Advising the Government on specific support policies for regional localities to maximise their strength should be one of the key tasks of the Steering Committee for Central Highlands in 2015, said Head of the Committee, General Tran Dai Quang.

General Quang, who is also Minister of Public Security, said in order to successfully fulfil all the socio-economic, cultural, security and defence goals for the 2011-15 period, the committee should focus on designing measures to mobilise resources for stronger transport infrastructure connection for the Central Highlands and its neighbouring regions.

Regional localities should continue effectively implementing socio-economic plans approved by the National Assembly and Government, he said at a conference of the committee to review its 2014 performance and launch key 2015 tasks in Dak Lak province on January 26.

He also requested strong efforts to ensure the progress of a number of projects, including the upgrade of Pleiku airport and the Ho Chi Minh road.

Last year saw complicated developments both domestically and globally, especially in the East Sea, but the nation and the Central Highlands region still made remarkable achievements across sectors, he noted.

The region recorded an economic growth of 8.74 percent, with industrial production rising 11 percent. Total social investment in the region hit 65.7 8 trillion VND, up 11.53 percent, he reiterated.

Meanwhile, total exports of the region exceeded 2.51 billion USD, a substantial 49.3 percent increase from the previous year, with the average per capita income reaching 34.9 million VND (1,640 USD), an annual increase of 13.6 percent, he said.

During 2014, 61,000 local labours were underwent vocational training with a resulting 99,000 locals employed, he said, adding that 34,600 households rose out of poverty, reducing the region’s poverty ratio to 10.12 percent.

At the same time, regional security and defence were ensured, especially in border areas, while the political system reform was accelerated, he stated.

However, General Quang also pointed out a number of existing problems in the region, including the slow progress on a number of transport projects and poor local living conditions, especially among ethnic minority groups.

Looking forward, regional localities should roll out more drastic measures to enhance their linkage, including forming a Vietnam coffee fund, reshuffling State-run farms and making preparations for natural disasters, he asked.

The official also underlined the need to ensure farm land for people from ethnic minority groups and improve healthcare programmes and access for locals in the region.

The committee also presented 16,000 gifts valued at 8 billion VND (376,000 USD) to beneficiary households in the region and neighbouring localities at the conference.-VNA