Laos cabinet agrees to lower electricity price

VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN) - The government cabinet has agreed to revise the electricity unit price structure to lower the cost of electricity, as an incentive to boost investment and productivity.

Cabinet members agreed on the move at their ordinary monthly meeting for April, which took place on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The revised structure, which will be effective until 2025, will introduce lower power prices, the Prime Minister’s Office said in a press release.

“The improvement in the electricity price [structure] will mean the cost of energy is cheaper and more reasonable than before,” it said.

The revision will also ensure that investors in electricity generation are profitable so that investment in the sector is sustainable.

Chaired by Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith, the two-day sitting also ordered thorough action to review progress made in realising the eight measures adopted by the government to boost growth amid economic hardship.

The measures include improving the currency policy and preventing inflation, improving the business environment, promoting small and medium enterprises, and efficient revenue collection.

Ministries were told to identify shortcomings and recommend ways to overcome them.

The meeting called for the relevant departments to indicate whether any existing regulations needed to be amended to better facilitate business operations, as well as review the progress made in reforming enterprises.

The meeting approved a proposal that requested the excavation or felling of trees to clear space for development projects, including infrastructure such as electricity transmission lines and hydropower dams.

In this regard, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry was entrusted to work with other ministries to inspect and draw up a felling plan in order to plug loopholes that enabled irregularities or personal gain.

The cabinet meeting approved in principle a draft Prime Ministerial decree on a code of ethics for civil servants. The relevant sectors were told to revise the draft in accordance with recommendations made by cabinet members.

The meeting also endorsed a Prime Ministerial decree on energy saving, which will provide a reference for energy saving to ensure efficient consumption, and minimise spending on energy and environmental impacts.

Prime Minister Thongloun reviewed the work undertaken by the government throughout April. He said the government placed great importance on giving advice to address problems currently afflicting society, including road accidents, drug abuse and misconduct by state officials.

The cabinet has also paid great attention to full and proper revenue collection and state expenditure.

Authorities in charge have pushed for the effective implementation of the business registration system in line with Prime Ministerial Order No. 2 to better facilitate registration and improve the business climate.

Mr Thongloun and his deputies approved the design of railway stations to be built as part of the Laos-China railway in Vientiane, Luang Prabang and Vangvieng.

The design of the 6th Laos-Thailand Mekong Friendship Bridge connecting Saravan province to Thailand’s Ubon Ratchathani province was also approved.

More than 17 investment projects have been approved via the central Investment Management and Promotion Committee.

The government issued 188 pieces of legislation including prime ministerial decrees, decisions and announcements to facilitate socio-economic management.

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