National Assembly (NA) members have called for the government to do more to seek new revenue sources and fully collect revenue following last fiscal year’s revenue shortfall despite there being numerous income generating sources.
Members of parliament put forward the requirement when debating the government’s proposal to revise the next four-year National Socio-economic Development Plan (2017-2020) that seeks to lower economic growth targets following last fiscal year’s failure to meet the growth target.
In the fiscal year that ended in September, only about 95 percent of the targeted revenue of 23.7 trillion kip was collected. The government is also asking parliament to lower the annual economic growth target from at least 7.5 to 7.2 percent.
NA members agreed that many new enterprises had been registered with the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, but revenue recollected by the Ministry of Finance was far short of the potential.
I noted that there have been considerable increases in new registrations with the Ministry of Industry and Commerce but the taxes collected by the Ministry of Finance are probably less than 50 percent [of the potential], NA member for Xayaboury province Mr. Chattava Keokhamphet said.
He recommended that the government, specifically the finance ministry, carry out a survey to identify revenue sources.
The NA member called for the government to specify the proportion of loans and credit issued by various banks to determine whether appropriate amounts were released to promote production, especially the promotion of micro, small and medium enterprises.
NA member for Luang Prabang province, Saysamone Khomthavong, noted that many businesses had submitted fake reports of losses or minimal profit to avoid or minimise tax payments, asking the government to do more to address this issue.
NA member for Vientiane province, Ms Bouavanh Thammavong, called for the government to do more to promote commercial-scale production by making it easier for farmers and agro-businesses to access finance, along with teaching farmers about animal husbandry and crop cultivation.
Many NA members suggested the government work harder to help farmers find markets.
Ms Bouavanh said the government should build more schools in rural communities and find ways to keep students in school after learning that many school-aged children abandon their schools, notably girls.
Although it has been proposed that growth targets be lowered, a National Assembly member for Vientiane, Dr Saysomphone Phomvihane, said it was a good idea to focus more on the quality and sustainability of growth.
He asked the government to specify what factors will drive growth, suggesting that growth should be boosted by sustainable factors.
Growth should be associated with addressing social issues including creating jobs, he said.
He noted that previous growth was driven by unsustainable factors such as mega projects, but once these projects were phased out in the last two or three years growth was impacted.
Source: Vientiane Times