Ho Chi Minh City's market stabilisation programmme, with its diverse, high quality products and reasonable prices, has become an effective way to regulate and stabilise market prices.

Speaking at the April 11 conference, Le Ngoc Dao, deputy director of the city's Industry and Trade Department, said the programme has promoted trade co-operation between the City and other neighbouring provinces.

It has created favourable conditions for the City's enterprises to work with others to invest in production, connect supply and demand, and ensure a stable supply for the city, Dao said.

In 2013, HCM City did not use the State budget to support enterprises in the programme but invited credit institutions to provide preferential interest rates on loans.

As a result, five credit institutions and 59 enterprises joined the programme in the year, providing 860 billion VND (42.5 million USD) in short-term loans with an annual interest rate of 6 percent and 1.1 trillion VND (53 million USD) for medium- and long-term loans at 10 percent per year.

The programme accounted for 25-40 percent of market demand, an increase of 15-30 percent in comparison with 2012.

Selling prices for products in the programme were 5-10 percent lower than market prices.

The programme comprises four groups, including basic foodstuff, milk, essential medicine, and goods for students.

The basic foodstuff includes rice, sugar, cooking oil, meat, eggs, processed food, vegetables, fruit and seafood.

Enterprises have provided 350 kinds of food and the total value for products of the programme in 2013 and Lunar New Year 2014 was 12.5 trillion VND (600 million USD), an increase of 46 percent compared to 2012.

Many participating enterprises have expanded their production for the programme because of increased capital and soft loans provided to them.

For example, the Sai Gon Trade Corporation now has cold storage with a capacity of 21,000 tonnes for goods at the Binh Dien wholesale market.

Meanwhile, the Sai Gon Co-op has invested in three storage and delivery centres in Hau Giang and Binh Duong provinces and has updated equipment for their logistics system.

The programme aims to bring essential food for all customers in supermarkets, shops, traditional markets, industrial and processing zones, and restaurant owners who provide meals for enterprises, factories and schools.

The programme has 8,200 points of sale, an increase of 1,270 since its inception. The number of selling places in the city outskirts has increased from 54 in 2008 to 815.

Student uniforms, notebooks and schoolbags have been provided to 2 million students in the city under the programme.

In 2013, 13 enterprises joined the programme, with turnover of 411 billion VND (20 million USD), an increase of nearly 11 percent compared with 2012.

Many promotion campaigns were carried out, including cuts in prices by 25-30 percent, and donations of notebooks to poor students in rural areas. There are 769 selling places around the city.

Milk was included in the programme for the third year, with participation of the companies Vinamilk and Nutifood, which have taken 30 percent of market share.

This is also the third year that essential medicine was part of the programme.

The current programme will end in March 2015.-VNA