National Assembly | Land Info Working Group
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Posts Tagged ‘National Assembly’

Local land handovers unauthorised: Minister

Source: Vientiane Times, May 30, 2017
http://www.vientianetimes.org.la/sub-new/Current/Curr_Local.html
Community land which has been handed over by village authorities to investors should be all taken back as collective property because the actions of local authorities are against the law.
Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Mr Sommad Pholsena tabled this direction in debate at the recent session of the National Assembly (NA).
The assembly quizzed the government about the spread of village authorities giving community land to investors, individuals, companies and organisations for rent or granted in exchange for community roads or other infrastructure facilities.
“I would like to propose the National Assembly as well as Local People’s Assemblies annul the land authorisations made by village authorities,” Mr Sommad said. He referred to the Land Law, which he said gave clear stipulation on the allocation of agricultural land use rights.“The district or municipal administration is in charge of considering and approving the allocation of land use rights for agricultural land under its management to individuals and organisations to use by issuing land certificates to them,” the minister stated from article No.18 of the law.
“These land certificates are valid for three years. During this period, if land has been used in conformity with objectives and regulations, and if there is no objection or claim, or those claims have already been settled, then the individuals and organisations have the right to apply to the land management authorities at the provincial or city level for the issuance of a land title for long-term use rights,” he continued reading the stipulation in the law.
Mr Sommad also highlighted the spread of offences made against stipulations in the law regarding allocation of forest land use rights, use of land around bodies of water, and determining the scope of construction land use rights.
He promised to inspect the offences related to the responsibilities of his ministry such as the issuance of land titles. In an example, he spoke about village chiefs selling community land to private companies or individuals, who later received land titles from the ministry.
Such issuance of land titles would include cases when private companies or individuals wanted to use the land to secure investment finance, according to the minister. He asked NA members and members of provincial people’s councils to keep a close eye on these activities and inform the ministry about any related offences.

15 mining projects see concessions revoked

Source: Vientiane Times,5May,2017

Fifteen mining operations have had their concessions revoked after investors failed to implement their projects as agreed after they were granted concessions by the government.
Speaking at the ongoing ordinary session of the National Assembly last week, Minister of Energy and Mines DrKhammanyInthirath said “Some companies just held [concessions without implementing them] purely in order to resell them.”
The government suspended consideration of new mining projects a few years ago, saying it wanted to take steps to better regulate the mining industry after learning that a number of projects had failed to observe the agreements they had signed with the government.
DrKhammany said his officials began carrying out inspections in 2016 and found that almost 20 mining operations were not in compliance with the agreements and stood to lose their concessions.
The findings were submitted to the Ministry of Planning and Investment, which subsequently annulled the concessions previously awarded to 15 projects.
The fate of other projects that comply poorly with agreements is currently under consideration, DrKhammany added.
As of 2016, some 657 companies had been granted permission to carry out surveys and excavation as part of 942 projects. Of these, 226 companies had been authorised by the central government to undertake 392 projects.
Since 2003, when investment in mining began, until 2016, the sale value of mineral commodities exceeded US$13 billion with almost US$2 billion in taxes and royalties paid to the government, DrKhammany said.
He added that the mining sector had boomed and generated huge revenues from 2011-2016 driven by the spiralling of commodity prices on the world market, especially gold and copper, in 2012. The sale value of mining products from 2011-2016 hit US$8.8 billion with US$1.2 billion in taxes paid. Prior to that, from 2003-2010, the sale value of mining products was just US$4.3 billion with US$688 million paid in taxes.
DrKhammany said the sale value of minerals took a dive in 2016 when commodity prices on the world market slumped, including gold and copper.
In the first nine months of 2016, the sale value was just US$964 million, generating only US$41 million in taxes.
“The sale value [of mineral products] for the whole of 2016 was less than US$100 million. The sale value depends on the market price of minerals,” DrKhammany said.

Gov’t to get tough with dishonest land concession holders

Source: Vientiane Times, April 28, 2017
http://www.vientianetimes.org.la/FreeContent/FreeConten_Govtto.html
The government will use tougher measures to regulate concession projects by withdrawing land if no progress is made on the proposed project, while also pushing for authorities at various levels to participate in the process.
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Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith on behalf of the government made the promise yesterday in response to National Assembly (NA) members’ queries concerning issues surrounding land concessions, which were raised at the ongoing debate session.
The government acknowledged that many concession projects have been awarded, but investors often did not fulfill their obligations with regard to the contract and relevant laws. Many acquired land for the purpose of handing it over to other investors, thereby making a profit.
“If an investor who has been given a concession is found not to proceed with the stated project in the time frame agreed, I ask local authorities to actively investigate and report their findings to the government,” Prime Minister Thongloun said.
He urged the relevant ministries to urgently take action when they received a report indicating possible misconduct.
The issue of investors refusing to obey the requests of local authorities was also raised by Assembly members. In response, Mr Thongloun said concession deals and other development project agreements made at the central or local level must be signed off by local authorities.
Also up for discussion was encroachment onto state land by investors in addition to the land area stated in the concession contract.
“In this case, local authorities have the right to use measures directly to prevent encroachment at the first stage before it continues any further. The authorities should not wait for orders from the government,” Mr Thongloun said. “If local authorities are unable to influence the situation, please inform the related sector or ministry so they can deal with the matter,” he added.
Taking possession of land without putting it to good use not only delays the country’s development but denies other developers the opportunity to use land productively.
“If land is handed over and no development takes place, it will be withdrawn. I want the business sector to understand this,” the prime minister said.
“Effective investment and the implementation of development projects that follow the law will help to strengthen the economy,” he added, noting that the government would not allow a monopoly in investment, but supported competition.
Mr Thongloun told Assembly members that the government had carried out a study on the positives and negatives of the Law on Land, saying a lot of shortcomings were uncovered.
The government is improving its policies before submitting them to the Politburo, which is expected to propose a resolution by the Party Central Committee in order to tackle the issues surrounding land use, according to Mr Thongloun.

Policy makers call for recognition of inherited lands

Vientiane Times, August 25, 2016
http://www.vientianetimes.org.la/FreeContent/FreeConten_Policy.htm

Draft land policy has ‘no problems,’ lawmaker says

Vientiane Times, 25 April 2015.

A senior official at the National Assembly (NA) has asserted that the content of the draft National Land Policy has no problems, despite the fact it has been put on hold and has not been yet approved by the NA. The drafted policy, which stipulates reasonable compensation based on market prices whenever people’s lands are affected by investment projects, was submitted to the NA’s fifth ordinary session in July 2013 for debate. But it was not approved by the then session.

Public opinions sought on constitutional amendments

Vientiane Times, April 21, 2015

Policymakers are sounding out opinions from various sectors in society and those good and reasonable opinions will be taken into account into the draft of the amended constitution. The national committee in charge of amending the constitution has made a public announcement welcoming public opinions and comment on the proposed amendments.

Public urged to help identify illegal loggers

Vientiane Times, 17 Jan 2015

Accurate information and evidence are essential for bringing to justice illegal loggers and wood traders, and forestry authorities are calling on the public to help in this matter. Deputy Director General of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry’s Department of Forest Inspection, Mr Paphakone Vongxay, recently called for public support when responding to questions on illegal logging put to the National Assembly through telephone hotline calls.

Don’t build near planned railway: project officials

Vientiane Times, 14 Jan 2015
People living alongside the planned route of the Laos-China railway through Vientiane should not build house extensions or additional property so as to avoid compensation problems. This was the advice given by railway project officials to Donnoun village residents, who raised concerns through the telephone hotline during the recent National Assembly debate session.

“It would be better if local residents refrain from building property anywhere close to the proposed railway as this will create extra complications with regard to the compensation process,” Laos-China Railway Project Manager Dr Koung Souk-aloun said.

No concessions without consent, working group says

Vientiane Times, 4 November 2014
The national land regulations, including the National Land Policy and Land Law must be explicit in regulating and how and when land can be expropriated and it should be only made possible for public purposes.
 The statement was one of the key messages the Land Sub-sector Working Group (LSSWG) conveyed to the National Resources and Environment Sector Working Group (NRESWG) during preparations for the upcoming Round Table Implementation Meeting to be held in Vientiane this month.
The message was disseminated at the sector working group held yesterday in Vientiane, where Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment Ms Bounkham Vorachit, Country Manager of the World Bank Ms Sally Birmingham and Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Laos Michael Grau were in attendance. The LSSWG gave the recommendation concerning the land tenure security for Lao citizens and protection of the investments made in the country.
 Land issues have been longstanding in Laos for many years, while the National Land Policy which the government has been drafting for years was not approved despite having been brought for discussion at sector working group meetings and tabled at the National Assembly on numerous occasions.
Land concessions and the compensation paid to those who lose their land were the most frequently raised land issues with the public expressing its opinion that compensation should be paid at market rates.
 As the result of its work presented at the meeting held on October 14, the land issues sub-sector working group strongly recommended that legislation must make clear that land ownership or land use rights can only be revoked with the free, prior, and informed consent of the affected land rights holders.
 However, an exemption will be made for land resumptions that directly and primarily benefit the general public and provided that the affected parties receive, full, fair, and prior compensation.In addition, this must be applied to both individually and communally held land, be it land under customary ownership or with a formal title.
 Private purpose land use transfers on communal lands shall only be implemented if agreed upon by consent of a minimum of two-thirds (but ideally 80 percent) majority of all affected land use rights holders.
 The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment has been assigned as the government’s secretariat on natural resources and the environment and thereby oversees the NRESWG under the government round table meeting process. At the meeting yesterday, NRESWG joined with development partners to review the draft vision towards 2030 for the natural resources and environment sector and the plan for the period from 2016 to 2020 before submitting them to the round table process and incorporation into the National Socio-Economic Plan for the next five years.

Official: villagers given compensation in line with regulations

Vientiane Times, 29 August 2014

Villagers whose land was used to build a casino and airport in the northwestern province of Bokeo have been awarded full compensation in accordance with the government’s policy, senior government officials have confirmed. Deputy Director General of the Land Administration Department of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Mr Anothai Chanthalasy made the comment at a press conference held recently at the National Assembly after the issue was raised through the telephone hotline set up during the Assembly’s ordinary session.

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