NA Session Opens to Debate National Issues
The National Assembly (NA)’s Eighth Legislature opened its second ordinary session yesterday to debate issues of national importance.
These include the National Socio-economic Development Plan (NSEDP), state budget, monetary policy, audit results, the work of prosecutors and judges, and legislation approval.
President Bounnhang Vorachit, Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith, ministers, invited guests from Party organs, government bodies and agencies, and business representatives attended the opening ceremony.
In her opening remarks, NA President Ms Pany Yathotou outlined the current political and economic situation both in Laos and globally.
She said political stability and social order had been maintained and economic growth was high compared to other countries in the region.
Monetary stability has also been maintained and investment has increased, while rural development, poverty reduction and the Sam Sang (Three Builds) directive have been implemented continuously, contributing to the achievement of several indicators of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
Ms Pany mentioned the slump in the market price of various commodities, notably minerals and rubber, saying this had affected the country’s exports and revenue as well as farmers’ livelihoods.
She also referred to the limited state funding available for the repayment of government investment projects, along with law enforcement, which she said had not yet been consolidated and, along with other factors, had contributed to the failure to reach certain targets.
Ms Pany noted the requirements imposed on Party and government bodies and agencies, businesses and all ethnic groups in working faster to achieve the four breakthrough approaches, along with investment climate improvement, strengthening of administrative principles, and addressing anti-social activities.
After the opening ceremony, NA members began their debate of the implementation of the NSEDP and state budget for 2015-16, plans for 2017, and amendments to the NSEDP and budget and monetary plans for the next four years introduced by Prime Minister Thongloun, Minister of Planning and Investment Dr Souphanh Keomixay, and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Mr. Somdy Duangdy.
Consideration of a report on the NA’s oversight of decrees and orders issued by the government, and a report on the results of an inspection into the use of chemicals harmful to crops and human health will be new topics on the agenda.
NA members will consider an audit of the implementation of the state budget for the 2014-15 financial year, a report on the audit plan for the state budget in 2015-16, and the audit plan for next year.
They will debate reports by the Office of the Supreme Public Prosecutor and Supreme People’s Court on their activities over the past five years, their next-five year plans, and plans for 2017.
Sixteen newly drafted laws and draft amendments to promulgated laws will be discussed and possibly approved at the session, which will run until November 18.
The newly drafted laws submitted to the NA for consideration are the Law on Information and Communication Technology, Law on Management of Chemical Substances, and Law on Special Economic Zones.
The draft amendments relate to the Law on Public Roads, Media Law, Law on Government, Law on Handling Petitions, Law on Defence Lawyers, Law on Investment, Law on Audit, Law on Livestock and Veterinary, Law on Plant Protection, Law on National Assembly, Law on Provincial People’s Councils, and the Law on Oversight by the National Assembly and Provincial People’s Councils.
The Criminal Code was submitted to the NA to sound out the opinion of Assembly members.
Representatives from the Ministry of Planning and Investment, Bank of the Lao PDR, Ministry of Industry and Commerce, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Ministry of Home Affairs, and the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare will respond to queries raised by NA members concerning issues under these bodies’ responsibility.
NA members will also debate the Assembly’s activities over the last six months of 2016, and plans for next year.
Source: Vientiane Times