Don’t abuse power for personal gain, Lao govt warns

VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times) - The government has warned civil servants not to abuse their positions of power for personal gain or to benefit their relatives and others close to them, or they will face disciplinary action.

Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith recently signed a Governmental Decree on the Ethics of Civil Servants detailing ethical guidance for state employees.

The decree prohibits civil servants from abusing their power for personal gain or the benefit of their relatives and people associated with them.

In the decree, Mr Thongloun also warns state employees not to use their power or position to threaten people or make demands from an individual, entity, or people in general.   

Civil servants are prohibited from creating conditions that make it complicated and difficult for ordinary people to access public services.

Officials who engage in misconduct and violate the decree will be given a warning and even disciplined in accordance with the Law on Civil Servants.

The five-page decree instructs state employees to deliver public services sincerely and transparently and in a polite and humble manner without demanding anything in return.

The decree is seen as part of the government’s efforts to deliver good public services and address public complaints.

Members of the public have often expressed frustration over public services, notably the disrespectful and condescending attitude displayed by many civil servants, unacceptably slow service, and demands for something in return.

Some business operators have complained that they are asked to pay unwarranted fees to have their documents completed or approved and if they don’t pay these additional charges their documents will take a long time to process.

The government is well aware of this issue and has previously warned state employees to stop these practices.

In a bid to address public complaints and the problems people encounter, some ministries and other state organisations have set up hotlines so that people can raise issues of concern, including those relating to public service delivery.  

Civil servants have been told to provide public services in a just, prompt and fair manner without discrimination.

The decree also details guidance on what civil servants should do to upgrade their professional expertise and qualifications, and improve the performance of their agency.

The decree will come into effect early next month.

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