Public Policy and Development Seminars


Public Policy and Development Seminar on “The Social Impact of the Current Economic Slowdown”

On 18th June 2009, University of Economics and Business held the fourth Public Policy and Development Seminar on “The Social Impact of the Current Economic Slowdown”, presented by Steve Price-Thomas, Country Director of Oxfam Great Britain in Vietnam.

The seminar opened with brief qualitative assessment by Mr. Price-Thomas on the social impacts of the current economic slowdown in Vietnam. He analyzed the these impacts on day laborers, craft laborers, household and business owners in craft villages, workers in industrial parks as well as returned migrants in various cities and provinces of Vietnam. The Speaker then reported key findings from the analysis. According to the Speaker, the global economic crisis is having significant negative effects, especially on migrant workers in both formal and informal sectors. The effects of Vietnamese financial crisis in 2008 are still evident in increased poverty especially among the poorest. Furthermore, according to the Speaker, there are very few viable options available to the affected people.

Mr. Price-Thomas then gave an overview of the current economic situation in Vietnam which is showing “green shoots and glimmers of hopes” but emphasized that there Vietnam is still facing difficult time ahead. He then discussed the prospect of recovery of seriously affected sectors and concluded that recovery potential is low. From the assessment by VAS and Oxfam, construction sector is expected to have highest potential to lead the recovery process in Vietnam but the Speaker emphasized the need for pro-poor policies when boosting construction sector.

The Speaker provided comprehensive updates on new policies regarding the government stimulus packages and then analyzed the effectiveness of those packages according to three criteria: timeliness, right targeting and short-term implementation. He then concluded by emphasizing the need for pro-poor social protection measures, timely and representative data and further research.

The discussion following Mr. Price-Thomas’s presentation was in-depth and informative. Mr. Ngoc from DEPOCEN and Mr. Hai from CIEM as well as other participants agreed that comprehensive, timely and representative surveys and research are much needed at the present. Mr. Ngoc’s view was that the government is currently paying too much attention to economic growth rate, rather than other social issues, which are not of less important. Mr. Hai suggested that besides the problems of returned migrants, other social impacts of the current economic crisis needed attention as well. He suggested that the stimulus packages need to be directed toward most vulnerable people.
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REFERENCE:

>> Rapid Assessment of the Social Impacts of Global Economic Crisis in Viet Nam

>> Report on results of quick survey of globle finacial economic crisis impact on enterprises and employees in certain provinces in Vietnam (Report No. 2 – Results of Survey in Hai Phong, Thanh Hoa, Nghe, Ho Chi Minh city, Binh Duong and Dong Nai)


Dr. Nguyen Thi Thu Hang

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