President Truong Tan Sang paid a working visit to the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai on September 21-22 to assess the local socio-economic situation, the implementation of administrative reform, and the new-style rural area building.

Covering an area of 15,536 in the north of the Central Highlands, Gia Lai shares a ninety-kilometre border with Cambodia and is home to 34 ethnic groups.

Provincial officials estimated the value of industrial production at over 10 trillion VND (close to 476.2 million USD) in the first nine months of 2014, a year-on-year increase of 11 percent, with a total export turnover of 498 million USD.

Five communes in the province fulfilled all 19 criteria of the new-style rural area building programme, and farmland was allocated to 15,850 needy households for subsistence farming, reports showed.

President Sang said Gia Lai had made substantial economic progress, particularly in agriculture, indicating its major potential for industrialisation and modernisation.

He also told the province to pay attention to villages with particular disadvantages, and closely monitor the implementation of socio-economic targets.

The leader underlined the need to strictly preserve protective forests and ensure there was sufficient land for agricultural production. He called for the application of cutting-edge technologies in farming and animal husbandry to increase yields per unit.

In a separate session, President Sang requested local judiciary agencies intensify their law enforcement efforts in response to the complexity of crimes with a view to safeguarding political security, social order and safety.

On this occasion, the State leader visited pastor Huynh Duy Linh, head of the representative board of the Protestant Church in Gia Lai, who said local authorities had created the best possible conditions for practicing the religion.

Throughout the province, 56 church groups have been established, 19 new churches opened their doors to believers, and 75 pastors carry out missionary work, Linh added.-VNA