Mobilising external funding assistance will require tremendous effort and close attention from the government in order to ensure it can meet targets outlined in the 7th National Social Economic Development Plan (NSEDP).
“Implementation of the 7th NSEDP 2011-2015 may require around 120 trillion kip (US$15 billion), of which US$10 billion may come from the private sector and US$5 billion from public funding,” said Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Dr Bounthavy Sisouphanthong.
The US$5 billion portion may be covered by a US$1 billion contribution from the government budget, giving an average of US$200 million per year, and US$4 billion to be secured from official development assistance (ODA) to ongoing and new projects, averaging US$800 million in disbursements per year.
“We are aware that ODA inflows over the past four years were around 3.6 trillion kip (US$450 million) on an annual average,” Dr Bounthavy said at a sector working group meeting yesterday in Vientiane.
Representatives of go- vernment agencies, development partners, the private sector, and officials from the education, health, infrastructure, agriculture, rural development, national resource, mine action and drug control sectors attended the meeting.
United Nations Resident Coordinator in Laos Mr. Leik Boonwaat said “The government and development partners have strongly agreed to work in close partnership for the achievement of the valuable goals outlined in the 7th plan, which was approved by the highly successful Party Congress recently.”
The congress highlighted the need for four “breakthrough” steps in pursuit of the renovation policy and future national development, including advancements in ideology, human resources development, overcoming administrative barriers which impede business activities, and increasing efforts on poverty reduction.
Mr. Leik said the 7th NSEDP contains very clear goals which include high and inclusive GDP growth of at least 8 percent per annum, achievement of the country's Millennium Development Goals by 2015, and substantial progress towards graduation from its least developed country status, perhaps even before 2020.
Dr Bounthavy thanked the nation's development partners for continuously supporting the development of the nation and its development strategies highlighted during the recent Party Congress.
Development efforts over the next five years will focus on reaching average annual income per capita of US$1,700, in conjunction with sustainable development, environmental protection and creating basic factors towards industrialisation and modernisation.
Meeting participants also received a briefing on the progress of preparations for various programmes and discussed key areas relating to the implementation of the 7th NSEDP, including the results of a study on the implication of the programme-based approaches and a draft report on sector working group reviews.
It was an opportunity for representatives to provide an update on the status of the 2010 high level round table meeting recommendations on implementation, and also share the roadmap for the 2011 round table meeting.
The Ministry of Planning and Investment proposes to hold the 2011 meeting by late September or early October, and therefore would like to seek development partner comments on the annual NSEDP before it gets approved at the National Assembly's session in September.
A further meeting is scheduled for 2013 to collectively review the mid-term progress towards achieving the 7th NSEDP goals and identify areas where concerted efforts are needed for accelerating progress.