Govt To Address Illegal Car Imports, Other Issues

Source: Vientiane Times

The government has instructed relevant sectors to take further action to address illegal vehicle imports after learning more were imported into Laos than previously reported, the government spokesman has said.

Prof. Dr Chaleun Yiapaoher told a press conference on Friday, shortly after the closing of the two-day government monthly meeting, that action to address the illegal import of cars is still unfinished thus further action will be taken.

It was reported previously that 5,639 cars had been illegally imported into Laos causing the state some 66 billion kip in lost revenue.

“The reported illegally-imported numbers are just cars [four-wheel vehicles], but the numbers are believed much higher than that if illegally-imported motorbikes are included,” Dr Chaleun said.

Those cars or motorbikes stolen in neighbouring countries then imported illegally into Laos for sale on the black market shall be returned to their countries of origin, the spokesman said.

Those cars imported into Laos intentionally facilitated by fake documents shall be seized as state assets, while those vehicles imported illegally but bought unwittingly by individual residents the owners are required to pay obligation fees and fines in line with the relevant laws and regulations.

Any party found involved in the illegal action is subject to be punished in line with the country’s laws.
In addition, the meeting also told relevant sectors to accelerate addressing issues related to ensuring financial liquidity within the banking system including encouraging individuals to deposit their foreign currencies in banks.

The relevant authorities in charge of improving state enterprises were asked to prioritise the enterprises in need of enhancement to make their operations more effective. The authorities were also told to hold meetings to discuss the improvement measures.

The cabinet entrusted authorities in charge to follow up and ensure those sawmills operated illegally in the past, which were later ordered to shutdown, would never return to operation again in a move to close illegal logging loopholes, Dr Chaleun said.

Since the action taken to regulate wood processing businesses in line with the Prime Ministerial Order No. 15 issued in May last year, 28 sawmills or wood processing plants located near and inside preservation, protected and production forests, which violate the relevant laws and regulations have been shutdown.

Additionally, 692 family-based furniture plants operated without business licenses were also shutdown, according to Director General of the Industry and Handicraft Department under the Ministry of Industry and Commerce Mr Manolack Rasachak.

He said authorities in charge were taking action to shut down another 467 family-based furniture plants still operating without business licenses.

Dr Chaleun said the cabinet had pressed the need for relevant authorities to take prompt action to shut down the remaining illegal furniture plants, while ensuring seized wood that was illegally logged was sold through bidding in a transparent manner.

“Meanwhile, action must be taken to suppress those found involved in cutting trees illegally as well as illegal export of the logs,” the spokesman said.

Discussing preparation factors to boost rainy-season production of crops, especially rice, the meeting told the relevant authorities to make comprehensive preparations to maximise productivity, while seeking markets for the surplus commodities.

In this regard, the authorities were suggested to ensure that farmers could easily access bank loans, crop seeds and young livestock to facilitate their cultivation and husbandry along with preparing drought and flood response measures.

The participants also heard a report on revenue collection and expenditure for the first half of 2017 and targets for the second half of the year.

Drafted resolution of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party’s Party Central Committee on intensifying land management and development efforts and three drafted laws were also debated by the cabinet. The drafts are the newly-drafted law on Communicable Disease Prevention and Control, newly-drafted Law on Meteorology and Hydrology, and draft-amended law on Town Planning. The drafted laws will be submitted to the National Assembly’s fourth ordinary session expected to take place in October for debate.

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