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Lao gov’t vows to slash red tape, boost revenue

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Lao Prime Minister Phankham Viphavanh speaks at the cabinet’s monthly meeting. VIENTIANE TIMES

Lao gov’t vows to slash red tape, boost revenue

The Lao government has pledged to remove barriers that hinder business operations in Laos while speeding up bitcoin mining by authorised companies.

The strengthened focus on business is part of the government’s policy to tackle the country’s economic and financial difficulties and support economic recovery in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Reducing the amount of red tape and improving the investment climate were among the five topics discussed at the cabinet’s monthly meeting held on January 20-21.

The two-day meeting was chaired by Prime Minister Phankham Viphavanh and attended by other cabinet members.

“The meeting instructed the Ministry of Planning and Investment to work with the Ministry of Industry and Commerce and other sectors to review policies and legislation and revise them,” the government spokesperson Thipphakone Chanthavongsa told a press conference on January 21.

Meanwhile the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry was advised to strengthen its role, especially in setting up production groups and associations to boost their bargaining power.

Business leaders were told to improve their operating methods, enhance their competitiveness, and modernise their operations in order to benefit from regional economic integration.

In addition, cabinet members agreed to try to increase the amount of revenue earned from the mining and trade in digital currencies, as well as from taxes and fees levied at border crossings.

Minister of Finance Bounchom Ubonpaseuth told the National Assembly last year that the government expected to earn 2.000 trillion kip ($176 million) in revenue from bitcoin mining.

“We will also place more emphasis on increased productivity, the processing industry, services and tourism, in association with the Laos-China Railway,” Thipphakone said.

It is also viewed as critical to improve railway services and facilitate large-scale freight transport and cross-border logistics to further boost economic growth.

During the meeting, cabinet members heard a report on the progress made in enforcing measures aimed at containing the Covid-19 outbreak.

The meeting instructed the National Taskforce for Covid-19 Prevention and Control to closely monitor the situation surrounding the virus outbreak and to ensure a balance between infection control measures and economic recovery efforts.

In the first cabinet meeting of 2022, members observed that the year ahead offered both opportunities and challenges for Laos to grow the economy and alleviate poverty.

In addition, the meeting heard the outcomes of the 44th Laos-Vietnam Inter-governmental Committee meeting held in Hanoi earlier this month.

The government urged the sectors concerned to disseminate the nine cooperation documents signed during the meeting and implement them for the benefit of both countries.

Cabinet meeting participants agreed in principle with various draft pieces of legislation, notably those relating to land reserved for highways and the slaughter of animals.

VIENTIANE TIMES/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

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