Party Adopts Nine Urgent Measures To Drive Economy

Source: Vientiane Times

The Central Committee of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party recently adopted core and urgent measures to drive the macro economy which is currently encountering some difficulties.

New state investment must focus only on projects which are economically efficient, except for recovery projects following damage from natural disasters, according to the measures.
Urgent action must be taken to prevent revenue leaks, strengthen relevant legislation toward addressing budget and financial difficulties as well as closing loopholes for the embezzlement of state money by officials.
“There must be decisive action to prevent any abuse of power,” Deputy Prime Minister and Party’s politburo member Dr Bounthong Chitmany told a meeting in Vientiane yesterday where he disseminated a resolution of the Central Committee.

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The Party leadership is currently pushing ministries and local authorities to take thorough action to implement the resolution that detailed the measures.
Four ministries including the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism attended the meeting yesterday at the National Culture Hall.
The measures demand state departments to strictly tighten their spending. This includes suspending or significantly reducing the budget on new office buildings, vehicle and equipment purchases, and cutting the new personnel recruitment quota toward reducing the number of civil servants among others.
The resolution calls for studies toward encouraging some state departments to become budget self-sufficient such as educational institutes, hospitals and media organisations.

In an attempt to prevent revenue leaks and increase income, the government was asked to continue the introduction of electronic systems to collect taxes and tariffs as well as revenue from other sources.
Dr Bounthong, who is also Chairman of the Inspection Committee of the Party Central Committee, also underlined for the relevant sectors to explore new revenue sources.
The Central Committee resolved that the government continue to improve the operation of state-owned enterprises to become more effective and profitable by turning them into joint ventures with local and foreign investors.
In addition, the resolution seeks to establish state enterprises to process agricultural goods and offer cross border freight services.
The Central Committee resolved that the government accelerate studies toward defining necessary measures that enable state-owned commercial banks to receive financial support sourced as low interest loans from the Bank of the Lao PDR in a move to reduce the interest rate of commercial bank loans to customers. 
The relevant sectors will draw up measures to make use of money from various funds including pension and social security in order to add value to the funds.
The government was asked to train and upgrade the skills of the Lao workforce systematically in an attempt to provide sufficient skilled workers to meet labour demand.
The central committee resolved to repay public debt in line with the plan and pledged to review investment costs for those state projects carried out by private companies to ensure reasonable costs before repaying the debt.
The resolution also demanded the government to employ necessary measures in an attempt to increase foreign reserves and systematically manage currency to stabilise the exchange rate and prevent unacceptable inflation.
Dr Bounthong said all state departments need to make a collective effort to overcome the current economic and budget difficulties. The difficulty has been heavily driven by the chronic budget deficit that resulted in high-level borrowing to balance the deficit, which accumulated high-level public debt.
“Resolving economic and financial difficulty must be addressed along with exerting effort for greater production,” he told the meeting.

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