Laos to mobilize aid to social sector development

Source: Xinhua| 2018-12-11 12:25:58|Editor: Yang Yi
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VIENTIANE, Dec. 11 (Xinhua) -- The Lao government is working with development partners to draw up a strategy to mobilize assistance to help develop the social sector amid current aid cuts, the government told to the National Assembly (NA).

The planned strategy for 2019-2030 of the country is aimed to attract more funding to develop the social sector, with poverty reduction in education, health, and rural sectors as the primary focus, local daily Vientiane Times reported on Tuesday.

The eighth NA's ongoing sixth ordinary session recently has expressed concern over the decline in Official Development Assistance (ODA), which comprises both grants and low-interest rate loans.

Being on track to soon graduate from the status of a least-developed country means that Laos anticipates seeing cuts to aid. It was expected that donors are likely to reprioritize their development funding allocations away from Laos to countries in more urgent needs, the daily quoted Lao officials as saying.

The Lao government has lowered its ODA targets in the drafted 2019 socio-economic development plan to 7,113.35 billion kips (827 million U.S. dollars), which accounts for 4.29 percent of gross domestic product.

Lao Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Somdy Douangdy told the parliament recently that grants are declining.

ODA is projected to decrease to 11 percent of total investment in the social sector next year, according to the Ministry of Planning and Investment.

In addition to the priority given to the social areas, the planned strategy was also expected to mobilize aid funding of schemes aimed at strengthening the production and economic sector, the ministry said.

In an effort to mobilize foreign assistance, the Lao government and development partners held a two-day Round Table Meeting last week in the Lao capital Vientiane, focusing on sustained inclusive economic growth, social and human development, the environment, disaster preparedness, and cross-cutting issues of governance, etc.