Rajah & Tann Regional Round-Up
your snapshot of key legal developments in Asia
Issue 3 - Jul/Aug/Sep 2021

Singapore to Trial Import of Electricity from Laos

On 15 September 2021, it was announced that Singapore will trial the import of electricity from Laos via Thailand and Malaysia following an agreement between Keppel Electric Pte. Ltd. ("Keppel Electric") and Electricite Du Laos ("EDL").

The exclusive framework agreement between the two companies is part of the Laos-Thailand-Malaysia-Singapore Power Integration Project (LMTS-PIP) that will see the four governments studying the feasibility of cross-border power trade from Laos to Singapore.

Under the partnership, Laos' state-run EDL is to export up to 100 megawatts (MW) of power from Laos to Singapore via Thailand and Malaysia using existing interconnections, while Keppel Electric, a subsidiary of Keppel Infrastructure Holdings, will purchase the power from EDL.

The trial electricity supply is expected to begin once all technical, commercial, legal, and regulatory arrangements have been finalised with the governments of the four ASEAN member countries and following the execution of a binding power purchase agreement between Keppel Electric and EDL which is expected to take place in 2022.

Digital Government Transformation Study and Lao Font Further Development

On 20 August 2021, a Memorandum of Understanding on Digital Government Transformation Study and Lao Font Further Development ("MOU") was signed between the Ministry of Technology and Communications ("MTC") and Star Telecom Co., Ltd ("UNITEL"). 

Under the MOU, the parties agreed to study and research on the digital transformation of the Lao PDR Government and improve the Lao language font to be able to support various services, especially the e-government system. This includes the research and development of software and the programming of standardised systems and applications to provide services to the public sector, business units, and general public.

In addition, under the MOU, the parties shall also study and research on the development of digital payments and e-commerce (Commerce Platform) and integrate this with the digital government system and the electronic signature system (e-Signature Platform). This is intended to promote efficient administration and modern government services. It is also the objective of this initiative to focus on upgrading the knowledge of civil servants and others in digital technology to support the work of the digital government of Lao PDR in accordance with the current development plan for digital government.

Bank of Lao PDR Issues Instruction on Converting Foreign Exchange Stores into Commercial Bank Representatives

On 2 August 2021, the Monetary Policy Department, Bank of Lao PDR ("BOL") issued Instruction No. 878/MPD on the Transferring Foreign Exchange Stores into a Representative of a Commercial Bank ("Instruction"). The Instruction supplements/implements Notice No.758/MPD dated 12 July 2021 on the Converting Foreign Exchange Stores Representative of a Commercial Bank.  To comply with the laws and relevant regulations, BOL has issued various guidelines which cover, among other things, the following: 

  1. Application to be a representative of a commercial bank. A foreign exchange store ("FX Store") shall coordinate with a commercial bank of its choice and apply to be a representative of such commercial bank ("Agent"). An FX Store can apply as an Agent with several commercial banks, but it can only sign a currency exchange agent agreement with one bank.

  2. Determining exchange rates and trading currencies. The exchange rate of the FX Stores shall be in accordance with Decision No.801/BOL dated 5 October 2015 on "Determining the reference exchange rate between the LAK and USD and Determining the exchange rate of commercial banks and FX Stores" and other legislations defined by BOL periodically.

  3. Operation of an FX Store after becoming an Agent. An FX Store has certain obligations after becoming an agent, including (i) putting up a signage bearing clearly the name of the commercial bank it represents; and (ii) complying with continuing obligations pursuant to relevant regulations.

For more information, click here to read our Legal Update. 

Decision on the Management of Accounting Software Comes into Operation on 28 July 2021

On 14 July 2020, the Ministry of Finance ("MOF") issued a Decision on the management of the accounting software No.1835/MOF ("Decision"), which was published in the Lao Official Gazette on 13 July 2021 and came into force on 28 July 2021. This Decision sets out the principles, rules, and measures in relation to the promotion of the use of modern tools in management-accounting activities. The Decision applies to individuals, legal entities, accounting units, and relevant departments/agencies using and developing accounting software in Lao PDR, and replaces the Decision No.0210/MOF dated 1 February 2010. 

The types of accounting software developed for use in management-financing and accounting activities include the following:

  1. Accounting software used for the unit holding a state account; and
  2. Accounting software used for the unit holding an enterprise account.

The accounting software used for the unit holding a state account may be used for loans and grants programmes such as foreign loans programmes, foreign grants programmes, and those that relate to social organisations, foundations, non-profit funds, and entities.  The accounting software used for the unit holding an enterprise account or specific account may be permitted by MOF for use by fund providers.

The accounting software used in budget-treasury work and the accounting software of banks and other financial institutions under the management of the Bank of the Lao PDR must comply with the specific regulations of the Bank of Lao PDR. 

For more information, click here to read our Legal Update. 

Please note that whilst the information in this Update is correct to the best of our knowledge and belief at the time of writing, it is only intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter and should not be treated as a substitute for specific professional advice.


Rajah & Tann (Laos) Co., Ltd
Anou Village,
Samsenthai Road Unit 17,
Chanthabouly District,
Vientiane Capital, Lao PDR.


Lee Hock Chye
Managing Partner
D +603 2273 1919
F +603 2273 8310

Khanti Syackhaphom
Legal Advisor
D +856 21 454 239
F +856 21 285 261

Desmond Wee
D +65 62320474

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