Vientiane Times, 12 June 2013
Xayaboury Power Company expects to double its labour force over the next year so as it can complete the construction of its Mekong dam project in 2019 as scheduled, according to a senior company official.
“We forecast that the peak demand of the labour force at the Xayaboury dam site will reach 10,000 in 2014,” said the company’s Deputy Managing Director, Mr Rewat Suwanakitti told a visiting Lao media team last Friday, with the project currently employing 5,000 workers.
He said that the company wants the Lao media to help spread the news to Lao people who are looking for jobs so as they can apply and work with the development project. They are currently recruiting all kinds of people, ranging from accountants to construction workers.
The company is encouraging Lao people, in particular those from the surrounding provinces of Xayaboury and Luang Prabang, to apply for jobs at the construction site as it has made a strong commitment to prioritise Lao workers.
The government allowed Xayaboury Power Company to begin construction of the Xayaboury hydropower plant on the Mekong mainstream at the end of last year after delaying the decision for more than six months to address the concerns of environmentalists and downstream countries.
Mr Rewat said that despite the delayed start of construction, the company believes that the project will be completed on time and become operational as scheduled, revealing that the company is now building the spillway and navigation locks on the Xayaboury side of the Mekong River. He said that construction of the spillway and navigation lock will be complete in 2015, and after that it will begin construction of the power plants on the Luang Prabang side of the Mekong River.
Currently, Xayaboury Power Company has spent more than US$300 million on the project or about 10 percent of the total project cost. Mr Rewat expressed confidence that the construction of the dam will be complete on schedule thanks to support from the Lao government.
Mr Rewat said that the company would like to encourage more Lao people to grow vegetables and raise livestock and sell them to the project as demand for food at the project site is increasing due to the growing number of workers. He explained that the company has established a market at the project site, creating opportunities for local people to sell their products to the construction workers.
Economists say that the Xayaboury dam project will provide direct and indirect benefits to Laos and its people. The project will not only see Lao GDP grow rapidly but also help to create jobs and income for Lao people so as they can rise above poverty.