Government to reduce restrictions on business sector by March

The government is planning to reduce restrictions on the business sector in March this year, Tin Maung Than, director of the Myanmar Development Research Institute/Centre for Economic and Social Development (MDRI/CESD) told a press conference on sub-national governments and business in Myanmar held at IBC yesterday.

Investors who want to do business in Myanmar have always faced hindrances due to frequent policy changes, an overabundance of rules and regulations, and the importance placed on recommendation letters. Even if they are proceeding according to rules and regulations, they can still be asked to resubmit their application if they lack any of the necessary documents.

Myanmar is among the hardest places to do business, standing at 182nd place among the 189 countries listed by the World Bank (WB). According to WB, it takes 72 days to complete the 11 procedures required to do business in Myanmar and costs more than Ks 1.4 million.

“Last week, the World Bank and 20 government ministries met at Nay Pyi Taw. The World Bank urged the Myanmar government to reduce laws, by-laws and rules and regulations as much as they can. The government also plans to reduce the restrictions by March,” said Tin Maung Than.

If someone wants to apply to set up a business in the hotel and tourism sector, they have to seek recommendation letters from the ward administrator’s office, police station, fire station and healthcare department, and then report to the township general administration office bringing along with them with the four recommendation letters to receive an approval letter from the township general administrator. And then they have to go to the township municipal council with five recommendation letters to apply for a township municipal licence. The completed application then goes to the regional minister; the ministry then sends officers to inspect the business and the officer reports back to the ministry. The regional ministry then issues an approval letter and asks the state minister to review the file. Only after the state ministry allows the business do they get the licence, according to the Sub-national Governments and Business in Myanmar report.

Getting a licence to do business in Myanmar can take as little as one week or as long as one year depending on the process between government departments, according to researchers from the Asia Foundation and MDRI-CESD.

“They don’t have a basic principle for issuing licences. The centralized system they are using can damage small enterprises. They say that if we register small- and medium-sized enterprises, they can arrange one-stop service for them. But there are inconveniences because we don’t apply the recommendation letters in a single place,” the report concludes.

Source: ELEVEN Myanmar

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