PM urges Vientiane to tackle city's challenges
Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith has urged Vientiane authorities to strengthen their efforts to address various issues that are challenging development in the capital.
Public debt and traffic congestion are among the main challenges and were tabled for discussion between the prime minister and authorities last Friday at the Vientiane Administrative Office.
In his report on the current situation, Mayor of Vientiane Dr Sinlavong Khoutphaythoun told the prime minister that public debt had climbed to over 8 trillion kip. Revenue collected in the capital last year reached 11 trillion kip, while total investment stood at around 37 trillion kip.
According to the mayor, revenue was insufficient to fund expenditure, and the amount amassed was 10 percent short of the target.
Mr Thongloun noted that Vientiane was a huge revenue base and asked if the shortfall was due to an inadequate number of revenue sources or whether they were not all being tapped.
If the shortfall was due to the latter reason, the authorities should improve their collection methods. He also said debts should be paid in a transparent and fair manner, and without the involvement of double standards. He said contractors who made more progress in the development of their projects should be paid more.
Vientiane's economic growth exceeded 10 percent last year and average income per capita stood at US$4,700. Mr Thongloun said that highlighting GDP was not the right approach and asked the authorities to instead consider how income was distributed among each family.
Concerning the traffic congestion that would be caused by the construction of a proposed expressway from the ITECC Mall to Donnoun, Mr Thongloun advised the authorities to consider the most appropriate form of investment.
He also noted that about 20 road accidents occurred on average in Vientiane each day, which he said was high in relation to the country's population when compared to other countries in the region and the world.
He wanted the authorities to learn from countries that have succeeded in reducing accidents.
Grassroots development, organisational improvement, disruptive forms of entertainment, and drug abuse were all discussed by Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith and Vientiane authorities on Friday.
The prime minister called for the strengthening of grassroots development through the Sam Sang (Three Builds) directive. He pushed for the improvement of public services, which he said should be delivered with sincerity, honesty and dedication, saying this would attract more public contribution to government and state affairs.
Mr Thongloun also said that Vientiane was the heart of national culture and home to the offices of many international organisations.
He called on Vientiane authorities to take into account the regulation of entertainment venues, which he said caused considerable annoyance. Tackling this chronic problem would be one way to reduce undesirable social conduct.
He also told meeting participants that the battle against drugs in Laos had begun in earnest.
By Times Reporters
(Latest Update March 20, 2017)