Hot issues debated at cabinet meeting
A number of hot topics ranging from the illegal drug trade, measures to drive economic growth, and infrastructure development were tabled for debate at the monthly cabinet meeting which began yesterday.
Chaired by Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith, the ordinary meeting for February heard and discussed a report on the planned 14-km expressway running between the city centre and Xaythany district.
The new highway is aimed at easing traffic congestion and improving transport in general.
The six-lane expressway, with a planned width of 70 metres, will be built parallel to Kaysone Phomvihane Road and will run from the Lao International Trade Exhibition and Convention Centre (Lao-ITECC) in Xaysettha district to Dongmakkhai village in Xaythany district.
The cabinet discussion came after the Vientiane People's Council recently approved a proposal to build the expressway, which is estimated to cost between US$150 million to US$200 million.
Officials in charge of the project told the Vientiane Times that finance will be sought from various sources in the form of low-interest loans.
Mr Thongloun called on participants to attach great importance to contributing their opinions at the meeting, which was attended by cabinet members and invited guests.
The meeting also discussed a report on the illegal drug trade, after police arrested the suspected leaders of five different gangs and confiscated several million US dollars.
In addition, the cabinet debated the draft amendment to a Law on Water and Water Resources which aims to improve the management and usage of water resources. The draft of a Law on Domestic Industry Protection was also tabled for discussion.
Participants heard a report on the outcome of the implementation of the socio-economic development plan for October, November and December. This was a transition period after the government changed the start of the fiscal year, which previously began in October, to January.
The meeting also reviewed the implementation of the socio-economic development plan for the first quarter of this year.
The development plan for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) was also presented and discussed along with the 10-year strategy for population registration and statistics (2016-2025).
In an effort to better regulate insecticide use, cabinet members discussed an amended draft of the Prime Ministerial Decree on Insecticide.
Participants also discussed the draft Prime Ministerial Decree on a labour skill development fund, which it is hoped will source funding for the improvement of vocational skills among the general workforce.
A report on the outcomes of the 39th intergovernmental meeting between the Lao and Vietnamese governments was also presented.
The meeting took place after the government cabinet convened an extraordinary meeting for February last week, which approved seven new and amended draft laws. The drafts will be submitted for debate at the upcoming ordinary session of the National Assembly, scheduled to take place in April.
The drafts are draft laws on international conventions and agreements, the civil code, criminal code and the Lao Red Cross, an amended law on public security, and draft laws on radio frequencies and the performing arts.
By Souksakhone Vaenkeo
(Latest Update February 24, 2017)