Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Malaysia leads top foreign investors in Champassak province

Dr Sonexay Siphandone speaks at meeting.
Malaysia tops the list of investors in Champassak province during the last nine months of this year which covered 37 percent of all foreign investment in the province.This was as reported by Provincial Governor DrBounthongDivixay when he and Deputy Prime Minister DrSonexaySiphandone met with provincial authorities in the province on Monday.

While second on the list of investors, Vietnam reached 22 percent of foreign investment with third place going to Thailand covering 20 percent of foreign investment, he said.

A total of eighteen foreign countries have been investing in the province with 172 projects, worth US$1,360 million (10,880 billion kip) covering 66.42 percent of all investment in the province.

The plan total domestic investment was reached with 179 projects, worth 5,501 billion kip or 33.58 percent of all investments, DrBounthong noted.

Encouraging domestic and foreign investment in the private sector has become one of the most important responsibilities of the provincial authorities, as the number of investors has grown continuously over the past few years, DrBounthong said.

This fiscal year, the province set plans to expand its economy by 8.1 percent, increasing the gross domestic production (GDP) to 12,766 billion kip with an average capita a year of US$2,263 (about 18.1 million kip).

The agriculture sector should increase 2.2 percent, reaching 26.1 percent of the GDP, the industry sector must rise 9.4 percent to cover 34.5 percent of the GDP while an 11.2 percent increase of the service sector or 39.4 percent of the GDP is needed, DrBounthong explained.

Over the last nine months of the year, the province has implemented 63.5 percent of plan and he expected that the province will be able to reach its targets.

The value of exports over the last nine months reached almost US$150 million (1,193 billion kip) or 87 percent of the annual plan and had increased last year by 20 percent, while the value of imports reached US$111 million (about 891 billion kip) or 73.4 percent of the yearly plan.

Trade volume between Laos and Malaysia last year reached US$26.1 million, which was an 8 percent increase on the previous year.

While the investment value by Malaysia from 2011-2015 exceeded US$569 million, ranking the country eighth among foreign investors in Laos at the time.

Investment projects usual involve the industrial, mining and energy sectors, according to the Ministry of Planning and Investment.

DrSonexay has directed provincial authorities to continue to take their responsibility in leading the economic expansion by increasing coordination in implementation from provincial to local levels.

He also stressed to increase cooperation with international affairs, boost anti-corruption measures, to try to collect provincial revenues on target, and to attract more visitors and investors coming to the province.

Savannakhet'sSoui Lake set for tourism development

Visitors and locals enjoy playing in the water of Soui Lake
in Champhone district of Savannakhet province. --Photo Champhone Travel
Champhone district authorities have submitted plans and a budget for a comprehensive tourism development at Soui Lake in Savannakhet to the provincial office for approval, according to a local official.Deputy Head of the Information, Culture and Tourism sector in Champhone district MrPhetchamphoneVongkalasin told Vientiane Times yesterday the plans include the development of restaurants, parklands, waterside huts and other facilities beside the lake.

“Our tourism development project for Soui Lake aims to attract more tourists with the project costing more than 4.4 billion kip. The plans have been designed by a local company in cooperation with us and there will also be our nation flag in the middle of the lake made up of planted lotus flowers,” he explained.

“The plan also includes planting water hyacinth to spell out ‘Soui Lake' for visitors to take photos of. When the plan is approved by the governor, then we will directly cooperate with a local company to start work on the development,” he added.

He also invited the public to visit the lake next month on September 1 for the HorKhaopadapdin festival noted for special parcels of food displayed inside and outside the temple. Authorities are then organising boat races on the lake during the weekend of September 3-4 to celebrate the festival.

“During the weekend, many of tourists, especially local people flock to our lake to play in the water and picnic,” he said.

He stressed that visitors would not only enjoy a visit to the lake, but other attractions in the area such as That Kou (which resembles a HeuanHin or stone house) in Xayphouthong district, Dongling area with its many monkeys, HortayPidok or Buddhist teaching library, NongPafa (soft-shelled turtle pond) and the Siamese crocodile conservation area.

Tourists could also continue their trip and visit the spiritual That Pholstupa at the temple in Xayphouthong district, one of the most popular attractions in the area with the sacred stupa's construction spanning the years 557 to 700AD.

“We have a smooth 20 km unsealed road which links all the tourism sites in our district and we plan to asphalt the road next year,” he noted.

Last week, Deputy Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism MrSavankhoneRazmountry inspected Soui Lake and the Dongling area to share his views on the development and management of the local vicinity.

Landslides follow heavy rains in nation's north


Bokeo province road workers are struggling to repair sections of a provincial link between the districts of Paktha and Huayxai after vehicles were left stranded on Sunday evening by landslides.A 38 km section of the Paktha to Huayxai road has been cut at four points due to mudslides. Soil slid down onto the road in two locations while it has collapsed in another two places.
An official from the province Public Works and Transport Department Mr Somboun Keuthkong told Vientiane Times on Monday the landslides had cut off the road on Sunday due to heavy rain that lashed the province since Friday last week.
Many motorists and tourists on the way needed a ride back to find somewhere to stay in Paktha district town's guesthouses.
Workers started their repairs on Monday but were finding it difficult because of the weather.
“Right now it is not easy for workers on the road because it is still raining. If there is no more rain the road may be reopened again on Tuesday evening,” he said.
Mr Somboun explained that two sections of the road collapsed adjacent to the flooded Tha River due to the torrential rain in parts of the northern provinces.
Road users and tourists can use an alternative road through Xay district and another via Pakbaeng district in Oudomxay province to link to the town of Huayxai district in Bokeo province. The route via Pakbaeng district in Oudomxay province cannot be used to connect with Huayxai district as it is cut off in Paktha district of the Bokeo province.
An official from Oudomxay province Mrs Khonemany Xayatham said on Monday afternoon a section of National Road 2W at Vanglam Bridge in Houn district located between Xay and Pakbaeng districts that was flooded on Friday morning has seen vehicles starting to cross on Monday after water receded.
She added there had been no more rain and even sunshine again in Houn district on Monday morning. However, some streets in the town of Oudomxay province's Xay district remained flooded following some more rain in the afternoon, but it started to recede by 3:30 pm that day after the rain stopped.
About 170 houses in four villages of Hongsa district in Xayaboury province were also flooded due to heavy rain on Friday.

Boost economic development, PM urges authorities in Phongsal

Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith
 and delegation visit the construction
site for a new provincial capital
 in Phongsaly's Bounneua district.
Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith has urged leading authorities in Phongsaly to pay attention to socio-economic development strategies in enhancing people's livelihoods afThe PM led his delegation to Phongsaly province last Saturday after completing eariler visits to Luang Prabang and Oudomxay provinces.
During the visit Mr Thongloun was provided a report on the province's socio-economic development situation and potentials by Governor of Phongsaly province, Mr Khamjane Vongphosy.
Mr Khamjane reported that Phongsaly province has continuously progressed in socio-economic development in the first nine months of 2014-2015, with its economy growing by 9.32 percent and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) GDP per capita reaching US$840.
He said the province approved 77 villages as model development villages, 123 villages as model cultural villages and 13,602 families as model development families.
Phongsaly had mobilised revenue of more than 45.98 billion kip, accounting for 90.22 percent of the yearly plan.
The province has bolstered friendly relations and comprehensive cooperation with its neighbouring provinces in Vietnam and China along with seeking assistance and funds elsewhere to further contribute to socio-economic development.
Mr Khamjane also reported progress on the implementation of the construction project of the new Phongsaly provincial capital in Bounneua district.
Mr Thongloun visited the building site for the new capital in Bounneua district, the construction project for the Road 1A between Bounneua and Lantui and the provincial hospital.
He congratulated provincial authorities as well as local people in their contribution to the country's development and protection, especially provincial socio-economic development.
Mr Thongloun urged authorities to pay attention to economic development in a bid to enhance people's livelihoods by considering poverty eradication as priority along with exploration of the province's potentials in processing and agriculture production promotion.
Efforts should continue to support the fine culture and harmony of ethnic groups, increase attention to efforts supporting international relations and cooperation to attract more foreign investment into the province, while managing and monitoring government and private investment projects to ensure all agreements are effectively implemented and completed in a timely manner as planned.
PM said authorities must earnestly seek to resolve social issues including drug sales, consumption and proliferation.
They must also pay attention to work on the provincial capital relocation to ensure the new site will become a modern urban area and a model for urban development in northern provinces and beyond.
Those responsible must manage their budgets and minimise expenses in construction and management of the project.ter visiting several projects in the province.