Business operations in Laos remain challenging because of widespread failure to understand and comply with complex laws as well as lax oversight on the part of the authorities.
Many entrepreneurs have registered to operate businesses in line with the regulations and laws while others have not but yet they still continue to operate.
Some Prime Minister’s decrees need to be improved and updated while different measures should be more strictly implemented in order to encourage business operators to run their businesses for legitimate profits and the benefit of the nation.
This was the message to government officials, policy makers and business operators at the 40th annual business awards event in Vientiane on Wednesday.
One of the major issues that business operators proposed to the government organisations for improvement is the conflict between Decree Number 115/PM and Decree Number 316/PM.
Decree Number 316/PM notes that personal and individually registered businesses under the Law on Enterprise, and which have registered capital of over 50 million kip, should apply to be the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LNCCI) to become members.
Meanwhile Decree Number 115/PM states that if entrepreneurs or companies have registered their businesses or companies legally they are then able to carry out their businesses, which could be taken to mean that they have satisfied all requirements and do not need to become members of the LNCCI.
This issue has seen many companies not apply to become members of the LNCCI while different business operators are operating their businesses without the appropriate registration certificates.
One other issue raised by businesspeople was that the fees for transportation in Laos are still high and need to be updated as various container parks are being developed in industrial zones along the nation’s borders.
Goods import and export approvals still need to pass through many stages, take time and there are no details on transport tax collection while other investment and trading documents still experience delays.
Another factor is the labour shortages that businesses have to deal with and the need for capacity building in various sectors.
In regards to solving the conflict between Decree Numbers 115/PM and 316/PM problem, Prime Minister ThonglounSisoulith has directed officials from the Prime Minister’s Office to open discussions to improve the matter and report back within a couple of weeks.
He also advised the relevant government officials to inspect illegal business operators and to formulate strict measures for implementation.
The PM also stressed that different ministries should boost their responsibility to improve and develop service systems to be better and more efficient in their areas of responsibility.
Business is a major sector which can contribute to developing people’s living conditions and push the economy of the country to expand and grow, helping Laos to escape from least development country status by 2020.
To reach the goal, Mr. Thongloun said, it requires every government and private sector to offer their strong cooperation and solidarity for overall development.
“We are now already part of the Asean Economic Community (AEC), so things should improve to relate with international standards, especially measures, principles and other regulations,” he explained.
Laos remains rich in natural resources, which offers potential in socio-economic development, but the country needs to chart a path towards green and sustainable development.
On the occasion, 46 companies received 40th Lao Business Awards and 17 companies received Asean Business Awards of the Lao PDR 2016.
The awards were conferred by Minister of Industry and Commerce, Mrs. Khemmani Pholsena and the LNCCI President, Mr. Oudet Souvannavong.
Source: Vientiane Times