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Govt Agrees In Principle To Raise Minimum Wage

Source: Vientiane Times

The government has agreed in principle to increase the minimum wage in a bid to ease the hardships suffered by many people amid the rising cost of living.

The agreement was reached at the government’s monthly meeting held in Vientiane on April 26-27, chaired by Prime Minister Phankham Viphavanh and attended by cabinet members.

However, the government has yet to make a decision regarding the exact amount of the pay rise and the timeframe for its rollout.

The Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare was instructed to further discuss the matter with the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (the organisation representing businesses) so that the pay rise can be implemented successfully.

The outcome of their discussions must be reported to a meeting of the Party Central Committee in May.
The Lao Federation of Trade Unions (which represents workers) has proposed that the minimum wage be increased from the present 1,100 000 kip to 1.5 million kip a month, to enable people to cope with skyrocketing living costs.

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However, this proposal was rejected by the LNCCI, which said an increase of this amount would have a negative impact on businesses. The LNCCI suggested that minimum wage be increased to 1.3 million kip a month, to reduce the burden on employers.

A tripartite meeting held in Vientiane recently agreed that a pay hike would not come into effect before May 1 next year.

At the government meeting, cabinet members endorsed a new policy on the price of water, to enable the State Water Supply Enterprise to become financially self-reliant.

In addition, the government agreed in principle on a decree regarding the impounding of property following court verdicts, and a decree on a sports fund.

The government also adopted plans for the development of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) for 2021-2025, aiming to promote the growth of these business and create more job opportunities.

The meeting heard a report regarding preparations for Laos to assume the chair of Asean in 2024.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs was instructed to work with other government bodies to form sub-committees in charge of these preparations.

The government outlined the goals to be accomplished in May, instructing ministries and State organisations to pursue a policy of austerity, especially in relation to spending on administrative matters.

There was also an instruction that overseas trips and meetings, if not essential, should be attended by the Lao ambassador in that country. 

The government also stressed the importance of reining in inflation and the price of fuel, and strictly regulating currency exchange rates to minimise the impact on the poorest people.