|A veterinary staff vaccinates against diseases for poultry in Vinh Long Province. An additional 120 contracted veterinarians in Can Tho City and Hau Giang Province are facing furloughs because the localities' animal health departments have failed to balance the budget to pay their salaries. — Photo danviet.vn
MEKONG DELTA (VNS) — An additional 120 contracted veterinarians in Can Tho City and Hau Giang Province are facing furloughs because the localities' animal health departments have failed to balance the budget to pay their salaries.
Earlier this month, Can Tho City ended contracts with 27 veterinarians.
Bui Trong Khanh, a former staff member of the city department, said he had worked for the department for a decade.
Although he received only VND2.6 million (US$116) per month, Khanh stayed because he loved his job.
Then, his labour contract suddenly ended earlier this month, Khanh said.
Similarly, staff member Nguyen Hong Mai said he felt shocked when he was laid off.
Deputy Head of Can Tho City's Animal Health Department Nguyen Anh Dung said that after circular 113 was issued in August by the Ministry of Finance, 34 fees related to the animal health sector were cut in order to reduce the financial burden for farmers.
The cut caused the city animal health department to lose about VND1.8 billion (nearly $80,000), he said.
The department often used the money collected from the fees to pay the salary of contracted veterinarians, he said.
Thus, when the fees were cut, the department had no choice but to end contracts with the veterinarians, he said.
Current staff of the department is overwhelmed with the workload, he said.
The Hau Giang Province's animal health department lost about VND900 million ($40,000) once the fee changes took effect.
Deputy Director of the provincial Agriculture and Rural Development Department Nguyen Van Dong said the local animal health agency is expected to experience some headaches due to the employee shortage.
In Vinh Long Province, also located in Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta, Nguyen Huu Thuy, deputy head of the provincial animal health department, said it would consider furloughing contracted staff if the provincial budget does not provide financial support to pay their salaries. — VNS