Sunday, September 24, 2017, 04:40 (GMT+7)

Friday, August 25, 2017, 06:52 (GMT+7)
Stepping up construction of economic-defence zones and improving their efficiency

Establishing economic-defence zones to enhance social-economic development and strengthen defence and security in strategic regions, particularly in remote, border areas and islands represents a major policy of the Party and State. From recorded lessons and outcomes, the Army will continue to bring into play its key role in fostering the construction of economic-defence zones and improving their efficiency, meeting the demands of Homeland’s construction and protection in the new situation.

Thoroughly grasping the strategic policy of the Party on combining economy with defence, defence with economy, and performing its assigned functions and tasks, in the last 20 years, the Army in general and the economic-defence corps in particular have done their utmost to overcome difficulties and hardships, actively conducting the Project on economic-defence zones. Their efforts have been appraised by the Party, the State, and the people.

Maj.Gen. Vo Hong Thang inspecting production model of
Economic-Defence Corps 4

To 2017, there have been 28 economic-defence zones, positioning in defence-security strategic areas and the most difficult regions. These economic-defence zones have shown their efficiency, making contribution to social-economic development and defence-security consolidation in border regions.

Economic-defence corps have actively cooperated with localities to survey, plan, and construct social-economic infrastructure, re-position residency, form groups of villages and communes in border regions, create the boundary to protect national sovereignty.

At the same time, the corps have actively adopted measures to encourage the production of agriculture, forestry, and hunger irradiation and poverty alleviation, creating favorable conditions for the people to develop their production, abandon their habits of free migration and self-sufficiency. Up to now, these corps have supported 101,300 households in stabilizing their lives, forming 536 communes and villages; generating hundred thousands of jobs for people, including ethnic minorities. In parallel with the goals of developing economy, organizing production, hunger elimination and poverty vacillation, these corps have fostered the task of mass mobilization and the building of political organizations, and strengthening defence-security posture. They have also well conducted the task of propaganda and persuading people to follow the Party’s guidelines, the State’s policy and law; actively organizing cultural activities and conducting medical care in communes and villages, making contribution to eliminating illiteracy and solving the issue of areas without medical care facilities in remote and border regions.

In the last years, the economic-defence corps have effectively involved in building local political organizations at projects’ areas, consulting local authorities to nurture and admit new party members, improving the efficiency of local administrations. They have worked with forces stationed in the areas, particularly the internal security forces to grasp and control the situation, effectively fight against plots and activities of hostile forces, and make contribution to firmly maintaining political stability in their regions and protecting national sovereignty and security.

Though these are only the initial achievements, they bear significant importance. The economic-defence corps have formed reliable foundations for local Party committees and authorities, the indispensable factors in the cause of hunger elimination and poverty alleviation, making contribution to the construction of “the people’s heart and mind posture”, consolidating the belief of ethnic groups in the Party and State guidelines and policies, laying the foundation for the construction of the great national unity bloc, building the whole people’s national defence posture and people’s security posture in strategic border regions and islands. These achievements reaffirmed the clear-sighted guidelines and policies of the Party and State on economic-defence zones; showing the political sense, responsibility, and key role of the Army in conducting this important task.

Besides the above-mentioned achievements, there have been weaknesses and limitations in the process of direction, coordination, and implementation. The construction process of several economic-defence corps have yet to stick to the plan; the efficiency and sustainability of some projects and production models have not met expectations; the management of investment and the implementation mechanisms have been somewhat irrelevant, etc.

In order to “improve the efficiency of economic-defence corps and sustainably develop social-economic condition in border regions and islands”, meeting the requirements set by the task of Homeland construction and protection in the new situation, the whole Army in general, and the functioning agencies, military regions, economic-defence corps in particular should closely work with other ministries, agencies, and localities, focusing on the following points.

1. Enhancing the leadership of party committees over the task of building economic-defence zones. The party committees and commanders of economic-defence corps should thoroughly grasp the Party’s and State’s guidelines and policies, the resolutions and directives of the Central Military Commission and the Ministry of National Defence (MND) on building economic-defence zones. At the same time, they should foster propaganda to help their officers and soldiers fully understand the position, significance, demands, and importance of the task of building economic-defence zones in the new situation, as well as the Army’s role in implementing this task. Attention should also paid to adjusting their organizational structures in the direction that decreases the intermediate stages, minimizing the staff to increase the strength of production units and teams; successfully completing the reassignment of economic-defence corps to military regions in order to achieve the consensus in direction and management. The economic-defence corps should focus on building and consolidating their cadre and technician staff at all levels, training and employing ethnic minority cadres and young volunteer intellectuals, developing cadres and employees’ competence in economic management an development as well as their knowledge and experience in carrying out the policies on ethnicity and religion, the task of mass mobilization.

2. Building and completing the relevant legal documents on building and consolidating economic-defence zones. Functioning agencies of the MND should continue to review, adjust, and supplement mechanisms, policies, and regulations on the construction and operations of economic-defence zones and corps, to make them relevant to the reality, particularly the new adjustments in the economic management mechanism and the guidelines on social-economic development and defence-security consolidation of the Party and the State.

First and foremost, importance should be attached to adjusting the operation regulations of economic-defence corps in conformity with the Regulations on Management of Production and Economic Development of the Army. Accordingly, functions and authority of the MND agencies, military regions, and corps in managing and directing the construction of economic-defence zones should be clarified; their political tasks and production functions should also be identified. Attention should also be paid to improving mechanisms on investment management, the cooperation and coordination among economic-defence zones, the mechanisms and policies to encourage economic sectors to invest in building these zones and to mobilize state investments in mountainous and remote areas and islands. There should also be specific policies to attract young intellectuals to economic-defence corps.

3. Synchronously and drastically taking measures to improve the performance of economic-defence zones. Related agencies and units as well as economic-defense corps should continue stepping up the implementation of the master plan on building and developing economic-defense zones up to 2020 with orientations to 2025, in accordance with the roadmap approved by the Prime Minister at the Decision No.1391/QD-TTg, dated August 9, 2010. Accordingly, priorities should be given to building economic-defence zones in sea and offshore islands; mobilizing resources to build typical models and multiply them…. The MND will propose advice to the Government about the revision of the Master Plan and the adjustments in the detailed plans of economic-defence zones, in line with the state budget allocation.

On the basis of experience withdrawn from the economic-defence zones construction during 2000-2016, the economic-defence corps should continue to closely attach to the objectives of their projects, being active in cooperating with local Party committees, authorities, and related forces to create a high consensus, bringing into play the synergy in implementation. Due to a limited resource, it is necessary to well plan, divide investment stages, and effectively exploit different resources…. To be effective, importance should be attached to the combination of building infrastructure with residency re-positioning in accordance with ethnic groups’ customs, culture, and tradition. At the same time, it is essential to support and create favorable conditions for people to settle down in strategic areas, remote and border regions. Combining projects with programs and national goals of the state and localities, focusing on the Government’s Program to build new rural areas and sustainably alleviating poverty in the period of 2016-2020, aiming at exploiting the utmost potentials in building economic-defence zones. In the time to come, the MND will direct the reorganization of production models at economic-defence zones, with a focus on the development of household economy, the two-way services (providing seeds, agriculture equipment and supporting production consumption and technology transferring, etc.), and assistance of the farmers in their production. Economic-defence corps will foster cooperation with localities to build new models to encourage production, hunger eradication and poverty alleviation, in line with strengthened defence and security in project areas. Also, they will make adjustments in operation of their branches in the direction that these branches will operate under the management of localities.

Building economic-defence zones is a clear-sighted guideline of the Party and State. Thoroughly understanding their honor, responsibility and function as “an army ready for fight, for work, and for produce”, the whole Army will strive to successfully fulfil the task of building economic-defence zones, making contribution to the cause of Homeland’s construction and defence in the new situation.

Maj. Gen. Vo Hong Thang

Director of Economic Department, MND

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