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Rural programme ‘must find new funds'

Update: February, 18/2012 - 10:29


More than 300 children in Thanh Tan Commune, northern Thai Binh Province, attend a newly-upgraded school. The commune has been piloting a new rural area development model since 2009. — VNA/VNS Photo Dinh Hue
HCM CITY — To ensure the ongoing success of the national rural-area programme in communes, a diversity of capital sources are needed, experts have said.

In 2008, the Government began a pilot programme for the development of new rural areas in 11 communes nationwide.

The programme, whose major goal is to improve the livelihood of residents, focuses on improving infrastructure, environmental protection, business and farming production and culture, as well as the creation of a basic political system.

The model programme has contributed to creating a new face for rural areas and a better life for residents, according to the Steering Committee of the New Rural Area Programme.

The average income in the 11 rural communes participating in the programme has increased by 62 per cent.

The State invested VND300 billion (US$14 million) to build infrastructure and develop highly productive economic models.

All of the 11 communes involved have completed their general plans and 10 have finished their detailed planning.

Because of the programme's success, the Government wants to replicate the model but the biggest obstacle to doing this is finding capital.

The programme's steering committee says the the new rural-area programme in the 11 communes received 80 per cent of its funds from the State Budget and 20 per cent from individuals and businesses.

Most of these funds were used for the construction of works that ensure new rural-area standards.

The funds were devoted to planning, transportation, irrigation, culture and telecommunications infrastructure as well as power, housing, labour structure and poverty reduction.

At Thanh Chan Commune in Dien Bien Province, about VND91.5 billion was used for construction of new rural-area projects, of which up toVND73.7 billion, or 80.5 per cent, came from the State Budget.

Meanwhile, 85.2 per cent of the total VND65.4 billion invested into the Ha Noi's Thuy Huong Commune was also from the State Budget.

Only Tan Thong Hoi in HCM City called for the participation of 150 enterprises and many households into the construction of public utilities such as roads, libraries and schools.

According to the programme's steering committee, the 11 communes had mobilised VND119.22 billion ($5.72 million) from businesses, accounting for only 6.4 per cent of the total money for new rural-area projects.

Local households contributed only 14 per cent of the total.

Local authorities have not engaged in campaigns to eduate residents about the need for contributions to their native villages, according to the committee.

Current agriculture and rural area development policies also remain limited.

The deputy minister of Finance, Nguyen Huu Chi, said replicating the new rural-area model in many other communes was necessary but localities did not have enough resources and conditions to do it. The State Budget is limited as well.

The steering committee also revealed that the Government planned to invest

VND12 trillion (nearly US$576.37 million) into the new rural-area programme between 2011 and 2015.

This amount, however, would meet only 11 per cent of the total money needed for the implementation of the programme during the period.

If other capital sources are not found, the programme may not be able to continue in other areas.

Cao Duc Phat, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the new rural-area programme should rely on other sources, not just the State budget, especially because localities themselves were responsible for administering the programme.

Finance Deputy Minister Chi suggested that people's committees of provinces and cities be given a right to decide on the proportion of capital sources from the State Budget to be used for new rural-area projects.

He said these agencies would have a better understanding about their localities' financial sources and conditions. — VNS

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