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IFC Supports Ongoing Reforms for Ease of Doing Business in Lao PDR

Vientiane, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, April 5, 2018 —IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is supporting Lao PDR to improve the country’s investment climate. The goal is to enable a business-friendly environment to attract private investments in Lao PDR.
Prime Minister issued the Order No.02, on Improvement of Regulations and Coordination Mechanism of Doing Business in Lao PDR, with an expectation to improve Lao PDR's position in the World Bank Group’s Doing Business ranking. Currently, the country ranks 141 among 190 nations across 10 indicators. In 2017, the country made the process of starting a business faster by simplifying procedures for obtaining a license and a registered company seal.
IFC compliments ongoing efforts by the government to implement this Prime Minister Order No.02, whereby IFC can share positive reform experiences — at both global and regional levels — and help relevant government agencies to translate the Order into an action plan that is in line with international best practices.  
The Order, already effective from February 1, 2018, aims to mobilize and attract quality investments, bolster the competitive capacity of domestic businesses, and minimize constraints to make it easy to do business in Lao PDR, among others. In addition, the focus is on transparency, simplifying procedures, and reducing the application time for investment license and business registration, to inspire confidence among both domestic and foreign investors.
To build a better understanding of methodologies and share reform experiences in other countries, IFC — in collaboration with the Ministry of Planning and Investment — today held a technical workshop with a focus on two indicators in Doing Business report namely: dealing with construction permits and getting electricity. Representatives from relevant ministries including the Ministry of Public Work and Transport, Ministry of Energy and Mines, Vientiane Capital Division of Public Work and Transport, Lao Water Supply Authority, and Electricity du Laos, among others, will participate in the workshop.  
“We will work with key line ministries and the private sector to realize government objectives and to improve the country’s ease of doing business environment. We are keen to improve Lao PDR’s position in the World Bank Group’s Doing Business ranking by 2019,” said Dr. Khamlien Pholsena, Vice Minister of Planning and Investment. “This workshop will prepare the concerned ministries to develop action plans and ensure the implementation of the reform to achieve our targets by the end of next year.”
Other recent reforms in Lao PDR include improved access to credit information, reduction of corporate income tax rate, and allowing entrepreneurs to apply for tax registration at the time of incorporation, among others.
“The government’s efforts to improve the country’s business environment are commendable. Going ahead, a strong, comprehensive, and effective coordination mechanism, which also includes the private sector, will demonstrate its steadfast commitment,” Phongsavanh Phomkong, IFC Head of Office in Lao PDR, said. “IFC supports the government’s ongoing reforms to stimulate private sector growth — including small and medium enterprises — generate jobs, and subsequently drive the nation’s economy .
About IFC
IFC—a sister organization of the World Bank and member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work with more than 2,000 businesses worldwide, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in the toughest areas of the world. In FY17, we delivered a record $19.3 billion in long-term financing for developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to help end poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit www.ifc.org
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