The government is hopeful of taking urgent action to enable the rollout of more investment projects, to help the country’s financial and economic difficulties in the years ahead. The comment was made by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Planning and Investment, Dr. Sonexay Siphandone, when he co-chaired the annual meeting between the government and Chinese businesses alongside Chinese Ambassador to Laos Mr Jiang Zaidong on Friday.
The meeting was an open dialogue to share the views of business operators in Laos and strengthen relations between the Lao government and Chinese investors. “This platform will enable the government to better understand the challenges and problems that Chinese investors face and to be prepared to formulate solutions and strategic policies to promote more investment projects in the next couple of years”, Dr. Sonexay said. China is the leading investor in Laos out of 53 countries and is financing more projects every year, he added.
“From 1989 to July this year, 813 projects have been agreed to with China, valued at US$15.8 billion, with Chinese-invested projects alone valued at US$12.9 billion”, Dr. Sonexay said. From 2016-2020, a record 58 projects with investment capital of US$7 billion were approved.
This year, despite the Covid outbreak, 21 projects worth US$2.5 billion were approved. Most of the projects are in the fields of mining, services, electricity generation, and agriculture. In addition, 89 Chinese business units have been given permission to set up businesses in special economic zones, with investment capital in excess of US$215 million.
“However, compared to past years, there has been a significant drop in the number of projects because of the Covid-19 pandemic”, Dr. Sonexay told Chinese business representatives at the meeting. He informed participants that the government had outlined a national agenda to address financial and economic difficulties, which was discussed at an extraordinary session of the National Assembly last week. During the meeting, Chinese business operators in various fields shared their comments with government officials, with a view to finding solutions to the challenges faced in doing business.
Senior officials from line ministries and representatives of Chinese businesses attended the meeting, which was organised by the Ministry of Planning and Investment and the Chinese Embassy to Laos, and supported by the Chinese Chamber of Commerce and the Yunnan Enterprise Office in Laos.
Source: Times Reporters on Monday August 16, 2021 www.vientianetimes.org.la