Mr. Luu Quang Khanh, Director, National Center for Socio- Economic Information and Forecast, Ministry of Planning and Investment
Ms. Elisa Fernandez, Representative, UN Women
Representatives from line ministries and research institutions;
Colleagues from UN agencies, International Development Partner Agencies and Ethnic Minority Working Group
Representatives from media organizations
Ladies and Gentlemen.
It is an honor to welcome you to the workshop on “COVID-19: Impacts and perspectives on economic recovery in Viet Nam”.
At the outset, I would like to thank Mr. Luu Quang Khanh personally and colleagues from National Center for Socio-Economic Information and Forecast, (NCIF) Ministry of Planning and Investment for their collaboration on this assessment of COVID-19 impacts in Viet Nam, and co-organizing this important workshop to present the results of our work today.
The objective of our collaboration is to help inform the Government of Viet Nam’s response and recovery to COVID-19. In fact, the outset, in March when COVID-19 outbreak was at peak levels in Viet Nam - we planned to assess the pandemic’s impact to inform the GoV response. As Viet Nam quickly contained the virus, thanks to the GoV swift actions, it was decided to extend the survey in May 2020 to capture the information on early recovery to inform the GoV recovery plan.
Undertaking a telephone survey during the period of social distancing was very challenging. I would like to take the opportunity to thank the survey team from the Center for Analysis and Forecast of the Viet Nam Academy of Social Sciences for their (i) great adaptability in conducting the survey with a significant increase in the number of interviews and length of the survey, and for their (ii) great efforts in ensuring the accuracy of collected information, sex-disaggregated data and good quality of the analysis.
Our assessment, based on the UN’s focus on the most vulnerable and leaving no one behind, complements the NCIF’s efforts on assessing the COVID-19 impacts on macro-economic indicators. With a purposive sampling of more than 900 vulnerable households and 900 vulnerable household businesses (HBs), micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in 58 (out of 63) provinces across Viet Nam, the survey brings to bear: (i) evidence of the impact of COVID-19 on vulnerable households and businesses, (ii) their coping strategies and (iii) their voices and perspectives on Government support policies.
The report findings, which will be presented in more detail later this morning, confirm that COVID-19 disproportionately impacted vulnerable households, especially households of Ethnic Minority people, migrant and informal workers. As a result, there was a surge in transient income poverty, especially among Ethnic Minority households. The report also shows the substantial reduction of revenue for both HBs and MSMEs forced most MSMEs to cut back their business operations and reduce the numbers of workers, due to the serious decrease in their output demand and supply disruptions. Notably, the report highlights that despite the intended results of preventing vulnerable people from falling into poverty and protecting those already poor from descending deeper into poverty, the Government’s social protection support policy faced several issues with regard to both its design and implementation.
The report makes recommendations for the Government to further refine the COVID-19 response actions to protect the livelihoods of vulnerable households, support MSMEs in recovering their operations and ensure continued employment for workers.
In closing, I would like to express our recognition that the anticipatory, adaptive and agile actions of the GoV combined with the innovation of the Vietnamese people, have been key to Viet Nam’s initial success in containing the COVID-19 pandemic and in limiting its negative socio-economic impacts. I believe that similar anticipatory approaches and innovations will play a critical role in helping Vietnamese enterprises and people achieve a bold, sustainable, resilient and gender sensitive recovery. This, in turn, is foundational to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and Leaving No One Behind in the context of the ‘new normal’ of co-existing with COVID-19. UNDP is proud to be a partner of the GoV and Vietnamese people in this journey.
I look forward to the presentations and fruitful discussions.
Xin cam on and chuc suc khoe.