In line with the national frugality policy (as stipulated in Prime Ministerial Order No. 9*), the Lao government has declared that public servants are prohibited from using state funds to send New Year greeting cards to extend best wishes to senior leaders. They are, however, allowed to send cards to their foreign colleagues, according to a ministerial notice signed by Minister to the Prime Minister’s Office, Phet Phomphiphak.
Due to recent revenue shortfalls, the Lao government has tried to minimize expenses in certain areas perceived as unnecessary, whenever possible. Administrative expenses were the first to experience cutbacks.
While previous notices have not always been as effective as planned, they reflect the government’s idealism and intention to ensure that national resources were being spent on productive endeavors.
The 2017 public revenue collection efforts are estimated to reach only 98% of the annual plan while expenditures are expected to reach 97.5% of the plan, forcing the government to cut back on certain expenses to prevent the country from being dragged into perennial debt.
**Some important features stipulated in the order: banned construction of public office buildings until 2020; prohibition of new vehicle purchases for public affairs for 2018.