Volume 6(2019)

PAGE 21/26

According to the latest survey of impoverished households (2017), no one in Ho Chi Minh City lives on income below the national poverty line, with few people living under the city income and multidimensional poverty lines. Most of the poor household members suffer from illness, old age or physical disadvantage. There is a need to provide social protection policies to the disadvantaged people who are not able to work and/or have high medical costs and/or no support from family or relatives to keep them from falling into destitution. Several of the poverty policies have proven to be not effective, such as the education support or the electricity access bill support or even health insurance. They are not effective, however, in that they have rendered people dependent on the government support. Several survey respondents indicate they prefer to stay in “poverty” to enjoy the benefits of the poverty policies. Given the city government plan to set the poverty line higher in 2019, the urban poor population might be larger in a year’s time. But it is not the poverty-reduction policies that should be determining the success of the fight against poverty. That instead should depend largely on the efforts of the poor households. They must work hard to escape poverty rather than rely on government support.

Benefitting from poverty policies

Many of the households in the study are not aware of the poverty policies and the benefits available (figure 12): 52.4 per cent of the households have not heard about the low-income housing policies, 45.6 per cent do not know about the vocational training assistance, and 47 per cent know nothing about the employment policy. Smaller portions of them have heard about the policies but have not yet accessed the benefits: 18.4 per cent of the households have not yet accessed the vocational training assistance, 17.2 per cent have not availed of the employment policy, 16.1 per cent have not applied for low-income housing, and 15.3 per cent of households have not reached out to the low-interest credit programme. And then some of surveyed households know what is accessible but do not want to engage: 15.5 per cent of the households is not interested in the employment assistance, while 15.3 per cent is not interested in vocational training and 13.3 per cent is not interested in the low-interest credit programme.

The health insurance scheme is the best-known policy among the surveyed households, with 78.7 per cent reporting it easy to access.

Figure 12: Awareness of the policies