Ho Chi Minh City leader urges women to force out more babies to create new workforce

‘When the parents die, the children can replace them and contribute to the country’s workforce.’
Ho Chi Minh City’s top leader has called on women to have at least two babies each, warning that the city’s current birth rate of 1.46 babies per woman may stall its economic growth.

Nguyen Thien Nhan, the chief of the city’s Communist Party unit, said at a meeting of the municipal legislature on Tuesday that the city’s birth rate is the lowest in the country and around the same level as Japan and South Korea, which are both facing a labor crisis.

Nhan, who used to head the country’s steering committee on population and family planning, said it’s high time the city took measures to boost its birth rate.

“It’s hard to have a lot of babies, but if there are not enough we won’t have a future workforce,” he said.

“If each woman has two children, it will support the sustainable development of the country. When the parents die, the children can replace them and contribute to the country’s workforce.” .

And it’s not just the leader of the country’s commercial hub who is worried about the reproduction rate.

In January, the health ministry asked the government to adopt a new policy to encourage women to have more children. It said the government should allow couples to have as many children as they want, instead of sticking to a two-child policy that has helped control the country’s birth rate since 2006.

Official figures show that Vietnam’s population growth has reduced from 1.5 million to 900,000 a year since then.

Population surveys in 2015 showed a low birth rate in richer and more developed areas such as HCMC and Ba Ria-Vung Tau (1.56). Women in poor and mountainous areas such as Ha Giang, Lai Chau and Quang Tri had three children each on average.

The ministry said the low birth rate could lead to problems such as an aging population and gender imbalance.

Vietnam is currently home to 92 million people, and the population is expected to increase to 100 million by 2025.

It has the 14th largest population in the world and the third in Southeast Asia, after Indonesia and the Philippines.

By Trung Son