Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue talks at the conference. (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Vietnam is striving to have nearly 25 percent of communes nationwide meeting the criteria for new-style rural areas later this year, the Central Steering Committee for the National Target Programme on new rural construction said.

During a conference to review the committee’s six-month activities and launch tasks for the remaining months of this year, Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue asked the Ministry of Planning and Investment to examine the programme next month so that the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development could refine the set of criteria to submit to the PM for approval.

Delayed payment of debts for construction in building new-style rural areas must be dealt with, he said, adding that the criteria should vary in each locality and take into account socio-cultural, security and order, and environment aspects.

Ministries and agencies’ working agenda should focus on the effort, contributing to better executing the programme for 2016-2020, he said.

At the event, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Cao Duc Phat urged localities to upgrade infrastructure, particularly in poor and especially disadvantaged communes, promote manufacturing by value chain to ensure hygiene and adapt to climate change, while putting forward mechanisms to improve the rural environment.

According to the committee, as many as 1,965 communes nationwide, or 22 percent of the total, have achieved new rural area status, up 4.9 percent from late 2015.

Twenty-three wards nationwide have been granted the status. Ten others are preparing documents to submit to the PM for consideration.

This year, the country plans to raise more than 263.1 trillion VND (11.95 billion USD) for the programme, including over 7.3 trillion VND from the State budget.

As of January 31, 2016, the total debt for basic construction in the programme amounted to 15.2 trillion VND (69 million USD), as reported by 52 out of 62 cities and provinces nationwide.-VNA