Deputy PM requests reviewing poor districts

In a recent interview granted to Vietnam News Agency, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Gia Khiem said the EWEC is one of the five economic corridors in the Greater Sub-Mekong Region (GMS), which was approved at the eighth GMS Ministerial Meeting in October 1998. With funding from the Asian Development Bank and the Japanese Government, major transport infrastructure facilities lying along the corridor have been upgraded, including Tien Sa and Da Nang ports, Hai Van tunnel and National Highway No 9 inside Vietnam. Notably, the second international bridge spanning the Mekong River was open to traffic in late 2006, linking Thailand's seven northeastern provinces, Laos' Savannakhet province and Vietnam's three central provinces. In addition to developing transport infrastructure facilities, relevant countries have coordinated closely in simplifying procedures, facilitating cross-border travel, enhancing cooperation in tourism and human resource development, and attracting investment for the sake of steady economic development and sustainable poverty reduction. The western part of the corridor, which runs from Thailand to Myanmar, will be under construction soon to turn the EWEC into an inland corridor connecting the Pacific and Indian Oceans. Once completed, the EWEC project will help millions of people living in the four countries escape poverty, narrow the development gap and strengthen linkages between the EWEC and other regions in Southeast Asia and the world. The project will enable the four countries to better tap their natural resources and potential, and expand their markets. It will also help them expand external economic ties, promote…... [read more]

According to officials from the Ministries of Planning and Investment (MPI) and Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA), the government of Vietnam has always tried to make sure economic development go hand in hand with poverty reduction and empowerment for disadvantaged groups of people, including children, women, the disabled and ethnic minority people. Vietnam’s achievements in poverty reduction have won international applaud. United Nations Resident Coordinator John Hendra praised Vietnam for being the first country in the world to achieve the first Millennium Development Goal - eliminating extreme poverty and hunger. The achievement is attributable to the effective implementation of poverty-related policies and programmes in recent years. They include the national target programme for poverty reduction, the socio-economic development programmes for disadvantaged communes and ethnic minority areas, and the support programme for the fast and sustainable poverty reduction in 62 poor districts. However, international experts said the Government is limited in resources to cover an increasing number of often fragmented programmes and policies. The mid-term results of the programmes have shown a substantial overlap and lack of coordination. As a result, Resident Coordinator John Hendra said, many ethnic minority and mountainous areas continue lagging far behind further behind the rest of the country in terms of socio-economic development. He suggested that the existing poverty reduction programmes and policies be integrated into one master programme or framework to reduce overlap and improve coordination and enhance efficiency. He also stressed the need to improve the ethnic minority people’s capacity to play a…... [read more]

Practical procedures Following the Prime Minister’s decision to help poor people, many supporting policies have been adopted in localities to create jobs for them, including those belonging to ethnic minority groups. Before being sent abroad, guest workers are provided with vocational training, language courses and first-hand knowledge of their host countries. Ethnic minority workers are offered free training while those in poor districts receive half the cost. In addition, they are also given VND80,000 for accommodation and other personal things, such as clothes and footwear, as well as the fees for passports, visas and medical checks-up. When workers have personal problems relating to their health or they lose their jobs when their employers unilaterally cancel contracts they will be helped to overcome their financial difficulties. Furthermore, they will also enjoy low interest rate on bank loans which is half the normal lending rate. The DOLM estimates that each worker working in Libya can get financial support worth around VND10 million while it is capped at VND7 million in Malaysia. Nearly 7,000 workers register to work abroad Recently, many officials have gone to remote and mountainous areas to meet with local authorities and encourage people to work abroad. They short-list candidates and take them to their training centres. A project to help poor districts promote labour exports to strengthen sustainable poverty reduction in the 2009-2020 period was approved by the Prime Minister according to decision 71. The pilot period: 2009-2010: sending 10,000 workers The 2011-2015 period: sending 50,000 workers The 2016-2020…... [read more]

The movement has made very encouraging achievements through active response from various groups of Vietnamese people, organizations and businesses inside and outside the country. The movement has mobilized many resources worth trillions of Vietnam dong to assist the poor with production materials and food between crops. The Fund for the Poor has helped to build almost one million houses for more than four million poor people. Tens of millions of poor people have received money to buy bicycles and pay for education. They were also given regular and emergency medical treatment. Millions of poor households were granted preferential credit while tens of thousands of poor people received free vocational training. They have also been provided with free health insurance cards and legal assistance. The State has continually written and issued comprehensive policies to cover the basic demands of the poor and has many different channels for assistance. However, more is still needed to maintain the results of poverty reduction as many people who have escaped from poverty are in danger of relapsing, especially after natural disasters, epidemics or economic shocks. Under the new criteria for poverty from now until 2015, Vietnam will have 3.3 million poor households or about 15 million poor people. One measure that has been effective in addressing this issue is using mass media to raise public awareness and encourage poor people to rise out of poverty.... [read more]

In recent years, poverty reduction programmes have made significant progress, which has been acknowledged by the international community, thanks to successful socio-economic development strategy in the 2001-2010 period. However, according to the Steering Board of the National Targeted Programme for Sustainable Poverty Reduction, the results of poverty reduction are not sustainable and the gap between rich and poor is increasing, especially in areas with many poor families. Many snags remain, such as overlapping programmes, lack of consistent policies and resources and unclear separation between poverty reduction and social welfare policies. At the opening ceremony, Deputy Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, Nguyen Trong Dam, said a draft of the Government’s resolution on directions for sustainable poverty reduction in the 2011-2020 period will review all polices and choose the ones in line with the new situation to achieve the target for sustainable and comprehensive poverty reduction. It will focus on investment in poor and disadvantaged districts. Ngo Truong Thi, Deputy Head of the MOLISA’s Social Welfare Department, presented the draft. The programme aims to promote economic growth for the poor, enhance basic infrastructure for socio-economic development, and improve people’s livelihoods in poor districts and extremely disadvantaged communes and villages. The programme will provide better opportunities for poor people and families to stabilise and diversify their jobs and increase their income to accelerate the progress of poverty reduction and sustain its achievements. It will also reduce the number of poor families by 75 percent compared to the previous period, which means…... [read more]

Five years after implementing the second phase of programme 135, the number of poor households has dropped by 5 percent annually from 47 percent in 2006 to 28.8 percent in 2010. The programme has encouraged all Party committees, local authorities and social and political organizations to mobilise for implementation of the Party and State’s policies and national poverty reduction targets. VOV reporter interviewed Giang Seo Phu, Minister and Chairman of the Committee for Ethnic Minority Affairs. Reporter: Can you brief the results of the second phase of Programme 135 in the five years? Minister Phu: This is a special programme because it is for the most disadvantaged areas. The programme, initiated by the Party and the State, meets the whole society’s aspirations at both central and local levels. It has been implemented comprehensively under close direction of central agencies. Most targets have been fulfilled and a large number of people have benefited from the programme, enjoying better living conditions. The rural and ethnic minority areas have changed for the better with the number of poor households declining sharply from 47 percent in 2006 to 28.8 percent in 2010, an account of the Party and State’s investment policy. As these areas’ starting point is too low, investment capital is not enough to make dramatic changes. Total investment for the programme from 2006 to 2010 is VND29,000 billion but only VND14,000 billion has been disbursed. If all investment capital was disbursed in time, greater progress would have been made. VOV: Although the…... [read more]

At a meeting to review work in 2010 and devise tasks for 2011 in Hanoi on January 5, Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Sinh Hung congratulated the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) on its successful fulfilling tasks in 2010. He emphasised the sector’s important role in caring for people and contributing to socio-economic development and ensuring social welfare. However, he also pointed out the sector’s weaknesses, such as not providing enough jobs for all people and the limited quality of human resources. Mr Hung asked the MOLISA to actively implement the new outlined measures to ensure sustainable poverty reduction, as well as generate stable jobs for people and care for families of social policy beneficiaries and those who made contributions to the revolution. These actions will help to effectively implement the National Assembly’s resolution on socio-economic development in 2011 and in following years, he said. On the occasion, Mr Hung and MOLISA leaders presented certificates of merit to outstanding people and organizations. Deputy Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, Nguyen Thanh Hoa reported on the results of 14 tasks in 2010 and pointed out 9 key tasks and 13 measures for 2011. Last year, the sector generated 1.6 million new jobs and provided regular allowances for 1.4 million people who contributed to the revolution. It also fulfilled the poverty reduction goal and reduced the poverty rate to less than 9.45 percent.... [read more]

Viet Nam News HÀ NỘI - The Central Highlands provinces this year need to continue adjusting their growth models towards enhancing quality, efficiency and competitiveness, a senior official says. Tô Lâm, Head of the Steering Committee for the Central Highlands Region, said in meeting with local authorities last week that the provinces should improve the way the have been tapping their potentials for socio-economic development, and focus in particular on improving the lot of ethnic minority groups. Climate change adaptation will have to remain a major focus of this year's activities, he added. Provinces in the region should also accelerate restructuring in several areas and sectors including public investment, State-owned enterprises and agriculture while building new-style rural areas, he said. Lâm advised the provinces to improve investment promotion for hi-tech agriculture, clean energy, processing industry, livestock breeding and tourism. They should also intensify their focus on facilitating start-ups, developing local businesses and mobilising social resources for development, he said. Despite significant socio-economic achievements last year, numerous shortcomings remained in land-use management, traffic infrastructure and land use-related issues, among others. The region as a whole needs to strengthen land and forests management this year, allocate residential and cultivation land to needy households, increase reforestation and abide by the Prime Minister's directions on forest management and protection, Lâm said. The steering committee will work with ministries and sectors to propose to the Government mechanisms and incentives to ensure socio-economic development, regional and national security, he said. It will also study and implement…... [read more]

The resolution, introduced at a meeting in Hanoi on May 30, outlines pathways towards sustainable poverty reduction in the 2011-2020 period. The resolution affirms the Government’s determination to continue to implement poverty reduction policies more effectively. The document also creates a fundamental basis for the building and implementation of a comprehensive and united national poverty reduction target programme, with priorities given to remote, mountainous, ethnic minority-inhabited, coastal and island areas, in order to reduce the regional difference gap. From now to 2020, the poor people’s living conditions will be improved, especially in health care, education, culture, fresh water and housing. Socio-economic infrastructure in disadvantaged and extremely disadvantaged localities will receive investment, with a focus on transport and electricity systems and water for daily use. The meeting, jointly held by the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs and the United Nations Development Programme, also released the result of a survey on Vietnam’s poverty rate in 2010, which said that the rate fell from 22 percent in 2005 to 9.45 percent in 2010. According to participants, Vietnam needs to create innovative poverty reduction policies to cope with long-lasting pockets of poverty, especially when the country has become a middle-income nation.... [read more]

>>Vietnam attends 100th ILO General Assembly session Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan, made this statement at the 100th session of International Labour Organisation (ILO) General Assembly in Geneva on June 14. Minister Ngan said Vietnam is taking many measures to achieve targets for employment and social welfare which are mentioned in the country’s socio-economic development strategy for the 2011-2015 period, aimed at effectively managing labour markets and strengthening capacity and dialogue with partners to ensure more job opportunities with better quality outcomes, minimum social welfare conditions and access to international labour standards. The Government has made every effort to raise labour management capacity, develop a labour market forecast system, employment services and a labour inspection system, and to provide vocational training for rural workers and employment for young people, women, the disabled and locals in poor areas and ethnic minority regions, she said. Minister Ngan added that the Government has recently promulgated Resolution 80 on sustainable poverty reduction for the 2011-2020 period, while drawing up plans to apply the United Nations Social Protection Floor Initiative (SPF-I). At present, the Vietnamese Government is actively engaged in curbing inflation and stabilising the macro economy, ensuring social welfare for the people, including financial support for low-income earners and poor households, and encouraging self-employment and employment in the unofficial economic sector, she said. Minister Ngan spoke highly of ILO efforts in adopting a new legal tool to protect housemaids and proposals to further expand coverage of social insurance…... [read more]

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