Cabinet reshuffle takes place amid economic challenges

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    A change in the line-up of cabinet members has seen Mr Khamjane Vongphosy appointed to the post of Minister of Planning and Investment, replacing Dr Sonexay Siphandone.
    The handover of positions took place in Vientiane on Friday, attended by Prime Minister Phankham Viphavanh and other senior officials.

    Mr Khamjane, who is also a Party Central Committee member, was previously Minister and Head of the Prime Minister’s Office.

    Meanwhile, former Secretary General of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Youth Union now becomes Minister and Head of the Prime Minister’s Office, replacing Mr Khamjane.

    Over the past decades, Mr Khamjane has held several important positions in the Party and government. He was formerly deputy governor of Vientiane province before becoming Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Forestry.

    He then became the governor of Phongsaly province before being appointed as Deputy Head of the Party Central Committee’s Propaganda and Training Board.

    In the meantime, Dr Sonexay, who is a Party Politburo member, continues in his post as Deputy Prime Minister in charge of economic affairs.
    Dr Sonexay was appointed Deputy Prime Minister in 2016 under the Lao PDR’ eighth government. He also took up the post of Minister of Planning and Investment in 2019.
    The cabinet reshuffle takes place amid the ongoing Covid crisis and a raft of economic and financial difficulties.
    The government is struggling to contain the coronavirus while also grappling with economic challenges and efforts to improve people’s standard of living.

    Among his accomplishments, over the past two years and more, Dr Sonexay has led the Ministry of Planning and Investment in attracting more than US$9 billion in domestic and foreign investment.

    In addition, several large-scale infrastructure projects have been carried out during his term of office, such as the Laos-China Railway, Vientiane-Vangvieng Expressway, Thanaleng Dry Port, Vientiane Logistics Park, and smart city developments.

    Dr Sonexay also led the ministry in drawing up and setting in motion the national agenda to tackle the country’s economic and financial issues. He also helped to resolve the government’s debt burden with regard to monies owed to private companies and overvalued development projects.

    During the position handover ceremony, Prime Minister Phankham Viphavanh called on the new leadership of the Ministry of Planning and Investment to take more responsibility in addressing the economic challenges facing the nation.

    The premier said it was essential to improve the management of state investment projects and further address the debts owed to private companies.

    The ministry’s leaders were also told to do more to improve the investment climate with a view to attracting more private sector investment and boosting economic growth, as well as to generate high-quality statistics and data that were easily accessible.