Aug 21, 2021 / 21:11

Transport firms seek simplified procedures to access relief package

Almost two years since the first Covid-19 outbreak, the transportation sector remains among the hardest hit by the pandemic.

While the latest government support package worth VND26 trillion (US$1.1 billion) is already available to businesses affected by the pandemic, many transport firms that are at the brink of bankruptcy have not been able to access this package.

 Transportation firms face a plunge in revenue during the pandemic. Photo: Pham Hung

Since Hanoi adopted the social distancing measures under Prime Minister’s directive No.16, like many other transport firms, Ninh Quynh company was forced to suspend operation.

“Long before the order for social distancing in Hanoi was issued, we had a significantly scaled-down operation as there was almost no passenger,” the company director Nguyen Duy Ninh told The Hanoi Times.

With the latest support package seen as a lifeline for many, in reality, however, only a handful could access this package, Ninh added.

“Under the program, firms are eligible to seek loans at 0% interest rate at the Vietnam Bank for Social Policies on the condition that they have temporarily closed operation due to the pandemic. But the most important point is that the company in the subject is required to not have a history of bad debt at the time of applying for a bank’s loan,” Ninh noted.

This is the bottleneck that prevents many transport firms from accessing this latest relief package."

Almost two years since the first Covid-19 outbreak, the transportation sector is among the hardest hit by the pandemic, which in turn severely impacts firms’ revenue.

“In order to keep business running at this moment, the majority have to seek banks’ loans, and for many, bad debt is inevitable,” Ninh continued.

In the case of Mai Linh Taxi Company, Director Nguyen Cong Hung told The Hanoi Times that the company is allowed to operate at 50% of its capacity and 50% seating capacity.

This, however, puts the firm in a position of being unable to be entitled to the support program.

“We are trying to keep 200 cabs operational in Hanoi and the Ho Chi Minh City by getting the authorization of transporting people to hospitals and health facilities,” Hung said.

On this issue, Former Chairman of the Vietnam Automobile Transportation Association (VATA) Nguyen Van Thanh told The Hanoi Times strict requirements to access the package is making it hard for transport firms to benefit from the program.

“Policymakers should ensure the feasibility of supporting policies so that all intended beneficiaries could receive such benefits,” Thanh said.

Sharing Thanh’s view, current VATA Chairman Nguyen Van Quyen expected the Government to ease qualification requirements for more firms to gain access to the program and aid the recovery of the transport sector.

“More interactions between the authorities and business community are needed for these policies to work,” Quyen told The Hanoi Times, adding social policies should ensure their flexibility and feasibility in long term.

"For the time being, the Ministry of Transport has proposed additional supporting solutions for transport companies, including a 30% cut in road maintenance fee for passenger transport companies, 10% for trucks, along with lower toll fees for vehicles passing through BOT tollhouses," said Tran Bao Ngoc, Director of the Transportation Department under the Ministry of Transport.