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Cabinet Instructs Business-Friendly Policy Improvements, Tightening Of Border Crossings

Source: Vientiane Times

The government cabinet has instructed authorities to tighten border crossings to prevent illegal entry via non-checkpoints in an attempt to avert the spread of Covid-19.

The cabinet gave the instruction at its monthly meeting for August that ended on Friday amid the increased risk of a second wave of the pandemic.

Chaired by Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith, the two-day meeting told officials in charge to improve policies to promote small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

These include revising loan interest rates and streamlining procedures so businesses can easily and quickly access the SME promotion fund. Meanwhile, the authorities were told to closely follow up and extend the necessary support to ensure the SMEs are operating effectively.

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Authorities concerned were instructed to manage currency exchange and inflation rates to ensure they are controllable and conducive to socio-economic development.

The meeting called for the debt repayment of state investment projects in order to enable contracted companies to maintain their operations.

The cabinet called for action to push implementation of mega projects including the under-construction Laos-China railway, expressways and economic development plan along the rail corridor to ensure the implementation of the projects are on track to bolster the economy.

The meeting asked the task force for domestic production and consumption promotion to identify untapped potential in an attempt to encourage local production and lessen imports.

The cabinet called for great attention to collecting revenue for the last four months of this year, striving to attain the annual revenue target.

Authorities were instructed to expedite the modernising of revenue collection mechanisms in order to close loopholes for revenue leaks.

Cabinet members also discussed the draft policy and its action plan for disabled people, which are aimed to extend assistance to people with disabilities.

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The meeting approved in principle three drafted laws – the drafted law on land vehicles, drafted law on higher education, and drafted law on international cooperation against crime. The finalised-drafts will be submitted to the upcoming ordinary session of the National Assembly, which is expected to take place at the end of the year.

The participants also discussed the draft prime ministerial decree on the disaster management fund, which outlines principles and regulations for using the fund for disaster management and emergency relief.

The cabinet called for authorities to continue promoting ‘Lao-tour-Laos’ and prepare for post-Covid-19 tourism promotion. Other issues tabled at the meeting included labour skills training to meet market demand, all-round preparation and support for rainy season cultivation, and follow up on climate change adaptability and weather forecasting to ensure the public is prepared and informed.

The cabinet instructed authorities to remain vigilant to possible flooding during the current rainy season and prepare to extend immediate relief and assistance to affected local villagers. The meeting called for the close monitoring of water levels at various hydropower plants to manage downstream flows and to keep communities informed when water is going to be released.