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PM Orders Installation of Immigration Checkpoints at Train Stations to Cope with Visitor Influx

Source: Vientiane Times

Prime Minister Sonexay Siphandone has asked for urgent action to set up immigration booths at stations on the Laos-China Railway, to facilitate both inbound and outbound travelers.

Chairing an extraordinary meeting of the cabinet on March 15-16, the Prime Minister instructed the Ministry of Public Works and Transport to work with the Laos-China Railway Company to designate areas inside stations where immigration booths could be set up.

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The instruction comes amid increasing demand for rail travel, especially with the arrival of more tourists now that Covid-19 restrictions have been lifted across the globe.

On the busiest days, the number of people traveling on the Lao section of the railway, which became operational on December 3, 2021, exceeds 10,000, indicating a strong boost for the rebound of tourism and the economy.

The government places great importance on passenger and freight rail services, hoping that the railway will bolster efforts to alleviate ongoing financial and economic difficulties driven by high levels of public debt.

At the close of the two-day sitting, Dr. Sonexay also told the cabinet to take further steps to stabilize the economy by placing a greater focus on ways to address the country’s chronic debt.

Participants were told to take action to regulate currency exchange rates and the spiraling price of goods amid rampant inflation and to regularly take stock of the progress made.

The meeting also approved in principle three new draft laws on public health, compensation awarded by the state, and labor recruitment.

Draft amendments to six laws were also endorsed in principle. These laws relate to commercial banks, aquatic species and fishery, wildlife, printing, protection of child rights, and the military court.

The relevant ministries were told to revise the drafts in accordance with recommendations made by the meeting participants. The final drafts will be submitted for deliberation at the National Assembly’s upcoming 5th Ordinary Session.