WASHINGTON, May 28, 2013 – The World Bank Board of Executive Directors today approved US$6.5 million in additional grant financing for the Customs and Trade Facilitation Project in Lao PDR. The grant builds on the achievements of the original International Development Association (IDA) credit of US$6 million, which was approved in 2008.
The newly approved financing compliments the Bank’s support for the program which is aimed at improving the efficiency and effectiveness of customs administration and simplifying customs processes and procedures to eliminate duplication, redundancy, reduce transaction costs and time to clear goods. The Customs and Trade Facilitation Project also aims to support government objectives in achieving high rates of economic growth that translate into meaningful poverty reduction, increased transparency and accountability.
The Customs and Trade Facilitation Project forms part of an ambitious and integrated country trade program supported by the World Bank in partnership with Australia, the European Union, Germany and Ireland. This includes a related IDA and Multi Donor Trust Fund financed project – the Second Trade Development Facility Project – as well as a National Single Window Non-lending Technical Assistance activity. The proposed additional financing will assist the Lao Customs Department to play a major role in furthering the government’s wider trade facilitation and national competitiveness agenda.
This additional grant will focus on providing further support in the key areas that are designed to ensure full and effective implementation of the new Customs Law and its translation into modern and business-friendly systems and procedures. It will support the preparation of a series of implementing regulations and procedures consistent with international standards and accepted good practice approaches. It will also support the development of a sustainable capacity for the Lao Customs Department to train and develop its own personnel. In addition, it will support the further functional expansion and geographical rollout of the Automated System for Customs Data and will strengthen the Lao Customs Department capacity to effectively maintain its ICT systems and infrastructure.