Deputy Prime Minister Somsavat Lengsavad has urged localities to accelerate addressing problems that may slow the development of special and specific economic zones (SEZs).

The deputy prime minister made his request while attending a meeting in Vientiane last week that drew relevant officials from the capital of Vientiane and provinces where special and specific economic zones have been established, according to the Lao News Agency (KPL).

It was highlighted that problems relating to such industrial parks should be reported to the government immediately to ensure their prompt solutions. This aims to ensure that the development of SEZs progresses as planned, to attract more foreign investment and generate more job opportunities for Lao people.

According to a report from the National Committee for Special Economic Zones (NCSEZ), the development of SEZs will help to stimulate economic growth and the improvement of infrastructure such as roads, electricity, water supply, and schools.

Bounpheng Mounphosay, Minister to the Government Office and Vice President of the NCSEZ, summed up the progress made in the development of each SEZ over the past six months and set plans to achieve in the next six months.

At the Golden Triangle special economic zone in Bokeo province, about 20 companies have invested in the zone with registered capital of more than 65.2 million USD.

At the Boten Denkham specific economic zone in Luang Namtha province, the focus is on building warehouses and a plant quarantine centre as well as drainage, and carrying out a survey to build a golf course. At the That Luang Marsh specific economic zone in Vientiane , ongoing work is centred on compensating villagers affected by the project.

Laos currently has 10 SEZs including the Savan-Seno special economic zone in Savannakhet, Vientiane Long Thanh Golf Course in Vientiane , and the Phoukhiao specific economic zone in Khammuane province.

The 10 zones cover an area of more than 13,500 ha and have generated over 6,700 jobs for local people, which is helping to alleviate poverty. Private sector investment in these zones has reached about 949 million USD.

The government attaches great importance to developing SEZs to attract foreign investment to drive the country’ economic growth, which is crucial to lift people above the poverty line and enable Laos to graduate from the list of least developed countries by 2020.-VNA