Laos’ European Development Partners � the European Union and the Member States of the European Union together with Switzerland have commended the government’s efforts in ensuring swift progress in the second year of the implementation of the 8th National Socio-Economic Development Plan 2016-2020.
Lao PDR remains one of the fastest growing economies in the region with poverty having steadily decreased over the past 15 years and is projected to fall further, the development partners noted in their joint statement made at 2017 Round Table Implementation Meeting held in Pakse, Champassak Province on Nov 23.
European partners are working in an efficiently coordinated and cohesive manner through the European Joint Programming, which has indicatively pledged close to LAK 5 trillion (over 500 million Euro) over the 2016-2020 period of the 8th NSEDP.
This underscores the strong commitment of the peoples of Europe to provide a considerable support to the people of Lao PDR and its government towards achieving its ambition to graduate from LDC status, the EU development partners noted in their statement.
They said that the improvement in Lao language skills will contribute significantly to reduce the disparities for accessing (and completing) basic education and other social services.
The stakes are high with more than 50% of the population under the age of 24. The proficiency in key foreign languages is essential, especially in a context of regional and international cooperation among universities and student mobility, thereby promoting opportunities to further build capacities.
They congratulated recent efforts made by the government to strengthen macroeconomic stability and public finance management and urged the government to strike a balance between servicing debt and providing the right level of social services to the population.
Managing the high debt levels would bring greater confidence by the private sector to invest and would unlock opportunities for more concessional loans by European development banks, said the statement.
Domestic resource mobilisation should increasingly become an important source of financing, and gradually become the recipe for reversing the current disproportional fiscal deficit and mitigating macro-economic vulnerability to external shocks.
EU also noted the important steps the government has taken in the fight against corruption, which hinders economic development, damages private sector integrity and taps off the finances intended to reduce poverty.
The development partners congratulated the government on the abolishment of a minimum registered capital requirement for foreign investors in the context of the investment promotion law.
Attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) remains a priority for the Government of Lao PDR though.
However, Lao PDR has slipped further down on this year’s index of the Global Competitiveness Report, falling behind most other ASEAN nations. We would therefore encourage the government to take determined measures for creating a sound and enabling business environment, the development partners noted in the statement.
They also congratulated the GoL on the Resolution of the Party’s Central Committee on the Enhancement of Land Management and Development, which reflects at large the positions of the Land Subsector Working Group on improving land governance and the land tenure security of the Lao people.
We encourage the government of Laos to swiftly finalize the revision of the National Land Law, as it is crucial for the national development process. In this context, we recommend Lao PDR to follow the FAO Voluntary Guidelines on Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Forest and Fisheries as internationally agreed guidelines for responsible land governance, the statement said.
Source: Lao News Agency