MIC flags Yangon condo built without approval

The Myanmar Investment Commission has accused a local developer of building a condominium in Yangon with a foreign partner without approval, while the developer says it does not need approval as the investment is entirely local.

Foreign investments and local-foreign joint ventures must all be approved by the MIC, while local investments can go ahead if they have been approved by a local authority or relevant ministry.

Earlier this month, the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration published a notice on its website stating that The Century, a 24-storey project in Yangon’s Hlaing township developed by Htun Myat Aung and a Taiwanese partner, was going ahead without MIC permission.

The project launched last year and its 450 apartments are already on sale.

A company spokesperson said the project was going ahead with all the necessary approvals in place.

“We are building this project with the permission of YCDC [Yangon City Development Committee]. We have not asked for permission from the MIC as we are not a new company. Besides, Htun Myat Aung is the sole investor,” spokesperson U Chit Ko Ko told The Myanmar Times.

He said the Taiwanese partner had been hired in an advisory role, and that the project was not a joint venture.

The Century is Htun Myat Aung’s second residential project in Yangon, after the Northern Inya Residence on Parami Road. The company’s roots are in mining, timber and import-export.

Construction work on The Century began last year and the foundations have been built, said U Chit Ko Ko. “We expect to finish the project in 2018,” he said. “Currently we are selling apartments.”

Many major investments in Myanmar seek MIC approval, though some only need approval from a local authority or relevant ministry, such as the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism or the Ministry of Mines.

As a result, it can be hard for the MIC to obtain detailed information about all the companies and projects in Myanmar, secretary U Aung Naing Oo said.

“It’s difficult to find comprehensive information on the number of investments in Myanmar. The MIC can only say with certainty how many investments it has approved, not the number of investments approved by other departments.”

The deputy director of YCDC’s Department of Engineering (Building) said his department has given Htun Myat Aung permission to build the 24-storey project. “The department gives permission to local developers. We have never allowed foreigners to build without MIC approval, and this building was proposed by a local company. If the MIC doesn’t want to allow it, that’s not the concern of our department,” he said.

YCDC gives construction permits and the MIC deals with foreign investment, he said, adding that the MIC usually takes into account advice from YCDC’s Engineering Department when granting permission to foreign investments.

“They give the permits for foreign investment, but they always seek our advice on whether they should approve a high-rise or not, or whether the site is suitable for development,” he said. “The Century complies with all our rules and regulations.”

According to MIC figures, 32 foreign companies have invested a total of US$2.5 billion into Myanmar’s real estate sector and two foreign companies have spent $37 million in the construction sector since the Foreign Investment Law was passed in 1988.


Source: Myanmar Times

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