Too few are getting access to Myanmar govt’s emergency COVID fund: businesses

Of the 200 companies eligible to receive a government COVID-19 soft loan, just 20 qualify for funding of more than K100 million. These included firms in manufacturing, trading and industry.

Out of the 70 tourism and hotel-related companies that qualified for financing, just one, Inle Princess, was eligible for a loan of K100 million and above. The remaining businesses were able to access smaller loans.

Critics pointed out the companies that qualified for the larger loans have connections with the Ministry of Hotel and Tourism.

“We don’t know how they are processing these loans. Some of the names of eligible hotels and tourism companies did not qualify. As this is a government loan, more transparency is needed and we would like to see the funds end up with those who truly need it,” said Daw Sabei Aung, managing director of Nature Dream Tourism

U Naung Naung Han, chair of the Myanmar Tourism Entrepreneurs Association, said: “The association does not get data of how much funds each company receives. Companies don’t receive the same loan amounts. Some just get a small percentage of the amount they applied for.”

Over 1600 businesses applied for loans under a K100 billion, 1 percent interest government emergency fund set up to help businesses in tourism and manufacturing as well SMEs, including 400 from Mandalay.

However, only two out of the 400 Mandalay applicants were eligible for loans, said U Okkar Kyaw, secretary of Mandalay Region Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

He said even though regional government officials provided support in applying for the loans, such as help in filling out the necessary forms and ensuring all taxes were paid upfront, only two had the track record required to qualify for the loans.

“They applied for loans between K10 million to K100 million,” U Okkar Kyaw said.

U Ye Win Aung, secretary of Mandalay Industrial Zone Management Committee, said: “most of the loans were distributed in Yangon. But it isn’t just businesses in Yangon that need funds. The whole country is feeling the impact of COVID-19. Only two out of the 400 loan applicants in Mandalay is just too few.”

On April 27, the government announced that the fund would be expanded by up to K400 billion to a maximum of K500 billion by the end of the year. – Translated

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Source : Myanamr Times

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