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Champassak dispenses with local transport checkpoints

Champassak provincial authorities have announced they will remove all unauthorised domestic checkpoints along roads to facilitate goods transport as well as appropriate inspections and charges.

The move came amid complaints by businesses about what they claimed were too many unnecessary inspection points along roads in the provinces, which slowed goods transport, wasted time and increased costs.

Many checkpoints were reportedly set up temporarily on a daily basis in a variety of places, frustrating local businesses.

Champassak provincial Governor Dr Bounthong Divixay issued an order this week imposing the removal of all unauthorised police inspection posts and other checkpoints on roads in the southern province.

The province has officially authorised only three police inspection checkpoints and three customs checkpoints with police officers and customs officials only permitted to carry out inspections in accordance with their professional scope of work.

The three police inspection checkpoints are located at Km44 in Nadan village on Road 13 North in Sanasomboun district, at Km84 on Road 13 South in Khong district, and at Km50 on Road No 20 in Kaengkia village, Bachiengchaleunsouk district.

Additionally, three customs checks are located at Km30 on Road No 16, Km7 on Road 13 North, and Km13 on Pakxong Road No 16.

Dr Bounthong told provincial departments to strictly implement the order and ensure that officials carry out their tasks within their scope of work.

He called for state organisations, businesses and members of the public to inform the provincial Administration Office or Party-State Inspection Office about any misconduct on the part of inspection officials in order to resolve the matter and penalise those found guilty.

Chairman of the provincial Party-State Inspection Committee, Mr Nouchanh Chanthaphong, admitted that his province has similar problems to other provinces in which businesses have complained about there being too many unnecessary checkpoints.

“We have received a lot of complaints. If the issue is left unaddressed, it will not be supportive for businesses,” he told Vientiane Times , adding that his officials are carrying out the order as assigned.

Businesses welcomed the move, which should set an example for other provinces, and suggested that more work needed to be done to improve and speed up transport processes.

“Other provinces should follow suit,” Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry Vice President Ms Valy Vetsaphong said.

She recommended that the authorities introduce a uniform inspection standard so that inspection documents issued and certified by officials at one checkpoint can be used to pass through another checkpoint that carries out the same scope of work without having to undergo a similar inspection.

“Businesses have undergone duplicate inspections. It wastes time and costs extra money,” she said.

She added that information and communication technology should be used to link the systems of each checkpoint so that d uplicate inspections no longer occur.

Ms Valy said the fees for inspections should be publicised and official receipts for any fees or fines within the inspection process should be provided to ensure transparent practices .

“Businesses are willing to pay when they are informed officially in accordance with the relevant regulations and laws,” she said, adding that irregular charges without receipts could provide a loophole for drivers to cheat transport companies.

In addition, the relevant authorities will need to clearly delegate the scope of work among inspection officials so they will no longer overlap, Ms Valy said, adding that businesses have experienced police officers inspecting customs documents which should be the responsibility of customs officials.

By Souksakhone Vaenkeo
(Latest Update March 25, 2017)

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