Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc speaks at the working session with Kon Tum officials in Hanoi on July 3 (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Kon Tum province must develop and protect forests while strictly handling the destruction of natural forests, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc told provincial officials on July 3.

At the working session in Hanoi, he asked the Central Highlands province to speed up agricultural restructuring by fostering the farming of livestock and crops it has strength in, along with applying high technology.

While Kon Tum, home to a large number of ethnic minorities, has to expand educational coverage to improve local intellectual level, it is necessary to ensure political security, and social order and safety in all circumstances.

Pointing out shortcomings the province has to deal with as soon as possible, the PM requested the local administration take measures to increase State budget revenue and boost poverty elimination. It must proactively gear up resources for building infrastructure, especially transport facilities which have yet to be on par with local development demand.

The PM also told Kon Tum to well enforce the Government’s resolutions on business support, and to raise local residents’ material and spiritual life.

He highly valued its efforts to protect forests and cultivate rare herbal plants like Ngoc Linh ginseng, which is indigenous to this province, and profitable industrial plants such as coffee. The province has also well implemented the Party and State’s guidelines and policies on ethnic minority and religious affairs.

In the first half of 2016, local GDP was estimated at 4.23 trillion VND (nearly 190 million USD), a year-on-year hike of 5.03 percent. Industrial production was valued at 2.13 trillion VND (95.6 million USD), while total retail sales of goods and services were 6.82 trillion VND (306.3 million USD), respectively up 8 percent and 12.4 percent from a year earlier. The province raked in 32 million USD in export revenue, representing 49.2 percent of the annual target.

Notably, Kon Tum has successfully grown almost 74,780ha of rubber trees, 180ha of Ngoc Linh ginseng, and about 50ha of winter vegetables and flowers.

However, drought between January and June caused water shortages on over 4,190ha of rice, other crops and industrial trees, resulting in damage worth over 157 billion VND (7 million USD). More than 12,640 families lacked water for daily use.

At the working session, PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc agreed on the construction of a highway linking Bo Y border gate (adjacent to Laos), Ngoc Hoi district (bordering Laos and Cambodia), and Pleiku city to boost transport capacity and economic growth.-VNA