This proves that the economic structure of Vietnam is prone to instability. Essential housing for workers is not guaranteed, and there is an urgent need to address this housing problem if the production chain has to restart again to revive the economy after months of lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic .
In recent years, we have made great efforts to promote industrialization and urbanization. As seen, the influx of workers moving from rural to urban areas in order to work in industrial zones (IZ) and export processing zones (EPZs) has been an important driver for the economy of Vietnam. and its further development.
However, this recent change is creating instability for workers living in mega-cities and large construction sites. Currently, under abnormal pandemic conditions, there has been an influx of workers returning to their hometowns, only some of whom will return to major cities and ZIs to resume work, many still choosing to stay in the countryside. One of the reasons workers choose and prefer to return to their hometowns is the lack of adequate housing and uncomfortable living conditions in urban areas for themselves and their families.
Since 2014, the Ministry of Construction has implemented an ideal model of accommodation and housing of workers in the category of social housing, which can benefit from support from the state budget in capital in the planning and construction. construction. This was aimed at encouraging companies to solve the huge worker housing problem in big cities like Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and some rapidly developing industrial provinces like Bac Ninh, Thai Nguyen, Vinh Phuc, Dong Nai, Binh Duong, and Long An.
However, from policy development to realistic implementation of this program, it has remained a distant dream. For this reason, a large number of working low incomes still have not been able to have a decent roof over their heads in the big cities and continue to live in places which do not even have the minimum subsistence for them. and their families.
Recently, the Ministry of Construction sent to the People’s Committee of all provinces and cities a document calling for strengthening the development of housing for workers in industrial zones and export processing zones, in order to ensure the resumption of activities. of production. The ministry proposed to complete a credit envelope of around 30 trillion dong in the form of refinancing for investors in social housing and workers’ housing in industrial parks and export processing zones.
However, social housing, affordable housing or worker housing projects that have been rolled out so far have yet to meet this demand. One of the reasons why workers’ housing projects are difficult to implement is the low return on capital, and for this reason companies are not interested in donating capital.
This calls for a new development strategy, which will not follow the previous development plan of megalopolises or large construction sites. In the past, the focus was more on labor-intensive industries and outsourcing industries than on high-tech, high-value-added industries, which was unreasonable in the construction of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City in large urban areas with links to neighboring industrial areas.
This shows that by focusing on labor-intensive, low-value-added industries, mainly outsourcing, will create an overload on urban space and ZIs, including the economy, society and technology, and will create unequal competition between Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and other developing provinces and cities. This does not guarantee inclusive and ubiquitous development, as growth and accumulation will focus more on ZIs and large cities, leaving behind other provinces and cities.
Therefore, it is important that the country’s major shopping centers such as Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City focus on high-tech industries, higher value-added industries, while labor-intensive industries. Work and outsourcing are expected to move to rural areas. This will ensure that industrial centers and large urban centers are not overloaded. It will also ensure a greener and healthier lifestyle and a more sustainable economy. If workers in large cities or ZIs have an income of around 7-10 minutes VND per month, they still have to pay dearly for food, shelter and social services. However, if they live in the countryside, they can be self-sufficient in food and shelter, and then with their current income, they will be much happier.
Therefore, bringing industry to the countryside is the best way to develop the rural economy, reducing the gap between urban and rural areas. Looking at businesses in the past, it also shows that if the focus is only on cities and AOs, it will be very difficult for many businesses. Companies can now distribute their production over several units in many provinces and cities. If there is a problem in one place, then another place will continue to produce and the employees will be able to continue to live without interruption.
It is also a challenge for Vietnam to restructure the economy in the sense of not focusing only on production in big cities and ZIs. Satellite towns are to be formed, bringing industry to the countryside, promoting rural development, integrating industry and agriculture, and bringing happiness to employees as well as sustainable development to businesses.
In order for businesses and industry to grow and develop and continue to attract a large workforce, it is absolutely essential to immediately address the issue of where workers will be housed, what type of social housing it will be, what will the workers’ homes look like, and what state policies will support this project.
With businesses, employers and workers, the state must coordinate to build an enabling environment for workers and employees, so that the place where they go to work is not just a place where they operate machines. . Rural areas have a relatively good ecological environment, so by bringing in industry, the countryside may well turn into a concrete tarmac. All efforts must therefore be made to save the countryside in an ZI where the environment and society will suffer.