Đỗ Văn Chiến. — VNA/VNS Photo Trọng Đức
HÀ NỘI — The National Assembly (NA) Standing Committee opened its question-and-answer session on Monday morning with Minister-Chairman of the Committee for Ethnic Minority Affairs Đỗ Văn Chiến, with a focus on the implementation of ethnic minority group policies.
NA deputy Bùi Sỹ Lợi mentioned the gaps between the rich and the poor and between ethnic minority groups and the majority Kinh ethnic group.
The percentage of poor households remains high among most ethnic minority groups. It is estimated that one of every three ethnic minority people is poor. Roughly half of all people classified as poor in Việt Nam belong to an ethnic minority group, Lợi added, asking the Committee for Ethnic Minority Affairs to take responsibility and develop solutions.
Responding to the questions, Chiến said that the poverty rate is an issue of concern to many sectors. Among members of ethnic minority groups, average income reaches VNĐ7-8 million (US$305-350) per person each year, which is one-fifth of the country’s average income level.
Developing socio-economic infrastructure, especially transport and communication links to connect ethnic minority areas with development hubs, is an important solution to reduce the effects of many ethnic minority communities’ geographic isolation.
The Committee has consulted with the Government to issue a resolution on ethnic minority human resource development and a decision on millennium goals. Ethnic minority groups will be connected with markets and receive assistance to sell their products.
Offering apprentice trainings to ethnic minority people is a fundamental solution to address difficulties related to unemployment and low wages, Chiến said.
Deputy Lưu Bình Nhưỡng raised the issue of overlapping and unfocused policies on ethnic minority programmes and projects.
There are four policies supporting manufacturing growth among ethnic minority communities and three policies related to domestic water. Several other policies, Nhưỡng said, are too general to be relevant to specific ethnic minority groups and the regions where they live.
Minister-Chairman Chiến said that there are currently 13 groups of policies being implemented by 14 ministries. However, he confessed that the policies have not proved their effectiveness due to a lack of careful management and implementation, as ethnic minority groups live spread across 51 provinces and cities.
The responsibility for implementing policies lies not only with the Government but also the provincial authorities, he said.
He highlighted the need to integrate ethnic minority policies into a national development programme on the development of ethnic minority and economically disadvantaged areas.
Budget allocation priority
Responding to queries on how to stabilise the lives of ethnic minority groups affected by the construction of hydropower plants and irrigation works, and those affected by natural disasters such as landslides and floods, deputy minister of agriculture and rural development Trần Thanh Nam said that the ministry has proposed to the Government a decision to stabilise livelihoods and develop manufacturing production among 28,000 households that will be resettled. An additional 24,500 households affected by hydropower plants in the northern mountainous provinces of Sơn La, Điện Biên and Lai Châu will also be resettled.
The project will be implemented in the period of 2018-25 with total investment of nearly VNĐ7 trillion ($305 million).
By the end of this month, a State budget package of VNĐ883 billion ($38.4 million) will be allocated to support some 6,000 flash flood-affected households living in temporary houses and tents in northern mountainous provinces, he said.
Deputy Prime Minister Trương Hòa Bình said that the Government will continue to take drastic measures as part of two national target programmes on building new rural areas and sustainable poverty reduction in the period from 2016-21.
The Government will prioritise the allocation of State budget resources at the highest level as well as offer special policies for mountainous and ethnic minority areas, especially for areas with a small population, he said.
Concluding the morning session, NA vice chairman Phùng Quốc Hiển ordered the Cabinet to ensure funds and resources to implement socio-economic investment in the ethnic minority region.
Budget shortfalls should not hamper the implementation of approved policies, he said.
He also asked the Government to assign only one agency to manage the implementation of ethnic minority policy to avoid overlapping responsibilities.
Investment sources should be diversified from the State budget, Official Development Assistance funds, international organisations, the business sector and local people, he said. — VNS