Lao gov't to improve investment climate

Source: Xinhua| 2018-01-16 12:05:21|Editor: Lifang
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VIENTIANE, Jan. 16 (Xinhua) -- The Lao government is streamlining procedures in a bid to improve ease-of-doing business (EDB) as Laos' international ranking in this area deteriorates.

The World Bank's EDB ranking showed that Laos' ranking dropped to 141 in 2018 down slightly from 139 in 2017, out of 190 economies worldwide.

To improve the EDB, a draft Prime Ministerial Order is being finalized, which requires all the involved state departments to streamline procedures in order to accelerate the investment process, local daily Vientiane Times reported on Tuesday.

"The 10 indicators the World Bank uses to assess EDB are taken into account," Director General of the Investment Promotion Department, Ministry of Planning and Investment, Manothong Vongxay told Vientiane Times, "What we want is not just to improve our business ranking, but also to ensure the EDB mechanism in our country really works."

Manothong said authorities in charge are also reviewing the so-called one-stop service system with a view to improving its operation and smoothing out the procedures involved. A number of provinces have set up their own one-stop service mechanisms to facilitate investment and business operation.

Lao Minister of Planning and Investment Souphanh Keomixay admitted that the consideration and approval of many investment projects took longer than the time stated in the law. He told the first meeting of the Central and Provincial Investment Promotion and Management Committees in September last year that the process was slow because officials in charge failed to strictly observe the legal principles involved.

The minister added that the one-stop service mechanism was still not functioning properly, while some central and local departments in charge did not fully understand the mechanism for private investment management.

Business operators say Laos needs to improve in this respect and deliver good governance to eradicate undue payments and charges, which they say has been a main barrier to business operations.