VIENTIANE, May 9, 2019 – Lao PDR will benefit from public financial management reforms to improve financial reporting, and develop administrative capacity for revenue collection, public procurement, and budget execution, with support from the World Bank.
The USD$20 million Enhancing Public Finance Management through Information and Communication Technology and Skills (E-FITS) Project financed by the International Development Association (IDA) was signed by Vice Minister of Finance, Mme. Thipphakone Chanthavongsa, and World Bank Country Manager for Lao PDR, Nicola Pontara. The E-FITS project aims to introduce a new financial management information system and a public finance management skills training program at the Ministry of Finance. These improvements will allow faster processing of financial statements and budget execution reports, and publication of statements online, for greater transparency.
“The ceremony today reaffirms the commitment and cooperation between the Government of Lao PDR and the World Bank in supporting the Government priorities as outlined in its National Socio-Economic Development Plan. The project aims to improve and strengthen public finance management, which will contribute to sustaining dynamic and stable economic growth,” said H.E. Mme. Thipphakone Chanthavongsa, Deputy Minister of Finance of the Lao PDR.
Efficiency in managing public expenditure remains constrained by outdated information systems and procedures. The improved financial management information system is expected to facilitate better cash management by the government, providing up-to-date data on available finances, real-time reporting, and improved budget execution. It can also allow for closer monitoring of outstanding bills, financial resources, and fiscal deficits.
“Lao PDR has shown promising commitment to reforms in recent years. Now that the groundwork has been laid, the next steps are to improve the efficiency and transparency of the public financial management system,” said Nicola Pontara, World Bank Country Manager for Lao PDR. “We are pleased to support the government’s high-level development objectives to strengthen public finances.”
The E-FITS project is implemented jointly with the Public Finance Management Reform Project financed by a trust fund with a EUR 1.5 million contribution by the European Union. This project will increase the Ministry of Finance’s capacity for tax administration and revenue collection, improve the budget preparation and execution processes, and support implementation of the new Law on Public Procurement. It is a continuation of the previous Public Finance Management Modernization Program, which concluded in August 2018.