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Business Sectors Seek Urgent Solution to Rampant Inflation 

Source: Vientiane Times

Business operators have called on the government to seek urgent solutions to tackle soaring inflation and skyrocketing prices of consumer goods by cutting back on unnecessary imports and addressing the underlying causes of inflation.

Several important issues were discussed at a consultation meeting involving the public and private sectors, held at the Lao Academy of Social and Economic Sciences on Friday.

The meeting was chaired by the Academy’s Vice President, Dr. Kikeo Chanthaboury, and attended by representatives of leading companies and business associations.

The objective of the gathering was to brainstorm solutions to persistent inflation and seek ways to effectively tackle the country’s ongoing economic problems. The solutions suggested will be discussed by members of the government’s special task force set up to deal with the ongoing financial challenges.

Ahead of the half-day meeting, the Director General of the Socio-Economic Policy Research Institute, Mr. Ousavanh Thiengthepvongsa, outlined the key findings and unresolved issues relating to financial problems and accepted comments from participants for further consideration.  

Some business operators have asked the government to prioritize the implementation of laws by reinforcing legal action and involving regulators so that practical steps can be identified for more effective law enforcement.

“In fact, Laos has numerous laws concerning specific areas of foreign currency policy and management but these are not actively enforced in some sectors,” Mr Ousavanh said.

He suggested that the government set up a regulating body to follow up the implementation of these laws.

A member of a business association said “In a bid to tackle the rising price of consumer goods in the short term, the government should ban the import of non-essential goods, such as vegetables, fruit and other produce that can be grown in Laos.”

Business representatives explained the challenges they face in importing raw materials and construction equipment due to unfavorable currency exchange rates.

The weak kip is a huge hindrance in the purchase of imports and the extra expenditure incurred eats into profit margins, with some businesses struggling to survive.

They suggested that the most effective way to address the issue in the short term is by unification of the private sector. Businesses should work together with the government and follow the same path in digging deeper into the real reasons for spiraling inflation and sincerely agree to solve the problem together.

At the conclusion of the meeting, the Vice President of the Lao Academy of Social and Economic Sciences, Dr. Kikeo Chanthaboury, asked businesses to provide the special task force with useful information that could be used for further analysis on the way to identifying solutions and overcoming the unprecedented financial crisis.