Work on Vangtao-Phonthong economic zone on track

VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN) - A senior official in charge of the Vangtao-Phonthong economic zone in Champassak province has said work on the project is on track and expects that both domestic and foreign investors will want to invest in the zone.

An official ground-breaking ceremony to kick off construction of the economic zone took place in Champassak province recently.

The event was witnessed by Politburo member Dr Khamphanh Phommathat, Minister of Planning and Investment Dr Souphanh Keomixay, the Governor of Champassak province Dr Bounthong Divixay, and other invited guests.

The Duangdy Road and Bridge Construction Company will spend US$250 million to build the necessary infrastructure on a 253-hectare site close to the Thai border.

Speaking at the ceremony, company Director Mr Oudone Keoduangdy said the zone is ideally located in a strategic area where it can bolster trade and investment.

“This will also be central for the integrated markets of the Greater Mekong Sub-region, Asean, China and eastern Asian countries,” he said.

He added that work on a master plan for the project had progressed and that local residents had been awarded compensation for any losses incurred.

Chairman of the province’s Special Economic Zone Authority, Mr Khamphon Nuansengsy, told Vientiane Times yesterday that the zone is located close to a border crossing between Laos and Thailand.

“This economic zone was granted a 99 year concession by the government and will continue to be developed by Joint Venture Vangtao-Phonthong Development International Limited,” he said, adding that some companies had already expressed interest in setting up business in the zone.

Mr Khamphon also said that local authorities are now waiting for the government to decide how companies should pay the annual rental fee to the government.

The 253-hectare site will include seven zones along with duty-free shops, a border market trade centre, a hotel, and other tourist infrastructure.

“The developer of the zone will present the master plan for infrastructure and overall zone development to the provincial authorities before submitting it to the government,” Mr Khamphon said, adding that road building had made impressive progress and the zoning for waste water treatment was well designed.

According to the investment plan, the developer will pay for the construction of duty-free shops, a trade centre, a border market, a real estate firm offering houses for sale, commercial buildings and accommodation, a bank and other financial institution, tourism services and hotels, a warehouse and loading centre, a manufacturing zone for export, and other infrastructure.

When the project is complete, it will serve as a key driver of growth in the industrial and service sectors, boost the overall economy and generate job opportunities for local people.

The zone is located on the main economic corridor linking southern Laos and neighbouring Thailand and Vietnam.

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