|Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính had a working session on Sunday with Điện Biên Province's Party Committee. — VNA/VNS Photo Dương Giang|
ĐIỆN BIÊN — Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính on Sunday had a meeting with the leadership of Điện Biên Province to review the socio-economic situation in 2022 and the first quarter of 2023 and discuss measures to accelerate development and sustainable poverty reduction in the northern border locality.
According to reports, Điện Biên's GRDP in 2022 expanded by 10.19 per cent, higher than the national average of 8.02 per cent and the second biggest growth in the northern mountainous region.
The number of tourists to the province rose ten times compared to the same period last year, with the number of foreigners increasing 11 times.
Rice and cassava production witnessed increased outputs at 3.09 and 16.6 per cent, respectively.
The province also planted 475.6ha of new forests last year, an increase of 68.21 per cent compared to the same period. The aquaculture industry developed towards raising high-value economic fish species such as catfish, basa fish, tilapia, and single-sex tilapia.
The industrial production index increased by 22.2 per cent in 2022.
The first quarter of 2023 also saw Điện Biên's GRDP growing higher than the national average (6.7 per cent against 3.32 per cent), with public investment disbursement rate reaching 24.67 per cent, among the localities with high rates in the country, along with a year-on-year increase of 21.8 per cent in social investment, 12.3 per cent in State budget collection.
PM Chính underlined the several advantages the provinces hold, including the famous historical site of Điện Biên Phủ, the potential for renewable energy, a diverse tapestry of ethnic culture, and the 456km borderline with China.
The large reserves of coal and mineral water, with huge swathes of unused fertile land and unexplored forestlands, and diverse water resources that are still not subject to pollution, could also help turn Điện Biên into a developed border locality
However, despite the great potential, PM Chính said there are still limitations in policy mechanisms, weak infrastructure (particularly in transportation, telecommunications, electricity, healthcare, and education), Điện Biên's average income per capita being still less than half of the national average, low budget revenues, and a rather high poverty rate.
PM Chính urged Điện Biên to value practical lessons and models in its development strategy, persist in principled matters and remain flexible in leadership while identifying the resources for development should come from innovative thinking and motivation for development come from the people.
The PM called on Điện Biên to focus on developing tourism as a key economic sector, with attention to crafting high-quality and unique tourism products associated with its people's natural beauty and cultural and historical traditions.
The province must also ensure the harmony between socio-economic development and environmental protection in tandem with national security and defence and not sacrifice social justice and equity for pure economic growth.
Infrastructure, especially in terms of transport, culture, education, healthcare, telecommunications and power, must be prioritised, the Government leader said.
The province should also push ahead with the restructuring of industrial production towards reducing the proportion of extractive industries and increasing the proportion of processing and manufacturing industries, especially in processing agricultural products.
PM Chính urged Điện Biên to carry out well the policies to help the impoverished groups people and improve the healthcare and education situation (especially in vocational training) in remote, ethnic minority areas for sustainable poverty reduction.
A contingent of professional, dedicated public workers that serve the interests of the people as well as stronger efforts in administrative reforms and improving the business environment, will be necessary for the development of the province, he stressed.
At the meeting, the PM also gave his feedback on several proposals from the local leadership, including the Sơn La-Điện Biên-Tây Trang Border Gate Highway project, and upgrading of highways connecting the province with the neighbouring Laos and China, using the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model.
PM Chính also agreed with the proposal to increase the total capacity of renewable energy projects in the province and assigned the Ministry of Industry and Trade to study and evaluate the plan.
In the future, Điện Biên must also focus on preparing for the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Điện Biên Phủ victory, the PM said, agreeing with its request for the Government's support in preserving and restoring the relic sites within the project to preserve and develop values of the special national relic site of Điện Biên Phủ battlefield until 2030.
Earlier in the day, PM Chính and his entourage also offered incense to martyrs at the shrine dedicated to soldiers who died at the Điện Biên Phủ battlefield and at the A1 martyrs' cemetery. He also visited the Điện Biên Phủ victory museum in Điện Biên.
During the visit on Saturday, the Government leader paid visit to the Điện Biên ethnic minorities boarding high school, Điện Biên General Hospital, inspected the progress of a project to expand the Điện Biên airport, presented scholarships to 300 children in difficult circumstances in Điện Biên and witnessed the hand-over of 200 bicycles to poor children.— VNS