Govt Fights Extravagance, Promotes Frugal Spending
Source: Vientiane Times
The government has outlined measures to reduce extravagance and promote austerity, to cut waste and ensure effective use of the state budget for the intended purpose and the maximum benefit of the nation.
As stipulated in a new government decree, these measures will be applied to rein in government expenditure, especially with regard to state vehicles, meetings, Lao delegations making overseas trips, receptions for foreign delegations visiting Laos, and the use of electricity and water.
The government is pushing for enforcement of the new policy in order to overcome challenges amid the nation’s economic difficulties and growing debt burden.
Spending on state-funded development projects and equipment, and public administration, must comply with the relevant laws and competitive bidding procedures to ensure the effectiveness and efficiency of administration, according to the 23-page decree signed by Prime Minister Phankham Viphavanh.
Ministries, provincial departments and other state bodies have been instructed to use their own meeting rooms for conferences, trainings and seminars, except when the number of participants exceeds the capacity of the meeting room. In that case, it is acceptable to arrange meetings in hotels.
Meetings held by video link are encouraged as this saves money on travel by officials, as well as spending on accommodation, meeting rooms and the printing of documents.
Delegations making overseas trips are advised to attend only very important meetings or training sessions, with the number of participants to be limited.
State employees making official trips to other countries are urged to purchase tickets for travel with Lao Airlines.
Welcome events for foreign delegations visiting Laos must not be lavish and spending on items such as flowers must be limited, along with the number of officials assigned to welcome foreign visitors.
At receptions, expensive drinks, particularly alcoholic beverages, and gifts for guests are prohibited.
Extravagant parties or receptions to welcome foreign or Lao delegations visiting areas of the country are also disencouraged, and state authorities are advised to be frugal in this matter.
Funerals for former state leaders must also be organised economically, based on Lao tradition, with only a limited number of wreaths placed to pay tribute to departed leaders.
With regard to the celebration of national events, including national and regional sports contests, International New Year and festivals, state organisations are forbidden to use the state budget to buy alcoholic beverages.
The government has also advised members of the public, especially state officials and the staff of state-owned enterprises, not to overspend on weddings, Baci ceremonies, funerals, birthday parties and festivals.
Finally, the use of state vehicles must comply with the relevant laws. Stickers must be placed on them and vehicles used only for official duties. After use, vehicles must be parked at designated offices, except those allocated to high-level leaders.