ABA 2020 honours ASEAN businesses contributions to COVID-19 fight

08:49 | 04/09/2020
This year has been an extremely difficult time for the ASEAN economic community. However, the difficulties also highlighted enterprises which not only kept business stable but also made significant contributions to the prevention of the pandemic in the region – and the very best enterprises will be honoured at the ASEAN Business Awards.
aba 2020 honours asean businesses contributions to covid 19 fight
ASEAN enterprises can register for ABA 2020 at aba2020.vn

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to an economic crisis for ASEAN and beyond. According to the UN Policy Brief released in July, supply chain disruptions due to lockdowns and quarantine measures are affecting countries dependent on merchandise trade such as Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, and Thailand.

Countries reliant on remittances, such as the Philippines, are hit hard as declining remittances weaken consumption and investment. Meanwhile, the measures to contain COVID-19 have affected the labour market. For instance, unemployment is expected to increase in Indonesia by 2.5 percentage points, Malaysia by 1.5 points, and the Philippines by 1.2 points.

Negative impacts are inevitable, but many ASEAN enterprises have overcome difficulties, and are making meaningful contributions to pandemic prevention.

In the special context of 2020, with the professionalism of the organisers and the support from ASEAN leaders, businesses across the region can see the award as an opportunity to honour their efforts to ensure the sustainable development of the business in the period of economic crisis.

“Many enterprises in the region had to close or stop production, but there are also enterprises with sustainable development methods, whose solutions have not only maintained operations but made valuable contributions to society to help ASEAN member states overcome the pandemic,” said Doan Duy Khuong, chairman of the ASEAN Business Advisory Council (BAC) in Vietnam.

In Singapore, businesses in the city-state not only contribute large amounts of cash and anti-pandemic items but also return or reject payout packages from the government. In May, when the pandemic was at its peak in Singapore, 32 businesses returned a grant of $35 million and another 29 companies stopped receiving payout packages.

In addition, in all other countries in the region, enterprises have done a great job in social responsibility by actively contributing to the government with cash, equipment, or facilities for COVID-19 prevention.

In particular, a number of Vietnamese enterprises have continuously supported the battle with many different resources. This is also an important factor to help Vietnam become a bright spot in the region and further afield in reducing the impact of the coronavirus.

According to Khuong, the contribution of enterprises during the crisis was extremely valuable, which makes this year's ASEAN Business Awards (ABA) more special than ever.

As the chair of the ABA 2020 Awards, Nguyen Thi Nga, member of ASEAN BAC Vietnam and chair of BRG Group, said, “Smooth seas never made a skilled sailor”.

“COVID-19 is the time when the best businesses and business people can show their bravery and resilience to overcome their difficulties by not only ensuring the sustainable development of businesses but also contributing to pandemic prevention. ABA 2020, therefore, has a special stature, as it honours the outstanding businesses of the entire region,” Nga noted.

aba 2020 honours asean businesses contributions to covid 19 fight
ASEAN BAC interact with ASEAN economic ministers

To ensure the transparency and prestige of the awards, Deloitte Vietnam has been selected as a strategic partner for ABA. As a pioneer in the field of consulting and auditing with 30 years of experience in the Vietnamese market and one of the four leading specialised service providers in the world with a wide network of operations, Deloitte worked closely with the Organising Committee, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, as well as ASEAN BAC and other prestigious partners to build up an award system with the most scientific structure and scoring method to select the most deserving businesses and entrepreneurs across Southeast Asia.

In a special 2020 context, with the professionalism of the organisers and the support from ASEAN leaders at all levels, businesses across the region can see the award as an opportunity to honour their efforts to ensure the sustainable development of the business during the economic crisis.

Currently, ASEAN businesses can register for ABA 2020 through the website at aba2020.vn

Doan Duy Khuong - chairman of ASEAN BAC Vietnam, vice president of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, sheds some light on the role of ASEAN businesses during the pandemic and ABA 2020 event.

aba 2020 honours asean businesses contributions to covid 19 fight
Doan Duy Khuong

What role have ASEAN enterprises played in the prevention of the COVID-19 pandemic in the region?

The implementation of social responsibility is something any business should do because this is a vital part of its own sustainable development. However, in the context of COVID-19, enterprises themselves have to face many difficulties when the consumption market is shrinking, production declines, labour is short, and value chains break. The partnership of enterprises with the government during the crisis is extremely valuable, showing the spirit of solidarity to overcome the difficulties.

The ASEAN BAC, together with partners, submit to the senior leaders of ASEAN countries a report named Path of Recovery and Hope for ASEAN. The report proposes the establishment of a special committee on COVID-19, consisting of members who are senior officials from ASEAN countries, and the establishment of an ASEAN fund for economic recovery and pandemic response.

The report also includes 225 recommendations from the business community to help bring confidence in business operations, and to help ensure preventive measures for healthcare and essential goods and services supply chains, providing safe solutions for affected and vulnerable industries.

In addition, ASEAN BAC Vietnam in the year of being ASEAN Chair is implementing the ASEAN BAC Heritage Project: a Digital Start-up Network (Digital STARS) with the desire to create a business environment that supports digital transformation for businesses in Vietnam and across ASEAN.

The expected results of the project in 2020 are either the creation of the ASEAN Startup Network Portal: Digital Technology; or a survey on the impact of COVID-19 on businesses and response through digital technology application in Vietnam, or the programme to announce the Directory of Digital Transformation solutions in Vietnam – Digital STARS Showcase 2020.

So far, I think that many ASEAN businesses are performing their roles well in supporting the community when not only ensuring job stability but also contributing many resources towards disease prevention.

ABA is an annual ASEAN BAC award with 14 years of history. Why is this year ABA more special than previous events?

Businesses are doing very well in their roles in the most difficult circumstances to contribute to society. With that dedication, society needs to have special honours for businesses, and this is what ABA 2020 is aiming for.

By participating in ABA 2020, ASEAN businesses will be honoured and value will spread to the community, and by that we mean the most important and precious values ​​that enterprises have built up in recent years. In the context of businesses facing great difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year's ABA 2020 will have a special category of awards to honour businesses that not only passively respond but also actively overcome COVID-19.

By Anh Duc

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