Economic Woes, Unemployment, Labor Shortages Raised at Laos National Assembly Session

Constituents Raise Pressing Issues in Laos at National Assembly Session
The Fifth Ordinary of the Ninth National Assembly Legislature. (Photo: Phouthen Pasaxon News)

The ongoing Fifth Ordinary Session of the Ninth National Assembly Legislature has seen numerous issues raised to the government, with constituents recommending measures to resolve pressing economic and social issues faced by the country.

Constituents came together during the National Assembly session today to address some of Laos’ most pressing issues, such as inflation, currency depreciation, labor shortages, and foreign currency management.

Mrs. Xaysomsuen Phothisane, Constituent of the 13th District in Savannakhet province, asked the government to address the current minimum monthly wage in Laos of LAK 1.3 million, recommending an increase of up to LAK 2 million. She and other constituents pinpointed this as the main contributing factor to the current labor shortage and migration of Lao workers to foreign countries for work.

The member for Savannakhet also drew attention to the government’s socio-economic development report, highlighting the low wages of teachers and the subsequent decrease in attendance. She emphasized the pressing issue of the country’s labor shortage, exacerbated by the combination of low government pay and soaring consumer prices.

To try and combat the situation, another constituent recommended the Ministry of Education and Sports consider adding farming and animal husbandry to the national education curriculum. Promoting domestic production, and addressing challenges faced by small and medium-sized enterprises was also discussed.

Constituent Daeng Pathoumthong of District 18 in Xaysomboun Province addressed the Lao government, raising outstanding issues of improper mining practices, forest encroachment and illegal forest burning, across 3,600 hectares in Xaysomboun province. He also asked the government to address the issue of foreign investors using local businesses or people as fronts for mining practices, without actually having any Lao people involved.

Furthermore, Mrs. Hongkham Xayakhom, Constituent of the 13th District in Savannakhet province also addressed the current depreciating value of the local currency and lack of foreign currency reserves.

The constituent suggested the government urge individuals and businesses to deposit foreign currencies into banks, and crack down on currency exchange shops that violate regulations to better control forex prices.

However, Minister of Finance Santiphab Phomvihane addressed the National Assembly, saying that the ministry has developed a work plan to achieve and exceed budget revenue targets for the last six months of 2023.

The plan includes measures such as monitoring provincial revenue collection, increasing value-added tax, collecting revenue from large businesses, combating tax evasion, and improving expenditure management.

The National Assembly will welcome the participation of Lao Prime Minister, Sonexay Siphandone, Lao President Thongloun Sisoulith, high-ranking government officials, and constituents from all over Laos.

The assembly is scheduled to run from 26 June to 18 July.