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Govt Seeks To Plug Financial Leaks, Loopholes

Source: Vientiane Times

All loopholes that could result in financial leaks must be plugged in order to ramp up national revenue, Deputy Prime Minister Somdy Duangdy told finance officials recently.

His comments came after at least 35 finance officials were disciplined for abuse of power as a result of the ministry’s enforcement of the so-called 10-prohibition rule issued in April last year.

The 10-prohibition rule is designed to prevent any misconduct by finance officials and encourage them to act honestly in serving the nation.

The disciplinary measures  are a significant move to prevent officials from committing transgressions while encouraging them to be more diligent in increasing income for the nation.

A source from the Ministry of Finance, who asked to remain anonymous, told Vientiane Times on Wednesday that transfers are being made in various departments, notably those relating to revenue collection.

The improvement of the ministry’s structure and re-assignment of its officials is aimed to better match them to suitable duties, particularly at border crossings.

At a recent customs meeting held in Vientiane, Acting Director General of the Customs Department, Mr Bounpaseuth Sikounlabout told the Deputy PM about the advantageous and disadvantageous scenarios in his sector.

Mr Bounpaseuth also touched upon issues related to income collection at various border crossings as well as what needed to be done.

Mr Somdy, who is the Minister of Finance, called on finance officials in Vientiane and the provinces to improve their teamwork while combating illegal border trade.

Officials have been urged to scrutinise the revenue earned from imported vehicles and fuel, which serve as some of the main income sources for the nation.

In the first six months of this year, only 3.34 trillion kip was accumulated, equal to 46.41 percent of the annual plan.

The government has acknowledged that more must be done to accomplish the target of 7.2 trillion kip set by the customs sector.

Finance officials have been urged to explore new income sources while plugging financial leaks due to illegitimate import activities including those relating to vehicles and fuel at border crossings.

In addition, officials have been warned they must perform their duties according to the law and enhance their integrity and responsibility to serve the nation and people.

The Deputy PM called on everyone to be the eyes and ears of the government and to report any issues related to financial leaks to ensure revenue collection targets are met.

Officials are prohibited from breaching the law, notably the violation of tax and customs regulations as well as financial disciplines. They are banned from producing or reporting false information that might cause losses to the nation.