|A H'mong woman and her animals test out a new road being built from Ban Cong Commune to Khau Chu Hamlet in Tram Tau District, Yen Bai Province. Government agencies have been asked to develop a socio-economic plan to attract investment that will help make the northwestern region thrive. — VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Ha
TUYEN QUANG (VNS)— Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has requested agencies to develop a socio-economic plan and list key projects for investment priority that will help make the northwestern region thrive.
At a conference promoting investment and social welfare for the Northwest in Tuyen Quang Province yesterday, Phuc stressed that the region is situated in a strategic location in terms of defence, security, and socio-economic devel-opment. He also viewed the region as rich with plentiful natural resources and having the potential to fare well.
"Regional localities should protect and expand forests to bring economic value to their residents and improve the efficiency of social welfare policies, especially eliminating makeshift houses for poor ethnic minorities and helping them escape from hunger," he said.
Phuc also asked the Viet Nam National University in Ha Noi to liaise with central and local science departments to implement key state-level science and technology programmes.
They should also look to promote scientific studies, the transference of technology and develop human resources for regional sustainable development.
Participants discussed ways to benefit from the region's booming industries in agro-forestry, aquaculture, and mineral mining, while also focusing on developing tourism, especially eco-tourism.
Also under consideration were ways to invest smartly in transport infrastructure, human resources training and technology transference.
Last year, the region mobilised over VND96 trillion (US$4.6 billion) for development, including VND32.6 trillion ($1.6 billion) from the State budget and VND10.4 trillion ($495 million) from state enterprises.
By late February, foreign investment in the region hit a total $2.47 billion and official development assistance amounted to $2.6 billion. The sum was channeled mainly into agriculture and rural development, poverty reduction, transport, and education and training.
By late 2012, more than 58,000 households across the region had escaped from poverty thanks to bank loans for production and trading. Nearly 105,000 students living in difficulty gained access to loans to further their studies.
Over the past five years, banks have contributed over VND1.3 trillion ($60 million) to provide funds for the poor in 14 regional provinces. The figure is expected to hit hundreds of billion dong for social welfare this year.
The northwestern region covers the provinces of Hoa Binh, Son La, Lai Chau, Dien Bien, Yen Bai, Lao Cai, Lang Son, Tuyen Quang, Phu Tho, Bac Kan, Cao Bang, Ha Giang and several western communes in Nghe An and Thanh Hoa.
At the event, investment certificates worth over VND10.6 trillion ($505 million) were granted to 26 projects. Investment deals for 16 projects valued at VND16.8 trillion ($800 million) and a credit agreement for 15 projects worth more than VND20 trillion ($950 million) were also signed. — VNS