Governor: Savannakhet to double GDP in 5 years

Date: 17, Aug, 2010   Time: 10:38 am

Savannakhet province plans to increase its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to more than 14 billion kip and its average annual income to US$1,700 per capita by 2015, according to its governor.

Savannakhet Governor Vilayvanh Phomkhe said last week the next five-year plan for socio-economic development, covering agriculture, industry, handicrafts, health, education and services in the province has been already drafted.

This year’s GDP is expected to reach over 6.9 billion kip, which would mean an average yearly increase of 10.52 percent per year since 2005. The current average income is around US$984 per person per year, he said.

“I believe we will meet the targets of our socio-economic development plan for 2011 to 2015 because we have already been working to build infrastructure over the past few years, and foreign and domestic investors are also interested in operating factories and other businesses here,” Mr Vilayvanh said.

He told the Vientiane Times that many factories are under construction in the province, including a processing plant that uses eucalyptus to produce textiles, a rubber factory, a copper factory and a lime factory for cement production. Meanwhile, a tobacco factory is in the second phase of extension.

“Therefore, I believe we will achieve our targets for socio-economic development, which are currently progressing well,” he said.

There is also potential for agriculture to reap larger profits, Mr Vilayvanh said. Foreign investment, especially in rubber, eucalyptus and sugarcane, has reached about US$9 billion since 2005.

“Our people are generally happy to have jobs with projects like these; we have around 7,000 to 8,000 people working on these projects in the province.”

Rice cultivation also offered good opportunities for production and income generation, he said.

“Foodstuffs are in demand because of the current world situation, so we need more businesses to invest in planting rice in our province. We currently have a thousand hectares of land ready to grow rice for investors who are interested.”

This year, the province was able to export about 400,000 tonnes of rice to other countries. However, more investors are needed to cultivate more rice.

“Attracting more investment is intended to increase job opportunities for our people because the human factor is the main motivation for development,” Mr Vilayvanh said.

According to a draft report on socio-economic development in the province for the next five years, the value of agriculture and forestry products is expected to reach more than 5.5 billion kip per year, an annual increase of 7.5 percent over the five years. Meanwhile, the target for industry and handicraft products is 4.4 billion kip, an 18 percent yearly increase.

The service sector is expected to grow by 15.4 percent per year to reach 4.1 billion kip, while the value of exports in the next five years is expected to reach over US$4.2 million, a yearly increase of 10 percent. The value of imports is expected to reach US$2.9 million, an increase of 8 percent per year.

Source: Vientiane Times
By Panyasith Thammavongsa
June16, 2010