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Govt to enhance land tax collection

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment will play a greater role in the approval of land leases and concessions in a bid to better regulate the payment of land taxes, according to Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith.
“From now on, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment will be in charge of surveying, measuring, and planning all land lease and concession projects,” he told National Assembly members on Wednesday.

“[This land management system]must be modernised so that it provides a definitive reference for the finance ministry with regard to the collection of taxes.”
Under the law, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment is in charge of land management. But up until now the ministry was not fully involved in the process of issuing land concessions. As a result, it could not provide sufficient data to the finance ministry to enable the full collection of taxes.
Laos has issued a large number of land leases and concessions over the past decades. But there is no official report on the amount of income the government receives from the exploitation of this natural resource.
Mr Thongloun said the government had made good progress in land management issues, adding that one of the successes in this area was the creation of a modern land administration system.
With this system, he said the government could access data on land lease and concession projects nationwide.
Another advance in land management, Mr Thongloun told law makers, was that the government has appointed a committee to monitor the 438 land lease and concession projects around the country.
The committee will carry out inspections to limit the number of land concession projects which do not show any signs of development. This happens when investors just want to occupy land and delay the payment of taxes, he said.
To effectively address land management issues, Mr Thongloun said the government has improved the national land management master plan, adding that it was preparing to conduct land allocations in the provinces of Luang Namtha, Bokeo, Borikhamxay and Attapeu.
The government views land tax as a source of income. In order to strengthen the land tax and collection system, the government has authorised BCEL, one of the largest commercial banks in Laos, to set up a land tax payment system.
This system enables the holders of land use rights to pay land tax using a bank application.
The government believes that if people find it easier to pay taxes, revenue collection will rise.
The government has also set up a system for motorists to pay road tax through BCEL, which has resulted in more revenue from this source.

By Ekaphone Phouthonesy
(Latest Update June 7, 2019)

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