Covid-19 plunges Vietnam’s ethnic minority households into poverty: UNDP

The coronavirus pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on vulnerable households in Vietnam, especially those belonging to ethnic minority people, migrant and informal workers, 

resulting in a surge in transient poverty, the UNDP said in a report.

The novel coronavirus pandemic has led to a surge in transient poverty in Vietnam, especially among the ethnic minority households – PHOTO: UNDP

According to the “Covid-19 socio-economic impact on vulnerable households and enterprises: a gender sensitive assessment” report conducted by UNDP, UN Women, and the Center for Analysis and Forecast under the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences, household and small businesses saw their incomes contract sharply due to the pandemic.

Its key findings were presented at a workshop in Hanoi on July 23, alongside a report by the National Center for Information and Forecast (NCIF) under the Ministry of Planning and Investment.

The assessment revealed that the pandemic had substantially reduced the revenues of both household businesses and micro, small and medium enterprises, forcing most of these enterprises to cut back their business operations and reduce their workers due to the serious decrease in their output demand and supply disruptions.

The pandemic had immediate, strong and negative impacts on the global economy and that of Vietnam, witnessing the worst economic recession in many decades. The economic growth declined faster than that of the 2008-2009 financial crisis period, according to NCIF.

NCIF President Luu Quang Khanh predicted that the space for economic growth in the second half of the year would be considerably narrowed.

“As Covid-19 has affected many social and economic aspects and groups, expanding the market, promoting investment and stimulating consumption are motivation for growth,” he said.

“It is crucial that in the long term, breakthrough solutions are needed for the new normal of the economy. In the short term, it is important to speed up the policy implementation in order to stabilize the economy for further development,” he pointed out.

The assessment makes recommendations for the Vietnamese Government to refine the action response to protect the livelihoods of vulnerable households, support MSMEs to resume their operations and ensure continued employment for workers.

UNDP Resident Representative in Vietnam Caitlin Wiesen told the participants that the importance of early, anticipatory, adaptive and agile actions of the Government, combined with the innovation of the people, are the key to the country’s initial success in containing the pandemic and limiting its negative socio-economic impacts.

“I believe that anticipatory governance responses and innovations will also play a critical role in helping Vietnamese enterprises and the people achieve a bold, sustainable, resilient and gender-sensitive recovery,” she said.

A panel of speakers, including UNDP Resident Representative in Vietnam Caitlin Wiesen (L, 2), at a workshop in Hanoi on July 23 – PHOTO: VGP

UN Women Representative in Vietnam Elisa Fernandez Saenz noted that the consequences of the health and socio-economic crisis caused by Covid-19, if not addressed adequately, are likely to result in serious setbacks in gender equality and put the gains achieved on women’s empowerment in recent decades at risk.

“We hope this gender-sensitive assessment of the crisis can effectively contribute to the Government’s efforts in developing viable solutions to meet the specific needs of women and girls, while safeguarding and leveraging gains made over gender equality and women’s empowerment,” she said.

The assessment, based on the UN’s focus on the most vulnerable and leaving no one behind, complements the NCIF’s efforts over the COVID-19 impact on macro-economic indicators.

With a purposive sampling of more than 900 vulnerable households and 900 vulnerable household businesses and MSMEs in 58 of the 63 provinces across Vietnam, the survey brings to the fore evidence of the Covid-19 impact on vulnerable households and businesses, their coping strategies and provides voices to those impacted through Government support policies. SGT

Gia Phong

 
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