U Aung Naing Oo leaves DICA for a new role

A key architect of the government’s economic reform is to be transferred to assist newly minted minister U Thaung Tun.

U Aung Naing Oo, director general of the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration (DICA) has been named the new director general of the Office of the Union Investment and Foreign Economic Relations under Minister U Thaung Tun, the Global New Light of Myanmar announced on March 29.

U Aung Naing Oo is also to be de facto permanent secretary of that ministry as the position is currently vacant, The Myanmar Times understands.

He told The Myanmar Times that he will remain involved in investment policy-related activities in his new appointment.

U Thant Zin Lwin, current DICA deputy director general, who has been in the position since 2016, will take the position of DICA chief, U Aung Naing Oo added.

However, U Aung Naing Oo will remain director general at DICA until U Thant Zin Lwin’s official appointment is announced. U Thant Zin Lwin is also expected to take up the position of secretary of the Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC).

Progress at DICA

The business community has credited U Aung Naing Oo as an effective reformer at DICA. The directorate led the drafting of the 2016 Investment Law and 2017 Companies Law, two landmark pieces of legislation relating to the private sector, as well as a new insolvency bill.

DICA also introduced the MyCo Online Register, the government’s new electronic registry system providing previously unavailable official corporate information.

“It’s not the what, but the how. DICA under U Aung Naing Oo has been a model of openness, consultation with all stakeholders, effective use of development partner support, empowerment of junior staff and continuous learning,” said Vicky Bowman of Yangon-based Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business.

Unfinished business

Moving forward, the business community hopes the new DICA boss will build on the reform initiatives and continue to facilitate private investments in the country. Notably, the investment ministry which DICA is under has yet to fulfil its pledge to implement a “single-window” system for investment proposals.

A senior commercial lawyer based in Yangon said the new director general should urgently tackle “the lack of consistency” between the legal framework and actual enforcement by the authorities.

One example is the remittance of dividend payments offshore. While the 2016 Investment Law does not include the need for prior MIC approval before the remittance of dividend payments offshore, in practice, offshore remittances of dividends require prior MIC approval.

“The authorised dealer [AD] banks which remit dividends offshore require this approval from the MIC which must be obtained and filed with the AD bank before the AD bank would remit the dividends offshore,” the lawyer said on the condition of anonymity due to sensitivity of the matter.

Another issue is that the actual incorporation/ registration form of a private company limited by shares (i.e. Form A1) issued by DICA is at odds with the new Companies Law which specifically states that a share would not have a nominal or par value, the lawyer said.

The organisation is also at the forefront of the government’s efforts to tackle graft. It issued a January notification drawing companies to an announcement from the Anti-Corruption Commission defining the principles for businesses on prevention of corruption.

U Thant Zin Lwin will have big shoes to fill, businesses say.

Source: Myanmar Times

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