Restructure Lao economy, expert advises

ASEAN+ November 27, 2018 01:00

By VIENTIANE TIMES
ASIA NEWS NETWORK

TO ENSURE steady economic growth, Laos would be well advised to restructure the economy with a view to stability and sustainability and in ways that reverse the current slowdown, a top analyst has advised.



The message came from the President of the National Institute for Economic Research, Bouasone Bouphavanh, when speaking on Friday at a conference on the lessons to be learnt from economic restructuring in Vietnam. The meeting discussed these lessons and was attended by ministers, deputy ministers and director generals from various ministries.

Bouasone stressed that methods of economic restructuring should be incorporated in the national agenda and in the report to the 11th Party Congress and the government’s five-year plan for national socio-economic development. 

“Economic restructuring or reform is essential to enable any country to break through the hardship of economic downturn as well as other economic difficulties,” he said.

The restructuring of economic strategic plans was being adopted and put into practice globally to ease the impacts of the recent economic downturn.

“Vietnam is a great example of economic restructuring because of its obvious impressive achievements since 2011. The country’s GDP rose from 5.8 per cent in 2011 to 6.21 per cent in 2016 and to 6.81 per cent in 2017,” Bouasone said.

Laos also enjoyed steady economic growth from 2006-2015 at an average annual rate of 7.93 per cent, while poverty declined from 28 per cent in 2008 to 20 per cent in 2015 and to 13 per cent in 2017.

“However, if we make an in-depth analysis, Laos’ economic growth has been unstable since the Asian economic crisis in 1997, resulting in a drop in GDP and a surge in inflation. It took us four to five years to turn the situation around,” he added.

Economic growth declined from 7 per cent in 2016 to 6.7 per cent in 2017 and to 6.5 per cent in 2018. 

Also speaking at the meeting, President of the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences, Professor Dr Nguyen Quang Thuan, said Vietnam had made significant changes in its bid to restructure the economy and shift the growth model towards improving the quality of growth. “The three key reforms implemented in Vietnam included restructuring public investment, state-owned enterprises and commercial banks,” he said.