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PM Reveals Measures to Bolster Economic Growth

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Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith told the National Assembly (NA) that the government will employ a number of measures to spur economic growth amid the current economic and financial constraints.

The prime minister on Monday responded to questions raised by Assembly members about stimulus measures and policies the government will take to boost the economy.

The government pledged to ensure a stable and steady macro economy through the harmonised implementation of financial and currency policies and measures to ensure annual economic growth of at least 7 percent.

The prime minister committed to closely follow up the implementation of tax and customs policies and regulations as well as amending them appropriately in order to promote investment and business operations.

Laos is suffering from chronic debt, budget and trade deficits, violation of financial discipline, and revenue leaks, which are the main reasons for the current economic and budget difficulties, Mr. Thongloun told the lawmakers.

He said the government will strive to relax budget tensions, while exploring more financial sources to balance the budget deficit as well as gradually disburse debt.

The government will continue to regulate interest rates on deposits and loans at commercial banks so they are conducive to greater productivity and business operations. The government will identify measures to expand and manage loans to encourage greater investment in micro, small and medium enterprises.

The government will reform state-owned commercial banks that are still making losses so that they become more commercially viable.

The government will attach great importance to harmonising financial and currency policies to create a strong government domestic bond market as a source of capital, he told the session. Mr. Thongloun also announced that revenue collecting mechanisms would be reformed systematically to ensure the effective and transparent collection of revenue. The government will closely follow up and improve mechanisms to ensure the effective implementation of budgets and financial plans. At the same, frugality would be enforced to counter extravagance through an Order which the government will soon issue.

The government will push sectors and localities to explore and make full use of all untapped potentials then draw up plans to maximise these potentials in a bid to alleviate poverty, especially in rural communities.

Additionally, the government will evaluate and draw lessons from the implementation of the Three Builds devolution directive, to increase its effectiveness.

The prime minister also committed to improve ease of doing business and the investment climate by removing barriers that caused difficulties for business operators.

We will amend some laws and regulations, which will contribute significantly to creating confidence among investors in a timely fashion, he told the lawmakers.

Mr. Thongloun promised to rejuvenate the Board of Investment Promotion to ensure effective performance of the one-door service to accelerate the investment approval process.

The government will inspect and re-improve mechanisms that don’t coincide with laws, and push various sectors to strengthen their coordinated action to facilitate investment and business operations,  he said.

The government will improve mechanisms for the transparent and faster consideration and approval of issues proposed by investors in line with the laws and regulations.

Mr. Thongloun pledged to more strongly promote the services and production areas in which Laos has potential, such as green agricultural production, organic agriculture, the processing industry, historical and cultural tourism as well as ecotourism, along with transit and logistics services among others. The government vowed to push for the effective implementation and operation of those investment projects already approved, especially mega projects that have a significant impact on the economy, while minimising environmental and social impacts.

The government will strive to improve state-owned enterprises for effective commercial operation so that these enterprises contribute significantly to the national economy.

Currently, the government is carrying out studies with a view to improving Electricite Du Laos, Lao Airlines, and two state-owned banks. In addition, improvements are being carried out in other state enterprises that are making a loss, lack transparency and operate inefficiently, Mr. Thongloun said. The state will no longer subsidise or carry burdens, he told the parliament.

I believe if we can improve and strengthen state enterprises, they will become an important driver of our economy.

The prime minister committed to streamline mechanisms towards greater transparency, speed, and effective and efficient governance.

 

Source: Vientiane Times