Yen Bai province should tap its rich mineral potentials to develop certain industries such as mining, hydropower and construction materials to lift itself out of poverty, said Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung.

At a working session with local leaders on August 13, the Government leader also suggested that the province made use of its location in the Kunming-Hanoi economic corridor to boost tourism, services and transport.

He praised efforts made by the Yen Bai authorities and people in boosting socio-economic development, building the political system and improving the people’s living standards with an annual GDP growth reaching 11.8 percent.

He noted that with 650 billion VND (36 million USD) in investment in infrastructure and irrigation systems in remote areas, ethnic minority people’s living standards have been improved and the poverty rate has remarkably decreased.

The province has annually provided jobs for 17,000 labourers and all communes and towns have achieved primary education universalisation.

He, however, noted that Yen Bai remains a poor province due to unsustainable development and weak competitiveness, with per-capita income ranking 60 th among 63 provinces and cities nationwide.

The PM instructed relevant ministries to assist the province in infrastructure improvement and agricultural and industrial development.

Earlier, the PM met with the Steering Committee for Tay Bac (Northwestern Region) development, where he reiterated the region’s strategic importance in terms of national socio-economic development, defence and security.

Dung said the committee has played an active role in helping the region achieve an average annual GDP growth rate of 11.7 percent and per-capital income of 8 million VND in 2008, tripling the 2000 figure.

In the next 2-3 years, the committee should focus on developing economic infrastructure, especially rural traffic, ensuring social security with special assistance given to 43 poor districts and improving the quality of human resources, he stressed.

During his two-day visit to northwestern provinces, on August 12, PM Dung visited the Military Zone 2 High Command, where he asked the zone to join the Party Committees of nine provinces in the region to build a firm defensive area with sustainable economic development./.