The Laos Economic Monitor 2017 features a thematic section on health sector financing in Lao PDR. Although the country has achieved strong economic development during the last decade, higher investment in human development, particularly health services, has become a priority. The report provides suggestions on health sector financing policy in order to make greater progress toward Universal Health Coverage and improving health outcomes. Increasing government spending on health services, especially from domestic revenue sources, will be necessary.
- The Lao PDR economy is estimated to have grown at around 7% in 2016, a slight decline from the previous year, and is expected to maintain this growth rate from 2017-2019.
- Upcoming power projects and growing opportunities in the non-natural resources sector from closer regional integration are key drivers for growth.
- The current account deficit improved in 2016 as higher exports of electricity and manufactured products and lower fuel import prices offset the impact of lower copper prices and decline in timber exports.
- Monetary policy was directed towards stimulating credit growth, with some success as credit growth picked up to around 20% in September 2016.
- A wider tax base will be necessary as well as improved tax administration. It should be coupled with improved efficiency in public spending. The revised Budget Law and expected Public Debt Law will also support this objective.
- Ensuring that the debt burden remains sustainable will require adherence to the announced reduction of the fiscal deficit and strengthened public debt management.
- Adjustments in monetary and exchange rate policies, coupled with strengthening the bank supervision capacity of the Bank of Lao PDR (BOL) would help in maintaining stability.
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