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A turning point in hunger eradication and poverty reduction
22/4/2011 14:23' Send Print

Hunger eradication and poverty reduction is an urgent issue that has received much concern from the Party and State. Comprehensive, and sustainable hunger eradication and poverty reduction are the cross-cutting objectives of the process of socio-economic development and one of the important tasks which contribute to turn Vietnam into a socialist-oriented country. Achievements made in the period of 2006-2010 created a turning point in eradicating hunger and reducing poverty and a firm basis for furthering our efforts in the period of 2011-2020.

2010-a new turning point in hunger eradication and poverty reduction in our country.

The renovation process initiated and led by the Communist Party of Vietnam since 1986 has recorded important results. Vietnam has come out of the crisis with high economic growth rate and people’s improved living standards. However, stratification between the rich and the poor has emerged in regions, population groups, especially in mountainous, ethnic group inhabited and difficult areas.

To establish a harmonious relation between economic growth and social equity for sustainable development and to draw experience from the national movement of poverty reduction in the period of 1992-1997 and since 1998, hunger eradication and poverty reduction has come a National Target Program of the Government and localities in the regular five-year socio-economic development plans (1998-2000, 2011-2005 and 2006-2010)

Solving poverty problem is a strong commitment of the Vietnamese Party and State towards the international community in implementing Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Though each stage has had is own solutions, the common objectives are to improve people’s living standards and quickly reduce the number of households under poverty line.

According the Report on the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals in 2010, Vietnam recorded important results in socio-economic development and shown potential signs of fulfilling the MDGs by 2015. The average rate of GDP growth rate in the period of 2001-2010 stood at 7.2% and the per capita GDP in 2010 was 1,160 USD.

Beside economic growth and development, Vietnam has paid special attention to and given resourses for poverty reduction. With the reduction of half of the number of poor households by 2002 and three fourths of the poor households by now (as compared with the 1990s of the 20th century), Vietnam completed its millennium goals on poverty reduction and moved up to the group of low middle-income countries.

In recent years given successes in the implementation of the Socio-economic Development Strategy, the National Program on Poverty Reduction, the Socio-economic Development Program for especially difficult communes of ethnic and mountainous groups (alias Program 135), the Program on Sustainable and Quick Poverty Reduction for 62 poor districts throughout the countries (Decree 30a) and other socio, economic programs, the number of poor households decreased from 22% in 2005 to 11.3% in 2009 and 9.45 % in 2020 or an annual average decrease of 2%-3%. Poor people have had access to basic social services such as education, health, clean water, and legal assistance. Their lives have been improved remarkably.

The continuous and rapid annual economic growth rate of 7%- 8% is an important factor for poverty reduction. A prominent feature that is different from other countries is that while Vietnam’s economic growth is quick, unequal growth rate has also been contained. The Gini index, an indicator of unequal income, rose from 0.329 in 1993 to) 356 in 2008. The poverty depth which is measured by the percentage of poor people at the poverty line also declined. That is why, Vietnam’s achievements in poverty reduction were recognized by the international community: “Vietnam’s records in poverty reduction are one of the most successful stories in economic development.”

Challenges and difficulties

Despite rapid decrease of poverty reduction, the achievements are not sustainable with a great number of household (70 %-80%) near the poverty line; the high ratio of households which relapse back to poverty over the total number of household that escape poverty and large gap of rich and poor households among regions and population areas, particularly in districts and communes of high poverty rate.

Poverty reduction programs have not yet completed. Several promulgated policies and programs on poverty reduction are short-termed, and overlap. They are not coherent or integrated in the common objective of poverty reduction. Advocacy and awareness raising among the population are limited. The tendency of relying on the State and community which is common in may localities has hampered internal strength and efforts.

With the new poverty line applied as of 2011, the number of poor households accounts for 15%-17%. Ninety percent of the poor people live in rural areas. In mountainous districts in the North, Central Highlands, mountainous coastal regions in the Central and South western region of Vietnam the poverty rate remains high-more than 50%). These are also difficult areas for poverty reduction.

Solving the poverty issue is a difficult, long-termed and consistent task of the entire Party, people to ensure social security and to realize the objective of making “the people prosperous, the country democratic, equitable and civilized.” In the coming ten years, sustainable poverty reduction is still one of the priorities and key tasks in the National Socio-Economic Development Strategy as well as in the working agenda of the Government and administration at all levels to tap the internal strength and resources of society and encourage poor people to get rid of poverty.

Solutions for rapid and sustainable poverty reduction

To continue the fight against poverty and the endeavour to realize sustainable poverty reduction, and control the poverty gap, following solutions are recommended:

First, to improve poverty reduction policies following reviews and evaluations of the implementation of existing policies coordinated by ministries and branches for poor people and households. On that basis, the Government will issue decree on orientation of sustainable poverty reduction for the period of 2011-2020 which include direct assistance to poor people and households and special policies for the most difficult areas.

Second, to continue implementing the National Program on Sustainable Poverty Reduction for 2011-2015. The Government will earmark resources from the State budget to speed up poverty reduction in especially difficult areas, support production to increase income for poor people and people of ethnic minority groups; build and multiply models of sustainable poverty reduction; strengthen information provision; build capacity for poverty reduction; increase monitoring and evaluation of policies’ impacts on beneficiaries. On that basis, localities will mobilize resources and allocate local fund for investment.

Third, to delegate, empower and provide assistance packages to localities while build capacity for and enhance people’s involvement.

Fourth, to reduce the poverty rate by 2% annually on an average and 4% at 62 poor districts and especially difficult communes. To create stable jobs and diversify income-generated activities for poor labourers; to increase per capita income of poor households to 3.5 times, and of poor households in especially difficult district to at least 3% as compared with 2010. To ensure essential conditions on housing, domestic water, health service access, healthcare, education, vocational education, cultural and spiritual activities and legal assistance free of charge are created for poor households, particularly poor households of ethnic minority groups in poor districts and especially difficult communes. To build essential infrastructure for production and life following criteria of new rural development for poor district and especially difficult communes. /.

Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan