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Cabinet Mulls Ways to Boost Investment in Special Economic Zones

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The government cabinet has been exploring ways to better facilitate and promote investment in Special Economic Zones (SEZ), after many zones have been set up in the provinces and in Vientiane.

The cabinet on Monday convened an extraordinary meeting and discussed a draft of the Law on Special Economic Zones, which outlines incentives to attract investment in these zones.

The meeting, chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Dr Bounthong Chitmany, asked the law drafting committee to revise the draft in line with the recommendations of cabinet members. The draft law will be submitted for debate and approval at the next Ordinary Session of the National Assembly, scheduled to take place late next month.

The meeting heard a report on the progress made in legalising Lao workers in Thailand where a number of Lao nationals are known to be working both legally and illegally.

In this regard, the meeting instructed the authorities in charge to continue working with Thailand to legalise the remaining undocumented Lao workers. The cabinet entrusted the Lao authorities to work with local labour recruitment agencies to improve ways to help Lao labourers wanting to work in other countries so that they depart and work through legal channels.

The meeting also discussed a draft Prime Ministerial Decree on Petrol Business. The cabinet assigned the Ministry of Industry and Commerce to revise the draft in line with recommendations made by cabinet members before resubmitting it to the government’s monthly meeting in October for debate and approval.

At the end of the meeting, Dr Bounthong, who is also Chairman of the Inspection Committee of the Party Central Committee and Chairman of the Central Anti-Corruption Authority, advised the security forces to place more importance on maintaining security and order in society.

In particular, they were told to focus on issues concerning robbery, theft, drug smuggling and abuse, and road accidents.

Dr Bounthong told the Ministry of Planning and Investment and the Ministry of Finance to prepare reports on achievements in implementing the socio-economic development and budget plans over the first nine months of this year and the anticipated achievements for the whole year as well as plans for the 2017 fiscal year, to be reported to the Ordinary Session of the National Assembly next month.

The Ministry of Finance was asked to prepare a report on the progress made in implementing the government’s austerity measures and plans to strengthen these measures further, for submission to the Politburo meeting scheduled to take place early next month.

Dr Bounthong also instructed the relevant ministries to report on the progress of a project to build an oil pipeline from Vietnam to Khammuan province and an oil stockpile warehouse to next month’s Politburo meeting.

The ministries were asked to be ready to provide explanations in response to questions that would be raised by National Assembly members at next month’s Ordinary Session.

Dr Bounthong told the meeting to take steps to address the production of counterfeit banknotes. He also instructed the relevant ministries to follow up on the recent flooding and its impacts, while extending immediate relief aid and long-term assistance to affected villagers.

The Ministry of Health was asked to be vigilant in surveillance for communicable diseases including the Zika virus, which is reportedly spreading in many ASEAN countries.

Source: Vientiane Times