Millions exit poverty via social policy loans

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
People in central Nghe An Province register to borrow loans from the iet Nam Bank for Social Policies. VNA/VNS Photo

Vietnam has loaned almost 337 trillion dong ($14.5 billion) to more than 12 million households nationwide under the social policy credit programme over the past five years, helping improve local lives and reduce poverty, Vietnam Bank for Social Policies (VBSP) figures show.

The statistics were revealed on Wednesday at a teleconference which reviewed the five-year implementation of the Secretariat’s Directive No 40 on promoting the Party’s leadership in social policy loans.

Thanks to the loan policy implemented since late 2014, more than 2.1 million households have escaped poverty. The percentage of poor households in multidimensional poverty fell from 9.88 per cent in 2015 to under three per cent this year.

The Party Central Committee’s Economic Commission head Nguyen Van Binh said: “Vietnam has accomplished UN Millennium Development Goals and has become a role model of poverty reduction and hunger alleviation for other developing countries.”

Among Vietnam’s socio-economic development policies, social policy loans are seen as innovative and humane solutions relevant to the country’s practical situation, he said.

He added that the secretariat’s directive which was issued in November 2014 on promoting the Party’s leadership in social policy loans shows the special attention of the Party towards poor people.

“The social policy credit is an important key to the national target programme on sustainable poverty reduction. It has provided huge loans to poor people,” Binh said.

Over the past five years, nearly 346,000 students accessed the loans to continue studying while more than 1.5 million gained employment, including 24,000 labourers going abroad to work.

More than 7.3 million water supply and hygienic works in rural areas and nearly 142,000 houses for households and other beneficiaries were constructed.

So far all localities nationwide have collaborated with the VBSP to provide the loans.

Tran Quoc Vuong, a standing member of the Party Central Committee’s Secretariat, praised local authorities, the Vietnam Fatherland Front, State Bank of Vietnam and VBSP for effective implementation of Directive 40.

However, sustainable poverty reduction remains a challenge amid rapid international integration. Vietnam faces risks of re-impoverishment due to natural disasters. State budget on poverty reduction is limited compared to increasing demands of the poor and other beneficiaries.

He urged more effective implementation of social policy loans to support poor and disadvantaged people in the context of diseases and climate change which have affected local production and livelihoods, especially those from ethnic minority groups and living in mountainous remote areas in northern and Mekong Delta provinces.

He highlighted the importance of mobilising sources from businesses and social organisations in providing loans.