By Souksakhone Vaenkeo
March 18, 2011
During yesterday’s session of the 9 th Party Congress representatives from several sectors presented their activities and achievements in their areas of responsibility over the past five years, reflecting accomplishments in implementing the five-year resolution adopted by the previous congress.Party Central Committee member and Party Secretary and Governor of Champassak province Sonxay Siphandone spoke about the establishment of village development groups towards forming small districts in rural areas. He said the province regards the strengthening of political foundations and establishment of village development groups at the grass-roots level as its strategic duty. The province has been able to merge 924 small villages into 641 larger villages, which are in turn designated into 64 village development groups to ease development efforts. The province has defined four zones as focal development areas.
Party Central Committee member and Minister of Information and Culture Mounkeo Oraboun described the continued enhancement of the tradition of nationalculture in the new era. He said the ministry has educated the Lao people to enable them to absorb the Party’s guidance on culture over the past five years, particularly the resolution of the Party Central Committee on ‘Cultural affairs in the new era.’ It has also disseminated Lao culture across a wide range of society through various colourful means. Notable achievements were the organising of cultural shows at the opening and closing ceremonies of the 25 th SEA Games held in Vientiane in 2009, celebrations to mark the 450 th anniversary of Vientiane as the national capital last year, and the 35 th anniversary of the founding of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic.
Minister of Finance Somdy Duangdy described the initial achievements in convertingbudgetary affairs of line sectors into a centralised management system. He said after folding the budgetary affairs into the centralised management system almost two years ago further success has followed. The implementation of regulations and laws in relation to finance and budgets are stricter and has been done in a uniform manner across the country. This has minimised various issues including tariff-related collection and closed loopholes regarding revenue leakage. In addition, tax collection management mechanisms have been improved and strengthened.
Party Central Committee member and Party Secretary of the Ministry of Education Dr Phankham Viphavanh said the upgrading of education quality is themain task of human resources development. He said the ministry has formulated strategic plans on national education system reform for 2006-2015 to realise the resolution of the 8 th Party Congress, which indicates ‘Acceleration to reform the national education system’. Through the implementation of the reforms, the education system has recorded positive change and successful outcomes in terms of both quality and quantity. Both private and state-run schools and educational institutions, as well as numbers of students, have been increasing rapidly. More people from various ethnic groups now have access to education.
Party Secretary and Governor of Xayaboury province Dr Lien Thikeo spokeabout improvements to the political regime alongside personnel and Party building at the grassroots level in the province. He said the provincial Party Committee has attached special attention to strengthening political foundations, cadres and Party building at the grassroots level to consolidate structures of the political system from the grassroots level to higher ones, which has overcome the past weakness in foundations and moved towards a more consolidated foundation. However, such matters still fall short of the growing requirements of political duty. Officials are still inadequate in numbers and the leadership ability of some officials is still restricted.
Party Central Committee member and Party Secretary and Governor of Bokeo province Khamman Sounvileud described the initiatives to establish production-promotion groups to promote agricultural production on a commercial basis. To realise the Party’s concept on the establishment of village development groups, the province has encouraged and formed 32 production-promotion groups.Potential farmers have been selected to head the groups. To support the initiative, the province has established agriculture and forestry technical centres to transfer technical know-how on agricultural production to local farmers to boost production for sale. About 70 percent of officials from district agricultural offices have been sent to offer advice to farmers, while provincial authorities offer policy assistance by reducing and even exempting import tariffs for agricultural equipment, seeds and fertiliser to boost the production process. The province has taken action to strengthen marketing chains through contract-farming between farmers and agricultural promotion companies and business units.
Party Central Committee member and Party Secretary and Governor of Xieng Khuang provinceProfessor Dr Somkot Mangnomek talked about Laos-Vietnam cooperation in relation to rural development. He said the province has appointed a committee in charge of cooperation with Vietnam to realise the Party’s guidance. Through cooperation with Vietnam over the past years, the province has recorded better living conditions for people in the three zones designated as focal development areas, and which contain 11,570 people in 1,490 families. Infrastructure, including roads, irrigation systems, schools, hospitals, and dispensaries, has been constructed. All villages are accessible by road and can access gravity-water-fed systems. All school-aged children are enrolled.
Party Central Committee member and President of the Lao Women’s Union Ms Sisay Leudetmounsone described the encouraging progress in implementing the threeprinciples of the union. She said that the 4 th Congress of the union adopted the “three good principles” of ‘Good citizen, Good development, Building happy family’, which was changed into the “three-good-competitive principles” by the 5 th Congress. Encouraging women to achieve the three-good-competitive principles helps to promote the development and advancement of women, as well as gender equality in family and society. To effectively implement the principles, the union at each level has studied detailed implementation methods comprising five steps to attain its targets. The leading committee of the union is responsible for encouraging people from all walks of life to participate.
Party Secretary and Governor of Phongsaly province Khamjane Vongphosypresented details on resettlement and stable job allocation for shifting farmers to alleviate poverty. The province has allocated agricultural and forestry land areas in collaboration with relevant sectors, as well as conducting research to define appropriate jobs for vulnerable farmers. The province has expanded rice plantation areas from 6,241 hectares in 2006 to 6,775 hectares in 2010 with yields of 3.8 tonnes per hectare. This has reduced shifting rice cultivation areas from 2,658 hectares in 2006 to 465 hectares in 2010. The province has promoted commercial crops and industrial tree plantations including tea crops in five districts across 1,888 hectares.