Saturday, 16 February 2008

The Poor need both Fishing Rods and Fishing Skills - HCM City (4)

Existing subsidy policies have turned out to be inadequate to assist the nation’s poor on the threshold of the Lunar New Year.

Price hikes are hitting them in the stomach and more action is needed to assist to improve their lot. In recent days, dizzying price spikes in rice and meat have nearly doubled the cost of these two essential Tet items since last year. The price of gold has not even surged this much. Several enterprises have offered meager Tet perks for their staff, ranging from VND50,000 to VND100,000 (US$3.20-$6.20). Such small incentives are not even enough to buy a kilogram of pork, which has reached up to VND70,000 as Tet approaches. Unjust bonuses have resulted in disgruntled workers going on massive strikes as their families tighten their belts for Tet.

In recent days, Thanh Nien and other newspapers and organizations have traveled to remote areas across Vietnam to donate gifts to poor families. But such kindness does not do much to lift them out of grinding poverty.

More action is, therefore, needed. Programs to help the poor could include setting up credit funds and providing free vocational centers. To help realize the goal of helping the poor rise out of poverty, Vietnam’s youth has turned out to be an efficient task force. It is essential that youth unions bolster their engagement in this regard to equip the poor with both fishing rods and fishing skills.

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