Laos is making progress in reaching the targets set by the government for its 6 th five-year socio-economic development plan, Prime Minister Bouasone Bouphavanh said yesterday.
He made the statement during his opening address at the Round Table Implementation Meeting in Vientiane , attended by 200 participants including ambassadors and representatives of international organisations in Laos and Bangkok , Thailand .
Mr Bouasone said that the socio-economic and cultural sectors had both reached their financial targets this fiscal year, and some sectors had exceeded their targets, thanks to the invaluable support of donors.
Macro-economic growth was stable, he said, and inflation had fallen from 7.9 to 4.14 percent. Economic growth stood at 7.6 percent, budget income had increased to 15 percent of the Gross Domestic Product and the budget deficit had dropped to 7 percent.
This year was the first annual review of the government's 6 th five-year socio-economic development, for the fiscal year 2006-2007.
According to the Minister of Planning and Investment, Mr Soulivong Daravong, the meeting aimed to review progress in implementing the National Socio-Economic Development Plan 2006-2010.
This had been the main topic for discussion at the 9 th Round Table Meeting held last year in Vientiane when development partners and donors announced support to Laos of more than US$400 million.
Mr Bouasone explained that the achievements were due to several factors.
Firstly, the government had poured funding into its 11 prioritised programmes covering 111 focal projects contained in the development plan.
Secondly, the government had actively implemented its renovation policies with regard to the economy, especially economic promotion policies, and was paying more attention to planning and finance, as well as improving the state administration system to conform to the marketing mechanism.
The government also had policies to broaden cooperation on a worldwide basis by improving various mechanisms and regulations to link its economy with countries in the region and the world.
Mr Bouasone urged attendees to discuss in detail methods and cooperation mechanisms for implementing various projects, including good governance, maintaining macro-economic stability and financial management and strengthening laws.
He highlighted challenges, citing improvements that were needed relating to the ability of various institutes and personnel, particularly in the state sector.
Attendees would review progress in the last financial year relating to macro-economic management, prioritised projects, implementation of the poverty eradication plan in the 47 poorest districts and progress in achieving the Millennium Development Goals in Laos , according to Mr Soulivong.
The meeting would also review progress in implementing the Vientiane Declaration on Aid Effectiveness drawn up at the last round table meeting and signed by most development partners, along with progress made on the second report concerning the Millennium Development Goals.
At the meeting, the UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, Ms Sonam Yangchen Rana, highlighted other achievements in Laos , including economic growth and government reform .
“Government reform has taken an important step towards strengthening the effectiveness of public administration including better public service management, implementing the rule of law and enhancing mechanisms for people's participation,” she said.
“Prime Minister, we congratulate you and your government for these important commitments made to the Lao people through these international agreements,” she added.
Ms Rana also thanked the Lao government for responding to many suggestions from development partners over the last year for improving coordination and building strategies for achieving development results.
She expressed her hope that the review would enable participants to discern how to further assist the Lao government by accelerating implementation of the development plan in the year ahead.
By Souksakhone Vaenkeo(Latest Update November 9, 2007)