December 27, 2012
The government has approved about 13 billion kip to fund research studies as Laos seeks ways to sustain economic growth, according to a senior government official.
Speaking at a seminar held in Vientiane yesterday on research projects, Minister of Planning and Investment Somdy Duangdy said the government had allocated 13.8 billion kip, or 0.8 percent of the total domestic budget, to social and economic policy and investigative studies.
“The move is one of the best reflections that the Party and government realise the importance of and pay great attention to scientific research to support the implementation of the national socio-economic development plan,” he said.
Researchers from the Ministry of Planning and Investment, Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, Ministry of Industry and Commerce and the Lao National Economic Research Institute attended the seminar to share their opinions on the results of eight research topics.
Among the topics discussed were the change in the country’s economic structure, the balance of labour supply, trends in global economic development, and the maintenance of economic stability.
Mr Somdy said there are 73 studies underway in the area of social issues and economics. Fifty-seven are being carried out by central government agencies while 16 are being conducted by local authorities.
He said the results of these studies would be used as a source of reference when the government and the sectors concerned formulate policies and directions for the implementation of the National Socio-economic Development Plan for 2011 to 2015.
Director General of the Lao National Economic Research Institute, Dr Liber Leebuapao, thanked the government and the sectors involved for providing financial support and close supervision for the researchers when performing their assigned roles and duties.
He said one of the main challenges of research activities was that this kind of work was new to government officials and there were no set mechanisms, regulations or specific agencies to approve the results of research. In addition, the capacity of the researchers involved was limited.
Dr Liber said he would like the government to continue allocating funding for research projects so the results could be used as a reference when drawing up socio-economic development policies that would meet the country’s real needs.
The government is targeting GDP growth of at least 8 percent from 2011 to 2015. This will create a solid foundation for Laos to achieve its poverty reduction goals and UN Millennium Development Goals by 2015.
Laos needs studies on how to put various policies into practice to ensure effective implementation of the seventh Five Year National Socio-economic Development Plan.