Working towards greater community control over land, forests and natural resources

Demarcation complete, Luang Prabang eyes investment to push SEZ project ahead

Source: Vientiane Times, June 26, 2017
http://vientianetimes.org.la/FreeContent/FreeConten_Demarcation_145.html
Development of a US$1.2 billion special economic zone (SEZ) in Luang Prabang province has faced delays attributed to project demarcation now completed while its developer seeks further investment and financial backing.
The plans for the zone include a 23-storey building, schools, hospitals, shopping centre, bank, hotels, restaurants and residences including homes and advanced nursing care for older people.
The SEZ is designed to create a modern conurbation for the provincial capital while ensuring the ongoing preservation of the old town.
The government signed an agreement on the zone with the country’s own Phousy Group in January last year, allowing the company to establish this project in Luang Prabang province.
Areas for organic vegetable production also feature in the plan.
Speaking to Vientiane Times on Friday, Deputy Director of the Luang Prabang provincial Department of Planning and Investment, Mr Bounsom Thatsavong said that construction activity had not been carried out in the zone so far.
“The zone is still vegetated as it has been,” he said.
“Nevertheless, the developer has completed demarcating the project site.”
He said the developer would be looking for further partners to develop the SEZ zone since it requires an enormous amount of capital to carry out.
He did not confirm when construction would begin or particulars of the financial backing and investment sourced to date.
“Our authorities have tried to push for the project’s progress which should contribute to boosting the economic growth in our province,” Mr Bounsom said.
Earlier this year, Deputy Prime Minister Mr Sonexay Siphandone visited the project site during a visit to the northern provinces.
Mr Sonexay saw firsthand the extent of development so far and the location of the site where a bridge will be built across the Mekong to link the three zones incorporated in the SEZ.
People in the area currently use ferries to cross the Mekong between the town of Luang Prabang and Chomphet district for travel and business.
The zone is about 10km outside Luang Prabang town centre with another site in Chomphet district on the other side of the Mekong River.
With a concession period of 99 years, the initial project proposal comprised an area of 4,850 hectares in the two districts.
A portion was found to overlap with the world heritage site, resulting in a revision in size to about 4500 hectares, Mr Bounsom said.
The government hopes the project will catalyse economic growth in the province and generate further job opportunities for local people.
A one-stop operating service is to be introduced for businesses in the zone to ensure transparency and accountability and to facilitate development.
The site is set to help the province overcome development constraints and preserve the old town of Luang Prabang, home to Laos’ first World Heritage Site and considered a magnet for domestic and international tourists in an increasingly interconnected region.
By Somsack Pongkhao
(Latest Update June 26, 2017)

You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

Leave a Reply

*

Powered by WordPress | Download Free WordPress Themes | Thanks to Themes Gallery, Premium Free WordPress Themes and Free Premium WordPress Themes