The price stabilisation programme for essential goods in HCM City has benefited both consumers and enterprises over the last nine years, officials said at a review meeting last week.
Initiated in 2002, the programme aimed to stabilise prices of essential goods during festival seasons like the Tet (Lunar New Year) holidays, when demand for these items usually increases by 20-40 per cent, said Nguyen Thi Hong, Deputy Chairwoman of the HCM City People's Committee.
The programme focuses on eight goods: Rice, sugar, cooking oil, beef, poultry, processed food, eggs, and vegetables.
Under the programme, the city selected businesses specialising in the production and trade of essential goods to collaborate with the city in planning the production, processing and purchase of such goods to meet consumer demands and stabilise prices, she said.
Businesses participating in the programme were eligible for interest-free loans to promote production or to purchase goods and maintain reserves.
Enterprises in turn pledged to sell items at 10 per cent lower than the market price, she said.
As a pioneer in carrying out the programme, the city had encountered many difficulties in the initial stages, she said.
The programme, however, had proved effective since it helped stabilise prices of essential goods immediately at localities that experienced speculation, and helped residents considerably, she said.
Capital allocation for the programme as well as the number of enterprises participating in it increased significantly every year.
Building on this success, the city began to implement the price stabilisation programme throughout the year in 2010, Hong said.
For the first time, the city this year spent nearly VND35 billion to stabilise prices of school accessories including uniforms, notebooks and schoolbags for all pupils in the city.
Also starting from this year, the programme was expanded from supermarkets and enterprises' outlets to traditional markets in the city.
Furthermore, the city planned to set up separate outlets under the price stabilisation outlets in all the 24 districts to provide sufficient goods to customers at reasonable prices, she said.
Enterprises involved in the city's price stablilisation programme gained more opportunities to market their products, and accessed preferential capital to develop production and trading, enterprises involved in the programme said.
Pham Van Minh, Director of the Phu An Sinh Company, for instance, said thanks to a zero interest rate loan of VND29 billion, the company was able to upgrade its breeding system.
Taking part in the programme since its inception, supermarket chain Sai Gon Co.op has used the preferential credit to invest in co-operatives, livestock breeders and farmers to ensure stable supply for its outlets.
This has not only helped ensure an outlet for farm produce, but also ensured farmers earned higher incomes, a Sai Gon Co.op representative said.