The 8th national five-year socio-economic development plan (2016-2020) currently being drawn up sets annual gross domestic product (GDP) growth at not lower than 7.5 percent, which should drive Laos out of Least Developed Country (LDC) status, the government told parliament on Tuesday (22 Dec 2015).
Minister of Planning and Investment Somdy Duangdy, representing the government, presented the draft five-year plan to the ongoing ordinary session of the National Assembly (NA), The Vientiane Times reported on Wednesday .
Per capita GDP is expected to reach US$3,100 in 2020 when the Lao population is expected to reach 7.3 million. This means gross national income (GNI) per capita will be US$2,450, Mr Somdy said.
To achieve this rate of GDP growth, the government will strive for 3.2 percent annual average growth in the agriculture and forestry sector, which will account for 19 percent of GDP in 2020. Industry is set to increase by 9.3 percent on average representing 32 percent of GDP, while services should increase by 8.9 percent accounting for 41 percent of GDP by 2020.
To attain these goals, the government needs about US$27 billion or 30 percent of GDP to finance the five-year plan. Of this, state investment will account for 24-28 percent of total investment, private investment by both domestic and foreign investors will represent 54-58 percent, while investment through bank credit will account for 19-21 percent of the total.
It is expected that national revenue over the next five years will reach 23-25 percent of GDP including national revenue, which is set to reach between 20-22 percent of GDP, while expenditure is expected to reach not more than 28 percent of GDP, according to the draft.
The government will strive to increase the value of exports by 15 percent or more annually, while foreign reserves should be able to cover the cost of imports for at least five months.
In addition, the government will strive to lower the poverty rate to 15 percent by 2020, while net enrollment in primary school education is set to reach 99 percent, and the literacy rate among people aged 15 years and above is targeted at 95 percent.
The government will also strive to increase forest cover to 70 percent of the country's total land area.