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Government-by-Government Assessments: Laos

During the review period, the government did not make its executive budget proposal or end-of-year report publicly available online.  It did publish its enacted budget, though not within a reasonable period, and published a partial end-of-year report.  Limited information on debt obligations was publicly available, but not for state-owned enterprise debt.  The completeness and reliability of budget information could not be evaluated due to the lack of publicly available documents.  Military and intelligence budgets were not subject to oversight.  Publicly available budget documents were not prepared according to internationally accepted principles.  The supreme audit institution did not meet international standards of independence.  It reviewed only a portion of the government’s accounts and did not make its reports publicly available.  The government specified in law or regulation the criteria and procedures for awarding natural resource extraction contracts and licenses.  Basic information on natural resource extraction awards was publicly available.  A moratorium on natural resource extraction awards was in effect since 2012.

Laos’ fiscal transparency would be improved by:

  • Making substantially complete and reliable budget documents publicly available;
  • Disclosing state-owned enterprise debt;
  • Preparing budget documents according to internationally accepted principles;
  • Subjecting military and intelligence budgets to civilian public oversight;
  • Publishing comprehensive information on debt obligations; and
  • Ensuring the supreme audit institution meets international standards of independence, audits the government’s executed budget, and makes its reports public within a reasonable period.

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future