Ministry officials and international donors gathered in Hanoi on Jan. 21 for a national social welfare strategy meeting for the 2011-2020 period, which is expected to cover a wide range of issues, from the labour market to social insurance policies.

The technical workshop was jointly held by the Ministry of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) and German Technical Cooperation (GTZ).

Addressing the workshop, Deputy Minister Nguyen Trong Dam affirmed the government’s consistent policy of paying care and attention to social welfare issues, especially for the most vulnerable groups of people.

The 2011-2020 strategy is expected to address issues relating to the labour market, social insurance policy and poverty reduction programmes, Dam said.

Also, the strategy makes recommendations on new policies, and improvements to existing ones, which target vulnerable groups, such as increasing student access to preferential credit and designing specialised vocational training programmes for people with disabilities. It also proposes tax cuts for employers that hire labourers from disadvantaged groups so as to ensure employment and stable incomes for the group.

Participating foreign specialists underlined the need to expand the criteria for those who are entitled to government social assistance. They also called for a prioritised investment strategy to respond to social welfare issues.

According to MOLISA’s assessment, national policies on social welfare have been implemented more broadly to cover a wider range of beneficiaries, helping the poor and other vulnerable groups more effectively.

However, foreign donors said, Vietnam’s social welfare system still has deficiencies that need immediate remedies, such as uneven implementation between central and local levels, which limits access to assistance for several groups./.