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Ministry seeks to raise poor's income

Update: February, 02/2012 - 10:18

HA NOI — The Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs is targeting this year to increase the incomes of households in poverty by 160 per cent over last year's levels, with a goal to boost the incomes of poor ethnic households and households in remote mountainous areas by 250 per cent.

The average incomes of poor households in rural areas are currently VND400,000 (US$19) per person per month, while the incomes of poor households in urban areas is VND500,000 ($23) per person per month, according to the ministry. Both figures represent increases of 120 per cent over the 2010 levels, meeting targets set by the National Assembly, the ministry says.

By comparison, the average per-capita income nationwide is VND1.3 million ($62) per person per month.

For 2009-11, the State budget allocated a total of VND8.5 trillion ($405 million) towards the poverty reduction programme implemented under Resolution 30a issued in 2008. On average, each of the 62 poor provinces has received VND130 billion ($6.2 million).

"The biggest changes thanks to the fund were improvements in infrastructure," said Ngo Truong Thi, head of the ministry's co-ordination office for the poverty reduction programme. Over 2,000 construction projects were carried out, including roads, bridges, medical stations and schools, and more than 34,000 dilapidated homes were repaired.

With funding from official development assistance and Government bonds, the allocation to poor provinces over three years rose by another VND22 trillion (over $1 billion) each, on average.

To meet this year's targets, the ministry planned to increase State funding for the poverty reduction programme as well as call on support from individuals and enterprises, Thi said. Each district would receive up to VND250 billion ($11.9 million), compared to about VND200 billion ($9.5 million) last year.

Meanwhile, the Bank for Investment and Development of Viet Nam (BIDV) will sponsor seven poor districts, and PetroVietnam, Vietcombank and VietinBank have all committed to sponsor some poor districts.

Based on lessons in implementing the proverty reduction programme in prior years, Thi said priority would be given to the poorest areas first in order to ensure funds and manpower are allocated wisely. Top priority would be given to northwest areas, including Dien Bien, Lai Chau, Lao Cai, Ha Giang and Cao Bang provinces

"Despite Viet Nam's socio-economic development, we still have about 15 per cent of the population living under the poverty line," said Thi. "We will therefore continue to encourage all of society to join hands with the poverty reduction programme to prevent a portion of citizens from living in beggarly conditions."

The national poverty rate fell from 14.2 per cent in 2010 to 12 per cent last year. — VNS

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