Govt Vows Cutbacks in Lavish Spending


Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith has announced that his administration will pursue its plan to curb extravagant spending by state departments, with leaders required to act as role models.

This could be done by restricting the use of state vehicles, ensuring that all state investment projects undergo bidding, and reviewing the unit price for construction projects funded by the state, among other things, the prime minister told the National Assembly (NA) recently.

“Spending in these areas has been too lavish,” Mr Thongloun told the ordinary session of the NA, which ended on Friday.

He made the comment in response to questions raised by NA members regarding the need for frugality.

The premier said the government was about to issue an order condemning extravagance. The government plans to issue several orders in relation to specific areas, he said, adding that the National Policy on Frugality against Extravagance adopted in 2015 was too general and it was necessary to issue specific orders to implement the policy effectively.

Mr Thongloun said he wanted a practical order that could be implemented once it was issued, adding that the government would also seek recommendations from the NA’s Standing Committee before issuing it.

The relevant sectors have been entrusted and prepared to work out details with regard to what unnecessary expenditure will be cut.

The Politburo, the Party’s top decision-making body, has agreed in principle with moves to cut wasteful spending, Mr Thongloun told parliament.

He stressed the need for state officials and leaders to act as role models when it comes to being frugal so that the order, which is set to be issued, is effectively implemented.

“The public keep a watchful eye on officials. Junior officials keep their eyes on their superiors. Leaders must be role models, thus the order will be effective,” Mr Thongloun said. “I believe the NA members will agree on this issue.”

It was important to clarify what should be allocated to leading officials in the way of vehicles and spending on overseas trips. This should include the class of air travel and allowances for different levels of officials, he added.

Spending restrictions during field trips to provinces in Laos also needed to be specified so that duplicate expenditure was avoided, as could happen when both central and local departments covered the spending for a trip.

“Details on these things are needed; although it’s a comparatively small issue, it reflects transparency in ensuring frugality,” the prime minister said.

During the debate, NA member for Attapeu province Mr Leth Xayaphone called on the government to curb lavish spending on the vehicles used by leading officials.


Source: Vientiane Times