National Assembly Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung has urged Son La province to strive to become leader of the region.

NA Chairman Hung made the statement during his pre-Tet visit to Son La province. He was accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai and representatives of ministries and branches.

The NA chief spoke highly of Son La’s socio-economic achievements and the province’s efforts in improving people’s living standards.

He suggested the locality focus on training officials for poor districts, accelerating investment activities and shifting the economic structure with priority given to vocational training and labour export.

Son La should create more favourable conditions for its residents to expand production and escape from poverty, contributing to social development, Hung said.

Deputy PM Hai proposed Son La review the development plan on small and medium-scale hydro electric power plants and mining projects to avoid overexploitation and ensure environmental protection.

Thao Xuan Sung, Secretary of the Son La provincial Party Committee, said in 2011 the province’s GDP grew 12.4 percent and per capita income reached 820 USD, up 28 percent over 2010.

Last year, the rate of poor households dropped to 34.1 percent, Sung added.

Son La is the site for 57 hydro electric power projects with a combined capacity of 3,800 MW with the three biggest plants being the 2,400 MW Son La plant ; the 200 MW Nam Chien plant and the 540 MW Huoi Quang plant.

The province boasts 171,000 hectares of agricultural land, including 128,000 ha of maize, which produce almost 510,000 tonnes of grains a year, the second largest maize output in the country./.