Govt vows to improve investment climate to drive growth

Govt Vows to Improve Investment Climate to Drive Growth

Source: Vientiane Times

Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith has told the cabinet to place more importance on improving the ease of doing business, to bolster economic growth in the coming year.

The premier issued the instruction at the cabinet’s monthly meeting for December, which took place on Monday and Tuesday.

Improving the investment climate is part of the focal work outlined in the Prime Ministerial Decree on the implementation of the 2018 socio-economic development plan and budget.

To improve the investment climate, Mr Thongloun told the relevant sectors to resolve problems that hinder business operations and streamline procedures to speed up the investment approval process through a one-stop service in a transparent manner in line with the law.

In this regard, he told the cabinet to ensure that Laos raised its position in the global ease-of-doing-business ranking.

Mr Thongloun asked the cabinet to do more to promote Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in line with the 2016-2020 SME Development Plan.

The cabinet was told to continue efforts to address unlawful business and service operations, especially illegal logging and wood exports, and the illegal excavation and exploitation of minerals and other natural resources.

Other critical work for the government in 2018 includes better management of finance and the budget together with currency management, increased productivity and better services, poverty alleviation, and good governance.

To maximise the 2018 development agenda, Mr Thongloun underlined the need for effective mobilisation of financial sources and more efficient use of funds.

He told the cabinet to pay special attention to carrying out projects in cooperation with other countries and between Laos and international organisations.

In particular, the cabinet was told to work with China to promptly implement projects to be financed by grants worth more than 6,598 billion kip (5.2 billion yuan) provided by the Chinese government.

In addition, the prime minister told the meeting to work with Vietnam towards realising cooperation projects that the leaders of both countries had agreed to in principle.

In this regard, the cabinet was told to prepare four draft cooperation documents so they could be signed at the meeting between the two countries’ politburos and at the 40th Laos-Vietnam intergovernmental meeting scheduled for January.

Mr Thongloun told the cabinet to ensure that Laos would use loans to finance only those projects that were assessed to be effective, to avoid accumulating more debt. He told the relevant ministries to push for the development of mega projects so they went ahead according to plan and strengthened the economy.

These include the Laos-China railway, which is currently under construction, and other projects associated with the One Belt, One Road Initiative as well as the development of special economic zones.

The meeting discussed the drafts of four laws including one on the stabilisation of livelihoods and another on immunisation.

The cabinet also debated a draft Prime Ministerial Decree on state enterprise employees and amended a draft Prime Ministerial Decree on Special Economic Zones.

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