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Thursday, December 2, 2021

FDI firms in Hanoi propose eliminating stay-at-work mode

By Van Ly

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HANOI – Foreign direct investment (FDI) businesses in Hanoi City have proposed the municipal government stop requiring enterprises to let their workers stay at the factories after work.
Workers who got at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine or tested negative for the disease should be allowed to travel between home and factory.

At a meeting between the Hanoi City authorities and FDI firms on October 19, a representative of the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry said if the pandemic is not over anytime soon in Vietnam, the local authorities should not apply the stay-at-work mode as it limits the number of workers at factories.

The validity of negative test results should be extended to two weeks, he said, adding anti-virus regulations should be consistently interpreted in all of Hanoi as there exists a fact that different parts of the city interpret the same regulations differently.

Enterprises also suggested easing regulations on cargo transport as the regular testing of truck drivers has hiked the costs. The frequency of testing should be reduced if the drivers are vaccinated.

Moreover, vehicles have not been allowed to pass through pandemic-hit areas, hindering the supply of materials and cargo for the production of necessities and the operation of enterprises. Therefore, vehicles should be allowed to travel through pandemic-hit areas if their starting points and destinations are not in areas practicing social distancing.

Nguyen Hai Minh, vice chairman of the European Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam (EuroCham), said despite the city’s high vaccination rate, many employees of hotels have yet to receive the second vaccine dose.

As Hanoi has reopened its economy, enterprises expected air routes from the city to other local destinations and countries as well as schools to be reopened so that workers can keep their mind on their work, Minh said, adding that enterprises should be allowed to take the initiative in anti-pandemic solutions.

Some other businesses proposed shortening the time to issue work permits for foreign experts as they currently have to wait one to two months to complete procedures. It is necessary to establish a unit to deal with difficulties plaguing FDI enterprises so that they don’t have to go through many agencies.

Hanoi should create favorable tax policies, such as tax reductions and exemptions. The extension of tax payment deadlines would not help much.

Speaking at the meeting, Deputy Minister of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs Le Van Thanh said that under the new regulations, the issuance of work permits for foreigners has been facilitated.

Deputy Minister of Health Do Xuan Tuyen stressed the Government’s goal is to protect the health of residents, reduce Covid-19 hospitalizations and deaths, help the economy recover and ensure social welfare.

According to the Government’s Resolution 128 which provides provisional rules on safely and flexibly living with the pandemic, cities and provinces must support enterprises to concurrently fight the pandemic and maintain production.

Sharing the view, secretary of the Hanoi Party Committee Dinh Tien Dung said the city had removed many obstacles facing investors, streamlined administrative procedures and improved the business environment to attract more investment in the city.

Meanwhile, Hanoi Chairman Chu Ngoc Anh committed to accompanying and supporting enterprises to overcome the difficulties caused by the pandemic.

Hanoi currently has more than 6,600 operational foreign investment projects with total registered capital of some US$48.7 billion. In 2018 and 2019, the city led the country in terms of foreign investment attraction with US$7.5 billion and US$8.67 billion, respectively.

Last year, Hanoi ranked third with US$3.83 billion. The figure in the January-September period of this year was US$1.28 billion.

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