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Nov 11, 2020 / 17:24

ASEAN urged to enhance cooperation to stay strong in Covid aftermath

The ASEAN way against the pandemic is an inspiration for the world to foster global cooperation and build a better world, stated the IMF managing director.

ASEAN countries should support each other and take advantage of the current Covid-19 situation to further integrate into global value chains and speed up the digitalization process of regional economies, according to Vice Governor of the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) Nguyen Thi Hong.

 Overview of the meeting. Source: SBV. 

Mrs. Hong made the point at a conference jointly held by the SBV and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on November 10, discussing future policies for the ASEAN to secure growth and resilience in the aftermath of Covid-19.

The event was held on the sidelines of the upcoming 37th ASEAN Summit, scheduled to take place in the form of videoconference on November 12–15.

The SBV’s vice governor stressed the regional finance–banking sector has been playing a key role in carrying out measures to aid economic recovery and bolster the resilience against external shocks.

Deputy Prime Minister anf Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh added ASEAN has been an example for the world in putting efforts together against the pandemic, including the formulation of a common fund for Covid-19 fight, standardized procedures in response to Covid-19 and public health crisis, Hanoi action plan, among others.

IMF’s Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said the world community is impressed with the strong unity of ASEAN over the years, as well as the bloc pandemic impact mitigation efforts  .

Ms. Georgieva expected the ASEAN way against the pandemic is an inspiration for the world to foster global cooperation and build a better world.

At the conference, governors of central banks and finance ministers of ASEAN, along with representatives of organizations, stressed that more efforts are needed to support the most vulnerable groups including teenagers, woman, informal workers, small and micro-sized enterprises.

To further enhance economic resilience, delegates expected countries to boost public investment, especially in major projects. In the long term, countries should continue to invest in high quality human resources and accelerate the digitalization process, while enhancing capabilities against climate change and boosting green growth.

 Delegates at the online meeting. Source: SBV. 

Vietnam’s timely Covid-19 response

In case of Vietnam, SBV Vice Governor Hong said in an attempt to mitigate Covid-19 impacts, the Vietnamese government has lowered the interest rate cap for three times to help commercial banks reduce lending rates. Meanwhile, relief packages worth a combined of VND120 trillion (US$5.18 billion), or 2% of the GDP, have been provided to aid enterprises and the people affected by the pandemic, which are in the forms of financial support, freezing and waiving of taxes, fees and land rental fees, among others.

Mrs. Hong said the government’s timely actions in monetary and fiscal support have been key to stabilize macro-economic conditions and helped the country’s GDP growth to stay positive at 2.12% in the first three quarters this year.

Notably, Vietnam continues to be a favorite destination for foreign investors with committed foreign direct investment (FDI) in the January – October period coming at US$23.5 billion.

Despite global uncertainties, Vietnam would continue to control inflation rate and stabilize macro-economy to foster sustainable development, stated Mrs. Hong.