On January 7, 2020, Professor Toshiro Nishizawa submitted policy proposals prepared under the Joint Policy Research and Dialogue Program for Fiscal Stabilization in Lao PDR to Deputy Prime Minister & Finance Minister Mr. Somdy Douangdy in the presence of Mr. Keizo Takewaka, Ambassador of Japan to Lao PDR.
Seven policy proposals prepared under the Joint Policy Research and Dialogue Program are as follows.
- Strengthening public finance management and governance
- Raising tax revenues by strengthening enforcement and broadening the taxpayer base
- Maximizing efficiency gains and positive externalities of fiscal expenditures
- Implementing effective public debt management
- Minimizing fiscal risks due to contingent liabilities
- Creating the institutional base for a well-functioning financial system
- Improving the use of fiscal and related statistics for policy monitoring and planning purposes
Prior to the submission, Professor Nishizawa briefed senior government officials and development partner representatives on the policy proposals and their rationales at the final reporting meeting chaired by Dr. Leeber Leebouapao, President of National Institute for Economic Research (NIER), and Ambassador Takewaka. Participants from Japan included Mr. Hiroshi Takami, Executive Vice President of Policy Research Institute, Ministry of Finance and Professor Yonosuke Hara, Director of Economics, Planning and Public Policy Program and Professor Emeritus at National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS).
It is expected that these policy proposals will be considered as the key components of the 9th Five-Year National Socio-Economic Development Plan (2021-2025) of the Government of Lao PDR, and will contribute to ensuring the fiscal stability, especially amid global economic uncertainties, and to enhancing long-term economic development of the country.
In September 2016, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced the Japan-Lao PDR Joint Development Cooperation Plan for the Sustainable Development of Lao PDR at the Japan-Lao PDR Summit Meeting with Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith. Prime Ministers expect that specific initiatives under the Cooperation Plan would contribute to the formulation of Lao PDR’s 9th Five-Year National Socio-Economic Development Plan (2021-2025). As one of the initiatives under the Cooperation Plan, Joint Policy Research and Dialogue Program for Fiscal Stabilization in Lao PDR was launched in March 2018. The shared recognition of fiscal stabilization as a vital foundation for a steady implementation of the Cooperation Plan led to the launch of the Program. Four working groups were in place under the Program to cover respective issues with the implications for fiscal stabilization.
Professor Toshiro Nishizawa, the lead researcher of one of the working groups, drafted a set of policy proposals with input from other working groups, JICA experts, and JICA Laos Office headed by Mr. Yoshiharu Yeneyama, Chief Representative, as well as with the support of the National Institute for Economic Research (NIER) serving as the implementation secretariat.