Overview of the workshop

In the morning, 21 July 2020, in Hanoi, the General Statistics Office in collaboration with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) held a virtual workshop on assessing impacts of COVID-19 out break on Vietnamese corporate sector. Ms. Nguyen Thi Huong, Director General and Ms. Era Dabla Norris, the IMF’s mission chief for Vietnam in the United States (US) co-chaired the workshop. Attending this event were Mr. Nguyen Trung Tien, Deputy Director General of the GSO; Mr. Francois Painchaud, IMF Resident Representative for Vietnam; heads of units under the GSO; representatives of relevant units under the Ministry of Planning and Investment; representatives of the National Economic University, the Ministry of Finance, the State Bank of Vietnam. The workshop was virtually connected to the IMF headquarter in Washington DC, US and 63 provincial statistical offices of Vietnam.

At the workshop, the report “Vietnam: Corporate Vulnerabilities and Implications of the COVID-19 Shock” was presented with the following contents: (1) Corporate Balance Sheet Conditions Prior to COVID-19; (2) Corporate Vulnerabilities caused by COVID-19 and implications of recently implemented policy support; (3) Policies going forward.

The GSO’s reprentative presented the survey results of assessing the impact of COVID-19 on production and business activities of enterprises in Vietnam. The survey was conducted from 10 April to 20 April 2020 in the online manner, with 126,565 responding firms, accounting for 20% of the total operating enterprises. Accordingly, there were 85.7% of enterprises nationwide affected by COVID-19. 57.7% of those thougth that the consumption market went down sharply. 22.1% of respondents were in shortage of inputs. 45.4% of respondents were in shortage of financing for their business operations. Labor cost was identified as the biggest burden. To cope with COVID-19, 66.8% of enterprises had to apply labor-related solutions; 44.7% of ones used solutions to improve professional skills for employees; 3.9% of ones strongly promoted online sales; 5.4% of ones shifted to new core products; 7.7% of ones looked for new markets for input materials; 17.0% of ones looked for sales opportunities outside traditional markets.

The survey results also showed that among enterprises affected by COVID-19 epidemic, nearly 20% of enterprises were temporarily suspended operation. By the end of the first quarter of 2020, up to 21.6% of employees lost their jobs; 7.5% of employees had to take unpaid leave; 9.0% of employees got salary cuts and 22.8% of employees had work reduced/shared.

At the workshop, participants took part in discussing, exchanging, commenting and giving suggestions for the above two reports. In her closing remarks, Ms. Nguyen Thi Huong, Director General of GSO said that the workshop would open a flexible and timely cooperation relationship in the coming time. The parties would together work out long-term plans not only for this year but for the following years, especially in the exploitation and use of available resources of each party. The GSO proposed the specific focal point of the IMF to provide the GSO with timely advice on the timing, how to conduct a survey on assessing the impacts of COVID-19 outbreak on socio-economic situation to have a multi-dimensional perspective from both the supply and demand sides. At the same time, the GSO expressed wishes to receive the information from international organizations on assessing the global impact of COVID-19 in the general context to compare and know how well Vietnam has responded. Also according to Ms. Huong, in the coming time, Vietnam needs to make suitable decisions for each production and business object as well as stabilizing the life of each people.