Most Venerable Thich Thanh Tu, deputy head of the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha Executive Committee: Our responsibility is to contribute to the nation
Vietnam marked many big national anniversaries in 2005, including the 60th anniversary of the National Day on September 2, and the 60th anniversary of the National Assembly on January 6, 2006. The legislative body has made progress in renewing its performances and promoting democracy. I joined the Vietnam Fatherland Front (VFF) in 1995 and I think 2005 can be considered a successful year for the VFF. For the first time, VFF organised confidence votes for chairmen of People’s Committees and People’s Councils at the communal and ward levels, and village chiefs and heads of residential areas in 30 cities and provinces across the country. The VFF and Prime Minister also signed a joint decree to issue regulations on inspection for cadres, Party members and State workers at residential areas.
Like other religious followers, our Buddhist followers have welcomed the correct religious policies of the Party and State in the past years. The Party and State respect and guarantee people’s rights to religious and belief freedom, which receive strong support from religious organisations and followers. Almost all religious worship places have been refurbished with financial assistance from the State, meeting religious followers’ demand for daily practices. Administrations, VFF and mass organisations frequently visit and present gifts to followers on important Buddhist ceremonies.
As Buddhist followers, we all know that we must contribute to the nation. In 2005, Buddhist followers actively participated in big national anniversaries, and hunger and poverty reduction and charitable activities. We raised VND123 billion in cash and goods for the Fund for the Poor.
In 2006, we will continue to consolidate the organisation and develop some chapters of the Buddhist Institute in the south and Hanoi, and increase activities to build stronger Buddhist movements.
Academic Vu Tuyen Hoang, president of the Vietnam Union of Science and Technology Associations: What impressed me most is that Vietnam has expanded the international integration process
Vietnam’s deeper integration into the world really impressed both myself and international friends. Thanks to this integration process, our economic and diplomatic activities, as well as in other areas, have blossomed. GDP has grown year on year and if this pace is maintained, the target of national industrialisation and modernisation by 2020 will be achievable.
The sci-tech sector also saw remarkable developments, particularly in the areas of information technology, bio-technology, automation mechanics, and new materials. Notably, Vietnam has trained a contingent of elite scientists.
In the New Year, everybody exchanges their best wishes for the country and families. With the achievements we recorded in 2005, we have high hopes for greater achievements in 2006. We hope that Vietnam will join the World Trade Organisation, expand external relations, and further boost socio-economic development and hunger and poverty reduction programmes. However, we must take into account the difficulties facing the country caused by natural calamities such as floods, earthquakes and tsunamis. To obtain a complete victory, we must be highly vigilant and make thorough preparations to cope with any possible negative situation.
Hleo, VFF president of the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai: The Doi Moi (Renewal) process has brought a facelift to the region.
The Doi Moi (Renewal) process has brought about positive changes in the lives of ethnic minority groups in the Central Highlands and Gia Lai province in particular. Equality among ethnic groups has been promoted in all areas of life. In 2005, the Prime Minister issued decree No 01 on the work of Protestants in the Central Highlands. The Confederation of the Protestant General Assembly, which consists of 29 parishes was allowed to build a Protestant Church. Local people are happy and confident in the correct leadership of the Party and State. Now, Radio the Voice of Vietnam and Vietnam Television broadcasts reach out to every hamlet and village in the province. In addition, major press publications such as the national daily Nhan Dan (People), Quan Doi Nhan Dan (People’s Army) and Dai Doan Ket (Great Unity) newspapers are distributed free in each hamlet and village. Thanks to these means of communication, local people know how to apply scientific and technological advances in agricultural production to achieve higher economic efficiency.
2005 also marked the success of the Government’s support and development programmes for ethnic groups such as Programme 134 to build houses for poor people and Programme 132 to allot land for local people to develop farming practices. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development supplied hybrid maize to local people to develop two crops a year, and cow breeds to develop herds in the area. Now, ethnic people enjoy better physical and spiritual lives and they no longer suffer hunger as before.
The Central Highlands region and Gia Lai in particular is a sensitive land in terms of politics and security. Hostile forces leave no stone unturned to incite, stir up and divide unity between Kinh – the largest ethnic group in Vietnam – and other ethnic groups in the region. We will better enhance dissemination and mobilisation work among the population, particularly ethnic people and religious followers, to help them be aware of and highly vigilant against hostile forces’ dark schemes.
Tran Ngoc Suong, director of Song Hau farm: A successful year for businesspeople
2005 was another successful year for Vietnamese businesspeople. Despite the adverse impacts of bird flu and soaring oil prices, businesses tried their best to overcome difficulties and made great strides in the operations. Their export value surpassed the set target, greatly contributing to the country’s GDP growth rate of 8.4 percent.
2006 will open up new opportunities, but also present numerous challenges for businesses. Vietnam is implementing its commitments to the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA) and is preparing for admission to the World Trade Organisation (WTO). As a result, State-owned businesses will no longer receive State subsidies and they will have to promote self-reliance in their operations like private businesses.
To keep up with the current trend, Song Hau Farm has been equitising its affiliates. In 2005, we equitised three companies and will equitise four more in 2006 and establish three more joint stock companies. From the initial parent company, we have divided our business into 10 equitised companies to make full use of our capital sources. We are trying to increase management capacity and product quality in line with the ISO certification we secured four years ago.
In addition, we are diversifying our products to lure more customers. In the past, we mostly produced rice for export, but we now focus on processing seafood and agro- and forestry products. Currently, the farm has developed a material growing area with four million eucalyptus trees. With these programmes, we aim to increase export value by US$20 million/year to between US$50-100 million/year.
Pham Loi, VFF president of Hanoi: People are happy at the achievements of the Renewal process.
People across the country are happy at the tremendous achievements Vietnam, and Hanoi in particular, have obtained during the Doi Moi (Renewal) process. In 2005, VFF chapters encouraged people to continue to participate in the two movements “The entire people unite to build a new lifestyle in residential areas” and “Day for the Poor”. As a result, outstanding cultural models have been replicated and the poverty rate fell significantly to 0.3 percent. The municipal VFF actively joined in Party and administration building and confidence vote for chairmen of the People’s Councils and People’s Committees at the communal levels, village chiefs and heads of living quarters. The vote helped promote people’s right to participate in local administration building.
In 2006, Vietnam will hold the 10th National Party Congress in Hanoi – an important political event for the country and the capital city in particular. This is also the second year that local VFF chapters will implement the resolutions of the 6th VFF Congress.Therefore, we will enhance public dissemination in anticipation of the Party congress, and encourage people to engage in the Party and administration building and the fight against corruption and other social evils.
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