Working towards greater community control over land, forests and natural resources

Champassak People’s Council debates development issues

Vientiane Times: January 2, 2018

Champassak province People’s Council has called on all sectors to be united in resolving and finalising issues raised for debate.
Council President Mr Meksavanh Phom-phithak told Vientiane Times on Friday about the outcome of the council’s fourth session.
“We asked that issues raised at one council session not be raised again in the next session,” Mr Meksavanh said.
With regard to the issues discussed, it was noted that the performance of legal protection bodies had improved since the People’s Council was formed, which he said was appreciated by members of the public.
However, he said coordination between various bodies, in particular the police and prosecutors, which needs to be addressed, has involved breaches of the law by officials.
“We are planning to hold a consultation for provincial legal protection bodies,” the council president said, adding that complaints about this must not be reported at the next session or, if they are, they must be fewer in number.
Environmental and land management still lacks systematic agreement, according to Mr Meksavanh, who said most council members voiced the same opinion that some authorised concession projects had not been carried out in line with their stated objectives, while some authorisations had not followed procedures and had violated the law.
An important focus of the council’s agenda was the amendment of the provincial tourism plan. This was being changed to comply with the national plan for tourism promotion through Visit Laos Year 2018 and addressed the improvement of facilities at border crossings and other services, including transport.
Concerning the issue of the toll charged for vehicles using Road 16W, in which members of the public had asked provincial authorities to intervene, Mr Meksavanh said the toll rates had been agreed between the concession holder and the government.
With regard to the entrance fees at tourist attractions, which members of the public said were high, the council president said they were no different to those charged in other countries.
However, he said experts had been asked to review the matter, make comparisons with other places, recalculate the fees and explain the reasons for the amounts charged.
Any problems should be tabled for discussion so that solutions could be sought, Mr Meksavanh said, calling on members of the public to raise issues of concern with the council.
The province’s revenue collection, which did not meet the target for 2017, was a hot topic with council members discussing the reasons for this.
Champassak province earned more than 1.2 trillion kip in revenue this year, equal to about 80 percent of the target.
People’s Councils in Savannakhet and Attapeu provinces also held their fourth sessions last week to debate local development issues.


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