Photo credit: Myanmar Business Today
Economy, Investment and Trade
Myanmar government gives importance to import substitutions to lower trade deficit
(3 July 2018) Myanmar’s Directorate of Investment and Company Administration (DICA) said the country would place importance on import substitutions to bring down the country’s trade deficit. Import substitution is a measure which promotes the move to replace imports with domestic production. The action is meant to reduce Myanmar’s trade deficit while increasing exports. The government investment body said the move would not only minimise trade deficit but will generate more job opportunities for Myanmar workers. According to Myanmar’s Ministry of Commerce, from 1 April to 15 June 2018, Myanmar’s exports reached US$3.12 billion while the volume of imports was at US$4.25 billion.
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New companies law regulations to be released soon
(2 July 2018) Myanmar’s Directorate of Investment and Company Administration (DICA) will issue the new Companies Law regulations, namely on electronic registration, capital structures and company constitutions before it takes effect on 1 August 2018. DICA has presented the provisions to the government’s economic committee, and once it is approved, the government investment body will publish the regulations on its website. The Companies Law will replace and incorporate components of the 1914 Companies Act and 1950 Special Companies Act. The new law will ease procedures for foreigners to invest in local companies and ensure business regulation becomes more efficient and effective. According to the government investment body, there are more than 50,000 local companies and 7,000 foreign companies currently registered in Myanmar.
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Myanmar government will open tenders for the upgrade of two oil refineries
(29 June 2018) The Myanmar government will soon open bids for the construction of at least two oil refineries to cope with the rising demand and increased oil prices. The tender will be a joint venture agreement with the Myanmar government, and the government is currently reviewing terms and conditions for it. Once completed, the government will announce an open tender for the two facilities. Part of the bid will include the renovation of the Mann Thanbayarkan refinery in Magwe and Thanlyin refinery. The Mann Thanbayarkan refinery can process up to 26,000 barrels of oil per day, but it is not able to reach its full capacity due to its inland location. Thanlyin, which can process 50,000 barrels of oil per day, receives up to 2 million tonnes of crude oil through the China-Myanmar pipeline. The refineries have been inactive due to the government’s lack of budget to upgrade and run the refineries.
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A survey shows improving living conditions, but progress in education, sanitation, and housing in some areas is slow
(5 July 2018) The Key Indicators Report from the Myanmar Living Conditions Survey 2017 showed that living conditions in Myanmar have enhanced in the last decade. However, development in education, water and sanitation and housing is slow in some parts of the country. The survey outlines some significant changes in lighting, education, goods ownership, and technology usage but development in some parts of the nation is still slow. The public electrical grid grew from providing 34 percent of households in 2015 to 42 percent in 2017. In rural areas in the country, middle school admission increased from 47 percent to 68 percent between the year 2010 and 2017. The survey claims that significant changes are happening in rural areas, while the same shift in towns and cities is at a modest speed due to high rates of electrification in these areas. The Central Statistical Organisation, in collaboration with the UNDP and the World Bank, surveyed about 296 townships in Myanmar and interviewed about 13,730 households.
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World Bank stops accepting projects for Myanmar due to Rohingya crisis
(2 July 2018) Bangladesh’s finance minister AMA Muhith said the World Bank has stopped accepting projects for Myanmar except for the ones for Rohingyas and distressed society in the country. The move is to push Myanmar to take back its Rohingya people from Bangladesh in a peaceful manner. Currently, Bangladesh is providing shelter for around 10 million Rohingyas, but it is only temporary. Bangladesh hopes that the United Nations will ensure that there would be a safe zone for the Rohingya community in Myanmar. The minister said the World Bank and the United Nations will provide grants worth US$480 million and US$50 million respectively to support the Rohingyas in Bangladesh. However, the World Bank has denied the claim and clarified that the body will continue supporting projects in Myanmar, especially in Rakhine.
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