March 06, 2018

Lao govt advertises 27 potential investment projects

By:  Ekaphone Phouthonesy, Vientiane Times, March 5, 2018

VIENTIANE - The government has compiled a list of potential development projects in which investment by the private sector is needed.

The list can be found on the Ministry of Planning and Investment’s website.

Any company, Lao or foreign, is invited to study the list and assess whether any of the projects present an investment opportunity.

According to the list, investors are needed for 27 projects in six provinces. The government will provide tax breaks and non-tax incentives as part of efforts to attract private investment in these projects.

In addition to these incentives, the government will supply potential investors with information and assist business operators to invest in and operate a business.

The government is eyeing total investment of about US$164 million by the private sector to undertake these projects and business activities.

“The projects or activities outlined in the investment calling list or investment profile are general and concession businesses that have been studied and formulated by the sectors involved and local authorities based on their importance for the national economy and having natural resource potential,” an official in charge of the list said as quoted on the website.

“These projects and activities have been officially approved by the Lao government or provincial authorities. However, they require capital for their development,” the investment official said.

The government initiated the concept of compiling potential investment projects some years ago as part of efforts to attract private investment in projects and business activities that are essential for local development.

In addition, the posting of these projects on the website creates a transparent business environment as any investors looking for business opportunities can access the relevant information.

The government is actively encouraging the private sector to invest in priority development projects as it is facing a shortage of revenue.

The scheme also eases the government’s work as it attempts to turn rural settlements into modern towns.

The government hopes the provision of relevant information to businesspeople will help to diversify the country’s economic base.

Most business operators are interested in mining and hydropower as the country has plenty of these natural resources and is blessed with large deposits of gold, copper, aluminium and iron. Laos also has plenty of rivers, which can be harnessed to produce hydropower.

According to data from the Ministry of Planning and Investment, most investment is ploughed into electricity generation and mining.

From 2011 to 2015, accumulated investment funding in the energy and mining sectors was about US$3 billion and US$2.5 billion respectively.

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