The city spent more than 300 billion VND (15 million USD) on this year's Tet (Lunar New Year), caring for the poor families, officials say.

The funds were sourced from the city budget, several sectors and sponsors, they said.

Of the amount, over 121 billion VND (6.1 million USD) was spent on preparing Tet for 242,657 people who'd made wartime contributions to the nation. The city also delivered Tet gifts worth 16.6 billion VND (830,000 USD) to 31,366 poor households.

The Fatherland Front chapters in 24 districts and other organisations financially supported 361,000 poor households to celebrate the festival, while the HCM City Labour Federation offered gifts and bus tickets for 14,519 workers to go back home.

The HCM City Youth Union organised a bus free of charge for students to return home in central and northern provinces for Tet, and hosted a number of activities for around 1,000 needy children.

Meanwhile, the HCM City Women Union gave Tet presents to female workers staying in rented accommodations as well as to families of soldiers stationed on the Truong Sa (Spratly) Archipelago.

The city also hosted several cultural programmes to welcome about 400,000 Viet kieu (Vietnamese Overseas) back to their homeland to celebrate the Lunar New Year festival.

The city's price stabilisation programme before and after Tet gave out 380 billion VND (19 million USD) in interest-free loans to 14 participant businesses, ensuring sufficient supply of essential goods at stable prices before, during and after the festival.

The volume of essential items sold on the market, including rice, sugar, meat, poultry, processed food, vegetables and fruits, increased by as much as 30-40 percent.

For this Tet, the city set up 2,165 points selling goods under the programme, an increase of 620 compared to last year. It also set up 300 mobile sales points in remote areas as well as industrial parks and export processing zones.

With product reserves surpassing the target by 30-40 percent, sales were considerably boosted as well, with some estimates of pre and post Tet sales showing an increase of 40-50 percent over the previous year.

Most participating businesses resumed sales on February 6 (the fourth day of the lunar calendar), while the Co-op Mart reopened its outlets two days earlier to meet increasing demand for essential food items at prices more reasonable than at traditional markets where festive season prices are usually high./.