July 21, 2018

Laos registers 570 new businesses to half year

By:  Vientiane Times, July 19, 2018

VIENTIANE - The number of newly registered and expanded businesses in the capital increased almost threefold during the first six months of the year.

Improvements in state services and the robust growth of the economy are seen as important factors that have attracted entrepreneurs to make investments in the city.

During the six-month period, the industrial and commercial sector registered 570 new units, including firms that expanded their activities, with a total registered capital of more than 2,068 billion kip, Vientiane Mayor, Dr Sinlavong Khoutphaythoune, told the Vientiane People’s  Council on Monday.

During the same period in 2017, just 209 new businesses were registered, he said.

Now, the capital has a total of 42,976 business units that are a source of entrepreneurial dynamism, revenue for the state and job opportunities for locals.

The department has paid attention to providing facilities for those seeking licences by cutting red tape that is an obstacle to doing business in the capital, a senior official of the Vientiane Industry and Commerce Department told Vientiane Times.

Authorities have cut the number of processes for considering and forms for various approvals.

This means that the approval process can be completed within 10 days at present, down from at least two weeks in the past.

Assembling various parties to meet and consider documents submitted by entrepreneurs is a factor that delays approvals.

However, the Vientiane Industry and Commerce Department still requires a recommendation from the concerned State sector before it can issue a license to an investor, the official said.

The method used by the department to replace the meeting process is that it sends a document to the concerned division to ask for its suggestions and commendations in case a firm wants to operate a business in the division’s field.

If authorities in the division do not make any recommendations within the specified time, the department issues a registered licence to the business, the official said. 

A factor that supports faster approval is the submission of documents with all related papers that have been sought in a form provided by the department.

The official said that all the processes are transparent, including the cost of services.

The authorities have published the official rate as a reference.

For issuing registered licences, the department relies on businesses that have been placed in the open list for investment.

This is the responsibility of the industry and commerce sector, but businesses engaged in fields on the management or reservation list are the responsibility of the planning and investment sector.

A member of the Vientiane People’s  Council from Sangthong constituency on Tuesday called on authorities in the industrial and trade sector to monitor and inspect businesses after they receive registered licences to ensure that they are effectively operating their activities within the law and agreement.

He observed that in the past, the authority had seen businesses listed only to find later some of them did not have any apparent operations or undertook the construction of facilities but had not commenced related business activities.

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