Chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City People's Committee Le Hoang Quan has asked all local departments and agencies to carry out special Tet programmes in a timely manner, particularly for the poor, the elderly, families in resettlement projects and those covered by the State's welfare policies.

At a January 22 meeting on the city's economic, cultural and social situation in the month, Quan added that the programmes have been allocated 523 billion VND (24.9 million USD), an increase of 52 percent compared to the same period last year.

He also told them to strengthen market management before, during and after the country's longest and most important annual festival to discover price or food safety violations.

Bus stations will also be monitored to ensure that prices are not hiked for passengers or cargo transport.

Between December 15 and January 15, 1,433 inspections were carried out, and 987 violations found.

The Department of Planning and Investment reports that the total retail sales and service revenue in January reached 59.5 trillion VND (2.8 billion USD), an increase of 18.2 percent against the same period last year.

The Consumer Price Index is also lower than the same period in the previous year.

Quan asked authorities to remind residents to obey fire prevention regulations during the holiday.-VNA