|Carolyn Turk, World Bank Country Director for Việt Nam, and Vice Chairman of the Theoretical Council of the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee Prof. Dr. Tạ Ngọc Tấn, co-chair the conference. — VNA/VNS Photo
HÀ NỘI — Identifying breakthrough social measures are key to ensuring sustainable development for Việt Nam to become a middle-income country by 2030, and high-income by 2045.
That's the view of experts who met at a workshop held in Hà Nội on Friday to review the 10-year implementation of the Party Resolution on a number of social policy issues during the 2012-2020 periods.
After 10 years, social policies have been gradually completed comprehensively and implemented effectively, according to participants.
Thanks to these policies, the rate of poor households following the multi-dimensional poverty standard dropped to below 3 per cent and the country has fulfilled many millennium development goals, relating to poverty reduction, healthcare and education.
Participants suggested the Party and State have breakthrough steps in social policies, in terms of both legal foundation and administration, to create conditions and motivation for further economic development.
Vice Chairman of the Theoretical Council of the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee Prof. Dr. Tạ Ngọc Tấn said the development of the society and the people and continuous improvement of the spiritual and material life of people are always the key goals of the Party and State during the national construction and development process, to make sure economic growth goes parallel with social advancement and equity and no one is left behind.
Carolyn Turk, World Bank Country Director for Việt Nam, said at the conference that the country has been extremely successful over the past decade in reducing poverty and especially extreme poverty which has declined from 16.8 per cent in 2010 to 5 per cent in 2020 (based on the World Bank lower middle-income country poverty line).
"This dramatic improvement was driven to a large extent by economic growth which was helped by the so-called demographic dividend as well as an increased share of formal employment as workers moved out of low productivity agriculture," she said.
"But informality remains high, and the demographic window is closing. In order to realise Việt Nam’s aspiration to become an upper-middle-income country by 2030 and a high-income country by 2045, the economy will have to achieve much higher productivity, efficiency and social inclusion as well as strong resilience against shocks including those related to climate change."
In this context, the social protection system must address three challenges: informality, population aging and climate change.
Recognising the above challenges, the Government of Việt Nam has made important policy choices in recent years. Earlier this year, the retirement age started to gradually rise. Social insurance reforms that improve financial sustainability and increase coverage expansion are reflected in Resolution 28. However, the coverage of social insurance programmes, especially pensions, has not increased as much as we would like, and this reflects the persistent informality in Việt Nam’s labour market, she said.
She suggested measures to significantly increase matching contributions for the voluntary pension scheme, reducing the number of contribution years required to receive a pension, and expanding the mandate to certain occupations.
Turk said: "In addition to expanding coverage, it will be important to provide sufficient resources to make social assistance benefits more impactful.
"At the same time, if Việt Nam is to finance these programmes, it will need to continue to grow despite the demographic outlook. This means boosting labour productivity.
"This entails not only better education and training but also better labour market information and employment support to help workers, including those in the informal sector, to prepare for and secure better employment.
"This is an area where social protection and human capital policies intersect as there is no better form of income support for a household than a worker that brings home a good wage and who is covered against risks." — VNS