Tag Archives: land

Cabinet Strengthens Gov Agencies Leeway To Act on Land Concessions

Lao Government Revokes Land Concessions

Land Concessions, giving development and usage rights to various individuals and corporate domestic and international investors, has long been considered one of the critical levers to leverage local and foreign investment, economic activity and job creation in Laos.

A form of long term rental, the usage rights to state land have been ceded to investors for projects from shopping malls to banana farms.

As with all investments, the results have been mixed. Amid the successes, it is now those cases of incomplete and inactive investments, environmental pollution and failed developments that have long proved a recurring issue, leading to disquiet for those affected and headaches for Laos’ policymakers, legislators and regulating authorities as Laotian Times has previously reported.

The lack of progress on a total of 81,879 hectares held under some 201 land concession projects has spurred a new round of government efforts to resolve the discrepancies under the country’s laws and respective contract conditions.

Prompting the cabinet to act were the findings of a report indicating that some 240 state land concession projects had been causing environmental damage, the nation’s press representatives were informed on February 20, 2019.

Based on such revelations, country’s cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Thongloun has instructed the country’s state agencies to revoke the land concession licenses held by investors who fail to proceed with developments in accordance with their agreements.

The meeting also approved measures to encourage investors to develop the land for which they had received concessions.

Measures approved include the authorization for state agencies to cancel concessions or fine those companies that fail to utilize state property in ways they were required to under the agreements they signed, government spokesperson Dr Chaleun Yiapaoher told the press conference held at the conclusion of the monthly cabinet meeting held on Wednesday.

Other key topics discussed include measures to improve the business climate, tax collection, rural area development and urban planning for the future needs of the capital towards 2030 and beyond.

The latest moves by the government to regulate and in cases revoke rights for failure to abide by agreements in state land concession projects comes after National Assembly members debated the issue in December.

Foremost among several cases of complaints from local communities aired at the National Assembly regarded pollution caused as a result of the activities at banana plantations in several provinces.

It saw the NA resolve that the government agencies actively push such concession holders to ensure their investments and activities abide by contract conditions for the use of state land while complying with related laws and policies.

The cabinet directed state agencies and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment to improve assessment of all land in question following the laws and guidelines before granting investors the right to a concession.

This could also better permit the Ministry of Finance to collect revenue in the form of land concession fees from project developers, Dr Chaleun said.

Land concession projects could only be approved in accordance with national and provincial land development master plans approved by the relevant authorities, investors and agencies were reminded.

Relevant state agencies were also instructed to work together to ensure that forests and other wildlife habitat areas were protected from damage by investment projects.

Laos’ First Real Estate Expo Expecting To Draw 40+ Firms To 2-Day Fiesta

via laorealestate.la yula.la & LNCCI. Laotian Times, Lao Post, Champa Meuang Lao among the media partners.

The first real estate investment expo in Laos is set to open eyes, hearts, dreams, and pocketbooks at Don Chan Palace Hotel on Friday & Saturday, March 1-2 2019.

Open to attendance from the public with free entry, Patrons will not only have a chance to eye off some the nation’s best property deals, but go in the draw to win international flight packages and a host of other prizes.

Laorealestate.la, in partnership with the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LNCCI) and Laos’ leading online marketplace, www.yula.la, is excited to announce it will be hosting the event.

The Laorealestate.la Expo 2019 is set to bring together Laos’ top property developers, architects, builders, real estate agencies, plot land vendors, banks offering home loans, insurance companies, law firms, and even international property investments.

The Laotian Times, Lao Post and Champa Meuang Lao magazine were among media partners in attendance at the launch.

More than 40 firms will exhibit in one room, for two days only, and the event is expecting over 3000 local and international attendees. Laos’ best luxury car brands and related businesses will also exhibit at the entrance of the event.

On top of a variety of property offerings, the Laorealestate.la Expo will also offer attendees access to a dedicated free seminar room with over 20 seminars from Laos’ leading real estate agents, property development experts, economists, lawyers, financiers, and Government officials.

Various international guests will present in the seminar room, to take a look at Laos’ real estate market in a regional context.

Seminars are focussed on educating buyers and sellers on the Lao investment climate, regulation, pitfalls, and upsides of the sector, and advice for first both first home and experienced buyers.

A special guest confirmed for the event is Dr. Somchai Charoenvarakiet, a Thai Feng Shui Real Estate consultant of over 20 years.

Dr. Somchai is set to offer his insights on how to maximize the positive energy of their home or office through Feng Shui design techniques.

All seminars will be translated via headsets in Lao, English and Chinese languages.

For the first time in the country’s history, all the big names from the Lao real estate industry will be together under one roof.

This presents a perfect opportunity for local buyers and international investors to survey the country’s best property opportunities.

Property sellers and financiers will also bring special expo-only promotions to guests.

 “The LNCCI is proud to be a partner of the first ever specialised real estate investment expo in Laos,” Vice President of the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LNCCI), Mr. Daovone Phachanthavong, told the media gathered at the launch.

“Ultimately, events such these will develop the whole sector and the wider economy, sharing information, best practices, business connections and generating a wider consumer base for exhibitors and sponsors, across both local and international networks.”

“This exciting event will provide the perfect platform to celebrate Laos’ real estate industry and to showcase the opportunities this market has to offer to both end-buyers and investors,” Mr Dominick Williams, Chief Executive Officer of APA Insurance Laos (Phongsavanh Insurance (APA) Co., Ltd), the main sponsor and key partner of the laorealestate.la Expo 19 alongside the LNCCI, Yula.la and laorealestate.la, told the gathering.

“Ultimately this will support the progress of the Laos real estate sector and the economy as a whole. As a leading local provider of property and construction insurance, as well as mortgage protection insurance, APA Insurance is delighted to support Expo as partner and main sponsor, and we very much look forward to welcoming guests to Don Chan on March 1st and 2nd, 2019”.

“The 2019 Expo is a great platform for property related businesses to generate leads and increase sales, it also represents a chance to celebrate the local real estate industry and give businesses an opportunity to strengthen their brand.” Mr. James Whitehead, CEO of Yula.la & laorealestate.la, said.

“For our attendees, we are offering a unique opportunity to view a range of property investment options in one room, over 2 days; ranging from plot land options, houses, villas, condos, construction firms, architectural designers, and property services and advice.

“First home buyers will also benefit from a range of home loan options, and specific legal and insurance advice.

“Those seeking international investment, travel, immigration and education options will also benefit from a range of exhibitors advertising opportunities in destinations such as Australia, USA, Europe, Malaysia, and Thailand – to name a few.

“The dedicated seminar room will offer a perfect and totally free opportunity for potential property buyers to learn about taxes, valuations, land laws, investment considerations, market trends and how to finance a home safely, among many other topics. We will have over 20 local and international speakers in the seminar section, over the two-day event.

“The event is now over 70% sold out for exhibitors and sponsors, thanks to a huge effort from the yula.la sales and marketing team, and we have already registered over 1300 local and international guests to join us next month.”

Digital Classified Group (DCG), the Australian-based parent company of Yula.la & Laorealestate.la, is bringing the real estate show concept to Laos after having successfully ran similar expos in several other markets internationally, including Cambodia and Papau New Guinea.

It is boasting a track record of well over USD $80 million worth of property sales at those various events, 30,000 attendees and over 200+ exhibitors.

The event will also be supported through a wide array of Lao and international media partners, including major local media channels both on and offline, Lao’s most prominent business chambers, and an array of investor networks across ASEAN and in China.

Digital Classified Lao Sole Co., Ltd., the Lao subsidiary of Digital Classified Group, would like to extend the utmost thanks to our partners of the first ever Laorealestate.la Expo, namely the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LNCCI), the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, the Ministry of Planning and Investment, the Ministry of Civil Affairs, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment & APA Insurance.

Those wanting to supercharge their brand and business connections are urged to sign up for a booth.

Lao Real Estate Expo 2019

To become an exhibitor or sponsor and take your real estate brand to the next level, visit https://realestatekh.lpages.co/lao-real-estate-expo-2019-exhibitors-sponsors/ or contact: +856 20 55 550 906 | contact@yula.la

Attendees are  encouraged to register as soon for event updates and prizes vis https://realestatekh.lpages.co/lao-real-estate-expo-2019-attendees/ to sign up for free entry and RSVP on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/2192522880987586/

Sponsors include APA Insurance, provider of property and construction insurance, Archineer Associates, Architecture, Engineering and Consultancy firm; Aristo Developers, Property Developing companies in Cyprus, and Bluegrass Design Group and Guru Group, end-to-end marketing companies.

Additional Partners & Media include American-Lao Business Association, The European Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Laos, Austcham Lao, Muan.la, Bizgital, ECCIL (The European Business Chamber), The Laotian Times & LaoPost, Talatlao magazine, Realestate.com.kh, Champa Meuanglao Magazine, J&C Services, 108 Jobs, cvConnect, Kiwipay, Silkroad Media and Big Blue.

The Laotian Times reporting on real estate issues and stories can be found here.

via laorealestate.la yula.la & LNCCI. Laotian Times, Lao Post, Champa Meuang Lao among the media partners.

Lao Real Estate Expo 2019
via laorealestate.la yula.la & LNCCI. Laotian Times, Lao Post, Champa Meuang Lao among the media partners.

Words + Laotian Times; Images + Laos Briefly

Thailand May Reinstate Land Border Entry for Expats in Neighboring Countries

Thailand Visas

Could the cross-border retail and recreation-related dreams of foreign expatriates, non-diplomats and other non-Lao-non-ASEAN-passport-holding residents in Laos be about to come true across the Mekong in Thailand once again visa-free?

Laos’ near neighbour is reportedly considering removing the restrictions on land border entry affecting foreign expatriates in neighbouring countries including Laos for an initial period of two months, both The Nation and Bangkok Post reported on November 14.

Bangkok Post's List of Planned Changes includes a proposed lift on restrictions affecting expatriate residents of Laos.

Bangkok Post’s List of Planned Changes includes a proposed lift on restrictions on land border entry, potentially improving connectivity for expatriate residents of Laos.

The move would loosen restrictions that have been in place since December 31, 2016 as reported by Laotian Times.

The reported move from the country’s cabinet Tuesday comes amid efforts by Thailand’s policymakers to attract more visitor arrivals.

Other proposed measures also include double-entry visas for six months and special discounts at Thai malls under the “Amazing Thailand Grand Sale: Passport Privileges” campaign that continues from November 15 to January 15, 2019.

Since the start of 2017, limits on land border entry have affected foreign non-ASEAN passport holding expatriates (including those eligible to a visa-waiver), restricting them to just two single visa-free entries on arrival via the country’s land border points per year.

It remains to be seen whether the mooted liberalization will come in the form of carving out an exemption for foreign expatriates or result in the removal of the two-times-per-year land border entry restriction entirely.

Either way, a loosening on the restriction is likely to be welcome news, particularly to those for whom visa application processes and fees have proved onerous enough to prevent them from regularly visiting otherwise accessible destinations located on the far side of mighty Mekong.

Thai Visas

Officials Require Progress on Land Concessions

Land Concessions

The government will begin to firmly regulate concession projects by withdrawing land if no advancement is made on the proposed project, urging authorities to participate in the process.

Speaking on behalf of the government, Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith, set forth the new regulation in response to the National Assembly’s (NA) concerns regarding land concessions.

The PM stated, “if an investor who has been given a concession is found not to proceed with the stated project in the timeframe agreed, I ask local authorities to actively investigate and report their findings to the government.”

Officials acknowledge that several concession projects have been granted, but investors seldom fulfil their end of the bargain, neglecting the contract and relevant laws. In most cases, people applying for these concessions acquire the land for the purpose of transferring it to other investors, thereby making a profit.

Relevant ministries are requested to urgently take action when they receive a report indicating possible misconduct.

NA members also touched on the issue of investors refusing to obey the requests of local authorities. Prime Minister Thongloun explained that local authorities would be required to sign off on all concession deals and other development project agreements made at the central or local level.

The Prime Minister also addressed the subject of encroachment onto state land by investors with, “in this case, local authorities have the right to use measures directly to prevent encroachment at the first stage before it continues any further. The authorities should not wait for orders from the government. If local authorities are unable to influence the situation, please inform the related sector or ministry so they can deal with the matter.”

Acquiring land without further advancing it, not only delays the country’s development but denies other developers the opportunity to use the land effectively.

Clarifying that the government would not allow a monopoly in investment, but supported competition he added, “Effective investment and the implementation of development projects that follow the law will help to strengthen the economy.”

According the Prime Minister, the government is revising its policies before submitting them to the Politburo, which is expected to propose a resolution by the Party Central Committee in order to appropriately address the issues regarding land use.

Land Use Right Holders on 450 Year Road Reject Compensation

Land Use Rights 450 years Rd

Owners of land use rights for the remaining 167 plots along the 450 Year Road in Vientiane are still refusing to accept the compensation offered in return for the land they lost to the US$104 million highway, an official told the Vientiane People’s Council yesterday.

The government approved the construction of the 20.3km road, which was completed in 2010, to mark the 450th anniversary of Vientiane as the capital of Laos. The road links the Dongdok traffic lights in Xaythany district to Dongphosy village in Hadxaifong district.

To finance the road, a 50-metre section of land along either side of the route measuring more than 1 million square metres was reserved for sale to raise the necessary funds.

Compensation has been offered to those who lost their land, a member of the committee in charge of resolving land issues, Mr Bounlap Soutthavong, told the Assembly during its ongoing meeting.

He added that the committee has already awarded compensation of more than 77.4 billion kip for 369 plots of land.

However, the owners of the land use rights to the remaining 167 plots have still not claimed the money owed them, even though the authorities have issued several notices telling them to do so. The deadline for the payment of compensation has now passed.

Given that the remaining owners have not cooperated, Mr Bounlap recommended that the land use rights for the 167 plots be revoked and new land titles issued so the land use rights could be sold to raise money.

He said most of the people involved were not the original owners as they had bought the land from the original owners with the intention of reselling it and making a profit. Since the purchases took place after a regulation was issued to prohibit the sale of land and any construction after the building of the 450 Year Road was announced, this meant the parties had violated the regulation.

However, Mr Bounlap recommended that compensation be paid for the remaining plots, even though the deadline had passed.

In addition, he suggested charging a transport fee on the 450 Year Road in line with the Prime Ministerial Decision No. 66 issued in 2008.

Compensation payouts ranged from 15,000 kip to 500,000 kip per square metre plus 30 percent of the land value. The original owners of the land use rights were given priority in the repurchase of the land use rights, but would have to pay the amount decided by the government.

This amount was calculated by the government after the 450 Year Road was built, with prices ranging from US$120 to US$150 per square metre.

New title deeds have been issued for land for which compensation was paid and these were given to the Bank of the Lao PDR in part payment of the loan and interest owed by the developer which had borrowed money to build the road.

The project developer still owes the central bank more than US$20 million including interest.

Vientiane Mayor Dr SinlavongKhoutphaythoune told the Council that the building of the 450 Year Road was significant for Vientiane’s socio-economic development and in easing traffic congestion.

Source: Vientiane Times
Photo: Lao GMS Map

Cooperation Project to Update Lao Land Management

Land management across the country will become faster and more transparent after the Lao Land Management System and Modernisation Project Cooperation between Laos and China was approved.

A Memorandum of Understanding on the project was signed in Vientiane last week between the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment’s Land Management Department’s Director General, Mr Vongduan Vongsiharath, and Shanghai Huace Navigation Technology Ltd (CHC Navigation) CEO, Mr George Zhao.

Witnessing the signing were UniqTek Company Managing Director Mr Chandavong Southitham, Financial Department Director General Mr Siphandone Sihavong and Planning and Cooperation Department Director General Mr Xaynakhone Inthavong, along with participating ministry officials and company representatives.

The main project objective is to improve land management in Laos using the latest technology and equipment, and to prepare the project’s basic infrastructure for implementation.

It would also enhance human resource development, permanent land management stations or Continuously Operating Reference Stations (CORS) and other cooperation for project development, Mr Vongduan said.

The MoU will be current for one year then a project proposal will be put to the government for consideration.

The overall cooperation project will run for five years when the government approves its implementation, he explained.

CHC was fortunate to have the opportunity to make a contribution to Laos’ development and construction, and to share the benefits of that development, Mr Zhao said.

CHC is a leading company that researches and manufactures high-quality GPS/Beidou receiver systems. Altogether we have 10 product lines and 153 application solutions. We will pass on our extensive experience, first-class technology, plus excellent support and service to our partners, he said.

CHC will also be a bridge between Laos and China as we would like to seek and supply more resources from China, including financing and capital, Mr Zhao said.

The project is a good start and we could have more projects to undertake together and more opportunities to closely cooperate with each other in the future, he added.

The project would help improve land management systems so they’ll be up to date, faster and increase transparency for the public and government in order to contribute to socio-economic development, Mr Chandavong said.

The UniqTek Company had cooperated with the Land Management Department for two years in equipment supply, training, technical assistance and closely followed land surveying in the field, he said.

After the department trialled equipment supplied by the company, it showed that it was faster and more effective.

He strong believed the MoU would offer new equipment and better cooperation in land management assisting the issuing of land titles along with infrastructure development, technical training and human resource development through experience exchange between Laos and China.

On the same occasion, UniqTek Company handed over CORS equipment and computer servers worth 219 million kip to the Land Management Department.

Source: Vientiane Times

Vietnam PM is the Last ASEAN Minister to Land in Vientiane Capital

Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung arrived at Wattay International Airport yesterday becoming the last ASEAN government leader to have landed in Vientiane for the 28th and 29th ASEAN Summits and other major events scheduled for Sep 6-8. 

Savannakhet to Issue Land Titles in Computer System

Savannakhet province will strive to issue land titles for some 12,000 land plots within the year after the province was selected to implement a pilot project for a computerised land measurement and registration system.