Vietnam province lawmakers given tablets to cut pen and paper costs

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The southern province of Bac Lieu on Monday provided tablets to use for meetings and internal discussions to 46 of its provincial legislators, only to find out that half of them do not know how to handle the electronic devices.

A source from the province People's Council, which functions as a legislative unit, said a training session revealed that half of the council's officials do not know how to operate a tablet.

The investment cost nearly VND600 million (US$28,800) as each official was given a Samsung Galaxy worth VND12 million.

The Bac Lieu People's Council said the tablets will upgrade the officials' IT capability and save money on the pens and paper used at every meeting. The officials will receive announcements and notices to their email via the tablets.

A tablet also has a camera and a recorder to record people's ideas and reactions at meetings.

The cost is in line with a government initiative to cut spending, the source said.

In July, Hanoi also gave 95 iPad2s to officials from its legislative body, saying the move aimed to save money and prepare officials for an e-government project.

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Bui Duc Hieu, chief of the Hanoi People's Council's Office, said that at every meeting, each deputy receives more than ten kilograms of documents, all of which plus the cost to send them by post could be eliminated by the tablets.

The plan was to buy 128 laptops, but city authorities then switched to the iPad2, saying each iPad costs less than VND20 million ($945) while a laptop costs VND28 million ($1,300).

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