Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has urged the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai to deploy effective measures to reduce the rate of poverty, especially among ethnic minority groups.

Working with key leaders of the province on January 6, the PM noted that Gia Lai is still a poor province with a high ratio of poor households at 17.23 percent, of which 82.9 percent are from ethnic minority groups.

He asked the locality to work out specific solutions to remove difficulties for businesses, while speeding up administrative reforms to attract more investment in infrastructure development and record higher GDP growth than that in 2013.

PM Dung suggested that the locality should make full use of its forests to develop industrial plants, especially rubber, coffee and cashew, in combination with cattle breeding.

In addition, Gia Lai should step up the application of science and technology in production, increasing the cultivation of productive plants suitable to the natural conditions of the locality, he said.

Meanwhile, the province should design preferential policies to lure investors to rural areas, especially areas that are home to people from ethnic minority groups, said the PM.

He asked the locality to pay more attention to consolidate the local political system, ensuring national defence and security, while keeping a close eye on forest and environmental protection, and natural resources management.

The PM also directed Gia Lai to concentrate on healthcare development, human resources training and corruption prevention, and improve traffic safety.

According to Chairman of the Gia Lai People’s Committee Pham The Dung, the province’s socio-economic development is on the right track, with GDP growth reaching 12.3 percent in 2013 and an average per capita income of over 30 million VND (1,410 USD) per year, up 15.6 percent over 2012.

The proportion of poor households also declined by 2.7 percent last year, he said.

The provincial leader said in 2014, Gia Lai targets a 12.5 percent GDP growth, generating jobs for 24,000 labourers and cutting the ratio of poor families by 2.5 percent. It will also strive to increase forest coverage to 52.5 percent.

With a total area of more than 15,500 square kilometres, Gia Lai is home to over 1.2 million people (2009 statistics), including 34 ethnic groups such as Bahnar, Xo Dang, Thai and Muong.

Also on January 6, PM Dung attended the launching ceremony of the communication model on national sea and island sovereignty in the province.-VNA