The north-central Vietnamese province of Quang Binh will cancel an order for VND2.2 billion (US$95,000) worth of leather bags as gifts for participants in an upcoming provincial Party congress following public outcry.
Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reported on Thursday that the Office of Quang Binh Province Party Committee had appointed a contractor for their bidding package of leather document bags, intended to be gifts for 400 representatives and 200 guests attending the province’s upcoming 17th Party Congress.
As quoted by the expenditure approval, each attendee of the Congress would be entitled to a leather bag, worth approximately around VND3.5-3.7 million (US$152-161), which brings the total cost to VND2.2 billion just for the gifts alone.
The lavish spending was met with public outcry following media reports.
The provincial Party chief Vu Dai Thang told Tuoi Tre newspaper on Thursday afternoon he has directed relevant agencies to cancel the order for the leather bags.
According to Thang, he has only assumed the position as secretary of the provincial Party Committee for three weeks and did not have any oversight over this spending decision when it was made.
After acknowledging public feedback and reviewing the details of the order, Thang concluded that the VND2.2 billion expenditure is “unjustified.”
“As our economy is grappling during this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, such large spending for document bags is unjustifiable and needs to be corrected immediately,” said Thang.
According to Thang, the aim of his province at the moment is to be provident to the best of their ability, which means spendings will be streamlined across the board.