Vientiane Times, February 06, 2015
Officials have admitted to possible duplicate charges for the registration of land rights when land owners need the relevant documents urgently. Officials from Savannakhet province clarified the issue when responding to queries raised through the National Assembly’s hotline call during the legislative body’s recent session.
In a phone call to the National Assembly in December, a resident of Beungthalay village in Phalanxay district, Savannakhet province, said he had asked land officials in his district to record the relevant information and measure his land for the purposes of registration, and paid all the fees. When these officials drew up the documents and put in an application to the provincial authority, they sent more officials to make repeat measurements of the land. After being charged another fee by the provincial authority for the same procedure, the caller wanted to know if such a practice was legal. Phalanxay district Governor Mr Kongkeo Mivorachak told Vientiane Times last week this was a true case and had occurred before 2013 when the land rights certification project did not include this district.
The governor said the authority needed to register the use of land in the district and decided to record information in order to certify the land use rights and issue a temporary land certificate. Residents were asked to pay 200,000 kip in fees for a parcel of land that was 3 hectares or less. The authority charged 50,000 per hectare for additional areas if the land in question was bigger than 3 hectares, Mr Kongkeo said. Responding directly to the question of fees charged by the provincial authority, he said this would be true in the case of people who wanted a land title, and they may be asked to pay more than the amount charged by the district authority.
Deputy Director of Savannakhet province’s Department of Natural Resources and Environment, Mr Phouthone Yothbounheuang, confirmed the procedures involved in collecting information about parcels of land when issuing a temporary land use certificate and land title. He said the fee for a land title was high because the process involved the use of new measurement techniques and information collection, including photography and the making of frames. Vientiane Times asked residents of Savannakhet province how much they had paid for a land title and the common response was that the official fee was 800,000 kip. Mr Phouthone said that in some cases people paid more because they hired other people to apply for the land title on their behalf. These brokers usually demanded reimbursement for additional expenses. He advised against paying other people to deal with the formalities and said it was unwise to pay extra money.
“We have a single standard for our single-window service when issuing land titles, and we are on the lookout for irregular practices,” Mr Phouthone said.