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Ministry to tackle deficiencies in public works, transport

Effective road construction and repairs, land transport management, planning and strict financial discipline, the country’s regional and global integration and connectivity, and devolution in the sector are issues to be addressed this year.
The Ministry of Public Works and Transports revealed the agenda at its technical meeting which began yesterday in Vientiane in preparation for the upcoming national meeting to be held this week.
At its national meeting in 2016, the ministry identified 19 main issues to be addressed.
Addressing lax planning and financial discipline by central and local authorities has been identified as the highest priority for the sector. Issues raised include projects without clear planning focus, chronic debt from the use of the administrative budget, lack of early planned procurement, borrowing made by departments in advance, and the confusion of roles between the planning and finance divisions.
Addressing these related problems has progressed and the ministry will take this into account during discussions at the upcoming national meeting.  
The enhancement of quality, effectiveness, and technical standards during road construction and repairs will also be a priority on the meeting agenda.
In his opening remark yesterday, Minister of Public Works and Transport, Dr Bounchanh Sinthavong revealed the progress in addressing the deficiencies such as the establishment of a document to educate sector Party members and civil servants nationwide about the responsibility of technical experts to the national economy.
The ministry finished drafting of an order of the Prime Minister on strict procedures in survey and design for construction, technical standards, work description and quantities, and unit prices for infrastructure construction and repairs.
To enhance road work, the ministry will focus on improving construction quality and standards, capabilities of construction companies, quality control for construction and repairs, reasonable prices per unit, and controlling the use of road funding.
“We will continue to address the shortcomings as all these are core issues which the public expects our sector to address, especially enhancing construction quality to international standards, and strengthening the role of consulting companies,” Dr Bounchanh said.
Regarding land transport, discussions will involve the management of passengers and freight, vehicles and traffic management which includes vehicle registration, issuing driving licenses, addressing traffic congestion and road safety, and instituting land transport inspectors.
The topics to be raised on the country’s regional and global integration and connectivity will be based on conditions relevant to its five neighbours.
The upcoming meeting will discuss the devolution between central and local authorities following the Sam Sang directive.

By Somxay Sengdara
(Latest Update March 27, 2019)

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