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Govt to work with private sector to achieve economic growth targets

The government is aiming for 4 percent GDP growth in the first year of the rollout of the ninth five-year National Socio-Economic Development Plan by continuing to work in collaboration with development partners and the private sector.

During the previous five year development plan, the government faced numerous challenges including widespread flooding, the Covid-19 pandemic, and other external factors.

Speaking at a business networking meeting last Wednesday, held by the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LNCCI) and supported by the Lao Brewery Company (LBC), Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Dr Kikeo Chanthaboury said Laos’ socio-economic development had been severely impacted by obvious challenges including the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I’ve learnt that a number of foreign investors are participating in this very first exclusive business networking, thanks to the LNCCI and Lao Brewery Company for making this event possible. Of course, these foreign companies are key players and the drivers of Laos’ economic growth,” he added.

The Ministry of Planning and Investment is working with international development partners to study the effect of economic impacts in order to determine the main consequences.
“In the near future, a book detailing the economic impacts will be published and the business sector will be able to identify figures and other interesting information relating to economic issues,” Dr Kikeo said.

He informed the gathering that the recent National Party Congress had approved the 9th five-year National Socio-Economic Development Plan and that it was an improvement over the eight plans drawn up in previous years.

The initial target for GDP growth was set at 7.5 percent for the first year of the previous plan but due to external factors the government has lowered it to 7.2 percent.

In 2020, the government had targeted a 6.5 percent growth rate but the impacts of the pandemic meant the rate was slashed to 3.3 percent.
The average growth rate under previous five-year development plans was 5.0 percent, Dr Kikeo said.

“Obviously, the slow growth of GDP has affected socio-economic development, labour and other sectors. But the government is targeting poverty eradication and guiding Laos to graduate from Least Developed Country status with a focus on green growth,” he added.

In addition, the government will continue to work with the private sector in dealing with economic difficulties in the years ahead. It will use the potential offered by the business sector and private investment to boost, generate and contribute to the government’s revenue collection.

“We need to walk together with two legs, one from the public sector and the other from the private sector, so that we can walk properly and reach our goals together,” Dr Kikeo said.
Participants in the business networking event shared the experiences they faced and heard comments from key government officials about policies to help the private sector during the pandemic.
The event was attended by members of the Lao business community and from foreign businesses representing China, Japan, the Republic of Korea and other foreign private investors.


Information Source: Vientiane Times