Libyan guest workers leave at a cost

Published: 03/04/2011 05:00



Bank for Social Policy deputy
director Duong Quoc Thang spoke to Thoi bao Kinh te Viet Nam (Vietnam Economic
Times) newspaper about his bank’s plan to cover debts created when guest workers
fled the turmoil in the Middle East.

What’s the
total debt caused by guest workers returning home early from contracts in North
Africa and the Middle East?

Photo: Vietnam+

The outstanding debt
owed by 39,270 Vietnamese guest workers abroad as of February 28 was about VND807.6
trillion (US$40.4 million). Before being sent abroad, most workers borrowed
money from the bank to pay fees set by labour exporting companies]. On March 1,
the bank sent an official note to its branches in all provinces and cities
nationwide asking them to report on the outstanding debt owed on export labour
contracts in Libya and the Middle East.

The total figure came
out to VND118.8 trillion ($6 million) from 4,874 clients, of which 1,581 were
guest workers from Libya, owing VND37.5 trillion ($1.87 million).

How will the
bank handle the debts?

Under the bank’s
policy on debts owed when guest workers return home early due to a political
crisis in a host country, the maturity date of the debt can either be extended
or frozen. The general director of the bank has instructed the CEOs of
provincial/city branches to work out with relevant agencies the number of guest
workers returning home from Libya and other African countries and the actual
outstanding debt represented by the terminated contracts. For export labour
companies wanting to have their payback period extended or frozen, the bank
staff have asked them to make a written request. All these procedures are
regulated in Decision No 15/QD-HDQT of January 27, issued by the chairman of the
management board of the Bank for Social Policy.

Will the bank
extend credit to guest workers wanting to work in other countries or starting
their own businesses back home?

A number of
enterprises in Viet Nam have offered employment to workers returning from Libya.
This is a good opportunity for them. However, for those wanting to work in other
countries, the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs will consider
their requests if there are vacant places.

If any of them
wanting to attend a vocational training course here, they are eligible to apply
for credit under the vocational training credit programme for 2010-11. Under
that programme, each candidate can borrow up to VND900,000 ($45) a month.

How will the
bank cover its losses?

overdue debts owed by guest workers from Libya and other African countries are
force majeure, and the Prime Minister has instructed us to draft a plan
requesting more funds to cover the shortage. We have to send the plan to the
Ministry of Planning and Investment, the Ministry of Finance and the State

Bank of Viet Nam for approval before submitting it to the Government. After
getting the nod from the Prime Minister, the Bank for Social Policy will raise
the funds through a bond issue.

Nam News

Provide by Vietnam Travel

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