Laos Expects More Private Investment This Year

The Communist Lao government expects domestic and foreign private investment to climb to 23,086 billion kip ($2.7 billion) in 2019 from around $2.36 billion last year, accounting for 52.06 per cent of total investment or 13.95 per cent of GDP, the Vientiane Times reported.

The figure was revealed on January 9 at the Lao central and provincial investment promotion and management committee meeting held in the capital Vientiane. It was chaired by deputy prime minister and chairman of the central committee for investment promotion and management, Sonexay Siphandone.

Under the socio-economic development plan for 2019, the Lao government expects GDP to grow at 6.5 per cent this year.

The report said that promoting and attracting domestic and foreign private investment was “a top priority for the achievement of socio-economic development plans and a key driver of economic growth.”

China, Vietnam, Thailand, Korea, France, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway and the UK have been the leading sources of foreign direct investment in Laos in the past couple of years.

Private investment and investment in special economic zones is one of the government’s four funding sources for achieving its target, deputy minister of planning and investment Khamlien Pholsena told the meeting.

In particular, the Lao government is addressing a number of specific business sectors for investments, including electricity projects, mining projects, agricultural projects and service projects, mainly in banking and hospitality. In 2018, the investment committee approved 43 concession investment for such projects.

With regard to special economic zone promotion and management, 593 domestic and foreign companies have registered operations in special and specific economic zones in Laos, the report said.

With regards to public investment, the Lao government earlier in January has approved a special budget package worth 500 billion kip ($58.5 million) to repair infrastructure facilities that were damaged by floods caused by a broken hydropower dam last year.