Myanmar gets new SEZ law

In an effort to draw more foreign interest in Myanmar’s future Special Economic Zones (SEZ), the state-run media last week announced the promulgation of a new SEZ law, superseding the relevant laws adopted by the former military regime in 2011.

“The new law seems to decentralise decision-making to the SEZ committee, so that central government is no longer involved. This is probably attractive to investors,” said advocate U Than Maung, adding that the new law provides for a management committee responsible for administration, management and supervision of the zone.

“The committee has to protect citizens’ rights, and solve problems,” he said.

The law allows seven years’ income tax exemption for local and foreign investors and eight years for construction companies in designated areas, while those involved have promised further incentives this year.

Economist U Maung Aung, of the Advisory Board for Kyaukphyu SEZ, said the new law would encourage developers to speed up construction of the SEZ.

“This law, especially its tax provisions, seems likely to encourage investors to make huge investments,” he said.

The Advisory Board is currently seeking a prominent international consultant to work on inviting tenders for developers.

“We want a fair competition for a developer,” said U Maung Aung, adding that the government plans to implement the three SEZs next year.

In the 2400-hectare Thilawa SEZ 20km south of Yangon, the government and nine domestic enterprises are providing 51 percent, while a Japanese consortium contributes 49pc. Japanese investors are also being courted to get involved in the Dawei project in southern Myanmar, as the lead developer, Italian-Thailand Development Company, suspended work several months ago.

Source: Myanmar Times

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