Cabinet approves tax law changes in Laos

VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN) - The Lao government will propose changes to the Law on Tax as it looks for new ways and mechanisms to collect revenue more effectively.

The monthly cabinet, which was held last week under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith, agreed in principle to the proposed amendment of the Law on Tax and hopes to submit this change to the upcoming National Assembly conference for consideration and approval in the middle of this year.

In addition to the proposed change in the tax law, the government will propose two new laws relating to revenue collection efforts - a Law on Income Tax and Law on Excise Tax. At present, income and exercise tax are included as chapters in the Law on Tax.

The change in this legislature may result in the establishment of more specific mechanisms to collect income and excise tax, resulting in more effective revenue collection.

Details of the proposed new tax laws and changes in the Law on Tax were not immediately available to the media.

In the middle of last year, the Ministry of Finance held a meeting in Luang Prabang to discuss changes in the Law on Tax with stakeholders. According to a media release available from this meeting, the tax changes are essential to the government’s efforts to boost domestic revenue collection.

Officials at the meeting said the amendment of the tax law was in line with the public finance administration reform strategy. 

In addition to the approval of the Law on Tax amendment, the monthly cabinet meeting approved in principle the newly proposed Law on State Documents. 

The government expects to submit this draft law to the National Assembly for consideration and approval in the middle of this year.

Apart from these laws, the meeting directed officials to improve the drafts of the prime ministerial decree on Official Development Assistance (ODA) administration and credit information disclosure before being resubmitted to the PM for endorsement.

The monthly cabinet meeting also discussed the air pollution Vientiane has been facing recently. The cabinet directed relevant state agencies to keep the public, in particular, vulnerable elderly people and students, informed on dangerous levels of particulate matter less than 2.5 micrometres in diameter (PM 2.5) and provide advice how they can protect themselves from air pollution.

At the meeting, the cabinet called on relevant state agencies to strictly inspect the importation of pork and fruit from neighbouring countries after learning about animal disease outbreaks there.

Another key issue the meeting discussed was the need for relevant state agencies to study and introduce measures to maximise the benefits from the China - Belt and Road initiative. The Lao President plans to attend a meeting on this initiative in China this year.  

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