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No hike in electricity tariffs in H1: trade ministry
By Pham Nhat
Thursday,  Mar 12, 2020,16:36 (GMT+7)

No hike in electricity tariffs in H1: trade ministry

By Pham Nhat

Workers repair the electricity grid. The Ministry of Industry and Trade has pledged not to raise the price of electricity for the first half of this year as the fast-spreading coronavirus outbreak is taking a heavy toll on local businesses – PHOTO: VNA

HCMC – The Ministry of Industry and Trade has said that it will not approve proposals to raise the State-controlled prices of production input materials and facilities, including electricity, for the first half of this year to support firms hit by the coronavirus outbreak.

On Tuesday, Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh signed a directive on measures to prevent and control coronavirus outbreaks and to handle arising difficulties in production and business activities.

The ministry asked the relevant agencies to fast-track the completion of major industrial projects, including the Thai Binh 2, Long Phu 1 and Song Hau 1 thermal power plants and power, gas, renewable energy and power transmission projects.

A master plan for national electricity development between 2021 and 2030, with a vision toward 2040, should be devised as soon as possible, according to the directive.

It added that any arising hindrances to the formulation process should be reported to authorities for handling in a bid to prevent a power crunch between 2021 and 2025.

The ministry ordered the concerned agencies to simplify and slash business conditions, take steps to raise the country’s competitiveness and ease production and business activities.

The Department of Finance and Enterprise Innovation was told to send a report to the Ministry of Finance on plans to cut fees for business stakeholders being affected by the coronavirus crisis.

Meanwhile, the Domestic Market Department was asked to keep a close eye on market developments and collaborate with local governments and businesses to ensure continuing supplies of essential goods at reasonable prices, especially in localities hit by the flu-like disease known as Covid-19.

The directive noted that the General Department of Market Surveillance should strengthen its market management and strictly penalize individuals and organizations that commit violations, particularly the hoarding of commodities necessary for the prevention and control of Covid-19 infection.

In the wake of the devastating disease now declared a global pandemic, the Ministry of Planning and Investment recently revised Vietnam’s economic growth outlook with two scenarios.

If the outbreak is contained within the first quarter of this year, the gross domestic product growth for this year will be 6.25%, or 0.55 percentage point lower than the target of 6.8% approved by the National Assembly.

If the disease is brought under control in the second quarter, the national economy will grow by 5.96%, or 0.84 percentage point lower than the original target. However, this forecast was made before the disease spread in South Korea and Japan.

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