(VNS) Truong Thi Mai, chairwoman of the National Assembly Committee on Social Affairs, spoke to Thoi bao Kinh te Viet Nam (Viet Nam Economics Times) about socio-economic development.
Do you think that social security has performed adequately in 2012?
In the last three or four years, social security performance has been positive despite many economic challenges. However, there remains some concern over the policy on poverty reduction due to the element of instability within the policy.
Under the new poverty standards, about 13 per cent of the Vietnamese population is classified as poor and another 7 per cent is near poor.
The line between near poor and poor is very narrow - particularly if any severe natural disaster occurs. This means our poverty reduction programme will remain unstable unless the government comes up with effective long-term policies.
In your opinion, how should our social security system be restructured in the context of limited resources?
Our social security system at present demonstrates that both the Government and the people take responsibility for the system.
For example, the social protection policy is sponsored by the government, while the policy for the poor is jointly shared by the government and the poor themselves.
By 2015, the living conditions of all families that have rendered great services to the national construction and defence will be at least equal to the average of local households, according to a national target set by the Government.
By 2020, social security coverage will be 100 per cent nationwide, including income, education, health care, housing, clean water and information. I think each office, organisation and locality should figure out what it can do to increase social security coverage.
Additionally, social security policies should be divided into three main categories: prevention, reduction and risk recovery.
What will the National Assembly do to turn these three policy categories into reality, particularly to help people working in the informal sector?
To implement the preventive policy, the National Assembly has included the Employment Law in its law building agenda in 2013 in addition to amendments to the Health Insurance Law and the Social Insurance Law.
The draft of the Employment Law will focus more on people working in the informal sector. The law aims to increase the employment rate and provide sustainable jobs for people working in the informal sector.
When revising the Social Insurance Law, we're trying to make it more open so that people from all walks of life can participate. As for the Health Insurance Law, we'll try to increase insurance coverage to 100 per cent.
However, to make amendments to these two laws is not easy, as it's difficult for the drafting committees and lawmakers to come to an agreement about what the contribution from theState and from individuals should be.
In other words, we need to balance the government's contribution and the people's living conditions in each stage of development. — VNS