The closure of their operations, whether temporary or permanent, will not exempt them from the fulfilment of their duties or payment of debts owed to individuals, legal entities, or the government.
The recently enacted Law on Signs and Billboards stipulates the regulations for the management of sign- and billboard-related businesses.
President Bounnhang Vorachit announced the promulgation of the law in August after it was approved by the National Assembly in June.
The law has 12 parts, which contain 64 articles.
The law gives the right to all Lao citizens and foreigners in Laos to operate a sign or billboard business and to express their views through the content and form of the signs and billboards they make, while people’s rights will be protected by this law.
However, violation of the law by business owners will lead to an order by the relevant authority for the temporary closure of the business. The authority in question may also instruct the business about necessary improvements before allowing it to resume work.
Businesses may also be ordered to close if they do not improve their operations or pay the requisite taxes. The law states that the cancellation of its operations will not enable a business to evade its duties and any debts owed to individuals, legal entities, or the government.
The content, language and other issues pertaining to signs and billboards have concerned members of the public who said they saw many inappropriate signs and billboards. This led to the law stating that all signs and billboards in Laos should use Lao language.
In the case of a sign or billboard using both Lao and foreign script, the Lao words must be written above the foreign ones. Alternatively, the Lao words must be on the right and the foreign ones on the left.
The law also states that the size of foreign letters must not be bigger than two-thirds of the size of the Lao letters. If a billboard contains a trademark, the Lao words must be written above a trademark that contains a foreign language.
Exemption from this rule is the exclusive privilege of signs and billboards that contain slogans or messages related to diplomatic and international relations.
The signs erected by the offices of foreign representatives and international organisations and the residences of heads of agencies must comply with the protocols and international treaties that Laos is a party to.
The law also states that signs and billboards should be clearly written and may be lit, but they must not be dazzling or offensive to look at, annoy local residents, or distract motorists.