Covid-19 DBAV Member Issue Report Handed to Prime Minister Chinh
On Friday 10 September, a delegation led by the Netherlands Embassy and supported by Dutch Business Association Vietnam, met with the Prime Minister of Vietnam. The purpose of the meeting for DBAV was dual: to hand over a public-private donation worth 43 Billion Vietnam Dong to the Prime Minister. Secondly, to present the Prime Minister the 7 major concerns from our members during the current Covid-19 Wave.
The Prime Minister was very appreciative of both the donation and the issue report, and spent more than two hours with the Ambassador, her delegation and Ms Thu Ly Do, our DBAV Board Member in North Vietnam. Besides the donation and the issue report, the full economic agenda of The Netherlands and Vietnam were discussed. It was broadly covered in the news, including on Vietnamese national television prime time news bulletin. The 2 minute fragment including English translation can be found on our Youtube Channel. A written summary of the meeting can be found here.
At the end of the meeting, PM Chinh asked Ambassador Akkerman to extend an invitation to Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte to come and visit Vietnam.
Issues derived from Covid-19 Roundtables
Recently, the DBAV and the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Vietnam has organized 4 digital roundtables for DBAV members to discuss their most challenging problems they have been facing since the fourth wave of COVID-19 hit Vietnam.
Prominent challenges included:
Lack of clarity and predictability in pandemic communications
In general, a cry for more clarity and predictability in the rule setting and the pandemic communications.
- Lack of clear instructions, especially at a provincial and local level. The law and regulations, as instructed on national level, are differently interpreted at different government levels, which creates confusion.
- Help with clear instructions and clear paperwork from the government is highly necessary.
- There is a need for more predictability in the regulations. Dutch investors are now complaining that decisions are announced and implemented on a very short notice, leaving too little time for their businesses to properly prepare.
Logistical & operational challenges of the "three-on-site" policy
- Staff having to continuously stay on site, in some cases for more than 4 weeks already. The staff will have to return home at some point.
- Staff are increasingly demotivated due to being away from home for such a long time, despite extra compensations and team building activities. Rotations in staff are needed on a very short notice, to prevent factory closure.
- The high costs of keeping the operations going under the 3OS regime are becoming problematic.
- More manufacturers in the supply chain now can't keep up with the "3OS" rules anymore, forcing them to close their businesses. These disruptions are damaging the production of Dutch manufacturing companies.
- Clients switch to suppliers in countries as India and China, as the supply chains are heavily disrupted.
Logistical issues at (mainly) provincial borders
- Many Dutch enterprises are suffering logistical issues at provincial and city borders because of different rule interpretations at varying checkpoints.
- Transportations of essential goods has become very difficult to execute. Truck drivers are subjected to lengthy quarantine periods upon return from their delivery, even after extensive testing
Business Development Problems
- Due to the work-from-home situation, many sales representatives have been unable to conduct their work properly. This is leading to a lack of new business and empty sales pipelines at Dutch enterprises.
Difficulties with expat immigration
- Lengthy waiting times for obtaining entry approval on the "foreign expert" rule, especially in rural areas, but also in HCMC and Hanoi
- Lack of quarantine hotels in rural areas, causing another 3 weeks of waiting time to obtain hotel quarantine approval in HCMC or Hanoi
- Different interpretations of the "7+7" quarantine rules, leading to some professionals learning that they need to undergo "14+14" due to different (mis)interpretations
Partner and Family unhappiness
- The extended school closure is causing learning delays and mental problems for children
- Homeschooling puts a high pressure on family life
- Partner and family unhappiness can cause expat families to move out