PM Outlines Measures to Drive Growth, Curb Spending

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Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith yesterday instructed authorities to ensure the macro-economy was stabilised along with improving the investment climate as key factors to attract investment and drive growth.

The premier gave the advice during a two-day meeting that ended yesterday. The meeting was convened to give instruction on the implementation of the socio-economic development plan and budget for 2017, which set the target for economic growth at 7 percent.

To attract foreign and domestic private investment, Mr Thongloun told the meeting to streamline procedures and expedite the investment proposal process in a transparent manner.

Mechanisms must be quick, timely and transparent. It [the investment proposal] must be passed through only a single window, he told the more than 500 participants from central and local departments.

Mr Thongloun stressed the need to fully implement the amended Investment Promotion Law, which was passed by the National Assembly at the end of last month.

He said the current project consideration process was too slow and was not transparent.

Let us address the issue beginning with action next month, he told the meeting.

The premier told leading officials from central and local state organisations to ensure that the macro-economy was stabilised, and to keep the inflation rate stable as well as regulating product prices in markets to prevent unnecessary fluctuation. These steps were essential to attract investment.

He told central and local departments to incorporate the 2017 socio-economic development plan into their work plan and programmes based on local potential, saying that much potential remained untapped.

The premier stressed the need to prioritise state-funded investment projects in order to maximise the benefits, particularly infrastructure development projects. He called for the meeting to manage public debt more efficiently otherwise more debt would accumulate.

The prime minister reiterated the need to address recurrent issues that saw state agencies violate financial discipline.

He said the government would reform state-owned enterprises that had incurred losses in an attempt to help them make a profit.

In this regard, he said some state-owned banks and Lao Airlines were seeking foreign partners and some enterprises were likely to find partners.

He also said the government was determined to cut lavish spending by officials, especially on vehicles, after learning that state expenditure had been too extravagant in the past. He added that the Politburo  the top political decision-making body was in agreement with this objective.

He reiterated the government’s determination to ensure that civil servants’ salaries would be paid on time each month in 2017 and instructed the meeting to disburse all salaries that were still outstanding from 2016.

Source: Vientiane Times

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