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Minister of Public Works and Transport, Mr Ngampasong Muongmany, speaks at the National Assembly.

Govt to allocate more funding for road repairs

The government will provide more funding for flood recovery efforts and road repairs.
Addressing the National Assembly this week, Minister of Public Works and Transport, Mr Ngampasong Muongmany, said that in the past the Ministry of Public Security had provided financing for this work from government funds set aside for emergency disaster relief in conjunction with that provided by local government agencies, which is partly used to assess the extent of damage caused.
He explained that the National Disaster Management Committee under the Ministry of Planning and Investment, and the Ministry of Finance, have also provided funding for flood recovery and road repairs.
However, the first instalment of the allocated budget was not made available for emergency work. The government's specific budget for disaster recovery, which comes from the Ministry of Planning and Investment in conjunction with local government agencies, allocates approximately 100-200 billion kip each year.
In addition, the Road Fund, which is used for road maintenance and emergency repairs, provides about 700 billion kip per year, as approved by the National Assembly.
This fund enables repairs to be made to about 6,500 kilometres of national highways and roads running through towns and local communities.
The most recent allocation of money under the Road Fund was delayed because the Road Fund for 2023 had only recently been approved and funds could not be made available until the end of November through the beginning of 2024.
This means that existing road repairs had to be evaluated as part of a state investment plan, and were delayed.
In 2023, the balance of the foundation fund was approved for 4-5 years at 700 billion kip per year. But because the number of roads has increased, this budget is insufficient and in 2022 and 2023 the low value of the kip made resources even more constrained and not enough money was available to pay contractors.
The cost of road repairs is high and there is inadequate funding to cover the high costs, while the standard of workmanship is poor. This means that soon after repairs are carried out, roads start to break up again, partly exacerbated by the high number of heavy vehicles that use the country’s roads, especially those used by mining operations.
In response to this problem, the Ministry of National Defence has attempted to improve technical standards and to employ more weighing stations to regulate heavily laden trucks. There are currently 39 weighing stations around the country, of which only 14 are in use.
It is recognised that the damage done to roads due to trucks carrying heavy loads of minerals has been a main factor in the deterioration of roads and that more controls must be instituted by the government.

By Times Reporters
 (Latest Update November 10, 2023)

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