The Lao government has issued a new decree on the ethics and morals of civil servants, including a revised code of conduct, which will come into effect early next month.
The decree, No. 184/GoL issued June 29 2019, and signed off by Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith, serves as a reference point for members of Party and government and mass organizations, and to educate civil servants, ensuring they take full responsibility in their roles, follow the law, and treat all citizens and residents with equal politeness and respect.
In particular, the decree prohibits civil servants from abusing their power for personal gain or the benefit of their relatives and people associated with them. Those who fail to abide would face disciplinary action.
Other guidelines defined under the decree include:
1. Treat all citizens with fairness, kindness, politeness, offering respectful and reasonable guidance where necessary.
2. Provide services for citizens with fairness, on time, and without prejudice against gender, age, ethnicity, social status, level of education, or [religious] belief.
3. Properly facilitate citizens without any deliberate obstruction with regard to access to public information.
4. Manage state property by putting the nation, the people, and society first.
5. Never abuse position, abuse power, or take gratuities or accept gifts from individuals or other entities.
6. Upgrade professional expertise and qualifications and improve the performance of their agency.
The government’s move comes amid public frustration over public services.
“The decree is seen as part of the government’s efforts to deliver good public services and address public complaints,” Vientiane Times reported on July 22.
The paper cited the disrespectful and condescending attitude displayed by many civil servants, unacceptably slow service, and demands for something in return as issues in question.
“Some business operators have complained that they are asked to pay unwarranted fees to have their documents completed or approved and if they don’t pay these additional charges, their documents will take a long time to process,” the paper said.
This is not the first time for the Lao government to improve public service.
Some ministries and other government organizations have already set up hotlines to respond to public complaints and the problems people encounter regarding public service delivery.
The government has also previously warned state employees to stop the practices mentioned above.
Photo: Nikkei Asian Review