Laos: Govt pledges to tackle public debt, price increases
The government has vowed to further address mounting public debt and the vulnerability of the macroeconomy to prevent the country from being dragged into default.
At the two-day monthly cabinet meeting which wrapped up on Friday, the sectors concerned were told to bring currency exchange rates under control and put a cap on inflation, to minimise the impacts on the general public.
Chaired by Prime Minister Phankham Viphavanh and attended by cabinet members, the meeting instructed the entities responsible to quickly address the debts accumulated by state-owned enterprises and to prevent the accruement of unnecessary debt.
The government stressed the need to further reform Electricite du Laos and the Lao State Fuel Enterprise to ensure they operate efficiently in the future.
The departments responsible were also urged to improve the effectiveness of state-funded development projects and improve the investment climate in order to spur business growth.
Government Spokesperson Mrs Thippakone Chanthavongsa told a press conference that authorities must push for the fulfilment of foreign-funded development projects approved by the government and ensure the inflow of more foreign currency into Laos by carefully inspecting the contracts signed by foreign investors.
The bodies responsible also need to make sure that rail services are improved to facilitate tourism sector.
The government pledged to address the aftereffects of flooding around the country and ordered authorities to provide relief aid and repair damaged roads, bridges and irrigation systems.
In addition, the government will tackle unemployment and attempt to train up more people to meet the needs of the job market.
Several important documents were endorsed during the meeting, with the first relating to the strategy on adaptation to climate change and water resource management until 2030.
Another concerned the management of agricultural land until 2030 and 2040. The government says it is essential to clearly define areas of agricultural land and spell out the measures needed to conserve land for commercial crop production and to ensure food security in Laos.
A report on the financial self-sufficiency of state agencies was debated. The sectors responsible were instructed to revise legislation in this regard to facilitate a pilot project aimed at the financial self-reliance of state-run entities.
A master plan on land use and development was outlined, which proposes to extend the Patouxay park in central Vientiane. This would see the Ministries of Justice, Public Works and Transport, and Agriculture and Forestry relocated to other areas.
Vientiane authorities were told to hire professional engineers to design the new site, which would be a landmark development and a focus of attraction in the capital.
Meeting participants also discussed the possibility of relocating the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Consular Department to another area to ease traffic congestion. It was noted that financial constraints precluded this taking place in the near future, but it was agreed that changes must be made to ensure easier access.