Implementation of the World Bank-funded Central Highlands Poverty Reduction Project in central Quang Ngai province has moved slowly, reviewed Le Quang Thich, Deputy Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee, during a working session in Quang Ngai on July 28.

The project, worth 150 million USD, targets the 26 poorest districts in Dak Lak, Dak Nong, Kon Tum, Gia Lai, Quang Nam and Quang Ngai provinces. It aims to enhance livelihoods and opportunities for the impoverished in these districts, most of who are from various ethnic minority groups.

The project encompasses four components: village and commune infrastructure development; sustainable livelihood development; connective infrastructure development, capacity building and communications; and project management.

In Quang Ngai alone, more than 16 million USD is set to address extreme poverty in 15 communes across Ba To, Son Ha and Son Tay districts.

Since 2014, Quang Ngai has thus far approved five infrastructure sub-projects and another ten are pending. The sub-projects are scheduled to begin construction in September 2015 and become operational by the end of December.

The thirteen targeted communes have established 52 livelihood support groups in hybrid rice paddy cultivation benefiting 520 households and ten communes have set up 16 groups in cow farming, among others.

Quang Ngai disbursed 2.1 billion VND (96,774 USD) in funding in 2014. In 2015, the province approved a financial plan worth 72.7 billion VND (3.35 million USD), only 4.4 billion VND (202,765 USD) of which was disbursed by the end of the second quarter.

According to Deputy Chairman Thich, the slow pace is due largely to a high number of agencies participating in the project and the considerable risks involved.

He proposed including additional poor communes in the three districts as part of the project in 2016 even though they are not located in the Central Highlands’ neighbouring areas.

Acknowledging local efforts in carrying out the project, World Bank Country Director in Vietnam Victoria Kwakwa recommended Quang Ngai boost community engagement, especially from women.-VNA