Vietnam reaches the highest rural electrification rate

10:05 | 07/05/2014 Industry

(VEN) - According to the World Bank (WB)’s assessment, Vietnam has achieved the highest rural electrification rate in the world as a developing country.

Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang (second from the left) talked to local leaders on the sidelines of an online conference summarizing 15 years of rural electrification on April 26

Great progress

Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang when addressing an online conference summarizing 15 years of rural electrification on April 26 said, “Vietnam’s rural electrification has significantly grown, especially in recent 15 years.”

According to Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang, rural electrification has significantly grown. Only 2.5 percent of households used electricity in 1975 while its figure increased to more than 98 percent in 2013. In particular, nearly 97 percent of rural households used electricity. Results in terms of investing and constructing, renovating and upgrading the power grid have contributed to changing the face of rural and remote areas, creating favorable conditions for the development of agricultural production, processing industry and agricultural services. Agricultural production index increased by 6.6 times in the 1998-2013 period and average income per person increased by 8 times in the same period.

The rural electrification program has been strongly developed. Together with investment capital from the state budget, donors have also actively contributed to bringing power to remote areas and improving the quality of rural low-tension power grid.

According to incomplete statistics, a total investment capital for the development and improvement of the rural power grid in the last 15 years reached VND48.291 trillion. In particular, Red River Delta and north central coast provinces (excluding Hanoi) invested VND17.169 trillion, followed by northern mountainous provinces, central provinces, Mekong Delta provinces, southeastern provinces, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City with investment capital of VND11.613 trillion, VND6.884 trillion, VND6.755 trillion, VND4.138 trillion, VND1.084 trillion and VND649 billion.

With the goal of bringing power to provinces without power in the Central Highlands, the prime minister allowed the Vietnam Electricity (EVN) to implement the project on bringing power to remote villages in the Central Highlands in the 2006-2009 period with a total investment capital of nearly VND1.3 trillion. Together with the project’s success, the prime minister continued allowing EVN to implement a number of projects such as bringing power to households without power in Kien Giang, Bac Lieu, Son La, Bac Kan and Lai Chau provinces with a total investment capital of VND198 billion, VND88 billion, VND557 billion, VND720 billion and VND415 billion, respectively.

Thanks to the rural electrification program, the face of regions has positively changed. According to Ha Tinh Provincial People’s Committee Chairman Vo Kim Cu, to date, 100 percent of communes in the province have used power. The number of poor and nearly poor households has declined from 50 percent to below 10 percent.

Together with the goal of ensuring security and safety for islands and seas, a series of power projects by underground cables have been implemented such as bringing power to Co To Islands, Phu Quoc Island and Ly Son Island with a total investment capital of nearly VND1.106 trillion, nearly VND2.336 trillion and VND652 billion, respectively.

Quang Ninh Provincial People’s Committee Deputy Chairman Do Thong said that after the 15-year implementation of the rural electrification program, 100 percent of households in the province used electricity. In the end of 2013, bringing power to Co To Islands was completed. In particular, when the project on bringing power to communes in Van Don District is completed, it will contribute to improving people’s living conditions, developing the economy and preserving the sovereignty of Vietnam’s seas and islands.

World Bank’s Country Director for Vietnam Victoria Kwakwa said that thanks to the government’s commitments on rural electrification, Vietnam has achieved success. The government has listened to people, had real actions and given the right policies. In addition, parties have shared costs and responsibility. In particular, the government has adopted flexible policies on building and managing the power grid over the years.

All households use electricity by 2020

Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai said that the rural electrification program has contributed 30-40 percent to socioeconomic development in rural areas, creating favorable conditions to change the structure of the rural economy and improve people’s living conditions.

However, Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai also said that challenges for the electricity sector in the implementation of the rural electrification program in the next time remain huge. 91 communes throughout the country have not yet used electricity. With the goals of 98 percent of rural households using electricity by 2015 and 100 percent of them using electricity by 2020, the electricity sector needs to make greater efforts. In the near future, ministries, departments and local governments need to meet set objectives. In particular, a focus on ensuring technical conditions and improving quality for the rural power grid is needed.

To accomplish objectives, in addition to domestic investment capital, the participation of international partners is necessary as it will not only provide financial resources but also share international experience and technical competence in program management, contributing to accelerating the implementation of the rural electrification program.

The World Bank has closely cooperated with the Vietnamese government and EVN since 1995 and has provided more than US$4 billion in loans for power projects. In the 1998-2013 period, the World Bank funded about 12 projects related to the development of rural electrification with a total investment capital of more than US$2 billion.

World Bank’s Country Director for Vietnam Victoria Kwakwa said that Vietnam was a typical example in terms of rural electrification and its program was one of World Bank’s most successful projects in Vietnam./.

By Lan Anh & Thuy Ngoc

Theo ven.vn