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Last Cabinet meeting tackles disaster relief

Update: March, 28/2016 - 09:12

The national economy faced a multitude of difficulties due to the severe impacts of drought and salinity. — VNA/VNS Photo Trung Hieu

HÀ NỘI (VNS) — How to ease losses caused by drought and saltwater intrusion that are afflicting the Mekong Delta, south-central and Central Highlands regions dominated the last monthly meeting of the incumbent Government.

Such was the last meeting for 20 out of 27 Cabinet members as they are scheduled to assume new posts assigned by the Politburo and the Party Central Committee, or to retire next month, said Prime Minister Nguyễn Tấn Dũng in his opening remarks on Saturday (March26).

A report presented by Minister of Planning and Investment, Bùi Quang Vinh, shows that in the first quarter of this year, despite achievements in macro-economic stabilisation with the GDP growth rate estimated at 5.46 per cent and curbed inflation, the national economy still faced a multitude of difficulties due to the severe impacts of drought and salinity.

Natural disasters have pushed down agricultural, forestry and fishery production, he said, warning that if such problems linger, the country’s annual GDP growth rate is expected to stand at only 5.45 per cent this year, a far cry from the 6.7 per cent set by the National Assembly.

According to Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Cao Đức Phát, his ministry is partnering with localities to adjust crop structure and cultivation methods, while applying biological solutions to ensure water resources for irrigation.

The ministry has also guided people to focus on animal breeding in a bid to make good the damage to the farming sector, he added.

The official informed the meeting that international organisations and the UN have scoped out saltwater encroachment in Việt Nam and plan to add the country to the list of El Nino hit nations in need of support.

He suggested the Government promptly allocate VNĐ538 billion (US$24.2 million) to assist those affected by the phenomenon, especially the more than one million people facing water shortages.

Regarding this problem, PM Nguyễn Tấn Dũng called on Cabinet members to create both long and short-term solutions to cope with the impacts of climate change, and speed up relief aid to natural disaster stricken localities.

Measures to shift the agricultural structure should be put in place to ease the difficulties burdening farmers, he said, urging greater efforts be made in opening up the market and increasing exports.

He asked Cabinet members to keep a close watch on the areas under their charge in order to meet the targets set by the legislature, particularly the GDP growth rate of 6.7 per cent this year.

The leader underscored the need for the Cabinet to swiftly stablise its organisation following new personnel arrangements, to be decided during the ongoing 11th meeting of the National Assembly’s 13th tenure.

Removing difficulties hindering the industrial, agricultural and service sectors is the key task set for the Government during this ongoing period, he noted.

Cabinet members also devoted a lot of time to deal with food safety. Secretary of the HCM City Party Committee, Đinh La Thăng, suggested establishing an agency in charge of this area in the southern metropolis, and strengthening punishments for violations of food safety regulations.

Other issues raised at the meeting included the VNĐ30 trillion loan package for social housing projects, which was proposed to be expanded until the end of 2016, and the draft demonstration law. – VNS

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