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Two More Years To Meet Laos’ Development Plan: Minister

Source: Vientiane Times

Natural disasters coupled with global economic and political uncertainty have had a direct impact on the implementation of the 8th Five-Year National Socio Economic Development Plan (NSEDP 2016-20), according to a senior government official.

Laos now has two years to implement several related indicators to push forward the country to graduate from Least Developed Country (LDC) status by 2020.

In his keynote speech at the mid-term review of the NSEDP 2016-20, the Minister of Planning and Investment, Dr Souphanh Keomixay, said the government, with financial and technical assistance from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), has been working hard to implement the breakthrough plan.

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“Unfortunately, the circumstances of climate challenges, and the external impacts of political and economic impediments have slowed down the overall performance of Lao economy,” he said.

Dr Souphanh noted that the implementation of the past two years saw an impressive growth of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at 6.8 percent, considered a remarkable rate.

“At a recent UN meeting, Laos voluntarily reported about the progress of implementing several indicators as measures for enabling Laos to graduate from LDC status by 2020. In fact, Laos has passed two out of the three indicators for LDC graduation but we also have to make sure all indicators are firmly supporting sustainable development.”

He revealed that the government still faces tough challenges to tackle the development gap between urban and rural areas as well as the low and middle-income earners in society.

“The remaining exclusive years is needed to have stronger and concrete comments from development partners to fulfil more effective implementation to achieve the goals,” he said, adding that the participants are welcome to contribute their ideas on the plan based on their own experiences.

Meanwhile, the UN Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, Ms Kaarina Immonen, said the mid-term review of the NSEDP 2016-20 will allow the government and development partners to review and assess the progress and challenges for the mid-term implementation of the plan.

“This will also provide the opportunity to lay down the foundations for the next national socio-economic development plan,” she said.

This consultation meeting also allowed government officials to present a revised draft of the mid-term review of the 8th NSEDP, which highlighted and assessed the progress and achievements made so far in order to accelerate efforts and adjust programmes where needed to achieve the desired targets in the remaining plan period.

After various consultations, the mid-term review report will then be forwarded to the National Assembly for endorsement.