Inflation tops 40% in Laos, squeezing state employees

Inflation in Laos hit 40.3% in January, according to the country’s National Statistics Bureau, and even normally well-off state employees are feeling the squeeze.

“We’re seeing a lot of hardship,” said a public sector worker in Phongsaly province, along northern Laos’ border with China. “Most state employees have to bring their lunch to the office because goods such as food and gasoline are so expensive.”

“The only people who aren’t affected are high ranking officials,” said the worker who, like other sources RFA (Radio Free Asia) spoke with for this report, declined to be named because he wasn’t authorised to discuss the issue. He called for the government to increase the salaries of public sector employees so that “we can support our families.”

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