November 23 marks the 90th anniversary of the birth of the late Prime Minister Vo Van Kiet, also known as Sau Dan, who is loved by many Vietnamese people for his services to the country.

The People's Council, People's Committee and the Viet Nam Fatherland Front Committee in southern Vinh Long province, where the late PM was born, held a ceremony to celebrate the birth anniversary of the late Prime Minister on November 22.

Present at the ceremony, Le Hong Anh, a Politburo member and a permanent member of the Secretariat of the Party Central Commtite, said that Prime Minister Kiet was a loyal communist fighter, an excellent student of President Ho Chi Minh, a reputed leader of the Party, State and people and an elite child of the people of Vietnam in general and Vinh Long province in particular.

Kiet was born on November 23, 1922 in Vung Liem District, in the Vinh Long province of the Mekong Delta.

He started participating in revolutionary activities at the age of 16. During his life he went on to serve in many important positions in both the Party and Government.

From a cadre operating at the grassroots level, he was promoted to senior party positions at district and provincial level before joining the Nam Bo Party Committee.

He was later elected to the Party Central Office for South Vietnam and then the Party Politburo. In March 1988 he was appointed as the Acting State President and the Chairman of the Ministers' Council and the Prime Minister.

He gave his full effort and commitment to every position he was assigned to. Vietnam 's socio-economic achievements in the early stage of the renewal process (launched in 1986) have been heavily attributed to his contributions.

Vo Van Kiet was proactive in opening Vietnam 's door to the outside world, starting with fellow Southeast Asian nations.

He sent a clear message to the international community about a new Vietnam which was ready to be a friend and reliable partner to all countries in the world, while pushing for world peace, co-operation and development.

It was he who actively pushed for Vietnam to join the Association of the South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and canvass the United States to lift its embargo against Vietnam – which proved a crucial step towards the normalisation of relations between the two nations in 1994.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Vietnam's economy was in a state of crisis with 3.5 million people in Ho Chi Minh City suffering a severe shortage of food.

As the City's top leader, he took the brave step of introducing new measures encouraging local business development and the free flow of commodities. His decision brought a new life to the city and helped facilitate the formation of the Party's 1986 renewal policy at the 6th National Party Congress.

This policy allowed Kiet, in his later capacity as Prime Minister, to work with other party and government leaders to lead the country away from the centralised economy towards a new market socialist oriented economy. The country's socio-economic conditions greatly improved as a result, as did people's living conditions.

Kiet's other major contribution to the nation was his decision to dig a long irrigation system in the Mekong Delta, bringing in fresh water to de-alkalise the water in the Plain of Reeds and the Long Xuyen Quadrangle. This scheme meant that farmers in the region were able to grow two different crops with a high yield every year, rather than one crop with a low yield.

The country's 500KV North-South transmission line, and the Thang Long-Noi Bai Express Way linking Hanoi to Noi Bai International Airport are two other milestone projects that were initiated under his daring and effective leadership.

Vo Van Kiet died on June 11, 2008, but his services to the nation will remain forever.-VNA