Poverty reduction efforts yielded encouraging outcomes in 2014, particularly in disadvantaged areas, but more practical measures are needed to make achievements more sustainable, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung highlighted at a national teleconference in Hanoi on February 5.

According to preliminary reports, the number of households under the poverty line in Vietnam decreased from 7.8 percent in 2013 to 5.8-6 percent by the end of 2014. Impoverished districts saw the number of low-income families reduce to 33.2 percent from 38.2 percent in 2013.

However, such outcomes remain unsustainable due to the persistently high rate of poverty relapse and a widening income gap among different regions and populations, particularly in northern mountainous areas and the Central Highlands.

Meanwhile, ethnic minority groups comprise nearly 50 percent of impoverished households in the country with an average income of only one-sixth of the national figure, according to the reports.

Chairing the conference, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung commended efforts by the Central Steering Committee for Sustainable Poverty Reduction as well as ministries and localities.

He also discussed shortcomings in their efforts while asking the steering committee to continue overhauling related policies with a focus on ethnic minority areas.

The leader told localities to summon resources for poverty elimination by engaging businesses and local communities.

At the event, sectors and localities set a target rate of low-income households below 5 percent nationwide and below 30 percent in poverty-stricken districts this year. The respective figures are hoped to further fall by 1-1.5 percent and 3-4 percent annually from 2016 to 2020.

They also plan to promote access to basic social services such as healthcare, education and insurance for the poor and those just above the poverty line.

Participants asked the Government to increase its support for infrastructure development in coastal areas, extend credit terms for the poor, and improve labour export mechanisms for rural and mountainous regions.-VNA