Laos' Prime Minister Bouasone Bouphavanh has reiterated his government's policy and intention to help the population cope with the rising costs of living due to increasing fuel prices worldwide.
The prime minister said to help alleviate the people's hardship, his government will reduce taxes on earnings and profits by the private sector, and at the same time, increase credits to the agricultural sector to encourage farmers to produce enough food for domestic consumption.
Mr. Bouasone also said the government will also invest more on economic infrastructures such as irrigation canals and roads to make it easier for farmers and ranchers who live in remote areas to transport their goods to urban centers.
To help low-income workers, the administration will increase the current minimum wage of 290,000 kips a month by 20%, beginning with the 2008-2009 fiscal year which starts in October. Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare officials are presently negotiating with the Association of Employers regarding this raise.
The Lao Trade Union has stated that it considers an appropriate minimum wage no less than 500,000 kips a month. But others argue that a too high minimum wage might drive foreign investment down.
Listen to Songrit's report for more details in Lao.