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Lao media should expose corruption: PM
Publication Date : 26-12-2013
Lao media and members of society should help to expose corruption and financial leaks that are partly to blame for the state's revenue shortfall last fiscal year, Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong has said.
Thammavong recently told the ongoing session of the National Assembly (NA) recently that better media reporting on corruption was an important part of the solution.
“We will give society and Lao media the role of reporting the facts regarding issues that resulted in the state losing revenue and financial leakage,” Thammavong said.
“We will ask Lao media to report on this issue in a stronger manner. We will also have a box for the general public so they can leave their comments and concerns related to revenue collection as well as comment on the performances of various financial units.”
NA members have expressed their support for the Prime Minister's decision to increase the participation of society and Lao media to expose financial leaks in a range of sectors.
NA member for Vientiane province, Duangdy Outthachak, said more media involvement would make the administration more transparent.
The current problem facing the Lao media is access to sources, since government sectors are reluctant to talk to the media about their problems and fear media reports could get them into trouble.
Duangdy said the prime minister's call could be a green light for society and the media to expose the facts regarding national development and revenue collection.
Duangdy said social media sites, especially Facebook, should be praised for exposing truths about development in Laos and providing information that could be the basis for authorities' investigations.
The government is now trying to address the budget deficit and reign in the rising debt caused by the revenue shortfall, and has said that identifying new sources of revenue will be critical.
“If we cannot increase our revenue, we will never address the budget deficit and the country's debt,” Thongsing said.
Revenue collection procedures will be tightened to ensure enough is collected to meet new, important targets.
“We will strictly follow financial principles and regulations related to revenue collection. Officials in charge need to take responsibility,” Thongsing said.
“Officials who fulfill their duties and responsibilities will be awarded with labour medals and congratulatory certificates but those who are corrupt will absolutely face legal action .
“People who pay tax properly will be awarded and considered as full of patriotism but those who evade tax payment will face legal action be considered as betraying the nation,” he said.
In the 2013-14 fiscal year the government will use electronic devices to collect revenue and keep track of it, especially in sectors that earn a lot of money and those with a lot of financial leak.