Silver lining for country’s fiscal woes?
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.