March 25, 2013
The government’s monthly meeting on March 19-21 discussed and approved several fundamental issues aimed at accelerating the pace of national development, amid growing regional integration.
Chaired by Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong, the meeting adopted measures to address problems related to foreign workers in Laos as proposed by the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare. The measures aim to ensure better management of foreign labourers in Laos.
The government accepts that overseas workers are necessary at this time of regional integration but says it is important to regulate them based on the country’s laws, to ensure order and security.
The government also approved a draft resolution of the Party Politburo on converting state property into capital, before submitting the document to the Party Politburo.
The resolution calls for studies on the potential and efficient use of state property with the goal of driving socio-economic development. It is envisaged this would help to reduce the misappropriation of funds as a result of improperly converting state property into capital, of which the main examples are the leases and concessions awarded to investment projects.
The government meeting also approved a report on the relocation of government offices in Vientiane. The relocation is deemed desirable as the rate of development in the capital has surged over the past 20 years, resulting in significant population growth and increasing traffic congestion.
The report identified zones for various government offices including ministries and central level organisations, as well as plans for infrastructure development and other facilities.
In addition, the meeting discussed a draft decree on the allowances to be granted to inspection officials. This is aimed at enabling inspection officials to carry out their work more efficiently and fulfill their obligations as assigned by the nation.
The government also approved in principle two mega-projects in Xieng Khuang province. These are the Khangvieng and Meuang Mork focal point development project for poverty reduction, and the building of facilities for the 11th National Games to be held in Xieng Khuang province.
The meeting also discussed issues related to the construction of international airports in Huaphan and Attapeu provinces, to ensure the projects are implemented successfully.
Mr Thongsing called on cabinet members to ensure that revenue is collected as planned so there are sufficient financial reserves for planned expenditure in the areas of economic development and poverty reduction.
He said the sectors responsible need to make sure that all land taxes and other revenues are paid as required, and to put a stop to inappropriate tax and tariff exemptions.
The prime minister urged the cabinet to address problems related to the salaries paid to teachers and retired officials.
He also insisted that the authorities stop allowing private companies to pay for state projects at the outset and be refunded by the government later, saying this kind of arrangement will only create debt for the government.
Mr Thongsing also urged the relevant sectors to manage the price of goods sold in markets to ease the hardship of ordinary people, and to address the problem of consumers being taken advantage of by traders.