Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has ordered the northwestern mountainous province of Son La to intensify its crackdown on crime, particularly cross-border drug trafficking.

At a working session with provincial officials on January 14, the Deputy PM, who heads the Steering Committee for the Northwestern Region, told them that the province’s borderline with Laos is being used by traffickers to bring drugs into the country.

The province should fully utilise local resources to fuel socio-economic development and employ more effective measures to carry out the Party and State’s policies for ethnic minority groups and eliminate poverty in remote and ethnic people-inhabited areas, he added.

At the session, Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Cam Ngoc Minh reported that Son La fulfilled 16 of its 17 annual socio-economic targets set for 2013.

Its gross domestic product grew 10.02 percent while per capita income rose by 10.1 per cent from 2012 to 1,000 USD. Industrial production value also saw a yearly increase of 17.9 percent to approximately 6.6 trillion VND (314.3 million USD), he said.

The official added that Son La has settled pressing social problems, especially drug issues with over 88 percent of its grassroots units free of drug crime last year. The rate of impoverished households was down to 27 percent.

In 2014, the province aims for an economic growth rate of 11.5 percent, enhance cash crop production and the building of new rural areas, and call for more social investment into infrastructure construction, Minh noted.

Also on January 14, Deputy PM Phuc visited and sent New Year greetings to the provincial Department of Public Security and the Border Guard High Command.-VNA