Govt tightens spending to reduce debt burden

The government has announced that some new development projects planned for this year could be postponed until next year if Laos faces a revenue shortfall in 2017. The government is also committed to tightening budget expenditure by trimming its administrative budget and, if they are considered to be non-essential, the government might not approve new development projects. The move follows the government’s recent projection that only 96 percent of the revenue targeted for 2017 will be collected. According to a report from the Ministry of Finance, the budget deficit is projected to reach 9.34 trillion kip. If the money needed to repay debts owed on loans and bonds is included, the total deficit will soar to 15.93 trillion kip. The suspension of new projects aims to cut spending and rein in the deficit, preventing Laos from being dragged into chronic debt. Deputy Minister of Finance Mr Bounchom Ubonpaseuth told Vientiane Times recently the ministry is striving to reach the revenue collection target approved by the National Assembly despite the challenges.

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