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Party resolves to boost economic growth amid pandemic

Government sectors have been urged to further stimulate economic growth amid the Covid-19 pandemic and global economic slump, which have taken a heavy toll on Laos’ economy.   
This was one of the main aspects of a resolution approved at the 11th Session of the 10th Party Central Committee which wrapped up in Vientiane on Friday.
Chaired by Party Secretary General and President Bounnhang Vorachit, the five-day meeting called on the authorities to improve the business climate and push for more private investment.
According to the office of the Party Central Committee, the government should ramp up commercial production so that more goods are produced for domestic consumption and export.
As part of this, it is essential that red tape and bureaucracy is further reduced to enable private enterprises to cut production costs and quickly set up factories to produce goods for export.
Although Laos remains free of any severe health impacts resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic, the effect on the economy, particularly on the tourism industry, has been widespread.
Prior to the pandemic, tourism was growing significantly. International visitor arrivals rose by 14.4 percent, reaching a peak of 4.7 million in 2019 and generating income of about US$934 million, according to the Asian Development Bank.
The Party Central Committee, which serves as Laos’ political decision-making body, instructed the government to tackle the country’s significant debt burden and plug financial leaks, as well as improving state-owned enterprises so their operations are more effective and efficient.
In recent years, the Ministry of Finance has tried to expand the e-tax payment system to all provinces and more sectors.
Last year, the government introduced a new tax revenue management information system in major towns of seven provinces. As a result, tax revenue increased by 20 percent in the first six months of 2019 compared to the year before.
In June, the government predicted that Laos would suffer huge losses due to the pandemic this year, with the economy expected to grow by only 3.3-3.6 percent.
The pandemic has devastated tourism, investments and exports, which are key sources of foreign exchange for Laos.
However, a number of mega development projects continue to make progress as planned. Construction of the Laos-China railway is currently more than 90 percent complete and is on track for full completion next year.
Construction of the Vientiane-Vangvieng Expressway is also 90 percent complete and will open for public use in December.
Other mega projects relating to mining, special economic zones and tourism have also seen significant progress.    
In the meantime, the authorities are still struggling to regulate food prices because many products are imported and must be purchased with currencies whose exchange rates are fluctuating.

 

By Times Reporters
(Latest Update
October 19,
2020)


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