Laos Hopes to Pay Off USD 14 Billion Debt by 2025

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Foreign debt to the tune of USD 13 billion and domestic debt of USD 900 million will be paid off with revenue earned from mining operations and revamped state enterprises.

Vientiane Times reports that Minister of Finance, Bounchom Ubonpaseuth spoke at the National Assembly’s ninth legislature recently, saying that the country plans to pay debts over the next five years, from 2021-2025, and then from 2026-2030 with newly identified revenue streams.

The government says it will try to raise revenue from new sources as well as exploring the potential for further income from the mining and energy sector.

According to Minister Bounchom, the government believes it can generate at least LAK 10 trillion (USD 1 billion) in the next five years, with 82 new mining projects having being approved.

“Revenue from the exploitation of natural resources and concessions should amount to LAK 400 billion per year, with taxes paid by Lane Xang Minerals and Phu Bia Mining alone accounting for USD 170 billion,” said Minister Bounchom.

Laos to Develop Gold Mine in Xaysomboun (mining)
A gold mine operation in Laos.

Debt repayment is one of the strategies proposed to complete a national agenda outlining the steps necessary to solve financial and economic challenges.

The national agenda was adopted by the National Assembly’s extraordinary session, which has set a timeframe for its implementation of two and a half years, or by the end of 2023.

At the same time, the country’s failed state enterprises are to be reformed under a new plan that could see top executives sacked.

Under the plan, professionals will take top positions instead of government officials, while executive boards will have more power to oversee performance.

During the National Assembly session, Minister Bounchom told members of parliament that if the measures for debt payment can be put in place, the government may not need to borrow more money to pay off its debts.