Hefty commissions needed for Lao rebuilding projects

Vientiane, Laos. Drones by Jettana/Shutterstock

Prospective contractors hoping to build homes in a flood-hit Lao province must pay hefty charges to local officials before their bids can be approved, sources tell Radio Free Asia.

These charges, dubbed “commissions”, range up to 26 percent of the total cost of the project and should be paid upon approval of the bid. “The commission the construction company must pay is at least 10 percent of the total costs for the project,” a source speaking on condition of anonymity was quoted as saying.

“The cost of the commission is too high,” the source added.

The Lao central government has emphasised that they will not charge for approval of construction bids for the project in Attapeu province. Government officials in Attapeu will sign off on bids before submitting them to central government authorities for final approval.

“This is to make sure that there are no scandals of corruption,” Rattanaphone Thepsouvanh, director general of the public works and transportation department in Attapeu province, said.

A dam breach last year killed at least 40 and displaced thousands in Attapeu.

Bidding for the work is still underway, with no final approvals yet granted, sources said.

RFA is reporting that four design categories of permanent homes have now been established for construction. These designs range from one-storey cement houses with steel structures, costing LAK470 million (USD54,874), to two-storey cement houses with steel structures at a cost of LAK660 million.