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ADB announces further support for Lao SMEs
Publication Date : 03-10-2013
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will continue to support growing small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Laos with a US$15 million loan.
According to the Asian Development Bank Lao PDR Resident Mission, another US$4.378 million in technical assistance was also designed to help promote and develop the private sector, including improving the registration of enterprises.
Financial Sector Economist in ADB's Southeast Asia Department, Sani Ismail, said “The registration of enterprises is important not only to expand the number of SMEs in the formal sector but also to provide these SMEs with access to services and finance including bank loans.”
The loans build on sub-programme 1 of the second private sector and small and medium-sized enterprises development programme, which was implemented from 2009-2011 and focused on reforms to reduce the cost of doing business, national rollout of the web-based enterprise registry system in provincial enterprise registry offices, and trade policy measures that directly benefit SMEs, the ADB reported.
The second sub-programme continues to target women entrepreneurs for assistance by consulting women stakeholders for policy decisions and by identifying specific constraints faced by women entrepreneurs to utilise trade preferences and register their businesses.
By the end of 2012, more than 90,000 businesses had been registered, a dramatic increase over the 45,000 registered businesses in 2009.
With this assistance, the government will take further steps to improve the business climate through regulatory impact assessment and by facilitating SMEs to take advantage of preferential trade agreements, especially after Laos' accession to the World Trade Organisation.
Government data suggests 99 per cent of economic enterprises in Laos are SMEs. The government recognises the importance of developing SMEs and has set targets of 13 per cent annual growth in the SME subsector and 85 per cent of workers in business engaged by SMEs by 2015 under its Seventh National Socio-Economic Development Plan.