|Minister-Chairman of the Committee for Ethnic Minority Affairs Do Van Chien
Speaking about groups of issues raised during the session, Chien said that the Vietnamese Party and State always consider the great national unity a strategic issue, as 53 out 54 ethnic groups in the country are minority ones.
Over the past years, the country has paid attention to ensuring livelihoods and increasing the living conditions of ethnic minorities.
However, at present, ethnic minority-inhabited areas remain under-developed with poverty, natural disasters and backwardness remaining great challenges.
The Committee for Ethnic Minority Affairs has advised the relevant authorities in promulgating many important policies to develop ethnic-inhabited and extremely disadvantageous areas, but problems still remain and require specific solutions.
Deputy Bui Sy Loi from the central province of Thanh Hoa questioned the minister about the Committee for Ethnic Minority Affairs’ responsibility for the high poverty rate in ethnic minority groups compared with the nation’s average poverty rate, as well as the committee’s measures to address the situation.
Chien said that as of late 2017, Vietnam had more than 1.6 million poor households, of which nearly 865,000 belong to ethnic minority groups, or 52.66 percent. Average annual income of ethnic minority groups was VND7-8 million (US$298-341) per person, equal to only one fifth of the country’s average.
The committee acknowledges its responsibility and will continue carrying out measures to address the problem, he affirmed.
The committee will focus on developing socio-economic infrastructure in a concerted manner, especially transport and communication to connect ethnic-inhabited areas with others, he stated, adding that the work is important to narrow geographical distance.
At the committee, the Government has also issued Resolution No.52 on developing human resources in mountainous and ethnic-inhabited areas, he added.
The minister also confirmed that his committee will take measures such as providing support for startups and consumption of products of ethnic minority people.
Mentioning 16 ethnic minority groups whose populations are below 10,000 with extremely difficult living circumstances, Chien said that the committee is aware of the need to have specific policies in support for those groups.
Thanks to the committee’s consultancy, the Government has issued many decisions on the issue, including Decision 1672 on direct support for four ethnic groups with population of less than 1,000 (the Mang, La Hu, Cong and Co Lao who live in the three northern mountainous provinces of Lai Chau, Dien Bien and Ha Giang). A total of VND253 billion has been spent under the decision over the past years.
Meanwhile, Decision No.2086 on specific policies to support socio-economic development for 12 ethnic minority groups with very small population during 2016-2025 was issued on October 31, 2016, with a total investment of over VND1.86 trillion (US$79.3 million), aiming to ensure those groups have equal opportunities for development as other groups, he said.