The rate of poor families in Vietnam will increase to 17-22 percent, if the new poverty lines are approved to take effects from next year, the minister of social affairs ministry said at a meeting on Thursday.
According to Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan, minister of the Ministry of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA), the ministry this month will submit to the government a proposal to define poverty at a monthly average of VND300,000 (US$13.2) per person in rural areas and VND600,000 ($31.6) in urban areas.
Another option is to set the line at VND480,000 ($25.3) and VND700,000 ($36.9) respectively, Ngan told the meeting with the National Assembly's Standing Committee of Social Affairs.
Under the current poverty threshold of VND200,000 ($10.5) in rural areas and VND270,000 ($14.2) in urban areas, poor families account for 11.3 percent of the families in the country, MoLISA reported.
Vietnam achieved the current rate thanks to several initiatives taken to reduce poverty over the past four years, the ministry said, noting that the rate was 22 percent in 2005.
Also at the meeting Ngan reported that last year Vietnam's social insurance fund collected nearly VND40 trillion ($2.1 billion), an increase of over VND9 trillion ($474 million) year on year.
However, many companies still manage to avoid paying social insurance for their employees, and current punishments for violators are not strict enough to ensure compliance, the minister said.