VO The government has resolved to strive to reduce the number of poor families
INRO: The government has resolved to strive to reduce the number of poor families by a further one percentage point by the end of the 2014-2015 fiscal year. Minister of Planning and Investment, Somdy Duangdy told local media during his attendance to the meeting that the target “is achievable”.
STORY: If achieved, this will see the number of poor families drop from the current 92,328 to less than 91,405. The target was announced at the annual meeting of the government held recently in Vientiane when the cabinet met with Vientiane Mayor and provincial governors.
With poor families having now dropped to 8.11 percent, this means the government has already achieved the target set at the five-year national socio-economic development plan (2011-2015) to reduce poor families to less than 10 percent by 2015.
Last year, the government achieved a reduction in the poverty rate among poor families by 2.15 percent, reducing it from 10.26 percent to 8.11 percent. That saw 24,480 families lifted above the poverty line according to the National Leading Committee for Rural Development and Poverty Eradication.
Officials said if a similar pace of poverty reduction is achieved this fiscal year, the government would be able to realise the target set to reduce poor families from 8.11 percent down to 7.11 percent, a one percent reduction.
To pursue the target, the government will allocate 3,300 billion kip, equal to 11 percent of total spending for state investment projects to finance new and existing poverty reduction projects in the 2014-15 fiscal year.
Focus will be paid to 10 focal areas designated by the government and 54 focal areas designated by local authorities some years ago where poverty-fighting projects and activities were introduced.
The activities include stabilising settlements and livelihoods, notably for those engaging in shifting cultivation practices as well as creating permanent jobs and income generating activities for the people. The government vowed to push for greater action in implementing poverty reduction projects including those projects being carried out in the focal areas financed by grants and loans provided by donors.
Minister Somdy Duangdy said the government has reiterated its commitment to pursue the poverty reduction target despite the fact that the government is facing budget tension that forces it to exercise cautious spending and cut a number of investment projects.
Last week, Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong issued an order for state departments to join the international community to observe the International Day and National Week for Poverty Eradication from October 17-24 in order to encourage the entire society to mobilise greater momentum in the fight against poverty.