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The government told development partners yesterday it is critical to introduce income-generating initiatives in an effort to fight poverty and called for further support from donors.
Representatives of the government and donors met yesterday in Vientiane for a midterm review of the five-year poverty alleviation scheme (2011-2016) that is being carried out by the Poverty Reduction Fund (PRF), known as the PRF’s phase II.
The PRF is a subsidiary body of the National Leading Committee for Rural Development and Poverty Eradication (NLCRDPE).
In his opening address, NLCRDPE Chairman Mr Bounheuang Duangphachanh stressed the need to increase investment in income-generating projects that help the poor make a living.
He said previous investments had focused on small-scale infrastructure development in rural communities rather than income-generating activities.
As a result, local livelihoods have not been sufficiently improved and people are still facing difficulties with their daily living conditions.
“Funds to promote goods production, crops planting and animal husbandry to generate income are still limited,” Mr Bounheuang told the donors, calling for support to introduce the income-generating initiatives.
“Therefore, sustainable poverty alleviation has not been achieved.”
He called on participants to increase cooperative discussions to ensure the remaining activities in the five-year plan are carried out effectively.
NLCRDPE’s Director General of Planning and Cooperation, Mr Chith Thavisay, also attended the meeting.
He said the participants recommended placing greater investment focus on activities that directly generated income.
Members of the National Assembly (NA) also resolved in December last year that the government had overspent on infrastructure development but spent too little promoting production to generate income and reduce poverty.
At the meeting, representatives from the Ministry of Planning and Investment also presented their envisioned concept for the next five-year national socio-economic development plan (2016 -2020), which will be crucial to poverty alleviation and graduating Laos from Least Developed Country status by 2020.
Representatives of the donors are scheduled to visit the northern and southern provinces to see firsthand the poverty-fighting activities carried out by the PRF.
Almost US$80 million will be used all up to finance phase II, with US$10 million contributed by the Lao government and the remainder funded by the donors.
Established in 2002, the PRF has carried out activities in 10 provinces covering 42 districts. The project has benefited 28,253 poor families, which make up 22 percent of the total poor families in the country.
The main activities of phase II are infrastructure development and capacity building on decision making.
By Souksakhone Vaenkeo
(Latest Update January 31, 2014)