Preident Choummaly Sayasone ( second left ) speaks to new cabinet members in Vientiane on Monday.
He expressed his confidence in the new government successfully implementing the Resolution of the 9th Party Congress and Seventh Socio-Economic Development Plan until 2015.
He observed that despite many achievements, much needs to be done to respond to the needs of national development. “Our development is lagging behind that of other countries,” said Mr Choummaly, who is also Secretary General of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party.
“Our society is waiting for us to address our shortcomings, including autocracy, corruption, slow development and weak administration of the state, which have not been addressed in a timely manner. In addition, social problems are rising and we still don't have real measures to address them or reduce their prevalence. All these things have affected the leadership of our Party and management of our State,” he said.
He advised the new government to focus on the quality of its work, ensuring that it matches the reality of the nation and the real needs of the Lao people.
“In the past we sometimes conducted work without paying attention to the real needs, resulting in low quality output. At certain times, work should have been done but it was delayed or not done at all, which suggests our performance did not match with the reality,” he said.
“Concerning corruption, we have talked about this for a long time so I want all sectors to study and go in-depth to address it. Corruption can mean dishonesty and disloyalty of officials towards the nation and Lao people by using their position of authority for their own benefit.”
Mr Choummaly said corruption began when Laos opened itself up as a market economy and many people thought only of how to earn money rather than of how to benefit the nation.
He called on the new government to be a model for society and to address social problems, including corruption and inappropriate procedures in state administration.
The new government also needs to focus on minimising gaps in revenue collection and using the budget in line with the real needs of poverty reduction and national development, he said.
The president said Laos is rich in natural resources, but Lao people remain poor due to a lack of knowledge on how to earn a living and produce crops to meet market demand.
Therefore, assigning officials to work in remote areas is vitally important in order to boost development.
Mr Choummaly said local authorities often tell him their annual rice production figures without going into the quality of the produce, while others speak of GDP growth and increased income per capita without giving the exact amounts that poor people earn.
He urged the new government to work hard to accomplish the Millennium Development Goals in 2015, and ensure national economic growth of at least 8 percent and annual income per capita of US$1,700.
Since the first session of the new NA in June, the new government has focused on improving the structure of its sectors and organising an official ceremony for the cabinet reshuffle.
During yesterday's meeting, Mr Thongsing highlighted the key areas and goals that the government will focus on over the next five years to boost national development.