MIC to strengthen data on lo­cal com­pa­nies

The Myanmar Times - - Front Page - HTIN LYNN AUNG htin­lyn­naung@mm­times.com – Trans­la­tion by Zar Zar Soe

THE Myan­mar In­vest­ment Com­mis­sion will work with the Min­istry of Plan­ning and Fi­nance to col­lect ac­cu­rate data on com­pa­nies op­er­at­ing across the coun­try, an ex­er­cise that of­fi­cials say will help the gov­ern­ment to form bet­ter eco­nomic poli­cies.

The MIC has data on large in­vest­ments and com­pa­nies, but many busi­nesses in Myan­mar are only re­quired to reg­is­ter with a lo­cal au­thor­ity or min­istry, said sec­re­tary U Aung Naing Oo.

This hap­haz­ard ap­proach to record­keep­ing has made it hard for the gov­ern­ment to draft eco­nomic poli­cies, he told The Myan­mar Times.

“Other coun­tries have a sin­gle in­sti­tu­tion for com­pany reg­is­tra­tion, but there are a lot of places here. It is best if the coun­try adopts a new sys­tem for reg­is­ter­ing at a sin­gle place,” he said. “We face many dif­fi­cul­ties when it comes to sta­tis­tics and strug­gle to find the cor­rect data when draft­ing poli­cies.”

Com­pa­nies of­ten op­er­ate with per­mis­sion from a min­istry, with­out reg­is­ter­ing at the MIC, he said, while min­istries rarely dis­close how many per­mits they have granted.

“Be­cause of a rule al­low­ing com­pa­nies to op­er­ate with per­mis­sion from the rel­e­vant min­istry, the MIC does not have an ac­cu­rate list of lo­cal com­pa­nies,” he said.

For­eign com­pa­nies op­er­at­ing with­out MIC per­mis­sion are not al­lowed to work in Myan­mar for more than one year and have no right to tax breaks or other ben­e­fits, he added.

A new 11-mem­ber com­mit­tee formed by Pres­i­dent U Htin Kyaw last month will likely be re­spon­si­ble for com­pil­ing ac­cu­rate sta­tis­tics. U Aung Naing Oo said the MIC will ad­vise the com­mit­tee on how best to go about this.

“It is im­pos­si­ble to draft any kind of pol­icy or strat­egy with­out firm sta­tis­tics, and poli­cies and strate­gies will not be work­able if they are drafted based on in­cor­rect data,” said U Hla Maung, a re­tired direc­tor of the Min­istry of Com­merce.

“We do not even have ex­act data on the num­ber of SMEs or large-scale com­pa­nies op­er­at­ing in the coun­try. The gov­ern­ment will need to fix this first.”

Ac­cu­rate com­pany data will also help the In­ter­nal Rev­enue Depart­ment to keep track of tax­pay­ers.

Be­tween 1988 and May 2016, MIC data show that Myan­mar has ap­proved 1108 for­eign in­vest­ments worth US$63.7 bil­lion and 1190 lo­cal in­vest­ments worth K11,625 bil­lion.

Ac­cord­ing to the Cen­tral Depart­ment of Small and Medium En­ter­prises De­vel­op­ment, there are more than 200,000 SMEs in Myan­mar.

The Direc­torate of In­vest­ment and Com­pany Ad­min­is­tra­tion, which works closely with the MIC, has been clean­ing up its com­pa­nies reg­is­ter since 2014 – last year it struck hun­dreds of in­ac­tive busi­nesses from its records.

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