Chin State to sup­port small busi­nesses

The Myanmar Times - - Front Page - CHAN MYA HTWE chan­myahtwe@mm­times.com

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

Photo: Aung Myin Ye Zaw

A man sits out­side a small shop be­neath elec­tion posters in Chin State in the run-up to last year’s polls.

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