Further NA Support for Ethnic Minorities

The 43rd session of the National Assembly Standing Committee opened in Ha Noi on Tuesday for discussions of ethnic minority assistance programs.

Ethnic minorities are still poor and need support from the government

NA deputies discussed supervisory reports to the NA Ethnic Council on Program 134, which aims to supply land, houses and domestic water to poor ethnic minorities.

The Government program is currently in its second year.

Most delegates agreed with the proposal of the council to supply more production land for ethnic minorities.

Program 134 also covers assistance with jobs training, welfare, agriculture and production.

According to council director Trang A Pao, the State earmarked VND1.61 trillion (US$100 million) for the 2005-2006 period.

It is expected that the State will spend another VND510 billion on the program by the end of this year to increase total capital project to VND2.12 trillion (nearly US$132 million), 54 percent of the initiative’s required budget.

By July, almost 140,000 ethnic minority families were given housing, 42 percent of the program’s goal, at a total cost of VND639 billion.

In some localities, the local government distributed funds ranging from VND6 to 7 million each for families to build new houses for themselves, and VND2 to 5 million each to help them repair old houses.

The government has provided 621 hectares of housing and 21,000 hectares of farming while installing plumbing in more than 77,200 households.

Mr. Trang A Pao said that Program 134 has effectively improved the living conditions of poor ethnic minorities while avoiding common local level problems such as the unfair distribution of money.

Legislators stressed the need to issue detailed regulations on the management and disbursement of different funding sources to ensure transparency and fairness.

They also said the Government should have long-term policies to open vocational training courses and provide jobs for the poor ethnic young people.

Many NA delegates proposed that the government extend the allotted time to implement the PM’s decision to the end of 2008.

The program was supported but some legislators warned that subsidies have led to heavy reliance on the State by the targeted people and their local authorities.

The 43rd NA Standing Committee meeting is expected to close on September 30.

Source: SGGP, Vietnam News – Compiled by Thuy Hang

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