Terms and conditions

Terms and conditions of BAF II assistance

The Terms of Agreement set out below are derived from, and in conformity with, the BAF II Operations Manual. The BAF II Operations Manual has legal standing.
I have read and understood the following terms and conditions related to the BAF II application, support and possible grant. I hereby commit, before any BAF II assistance is given, to provide sales data to the BAF II team, and afterwards to the NIU, for a period of at least three years after direct assistance begins. I further commit to co-operate fully with any surveys or implementation support missions that review the performance and impact of BAF II.

1. Confidentiality and Data Protection

The BAF II Team and the NIU are bound by written agreement to maintain client confidentiality. In order to make the BAF II assistance meaningful, the firm will inevitably share with its appointed Business Advisor some information that could be deemed commercially sensitive. The confidentiality of such information is to be assured.
The BAF II Team Leader will ensure that any personal data will be processed in accordance with relevant domestic and foreign legislation, including the 2018 EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Personal data shall be collected in a lawful, fair and transparent manner; be adequate, relevant and limited to what is necessary; accurate and up to date; and processed in a manner that ensures appropriate security of that personal data.
Personal data shall be diligently stored and protected, and appropriate technical and organizational security measures shall be adopted in this regard. Personal data shall be accessible only to those members of the BAF II Team that is strictly necessary for the performance, management and monitoring of the specific initiative.

2. Letter of Agreement

Ahead of direct grant funding assistance being provided to a firm, that firm will be required to sign a copy of the BAF II Letter of Agreement (LoA). This is a formal agreement between Ministry of Industry & Commerce (MoIC), represented by the Deputy Director-General of DPC, the National Implementation Unit (NIU) Program Director, on behalf of the Government of the Lao PDR, and the recipient firm. This binds the firm, inter alia, to provide information on improved performance, and to collaborate in any subsequent impact surveys. It further binds the firm to comply with the World Bank guidelines on preventing and combating fraud and corruption.

3. Use of BAF II Matching Grants

The intention is that each BAF II matching grant allocation is to be used in cases where the provision of specialized external services is likely to have a powerful impact, in terms of addressing key weaknesses or gaps identified in the recipient company. The primary consideration will be to maximize impact, in terms of total sales growth achieved. The matching grant allocation must also provide Value for Money.

4. Eligibility Criteria of Firms

4.1. The Eligible Firm

Any private business entity, providing work to Lao PDR nationals within the Lao PDR, will be eligible for BAF II capacity-building assistance and can approach the BAF II for support. Some firms may not yet be officially registered with the appropriate business registration authorities, and these firms will be encouraged to register. In the case of a business entity not formally registered, all LoAs entered into between MoIC and the entity must be made either with an individual or a group of individuals acting as a partnership. There are some explicit areas of exclusion where firms operating in the following sectors will not be eligible for BAF II assistance. They comprise: • Weapons and armaments;
• Alcohol and tobacco;
• Banking and financial services;
• Telecommunication sectors;
• Mining and resource extraction; and
• Electric power generation and distribution.

4.2. Exclusion of State-controlled enterprises

Firms that are in effect state-controlled will not be eligible. This state control could, for instance, be by means of holding a majority shareholding, or by means of having a majority on the board of directors. In cases of doubt, the BAF II Team Leader will refer an application to the BAF Task Force, to determine whether a firm is or is not to be treated as state-controlled.

4.3. Start-up enterprises

It is expected that most firms assisted will already be fully operational. However, the BAF II Team will be at liberty to assist start-up operations, as the BAF Team Leader sees fit.

5. Procedures applying to Firm-level Grants

5.1. Purchases of Services Eligible for BAF Grant Support

Purchases of any specialized business development service, considered by the BAF II Team Leader likely to make a significant contribution to the implementation of a company’s Business Growth Plan, will be eligible for BAF II matching grant support. Eligible payments for services may be for service fees and, where appropriate, for associated travel and subsistence costs, incurred directly and exclusively in connection with the delivery of eligible services.

5.2. Exclusion of Goods, Civil Works, Materials for Production and Internal Operating Costs

Purchases of goods and civil works, even if exclusively required for the activity being assisted, will not be eligible for grant support. Similarly, expenditures on internal costs, such as salaries for permanent staff, are not eligible. Foreign exchange losses and interest charges for late payment are also not eligible.

5.3. Conflict of Interest

The firms applying for matching grants under BAF II are required to provide professional, objective, and impartial information at all times, and have an obligation to disclose to the BAF II Team any situation of actual or potential conflict of interest. Failure to disclose such situations may lead to the disqualification of the firm and the immediate termination of its grant. If a grant has already been disbursed and it subsequently transpires that an actual conflict of interest has occurred in the specific situation, then BAF II and NIU will be entitled to claim reimbursement from the beneficiary company of any grant monies paid to that company.
Conflicting relationships take place when a firm (including its owners or employees) has a close business or family relationship with a staff of BAF II (or NIU, MoIC and other related parties), who are directly or indirectly involved in any part of: i) the preparation of the conditions to apply for matching grants; ii) the selection process for eligible firms, or decision making related to matching grants; or iii) the supervision of the firm’s activity. In any of the above circumstances, the firm may not benefit from a matching grant, unless the potential conflict stemming from this relationship has been declared openly, and in advance, to BAF II and NIU, and resolved in an acceptable manner that is in conformity with existing guidelines.

5.4. Treatment of Tax Obligations

NIU will assume all tax obligations arising solely and directly from the agreed grant support. The costs incurred shall be met out of the BAF II Grant Fund.

5.5. Level of Support

The BAF II grant will cover 50 per cent of actual incurred expenditures, up to a maximum of the pre-approved total direct cost to the firm of purchasing the external service, as set out in the LoA and its appendices. There will be one single level of support, with no exceptions.

5.6. Limits of Support per Firm

It is expected that most grants will be under US$20,000 in size. Most services required will be accessed within the region, if not available within the Lao PDR itself. No firm or group of firms under common control or common ownership may receive more than US$200,000 in grants in cumulative total.

6. Selection of Suppliers for Services

The firm itself will agree and sign the contract for supply of services with the agreed supplier. The firm will, as part of its application, propose how it intends to contract the supplier of services. The BAF II Team Leader will, as part of the review of the application, approve or reject the proposed method of selection for the supplier of services. In the event of a rejection of the method of selection, the BAF II Team Leader will convey this in writing.
In normal circumstances, standard commercial practices acceptable to World Bank will be used by firms to select the service supplier, so long as the BAF II Team Leader is satisfied that the method of selection proposed meets the principles of quality, economy, efficiency and transparency. In no instance shall the NIU or the BAF II Team enter into a contract directly for the supply of services to a supported firm.

6.1. Rejections of Method of Selection

In cases where the method of selection initially proposed by the firm has been rejected, the BAF II Team Leader may, by exception, require the firm to propose other acceptable selection process.

6.2. Rejection of a Selected Service Supplier

Following approval of the method of selection proposed by a recipient firm, the BAF II Team Leader may, in exceptional circumstances, reject the specific service supplier identified and proposed by the recipient firm.

6.3. Assistance with Locating Service Suppliers

If requested by the firm, the BAF II Team will use its best efforts to assist it in locating suitably qualified specialist service suppliers.

6.4. Avoiding Double Subsidies

If the service provider or grant recipient is receiving some form of direct or indirect subsidy, then the grant will be calculated to ensure that the total level of subsidy to the service supply transaction is no higher than 50 percent.

Declaration: I/We represent and warrant that the information given in this Application is complete and correct in all aspects. I/We understand that the BAF II Team is relying upon the truth and accuracy of the information contained herein in the consideration of the matching grant, and should there be any misrepresentation or false information given, I/We shall be held solely and fully liable for any damages incurred.