Several targets set for the government’s socio-economic development plan, state budget plan, and monetary plan are unlikely to be met due to slow growth in services and other sectors of economic composition, according to Vice President of the National Assembly Bounpone Bouttanavong.
ADB initially estimated that the Lao PDR’s economy will grow by 3.5%. However, the latest study has suggested that the country’s economy will contract by 0.5% due to prolonged impact of Covid-19 which will shrink service sector by 3.2 %. In addition, agriculture is also expected to be affected by natural disasters – drought and downpours.
World Bank has estimated the Lao economic growth for this year at 1%, and, if the pandemic is prolonged, -1.8%.
Vice President of the National Assembly Bounpone Bouttanavong said that the majority of targets set for agricultural production and food security in the country hasn’t been met.
As for rice production for exports to China, the export quota is 50,000 tonnes while only 15,000 tonnes have been exported. Some 1,680 cattle have been exported to China so far this year. China wants to import up to 100,000 cattle from Laos. The Vice President of the National Assembly also highlighted the government’s failure to achieve targets in socio-culture areas as dropout rate among students of all levels of general education remains high, enrolment rate among upper secondary school students remains below set targets.
Shortfalls were also reported for birth deliveries attended by birth attendants, safe water use, toilet use, tourism, establishment of cultural families and villages, labour skills development, as well as rural development, especially in the two poorest districts of Xone of Huaphanh province, and Nong in Savannakhet and other focal areas.
“Targets still need to be met, especially those of mobilizing investment from domestic and foreign private investors, particularly for main economic drivers, basic infrastructure development in economic zones along the Laos-China railway and regional connectivity, processing industry, and clean agriculture,” said Mr. Bounpone.
He also highlights constrains on revenue collections, budget deficits which have almost doubled over the past months, settlement of public debts, inflation, kip depreciation, and the provision of loans to promote micro, small and medium enterprises.
Source: Lao News Agency