Residents and merchants in Vientiane Capital have urged the government to intervene and address the rising cost of living.
A weakening local currency (LAK) has increased the cost of living in Laos while also affecting the business sector during the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to KPL.
Merchants at Dongdok and Phonsavang market say the prices of food products such as beef, pork, eggs, vegetables, and fish have increased, despite domestic production.
“We must try to cope with the depreciation of the Lao Kip against the Thai baht when we import certain Thai products for market sale,” said one merchant at Dongdok Market.
“We can’t stay in business without raising the price of our items, but of course we are concerned for our customers as well,” other merchants complained.
Consumers, particularly those with low incomes, have been heavily impacted by the rising cost of living.
Residents in Vientiane Capital say the price of fresh goods has increased alarmingly, particularly eggs, which used to be a reliably cheap item in Laos.
The price for one package of 30 eggs is now over LAK 35,000, up from between LAK 22,000 to LAK 26,000 in previous months.
Meanwhile, the Covid-19 crisis has had an effect on businesses in Laos, as well as the weakened Lao currency, which has driven up product prices with most raw materials imported.
The rising cost of living comes at a time when thousands of migrant workers pour back into the country from Thailand, where the rapid spread of Covid-19 has left them without access to medical assistance.
At its recent monthly meeting, the government committed to stabilizing the macroeconomy, increasing productivity, and attracting greater investment into the country, according to Vientiane Times.
Government leaders have also pledged to do more to prevent the spread of Covid-19, including increasing border controls and preparing for the repatriation of Lao laborers from Thailand.