General & Misc

Government announces List of Controlled Businesses

Date: 14 January 2019; Type: Legal News; Source: Vientiane Times

Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith has approved a list of businesses that are subject to government control, while also stating that types of business not on the list would find it easier to operate.

An official from the Enterprise Registration Office said yesterday that from now on it would be easier for businesses not included on the list to obtain an ID and operating license.

Mr Thongloun signed a prime ministerial decree on January 10 regarding the list of controlled and concession-based businesses.

The decree stressed that local and foreign investors interested in operating one of the types of business listed must be prepared to comply with the relevant government controls and regulations.

The controlled business list mostly includes operations related to national security, social order and environmental protection.

However, business activities that are not on the list will have full government backing, the decree highlights.

Trade policy makers yesterday welcomed the government’s decision, describing it as a significant milestone in the government’s campaign to create a better business climate.

They say the list spells out which business activities require local and foreign investors to consult with the commerce sector and other relevant state agencies before obtaining a business ID and operating license.

In the past, no such list was available so it was not clear to business operators which entities they should approach in order to obtain an enterprise registration certificate and operating licence.

The list also gives business operators information about the special conditions they must be ready to follow if their operation falls within the controlled category.

Referring to businesses whose operations are not so tightly controlled, Mr Moumpheng said that, for example, the owner of a shop selling papaya salad or a small retail shop could set up business immediately after getting a business licence from the commerce sector.

These types of businesses could apply for a business and operating licence from the commerce sector without having to consult other state agencies.

Under the Enterprise Law, local and foreign investors can obtain a business and tax ID within 10 days after submitting a proposal.

Mr Moumpheng said he believed this would make conditions easier for businesses not on the controlled list.

However, for businesses that are listed as controlled, in addition to obtaining an enterprise registration certificate and tax ID, they must also get permission from the relevant state agencies before beginning operations.

In addition, all concession-based businesses are required to obtain permission from the commerce sector and relevant state agencies before going into operation.

The government has been actively working to improve the business climate as it believes the private sector is the driving force of GDP growth.

The government wants to promote domestic and foreign investment so that it can create jobs and boost incomes. Economic growth is mainly based on the exploitation of natural resources, which policy makers say will one day be exhausted so Laos must diversify and look elsewhere for sources of growth.

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