LUANG PRABANG, 3 April 2018 – The 2nd ASEAN Policy Dialogue on Starting a Business was held in Luang Prabang, Lao PDR yesterday. The dialogue is an initiative under the ASEAN Work Program on Starting a Business which aims to promote greater transparency of rules and regulations, effective coordination among government agencies responsible for business registration and start-up process, simplification of procedures and processes, and strengthening regional cooperation.

This second instalment of the dialogue took on the theme of “Registration of Micro-enterprises and Family Businesses – What, Why and How in ASEAN region?” This was selected given the large number of micro-enterprises and family run businesses in all ASEAN economies and thus the need to include their considerations in ASEAN’s efforts to improve the Starting a Business eco-system.

Mr. I Wayan Dipta, Chair of the ASEAN Task Force on Starting a Business said he sees a lot of value from the policy dialogue. He added that “the policy dialogue really helps our work especially in terms of finding the best way to facilitate the formalization of micro and small enterprises towards improving our respective business eco-systems.”

With 80 participants ranging from both public and private sectors (ASEAN SME agencies, Business Registration Agencies, Tax Agencies, SME Associations, Micro Enterprises and Academia), the policy dialogue provided a forum for participants to share various insights and perspectives, debate the merits and challenges of getting micro-enterprises to formalize their businesses, and share best practices from around the region. The discussions generated ideas for participants as they consider improvements in their respective contexts and communities.

Mr. Phan Duc Hieu, Vice–President of Central Institute of Economic Management, Vietnam said “the role of the government is to create a low-cost, enabling business environment and introduce fair, transparent and highly accessible incentives for micro enterprises and home-based business when they wish to register. Micro-enterprises will voluntarily register their business once they see the benefits out of it. That is the key to sustainable micro enterprises and household businesses.”

Mr. Timo Goosman, First Secretary of ASEAN Affairs from the Embassy of Germany to Indonesia mentioned in his opening remarks that “today’s policy dialogue creates a forum for sharing relevant experiences between government agencies to strengthen the performance of informal micro enterprises/family businesses by registering as a formal entity.”

The event was organised by the ASEAN Secretariat with support from the German Federal Foreign Office, implemented through GIZ under the project ASEAN Secretariat Post 2015: Institutional Strengthening and Capacity Development. The dialogue also builds on work conducted on MSME issues in the ASEAN region within the framework of the Canada-OECD Project for ASEAN SMEs (COPAS).

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