The government’s decision to build the US$7 billion high-speed railway project, remains unchanged

Deputy Prime Minister Somsavat Lengsavad on Wednesday the 8th of July confirmed that the government’s decision to build the US$7 billion high-speed railway project, linking Vientiane to the Lao-China border in Luang Namtha province has not changed.

Deputy Prime Minister Somsavat Lengsavad, who is in charge of economic affairs, was responding to a question raised by a National Assembly member from Oudomxay province who asked about whether Laos is certain to build the project or not.

“We will absolutely do it,” he said, saying that he could not confirm the exact timeframe as to when the construction of the railway will commence.”

The Deputy Premiere described the effectiveness and significance of the railroad project for Laos, noting that the country will become part of Asean Economic Community at the end of this year and highlighting the potential benefits Laos will gain from the railway project.

He told the NA session that the construction of the railway project will not mean that Laos can recoup the investment capital within five years but he confirmed that the project will have high economic utility.

The train route remains unchanged and has already been surveyed but the exact timeframe to build it has yet to be finalised.

The Deputy Premiere warned that people should not construct any buildings or factories along the railway line route as the government will not give any compensation for those who are violating the rules.

He requested NA members to further explain to local villagers about the significance of this project so that they would have a better understanding about the high-speed railway.

It is disclosed that, the reasons for the delay of the railway project are related to the fact that it was so large in scale and will come at considerable investment cost. Therefore, it requires detailed studies in relation to technical aspects and the forms of investment.

The governments of Laos and China begun negotiating and first signed an MoU in relation to the project in April 2010.

The Lao government believes the 417-kilometre track will help Laos to better integrate with the region and the world. Moreover, the railway will help reduce the cost of transporting Lao goods to international markets while encouraging local people to produce more for market needs.

The railway in Laos will link with the project in Thailand to form part of the regional rail link known as the Kunming-Singapore rail line covering a total distance of some 3,000km.

Source: Lao National Television News in English (LNTV)
Broadcast on July 10, 2015