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Justine Sylvester on Land Contract Transparency and OpenLandContracts.org

Source: Columbia Center On Sustainable Investment, January 23, 2018

Image credit: Pixabay Creative Commons CC0.

Image credit: Pixabay Creative Commons CC0.

Justine Sylvester is an advisor to the Land and Livelihoods Program and Private Sector Engagement at Village Focus International. She is also an alum of the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment (CCSI)’s Executive Training on Sustainable Investments in Agriculture program. CCSI spoke with Justine about contract transparency and how she has used OpenLandContracts.org in her work.

Govt, INGOs look to more productive cooperation

Vientiane Times, March 1, 2018

http://www.vientianetimes.org.la/FreeContent/FreeConten_Govt.php

Khammuan authorities revoke two firms’ concession licences

Vientiane Times, March 22,2018

http://www.vientianetimes.org.la/sub-new/Business/Business_Khammuan.php

Khammuan provincial authorities are monitoring the progress of investment projects in the province in a move to further boost economic growth.
Their investigations revealed that about 20 projects owned by Lao and foreign investors had failed to demonstrate any progress in their operations while others were violating the law in various ways.
Two of the 20 projects had their concessions revoked by the provincial authorities for not complying with agreements.
Provincial Governor Mr Oday Soudaphone took the decision to revoke the concession licences of the two firms, which had invested in limestone excavation and sand and gravel mining.
The first company (whose name translates as Veunxeu-Vongsaphay limestone excavation) was found to have violated the Investment Promotion Law and a concession agreement signed with authorities on June 21, 2016, to excavate and process limestone in Hinboun district.
Authorities were unable to contact the company president but informed other company representatives that the firm would not be allowed to continue with the project.
The second firm (whose name translates as Phonchaleun sand and gravel mining) was found to have contravened a concession agreement signed with authorities on February 21, 2012, to operate a sand and gravel business in Hatnakom village, Hinboun district.
But no progress had been made since the company was granted a concession licence.
Deputy Director of the Khammuan provincial Department of Planning and Investment, Mr Si-nguan Inthalath, told Vientiane Times on Monday these two companies had not shown any willingness to carry out their proposed projects.
“They not only failed to comply with the concession agreements signed with our authorities, but also failed to pay any tax,” he said.
Mr Si-nguan concluded that the companies could have run into funding problems or had been unable to find markets for their products.
Many companies seem not to be genuinely interested in carrying out a project as permitted by authorities while others just want to maintain ownership of a project with the intention of selling it to another investor at a later date.
“We identified about 20 companies that did not demonstrate sufficient progress in their project operations. We will invite them for talks and discuss ways to solve the problem,” Mr Si-nguan said.
“We will warn them that what they are doing is unacceptable and encourage them to comply with our laws. If no progress is made after the warning, we will have to revoke their concession licences.”
Khammuan has abundant mineral resources including potassium, lead and gold, so private investment in mining continues to increase.
Deputy Head of the Khammuan provincial Administrative Office, Mr Vannavong Vongphachanh, said mining commodities were mainly exported through Vung Ang Port to Vietnam and China.
This is Laos’ shortest route to a seaport. Since the opening of the Third Friendship Bridge in 2011, linking Thakhaek district in Khammuan province to Thailand’s Nakhon Phanom province across the Mekong River, more freight has been transported using this route.

One trillion kip in state assets misappropriated in past year

Vientiane Times, March 16, 2018

http://www.vientianetimes.org.la/FreeContent/FreeConten_One.php

Plans revealed for increasing forest cover to 70 percent

Vientiane Times, March 12, 2018

http://www.vientianetimes.org.la/FreeContent/FreeConten_Plans_60.php

Budget approval urgently needed for Laos-China railway

Vientiane Times:  March 13, 2018

Lao authorities in charge have called for urgent approval of a budget of 500 billion kip for Laos’ 2018 contribution to the construction of the Laos-China railway.

China-Laos Railway Project by VT

Champassak People’s Council debates development issues

Vientiane Times: January 2, 2018 

http://www.vientianetimes.org.la/FreeContent/FreeConten_Champassak.php

Govt mulls fairer compensation policy for people affected by development projects

Vientiane Times: January 3, 2018 

http://www.vientianetimes.org.la/FreeContent/FreeConten_Govt02.php

Hundreds to be compensated for losses when Vientiane expressway built

Vientiane Times: January 2, 2018 

Hundreds to be compensated for losses when Vientiane expressway built

PM pushes for strict land management

Vientiane Times: December 26, 2017

http://www.vientianetimes.org.la/FreeContent/FreeConten_PM.php

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