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Three major towns of Laos to be declared as cities

Updated:2018-01-02 11:52:25   vientianetimes.org.la

The status of three major towns in Laos - Luang Prabang, Kaysone Phomvihane and Pakxe - will be upgraded and they will be declared cities in 2018, officials in charge have confirmed.

The government is keen to upgrade these towns into cities so as to fast track socio-economic development in their provinces and enhance relations with other cities in the region.

The government’s monthly meeting for October, chaired by Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith, approved the upgrade of Luang Prabang to a city as proposed by the Luang Prabang provincial Governor and Provincial People’s Council.

The meeting also agreed in principle that Kaysone Phomvihane district (the capital of Savannakhet province) and Pakxe district (the capital of Champassak province) should be declared new cities.

However, the government instructed Savannakhet and Champassak provincial authorities to expedite preparations for making an official announcement on the change in status of their capitals at the same time as Luang Prabang.

Head of the Savannakhet provincial Administration Office, Mr Phoukhong Nammachak, told Vientiane Times on Friday the province had revised the proposal as recommended by cabinet members. 

“The town of Kaysone Phomvihane meets all the requirements but we have not yet got approval from the Savannakhet Provincial People’s Council,” he said.

“The Council approved the upgrade in December and we have submitted this proposal to the government. Hopefully, the proposal will be raised for debate at the government meeting in January.”

Mr Phoukhong said authorities were unable to say exactly when they would officially upgrade the town of Kaysone Phomvihane to city status.

Meanwhile the proposal for upgrading Pakxe into a city has been completed and submitted to the government.  

Deputy Governor of Champassak province Mr Buasone Vongsongkhone told Vientiane Times on Friday “We have revised the role and functions of the new city as recommended by cabinet members and our proposal should be submitted to the government meeting in January.”

“We are discussing exactly when we should declare the town of Pakxe to be a city. I think we might come up with the exact date after the government approves our proposal.”

Head of the Luang Prabang provincial Administration Office, Mr Soulisak Phommali, said recently that his authorities planned to officially announce Luang Prabang as a new city in April when the province holds activities to mark Visit Laos Year 2018 and celebrate Lao New Year.

To qualify for city status, a municipality must have a population of not less than 80,000, be financially self-sufficient and have essential infrastructure in place for people to live and do business.

Officials said the three towns have met all the requirements necessary to qualify for city status and are now waiting for the paperwork to be processed.

Once these towns are fully designated cities, they will develop more quickly and have better facilities. They will be in a better position to strengthen cooperation with other cities in neighbouring countries and the region. 

Keywords:   major towns
Editor: Eric Wang