The chairman of the HCM City People's Committee has urged businesses and Government agencies to cut spending to help curb inflation.

Addressing a meeting of the Committee on Feb. 25, Le Hoang Quan instructed the Department of Planning and Investment to reject projects which are not of urgent need and focus instead on those to be completed this year.

Authorities should urge the public to practise thrift in their day-to-day activities, he said.

Government agencies at the city and district levels should economise on things like fuel and electricity, he said.

Public officials should cut down on foreign visits, he said.

The director of the Department of Planning and Investment, Thai Van Re, called on city and local agencies to exploit unused facilities and warehouses to earn revenue.

Le Van Khoa, deputy director of the Department of Trade and Industry, said his department was drafting a plan to save electricity during the dry season this year.

Together with the Electricity Company of HCM City , it will urge enterprises to change their schedules and work more during non-peak hours, especially at weekends, to reduce power consumption and prevent overload of the grid during peak hours.

At the meeting, business complained about the high lending rates, which are at 6.5 percent on dollar loans and 17 to 19 percent on dong loans.

Quan asked the State Bank of Vietnam 's HCM City office to hold a meeting with banks and enterprises this week to find ways to lower interest rates and provide sufficient loans to enterprises. /.