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NA session set to approve five laws in support of national agendas

Amendments to five laws and other pressing issues will be debated at an extraordinary session of the National Assembly scheduled for next week.
The amendment of the five laws is designed to support the two newly-defined national agendas, which have been put in place to tackle the country’s economic and financial difficulties and drug abuse.
Drafts of the five amended laws are expected to be approved by NA members on August 5-10 (excluding Saturday and Sunday) and relate to tax, value added tax, income tax, excise tax, and drugs.

The government’s reports on the two national agendas are also tabled for debate, NA Secretary General Mrs Pingkham Lasasimma told a press conference on Wednesday.
The cabinet’s monthly meeting on July 26-27 agreed to amend some articles of the five laws before submitting the changes to the NA.
Officials say the NA’s approval of the five laws is essential, as they are required as a legal instrument and firm foundation for the government to implement the two national agendas.
The national agendas were adopted by the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party’s central committee at an extraordinary plenary session convened from June 21-25 at its headquarters in Vientiane.
The Party Central Committee has already agreed on measures needed to address the economic difficulties presented by the government.
These include strengthening revenue collection, encouraging austerity, increasing the effectiveness of state investment, spending and debt repayment, and stabilising the kip.
During the NA session next week, lawmakers will hear the government’s report on the Covid-19 outbreak and measures imposed by the government to curb the spread of the virus.
The government is struggling to deal with the Covid crisis due to the influx of workers returning from Thailand, where the virus is rampant.
At least 30 percent of returnees have tested positive for Covid with most having contracted the Delta variant, a highly infectious strain which has been reported in neighbouring countries.
Laos is vulnerable, not only to the Covid-19 pandemic, but also to climate change and natural disasters.
Fluctuations in currency exchange rates, rising inflation, mounting public debt and rising prices of products in markets have all ramped up pressure, not only on the government, but on people’s attempts to earn a living.
Over the past six months, the amount of revenue amassed totalled 11.05 trillion kip, equalling 40 percent of the amount planned for the whole year.
The projected revenue shortfall could result in the budget deficit rising from 3.9 trillion kip (2.17 percent of GDP) to 7.9 trillion kip (4.33 percent of GDP) this year.

By Somsack Pongkhao
(Latest Update
July 30,

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