Assessment of National Target Program for New Rural Development

9:09:22 AM | 11/17/2023

The nationwide movement toward new rural development has been closely aligned with the objective of "harmonizing with the effective implementation of agricultural restructuring, rural economic development, and urbanization in a comprehensive, efficient, and sustainable manner," as delineated in a report by the National Assembly's supervisory team.

The country sets a goal to certify a minimum of 80% of its communes as meeting the standards for new rural development by 2025

The National Target Program for New Rural Development, spanning the period 2021-2025, received approval from the National Assembly through Resolution 25/2021, encompassing a minimum budget of VND196,332 billion (US$8.5 billion). Of this total, the central budget contributes VND39,632 billion, while the local budget allocates VND156,700 billion.

Consequently, the organizational structure responsible for executing this program has been reinforced at both central and local levels, ensuring stability akin to the preceding period. The documentation system, extending from central to local levels, is reasonably comprehensive, innovative, and broadly aligned with practical requirements. Certain regions have proactively researched and enacted specific policies, demonstrating exemplary practices and models that have engaged the entire political system and the populace in this program. The planning and allocation of funds adhere to established principles and regulations. Provinces receiving central funding have consistently and earnestly supplied their corresponding local counterpart funds at all levels.

With regard to fund disbursement, according to data from the Ministry of Finance as of the end of June 2023, the disbursement of public investment capital from 2022 carried over into 2023, reaching 83%, while realized capital for 2023 attained 44.5%. By June 30, 2023, the country witnessed 6,022 out of 8,177 communes (73.65%) meeting the standards of new rural development, with 1,331 communes achieving advanced new rural development standards and 176 communes attaining exemplary new rural development standards. Furthermore, 263 out of 644 district-level units (40.8%) were acknowledged for fulfilling the requirements and standards for new rural development. Notably, 19 provinces and cities have reached the notable milestone of having 100% of their communes meet the criteria for new rural development, with five provinces completing the program in its entirety. On average, a commune has met 16.9 criteria, surpassing the targeted figure for the 2021-2025 period by two criteria, specifically Criterion No. 14 on Education and Training and Criterion No. 16 on Culture.

Nonetheless, the supervisory team identified several shortcomings, such as the sluggish issuance and inconsistent introduction of documents, tardy amendments and supplements to documentation, and the absence of suitable new rural development criteria for mountainous regions, as per Conclusion 65/2019 of the Politburo.

The allocation of centrally funded investment budgets has progressed slowly, and the high counterpart funding ratio has presented challenges to some localities, especially those with limited resources. The disbursement of the central budget in 2022 and during the 2021-2025 period fell short of requirements, particularly non-business capital, which disbursed only 9.17% of the full-year plan by June 30, 2023. The mobilization of public and corporate resources for new rural construction remains limited, primarily relying on labor and land donations for road construction. Consequently, the results of new rural development exhibit inconsistency and lack sustainability. Some regions demonstrate a lack of determination and exhibit signs of deceleration in their new rural construction efforts. Impoverished districts and communes in mountainous areas grapple with fundamental criteria related to income, multidimensional poverty, production, and rural economic development.

Key Objectives for 2021-2025
During the 2021-2025 timeframe, the country aims to certify a minimum of 80% of communes as meeting new rural development standards, equivalent to 6,542 communes, with at least 10% achieving model new rural development standards, encompassing 654 communes. Furthermore, a minimum of 50% of districts, towns, and provincial cities are anticipated to meet new rural development standards, with at least 20% of them obtaining certification for advanced or model new rural development standards. Each province and city will strive to have a minimum of two district-level units certified as meeting new rural development standards, and 60% of villages in impoverished communes situated in border areas, mountainous regions, coastal areas and islands are expected to be recognized for achieving new rural development standards.

By Dan Ngoc, Vietnam Business Forum