More Investments for Central Highlands Development: DPM

A conference on socio-economic development and political security in the Central Highlands of Viet Nam was held on April 10. The region’s five year development plan in the 2006-2010 period is drafted and will be soon presented, said the Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister.

Ho Chi Minh road, which runs through Central Highlands provinces, will help to boost the region's socio-econnomic development.   

As reported by provinces in the Central Highlands, in the first quarter of 2006 the region’s total turnover from many sectors, including agriculture, industry, commerce and services, has increased to 18- 21% year-on-year.

Under the directions of the State and Party, the Central Highlands’ socio-economic development and political security to date have gained many remarkable achievements.

However, there remain some major obstacles in the developing process including the instability and the sluggishness of its economic structure shift.

Besides, the tasks of care and protection of locals’ life, especially of the ethnic minorities was performed less than expectation as there is currently a great number of underprivileged people in the region and the political system in some highland villages is not carefully observed.

SGGP reporter has a chance to interview Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dzung, also Chairman of the Steering Committee of the Central Highlands, about the State and Party’s decisions and instructions.

SGGP reporter: Recently, the Prime Minister has given his instruction of the enforcement of the State’s policy on Protestant in Central Highland. Please shed some lights on the result of this action.

Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dzung

Deputy PM: Under the instruction of the Prime Minister, many local administrators have worked out effectively the policy. As reported recently by the Central Highlands’ Secretariat, the local people have strongly supported and appreciated the Party and State’s religious policies. Viet Nam’s viewpoint of religious issues consistently confirms its policy to respect and ensure religious freedom for all citizens.

In future, the State will continue to consider and approve more Protestant sub-branches whose religious activities are in accordance with the common principles and not against the benefits of the Vietnamese nation and people.

SGGP reporter: Which strategies will be implemented by the State and Party to boost the development of the Central Highlands provinces?

Deputy PM: The Vietnamese Government has Decision 168/2001/QD-TTg about the development plan for the Central Highlands provinces’ socio-economy and political security five years ago. Thus, it will summarize and evaluate the implementation of the decision, aiming at laying a sound foundation for a coming strategy for the next five years. This strategy is currently under construction and expected to be presented in the review meeting for five years of the government’s previous decision.

SGGP reporter: What are the major concerns in this coming development strategy?

Deputy PM: The strategy is about investments in four major and potential fields, including agriculture and forestry, hydroelectricity projects, minerals and tourism.

Particularly, the state will mostly focus on the development of agriculture and forestry sectors. The Central Highlands is the nation's richest and largest basaltic land region, which is not only suitable for wet rice cultivation but also for industrial crops, especially rubber and coffee. Thus, it should continue to tap this potential to plant rubber tree. Last year, the nation missed its target of growing 700,000 hectares of rubber with only 500,000 hectares of the crop planted.

Also, the region must take advantage of its potentiality in forestry resources which is big in scale, rate and quality to boost the sector’s development.

Recently, the Sate has launched its pilot program, in which the local ethnic minorities themselves will control and tend forests. Together with the program is the State’s preferential policies on food supply, fund for house building and payment on reclaiming unused land for ethnic minorities. Specifically, the State decided to support every ethnic minority household with VND5 million for land clearance and other VND5 million for housing.

As for the hydroelectricity projects and tourism development, besides improving the living conditions of local ethnic minorities, local administrators should continue the economic restructure process to bring into play their potentiality and strengths.

In my opinion, the strategy will play as a breakthrough in lifting up the Central Highlands’ economy and its people’s living conditions, aiming at bridging the gap between the region and others nationwide.

By HN-Translated by Trong Khuong

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