The Government spent more than VND700 trillion (36 billion USD) on nationwide poverty reduction efforts in the 2005 – 2012 period, an average of 90 trillion VND (4.2 billion USD) per year, Nhan Dan newspaper has reported.

The figure was released at a working session in Hanoi on November 23 attended by the National Assembly Standing Committee (NASC) and representatives of the Government and relevant ministries and sectors to review outcomes and shortcomings of poverty reduction work.

The money was used to provide vocational training and legal support, create jobs and improve the quality of health care, education and housing for the poor and disadvantaged across the country.

According to the Ministry of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs, poverty reduction efforts have benefitted from the participation of the community and the entire political system, which, given the State’s support, has recorded outstanding achievements in implementing prescribed programmes and policies.

Sound methods and models for reducing poverty have been effectively applied in localities across the country, contributing to a decrease in the average poverty rate and the number of poor districts nationwide.

Leaders of the Ministry of Construction noted a shift in which regions benefitted from the Government’s policies on poverty reduction. Accordingly, since 2009, the projects have cared for the poor nationwide, focusing on those living in the Mekong River delta and the central region in addition to those in the mountainous and remote regions, which received the vast majority of funding in previous periods.

Delegates also pointed out some shortcomings facing the work, such as implementation difficulties caused by slow funding, the redundancy of documents issued to support the poor and the widening wealth gap between rich and poor – particularly in the mountainous northern region and the Central Highlands.

Speaking at the working session, head of the NA Committee for Social Affairs Truong Thi Mai, who led the NASC delegation, hailed the efforts made by government ministries and sectors to reduce poverty in the last seven years.

She also urged the Government to clarify solutions applicable to ethnic minority groups, and to provide appropriate instructions for localities to implement policies while expeditiously inspecting and evaluating the progress of projects.-VNA