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Minister: Private investment exceeds annual target

The value of private investment has exceeded the average annual target set at US$2.4 billion a year during the period 2016-2020, a minister has said.

Laos has attracted 120 investment projects with approved capital of U S$7.5 billion over one year and nine months starting on October 1, 2015, when implementation of the five-year national socio-economic development plan began.

Th is amount excludes investment in the US$5.8 billion Laos-China railway, Minister of Planning and investment DrSouphanhKeomixay told the first meeting of the Central and Provincial Investment Promotion and Management Committees on Friday.

Of the US$7.5 billion approved investment capital, US$4.8 billion has so far been transferred to Laos to operate the various projects.

“This shows that the value of private investment has exceeded the average annual target set in the five-year plan [2016-2020] at US$2.4 billion kip,” DrSouphanh told the meeting.

The latest statistics from the Ministry of Planning and Investment also show that investment by domestic and foreign investors climbed to more than 16,530 billion kip in the first half of this year, exceedin g the target for the whole year by 10 percent.

The Laos-China railway, on which construction began in December last year, appears to be the main driver of this huge spurt in investment.

In the first six months of 2017, Laos approved 3,151 investment projects by the private sector with registered capital of 51,588 billion kip (US$6.148 billion).

Of this, more than 16,530 billion kip (over US$1.9 billion) has been deposited in Laos with the money transferred through banks.

The transferred investment capital exceeded the target for 2017 by 10 percent.

In its Socio-economic Development Plan for 2017, the government targeted 14,474 billion kip in investment by the domestic and foreign private sectors.

Of the transferred US$1.9 billion, more than US$496 million was in the form of monetary deposits for various investment projects, with more than US$312 million allocated to the Laos-China railway.

The remaining more than US$1.16 billion was in the form of materials and vehicles.

The government's increasing efforts to improve the investment climate has added fuel to the uptick in private investment.

In an attempt to speed up the approval of investment projects and process them in a transparent and just manner, the government set up the Central and Provincial Investment Promotion and Management Committees in line with the amended Investment Promotion Law, which was passed by the National Assembly last year.

Since this body was established, it has convened 14 meetings and considered 135 investment project proposals, DrSouphanh told the Friday meeting.

Some 93 projects were approved in principle by the meeting, 16 proposals were rejected, and 26 proposals are under consideration.

Private investment is set to contribute US$15-16 billion to the total US$ 28 billion in investment needed under the five-year plan.

By Souksakhone Vaenkeo
(Latest Update September 25, 2017)

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