March 14, 2011Former President of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party and the Lao PDR, Mr Khamtay Siphandone, has expressed concern over the country’s progress on the path to development.
At a meeting with core Vientiane officials last week he gave advice on the direction Laos should take if it is to graduate from the UN’s list of least developed countries by 2020 and fulfill all the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015.
Mr Khamtay highlighted the important points that Party members need to focus on in the next five years to reach the goals the Party committed to at the 8th Party Congress in 2006. These goals are intended to ensure that between now and 2015 Laos maintains a strong hold on social order and a steady rate of economic growth, with annual GDP of 8 percent. Officials working in the areas of poverty alleviation and social development must also focus on the Millennium Development Goals.
To achieve the overarching goal of lifting Laos from least developed country status and fulfilling the MDGs, we need to focus on several main targets to improve on the performance of the past five years, Mr Khamtay said.
Above all, it was important to continue to place emphasis on the two-pronged strategy of national protection and development, he said. Development will be achieved hand in hand with defence and public security. The maintenance of stability and solidarity is in line with enhancing the renovation policy on the path to socialism.
Mr Khamtay said Party members will bolster activities to build the economy and modernise and industrialise the country. Party members will focus on rural development to build up political awareness at the grassroots level in remote areas, and will continue to follow policies on socio-economic development. This is the central duty of the entire Party and Lao population. It is also important to create multi-economic institutions at various levels and different dimensions, as well as multi-ownership of commercial economic structures as they are the components and foundation of the national economy.
Apart from state and collective ownership, the government also recognises the ownership of other economic entities having equal rights before the law.
The nation’s development must be sustainable and efforts made to deepen investment. The country’s development must focus on its hidden assets in line with modernisation and industrialisation. The untapped potential of Laos lies in agriculture and forestry, hydropower, the processing industry, transport and tourism, and mining.
The development of agriculture and forestry needs to be comprehensive and aim towards cleanliness and organic production methods.
The development of hydropower and other sources of energy needs to be associated with water resources, the environment and forestry conservation. Mr Khamtay emphasised that mineral excavation and ore processing must be undertaken responsibly and carefully and with set aims, in order to preserve the environment. The development of ore processing must be expanded to make finished products for export rather than exporting raw materials or semi-processed minerals. This goal should be strictly followed.
On the path to economic development, the major policy plan for Lao people in line with natural resources has to be pursued. This must be done by creating various main activities or tasks to bolster production in large areas of the country. More people must work to make the most of the country’s natural resources by expanding agriculture and raising more animals to alleviate poverty and create prosperity. Laos has an abundance of natural resources and should make the most of these assets.
Mr Khamtay also explained that human resource devel opment was important and more emphasis should be placed on this area. Education standards need to be raised to produce skilled personnel and a strong labour force to work for development. An improved system of education is essential because we need skilled politicians to administer the country, knowledgeable businesspeople, and scientists and researchers. In addition, it’s important to tackle social problems early on, for the benefit of economic development.
Mr Khamtay said the strengthening of state power should be comprehensive and in keeping with the country’s circumstances, with the aim of it being revered, effective, and transparent.
We should work towards building a state governed by the rule of law, that is of the people, for the benefit of the people and serves the people. In building society, we must pursue democracy in the administration of state and society so that all civil servants abide by and respect the law.
In addition, Mr Khamtay stressed the need to improve the structure of local and central administration and to strengthen local administration so there was greater coordination between the central and local levels. This would ensure unity in administration and greater efficiency at all levels. He also said Laos should pursue its foreign policy of peace, independence, cooperation and development with all nations, as well as creating favourable conditions for the nation’s development.