Financial services among the fastest growing sectors in Myanmar

The financial sector rose the most among 15 sectors managed by the government in the first six months of the 2017-18 fiscal year, growing 22 percent as a result of the implementation of new financial services, U Set Aung, deputy minister of the Ministry of Planning and Finance, at Pyidaungsu Hluttaw meeting on Thursday.

“If we look at the improvement rates, finance is the most dominant at 21.9pc. This is not only a result of foreign bank participation but also local ones in Myanmar such as MFTB (Myanmar Foreign Trade Bank) , MICB (Myanmar Investment and Commercial Bank) and MEB (Myanma Economic Bank), which all launched new financial-related products and services this year,” he said.

The new services include opening a savings and deposit account in the local currency Myanmar at MFTB, introducing trade financing, providing banking services to businesses involved in external trade, providing bank guarantees, granting access to loans for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and import-substitution businesses and selling vehicle insurance. It also included the opening of 47 office branches by a total of 11 insurance companies.

Improving sectors

The other sector that showed considerable improvement in growth was tourism. “The tourism sector earned a total of $1.5 billion during the first six months for the fiscal year,” said U Set Aung.

Among the other sectors that showed improvement were communications, rental and services, mining and energy. These sectors showed growth of more than 10pc during the period. Meanwhile, the trade, agriculture, industrial, construction, transportation, and social welfare and administration sectors, grew at a rate below 10pc.

During the period, permitted investments worth a total of $3.7 billion from a total of 24 countries were earmarked for 120 businesses. Up until August, about $2.8 billion, which is more than 75pc of the total smount of permitted foreign direct investments, was utilised.

In comparison, last year, FDI for the first six months was only $1.3 billion.

Fisheries, forestry down

Out of the 15 sectors, the fisheries sector displayed negative growth. This was due to bad weather conditions, which resulted in damaged fishing equipment

“Around 40pc of the offshore fishing vessels were permitted the previous year, but this year, it has been reduced to 30pc,” U Set Aung said.

Meanwhile, restrictions imposed on sea fishing as a result of pollution and ecological damage also caused growth to shrink.

The forestry sector, which is a restricted sector controlled by the government, also shrank as a result of lower timber production. As such, the rate of growth also dwindled, he added.

Source: Myanmar Times

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