to create more jobs and income for the people.”
“Recently, some localities have implemented a number of separating measures, and the Prime Minister has adjusted and directed.”
“Currently, Vietnam has learned from experience in order not to apply the social distance or quarantine on a provincial scale, or on a national scale as in March last year.”
“But now, after a year, Vietnam will isolate very specific blocks one by one, in an apartment building, it isolating each house, not the entire apartment building.”
“Just now in Hanoi, there are several thousand people living in an apartment, now try not to isolate the entire apartment, but if there is a certain apartment building, it is the same case, it will isolate each floor one by one, isolating the stairs one from another.”
“And in that way, to minimize the negative impact on disease control, and I think that Vietnam’s experience with the support, cooperation, and support of the people, will help Vietnam in controlling the pandemic while still being able to grow the economy and create jobs. As I saw in Haiphong, for example, it quickly removed some of the restrictions originally put in place.”
How to harmonize anti-pandemic and stabilize economic growth?
In the short term and in general, in the long term, Dr. Le Dang Doanh said that Vietnam should take steps to harmonize the two goals of fighting against the Covid-19 pandemic and stabilize and grow the economy. Both goals are very important, he said:
“Regarding the measures and responses of enterprises, I see that Vietnamese businesses have been and continue to be ready for operational resumption.”
“And the number of newly registered businesses is continuing to increase, in my opinion, that is a very important signal.”
“In particular, Vietnam has recently paid attention to the development of agriculture and agriculture has made a significant contribution to export growth, among other efforts.”
“But in order for the coming process to both recover and grow the economy, I see that Vietnam still has to do a lot of work to streamline the state apparatus, cut down permits which take additional time and expenditures for the local businesses.
“In addition, Vietnam must invest, improve the quality of human resources, to be able to attract foreign investment with higher quality, because now there is a shift in foreign investment and if Vietnam has a good human resource, foreign direct investors will come to Vietnam to invest.”
“Next, I think that Vietnam also needs to continue to invest to improve the quality of infrastructure of roads, especially ports and of course it is necessary to accelerate the transition to a digital economy, implementing e-government, conducting business and e-transactions domestically and internationally, if we can do these positively, I think Vietnam will have a good opportunity and create momentum for the long-term future as well as the time to come.”