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Lao parliament approves US$27m to fight poverty
Publication Date : 29-07-2013
The National Assembly of Laos approved 217 billion kip (US$27 million) for rural development and poverty alleviation next fiscal year to stimulate the government's efforts to achieve the targets set.
Lao parliament approved the funds at the fifth ordinary session of its seventh legislature, which closed on Friday when it adopted the next fiscal year's socio-economic development and budget plans.
The approved funds will add fuel to the government's efforts to reduce the proportion of poverty-stricken families in Laos from an estimated 14.8 per cent in 2013 to less than 12 per cent of the total as planned by the end of next year and downward to less than 10 per cent by 2015.
The parliament asked the government to increase its budget to finance its scheme directed at rural development and poverty alleviation in a bid to achieve Millennium Development Goals by 2015.
The scheme includes an initiative of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party to create cluster villages by resettling small isolated villages and grouping them to make bigger ones.
Such an initiative will help to ease the government's workload in introducing development projects and infrastructure facilities to the bigger communities after finding out how difficult it was to introduce development projects to each small isolated village, notably those located in mountainous areas.
The government was asked to work at creating permanent jobs for multiethnic people, especially those who move to live in the newly-resettled villages in order to help them make a living and prevent them from engaging in low-earning slash and burn shifting cultivation.
The government has set a target to completely resettle all nomadic farmers to sustainable local livelihoods by 2015.
However, such a goal is rather ambitious mainly due to a shortage of funds, but the financial requirements for such resettlement were high, the Chairman of the National Leading Committee for Rural Development and Poverty Eradication, Bounheuang Duangphachanh, said recently.
“It is difficult to reach the resettlement target and stop all people from moving from one place to another,” he said.
Central and local authorities have worked on developing 70 locations out of a planned 167 in provinces across the country to resettle isolated villagers who engage in shifting cultivation.
Four locations – one in Phonxay district in Luang Prabang province, another in Borikhan district of Borikhamxay province, and two in Kasy district of Vientiane province – have been developed as model projects for resettlement, with the creation of permanent jobs for newcomers based on local potential.
Some farmers were reported still shifting each year; however, the numbers were decreasing thanks to the resettlement projects.