The government has committed to continued efforts in improving the nation’s business climate as it plans to diversify the economic base and secure sustainable growth.
Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment, Dr Khamlien Pholsena, yesterday delivered the message during a meeting with development partners and international organisations in Laos.
Government officials and representatives of international organisations including the Ministry of Planning and Investment, Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LNCCI) and the World Bank attended the event.
The meeting was supported by the World Bank Group in partnership with the Embassy of Japan.
According to Dr Khamlien, the active participation of both the public and private sectors and other relevant stakeholders was necessary to improve the business environment so it was more conducive to commercial activity.
“The public and private sectors need to work together to implement the recent reforms and identify other areas that are barriers to investment in Laos,” Dr Khamlien said. “We hope to achieve the goal of raising our [World Bank ease-of -doing-business] ranking to double digits in the coming years.”
In recent times, the government has achieved some encouraging results including simplifying enterprise registration, making it easier to get an electricity connection, and improving cross border trading processes by reducing the time and number of procedures, and making information available and accessible to the public.
Prime Minister’s Order No. 2, dated February 1, 2018, sought to improve procedures and coordinate mechanisms to facilitate business operations in Laos.
The order was an important step in addressing Laos’ downward trend on the World Bank’s annual ease-of-doing-business rankings.
Laos’ rank in the “Doing Business 2019” report dropped to 154 in 2018, compared to the previous year’s placement of 141, out of 190 economies.
During the meeting, representatives from the private sector and government stakeholders discussed progress and challenges in reform, provided feedback on implementation, and charted future plans. Vice President of the LNCCI, Ms Valy Vetsaphong, said these reforms would not only help to improve Laos’ ranking but should also enhance overall conditions for business.
“The private sector requires a friendly business environment with accountability systems to be able to thrive,” Ms Valy said.
“I would encourage representatives from the private sector to familiarise themselves with these new policy actions and provide useful feedback on their experiences with implementation,” she added.
World Bank Country Manager for Laos, Mr Nicola Pontara, said “We recognise the commitment of the government to this agenda and stand ready to support efforts to improve the country’s investment climate.”
It was important, in particular, to ensure that existing and new policies did not remain on paper, but were implemented in a pragmatic way. Business reform operation reform could help the government improve its regulatory standards and align them with international best practices.
By Keoviengkhone Bounviseth