Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc speaks at the event (Photo: VNA)
The Vietnamese Government has made efforts to ensure that social welfare for the public is maintained, especially for the poor and the unemployed, amid the challenges posed by COVID-19, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said.
At an online monthly Government meeting on April 1, the PM said the Government would continue to discuss and issue solutions to resolve difficulties facing business, boost public investment, ensure public security and order, and in particular guarantee social welfare.
With complicated developments surrounding COVID-19, especially in the US, Europe, and Southeast Asia, PM Phuc said Party General Secretary and State President Nguyen Phu Trong has appealed to the Party, the armed forces, and the people to remain united in the fight against the virus.
Touching on social distancing measures contained in his Directive No.16, the PM said these are aimed at protecting public health and include members of the public consciously keeping a safe distance apart from each other.
Social distancing, he pointed out, does not mean introducing a lockdown or closing traffic. At the same time, the distribution of goods and production, especially of essential goods, medical equipment, and exports, must be maintained, along with normal export-import via sea and road as well as activities at home.
The policy on 15-day social distancing is to prevent transmission of the virus within the community, he explained, adding that each person, household, enterprise, residential area, ward, village, commune, district, and city or province must be its own “fortress” in fighting the pandemic. Each and every Vietnamese citizen is a soldier in the fight.
PM Phuc also lauded local medical staff for successfully treating infected patients. The Vietnam Fatherland Front has initially raised over 600 billion VND (26 million USD) to fund anti-epidemic efforts. The army and public security forces and all localities have strictly followed Party and State guidelines on epidemic prevention and control.
The PM asked Cabinet members to discuss and publicize support packages available for workers, to ensure social welfare.
Vietnam has already announced financial and monetary packages to support production and lives, he explained, which have been introduced by the banking, finance, industry, trade, and agriculture sectors.
Looking back the socio-economic situation in the first quarter, the PM said the country faces various difficulties including severe drought and saline intrusion in the south, post-effect of the Africa swine fever on livestock industry, and especially the heavy impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Even though the World Bank has remarked that Vietnam's economy has stayed resilient to external shock in the past months, the disruption in supply and sale chains and declining production have had a negative effect on growth, he said.
A report delivered at the meeting revealed that Vietnam’s GDP growth stood at 3.82 percent in the first quarter; the lowest since the first quarter of 2009.
Growth in industry, agriculture, and services were also low.
The only positive sign was seen in the trade sector, which posted an increase of 8.7 percent in export turnover.
Inflation is under control, with the consumer price index (CPI) in March down 0.72 percent month-on-month and up just 0.34 percent from December. The CPI in the first quarter rose 5.56 percent year-on-year.
Of particular note, exports rose 8.7 percent while imports fell 3.4 percent, resulting in a trade surplus of 2.8 billion USD.
PM Phuc called for the re-organisation of domestic production and business, reform of the working methods the application of scientific-technological advances to cope with the problems and overcome the pandemic.VNA