Sil­ver lin­ing for coun­try’s fis­cal woes?

The Myanmar Times - Weekend - - News -

THE state of the coun­try’s econ­omy has dom­i­nated this week’s news, but economists and busi­ness­men have pointed to a few sec­tors that could boost fal­ter­ing eco­nomic growth due to high in­fla­tion and the tum­bling kyat.

First on the list of the bright spots is the bank­ing sec­tor. U Than Lwin, ad­viser to KBZ Bank and former deputy gov­er­nor of Cen­tral Bank Myan­mar, noted that the bank­ing sec­tor’s per­for­mance would im­prove dra­mat­i­cally this year as a re­sult of an in­crease in the num­ber of bank ac­count hold­ers and peo­ple us­ing dif­fer­ent bank­ing ser­vices.

“As more bank ac­counts are opened there has been a no­tice­able im­prove­ment in the num­ber of bank trans­fers and pay­ments,” he said. But he warned that if the do­mes­tic econ­omy con­tin­ues to slow, it might limit the growth of the in­dus­try.

An­a­lysts also pinned their hopes on the re­tail and whole­sale trade to move the econ­omy for­ward, es­pe­cially af­ter the Min­istry of Com­merce fully lib­er­alised the sec­tor in May, al­low­ing 100 per­cent for­eign in­vest­ments.

An­a­lysts said whole­salers from South Korea, Thai­land and Ja­pan have started ex­plor­ing busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties in the coun­try. They noted that the growth in re­tail is not lim­ited in Yan­gon, the coun­try’s eco­nomic cap­i­tal, as a num­ber of in­vestors have also been look­ing for op­por­tu­ni­ties in Man­dalay, Magwe and south­ern Shan State.

U Myo Min Aung, an ex­ec­u­tive of the Myan­mar Re­tail As­so­ci­a­tion, noted the fast ex­pan­sion of the ecom­merce mar­ket, which the gov­ern­ment and lo­cal busi­nesses are try­ing to de­velop.

“We are late­com­ers to this mar­ket, but there is still a lot of room for growth,” he said.

The lib­er­al­i­sa­tion of the ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem could also boost the econ­omy, as the pres­ence of ed­u­ca­tional ser­vice providers from Sin­ga­pore, Aus­tralia and New Zealand has been steadily in­creas­ing in the coun­try.

U Than Aung Kyaw, deputy di­rec­tor gen­eral of the Direc­torate for In­vest­ment and Com­pany Ad­min­is­tra­tion, said the gov­ern­ment ex­pects for­eign di­rect in­vest­ment in ed­u­ca­tion to in­crease in the next few years.

De­spite the labour trou­bles in the gar­ment in­dus­try, an­a­lysts and economists are also con­fi­dent that it will be among the growth drivers this year.

U Myint Soe, chair of Myan­mar Gar­ment Man­u­fac­tur­ers As­so­ci­a­tion, said that gar­ment ex­ports are ex­pected to rise de­spite the cur­rent eco­nomic con­di­tions.

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