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October 16, 2019

NEWS
ECONOMY

Myanmar ranked as one of top 20 improvers in Doing Business 2020

Image result for doing businessMyanmar has been ranked as one of the top 20 improvers in Doing Business 2020 by the World Bank, based on the number of reforms and the degree by which the country’s ease of doing business score has improved, state media reported.

Myanmar implemented five initiatives that enhanced its business environment. The city of Yangon imposed stronger construction quality controls by introducing stricter qualification requirements for architects and engineers, and invested in its water and sanitation infrastructure.

Additionally, Myanmar launched an online company registry platform, merging several procedures and reducing the need for in-person interaction. The country also made property registration faster by streamlining deed registration and appraisal.

Source: Mizzima

Myanmar launches Unicode standard to expedite e-government plan

The inauguration of Myanmar Unicode migration took place on October 1, 2019. In her opening remarks, State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi who is also Patron of the e-Government Steering Committee said that the inauguration of Myanmar Unicode was an essential step to support the e-government programme. Myanmar has seen a 12-point increase in e-Government Development Index from level 169 in 2016 to 157 in 2018.

The e-Government was a system that conveyed the messages of departments to the public electronically. It was important to use a common standard communication system and language among the government ministries and its departments, inter-departments, the government and business companies, the government and public, inter-business companies, the business companies and the public and among the public. The use of Unicode standard system is an important stage under the e-Governance Master Plan.

The Unicode system meets international norms and Myanmar language writing system. The National Standard Council has approved the Unicode system with MMS ISO/IEC 10646:2017 on 21 September 2019. The languages of Myanmar ethnic people such as Kachin, Kayah, Kayin, Chin, Mon, Rakhine and Shan could also be used in this system. The system was named as Unicode and the font was called Pyidaungsu.

Source: Global New Light of Myanmar 

Mung bean price up K40,000 per ton within one week

Related imageThe price of mung beans has shot up by K40,000 per ton within a week, said U Min Ko Oo, the secretary of the Myanmar Pulses, Beans and Sesame Seeds Merchants Association. The price of pigeon peas has also risen by K20,000 per ton. At present, mung beans are fetching K760,000 per ton, from K715,000, and pigeon peas (old stock) are priced at K830,000 per ton, from K810,000.

India, which is the main buyer of Myanmar pulses, has announced a quota of 150,000 tons for mung beans and 200,000 tons for pigeon peas for exporter countries. Besides India, Myanmar’s beans are purchased by Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, Dubai, Malaysia, Indonesia, China (Taipei), Japan, and the European countries. But, the volume of demand is low, according to the domestic pulses market.

The Ministry of Commerce has been conducting a series of discussions to sell Myanmar’s beans through government-to-government (G2G) pacts. In addition, the ministry has been exploring more external markets. India’s move to restrict importation of pulses in August, 2017 severely affected growers in Myanmar. The price of pulses also plummeted drastically. In the 2017-2018 fiscal year, over a million tons of mung beans, pigeon peas, and green grams were shipped to foreign countries. But, the earnings totalled just $713 million owing to a price drop, according to data from the Ministry of Commerce.

Source: Global New Light of Myanmar 

Yangon welcomes first Hong Kong business chamber

Image result for MHKCCIThe Myanmar-Hong Kong Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MHKCCI) was launched on September 3 to promote responsible investment in Myanmar and attract market entrants into the country. The event attracted more than 300 guests.

“Last November, I personally received a group of investors from Hong Kong and I am pleased to learn that a few of them are already considering to expand their manufacturing in Yangon, near the New Yangon City,” U Phyo Min Thein, Yangon Region Chief Minister said during the launch. Luen Thai Garment from Hong Kong is already employing some 8000 workers in Yangon, and new members of the Hong Kong manufacturing sector are most welcome.

The new chamber was eager to highlight its all-female secretariat headed by executive director Clara Tang, which reflects its emphasis on gender equality and female empowerment. MHKCCI director Thompson Chau from this paper stressed the importance of journalism for the private sector.

Source: Myanmar Times 

 

Demand sees gold prices surge to nearly K1.3million

Related imageUncertainty and seasonal factors have been leading more people to jump into gold as a safe haven, pushing up prices of the precious metal, gold traders in Yangon say. Local prices for gold reached K1.278 million per tical (roughly 16.33 grammes) on September 4. In April 2019, the price of gold was K 1.05 million a tical and has been gradually rising since.

U Myo Myint, chair of the Yangon Region Gold Entrepreneurs Association, said the association has issued rules for its members to follow, in order to stabilise gold prices. According to the association, members are now required to “deal only in cash transactions, not participate in futures contracts, and not undertake actions that may hurt the association’s reputation”.

Demand for pure gold is increasing at gold shops in each township, because people are worried about the economy and the stability of banks. During the early rainy season, local gold panning camps are closed. As no licence renewals are allowed, gold supplies become rarer. It is not uncommon that gold prices are high towards the middle and the end of the monsoon season. It normally rises, but there are some additional factors this year and thus gold prices are seeing record-highs. Gold entrepreneurs said the reasons behind price hike include decreased trust in the US dollar due to the China-US trade war, tensions between the US and Iran and rising prices in the international gold market.

Source: Myanmar Times 

Myanmar, South Korea Sign Major Agreements on Trade, Investment and Finance

Image result for Myanmar-Korea Business ForumMyanmar and South Korea signed five Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) on financial, trade and investment cooperation as well as infrastructure projects at the Myanmar-Korea Business Forum on Thursday, the 5th of September, 2019. South Korean President Moon Jae-in attended the forum to promote his “New Southern Policy” to deepen relations, including economic ties, with Southeast Asian nations.

During Moon’s trip, Myanmar and Korea signed a total of 10 MOUs and a framework agreement, including five MOUs and one agreement in Naypyitaw on Tuesday. These included government-to-government, government-to-business and business-to-business collaborations. The Myanmar government has also approved the “Korea Desk,” a single-window system designed to help Korean companies and investors deal with administrative issues.

According to the Ministry of Information, the Yangon regional government and KB Kookmin Bank—one of South Korea’s four largest banks—signed an MOU on financial cooperation in the real estate sector. Another MOU was signed with the Korean government-owned Korea Land and Housing Corporation to conduct a preliminary survey for the Dala New City Project. South Korea is also helping to build the Korea-Myanmar Friendship Bridge, which will link downtown Yangon to Dala Township.

The UMFCCI also inked MOUs with the Korea International Trade Association (KITA) and Woori Financial Group (WFG) agreeing to cooperate on economic development, capacity building programs, trade promotion, exchange of economic information and arranging regular business meetups between the two countries. Additionally, SME-Development Bank signed an MOU with Industries Bank of Korea (IBK) to collaborate on capacity building and technical issues, and to share investment information between the two banks.

 

Source: the Irrawaddy 

Keen investor interest in privatisation of Yangon water system

Image result for Yangon Water SystemInvestors are showing keen interest in managing and distributing water in Yangon, with a total of 32 local and foreign companies having submitted expressions of interest (EOI) for the job since August 28, when the Yangon City Development Committee (YCDC) first announced its privatisation plans. The private sector has until October 28 to submit EOIs, after a tender process will be held.

Private companies will manage the supply and distribution of water in Yangon, however a ceiling price will be fixed to prevent water from becoming overly expensive. The YCDC currently collects K88 per unit of water for residential use and K110 per unit for commercial use. One unit equals 220 gallons. At those levels, water prices charged do not cover production costs, with the government subsidising the balance for the benefit of the public. To date, the YCDC has yet to increase water charges in the city, even though around half the water supplied is wasted.

Yangon city’s water distribution system covers only 45 percent of its population and as some townships in Yangon Region do not get enough municipal water. Poorer townships such as Hlaing Tharyar, Shwe Pyi Thar, Seikgyi Kanaungto and Dala get very little municipal water and face water shortages every summer. These townships get municipal water once in every two or three days. YCDC is currently undertaking water projects in Lagyun Pyin and Kokowa with the aim of distributing water to up to 90pc of the city in 2025.

Source: Myanmar Times  

China proposes exclusive industrial zone with Myanmar: UMFCCI

Image result for Industrial zoneChinese businessmen have proposed setting up a Myanmar – China exclusive industrial zone in Myanmar, according to U Zaw Min Win, the President of UMFCCI. If they are committed to responsible business, we are willing to invite investments by setting up a Myanmar-China exclusive industrial zone, said U Zaw Min Win, while submitting the request at the 29th meeting of Vice President U Myint Swe with private entrepreneurs.

The Yangon Region government is planning to sell land to those engaged in the private business development sector. The land will be sold under two categories — commercial business and housing. Foreigners are not allowed to wholly invest in land, but they can set up joint ventures with local businessmen. Land will be sold only to those investors who run a legitimate business. After that, the regional government will pay out compensation for confiscated farmland.

With the income generated from selling the land, the regional government will pay over K200 billion in compensation to farmers whose farmlands have been confiscated. Land in Hlinethaya, Shwephyitha, and four Dagon Myothit townships is up for sale. Yangon Region has 29 industrial zones. China is the second largest foreign investor in Myanmar. Between 1988 and July-end 2019, 372 China-listed enterprises have brought in US$20.8 billion into the country.

Source: Global New Light of Myanmar

Myanmar foreign loans rise to US$10.2B in last fiscal year

Image result for YangonMyanmar has accumulated US$10.2 billion in debt owed to more than 20 countries and multilateral organisations, the Joint Public Accounts Committee of the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw noted in a report on the Union budget for the 2017-18 fiscal year.

The Ministries of Home Affairs; Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation; Transport and Communication; Electricity and Energy and; Industry took the largest loans. The amount of loans rose by more than US$1 billion (K1.587 trillion), or 11.5pc, between fiscal 2016-17 and 2017-18. As of March 2018, loans from China formed the biggest amount totaling US$4 billion. Some US$1.11 billion has been repaid.

The Export-Import Bank of China (Exim China) was the creditor for the majority of the loans taken out by the Ministries of Electricity and Energy; Defense; Industry and; Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation. Meanwhile, Myanmar still owes Japan US$2.5 billion, which was drawn down from a credit line of US$6 billion. Other creditors include multilateral organisations such as Asian Development Bank, International Monetary Fund, India, Thailand and the UK.

The report pointed out that higher interest rates, a weak kyat and rising management costs had taken a toll on government finances, particularly when regular payments on the loans were still being made for businesses that have failed.

Source: Myanmar Times 

 

9 more investment enterprises permitted in Myanmar

Image result for InvestmentMyanmar Investment Commission (MIC) has recently permitted nine more investment enterprises from home and abroad, according to a release from the Directorate of Investment Company Administration (DICA).

The permitted enterprises included foreign enterprises with 101.172 million U.S. dollars’ investment capital and local enterprises with a capital of 110.7 billion kyats (73.8 million U.S. dollars). The investments entered the country’s manufacturing, livestock and fisheries, hotel and real estate sectors, creating 3,029 local employment opportunities.

From the fiscal year 1988-1989 to June 30 of the current fiscal year 2018-2019, a total of 1,752 enterprises were permitted with 80.89 billion U.S. dollars so far, according to the DICA’s data. During the period, the oil and gas sector attracted 27.72 percent of total investments, followed by power sector with 26.18 percent and the manufacturing sector with 13.82 percent, respectively.

Oil and gas, power and manufacturing sectors are in the top-three list with most foreign investments during the period. Regionally, the Yangon region attracted 60 percent of investments from both home and abroad, followed by Mandalay with 30 percent and the rest flowed into other regions and states.

Source: Xinhua 

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