Monday, June 30, 2008

Govt clamps down on second-hand vehicle imports

Govt clamps down on second-hand vehicle imports

The government has banned the import of vehicles that are considered to be less than 80 percent mechanically sound, according to a senior policy maker.
The Ministry of Industry and Commerce's Export-Import Department Director General is Mr Khoun Thannakhot.

On Friday he said the department would only allow the import of second-hand vehicles that had undergone a technical inspection.
“According to technical inspection regulations, vehicles must be at least 80 percent mechanically sound before approval can be given for them to be imported,” he told Vientiane Times.
Mr Khoun confirmed the department would enforce the regulation. He said people wanting to bring a second-hand vehicle into Laos must show a certificate of technical inspection and a duty payment receipt.

A senior official of the Ministry of Public Works and Transport said the regulation aimed to make transportation in Laos safer as the number of sub-standard vehicles on the roads was a major factor in traffic accidents.

He also said sub-standard vehicles consumed more fuel and produced more pollution. Other countries had similar policies limiting the import of second-hand vehicles, to avoid becoming graveyards for old vehicles.

Critics argue that although the government has a clear policy to ban the import of poor quality second-hand vehicles, it is a difficult policy to enforce. They say several private enterprises use loopholes in the law to import low-quality, second-hand vehicles.

Some importers arrange for vehicles to be broken up into individual components before they bring them into the country. They then ask for permission from commerce officials to import parts to supply vehicle assembly plants – a business the government is promoting.
“There's no law banning the import of spare parts for second-hand vehicles and it is difficult to identify which parts meet the standard quality requirements,” commented an industry observer.

Policy makers from the ministries of Public Works and Transport, Finance, and Industry and Commerce, who are responsible for dealing with regulations concerning second-hand vehicle imports, said they were aware of increasing numbers of sub-standard vehicles arriving in the country.
“We have raised this issue for discussion several times, but we can't find an agreement,” said a senior transport official, adding that it was necessary to hold a meeting between officials from the three ministries.

He said some policy makers still wanted to allow the import of second-hand spare parts for assembly in the country, as these provided vehicles which were in a price range that could be afforded by the average Lao family, particularly low-income rural families.

Cheap transport is essential for these families if they are to transport goods to and from rural areas to boost their incomes, activities which form part of the government's poverty eradication policy.

Laos to generate electricity over 3 billion kw/h by 2008

KPL) Laos plans to increase electricity production over 3,700 million Kw/h in 2008, according to the Ministry of Energy and Mining.
Electricity will be distributed throughout country more than 1,400 million Kw/h worth US$75.54 million totally to ensure domestic consumption and goods production, especially in remote areas and focal development areas.Over 60% of households countrywide will gain access to the electricity system and plans to export over 1.9 billion Kw/h which draw over US$91 million in this year, said Ministry of Energy and Mining.
At present, many hydropower construction projects are being constructed namely Nam Thuen II, Seset II, Nam Ngum II, Sekhaman III, Nam Lik ½, Nam Ngum V, Nam Ngone, Nam Thuen I and Nam Ngum III.On the other hands, the plan will push forward to expand other construction hydropower and power plants projects including Thuen Hin Boun, Hongsa lignite power plant, Nam Nhiep I and Nam Sim, northern area rural power distribution and rural electrification projects.
Under the annual plan, the installation of 115kv power grid connecting from Ban Hard of Laos to Cambodia border checkpoint should be promoted to operate. The installation of transmission line connects from Seset I dam to Saravan province would also be built. For the installation of transmission line runs from Borikhamsay to khammouan and Savannakhet provinces must be constructed as plan.
The power grid installation project stretches from Xieng khouang-Samnuea- Oudomsay-Phongsaly and Luang Namtha-Bokeo are also preparing for construction.