National Monument in the southernmost region of the Fatherland
(CMO) Southern Special Printing Board Stele is a work of special significance for the Finance industry to honor and recognize great contributions of the previous generations, thereby educating the fine traditions of Vietnam’s Finance industry.
A short-time after the success of August Revolution, the whole Southern region started French resistance war on September 23, 1945. Facing the urgent need to issue Vietnamese banknotes to take initiative in operating the economy, boosting production and ensuring the long-term war, President Ho Chi Minh signed Decree No. 102/SL to allow the Southern region to issue its own bonds on November 1, 1947. However, thanks to the “Vietnamization” of over 100 million Indochina dong, the enforcement of the decree was postponed. Then, in order to lessen the difficulty for the Southern region, the Central Government allowed the issuance of Vietnamese banknotes in the Southern region called Central Banknotes under Decree No. 147/SL dated March 2, 1948.
In order to print banknotes, the Southern Special Printing Board was established at Dong Thap Muoi War Zone (Moc Hoa district, Dong Thap province) and led by Mr. Ngo Tan Nhon, special envoy of the Government. To cover the enemy’s eyes, the Southern Special Printing Board was nicknamed “The Cultivation Board No. 10”.
The Southern Special Printing Board Stele, which teaches revolutionary tradition to young generation. Photo: THANH QUANG
Since 1949, in order to ensure secrecy, the Southern Special Printing Board was ordered to move to U Minh war zone. Here, banknotes with denominations of 1, 5 and 10 dong were printed by a leg-operated printer on student paper in large numbers. In 1953, while the Southern Special Printing Board was operating stably in Tan Hung Tay, Cai Nuoc district, a forest fire occurred. The hundreds of officials, workers and tons of equipment were moved to Ham Rong, Nam Can district. In order to meet the demand for money and eliminate the Indochina dong, the Southern Special Printing Board was allowed to print banknotes with denominations of 20, 50, 100 dong with a modern equipment – the manualy-operated offset printer. Money was printed on Gai paper. In early 1954, the Southern Administrative War Resistance Committee ordered printing banknotes of 200 dong and 500 dong. After the printing finished, the revolution was successful. The Geneva Agreement was signed (July 20, 1954) at which time the Southern Special Printing Board also accomplished its historic mission (November 1954). The number of banknotes printed in the Southern region circulated in the community was around 3.6 billion dong.
Uncle Ho banknotes printed in large numbers throughout the Southern region played a great role in the establishment of the Government of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam that was still young at that time. It also created financial independence in the hard war of 9 years because each banknote contained the political, economic and financial significance based on taking people as the foundation to replace the “gold standard”.
To note the turning points in the resistance war and the early days of the establishment of the young Vietnamese revolutionary government, at the same time, teach the revolutionary traditions to the young generation, in 2001, the Southern Special Printing Board started building the stele in Ham Rong commune, Nam Can district. The project was worth about 45 million dong mobilized by its former members. However, this works with its rudimentary structure was not in line with the functions, duties and dedication of those who printed money at that time. In early 2009, the Ministry of Finance had the policy of upgrading and renovating the Southern Special Printing Board stele. In 2010, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism issued a decision on recognizing the Southern Special Printing Board stele in Ham Rong commune, Nam Can District, Ca Mau Province as the National Historical Relic.
Under the authorization of the Ministry of Finance and the investment approval of Ca Mau Province People’s Committee, the investment project for upgrading and renovating the Southern Special Printing Board Stele was approved on 11 June, 2012 and the Employer was Ca Mau Department of Finance. The works consists of an architectural complex with the following main items: memorial monument, martyrs’ stele house, kindergarten, garden, yard, fence, lighting system, embankment, pavement and road connecting willow tree rows to Dam Cung river. The project was commenced on July 27, 2012 with a total investment of over VND 20,000,000,000 aided by the Ministry of Finance.
After more than 2 years of construction, on October 6, 2014, the project of upgrading and renovating the Southern Special Printing Board Stele was inaugurated with the presence of those who used to worked in Printing Board, leaders of the Ministry of Finance, Ca Mau province and many local people.
After 6 years of operation, officials and employees of the Southern Special Printing Board have devoted themselves and contributed a worthy part to their common career in the early days of resistance war. There are 8 officers who died during the operation of the Board. It can be said that the glorious feat of arms of the Southern Special Printing Board is an epic and a forever unforgettable landmark in the history of Vietnam in general and the Southern people in particular./.
Huynh Hoai Han
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