Mekong Delta localities will strive to record a GDP growth rate of 9-10 percent in 2014.

According to Nguyen Phong Quang, Deputy Head of the Steering Committee for the Southwestern Region, the localities target at least 11 billion USD in exports and more than 38 trillion VND (1.786 billion USD) in tax revenues this year.

The region is expected to raise per capita income to 37 million VND (1,739 USD) per year, reduce its poverty rate to six percent and create more than 371,000 jobs, said Quang.

To reach the goal, the committee will foster coordination with ministries, sectors and localities to realise the Politburo’s Conclusion No. 28 on directions, tasks and solutions for socio-economic development and ensuring national security and defence to 2020, he said.

The committee will focus on removing difficulties and obstacles faced by enterprises, enabling them to strengthen exports, fuelling economic growth and increasing budget contributions, Quang said.

He added that comprehensive measures and policies will also be applied to create jobs and develop the labour market.

The committee will enhance the State’s role in supervising and regulating market supply and demand, gradually restructuring human resources to meet the reform needs of businesses, sectors, the region and localities, especially in agriculture.

More efforts will be made to strengthen management of State investment and outline solutions to settle debts in capital construction, making appropriate capital allocation.

Quang said poverty reduction, the building of new-style rural areas and environmental protection will be prioritised. Providing universal access to healthcare, education and training, culture and sports will be stepped up, while national security and defence will be strengthened.

In addition, the region will speed up major projects to submit to the Party Politburo and Government, including those on building an administrative unit and special economic zone in Kien Giang province’s island district of Phu Quoc and fostering regional connectivity in agricultural production and trade, the official said.

The region will also continue hosting the annual Mekong Delta Economic Cooperation Forum, scheduled for this year in Soc Trang.

Last year, despite negative impacts from the common economic situation, the Mekong Delta region still saw 9.06 percent in economic growth. The average annual per capita income increased by 2.3 million VND year on year to reach 34.6 million VND, while total investment hit 215 trillion VND, up 11 percent over the previous year.

The proportion of poor households was reduced by 2 percent over 2012 to 7.24 percent. Meanwhile, national security and defence, social welfare as well as ethnic and religious policies have been ensured.

The Mekong Delta region comprises of 12 provinces and one centrally-run city with a total area of 40,000 square kilometres and a population of 18 million. It is the largest granary and the major aquaculture development region of the country.-VNA