Chin State to support small businesses
The state government will prioritise three main areas of the local economy over the next five years: trade, small and medium enterprises, and tourism.
THE Chin State government will focus on developing three main areas of the local economy over the next five years – trade, small and medium enterprises, and tourism – according to the state minister for development, electricity and industry.
Local officials will work with the Union government to develop trade links with India by opening border camps at Rihkhawdar, as well as at Myeikwa in Paletwa township and Saisi Hchuak in Htantlang township, said minister Salai Isaac Khen. Better infrastructure will also help to boost trade, he said.
Chin State is the poorest region in Myanmar. Deeply isolated, it lacks basic infrastructure and suffers from frequent natural disasters including landslides, particularly during the monsoon season.
The state government has asked the Union government to support trade border camps because there is not yet an official trading point in Chin State, said Salai Issac Khen.
“I’d like to open an official border point as soon as possible. Then we can form a collaborative team to reduce the illegal trade in drugs, weapons, explosive and cattle,” he said.
To develop the SMEs sector, the state government will provide financial support to 1000 women over five years to help them develop small enterprises including growing profitable and organic crops, he added.
It will open wholesale trading centres, support the development of household industries, and work toward providing electricity to small businesses not connected to the national grid.
The government will welcome local and international investment, and regional development aid, assuming permission from the Union government, Salai Issac Khen said, while investment will be spread equitably across the state’s nine townships.
Chin State is well known for its beauty, but lacks tourist infrastructure. Earlier this month the government proposed building the first hotel in the state capital, Hakha, which would be just the fifth international-standard accommodation in the state.
Salai Issac Khen told The Myanmar Times earlier this month that a lack of hotels restricts tourism potential.
“We must ensure hotel facilities for the development of tourism, or the visitors won’t come ... We don’t want to miss out on business because visitors feel they aren’t getting what they want,” he said.
He wants at least three villages a year to work with the government, travel agencies and civil society organisations to launch communitybased tourism projects.
The government is also inviting investors to develop hotels, will draw up a plan for developing tourism destinations and will open a training centre for hotel service.
Besides these strategies, officials will prioritise infrastructure development. Better transportation links will support regional development and help to unify the state, he said.
– Translation by Thiri Min Htun
‘We can form a collaborative team to reduce the illegal trade in drugs.’
Salai Issac Khen Minister
A man sits outside a small shop beneath election posters in Chin State in the run-up to last year’s polls.