The Lao government has formed a committee to overhaul the operations of Electricite du Laos (EdL) as part of its efforts to strengthen business operations across all state enterprises.

The committee will suggest measures that will enable EdL to earn more revenue and pay off the debts it has accumulated.

The new committee was established under a Prime Ministerial Decision, with Deputy Minister of Finance Phouthanouphet Xaysombath appointed as head of the committee.

Deputy Minister of Energy and Mines Thongphath Inthavong has been appointed deputy head, while senior officials from other relevant bodies including EdL managing director Chanthaboun Soukaloun are also on the committee.

A ceremony to announce the new committee was attended by Minister of Energy and Mines Dr Daovong Phonekeo, Minister of Finance Bounchom Oubonpaseuth and other senior officials.

Dr Daovong said EdL, as a key state enterprise, plays a significant role in the national economy. Reform of the enterprise is essential to enable the enterprise to fulfil its duties and respond to the needs of local people.

The reform of EdL is taking place after the government witnessed a large number of state enterprises performing poorly, making huge losses and creating massive public debt.

National Assembly members have pushed for further reform of state enterprises in Laos after learning that state enterprises in China and Vietnam have become the engines driving success for their countries, while in Laos they continue to make losses.

The minister said the overhaul of EdL aims to prevent the loss of assets, create conditions that are conducive to strong business performance and comply with the rules of a market-based economy, and reduce the number of subsidies granted to certain individuals and groups.

Dr Daovong said the Ministry of Energy and Mines and EdL must strongly participate in the reform process to ensure that the enterprise generates more income to repay its debts.

The minister said he believed that the dedication and contributions of the reform committee would help to strengthen EdL’s operations and contribute significantly to the country’s socio-economic development.

He called on the sectors responsible to join forces to overcome the difficulties and challenges facing the nation.

In February, EdL announced its intention to significantly reduce expenditure in 2022 compared to 2021 in a bid to support government efforts to tackle economic and financial difficulties and stabilise macroeconomic growth.

Addressing the company’s annual meeting at its headquarters in Vientiane recently, Chanthaboun said EdL had faced a number of challenges in recent years but was preparing to make sweeping changes to improve performance.