Social policy credit lifts 2 million ethnic families out of poverty hinh anh 1Delegates at the conference reviewing the effectiveness of social policy credit for ethnic minorities in Vietnam held in Hanoi on September 25 (Photo: VietnamPlus)

Hanoi (VNA) Social policy credit has lifted more than 2 million ethnic minority households out of poverty as of August 31, said Director General of the Vietnam Bank for Social Policies (VBSP) Duong Quyet Thang at a conference in Hanoi on September 25.

It has also created jobs for more than 162,000 ethnic minority workers, including some 16,000 people working abroad on fixed-term contracts, and funded the construction of 215,000 houses for those from difficult backgrounds, Thang told the conference to review the effectiveness of social policy credit for ethnic minorities in Vietnam, held by the VBSP and the Committee for Ethnic Minority Affairs.

About 211,000 disadvantaged ethnic minority students have been offered loans to pursue education, he added.

Vietnam’s ethnic minority people number about 14.6 million, accounting for more than 14 percent of the total population. They mainly live in mountainous and border areas which are strategically important to the country but difficult to access due to poor infrastructure.

Unfavourable living and travel conditions have made it more challenging for them to make ends meet so the poverty rate among ethnic minority groups remained relatively high, at 48 percent.

To help them improve their living standards, the Party and State have adopted various socio-economic development policies, including social policy credit which offers needy people below-market interest rates and concessive conditions and easy application process.

Trieu Thi Nga, a Dao ethnic minority woman living in Na Quang village, Nong Ha commune, Cho Moi district, the northern province of Bac Kan, said her family used to be classified as poor because she and her husband had neither a job nor land. They barely earned enough money for living.

In 2007, she borrowed 5 million VND from the VBSP to buy a female buffalo. After paying off the loan, she took out bigger ones, 30 million VND and then 50 million VND, to expand the buffalo herd, raise poultry and plant acacia.

Thanks to that, her children have afforded going to school and later found jobs with stable income. Her family has been removed from the poor household list since 2016.

Nga is among more than 1.4 million ethnic minority borrowers of the VBSP who have taken out a total of approximately 136 trillion VND (5.84 billion USD) in soft loans.

Social policy credit lifts 2 million ethnic families out of poverty hinh anh 2Many ethnic minority families are given access to soft loans from the VBSP to escape poverty (Photo: VNA)

Outstanding balance for ethnic minority people at the bank exceeds 49.6 trillion VND, accounting for 24.8 percent of the total outstanding debts, Thang said.

Social policy credit has changed their way of thinking, allowing many ethnic minority people to overcome their inferiority complex to apply for a loan, and successfully develop their own business. The preferential credit has also helped hamper loan sharks, he added.

Soft credit is one of the 54 policies exclusively designed for ethnic minority groups and a standout in sustainable poverty reduction, said Truong Thi Mai, head of the Party Central Committee’s Commission for Mass Mobilisation. Disadvantaged ethnic minority people have become more independent with greater responsibility for their livelihoods rather than relying on others’ support, according to Mai.

Such a change in thinking has heightened their chances to sustainably escape poverty, she said.

According to statistics from the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, Vietnam’s poverty rate declined from 14.75 percent to 4.25 percent from 2007 – 2015 and from 8.23 percent to 5.35 percent from 2016 – 2018 .

Governor of the State Bank of Vietnam Le Minh Hung said the central bank has submitted to the Government a finance proposal which outlines solutions to provide easier access to capital and financial services for poor and vulnerable people in remote areas. The solutions include the application of new technologies at a low cost to better serve people in these disadvantaged areas, he said./.