February 28, 2018

Hotline helps government administration

By:  Somxay Sengdara, Vientiane Times, February 23, 2018

Hotline calls have helped the government gain a better understanding of public concerns allowing it to address their problems in accordance with the facts.

These findings were disseminated at a meeting of the government committee responsible for hotline calls held yesterday in Vientiane to discuss ways improve operations.

This was the first meeting of the committee led by the Prime Minister’s Office Deputy Head, Dr Viengsavanh Duangsavanh since the Office launched the 1516 hotline number on November 4, 2016, for the public to voice their concerns and opinions.

“The government wants to govern by using the rule of law, in a transparent and just way, addressing public concerns and encompassing all sectors,” Dr Viengsavanh said regarding the Party’s and the states administrative duty.

“The high-level leaders of the Party and state give great importance to the hotline number so they can follow up the public’s opinions through the calls to timely address problems but not to ferment them,” she added.

According to a report from the Prime Ministers Office Department of Public Relations, 2,700 calls were made by members of the public through the Prime Minister’s Office 1516 hotline. Of the calls, 2,250 were seeking advice.

Land was the hottest issue among the callers, who raised 735 questions regarding property matters.

More than 450 callers raised queries about the enforcement of court decisions, 375 calls were made concerning drug issues, 380 about salaries, 200 complaints about corruption, 266 queries were about illegal logging and the transport of timber, 186 questions related to roads, and 110 callers raised queries about civil servant numbers. The hotline was also established to monitor public voices and complaints countrywide, to attain the facts of people’s concerns and to clarify queries raised.

The Prime Minister’s Office via the department sent 219 official letters with specific questions to ministries, agencies, and provinces for their answers and explanations, and 105 replies have been received. According to the report, the launch of the hotline has facilitated better coordination between the Prime Minister’s Office and related sectors and local authorities while improving the monitoring of public complaints to address problems faced by people nationwide. Many ministries have also established hotlines, following the launch of the 1516 number by the Prime Minister’s Office, to receive public complaints concerning their sectors such as the Ministry of Industry and Commerce (1510), Ministry of Public Works and Transport (1518), Ministry of Finance (1519), Ministry of Education and Sports (1520).

Some 12 hotlines have been established to learn about public concerns and opinions on government administration and the Lao Front for National Development also has one. The report also noted the hotline as a channel from which the government could learn about its administration through the public’s opinions thereby assisting it to address those concerns, while members of the public better understood the role and obligations of the government.

Dr Viengsavanh reminded those present about three of the seven government administrative principles; respecting the constitution and laws, streamlining and accountability, which all related to hotline activities. “The government serves the nation so it has to encourage people in inspection activities, and it must be a model in combating corruption,” she cited.

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