Laos: Govt vows to further boost economic growth

The Ministry of Finance has been instructed to re-inspect sources of revenue and the taxes paid by businesses as well as identify challenges that need to be addressed in the years to come.

The government agreed to use more electronic methods in tax collection in the wake of a revenue shortfall and vowed to deal with financial leaks.

These were some of the highlights of a two-day meeting held between government cabinet members, the Vientiane mayor and provincial governors, which wrapped up on Friday.

The meeting was chaired by Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith and also attended by representatives from the National Assembly, judicial bodies, and Party and mass organisations.

The Ministry of Planning and Investment was told to re-prioritise State investment projects to determine which projects should be carried out first, and ensure the effectiveness of those projects.

The Bank of the Lao PDR was asked to maintain stable exchange rates and boost foreign currency reserves to further facilitate economic growth.

Prime Minister Thongloun stressed the need to seek more funding for the payment of debts owed to State development projects and pointed to the importance of levying taxes on luxury goods.

The prime minister reiterated the importance of enhancing productivity and building up the business sector in various regions according to their potential.

Mr Thongloun called for all sectors to maintain security and social order by addressing social ills, particularly drug use and trafficking, robbery, and road accidents.

Concerning the enforcement of government orders, resolutions, decisions and notices, the meeting agreed that these had been implemented fruitfully in past years.

Nevertheless, the enforcement of some legislation had not progressed as anticipated so the meeting agreed to improve collaboration between the relevant sectors so that orders and regulations were strictly complied with.

The government also stressed the importance of using modern technology in State administration including computers, internet and other electronic devices to improve collaboration between State sectors.

Meeting participants discussed the enforcement of Prime Minister’s Order No. 15 issued on May 13, 2016, which bans the export of all types of unfinished wood products including timber and logs.

The government is committed to strongly enforcing this order in the battle to clamp down on the illicit trade in wood, and vowed to penalise all those who contravened the order.

The meeting discussed plans to bolster commercial production and food security and the government’s preparations for Visit Laos Year 2018.

In addition, the government debated issues concerning obstacles to the construction of the Laos-China railway and the payment of compensation for people affected by the US$5.8 billion railway, which will link Vientiane to the Chinese border.