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Covid-19 impact, electricity prices, business facilitation top govt meeting

Policies on reducing the economic impact of Covid-19, electricity tariffs and progress in improving mechanisms to facilitate business operations topped the agenda of the government meeting for this month.
Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith chaired the meeting on June 17, which also focused on the government’s preparation for the upcoming National Assembly session.

The meeting discussed the PM’s report to be disseminated at the session, which includes economic growth and other targets at the macro level, especially the plan for implementing the 10-point policy and nine measures for reducing the economic impact of the Covid-19 crisis.
Cabinet members proposed that it should be clarified which megaprojects would continue to be implemented and that there should be inspections and negotiations for reducing the cost of government investment projects by at least 20 percent.
They also discussed job creation and employment for Lao workers returning from abroad.
The meeting was briefed about the electricity tariff structure proposed by the Ministry of Energy and Mines.
The meeting was informed that there has been progress on some indicators related to the improvement of the mechanism to facilitate business activities in the country, while others have not been addressed sufficiently. The meeting stressed that the related sectors have to enhance planning, coordination, monitoring and collaboration to address the insufficiencies, especially the speed of making amendments to related regulations.
At the meeting’s conclusion, Prime Minister Thongloun outlined the work to be implemented in the last half of this month and next month, and stressed the need to maintain political stability, security and social order, to enhance prevention and address undesirable social conduct, and to monitor the use of social networks and media that spread non-referenced news and social turmoil.
He directed authorities to focus on revenue collection, expenditure management, ensuring salary payments, regulating currency exchange within a set range, commercial production, implementation of government projects, investment promotion, and addressing debts so that businesses can continue their operations.
He also stressed on measures to prevent Covid-19 and to ensure there is no second wave of infections in the country, as well as identifying new measures to ease the situation after June 30.
Prime Minister Thongloun stressed that the taskforce committee on economic impact from the disease should continue to strengthen the effective roll-out of the policy and measures approved by the government for businesses to operate normally and to become stronger gradually.
He also directed the Ministry of Health to collaborate with local authorities to address an outbreak of dengue fever, and the Ministry of Education and Sports to guide educational institutions on following the curriculum and implementing measures for Covid-19 prevention.
In his address at the meeting, Mr Thongloun also gave guidelines to the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry on supporting wet season agriculture, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce on price management, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on preparing for the upcoming 36th Asean Summit, and observing the situation in the region and around the world, which he said would have political, social and economic impacts on the country.

By Somxay Sengdara
(Latest Update June 18, 2020)

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