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PM Orders Re-Negotiation For Fair Benefits In Mining, Energy Projects

Source: Vientiane Times

Prime Minister Phankham Viphavanh has told the Ministry of Energy and Mines to re-negotiate with the operators of hydropower and mining projects to ensure fair benefits from such projects.

The prime minister gave the guidance in the Executive Order No. 18 he recently issued, requiring state departments to strengthen management and prevent the loss of revenue owed to the state.

The ministry was asked to re-negotiate with businesses whose operations involve the processing, excavation and export of minerals.
These include gold, iron, copper, minerals used in construction, potassium, coal, and lime.

Mr Phankham said the re-negotiation was to “re-divide benefits”.

He also asked the relevant authorities to ensure that the export duty on minerals was fully collected in order to maximise revenue collection and help ease the country’s current financial and economic difficulties.

The order is one of the measures aimed at fulfilling the targets set in the five-year budget plan for 2021-2025 and the national agenda, which was approved by the National Assembly recently to address financial and economic difficulties.

The government has committed to work harder to fulfill the national agenda by 2023.

The Ministry of Energy and Mines was told to provide information regarding leasing and concession agreements and export plans for minerals and energy to the Ministry of Finance.

Data about companies that provide consultation, excavation and construction services in the mining and energy sector must also be provided. This is designed to ensure that investment projects and the businesses involved fulfill the conditions specified in licensed enterprise registration.

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Businesses are required to provide genuine prices of minerals in local and global markets to state authorities, as this is used to help determine the fees and royalties paid to the state.

The Ministry of Energy and Mines was told to work with the Ministry of Finance to establish a mechanism to properly manage exports and imports in accordance with the relevant legislation.

The prime minister also instructed the Ministry of Energy and Mines to speed up reform of Electricite Du Laos – a state enterprise.

The ministry was also asked to negotiate with investors to amend agreements on hydropower projects that were previously approved but contained some incentive exemptions that were not lawful. The amendments should comply with the relevant legislation.

The 12-page order instructed various ministries and departments to increase their responsibility in strengthening management in various fields under the scope of their responsibilities in a bid to put a stop to revenue leaks and maximise state income.