Addressing a seminar on formulating a social security strategy for the 2011-2020 period in Hanoi on March 25, Deputy Minister of Labour, War Invalids, and Social Affairs Nguyen Thanh Hoa also expressed his expectation that the country will receive contributions from donors and domestic and international organisations toward developing the strategy.

Vietnam’s social welfare policy has been augmented and improved, thereby implementing a system that will simultaneously protect people and boosts socio-economic development.

The country has made huge gains in terms of poverty alleviation, has improved the human development index, boosted school enrollment and employment, all of which has been lauded by the international community.

By April 2008, eight million people were benefiting from social insurance, accounting for 18 percent of the labour force. The Law on Unemployment Insurance took effect on January 1, 2009 and the number of health insurance buyers increased from 10.4 million people in 2000 to 37 million in 2008.

Currently, Vietnam’s social welfare policy is based on three pillars, the labour market, social insurance, and social assistance. However, Hoa said, the system has not yet met the requirements of many target groups.

At the seminar, Deputy Ambassador for Germany Holger Seubert pledged that his country will stand side by side with Vietnam in developing a sustainable social security strategy.

Experts from domestic agencies and the World Bank, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Germany Technical Cooperation (GTZ), and the UN Children Fund (UNICEF) discussed plans for implementing the social welfare strategy, and solutions to further improve Vietnam’s social security system.

Dr. Katja Bender, from Germany’s Ruhr University, stressed the need to enhance the private sector’s capacity to provide better healthcare and education services.

Delegates agreed that funding for insurance-related activities such as pensions, healthcare services, and unemployment allowances, should be sourced from public insurance payments, whereas social welfare funding should be sourced from tax revenues.

Vietnam News Agency - March 26, 2009