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Vietnam’s success in poverty reduction
09 | 10 | 2007
With a strong commitment to increasing aid to Vietnam over the past few years, the international community has highlighted Vietnam’s efforts in poverty reduction, reform and economic development.
The sixth Poverty Reduction Support Credit (PRSC) programme, worth a total of US$175 million, which has just been approved by the World Bank is aimed at boosting economic growth and reducing poverty in Vietnam. This is the largest annual credit from PRSC so far. The PRSC 6 will be for 40 years and include a 10-year of grace period at an interest rate of 0 percent.

Major contents of the PRSC 6 focused on the four pillars of business development, social inclusion, natural resources and state governance.

 

The Governor of the State Bank of Vietnam Nguyen Van Giau says that the PRSC 6 is of great significance as it has heralded a new period of support programmes which are closely connected with Vietnam’s socio-economic plans for the 2006-2010 period.

 

The programme also sees close links between the poverty reduction strategies and economic growth, satisfying both the government’s action plans and the donors’ priorities. The success of this programme will lay a foundation for future programmes, which will be implemented more effectively and comprehensively.

Mr. Ajay Chhibber, World Bank Country Director for Vietnam says “although we have just arrived in Vietnam, we are very impressed by the initial results of the PRSC. With US$150 million granted by the WB and US$22 million provided by other donors in the first stage, now the programme has so far received another a credit loan of US$175 million from the WB and US$195 million from co-sponsors. The increase in the amount of aid as well as in the number of sponsors has proved that the international community strongly supports the Vietnamese government’s socio-economic plan and poverty reduction work. The WB is expected to increase its contribution to the PRSC7 to US$200 million.

Apart from the WB, co-financing for PRSC 6 comes from several other donors including the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Spain, Australia, Canada, Denmark, the UK, the European Commission (EC), Germany, Ireland, Japan and the Netherlands.

It is good to see that donors have always pledged to offer preferential loans or Official Development Assistance (ODA). In 2007 alone, donors pledged to provide more than US$190 million to the PRSC 6.

Standing Counsellor of the EC Delegation to Vietnam, Willy Vanderberghe said the EC has decided to double its aids to the programme, worth a total of 27 million euros. He said the EC strongly supports Vietnam and expresses his belief that Vietnam’s socio-economic plan will be successful in the 2006-2010 period. He added that EC is not only committed to providing aid to Vietnam but will also help the country with human resources training, protecting environment and improving the social welfare system.

The WB-funded programme was first introduced to Vietnam in 2001 based on the Vietnamese government’s strategy of economic growth and poverty reduction. Major goals of the strategy include strengthening management and the responsibility for public expenditure, improving inspection work, and ensuring fairness in public expenditure at local level.

 

Transparency in both non-state and state sectors has been improved through providing systematic information based on the performance of state owned enterprises, conducting auditing work for commercial banks in accordance with international standards, expanding access to budget information and providing a social welfare network for state enterprises’ staff.

 

Over the past years, the PRSCs have not only provided aid for poverty reduction in Vietnam, but have also become a forum for donors and the international community to exchange opinions on socio-economic development, and to improve transparency when using capital sources as well as budget collections and spending.

With a strong commitment to increasing aid to Vietnam over the years, the international community highlighted Vietnam’s efforts in poverty reduction, reform and economic development. However, in the context of integration into the world economy, it is likely that the gap between the rich and the poor will grow larger and there should be new measures to bridge the gap, fulfilling the social equality targets set by the Party and the National Assembly.



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