Eleventh Party Congress Discusses 6 Targets and 7 Issues

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Prime Minister Thongloun speaks at the 11th Party Congress in Vientiane.
Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith speaks at the 11th Party Congress in Vientiane.

Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith, one of the nation’s top Party officials, announced six overall aims within the purview of the 9th Socio-Economic Development Plan for 2021-2025 during his formal address at the 11th Party Congress held at the National Convention Center in Vientiane Capital yesterday.

The Party Congress, which takes place every five years, is being held this week in the nation’s capital.

While reaffirming the Party’s commitment to socialism, the three-day congress is expected to update the Party constitution, adopt new political decisions and elect a new Party leadership body, which will carry out the 11th Party resolution during 2021-25.

Following the debate of the political report, a new Party Central Committee, members of the Politburo, and a Party Secretary-General will be elected by the congress to oversee the implementation of the Party’s resolution for the next five years.

Six Goals:
Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith determined six targets under the 9th Socio-economic Development Plan for 2021-2025 during his address at the 11th Party Congress.

Economic Growth was the first goal, setting Laos on a path towards sustaining steady and stable economic growth.

Human Resources was the subject of the second target, specifying the need to upgrade the nation’s supply of human capital so that they are better able to match the needs of the labor market in an emerging and developing economy, especially with regard to their knowledge in technology and science.

Standard of Living was the third, with the Party setting forth the goal of raising the material standard of living for the people.

Environmental Protection was the fourth target, calling for conservation of the environment and balancing that with the need for development while mitigating the risks that arise from natural disasters.

Infrastructure was the fifth target, with the Party calling for the strengthening of infrastructure so that its full potential can be realized, with the overall goal of regional and international integration.

Governance made up the sixth target, consisting of the need to improve the mechanisms of state governance so as to ensure that the principles of social equality, justice, and the rule of law are strictly upheld.

Seven Issues:
Apart from the six goals set forth by the Prime Minister, there were also 7 issues identified as to be prioritized and tackled throughout the next five years.

Poverty and social inequality (gap between rich and poor and urban and rural areas): access to public goods (health and education) in remote areas

Economic vulnerabilities: overreliance on economic growth based on natural resource exploitation, low quality of growth, poor distribution of wealth, weak manufacturing capacity

Fiscal vulnerabilities: high public debt, low state revenue collection capacity, financial leakages, the insufficient state budget for development requirements (due to the need to service the public debt).

Monetary supply vulnerability: trade is seen as having a surplus, but the balance of payment has a tendency to decline; prices tend to rise (inflation) and exchange rates fluctuate at times, leading to informal markets.

Covid-19: high unemployment rate, business sectors hit by the epidemic.

Lack of rule of law: poor investment climate.

Low-quality labor force: difficulty in adapting to the new normal and the fourth industrial revolution.