Myanmar Monitor Weekly

Economy

ADB pledges US$1.75 billion in loans to Myanmar over 5 years
The Asian Development Bank will lend Myanmar about US$1.75 billion in low-interest loans from 2017 over five years to improve infrastructure, education and for rural development, the ADB president Takehiko Nakao said on 15 June. The spending will be aligned with the government’s priorities, still being hammered out for inclusion in a five-year economic plan, he said.
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US investment agency begins financing of first Myanmar project
The US government’s development finance institution has launched operations in Myanmar with a US$250 million loan to a telecoms company, it said on 15 June. The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) will lend the money to Yangon-based Apollo Towers Myanmar Limited, which is focused on the construction and maintenance of telecommunications towers.
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Entrepreneurs ask finance minister to reconsider special tax
The new government has prioritised tax collection as it tries to climb off the bottom rung of tax yields worldwide. The special commodities tax was passed by the former government in January under the Union Tax Law for 2016, payable in addition to income tax and capital gains tax. Planning and Finance Minister U Kyaw Win received a barrage of requests to cut taxes during a meeting with a group of almost 50 business associations in Yangon earlier this week. Myint Soe, chair of the Myanmar Garment Manufacturers Association, asked the minister to cut taxes on his industry entirely as the garment sector depends on the cut-make-pack model, which operates on narrow margins.
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South Korea looks to Myanmar for further trade
Recently, the Korea Importers Association (KOIMA) scoped out new suppliers to bolster their imports from Myanmar. A total of 38 South Korean delegates, each representing a company, participated in the Korea-Myanmar Business Forum and Seminar, held last week. The trade between the two countries has risen steadily during the past five years, surpassing US$850 million in 2015. Currently, South Korea is the sixth largest foreign investor in Myanmar, two of the notable corporations in Myanmar being conglomerates Daewoo and Lotte.
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Foreign Affairs

Suu Kyi needed for ASEAN image boost: Singapore PM
Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi has a moral responsibility to try to ease tension between majority Buddhists and minority Rohingya Muslims, her fellow Nobel laureate, the Dalai Lama, said on 13 June. He said he had stressed the issue in meetings with Suu Kyi, who had responded to his calls by saying that the situation was “really complicated”. Suu Kyi recently formed a committee to bring peace and development to Rakhine state.
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Politics

Myanmar scraps screening of film critical of military’s past
A film by Austrian filmmaker Sabine Derflinger about the true story of Inge Sargent, an Austrian woman who married Sao Kya Seng, a prince of Myanmar’s Shan ethnic minority, was pulled from the opening night of the Human Rights Human Dignity International Film Festival in Yangon on 14 June, after being rejected by the censorship board. A festival organiser, Mon Mon Myat, said the cancellation showed the limits of change in Myanmar. “The reason is they don’t want to show the bad image of the military, so we have so-called human rights,” he said.
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