The Government of Laos has outlined currency depreciation and high fuel costs as the two most urgent issues it will tackle this month.
Government Spokesperson and Minister to the Prime Minister’s Office, Madame Thippakone Chanthavongsa, said that the government will work on several issues outlined during a recent monthly cabinet meeting held in April, with economic problems being the most pressing.
The cabinet meeting noted that the government must urgently identify and implement measures to manage and stabilize the exchange rate, with the local currency rapidly depreciating. Medium and long-term measures are to be implemented to try to tackle the tumbling currency, but detailed mechanisms are yet to be drawn up.
At the same time, the government also recognizes it must find a way to address rising fuel prices and reduce pressure on commodity prices and the cost of living, which is in the increase alongside rampant inflation.
To do this, the government says it will continue to strengthen the implementation of the National Socio-Economic Development Plan (2021-2025) and incorporate national agendas into implementation to ensure more concrete results.
A greater focus will be placed on the revenue collection for the state budget in accordance with the Plan, as well as finding new sources of revenue and modernizing revenue collection, as well as improving customs and tax collection at international checkpoints across the country.
The government will also encourage mining exploration by licensed mining companies to promote excavation and revenue derived from mineral exports.
Meanwhile, the reformation of state enterprises is to be completed as soon as possible, with Electricite du Laos and Lao Airlines singled out as the most urgently in need of restructuring. The Lao Development State Lottery Enterprise will also be improved to ensure better revenue collection.
The government is also to continue the implementation of austerity policies as it tries to reign in spending by civil servants and government departments, while a decree on procurement and use of state vehicles will be implemented soon.
The improvement of the investment environment was also a hot topic at the meeting, with cabinet members discussing ways to make Laos more attractive to foreign investors. The government hopes to attract more large-scale investment in infrastructures such as highways, special economic zones, and other projects.
Other topics discussed included law enforcement and drug suppression, agricultural production during the rainy season, and Covid-19 prevention and control.
Rural development, local and grassroots administration, and international cooperation were also discussed at April’s cabinet meeting.