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Finance ministry welcomes public feedback with new hotline

The Ministry of Finance has launched the hotline number 1519 to better connect with members of the public so that consumers can more easily air complaints or provide recommendations regarding finance sector operations in the country.

According to a notice issued by the Ministry of Finance Office recently, the hotline that opened April 7 is already fielding questions, comments and suggestions relating to the finance sector and providing recommendations regarding performance of the sector from all officials on behalf of their constituencies as well as concerned members of the public.

Issues raised and questions posed will be answered via the media programme of the ministry such as Finance and Development programme on Lao-PSTV channel on Friday at 20:30-21:00pm and Saturday at 7:00-7:30am.

They will also be addressed on radio of Ministry of Public Security on 105.5 MHz on-air on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday at 12:30-13:00pm as well as in various newspapers.

The new hotline is the latest in a growing trend in Laos. Last year many sectors also opened hotline numbers and call centres to improve service in society.

Several state bodies now operate hotlines, encouraging citizens to voice their concerns and seek explanations and solutions from relevant bodies.

In December 2016, state electricity provider Electricite du Laos (EDL) opened a call centre with the phone number 1199 allowing consumers to make complaints or recommendations regarding the company's operations.

EDL encourages the public to comment on matters such as electrical faults and fires, billing errors, customer service provided by officials, and any other issues.

In November, the government executive also provided a telephone hotline number (1516) so that members of the public could make suggestions regarding government performance.

In the notice to announce the hotline, the Prime Minister's Office said it was provided on the advice of Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith.

Observers welcomed the move, but said it was equally important to ensure that the issues people raise were taken seriously and addressed in a timely and efficient manner.

The Ministry of Industry and Commerce opened a hotline (1510) in June 2016 to enable members of the public to inform them about trade-related issues.

Since then, numerous calls have been made informing the Ministry about problems ranging from the sale of out-of-date foods, unreasonably high electricity bills, public transport scams and internet service problems, according to officials recent reports.

The Ministry of Public Security opened a hotline (1191) in August 2016 as part of the Police Command Centre Project. It enables callers to inform police about crimes and other social issues, thereby easing the process of investigation and more efficiently addressing security issues.

People who want to report an emergency or are in need of assistance from the police can call the hotline free of charge.

A few years ago, the National Assembly launched its own hotline (156), which operates during ordinary sessions twice a year.

The hotline has received upwards of 1,000 calls during debate sessions, following which the Assembly invites the agencies responsible to clarify the issues raised by callers.

By Times Reporters
(Latest Update April 20, 2017)

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