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Implementation of policies on poverty reduction in Viet Nam
17/10/2011 15:46' Send Print

Poverty reduction has in one of the important social security policies in the socio-economic strategy of the Party and State and has received much attention of the whole society. The policy has been implemented along side other policies on socio-economic development. This has helped keep a balance between economic growth and equity and social progress, contribute to maintain social stability, sustainable development and fulfill Viet Nam’s international commitments. In many years, Viet Nam’s efforts in poverty reduction have been paid off and Viet Nam has been a bright example in implementing the Millennium Development Goals. Viet Nam’s achievements have been recognized by the world public and people. However, there remain challenges for Viet Nam to attain sustainable development.

Encouraging results

In 2009 and early 2010, the Committee for Social Issues of the National Assembly organized surveys and oversight activities on the implementation of the National Target Program on Poverty Reduction for 2006-2010 and the Program on Rapid and Sustainable Poverty Reduction in 62 poor districts. On April 22, 2010, in Ho Chi Minh city, the Committee for Social Issues of the National Assembly organized a plenary meeting to hear a report by the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) on poverty norms, the implementation of policies on poverty reduction in 2006-2010 and orientations for 2011-2015. Main findings of surveys and oversight of the implementation of poverty reduction policies are as follows:

The National Target Program on Poverty Reduction for 2006-2010 started with the Decision No 20/2007/ QD-TTg of February 05, 2007 signed by the Prime Minister aiming to reducing the percentage of poor households from 22% in 2005 to 10%-11% in 2010 (50% within five years).

It is noticeable that while resources are limited, the international, regional and national socio-economic situation are facing big challenges, the Party and State have promulgated and led the implementation of comprehensive policies on poverty reduction, especially policies on investment in infrastructure, loans for production development, craft training for poor people, assistance to access of essential services namely healthcare, culture, education, housing and water supply, thus creating basic precedence to improve living conditions of poor households. This also confirms that as these policies conform to the interests, needs and aspirations of the people, they have brought about positive changes.

There are 15 provinces and cities with percentage of poor household under 5%, five of them have poor household percentage of under 1% or no poor households. These provinces were Ho Chi Minh city, Da Nang, Khanh Hoa, Ba Ria-Vung Tau and Binh Duong, 21 provinces with percentage of under 5% to 10%; 11 provinces with percentage of poor households from 10% to 15%; ten provinces with 15% to 20%; four provinces with 20% to under 25%; two provinces with more than 25%.

According to the report of MOLISA, the percentage of poor households decreased to 18.1% in 2006; 14, 74% in 2007; 12.1% in 2008; 11.3% in 2009 and 9.45% in 2010, one year ahead of program’s target and the schedule mapped out by the Resolutions of the 10th National Party Congress. Regional poor household percentage by the end of 2010 were as follows: 14.39% in the, Northeast region, 27,3% in the Northwest region; 5,43% in the Red River Delta; 16,04% in northern Central Vietnam; 10,47% in the coastal areas of Central Viet Nam; 11,51% in the Central Highlands; 2,59%in Eastern South Viet Nam; and  7,32% in Mekong River Delta. These are impressive and encouraging achievements which should be brought into play in the future.

Concrete, dynamic and effective measures

Achievements made in poverty reduction have resulted from efforts and high determination of the Party, State, levels and concerned sectors.

The obvious results of the policy on proving preferential loans to poor households are: in four years, approximately five million poor households received preferential loans of six to seven million dong/time/household. It is estimated that in five years, about 6.2 million poor households got loans of seven to eight million dong/time/household, achieving 103.3% of the five year plan. In general, the loans were effectively used for right purposes and easier to access. On the other hand, projects on agriculture, forestry and fishery extension, technical transfer, production guidance on poor households also brought about good results. In four years, 30,000 training on technical transfer were organized and 8,500 model presentation and field meetings with three millions poor people. In five years, production guidance was provided to approximately 3.7 million poor people, achieving 88% of the five year plan. Another long-term policy is vocational training to poor people. In three years from 2007 to 2009, 100,000 poor laborers were trained free of charge. It is estimated that in four years, 150,000 poor laborers were trained free of charge, achieving 100% of the five year plan. About 60% of the trained laborers found jobs or have been self-employed and generated income. The project on job training has been highly appreciated by localities which consider it a way to sustainably reduce poverty. The model of poverty reduction has been scaled up. In four years from 2006 to 2009, the model was multiplied in 218 communes of 35 provinces. In 115 communes of 17 provinces, the model was carried out by communal People’s Committees. In 57 communes of six provinces, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) ordered economic units of Military Region I,II,III,IV and V to coordinate with communal People’s Committees in implemented the model. In 46 communes of 12 provinces, MOLISA ordered four units (including military corporations and economic units) to coordinate with communal People’s Committees to carry out the model. The total investment fund for four years was 31, 8 billion dong. However, the actual total investment was 2.03 times higher (64.67 billion dong) due to fund mobilization by localities, units and enterprises. MOLISA-sponsored models mobilized a total fund 6.9 times higher than allocation. MND-sponsored models mobilized a total fund three times higher than allocation. Province-sponsored models received a total fund 1.3 times higher than allocation. The total number of households which took part in the models was 27,566; of then 77% were poor households. After each year of participating into the model, each household generated more jobs with an increase of 15% of workdays, and 20-25% of income. About 15% of households got rid of poverty. The project on multiplication of poverty reduction models was developed at grassroots levels which correctly identified people’s needs and work to be done and leverage on local comparative advantages for production. The model has been extensively implemented in Ha Giang, Kong Tum, Cao Bang, Hau Giang, Dien Bien and Lao Cai provinces. An important factor that effectively helps successful reduce poverty is development of infrastructure in especially difficult communes, coastal areas and islands. In four years, about 2,000 construction works were built in 273 communes. In five years, 2,500 construction works were built with an average of 9.15 constructions per commune.

By concrete policies and measures, resources were mobilized to assist people overcome poverty, and strive for better life.

Besides State budget allocation which accounted for 46% of the five year plan’s total investment, localities mobilized from 20% to 30%. It is estimated that 50% of coastal communes came out of especially difficult situation. Apart from implementing policies on economic development, attention as paid to realizing social policies on medial checks-up and treatment. In four years, 52 million people of ethnic minority people were given free health insurance cards. It is estimated that in five years, the number of people given free health insurance cards rose to 62 million, 90% of them were poor people. With policies on school fee reduction and exemption for poor students and assistance to poor students of ethnic minority groups implemented, in four years, eight million poor students received school fee exemption and 2.8 million poor students of ethnic minority groups were provided with textbooks. It is estimated that in five years, about ten million poor students were exempted from school fees, achieving 100% of the five year plan. Human resource development was given much attention to in order to ensure the successful fight against poverty. In four years, 140,000 officials were trained, 90% of them were commune officials. It is estimated that in five years, 180,000 officials were trained, achieving 105.8% of the five year plan. Three set of document were developed to train officials to plan for community participation and development. Manuals on poverty reduction and document on poverty reduction policies were published and provided to localities and grassroots levels. Central and local media also joined in popularizing policies on poverty reduction, case study and effective models. Mobilization of social participation and assistance greatly helped reduction of poverty. In four years, fund raised by the campaign “Day for the poor”, Program 134 and local budget, were allocated to 350,000 poor households to build houses. It is estimated that in five years, 500,000 poor household received fund to build houses, achieving 100% of the five year plan. The Central Committee of the Viet Nam Fatherland Front conferred certificates to 18 provinces for eradicating all temporary houses. These provinces consist of Hà Tĩnh, Hải Dương, Tuyên Quang, Hà Nội, Hải Phòng, Hưng Yên, Bắc Ninh, Tây Ninh, Nam Định, Ninh Bình, Phú Thọ, Vĩnh Phúc, Hà Tây, Bình Dương, Hồ Chí Minh city, Thái Bình, Vĩnh Long, and Hà Nam. It is believed that achievements in poverty reduction have been attributable to the party and State’s policies, high responsibility of levels, branches and social-political organizations, especially dynamism and creativeness of people, poor households. These efforts have greatly contributed to improving the people’s living standards and socio-economic development.

Problems to be solved

In 2010, Vietnam successfully met six out of eight Millennium Development Goals, one of them is poverty reduction. Concern should be given to quality of these goals. Based on findings of surveys and monitoring results, the Committee on Social Issues of the National Assembly found that there were still limitations and difficulties as follows:

The annual percentage of poverty reduction and poor households has not been accurately accounted. Poverty reduction programs and projects have been scattered and there have been overlapping of intervention and coordination. Limitations have been found in integration and joint coordination. Poverty reduction has not been sustainable.

To promote what have been achieved and overcome shortages, attention should be paid to the following issues:

First, the National Assembly should allocate sufficient budget to social security sector including poverty reduction to implement socio-economic norms set out by the National Assembly. Implementation of programs and project relating to poverty reduction should be regularly oversight.

Second, the Government should issue poverty line for 2011-2015 period to facilitate budget preparation for 2011.

The new poverty line should be considered, studied and developed, taking into account other factors namely personal subsistence spending, health service, environment, equal opportunities and other non-income elements namely human resource, property, accessibility to supporting services. After the Government issues new poverty line, provinces and centrally-rum cities will be assigned to decide their poverty line.

Third, concerned ministries and branches and localities should study and develop a comprehensive strategy for the coming ten years and a poverty reduction program for the period of 2011-2015. Following issues whould be given attention to:

National Target Program must be comprehensive and systematic, closely associated with other programs such as building new rural areas, and job training for rural labour forces. Budget should be allocated to localities to that they can identify and implement porverty reduction activities which are suitable to their own conditions and needs of local poor people. Potential provinces and cities are encouraged to highten their porverty line and issue poverty policies, and mobilized resources for reducing poverty in their localities. Prioirty in resouces and other assisstance should be given to difficult areas and vulnerable groups affected by economic fluctuations. Different policies should be developed for permanent poor groups and temorary poor groups. Assisstance to poor people should be varied from providing free, loans to conditioned cash assistance. Free assistance should be restricted to extremely necessary cases. State management and dessignation of focal points should be strengthened . MOLISA should coordinated with the Ministry of Planning and Investment to agree on methodology to indentify poor households and percentage to come up with a unique set of legal data on percentage of poor household in Viet Nam. Data relating to policies on poverty reduction should be reviewed and updated to produce a set of accurate and unified data for policy analysis at national level. Model of sustainable poverty reduction should be multiplied by provinces. Communication should be stepped up to raise awareness to people and community. Capacity building for officials is necessary to ensure the effectiveness of poverty reduction./.


Truong Thi MaiMember of the Party central Committee Chairman of the Committee on Social Issues of the National Assembly