More than 90 percent of lawmakers voted on Nov. 10 to adopt the Resolution on State budget estimates for 2012 which targets a total spending of more than 903 trillion VND (43.3 billion USD).

Of the amount, expenditure for development investment is expected to be 180 trillion VND (8.6 billion USD), and for socio-economic development, national defence, security and administrative management, be 542 trillion VND (26 billion USD).

The total State budget revenue is expected to be 740.5 trillion VND (35.5 billion USD).

Under the resolution, minimum wage levels for public servants will increase to 1.05 million VND (49 USD) from May next year from the current 830,000 VND (39 USD).

An estimated 45 trillion VND (2.1 billion USD) worth of Government bonds will be issued in 2012 for investment in important traffic, irrigation, health care and education projects permitted by the National Assembly.

The NA entrusted the Government to continue tightened monetary policy, restructure State budget expenditures, adjust expenditure mechanisms for development investment to promote economic growth, draw more investment from different sectors, and ensure an appropriate rate of budget expenditure for education and training, science and technology, culture and information, environmental protection and health care.

The Government will enhance management over the State budget expenditure, particularly expenditure for infrastructure construction, and national target programmes to prevent loss, wastefulness and corruption.

NA Committees will be in charge of supervising the State budget estimates.

Later the same day, NA deputies discussed a land use project planned to plant 5 million hectares of forest.

Regarding the land use plan, most deputies agreed that it was necessary to keep 3.8 million ha of land for rice cultivation to ensure food security.

Careful consideration of land allocation for industrial uses, expected to increase to 150,000ha by 2015 from the current 100,000ha, was also necessary.

Deputy Tran Du Lich from HCM City said industrial zones currently utilised only 46 percent of their allocated land, causing wastefulness.

Deputy Le Van Hoc from Central Highlands Lam Dong province suggested a review of land use by industrial zones and resolutely stamp out ones that operated ineffectively.

Meanwhile, land allocation for education development and cultural and entertainment activities for youth remained limited, he added.

Concerning afforestation, most deputies agreed that the project to plant 5 million ha of forest during the 1998-2010 period had positive results in raising public awareness regarding the importance of planting and protecting forests, protecting the eco-system and creating jobs for people, particularly those in ethnic minority-inhabited areas.

The rate of forest coverage increased to 40 percent last year from 32 percent in 1998.

However, many deputies said there remained shortcomings such as slow land and forest allocation for people, overlapped management and increasing deforestation as well as illegal wood exploitation and trade.

They proposed more long-term forest development policies after the project finished, a renewed forest management model, increased inspection and the provision of more equipment to forest wardens./.