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What should the government do to help the unemployed during the Covid outbreak?

Almost 50,000 people have been laid off during the Covid outbreak due to the closure of their workplaces. The government is considering how to help them, especially those who do not contribute to a social insurance fund. Meanwhile, those who are members of a social insurance fund will be receiving benefits from May 1. Vientiane Times asked a cross section of local people how the lockdown has affected them.

 

Ms Phoy Phetkeo, the owner of a beauty salon in Xaythany district: I opened my salon several months ago but I had to close in April so of course we lost our customers and our income. In the meantime, I’ve had daily outlays and have had to continue to pay the rent for my premises even though I’m not working. However, the good news is that the government will provide assistance for people who are covered by social insurance as well as those who are not. I hope the situation will soon be back to normal so that I can reopen my shop.

Mr Jo, a waiter at an entertainment venue in Xaysettha district: The coronavirus outbreak and lockdown has affected me a lot because all places of entertainment have had to close so I had to stop working. But I’m trying to convert the crisis into opportunity by growing some vegetables that I can eat and also sell, so that I can earn some money. I’m also helping my family with the housework and trying to find another job. It’s good that the government will help people who are unemployed so that we can get through this difficult time. 

Ms Vannapha Keovilay, a tour guide in Sisattanak district: The lockdown has had a huge impact on tourism because people have not been able to travel. There are no tourists or anyone else wanting to use our services because everyone has to stay at home. This means I’m not working or earning any money. It’s a difficult situation but I understand and know that no one wanted this to happen. Now all we can do is wait and hope that things will soon return to normal, so that we can start work again and get some customers. In the meantime, it would be good if the government could help by providing more jobs so that fewer people are unemployed.

Mr Noy Syinsarn, a public transport driver in Vientiane: The pandemic has affected everyone. I had to stop driving over a month ago and haven’t been able to earn any money during the lockdown. This has been very hard on my family because we still have to buy food and other things every day, and in particular have to pay installments on my car. I’m glad that the government says it wants to help and I’d like them to do something about easing payments to the bank. My life is pretty difficult right now and I don’t know when I’ll be able to return to work. 
Ms Taengkham, a masseuse in Xaythany district: I had to stop to work over a month ago. The lockdown affected my job and my life because I no longer have an income. I’m a member of a social insurance fund and I’m glad that I will receive benefits under the scheme. I hope the authorities will start making payments soon because I don’t have much money left and not much rice and other food either. I worry about my children if we don’t have enough food.

By Lamphone Pasanthong
(Latest Update May 27, 2021)


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