By Somxay Sengdara
December 31, 2011
Lao People’s Revolutionary Party Secretary General and President of Laos Mr Choummaly Sayasone has called on the nation to come together to narrow the development gap between rural and urban areas.
Mr Choummaly made the call yesterday when addressing the issue at the 3rd Congress of Political Grassroots and Inclusive Rural Development.
“Despite our many achievements of which we can be proud, it is clear that poverty and the gaps in infrastructure development and living standards between people living in urban areas and rural areas remains very large. This is a huge problem which requires us to actively break through and address the issue in accordance with the Resolution of the Ninth Party Congress,” he said.
After many development projects have been undertaken in recent years, 6,537 villages now have roads that are passable all year round, 759 village groups have post offices, 60 percent of villages have telephones or mobile phone connections, and 99 percent of districts have electricity in some villages.
About 47 percent of families have officially been given developed family status, 800 villages have graduated to developed status, and 11 village groups have been named as developed.
President Choummaly noted that only success in poverty reduction and achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015 will enable Laos to graduate from Least Developed Country by 2020 and provide the foundation for progress to industrialisation and modernisation.
To target poverty reduction and achieve the MDGs, the President said, Laos must continue with its strategic measures in grassroots community building, and work towards more effective and wider inclusive rural development.
President Choummaly also stressed the importance of sustainability as the country develops, especially in rural areas. He recommended that all government departments, authorities and developers draw up clear development action plans, starting by educating rural people about political ideology, making a living through commercial production, and the need to pay more attention to healthcare and education.
If importance is placed solely on infrastructure development, without regard to establishing a political consensus and professional training for local people, then many projects will either fail or fall into disrepair, he said.
He called on all the people to keep development as the first priority in the country’s fight to escape poverty. Party organisations and authorities at all levels need to work closer with the people to guide the work, and mobilise all divisions and units, expertise and funds with a focused plan. The task of development is a battle which all the people need to fight together.
Laos currently has 1,674 outstanding development villages, 9,559 outstanding families, 31,416 outstanding developers, and 353 outstanding business operators.
Of these, 72 development villages, 31 families, and 320 people who have dedicated themselves to the task of national development were awarded the Labour Order Class 1 yesterday in a special ceremony conducted by President Choummaly, Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong, and Vice President Bounnhang Vorachit, who presented the medals.
Other people were also recognised for their contributions to the nation, and were presented with Class 2 and 3 Labour Orders, Labour Medals and government issued certificates of congratulations.