Service industry discusses challenges to doing business

VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN) - In preparation for the 13th Lao Business Forum (LBF), the LBF Secretariat recently organised this year’s first Private Sector Working Group meeting to discuss challenges faced by the private sector in business operations.

The session at the chamber in Vientiane, chaired by Mr Phouxay Thepphavong, the Secretary General of the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LNCCI), provided a platform for representatives of service sector businesses, such as consultancy firms and real estate service companies, to openly discuss and prioritise issues to be raised with the public sector.

Issues the service sector businesses identified as impediments to their operation included those relating to enterprise registration procedures, business license approval and tax returns.

The Private Sector Working Group meeting kick-started the public-private dialogue process under the LBF mechanism, in which groups of businesses, generally divided by their respective sector, gather to debate and select issues to be raised at subsequent stages of the LBF process, according to the LNCCI.

This ensures greater legitimacy for issues raised by businesses through the power of collective voice, in contrast to those raised individually by a single firm, and this imparts a sense of urgency for the public sector to address such matters.

However, this could also act as a restriction as only the issues raised at the initial stage of the LBF process will be considered. Problems that were not raised as prioritized issues would then have to be put on hold until the next LBF round.

Addressing issues affecting the ease of doing business helps promote private sector development through the overall improvement of the business climate in Laos. Ultimately, it will assist the government in achieving its socio-economic development targets, one of them being Laos’ graduation from Least Developed Country status.

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