Banking industry joins hands in fight against COVID-19


Responding to  the calls from the Prime Minister and the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV)’s Governor for vaccinating all Vietnamese people against COVID-19 at the soonest time possible, with a willingness to join hands with the whole community in the fight against the pandemic, the SBV and the Ministry of Health (MoH) jointly held a ceremony to receive financial support from the banking industry for COVID-19 vaccine purchases  on May 21, 2021

The ceremony was attended by Mrs. Nguyen Thi Hong, SBV’s Governor; Mr. Nguyen Thanh Long,  MoH’s Minister  and heads of departments and agencies of the SBV and MoH. From state-owned commercial banks, the attendees were Mr. Nghiem Xuan Thanh, Chairman of the Board of Directors (BoD) of Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Foreign Trade of Vietnam (Vietcombank); Mr. Le Duc Tho, BoD Chairman of Vietnam Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Industry and Trade (Vietinbank); Mr. Phan Duc Tu, BoD Chairman of Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV); Mr. Pham Duc An, Chairman of the Board of Members of Vietnam Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Agribank).

Speaking at the ceremony, MoH’s minister Nguyen Thanh Long said that with numerous efforts made by the entire Party, army, and people, Vietnam has successfully combated the 03 waves of the pandemic and gradually keeps the 4th wave under control. He stressed that the Politburo, the Government, the Prime Minister, and the National Steering Committee for Covid-19 Prevention and Control share the consistent view that Vietnam must access the Covid-19 vaccines as soon as possible and get as many people vaccinated  as possible.

According to Mr. Nguyen Thanh Long,  the MoH has recently made considerable efforts to negotiate with vaccine providers. Up to now, the total number of doses of the Covid-19 vaccines obtained through the negotiations is more than 100 million doses, consisting of 38.9 million doses via the COVAX Facility, 30 million doses from AstraZeneca , and 31 million doses from Pfizer/BioNTech. In addition, the MoH has registered with COVAX to purchase more than 10 million doses under a cost-sharing mechanism. However, this volume cannot meet the requirement of having enough 150 million doses to jab 75% of the population. Having enough vaccine doses to vaccinate the population is crucial to moving from defense to offence against the pandemic.

In response to the call from the Prime Minister, the SBV and commercial banks, corporations and businesses continue to contribute financially to the COVID-19 Vaccine Fund with the hope of getting people vaccinated, thus helping to repel the pandemic, and bringing life back to normal. “The precious support of the banking industry in general, corporations and businesses in particular, makes effective contributions  to the success of the fight against COVID-19 in our country" – emphasized Mr. Nguyen Thanh Long. He also expressed his wish that the SBV and other organizations would continue  accompanying the health sector and the whole country in the fight against the COVID-19. The Minister affirmed that external support is very important for accessing vaccine supplies, so that all people can have vaccinations because vaccination is the only way to bring our life and economy back to  normal.

Speaking at the ceremony, SBV Governor Nguyen Thi Hong said that the outbreak and spread of the COVID-19 pandemic has severely affected global socio-economic conditions. In Vietnam, under the drastic instructions of the Government, the MoH, with its coordinating role, has made very important contributions, helping our country realize the dual goal of containing the pandemic and maintaining the socio-economic development, which is recognized  as a bright spot by the international community.

Expressing her gratitude to the health sector as well as health officials all over the country, who have devoted their time, efforts, and affection to the combat against the pandemic,  Governor Nguyen Thi Hong praised the MoH’s important role  in  Vietnam's achievements in pandemic prevention and control, and economic growth.

From the perspective of the banking industry, in order to join hands in the prevention of the COVID-19 pandemic, and support economic recovery, since the beginning of 2020, the banking industry has taken prompt action in assessing, analyzing, and forecasting situations, formulating policies on supporting businesses and citizens, such as allowing credit institutions (CIs) to restructure debts, provide lending interest or payment fee exemptions and reductions, maintain debt groups…. in accordance with the Government's directions. Up to now, the number of businesses and people receiving support is remarkable. Moreover, the banking sector has also cooperated with other  sectors and localities to continue reviewing  current policies.

According to the Governor, depending on the financial situation of each industry, enterprise, the whole business system is very  supportive of  the SBV’s policy on assisting  people. The banking industry is also interested in social security activity. It is a traditional activity of the banking system that has been paid great attention by the leaders, officials and employees of the SBV and CIs for years.

In the last term, the funding for social security was considerable. Every year, the banking industry spent over VND 1,000 billion  implementing social security programs nationwide. Since 2020, the bank industry's staff has donated about VND 500 billion,  in the first 5 months of 2021 alone, about 200 VND billion  to support the prevention and control of COVID-19 and buy biological products for diagnosing COVID-19 cases and  vaccines...

Implementing the Government's Resolution No. 21/NQ-CP on purchasing and using COVID-19 vaccines, the SBV has called on banks to join hands in realizing the Politburo's and the Government's goals concerning purchasing and using vaccines. On May 21, 2021, four commercial banks, namely Vietcombank, Vietinbank, BIDV, and Agribank each donated VND 25 billion to buy vaccines.

“Even though the support of the banking industry is not enough to meet the requirements of the Government for the program to buy and use vaccines, it shows banks’ willingness, determination and responsibility to the community" – shared  Governor  Nguyen Thi Hong.

At the same time, the Governor hoped that in the coming time, the MoH would continue receiving  attention  and support from organizations, individuals, corporations, and sponsors  to realize  the Government's instructions in the Resolution No. 21/NQ-CP on purchasing and using vaccines for the sake of the country and people to achieve the dual goal. As for the banking industry, Governor Nguyen Thi Hong stressed that the banking sector, with its solutions, mechanisms, and policies, together with the MoH and other ministries, would continue well implementing the tasks assigned by the Government  to successfully control the COVID-19 pandemic and support the economy.

Research and International Cooperation Department