Lao eyes private investment of 23,086 billion kip this year

VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN) - The government expects domestic and foreign private investment to climb to 23,086 billion kip in 2019, accounting for 52.06 percent of total investment or 13.95 percent of GDP.

The figure was revealed yesterday at the central and provincial investment promotion and management committee meeting, held in Vientiane. It was chaired by Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the Central Committee for Investment Promotion and Management, Dr Sonexay Siphandone.

Under the socio-economic development plan for 2019, the government expects GDP to grow at 6.5 percent.

Promoting and attracting domestic and foreign private investment is a top priority for the achievement of socio-economic development plans and is a key driver of economic growth.

Private investment and investment in special economic zones is one of the government’s four funding sources for achieving its target, Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment and member of the Committee for Central Investment Promotion and Management, Dr Khamlien Pholsena, told the meeting.

Realising the importance of promoting and attracting investment and improving the investment environment, in particular addressing the 10 specific indicators of business operations in Laos, the government’s plan for 2019 sets clear measures to concretely resolve these indicators, he said.

In 2018 the committee approved 43 concession investment projects, which included 14 electricity projects, 15 mining projects, five agricultural projects and nine service projects.

With regard to special economic zone promotion and management, 593 domestic and foreign companies have registered operations in special and specific economic zones (SEZs).

The Golden Triangle SEZ in Bokeo province contains 147 companies, there are 128 companies in the Boten SEZ in Luang Namtha province, 177 in the Savan Seno SEZ in Savannakhet province, 48 in the Saysettha Development Zone in Vientiane, 47 in the Vientiane Industrial and Trade Area (VITA Park), 33 in the Pakxe-Japan SME SEZ in Champassak province, and 73 companies in other SEZs.

The government earned more than US$13 million from special and specific economic zones nationwide, a threefold increase compared to previous years.

SEZs created jobs for 8,105 more people including 6,806 foreign employees and 1,299 Lao employees.

With regard to imports and exports, in 2018 imports reached more than US$430 million. Savan Seno SEZ, Saysettha Development Zone, VITA Park, and the Golden Triangle SEZ were the largest importers of raw materials, heavy machinery and equipment.

Meanwhile, exports reached US$249 million, with Savan Seno SEZ, Saysettha Development Zone, VITA Park and Pakxe-Japan SME SEZ being the largest exporters of electronic goods, glasses, cameras, clothing and toys.   

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