Friday, February 21 2020


Give the poor tools, not money

Update: December, 01/2016 - 09:00
 Nguyễn Trọng Đàm

Deputy Minister of Labour, Invalid and Social Affairs, Nguyễn Trọng Đàm, talks to the Vietnam Plus online newspaper about the Poverty Reduction Policies and Programme Project (PRPP).

Could you tell us about the results of the project after four years?

The project assists the Government and relevant ministries to fix shortcomings of existing policies related to poverty reduction and encourages the poor to make changes in their lives and escape poverty.

For example, the Government lends them money but they have to decide what to do with it to escape poverty.  If they want to breed cows, they have to buy cows themselves. If they want to raise pigs, they have to buy pigs. The Government and relevant ministries do not bring cows and pigs to them. They have to fight poverty actively and not be passive about it.

A connection between the project participants and staff has been established through policy dialogues, meetings and forums. The staff get opportunities to listen to the voices of the poor, and the poor are also offered a chance to raise their voice and improve their awareness of poverty reduction.

I greatly appreciate the project.

How do you assess the activeness of the poor in the fight against poverty reduction?

In general, they have shown improvement in their awareness, thinking and money management. However, we found that some did not want to extricate themselves from poverty and some were not poor but simply wanted financial supports from the Government. These people thought they could rely on Government support instead of trying to emerge from poverty.

This requires changes in our policies. We should provide tools instead of money. The poor should receive just enough help to actively make their own efforts to flee poverty rather than fully depending on financial support.

Poverty in the northern regions is the highest in the nation. Experts suggest moving some of the labour force to another region. What do you think?

Our current policies of agricultural reform include labour force re-shaping that allows part of the labour force to move from one region to another. However, the policies are thought to be difficult to implement because ethnic minorities in remote areas often refuse to leave their hometowns to earn a living in another place. It requires changes in our approach. We have to attract more investment in mountainous areas. Then we could take advantage of the available labour force there.

Another solution is boosting vocational training to meet the demands of certain regions. More explanation needs to be provided to labour-age people in mountainous areas advising them that they could earn more money and have a better living standard if they are qualified to work in other areas, like the Mekong Delta provinces. — VNS




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