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Fiscal restraints likely to delay construction of 5th Thai-Lao Mekong bridge

VIENTIANE, Feb. 3 (Xinhua) -- Fiscal restraints are expected to delay construction of the fifth international bridge connecting Thailand and Laos originally slated for 2016, a source at Lao Ministry of Public Works and Transport confirmed to local media Wednesday.

Construction of the cross-Mekong bridge linking the town of Pakxan in the Lao province of Bolikhamxay and Thailand's neighboring Bueng Kan province is likely to be delayed to 2017 due to "quite difficult financial circumstances", state-run media Vientiane Times reported an unnamed Lao ministry official as saying.

The bridge is part of a plan to improve road transport connections between Thailand and Laos and onward to Vietnam's province of Nge An to facilitate movements of people and goods in a bid to boost regional trade in the economically-expanding region.

Low commodity prices have impacted on Lao budget in the form of reduced receipts from mining ventures as the country's government moves increasingly towards hydroelectric power exports as a key source of national income and public revenue for poverty reduction and socio-economic development.

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