Laos’ newly-amended Investment Promotion Law has moved to cut by half the maximum investment period for new concession projects to 50 years, down from the previous maximum period of 99 years.
The move is aimed at maximizing investment benefits for the Lao economy, an official from the Ministry of Planning and Investment involved in the drafting of the amended law told local daily Vientiane Times.
According the daily’s report on Tuesday, Lao President Bounnhang Vorachit had issued a presidential decree to promulgate the law after it was passed by the National Assembly (NA) in November last year.
An official who wished to remain unnamed said the previous period was too long to wait until the concession conditions could be revised.
Applications by investors seeking to extend their concessions would also be considered.
It was believed that Laos could lose advantages from the 99-year maximum period given that the concession conditions could not be updated to meet conditions within an appropriate time, said the report.
“Cutting concession periods would enable us to revise conditions appropriately within suitable timeframes. The new concession period is commonly offered by many countries in the region,” the report quotes the official as saying.
The official believed cutting the concession period would not undermine investment promotion.
The amended law states that investment period for a concession project varies depending on the type, scale and investment cost of the project with a maximum period to be set at 50 years.
However, an investment period for a concession project can be extended upon the agreement made by the Lao government or the National Assembly or the Provincial People’s Council in accordance with their respective responsibilities as indicated in the relevant laws.
The amended law comprises 12 parts and 109 articles. It is hoped the new law will improve clarity and ease business doing in the country.
In 2017, Laos was ranked 139th for ease of doing business out of the 190 economies, according to the World Bank.