15 days for re­gional in­vest­ment com­mis­sions to as­sess ap­pli­ca­tions

The Myan­mar In­vest­ment Com­mis­sion will re­tain the power to ap­prove or re­ject ap­pli­ca­tions for tax in­cen­tives.

The Myanmar Times - Weekend - - Local Business - THOMP­SON CHAU t.chau@mm­times.com

RE­GIONAL and state in­vest­ment com­mis­sions are given 15 work­ing days to re­view an ap­pli­ca­tion once they have ac­cepted a sub­mis­sion from an in­vestor, ac­cord­ing to No­ti­fi­ca­tion No 25/2017 re­leased by the Myan­mar In­vest­ment Com­mis­sion.

The Myan­mar In­vest­ment Com­mis­sion (MIC) has re­leased the lat­est pro­ce­dures for state and re­gional in­vest­ment com­mis­sions in as­sess­ing var­i­ous types of ap­pli­ca­tions.

The new In­vest­ment Law en­acted and pro­mul­gated ear­lier this year has del­e­gated power to re­gional author­i­ties.

Re­gional and state in­vest­ment com­mis­sions have the author­ity to ap­prove in­vest­ment pro­pos­als with­out hav­ing to seek per­mis­sion from the MIC. Ex­cep­tions in­clude cap­i­tal in­ten­sive in­vest­ments, in­vest­ments with con­sid­er­able en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pacts and sec­tors asked by the Union gov­ern­ment for scru­tiny will need to ask the MIC for ap­proval.

The max­i­mum amount of in­vest­ments which can be ap­proved by re­gional and state in­vest­ment com­mis­sions is US$5 mil­lion (K6 bil­lion).

Ap­prov­ing an in­vest­ment pro­posal Ac­cord­ing to the no­ti­fi­ca­tion, ap­pli­cants have 20 work­ing days (or a longer du­ra­tion in the case of an ex­ten­sion) to re­spond to a re­quest for ad­di­tional in­for­ma­tion from the re­gional or state in­vest­ment com­mis­sions. Oth­er­wise, the ap­pli­ca­tion / pro­posal will be re­jected.

Re­gional and state in­vest­ment com­mis­sions have at most 15 work­ing days to de­cide whether to re­ject an ap­pli­ca­tion upon re­ceiv­ing the ap­pli­ca­tion.

Within the 15 days, the in­vest­ment com­mis­sions can li­aise and dis­cuss with gov­ern­ment de­part­ments and other or­gan­i­sa­tions to as­sess the pro­posal.

If the ap­pli­ca­tion is not re­jected within that des­ig­nated du­ra­tion, it will be marked as ap­proved.

Ap­pli­ca­tions for Land Rights Au­tho­ri­sa­tion Sub-na­tional in­vest­ment com­mis­sions can as­sess and ac­cept those Land Rights Au­tho­ri­sa­tion ap­pli­ca­tions which fall un­der $5 mil­lion, the max­i­mum amount those in­vest­ment com­mis­sions can ap­prove with­out the MIC’S in­ter­ven­tion.

Sim­i­lar to the gen­eral ap­pli­ca­tion pro­ce­dure, the com­mis­sions are re­quired to con­tact and talk to re­lated de­part­ments and or­gan­i­sa­tions.

When re­view­ing Land Rights Au­tho­ri­sa­tion ap­pli­ca­tions, the com­mis­sions are man­dated to ex­am­ine the es­sen­tial in­for­ma­tion, in­clud­ing the lo­ca­tion, type, and area of the land or build­ing, in­for­ma­tion about the land­lords and own­ers and the pe­riod of the Land Rights Au­tho­ri­sa­tion pro­posed.

The com­mis­sions are also man­dated to as­sess whether the area pro­posed by the ap­pli­ca­tion will need to un­der­take any sig­nif­i­cant al­ter­ation of to­pog­ra­phy or el­e­va­tion of the land.

Other doc­u­ments and de­tails needed to be sub­mit­ted by an ap­pli­cant in­clude the draft of an agree­ment con­tract for leas­ing out the land or build­ing, proof of land/ build­ing own­er­ship as well as an ap­proval from the rel­e­vant re­gional/ state gov­ern­ment de­part­ments or bodies for the change in land use ne­ces­si­tated by the in­vest­ment project. Tax in­cen­tives The re­gional and state in­vest­ment com­mis­sions do not have the power to ap­prove tax in­cen­tive ap­pli­ca­tion. Only the MIC is man­dated to make de­ci­sions on those ap­pli­ca­tions.

The no­ti­fi­ca­tion noted that any pro­posed in­vest­ment busi­ness ap­ply­ing for in­come tax in­cen­tive must ful­fil the re­quire­ments in terms of its ge­o­graph­i­cal lo­ca­tion, the type of in­vest­ment zone and whether the busi­ness is within sec­tors pri­ori­tised and pro­moted by the gov­ern­ment.

Ad­di­tion­ally, tax in­cen­tive ap­pli­cants must have at least 80 per­cent of busi­ness’ rev­enues ex­pected to come from ex­ports, as well as in for­eign cur­rency.

Those who ap­ply for tax in­cen­tives must also have the in­for­ma­tion on the ra­tio of their in­vest­ment rev­enue com­ing from ex­ports, as well as in for­eign cur­rency.

The re­gional com­mis­sions are re­quired to re­view whether the ap­pli­ca­tions have the nec­es­sary in­for­ma­tion be­fore send­ing them to the MIC.

Ad­di­tion­ally, re­gional and state in­vest­ment com­mis­sions are re­quired to sub­mit a re­port ev­ery three months to the MIC with in­for­ma­tion about the newly ap­proved in­vest­ments. The re­port must also in­clude the devel­op­ment of the flow of in­vest­ment in the cor­re­spond­ing state or re­gion.

The in­vest­ment com­mis­sions are also em­pow­ered to ex­clude in­vestors who have abused hu­man rights in any ju­ris­dic­tion, ac­cord­ing to the In­ter­na­tional Com­mis­sion of Jurists (ICJ).

In May, Dr Daniel Aguirre, a le­gal ad­viser with the ICJ in Myan­mar, told The Myan­mar Times that both the gov­ern­ment and civil so­ci­ety should en­sure that the in­vest­ment com­mis­sions use their man­date to tackle ir­re­spon­si­ble in­vest­ment through pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion, le­gal frame­work and other means.

“The In­vest­ment Rules of 2017 in­struct the MIC to con­sider whether in­vestors have demon­strated a com­mit­ment to re­spon­si­ble in­vest­ment. In con­sid­er­ing the good char­ac­ter and rep­u­ta­tion of the in­vestor, the MIC may study whether the in­vestor or any as­so­ciate with an in­ter­est in the in­vest­ment broke the law in Myan­mar or any other ju­ris­dic­tion,” Dr Aguiree said, adding that the rules ex­plic­itly men­tion en­vi­ron­men­tal, labour, tax, anti-bribery and cor­rup­tion and hu­man rights law.

“What this means is that if an in­vestor is shown to have com­mit­ted a crime, has vi­o­lated en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion stan­dards or was in­volved with hu­man rights abuses, the MIC should not grant it a per­mit to in­vest here.

“If such a com­pany ap­plies for an in­vest­ment per­mit, civil so­ci­ety should bring its record to the at­ten­tion of the MIC and ad­vo­cate for the re­jec­tion of a per­mit. The MIC should also con­duct its own re­search into ap­pli­cants,” he ex­plained.

Chap­ter two of the new In­vest­ment Law states that the ob­jec­tive of the new law is to “de­velop re­spon­si­ble in­vest­ment busi­nesses which do not cause harm to the nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment and the so­cial en­vi­ron­ment for the in­ter­est of the Union and its cit­i­zens.”

64(d) of the in­vest­ment rules ex­plic­itly in­structs that MIC has the author­ity to re­ject in­vest­ment pro­pos­als if the in­vestor has not demon­strated a com­mit­ment to “en­vi­ron­men­tal con­ser­va­tion ac­tions, com­pli­ance with en­vi­ron­men­tal con­ser­va­tion poli­cies, hu­man rights and ap­pli­ca­tion of ef­fec­tive tech­nol­ogy for nat­u­ral re­sources and prac­tices of waste man­age­ment.”

Ac­cord­ing to Dr Aguirre, civil so­ci­ety should pro-ac­tively sub­mit in­for­ma­tion about ap­pli­cant in­vestors to the in­vest­ment com­mis­sions for con­sid­er­a­tion.

A Myan­mar In­vest­ment Com­mis­sion press con­fer­ence in 2016. Photo: Nyan Zay Htet/the Myan­mar Times

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