The Lao government is eyeing domestic revenues of 28.963 trillion kip ($2.63 billion) in the budget for 2022, equivalent to 15 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) or an increase of 20 per cent when compared to the budget for 2021, according to a report from the Ministry of Finance.

The total revenues in next year’s budget are expected to touch 31.423 trillion kip, or 16 per cent of GDP, with a contribution of 2.460 trillion kip from grants in aid, or one per cent of the GDP.

The official report on past achievements and future plans was highlighted by deputy finance minister Dr Phouthanouphet Xaysombath at a two-day planning, investment and finance meeting that commenced on December 13.

Dr Phouthanouphet said 2022 will be the first year for implementing the national agenda as the government strives to make a breakthrough in the fiscal budget.

He said revenues are expected to increase by more than 3.754 trillion kip, when compared to the figures for 2021. “Mining and digital businesses will contribute about 2.000 trillion kip,” he added.

The total expenditure in the budget for 2022 is expected to touch 27.845 trillion kip, including the administrative budget of 23.895 trillion kip, while investments are expected to account for 10.700 trillion kip.

The ministry said the budget for the first 11 months of 2021 has reached 24.099 trillion kip, equivalent to 87 per cent of the plan, with domestic revenues touching 21.491 trillion kip or 85 per cent of the plan. There was a contribution of 2.607 trillion kip from grant aids, or 108 per cent of the year’s plan.

During the same time, overall expenditure was recorded at 21.010 trillion kip or 66 per cent of the year’s plan. This included expenses at the central and local levels.

Dr Phouthanouphet said: “It is challenging to reach the goal in terms of the remaining timeframe, but at least 2.542 trillion kip should be the additional amount to get closer to the figure of 26.957 trillion kip recently reported at the National Assembly’s meeting.”

Measures to strengthen cooperation between other ministries and the private sector will be urgently implemented, he said.

The opening session of the two-day meeting was presided over by finance minister Bounchom Ubonpaseuth, and it was attended by deputy ministers of line ministries, the mayor of Vientiane, provincial governors, and directors general of the finance departments of Vientiane and the provinces.

The meeting served as a dialogue platform for government officials from line ministries and the Bank of the Lao PDR (BoL) to share options for achieving financial goals and to discuss ways to tackle economic and financial difficulties brought on by the Covid-19 crisis, which continues to pose a threat to socio-economic development.