Laos govt urged to carry out further structural reform; records 2 new Covid-19 cases

VIENTIANE, April 12 (Vientiane Times/ANN): President Thongloun Sisoulith has instructed the government to further streamline the structure of ministry and provincial departments to improve the efficiency of administration.

The President gave the advice when addressing the first government meeting under the 9th legislature, which wrapped up on Friday.

Chaired by Prime Minister Phankham Viphavanh, the two-day meeting took place following the inaugural session of the National Assembly (NA)’s 9th legislature last month, which approved the new cabinet members.

Thongloun said departments and divisions within ministries and provincial administrations needed to be reviewed and restructured, removing barriers that hinder the country’s development.

Roles and responsibilities must be clearly defined and delegated as appropriate to deputy prime ministers, ministers, provincial governors and the Vientiane mayor. In addition, all aspects of public administration must comply with the rule of law.

Cabinet members were urged to creatively study and shape the structure of administration as well as ensure that government officials fulfilled the goals assigned by the nation.

The President said members of government should serve as role models and be honest and responsible for their actions. This would create trust and faith among citizens while encouraging government officials to act transparently and be accountable to the nation and people.

There are currently 17 ministries and two ministry equivalent organisations (the Prime Minister’s Office and the Bank of the Lao PDR) following the dissolution of the Ministry of Science and Technology, whose departments were transferred to other ministries.

During the meeting, Prime Minister Phankham advised the Ministry of Home Affairs to urgently work in cooperation with the relevant sectors to complete the transfer of departments and clearly define the roles of the various sectors of government.

Cabinet members discussed five main issues of national importance. They first heard a prime minister’s decision regarding the areas of responsibility assigned to the prime minister and deputy prime ministers.

Secondly, they discussed a draft of the five-year plan of action of the new government for 2021-25, defining the responsibilities of line ministries and priority areas of government to further boost socio-economic development over the next five years. Thirdly, the meeting debated the regulation and work mechanisms of the government, seeking to remove red tape in order to ensure enhanced effectiveness and efficiency of administration. The government highlighted the need to improve collaboration mechanisms between central and local levels as well as launch a one-stop service and strengthen the responsibility of government bodies nationwide.

Fourth, meeting participants discussed a draft document regarding the national agenda to address economic and financial difficulties. The government agreed in principle with the draft national agenda after reviewing the root causes of the problems faced as well as possible measures that would enable Laos to overcome economic challenges.

Fifth, the government agreed in principle with a draft national agenda on the control of drug abuse and trafficking for the period 2021-2025. Cabinet members acknowledged that drug abuse and trafficking was a serious concern and was destroying individuals and impeding socio-economic development. In light of this, the government stressed the need to immediately address the problem and bring a brighter future for young people and the country as a whole.

Laos also reported two new Covid-19 cases, bringing the total number in the country to 51, according to Lao Ministry of Health on Sunday.

Director general of the National Center for Laboratory and Epidemiology under the Lao Ministry of Health, Phonepadith Xangsayarath, told a press conference here on Sunday (April 11) that the two new cases include a 41-year-old businessman from Thailand, who had a close contact with illegal immigrants from Thailand on April 3.

The patient, a Thai national, was tested positive for the virus on Saturday.

Another patient is a 41-year-old man, a Lao national, who returned to Laos from Mongolia on Friday.

The two new cases are treated in the designated hospital Mittaphab Hospital (Hospital 150). Neither of them is in a serious condition.

The total number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 recorded in Laos is 51, with 47 recoveries. - Vientiane Times/ANN
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