Vientiane Times, 29 July 2014
Members of the public urge the National Assembly (NA) to enhance its role in regard to issues such as illegal mining, illegal logging, development discrepancies and the implementation of development plans by local administrations. Vice President of the Lao Front for National Construction (LFNC) Mr Tong Yerthor outlined the public’s concerns when commenting on the NA’s works at the conclusion of the seventh ordinary session last Friday.
The queries from the members of the public were collected by the LFNC, before being submitted to the NA along with the complaints raised through the NA session hotline. In relation to some of the queries, Mr Tong said there was no issue if companies or officials were involved in unregulated mining and logging activities, however, this was an offence if residents committed the act.
Mr Tong said, “We call on the NA to oversee this issue and enforce stricter measures in addressing it.” He said another concern which was raised was with regard to pensioners, who fear losing their benefits. LFNC is also focusing on the authorisation of development projects by local authorities without NA approval as the unregulated implementation had caused delays and an increase in project prices.
Mr Tong said government technical experts had been seen to pocket extra money through cooperating with contract companies to over-calculate the project’s budget. The NA has turned a blind eye when dealing with the authorities in regard to this issue rather than properly implementing their given role. Investments in rural development and poverty reduction was also observed by the LFNC to be not following the Party’s policies as the investment focused on large-scale and expensive projects to create a new image for the country such as concrete road construction, as well as hosting big sports events and festivals which require high expenditure.
Meanwhile, investment for rural development and poverty reduction did not meet the needs of the poverty-stricken residents nor was it proportionate to the Ninth Party resolution. Another issue raised by the public was in regard to the extortionate cost of educational institutes when the country’s education system is low in quality.