Myanmar launches investment promotion plan amid toughening conditions

The Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC) on October 8 launched its Myanmar Investment Promotion Plan (MIPP) for the time frame between 2016-17 and 2035-36.

The plan outlines five strategies to actively promote investments in the local economy, including new policies and regulations, institutional development, infrastructure development and leveraging on local business systems, industries and human resources.

The Ministry of Planning and Finance (MOPF) will establish an Investment Promotion Committee (IPC), which, in turn, will set up separate task forces to carry out each of the strategies. The IPC will be chaired by the MIC.

Under the new plan, public investments are expected to expand from US$5.6 billion between 2016 and 2022 to US$43.2 billion by 2031-2036. Meanwhile, private investments should swell from US$8.1 billion to around US$25 billion over the same period.

“If the tenders for commercial production of oil and gas are conducted in 2019 as expected, the investment environment will become more robust,” U Thaung Htun, chair of MIC said in August.

In total, some US$200 billion will be invested in Myanmar over the next 20 years, according to estimates provided by the MIPP.

The MIPP is also expected to help Myanmar meet its target of achieving its US$3000 per capita goal by 2030.

Myanmar is upping its efforts to draw investments at a time when interest from the west has waned on the back of the unfolding humanitarian crisis in Rakhine. Meanwhile, competition with its neighbours in the ASEAN Economic Community is also expected to rise.

Investors have also voiced concerns over political risks, weak macroeconomic conditions and undeveloped regulations on the domestic front.

Still, Myanmar requires fundamental improvements in a variety of areas affecting the business environment, including electricity, property, registrations and trading conditions, which all yield investment opportunities for investors.

To draw some of those funds, Myanmar should target foreign investments from businesses owned by western family groups rather than those owned by shareholders, said U Maung Maung Lay, vice chair at the Union of Myanmar Federation Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Myanmar was ranked 171 among 190 countries in ease of doing business in 2017, according to the World Bank. It aims to be among the top 100 countries by 2020-21 and among the top 40 by 2035-36.


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