Public-Private Dialogue Shapes Business Environment Reforms- Unveiling a Strategic Action Plan for 2024-2025

02/04/2024 13:17
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KPL (KPL)On April 02, The 15th Annual Lao Business Forum convened in Vientiane to assess the progress of public-private dialogue aimed at enhancing the business environment in Laos. The event attracted over 400 participants, representing a diverse spectrum of domestic and foreign businesses, public sector agencies, as well as members of the international diplomatic community and development partners.

(KPL)On April 02, The 15th Annual Lao Business Forum convened in Vientiane to assess the progress of public-private dialogue aimed at enhancing the business environment in Laos. The event attracted over 400 participants, representing a diverse spectrum of domestic and foreign businesses, public sector agencies, as well as members of the international diplomatic community and development partners.

In his opening remarks, Mr Sonexay SIPHANDONE, Prime Minister, emphasized the volatile external environment at both global and regional levels caused by high inflation, trade fragmentation, low investment level, and geopolitical tensions. While acknowledging all parties’ efforts to improve the business enabling environment through adopting and implementing concrete measures to improve transparency, predictability of legal and regulatory environment for businesses, Prime Minister also encouraged all concerned agencies from the central to local level to collaborate with business community, including domestic and foreign businesses to identify and remove barriers for business entry. PM concluded his remarks by stressing that “while businesses are set up by entrepreneurs, Government plays an important role in supporting entrepreneurship development by creating an environment that is supportive of entrepreneurship, including providing access to resources, capital, and markets, as well as offering regulatory support and protection”.  

The half-day event served as a platform to review the progress made since the 14th Lao Business Forum (LBF) and showcased broad support for structured dialogue to identify and address key issues affecting the private sector in the country. Private sector speakers commended the government for its concerted efforts to improve the business environment. Reports indicate that out of the 20 proposals raised during the 14th LBF in 2023, 06 proposals have been resolved, 11 are making significant progress with defined timelines, while 03 proposals will require more dialogue to agree concrete measures for resolution. The resolved proposals include improvements in procedures for obtaining business operating licenses across six key sectors, enhancements in the coverage of the credit information system, and streamlining customs clearance procedures. Another significant achievement is the formalization of the Lao Business Forum Structure and Process. Regarding this, the Prime Minister issued Decision No. 04 dated 08 January 2024, to formally establish the objectives of the LBF, appoint the LBF Steering Committee, Government Coordinating Committee, Secretariat, and standardize the process for technical and high-level public-private dialogue under LBF. This underscores the government's commitment to enhancing the effectiveness of public-private dialogue in Lao PDR.

In 2024, the private sector and concerned government agencies have prioritized 13 proposals aimed at improving business establishment and investment procedures, trade facilitation, promotion of domestic production and services, enhancing stability in the financial sector, sustainable development in the power sector, policies and measures to promote sustainable tourism, and improving private sector access to labor. The forum concluded with an agreement on a concrete plan of action to sustain dialogue and seek appropriate solutions to the new priority proposals in the next twelve months.

The 15th Lao Business Forum signifies a significant step forward in the collective efforts to foster an enabling environment for business growth and economic prosperity in Laos. The commitment demonstrated by both the public and private sectors underscores the shared vision of a thriving, inclusive economy.

KPL

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