The administration of Nghe An Province appears to believe that people will forget their empty stomaches once they are treated to a fireworks display.
The province, 300km southwest of Hanoi, is slated to hold the fireworks celebration on Vietnamese Lunar New Year’s Eve, February 7, even though it remains on the list of recipients of the government’s food aid program.
People in many of Nghe An’s remote and mountainous areas still live in poverty, especially at this time of the year, when old rice crops have been harvested and the new ones are months away from yield.
This year the province was given more than 3,600 metric tons of rice to help local needy people, while the grant last year was over 5,400 metric tons.
More than 241,000 local residents will each receive 15kg of rice, according to a decision signed by the province’s deputy chairman Hoang Viet Duong.
The provincial chairman Nguyen Xuan Duong, in the meantime, has also signed another fiat to form a steering board tasked with organizing the fireworks display for Vietnam’s Lunar New Year, or Tet.
The board, consisting of officials from the departments of culture and finance, and the provincial military command, is required to “organize the pyrotechnic show safely and appropriately,” according to the document.
Nguyen Hai Nam, deputy head of the province’s administration office, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper on Tuesday that the low-range fireworks display will last 15 minutes at the central park in Vinh, the province’s capital.
Nam said the plan has been approved by higher authorities, and refused to say how much the show costs, as well as how it will be funded.
“The provincial administration has tasked the finance department with preparing the cost estimates for the celebration,” he said.
“We can use both the local budget and mobilize sponsorships from private sources.”
An official from the finance department said it has yet to start calculating the estimates because its cultural counterpart has not finalized the fireworks plan.
In the meantime, a local military source said a 15-minute, low-range fireworks show normally costs VND500 million (US$22,321) to VND600 million ($26,786).
“In previous years the Tet fireworks displays were held to create a happy and joyful experience for local people, and those shows were partly funded by private investors,” he said.
“But the private funding was modest and the province’s budget had to cover the majority of the cost.”
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