By VIENTIANE TIMES
ASIA NEWS NETWORK
A delegation from Vietnam’s Ministry of Planning and Investment, led by its Minister Nguyen Chi Dung, yesterday met with senior officials from the Lao ministry led by Minister Dr Souphanh Keomixay.
Officials reviewed their collaboration in various fields and discussed plans for the future. Areas of cooperation include planning and investment, assessment, statistics, and special economic zones.
While the Laos-Vietnam coordination committee had worked hard and played a strong role in guiding the two sides, the two ministries should pay more attention to the cooperation, Souphanh said.
He stressed that investment projects operated by Vietnamese businesses should make faster progress and be implemented on schedule according to agreements, as some projects had experienced delays.
Secondly, both sides should closely cooperate in inspections, monitor each phase of project operations, and assess project progress until the time of completion.
Thirdly, each stage of a project progress should be reported, |especially during the preparation phase.
Fourth, the cost of projects should be reasonable and the cost of the survey and design should be appropriate.
Projects should be of good quality and comply with international standards as well as being sustainable.
Many projects had collapsed after being operated for only a short time, Souphanh said.
To ensure projects are effective and can be operated sustainably, we have to make sound decisions together to address shortcomings, he added.
Souphanh suggested improving the mechanisms used to implement the Official Assistance Fund for Development which had been set up by the Vietnamese government to benefit the Lao government and was signed in December 2011.
If the cost of any project is high, both sides should together recheck and compare the cost of implementation against Lao management of the project. If both sides agree that the cost is reasonable, they should together continue to run the project or hand it over to Laos to save money.
The Lao government is trying to continue the cooperation and create conditions to make investments by Vietnamese enterprises in Laos more effective.
The National Assembly recently approved the Law on Investment Promotion, which has been improved to ensure that domestic and foreign investment projects operate in line with the regulations, Souphanh said.
If any project were delayed and there were many requests for an extension, the Lao government would be ordered to suspend it and revoke the land concession.
In the case of investments |by Vietnamese enterprises undertaken as a result of the special friendship between Laos and Vietnam, if the Lao government orders the suspension of a project|in agreement with the Vietnamese government, then the Lao government can suggest that the Vietnamese side seek other Vietnamese companies to continue the project.
The cooperation between the governments of Laos and Vietnam has continued to grow, but |there are various issues that both sides need to pay more attention to.