|Mong women grind maize at Can Cau Market in Lao Cai Province. Deputy PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc has urged the socio-economic development of ethnic minority-inhabited regions. — VNS Photo Viet Thanh
LAO CAI (VNS) — Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has said there needs to be a complete update of the mechanisms and policies to spur socio-economic development in ethnic minority-inhabited regions.
Phuc made his statement at a conference held by the Government's Committee for Ethnic Affairs and the Lao Cai provincial People's Committee on Saturday. The event was focused on reviewing ethnic affairs from 2011 to 2015, and to roll out targets for 2016.
Over the past five years, ethnic-related policies had contributed to raising the living standards of ethnic minority and people in mountainous regions, he said.
There were, however, policies that were overlapping and unsuitable, he said, adding that many localities had yet to outline their ethnic strategies for 2016-20.
The income gap in some regions has widened, especially among ethnic minority-inhabited and mountainous areas, according to an official who wished to remain anonymous.
Deputy PM Phuc asked ministries, agencies and localities to promptly amend ethnic-related policies and allocate more resources towards mountainous, remote and far-flung areas.
While echoing the Deputy PM's views, the Committee's Minister-Chairman Giang Seo Phu also blamed a shortage of resources for pending policies, programmes and projects.
He said that ethnic, minority-inhabited and mountainous regions still had many economic difficulties. In particular, he pointed towards poor socio-economic infrastructure, especially in transport, electricity, irrigation, medical and educational facilities.
High rates of poverty, unemployment, low income, low-quality human resources, frequent natural disasters and new diseases were posing a headache, he said.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Cao Duc Phat, added that underdevelopment in agricultural production in the region added to the list of problems.
The minister suggested that the close connection between business and farmers, as well as the close collaboration between farmers, along with technological advances in production would advance sustainability.
The Ministry had always paid attention to policies supporting ethnic groups from all localities, particularly those who were promoting sustainability and the rapid reduction of poverty, Phat affirmed.
Addressing the conference, Vice Chairman of the Dak Nong provincial People's Committee, Cao Huy, said that policies regarding ethnic minorities had proven effective, contributing to the improvement of living standards for remote, far-flung, mountainous and marginalised communities.
He hoped that ethnic minorities would gain easy access to information so as to learn means to earn more sustainable incomes.
Representatives from Quang Nam and Tra Vinh provinces also proposed that the Party and State invest more in ethnic groups and present more specific policies to support ethnic minorities.
Delegates at the conference agreed on key tasks for 2016, which focus on ethnic-related programmes, policies and projects. — VNS