The Ministry of Science and Technology has to work harder in developing the sector so that its achievements serve those of other sectors, contributing to socio-economic development in the country.
Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith relayed the message yesterday in his address to scientists, officials and civil servants at a meeting of the science and technology sector being continued in Vientiane this week.
He praised the persistent development of the sector since the Ministry of Science and Technology was founded in 2011, and noted some achievements made by the ministry in various fields in recent years, especially in preparation for the country’s accession to the World Trade Organisation.
Meanwhile, Mr. Thongloun said he wanted the sector to review where the country is in terms of its progress compared to other countries, especially the countries in ASEAN, and at what level its research achievements serve daily life and other sectors that contribute to development.
The PM pointed to the competition that cannot be avoided in the midst of integration, noting the country has to pursue progress for innovation and adopt the modern technology used in socio-economic development in the country, although he stressed that Laos will not undertake research purely for competition.
“We do not emphasise research for competition purposes but we have to pursue research side by side with other countries in the region,” the prime minister said.
He stressed that the sector needs to focus on research in the fields that the country has potential such as clean agriculture and organic crop production, which he said were increasing in demand around the world.
Mr. Thongloun also praised the achievements in rice seed research in the country, while raising the question as to whether the science and technology sector has done the research focused on ensuring safety in the use of chemical substances in agriculture.
In this regard, he reminded the audience about the case of banana farming in some northern provinces. The PM said it was unclear if the cultivation was safe for living or whether it causes environmental impacts.
Prime Minister Thongloun noted the government having given importance to and working to promote scientific research with greater budget funding allocated to research works.
However the PM stressed that the money should not be spent for administrative work or delivered on average to scientists, but be used for obtaining equipment necessary for research work and payment for research achievements.
He called on the Ministry of Science and Technology to do research in the fields required by development straight away and not wait for other ministries or sectors’ proposals.
Prime Minister Thongloun also stressed to the ministry to continue working to strengthen international cooperation in research efforts.
Source: Vientiane Times