Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Pham Thi Hai Chuyen (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Pham Thi Hai Chuyen highlighted a number of achievements in her remit which, she said, contributed to the realisation of Vietnam’s overall targets in 2015.

The minister noted the developing domestic and foreign markets for Vietnamese labourers with over 1.6 million people securing employment last year, higher than the annual target. More than 7.8 million jobs were generated from 2011 to 2015, helping to slash the unemployment rate in urban areas to below 4 percent, reaching the five-year target.

Meanwhile, monthly per capita income last year increased by 1.8 million VND (about 80.7 USD) from 2011. Such a rise helped improve labour relations, cutting down the number of strikes to one-fourth, from 885 cases in 2011 to 245 by the end of October 2015.

Chuyen said vocational training was also gradually oriented towards labour market needs so as to develop a skilled and competitive workforce. During the last five years, about 8.6 million people received vocational training, boosting the rate of trained workers nationwide to almost 52 percent of the workforce by the end of last year, up 11.6 percent from 2010.

Efforts have also been made to improve the material and spiritual life of persons who rendered services to the revolution and their families. Among the 8.8 million devotees of the revolution, more than 1.4 million are provided with regular benefits.

The total funding for the devotee-targeted policy implementation was augmented from 20 trillion VND (896.6 million USD) in 2011 to nearly 32 trillion VND (1.4 billion USD) in 2015.

Within five years, Vietnam raised over 1.25 trillion VND (56 million USD) for the fund supporting the devotees, built 46,000 houses and repair 43,000 others for the targeted group. State agencies and organisations also voluntarily cared for some 11,000 “heroic Vietnamese mothers” who had their children or husbands fall down during wartime, the minister said.

She also highlighted Vietnam’s poverty reduction accomplishments which were recognised by other countries. The rate of impoverished households declined by around 2 percent every year, from 14.2 percent in late 2010 to under 4.5 percent in 2015.

Regarding the multidimensional poverty measurement, to be applied from 2016, the official said surveys are being conducted nationwide to have the exact number of households living under or near the poverty line. The result will be released in the near future.

The ministry will overhaul the existing poverty alleviation policies through reducing free assistance and increasing conditional loans and support, in order to promote the beneficiaries’ activeness and autonomy.

It will also work to design indexes regarding people’s access to basic social services such as health care, education, housing, clean water, hygiene and information, which are taken into account in the multidimensional poverty measurement, she added.

On December 31, 2015, Vietnam officially joined the ASEAN Economic Community, which allows labourers in eight professions (accountants, engineers, surveyors, architects, nurses, doctors, dentists, and tourism professionals) to seek employment freely within the bloc. However, Vietnamese workers will also face major challenges if they are not qualified enough.

To support the country’s labourers, Chuyen said her ministry will coordinate with relevant sides to better workers’ professional and foreign language skills and give advice on the labour market. It will also work closely with other ASEAN nations to sign mutual recognition agreements so as to facilitate the free flow of skilled labour.-VNA