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Xaysettha Revokes Ruling On Temporary Village Membership Fee

Source: Vientiane Times

Authorities in Xaysettha district, Vientiane, have revoked a notice they had issued following complaints from local residents about the plan to charge a fee for the provision of a temporary certificate of village membership.

The notice was issued on April 9, signed by the District Governor and addressed to office heads, defence and public security forces, village chiefs, businesses and the general public.

It related to measures being put in place to prevent the spread of, control, and preparations to combat Covid-19.

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Among these are nationwide restrictions on travel and visits within communities and villages, following the guidelines on social distancing recommended by the World Health Organisation.

The notice authorised the chiefs of the district’s 48 villages to issue certificates as a village entry pass card to families, for a fee of 30,000 kip per card.

The notice also stated that a family would have to pay another 50,000 kip for a new card if the first one was lost.

In addition, the governor permitted authorities to collect 10,000 kip from each family to support the defence and public security forces.

The district’s residents were unanimous in their disapproval of the ruling which they said was against the spirit of the government’s policy to help people during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The government is currently considering reducing charges or suspending the payment of electricity, water, and telephone bills and other fees in light of the present difficult circumstances.

In support of their complaint that the ruling was unreasonable, some people showed the pass cards that been provided for free in Nakhounnoy village, Naxaythong district.

It is not known if the outpouring of disapproval on social media influenced the district governor’s decision to backpedal, but he revoked the notice one day after it was issued.

On April 10, the governor issued another notice annulling the previous one, which also stated that funding to support the defence and public security forces should be sourced in line with the guidelines of the taskforce committee, and called on all sectors to make voluntary contributions to the extent they were able.