Minister explains controversial cultural package
  • | nld, | June 05, 2014 09:44 AM

Vuong Duy Bien, Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism, explains the need for a nearly VND7 trillion (USD333 million) plan to renovate 71 theatres nationwide.

 Vuong Duy Bien, Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism
 VND200 billion for conical hat theatres
At the end of April, the ministry issued a draft plan to develop performing arts in Vietnam with view towards 2030. The cost of this plan has been crticised as being illusory by many people. How was this figure arrived at?

In 2008, the Politburo issued Resolution 23, which aimed to develop the arts and culture. We were assigned five projects including building new theatres and renovating old cinemas and museums. Last year, the Prime Minister approved of the project. According to the plan, 21 theatres will be built and 20 will be renovated. Also, 106 cinemas and 102 museums are in need of renovation. Moreover, we have to provide equipment to mobile cinemas and private museums. The total capital is VND10.8 trillion, of which VND6.5 trillion will be allocated from state budget.

Does this mean that VND10.8 trillion would be equally spent on the visual and performing arts?

Yes, and the money will be gradually disbursed until 2020 in 63 cities and provinces. Investment for arts and culture isn't expensive when the returns are considered. Many people think that VND10.8 trillion will be given to us just to build threatres. This is a misunderstanding. The money will be given to local authorities. 

Can you explain why nearly VND7 trillion is needed to build and renovate 71 threatres?

You are referring to the first draft plan, which has been revised in order to meet the Prime Minister's directive and our country's situation.

Aside from the huge budget, many people are also concerned over decision to build thousands-seats theatres in disadvantaged areas. What is your opinion about this?

This could just be that the makers of the first draft hadn't carefully considered each calculation. We've got a lot of feedback since then, and adjusted the plan accordingly. Some of the most helpful feedback came from these disadvantaged areas you mentioned before. They have reported to us their true situation and needs. The time between now and 2020 is not so long, and we have to make practical and precise decisions now so that localities will be able to allocate land for these projects.

In order to have great works of art created, don't you think it would be more wise to spend the money on human activity rather than theatres? 

This is true. No matter how big investment is, we won't have great works of art without talent. In the time to come, the government will adjust salaries and bonuses for state artists. We understand that it's not easy to discover and nurture talent. However, we still have to calculate our budget and methods before making that kind of investment.

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