Illustrative image (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – In 2017, Central Highlands provinces need to continue fully exploiting their potential to promote economic development and social security, particularly among ethnic minority groups, said Senior Lieutenant General To Lam, Head of the Steering Committee for the Central Highlands Region.

Lam, who is also Minister of Public Security, urged the localities to review socio-economic and sectoral planning, particularly in climate change adaptation; accelerate restructuring in tandem with growth models adjusted towards enhancing quality, efficiency, and competitiveness.

They were asked to quickly restructure public investment, State-owned enterprises and agriculture along with new-style rural building while improving investment promotion to draw investment in high-tech agriculture, clean energy, processing industry, cattle breeding and tourism.

Facilitating start-ups, developing local businesses and mobilising social resources for development are also priorities.

In 2017, the region needs to strengthen land and forests management, allocate residential and cultivation land for needy households, push forward forest planting and abide by the Prime Minister’s directions on forest management and protection.

The committee is to work with ministries and sectors to propose to the Government mechanisms and incentives to ensure socio-economic development, national defence and security of the region.

It will also study regional connectivity and implement a regional connectivity mechanism in several sectors and types of local goods while developing a special credit system for sustainable poverty reduction.

Lam also said ministries, sectors and localities should help all people enjoy the traditional Lunar New Year (Tet) holidays by ensuring supply and quality of goods as well as safe transport.

According to the committee, despite prolonged drought early last year, regional gross domestic product surpassed 151 trillion VND (6.56 billion USD), up 7.47 percent annually while gross regional domestic product per capita hit 39.56 million VND (1,720 USD), up 8.5 percent. 

The region collected 18.15 trillion VND (799.6 million USD) for the state budget, and earned over two billion USD from exports, up 25.5 percent and 14.8 percent from 2015.

Total social investment reached 78.79 trillion VND (3.42 billion USD), a 7.2 percent increase. The number of newly-established firms and registered capital rose year-on-year. 

Thanks to technological advances and restructuring crops, agricultural production recovered quickly after drought. More attention was also paid to forest protection. 

In 2016, the region provided vocational training for 78,000 people and jobs for 113,000 labourers. The regional poor and near-poor household rates reduced by 2.1 percent and 2.4 percent, to 15 percent and 4.5 percent, respectively.

Progress was recorded in the national programme on new-style rural building and policies targeting ethnic minority groups.

Despite significant socio-economic achievements in the year, numerous shortcomings remained in the region, such as poor traffic infrastructure and land use-related issues, among others.-VNA