Tue, June 28, 2022

international

[Laos] Govt bodies urged to regulate fuel price, exchange rates


The government has told the departments concerned to take steps to control the rising price of fuel and consumer goods, and stabilise currency exchange rates, to minimise the impact on the general public.

The instruction was given at an extraordinary meeting of the government held on Tuesday, when the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Commerce and Industry were ordered to address issues surrounding skyrocketing fuel prices.

In addition, the commerce ministry was instructed to bring the cost of consumer goods under control, amid price rises in all categories.

The sectors of government responsible were also told to stabilise currency exchange rates by enforcing the regulations so that opportunists are unable to manipulate exchange rates.

In addition, the meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Phankham Viphavanh, instructed government officials to modernise the management of importing businesses to ensure that sufficient foreign currency enters the banking system.

The meeting was attended by deputy prime ministers, the vice president of the National Assembly, and other cabinet members.

Earlier this month, Minister of Finance Bounchom Ubonpaseuth said the government would consider reducing or even waiving excise tax on imported fuel, in a bid to slow rising prices at petrol stations.

If the proposed cut is approved, the excise tax charged on diesel, which is currently 21 percent, would be lowered to 11 percent. The excise tax on regular grade petrol, which is currently 31 percent, would be reduced to 16 percent.

However, no decision on price cuts was made at the monthly government meeting.

Since the start of this year, the government has raised fuel prices eight times, leading to an increase in the price of goods that depend on fuel for their production or transport.

The spiralling cost of fuel is one of the main factors driving inflation, which surged by 8.5 percent year-on-year in March.

The meeting agreed in principle to reopen the country to visitors but assigned the bodies responsible to discuss the details of the scheme.

All sectors of society are urged to expedite economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic and strive to fulfil the two national agendas that have been drawn up to address economic and financial difficulties and drug trafficking.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry was told to boost productivity for export and to ensure food security in Laos.

The government meeting also endorsed three laws, which will be submitted for debate at the upcoming session of the National Assembly.

These include two new draft laws relating to fine arts and dam safety and one amended draft law concerning State property.


By Somsack Pongkhao


 

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Published : April 14, 2022

By : Vientiane Times