|Female employees at Hien Luong Bamboo and Rattan Co.,Ltd in Ha Noi's Phu Tuc Commune make final touches on bamboo baskets. The work has enabled them to make extra money in addition to their main income from farming. During an online conference on poverty reduction yesterday, State officials said businesses should be given incentives to invest in rural and mountainous areas, thus providing jobs to locals. — VNA/VNS Photo Tran Viet
HA NOI (VNS) — Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung yesterday called on ministries and local governments to bring the national poverty rate below five per cent within the year.
Dung and Deputy Prime Minister Vu Van Ninh chaired an online conference on poverty reduction yesterday. Local authorities need to maximise resources in the fight against poverty, instead of relying so heavily on the national budget, Dung said.
According to the National Steering Committee on Sustainable Poverty Reduction, VND34.7 trillion (US$1.65 billion) was invested in poverty reduction in 2014, with about VND30.8 trillion (88.7 per cent) coming from the State budget.
The country's poverty rate declined from 7.8 per cent in 2013 to around 5.8 per cent currently – or about 5.2 million people.
However, overlapping policies on poverty reduction remain, and many of them do not help people overcome poverty. Officials estimate that for every three households that escape poverty, one will fall back.
In addition, ethnic minority residents account for most poor households. In Cao Bang Province, ethnic minority people live in 99.6 per cent of poor households. In Lai Chau and Lang Son provinces, 98 per cent of poor people are from ethnic minorities.
Ninh, also the head of the Central Steering Committee for Sustainable Poverty Reduction, said the large proportion of low-income ethnic minority people warranted increased research efforts and poverty reduction policies.
|Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and Deputy Prime Minister Vu Van Ninh chaired an online conference on poverty reduction yesterday. — VNA/VNS Photo Duc Tam
Ministries and relevant agencies must ensure that State resources used for poverty reduction can work effectively along with local governments' budgets, Dung said.
The key to supporting poor people, he said, is to provide them with better access to land, seeding plants and cattle so they can expand agricultural production.
In addition, they need to be given better access to basic services such as housing, health care and clean water. Businesses should also be given incentives to invest in rural and mountainous areas, thus providing jobs to locals, he said.
Dung asked the Viet Nam Bank on Social Policies to expand the number of poor and near-poor households that can receive credit support. He also asked relevant agencies to finish drafting a decree on combining forest protection policies with poverty reduction. The draft will soon be submitted to the Government for approval.
Sectors and localities also aim to reduce the number of poverty-stricken districts to below 30 per cent this year, they said at the event. The national poverty reduction rate is expected to fall by 1-1.5 per cent annually between 2016 and 2020.
Authorities also plan to promote access to basic social services, such as health care, education and insurance.
Participants asked the Government to increase its support for infrastructure development in coastal areas, extend credit terms for the poor, and improve labour export mechanisms for rural and mountainous regions.
According to Labour Minister Pham Thi Hai Chuyen, the poverty line in Viet Nam will be adjusted to approach the international standard. Currently, it is VND400,000 ($20) per month or less in rural areas and VND500,000 ($25) or below in urban areas. — VNS