HCM City has successfully implemented its poverty reduction programme for the 2009-15 period, it was reported at a conference held in the city last Saturday.
A report presented at the conference stated that by the end of 2013, the rate of the city's poor had fallen to 0.8 per cent, a large drop from the 8.4 per cent rate recorded in 2009.
The national standard, which was approved by the Government, prescribes that poor households are categorised as those with an average income of VND4.8 million (US$225) per person per year in rural areas and VND6 million ($282) in urban areas. Under that standard, the city now has no poor households.
Meanwhile, Secretary of the municipal Party Committee Le Thanh Hai said the city set its own poverty standard, with poor households categorised as having an annual average income less than VND16 million ($752) per person. Households earning less than VND21 million ($987) per person are considered as near-poor.
Under the new standard, the southern city now has 130,000 poor households, equivalent to 7.12 per cent of the city's total population, and 50,000 near-poor households, making up 2.73 per cent.
Hai added that the new standard was closer to those applied by other regional countries, and called for all local residents to participate in the sustainable poverty reduction programme.
He also asked local authorities to pay attention to building effective poverty reduction models, in combination with local socio-economic development, especially the construction of new-style rural areas.
He said this was necessary to better meet poor people's demands for essential goods and services, such as housing, healthcare services, education and jobs, Hai suggested.
In addition, he advised that preferential loans be offered to accelerate local agro-aquatic-forestry development and provide vocational training for rural labourers, in line with socio-economic development planning.
HCM City has allocated VND3.5 trillion (US$166 million) for its poverty reduction programme this year, an increase of VND672 billion from last year, according to the programme's steering committee, of this amount, VND130 billion ($6.1 million) will be used to augment a fund providing micro-credit to poor households.
As of last year nearly 82,000 such households had benefited from these loans.
The city aims to reduce the poverty rate each year by 2-2.5 percentage points over the next two years and the near-poverty rate by 1.5 percentage points.