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New PM’s order aims to tackle inflation, reduce imports 

A new order issued by the Prime Minister is expected to bolster government efforts to tackle inflation, currency exchange rates, the soaring price of goods, and foreign debt.

Vegetables on sale in a Vientiane market.

Under the Order, which was issued by Dr Sonexay Siphandone on August 29, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce is instructed to regulate the price of goods that have led to spiralling inflation and a sharp rise in the cost of living.
The Order also directed the ministry to formulate a list of imported luxury items that could be reduced in quantity, as well as limit other imports.
The ministry was instructed to introduce strong management measures on imported goods and to reduce the import of items that can be produced in Laos.
The import of luxury goods should be reduced in ways that do not violate international regulations that Laos is a party to, such as measures that do not impose taxes and do not affect industry in Laos, the Order stated.
The Ministry of Industry and Commerce was further ordered to closely monitor imports and the supply of fuel with a view to easing unfavourable currency exchange rates while ensuring that sufficient fuel is available for Lao consumers.
The ministry was advised to supervise all import and export companies and to record the amount of goods imported and exported, with the added requirement that these companies open bank accounts in Laos.
These companies must also process their payments and import and export services and fulfill other financial obligations through the banking system.
In addition, the ministry should create a system that enables shared information, with this system to be linked to all the relevant sectors
The ministry was instructed to commercialise crop cultivation and to reduce the export of raw materials, and to add value to minerals and food products by processing them prior to export.
The Order instructed the ministry to urgently reform the management, promotion and development of agricultural processing so that more goods are manufactured in Laos for sale domestically.
Slaughterhouses should aim to supply 70 percent of all animal feed needed in Laos and fertiliser factories should aim to supply about 50 percent of domestic market demand.     Measures should be enforced to reduce imports and foster domestic production in order to reduce production costs for farmers.
Rice, pigs, chickens, fish and crop seeds should be produced in sufficient quantities to be able to compete with imported goods and meet 60-70 percent of domestic market demand.
The Ministry of Public Works and Transport was instructed to facilitate trade and transportation so that goods can be imported and exported more quickly and costs reduced for businesses.
Transport services on land, rivers and railways should be improved so they are easier to use and faster as well as charging reasonable service fees.   
The Order also directed other government bodies, especially the ministries of Finance, Agriculture and Forestry, Planning and Investment, and Public Security, as well as the Bank of the Lao PDR and taskforces at the central and local levels, to shoulder more responsibility by devising and enforcing rules to address the above-mentioned issues.  

By Times Reporters
(Latest Update August 31, 2023)

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