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PM Vows Stronger Action to Improve Business Environment

Source: Vientiane Times
Prime Minister Sonexay Siphandone has pledged to amend legislation to improve the business environment amid fierce international competition by governments to improve their ease of doing business.

The government will “amend the Investment Promotion Law and relevant legislation to smooth business operations and investment,” he told lawmakers at the ongoing National Assembly (NA)’s 5th ordinary session.

In response to questions from Assembly members, the head of government said his cabinet will explore and employ greater incentives to attract private investment.

The relevant sectors will be entrusted to expedite the categorisation of land types so that land concessions can be issued quickly in accordance with particular investment projects upon approval.

“Each province must have clear data on land types for agricultural, industrial, service development and residential building purposes,” the PM said.
The focus on land categorisation comes after it was learned that there have been projects for which feasibility studies were finalised but development could not go ahead because there was not enough land available for the proposed scheme.

In addition to conventional state land concessions, the government will explore cooperation models for concessions on private land for investment projects.  
PM Sonexay also pledged to streamline procedures to speed up the signing of Memorandums of Understanding in relation to investment projects.

To promote investment and attract more foreign investors, he said, the government will diversify its promotional roadshow.

In addition to the usual promotional forums conducted by the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry and ministries concerned during official or state visits by state leaders to foreign countries, the government is encouraging provincial authorities in partnership with foreign investors operating special economic zones or industrial parks in Laos to organise similar forums abroad.

PM Sonexay cited a recent promotional seminar jointly organised by a Chinese company investing in Laos, Khammuan provincial authorities and the Ministry of Industry and Commerce in China’s Guangdong province as a successful example.

It was expected that 10 investment contracts would be signed, worth more than US$800 million, as a result of this event.

“All provinces have favourable conditions for international relations and cooperation,” the PM said, adding that many Lao provinces are now twinned with provinces in other countries.

Also addressing the National Assembly, Minister of Planning and Investment Khamjane Vongphosy said the government would do more to encourage commercial production, further improve transport, facilitate trade, and negotiate for greater access to foreign markets.

State authorities will work with the private sector to expedite the improvement of tourism services including related infrastructure, he added.