NA discusses programme of socio-economic development in ethnic and mountainous areas

June 17, 2024 - 16:39
NA deputies stated that the adjustments for implementation of socio-economic development in ethnic and mountainous areas are necessary.
Minister and Chairman of the Committee for Ethnic Minority Affairs Hầu A Lềnh clarifies issues of concern to NA deputies. — VNA/VNS Photo An Đăng

HÀ NỘI — National Assembly (NA) deputies on Monday morning discussed adjustments to the investment policy for the national target programme on socio-economic development in ethnic minority-inhabited and mountainous areas.

This discussion was part of the ongoing seventh session of the 15th legislature and is one of the Government's suggested adjustments.

During the early implementation of the programme, covering a period of 2021-2030, it was found that a focus on local issues was crucial to achieving success and that several public service units needed to focus on ethnic affairs, ethnic minority boarding schools, some national monuments of significant value to ethnic minorities, district-level health centres and hospitals.

However, currently there is a severe lack of infrastructure and equipment, necessitating State investment and support.

Additionally, these entities are not clearly defined within the programme’s investment policy, as their headquarters are located outside ethnic minority and mountainous areas, causing difficulties in planning, appraising, allocating funds and settling accounts for assigned tasks.

NA Deputy Nguyễn Thị Lan Anh from the northern mountainous province of Lào Cai noted that vocational training and education in ethnic minority and mountainous areas have achieved many positive results, yet there remains a shortage of teaching equipment and investment in education does not meet the region's needs.

These educational institutions are under the socio-economic development programme for ethnic minority and mountainous areas, however because they are not actually located within ethnic minority areas, they are not eligible for the programme's policies.

Therefore, Anh proposed that the Government include these institutions in the programme.

Agreeing, Deputy Dương Khắc Mai from the Central Highlands province of Đắk Nông highlighted existing obstacles in implementing sub-projects related to vocational education and job creation for ethnic minorities.

He suggested expanding the scope of implementation and including vocational education centres in district and city centres within areas densely populated by ethnic minorities.

Deputy Lê Thị Thanh Lam from the southern province of Hậu Giang strongly agreed with the Government's proposed adjustments to the programme.

She recommended that the Government consider setting regulations and making distinctions for hamlets and areas within communes, wards and townships that are not part of ethnic minority or mountainous regions. This would provide a basis for localities to develop and implement appropriate mechanisms and policies.

Additionally, she suggested adjusting the targets and implementation timeline of the programme to allow localities to select component projects that urgently need investment.

During the discussion session, Minister and Chairman of the Committee for Ethnic Minority Affairs Hầu A Lềnh clarified issues of concern to NA deputies. The Government has proposed that the NA adjust the programme's funding sources to better align with actual conditions.

Although the programme's funding is stipulated as medium-term public investment in the resolution, in practice, it is allocated annually. Therefore, the Government has devised a funding allocation plan that includes both public investment and regular expenditure funds.

Currently, four groups of subjects are being adjusted and most NA deputies have shown their support.

Lềnh noted that over VNĐ4 trillion has been allocated for the programme, from the total approved by the NA. Localities have selected project categories, but there are obstacles because these categories are not situated in ethnic minority or particularly difficult areas, but rather in hamlets and villages.

Thus, adjustments to the locations for implementation are necessary, he said, ensuring that the total allocated funds do not increase beyond the approved VNĐ4 trillion (US$157 million).

In his concluding remarks, NA Deputy Chairman Trần Quang Phương stressed that the NA agreed in principle to adjust certain aspects of the investment policy for the national target programme on socio-economic development in ethnic minority and mountainous areas.

He tasked the Government with overseeing the review, adjustment and issuance of specific investment categories to ensure the principles, effectiveness and objectives of the programme, without altering the total approved budget.

Furthermore, he instructed a careful review of the four groups to ensure consistency across national target programmes, adherence to the principles decided by the NA and inclusion of all relevant subjects to maximise contributions from residents and businesses operating in ethnic minority and mountainous areas. — VNS