Lao authorities formulated economic stimulating measures, aiming at mitigating the impacts of the global financial crisis. At the same time, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) approved a $20 million grant for natural resources development and management projects in Laos.
Lao officials met in a recent meeting to determine measures to help alleviate the impacts of the current world financial and economic crisis. Government ministers and provincial governors from across the country attended the meeting in Vientiane under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Bouasone Bouphavanh. Almost 80 economic stimulating measures were determined and approved, including tax relief measures which will reduce profit taxes for private companies while increasing tariffs on the imports of luxury products. Officials also stressed the importance of providing credits, promising to convince banks to release loans of up to 1,496 billion Kip throughout this year to businesses in different sectors for the production of goods, especially in agricultural production which is considered the foundation of the country's economic growth, as stated by Mr. Cheuang Sombounkhanh, Minister to the Prime Minister Office:
"These stimulating measures are needed to sustain the nation's economic growth to promoteproduction, especially agricultural production, to strength it during this year's planting season because if we don't, a GDP growth will be impossible to achieve."
As for tourism promotion measure, the government will consider visa fee reduction for foreign visitors as well as visa extension for tourists with border passes. Official say they will also modify domestic and foreign investment laws as well as taxation law to reduce profit and earnings tax rates, especially profit taxes which will be adjusted down from the current rate of 35% to 20%.
Meanwhile, the Asian Development Bank or ADB says it has officially approved a $20 million grant for the Sustainable Natural Resource Management and Productivity Enhancement Project in Laos. The International Fund for Agricultural Development will provide another $15 million and the Japanese government's Special Fund, administered by ADB, will contribute $700 thousand for training resources to support the same project. The main reason prompting funding assistance from the three sectors is the fact that natural resources innt of natural resources by the Lao government.
Songrit Pongern reported from Bangkok. (English translation by Buasawan Simmala and Dara Baccam)
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