By Somxay Sengdara
January 1, 2012
A provincial governor has called for more support from the government for rural development through the provision of extra funding and technical assistance.
Governor of Borikhamxay province Mr Pan Noymany made the call yesterday during the 3rd Congress of Political Grassroots and Inclusive Rural Development.
“We still need further help from the central level, particularly in funding and technical assistance,” he said.
Borikhamxay has experienced success in empowering the political grassroots and furthering inclusive rural development over the past five years, which has resulted in increased incomes and improved livelihoods.
The province’s gross domestic product per capita in 2010 was US$974, and is US$1,039 this year. Moreover, 35,064 families had graduated from poverty by the end of 2010, accounting for 81.35 percent of families in the province, and this figure has risen to 36,878 this year.
However, Mr Pan noted that despite these successes, project implementation has faced some difficulties. Government officials involved in the development process are skilled in undertaking surveys of the requirements and needs of local people and in planning training on political ideology. However, they do not possess specialist technical skills in areas such as electricity, so there have been delays in fulfilling some of the province’s plans.
“Although rural development and poverty reduction are fundamental issues, their implementation in practice has been slow because sometimes problems that may be obvious to specialists cannot be solved by the local authorities,” Mr Pan said.
One of the outstanding achievements in rural development was the construction of a gravity-fed irrigation system in Xaychamphone district, which was built by the local people.
The governor said it was good to see local people using locally sourced materials such as bamboo, but this structure would not have lasted long so the authorities gave them stronger materials to use.
Mr Pan called on the central authorities, particularly the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Ministry of Public Works and Transport, and Ministry of Education and Sports to become more involved in development activities by providing advice and recommendations.
He said that despite undertaking population resettlements and creating permanent jobs for local people in 2007, three districts in the province are still officially classified as poor.
Mr Pan also suggested that state and private enterprises join forces in public-private partnerships to boost rural development. Over the first two days of the congress, representatives from line ministries, provinces, districts, villages, collective and individual units presented their success stories and shared their experiences of the development process.
On the last day of the meeting today, Secretary General of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party and President of Laos Mr Choummaly Sayasone will address the meeting, followed by an awards ceremony for outstanding participants in the development process over the past five years.