In­vest­ment law gets teeth

The Myanmar Times - - Front Page - SWAN YE HTUT swanye­htut@mm­times.com

The Myan­mar In­vest­ment Com­mis­sion an­nounced that the new rules to sup­port the in­vest­ment law are ex­pected to be in place by the be­gin­ning of the new fis­cal year.

MYAN­MAR is set to open for busi­ness of­fi­cially next April, when the by-laws of the coun­try’s in­vest­ment law are ex­pected to come into force, of­fi­cials say.

The news comes as busi­ness lead­ers ex­press some con­cern that the lack of a clear le­gal frame­work might con­fuse or de­ter im­por­tant for­eign in­vestors. U Aung Naing Oo, sec­re­tary of the Myan­mar In­vest­ment Com­mis­sion, told a press con­fer­ence at Hil­ton Ho­tel, Nay Pyi Taw, on Oc­to­ber 27 that the by-laws would be ready by the be­gin­ning of the next fis­cal year, in April 2017.

“The text will be fi­nalised by the end of Jan­uary. Af­ter ap­prov­ing the by-laws, we will re­lease the nec­es­sary or­ders and pro­ce­dures be­fore the end of March. Ev­ery­thing will be in place by the end of this fi­nan­cial year,” he said.

He said sec­tions 36 and 42 of the law gov­erned the rel­a­tive pow­ers and du­ties of the com­pa­nies con­cerned.

“We drew up the law balanc­ing the need for open­ness to for­eign in­vestors with the need to pro­tect our own cit­i­zens,” U Aung Naing Oo told re­porters.

In an in­ter­view with The Myan­mar Times ear­lier this month, U Aung Naing Oo said that the rules would also stip­u­late which busi­ness types would need to be en­tered into a joint ven­ture and which could be com­pletely for­eign-owned.

Though MIC is grant­ing per­mits for rou­tine ap­pli­ca­tions, the by-laws are re­quired to clar­ify the gov­ern­ment’s po­si­tion on in­vest­ments cov­ered by sec­tion 37 of the in­vest­ment law. These are de­fined as busi­nesses that are strate­gi­cally im­por­tant for the coun­try.

Pyithu Hlut­taw MP U Tin Naing Tun (NLD; Seik­gyi Kanaungto) told The Myan­mar Times on Oc­to­ber 4, “The by-laws need to stip­u­late which busi­nesses are strate­gi­cally im­por­tant, have en­vi­ron­men­tal and so­cial im­pacts, and dis­pose of big cap­i­tal. Then for­eign in­vestors will know ex­actly how to in­vest here,” he said. “As long as the rules are vague, in­vestors can­not de­cide.”

Amyotha Hlut­taw Speaker Mahn Win Khaing Than told par­lia­ment on Oc­to­ber 4 that the rules to sup­port the new law, which cov­ers both for­eign and lo­cal in­vestors, should come into force as soon as pos­si­ble for the ben­e­fit of the econ­omy.

“An OECD in­vest­ment pol­icy re­view has pointed out that Myan­mar has both a For­eign In­vest­ment Law and a Myan­mar Cit­i­zen In­vest­ment Law, and they over­lap. Myan­mar is the only coun­try in ASEAN to have two in­vest­ment laws.”

Com­bin­ing the laws would spur for­eign in­vest­ment and would bring Myan­mar into con­form­ity with in­ter­na­tional and re­gional agree­ments, he said.

The Speaker said Viet­nam had in­vested more than US$700 mil­lion in Myan­mar and its in­vest­ment would in­crease in ev­ery in­vest­ment sec­tor once Myan­mar’s in­vest­ment rules had been clar­i­fied.

U Than Lwin, re­tired vice pres­i­dent of Myan­mar Cen­tral Bank and con­sul­tant of Kan­bawza Bank, said on Oc­to­ber 26, “The in­vest­ment law should come into ef­fect as soon as pos­si­ble, with an English ver­sion, so for­eign in­vestors can enter the mar­ket.”

At the mo­ment, he said, two or three un­of­fi­cial ver­sions were in cir­cu­la­tion, mak­ing it dif­fi­cult for for­eign firms to make de­ci­sions.

– Trans­la­tion by Thiri Min Htun

Photo: Staff

Man­u­fac­tur­ing is an in­dus­try the gov­ern­ment hopes will re­ceive a boost from its long-awaited eco­nomic pol­icy.

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