Govt approves new SEZ in Luang Prabang
The government has given the green light for a Lao company to set up a special economic zone (SEZ) in Luang Prabang province, bringing the total number of SEZs nationwide to 13.
The development is part of plans to create a new town in the suburbs of the provincial capital, while ensuring the town's cultural integrity is preserved.
The Phousy Group expects to spend US$1.2 billion to develop the zone on an area of 4,850 hectares with a concession period of 99 years.
The zone will be located about 10km outside Luang Prabang town centre with another site in Chomphet district on the other side of the Mekong River.
The developer will build a bridge across the river along with infrastructure such as roads, electricity, water supply and other amenities to attract businesses to the area.
An agreement to build the zone was signed in Vientiane on Sunday between government representatives and the President of the Phousy Group, Mr Sithong Phommachit.
Representing the government at the signing were Luang Prabang provincial Governor Mr Khamkhan Chanthavisouk, Deputy Minister and Vice President of the Lao National Committee for Special Economic Zones (NCSEZ), Ms Bouatha Khattiya, and representatives of other sectors.
The event was also attended by Deputy Prime Minister Somsavat Lengsavad, who supervises economic affairs, and other high-ranking officials.
Designed as a new town, the zone will feature a 23-storey building, schools, hospitals, shopping centre, bank, hotels, restaurants, and residences for older people. Areas for organic vegetable gardens are also planned.
A one-stop operating service will be introduced for businesses in the zone to ensure transparency and accountability and to facilitate development.
The government believes the new zone will help to boost economic growth in the province and generate job opportunities for local people.
People in the area currently use ferries to cross the Mekong River between the town of Luang Prabang and Chomphet district for the purposes of travel and business.
Once a bridge is built across the river, it will facilitate tourism, trade and investment in the province.
Luang Prabang is home to Laos' first World Heritage Site and is considered a magnet for regional and international tourists.
The zone will not only serve as a driver of economic growth, but will also spur development in other areas.
Other Special and Specific Economic Zones in Laos are the That Luang Marsh SEZ in Vientiane, the Savan-Seno SEZ in Savannakhet province, the Golden Triangle SEZ in Bokeo province, the Boten Dankham SEZ in Luang Namtha province, the Vientiane Long Thanh Golf Course in Vientiane, the Phoukhiew SEZ in Khammuan province, and the Pakxe-Japan Specific Economic Zone in Champassak province.
By Times Reporters
(Latest Update January 19, 2016)