UMFCCI to request setting up of national committee to reduce COVID-19 impact


By Nyein Nyein

The Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI) will submit a letter, requesting the government to set up a national-level committee comprising private sector representatives to deal with the economic and social fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to an official announcement released by the UMFCCI on 12 March.
Through collaboration between the government, employees, and employers on finding ways to mitigate the negative impact of the pandemic, the economic and social crises created by COVID-19 can be overcome, according to the announcement.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared COVID-19 a pandemic, raising the outbreak beyond a global health emergency. As a consequence, the impact of the disease on the economic sector is highly likely to be negative, according to the UMFCCI.
The UMFCCI stated it is representing the private sector in responding to the economic crisis, in cooperation with the government, related ministries, organizations, trade unions, and other representative organizations.
The UMFCCI stated it is analyzing the condition, and is certain the economic condition of workers must have been adversely affected since the outbreak.
On 28 February, about 150 entrepreneurs from international organizations released information about the possible impact of the quick spread of the COVID-19 disease on their businesses. Based upon their data, the UMFCCI will work with the government to seek ways to resolve the problems the businesses are confronted with.
The solutions will include calling on the government to ensure the rights of those left unemployed by the shutdown or suspension of factories and businesses, in keeping with the 2012 Social Security Law for factory workers; calculate the compensation businesses need to pay based on the minimum wage; grant temporary leave without pay until recovery from COVID-19; help businesses and workers using the social security fund at a low-interest rate; disburse soft loans to businesses through local banks to pay workers’ salaries and operate businesses; postpone the announcement of the new minimum wage, which was set to be released between May and September; share real-time information by the government, and ensure mutual understanding between employers and employees; help employees understand the situation and prevent protests; issue an official statement to regulate the problem of compensation arising out of breach of contracts caused by inability to conduct exports because of the shortage of raw materials; and, cooperate with the Customs Department to ensure swift customs clearance for raw materials at jetties. (Translated by Hay Mar)

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