President Truong Tan Sang presented social welfare gifts to poor households in seven border provinces during a ceremony in the northern mountainous province of Cao Bang on March 9.

Among the gifts, 13,000 tonnes of cement from the military-run telecom service provider Viettel were donated to locals in the northern provinces of Quang Ninh, Lang Son, Ha Giang, Lao Cai, Lai Chau, Dien Bien and Cao Bang, in support of building and upgrading their own farms.

The activity is under the programme “Breeding cows for the poor in border areas”, which was launched nearly 9 months ago and raised a stock of over 13,000 cows, more than 7,000 of them have reached the hands of the impoverished.

This year, up to 24,000 breeding cows worth 360 billion VND (17.1 million USD) are expected to come to the poor in 11 border provinces.

On the occasion, the President asked for upgrading transport infrastructure in order to facilitate trade with other provinces and shifting the structure of agriculture by replacing low-quality plant varieties with high-yield ones.

To attract capital inflows, the Steering Board for North-western Region was requested to fine-tune policies regarding taxation, lending and infrastructure, among others.

During a working session with local authorities the same day, the leader called the attention to ramping up infrastructure, overhauling administrative procedures, cracking down on cross-border smuggling and improving the quality of local lives.

The call was made after considering that Cao Bang remains weak in agriculture, workforce and local competitiveness, particularly when Vietnam is also under pressure of global economic integration.

He demanded adjusting investment in farming, services and industry sectors and making thorough preparations for the all-level Party Congresses.

The same day, the leader paid tribute to the late President Ho Chi Minh in Pac Bo relic site and presented gifts to welfare beneficiary families in Dam Thuy commune, Trung Khanh district.-VNA