Laos’ PM Calls For Cooperation To Address Business Barriers

Source: ANN

Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith has agreed with the concept of establishing a special taskforce committee, to address unresolved issues relating to the improvement of the business climate.

The premier expressed his support for the creation of a special working group at the 12th Lao Business Forum on Tuesday, saying it would foster stronger and more efficient cooperation between the public and private sectors.

“I fully agree with this initiative and it should be set up as a working group as soon as possible. Also, the public and private sectors will continue to support each other in dealing with the remaining unresolved barriers to business,” he said.

Mr Thongloun said there were several issues that were taking a long time to resolve such as the waiver of Value-Added Tax on imported and domestic products. This has been advised by the government but is slow to be implemented.

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“In this case, I have already given advice on ways to address the problem and a new decree on implementation should be issued to make it more practical or Presidential Decree No. 3 should be amended so that it is more effective,” he said.

The premier has assigned the Ministry of Finance as the key coordinator with other ministries concerned to address these issues before the start of the coming year.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Mr Somdy Duangdy, will be the key person leading the structural reform and necessary regulatory measures to support economic diversification and simplify administrative procedures.

The half-day forum reviewed the progress of the dialogue process since the 11th Lao Business Forum in July 2018 and signalled broad support for structured dialogue under the forum to identify and resolve key issues affecting the private sector.

Since the previous forum, the private sector and concerned government agencies have prioritised 23 specific issues relating to taxation, import and export procedures, business entry, promotion of sustainable tourism, and other important fields. Discussions have resulted in seven issues being resolved and progress is being made on the remaining issues.

Tuesday’s forum was co-organised by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce and the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry and supported by the World Bank, USAID, AusAID and other international development partners.

Minister of Industry and Commerce Mrs Khemmani Pholsena, President of the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry Mr Oudet Souvannavong, deputy ministers and vice presidents of the LNCCI attended the meeting along with some 500 other participants.