The government has stressed the need to clearly define revenue sources and to expand electronic collection methods to assist the budget.
The moves aim to ensure all revenue from available sources can be collected for the national budget, minimising problems related to financial leaks.
Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith told the financial sector last week that it’s critical to inspect the reality of revenue sources so the State budget plan will be more accurate.
Mr. Thongloun also referred to a corruption case at Dao Heuang Market in central Pakxe town, Champassak province in June this year.
According to a recent local media report, tax officials reported to Champassak provincial Governor, Dr Bounthong Divixay there were only 235 stalls at the market for tax collection, but in reality the market had 515 stalls.
The problem was revealed when fire broke out at the market in June and market operators reported the real figure to the governor for compensation purposes.
This case alone caused great loss to the national budget and corrupt officials needed to be blamed.
Additionally, state budget embezzlement cases were recorded at border checkpoints over recent years, also resulting in revenue shortfalls for the country.
The Prime Minister said the regular inspection of revenue sources not only notified how business units paid taxes to the government but also discovered new potential revenue sources which could be promoted in the near future.
Without identifying clear sources of revenue, it would be hard for government sectors to formulate accurate financial plans.
Financial officials have been urged to discuss how to increase revenue collections based on the set targets as well as encouraging Lao people into business to create revenue sources in the future.
Mr. Thongloun also cited the importance of installing electronic systems employed in revenue collection for transparency and to help close loopholes for officials’ corruption.
As Laos is now part of the Asean Community, electronic revenue collection systems are needed so the country can be better integrated with the region.
According to the Ministry of Finance, revenue collected over the past 10 months of the 2015-16 fiscal year accomplished only 74.52 percent of the set annual plan approved by the National Assembly.
The shortfall was linked to several factors including fallin g commodity prices, especially of minerals and oil. In addition, the Lao export sector suffered declining prices of agriculture and forestry products such as rubber and coffee. Secondly, there are loopholes in revenue collection that need to be addressed.
The revenue shortfall has further escalated budgetary tensions, creating greater concerns for the government seeking funding to meet budget expenditure needs.
Source: Vientiane Times