Despite economic difficulties and limited resources in 2013, Vietnam has ensured social security thanks to the government's efforts to allocate sufficient resources to poverty reduction programmes and social policies, reported Radio the Voice of Vietnam.

In 2013 Vietnam consistently pursued policies for social beneficiaries, poverty reduction and job generation, contributing to ensuring social stability.

In regard to social welfare, authorities at all levels and in all sectors continued to pay special attention to the elderly, the disabled and people in remote and mountainous areas.

Remarkable achievements

According to the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, in 2013, Vietnam managed to maintain a poverty reduction rate of between 1.7 percent and 2 percent - 4 percent in the poorest districts. More than 1.5 million jobs were created. Localities and enterprises sent nearly 90,000 workers overseas, 10 percent more than in previous years. The promotion of social security policies and the increase of the minimum wage in the beginning of the year contributed to improving people’s living conditions.

Several achievements were recorded in labour safety and hygiene, social welfare, social insurance policies, unemployment insurance, vocational training, child care and child protection. By the end of last year, the number of people with social and health care insurance totalled 60 million, 4.6 percent more than the previous year.

Deputy Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Nguyen Trong Dam noted: “These achievements were thanks to the National Target Programme which integrated the national poverty reduction programme 135, and the poverty reduction programmes for 61 poorest districts and disadvantaged communes in coastal and island areas. This integration facilitated the government’s management of social programmes. We also put in place several policies for near-poor and newly-escaped from poverty households to ensure sustainable poverty reduction.”

Major challenges

Despite the remarkable achievements in social security, major challenges remain due to a big gap between the rich and the poor. The poverty rate in remote and ethnic minority areas remains high, and shortcomings are still reported in the health care and education sectors.

Deputy Minister Dam said: “The poverty reduction is not sustainable because of the large number of households close to the poverty line. Tens of thousands of households escape poverty each year but many of them fall back into poverty due to natural disasters. It is very difficult to raise donations for poverty reduction from international sources because many foreign donors have shifted their priority to other countries”.

Based on 2013’s achievements, in 2014, Vietnam continues to pay attention to designing social policies for target groups and localities and promoting public participation.-VNA