Lao Prime Minister Joins BMO Discussion
The Prime Minister of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Bouasone Bouphanvanh, joined more than 350 top representatives of the private business community in their discussion about a new legal framework for the business membership organizations (BMOs) of the country. The discussion was key topic of the 2008 Annual Congress of the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LNCCI) on February 1, 2008 in Vientiane. By participating for the first time in a LNCCI Annual Congress, Bouasone underlined the government’s strong consideration for a more rational and effective BMO system under leadership of LNCCI. The event was a rare opportunity for entrepreneurs and business leaders to voice their concerns about specific obstacles to the development of their BMOs, as the Prime Minister listened in the afternoon session to the presidents of LNCCI, twelve provincial chambers of commerce and industry, and sixteen sector associations, before presenting his own viewpoints and recommendations.
LNCCI President Kissana Vongsay pointed out that the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MOC) already provided his chamber an unprecedented opportunity by authorizing it to draft a new decree on BMOs: “While all previous laws, decrees, and regulations were written by the Lao government, the BMO Decree will be the first to be officially suggested by a non-government organization.” Building a strong, united, democratic, sustainable, and financially independent system of political advocacy for the business community and of high-quality services for the members will be the main objectives of the decree, said Kissana. The improvement of the legal framework for BMOs in the Lao PDR is one objective of the UNIDO / UNDP joint project on private sector development.
Vice President Onesy Boutsyvongsack presented the LNCCI Board of Directors’ current considerations about the draft’s detailed provisions, and invited all participants to comment. In the morning session of the Annual Congress, the LNCCI members unanimously approved the 2007 annual action report presented by President Kissana, the financial report presented by Vice President and Treasurer Daovone Phachanthavong, and the 2008 action plan presented by Vice President Dr. Sananh Chounlamany. Secretary General Khanthavong Dalavong facilitated the discussions.