Mekong Memo Laos 20231004
Mekong Memo Laos Weekly, October 4, 2023: Business, politics, finance, trade & legal news.
We monitor and filter the very best and most insightful stories from Southeast Asia directly to your inbox every week.
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Here is your Mekong Memo Laos for the week of October 4, 2023:
Laos Champions Homegrown Agriculture Over Imports
The Lao Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry is taking steps to reduce agricultural imports, aiming to bolster domestic cultivation and combat inflation. Despite producing 6.53 million tons of agricultural goods annually, Lao farmers face challenges such as reliance on traditional farming methods, fluctuating weather conditions, and high costs of imported inputs. Illegal imports further strain local producers. Rising fuel prices and transport fees add to the woes. The government is urging farmers to cater more to the domestic market and increase exports, hoping to stabilize foreign exchange rates.
Read more: China.org.cn
Laos Shines in Global Affordable Mobile Data List
Recent research places Laos as the 14th country globally for offering the most affordable price per 1 GB of mobile data, with an average cost of just USD 0.25. This ranking follows Cambodia, another Southeast Asian nation, which secured the fifth spot. The study by Cable.co.uk analyzed 5,603 mobile data plans across 237 countries. While Laos boasts competitive data prices, it ranks 140th in broadband speed. Notably, the cost of mobile data in Laos has seen a significant reduction from USD 0.99 in 2022.
Read more: Laotian Times
Officials Dispel Fuel Shortage Speculations
Amidst concerns raised by PTT Lao Limited about potential fuel shortages due to foreign exchange challenges, the Lao Fuel and Gas Association (LFGA) and the Ministry of Industry and Commerce (MOIC) have reassured the public that the country's fuel distribution remains robust. The LFGA emphasized that fuel imports by 14 companies continue as usual, meeting national demand. The MOIC further highlighted that Laos imports significant daily quantities of petrol and diesel, with over 80% of gas stations operational. The government is taking measures to stabilize fuel distribution and urges the public to trust official sources.
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