Deputy PM praises Savan-Seno Special Economic Zone

VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN) - The Savan-Seno Special Economic Zone is performing well, has built a good reputation for itself and the country and is drawing immense interest from foreign investors, Deputy Prime Minister Dr Sonexay Siphandone said recently.

Dr Sonexay made these remarks during his visit to the Savan-Seno Special Economic Zone C – Savan Park and Savannakhet Dry Port on October 3. The zone is located in the middle of the East-West Economic Corridor and offers the best connectivity for the Asean region.

On arriving at Savan Park, the Deputy Prime Minister visited a display booth and admired the products being made at the Park.

The products included advanced technology telecommunication devices, airplane parts, cosmetics, toys, electrical and electronic products and lenses.

The Deputy Prime Minister was briefed about developments by Zone Governor Mr Thongsay Sayavongkhamdy.

So far, the zone has accepted investment from 129 companies from 12 countries. It has become an important site to attract investors to Laos. Some 4,478 Lao nationals are working here with a total employee strength of 4,681.

The General Manager of Savan Park, Mr Tee Chee Seng, also described developments at the Savannakhet Dry Port (LASAV). To date, the port has obtained recognition from UNESCAP with the port code LASAV for Savannakhet Dry Port. With this port code, shipping lines are able to deposit empty containers at the port.

Mr Tee Chee Seng also updated the deputy prime minister about the efficiency of road transport. The current route map connects China and Singapore. Savannakhet Dry Port serves as a transit hub, the ideal for multi-modal logistics system, and the dry port collects VAT charges which adds to its income.

Dr Sonexay said, “Two years ago when I visited this SEZ I discovered Celestica. I was impressed by its hi-tech production.”

He said that to begin with officials were unsure whether SEZ Savan-Seno would succeed, as Seno can sound a bit negative, like “say no”. Now, given its progress and success, we could say SEZ Savan “say yes”!

He said this was the only way to fully implement the prime minister’s order to cut red tape and eliminate the possibility of corruption, according to a press release from the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Dr Sonexay confirmed that investors at the Savan Seno Special Economic Zone are protected by Prime Minister’s Decree 177 (PM177).

He suggested that Savan Park should promote agricultural processing industries. These would add value to agricultural products such as processed and canned food, dried fruits and other agricultural processing activities. These industries would directly increase the income of local people.

As for the development of the dry port, the deputy prime minister congratulated provincial and SEZ Authorities for the implementation of government policy in this area, after its decision to establish nine dry ports in the country. The dry port at Savannakhet is a pilot project and a model for the development of eight others in the near future.

“We have successfully obtained the Country’s Ratification of the International Agreement on Dry Port of UNESCAP. We should now focus on internal legislation and regulations and make them compliant to international norms and standards.”

“We should remove all scattered illegal stations and seek control of all international transit of goods and commodities,” he added.

With respect to foreign companies successfully operating in the SEZ, he congratulated Savan Park on its success. He said on-the-job training as well as the training of skilled workers (95 percent target achieved) exceeded the expectations of the State Investment Law.

The delegation visiting the Savan-Seno Special Economic Zone included the Governor of Savannakhet province, Mr Santiphab Phomvihane, Vice President of the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr Daovone Phachanthavong, who is also the Managing Director of Savan Logistics Company Limited, and the Chief Operating Officer of Savan Logistics, Mr Jean Pierre Grzelczyk.

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