Agencies question $14.2b package for national cultural development programme

November 02, 2023 - 08:10
It is estimated by the ministry that by 2030, about VNĐ182 trillion will be needed to invest in the programme, including 110 trillion from the State budget, VNĐ36 trillion from local budget and VNĐ36 trillion from others.
Quan họ (love duet) singing performed in its homeland - northern province of Bắc Ninh. — VNA/VNS Photo

HÀ NỘI — The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has proposed a package of VNĐ350 trillion (US$14.2 billion) be invested in the national target programme to further promote the development of Vietnamese culture and people, but relevant agencies are feeling doubts over the huge investment.

Assigned by the State as the steering agency to compile the national target programme from 2025 to 2035, the ministry proposed VNĐ350 trillion to implement the programme in 11 years.

It is estimated by the ministry that by 2030, about VNĐ182 trillion will be needed to invest in the programme, including 110 trillion from the State budget, VNĐ36 trillion from the local budget and VNĐ36 trillion from others.

According to the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI), so far there has not been any foundation to propose specific sources for two phases of the programme.

“The total investment is not calculated based on the programme’s goals and scale,” MPI said.

The Ministry of Home Affairs said VNĐ350 trillion is such a huge spending, proposing that researching and carefully reviewing the funding in the context that the country still has many difficulties while the national resources are limited, and many other socio-economic development programmes and projects must be implemented.

The Ministry of Health said it is difficult to measure output results of the cultural activities, and requested the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism to clarify effectiveness assessment criteria to ensure the programme is implemented effectively, economically, and efficiently.

Although the Institute of Cultural Research (under the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences) affirmed that infrastructure investment is necessary, it believed that the programme of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism focuses too much on spending for building and renovating cultural sites, which are not coupled with how to develop corresponding cultural activities.

According to the institute, modern cultural sites such as cultural houses, cultural centres, and libraries in rural areas have received huge investment from other development plans such as the new-styled rural area programme but have not been used properly and attract public engagement.

Museums, libraries, and theatres also struggle to attract an audience in spite of huge investment, the institute said.

Multiple-goaled programme

Responding to the above feedback, Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyễn Văn Hùng said VNĐ350 trillion has been proposed based on the financial needs of each locality.

He said the national target programme on culture mainly focuses on building the cultural environment, embellishing, preserving and promoting heritage, thereby creating a place to promote culture, making use of the power of the State and society.

Giving the example in which many among 128 special national relics are in a state of degradation and damage, he said limited local resources are unable to cover the repair expenses so it is necessary to put the preservation into the national programme.

Another goal of the programme is to preserve traditional cultural and artistic forms of the nation such as tuồng (classical drama), chèo (traditional opera), cải lương (reformed opera) and strengthen international cultural cooperation to promote Vietnamese culture to the world.

He said that every country has cultural centres located abroad with huge influence. Meanwhile, due to the country's difficult economic conditions, Việt Nam now has only two cultural centres located in Laos and France.

One of the programme’s targets is to enhance cultural diplomacy and build more cultural centres at places having the largest number of Vietnamese expatriates, he said. — VNS