Myan­mar eyes more FDI from East Asia

Myan­mar is tar­get­ing more for­eign di­rect in­vest­ments (FDI) from Ja­pan, South Korea and China in the next 20 years un­der its new Myan­mar In­vest­ment Pro­mo­tion Plan, a se­nior in­vest­ment of­fi­cial says.

The Myanmar Times - Weekend - - Front Page - 6 CHAN MYA HTWE chan­myahtwe@mm­times.com

MYAN­MAR is gun­ning for more for­eign di­rect in­vest­ments (FDI) from East Asia in the next 20 years un­der its new Myan­mar In­vest­ment Pro­mo­tion Plan (MIPP), U Than Aung Kyaw, deputy di­rec­tor gen­eral of the Direc­torate of In­vest­ment and Com­pany Ad­min­is­tra­tion (DICA) told The Myan­mar Times at a book launch in Yan­gon on Thurs­day.

Be­sides strength­en­ing trade ties with its ASEAN neigh­bours, Myan­mar will also tar­get FDI from East Asia, which in­cludes South Korea, Ja­pan and Greater China un­der its 20-year in­vest­ment plan, U Than Aung Kyaw said.

“Our aim is to in­vite East Asian coun­tries to raise their in­vest­ments in Myan­mar. We will work on poli­cies that en­cour­age FDI from that re­gion,” he said. Cur­rently, the bulk of FDI in Myan­mar is from China, Sin­ga­pore, Thai­land and the UK.

The shift east comes on dwin­dling ex­pec­ta­tions of ma­jor in­vest­ments from the west, as in­ter­na­tional pres­sure mounts for ac­tion to be taken to ease the cri­sis in Rakhine, ac­cord­ing to U Aung Naing Oo, di­rec­tor gen­eral of the Myan­mar In­vest­ment Com­mi­sion.

Tar­geted sec­tors The oil and gas sec­tor is ex­pected to re­ceive larger vol­umes of FDI next year, dur­ing which the gov­ern­ment is plan­ning to open up new gas fields for in­ter­na­tional ten­ders. “Since the present gov­ern­ment took of­fice, in­vest­ment poli­cies have not re­ally been in­clu­sive of the gas pro­duc­tion in­dus­try. By next year though, we will be invit­ing in­vest­ments into this sec­tor,” U Than Aung Kyaw said.

If it comes, FDI in the oil and gas sec­tor could bring bil­lions in fresh funds into the coun­try. Based on DICA’S es­ti­mates, in­vest­ments are ex­pected to to­tal US$5.8 bil­lion (K9.2 tril­lion) per year for the next five years. In 2017, Myan­mar re­ceived US$6.1 bil­lion in FDI. Over the next 20 years, FDI is fore­cast to reach US$220 bil­lion un­der the MIPP.

The in­vest­ment es­ti­mates in­clude im­ple­men­ta­tion of pub­lic projects, in­vest­ments from the pri­vate sec­tor and for­eign in­vest­ments. U Than Aung Kyaw also ex­pects Myan­mar to up its rank from 170 to 150 on the World Bank’s ease of do­ing busi­ness in­dex at the end of the 20 years and for Myan­mar to be­come a mid­dle-class econ­omy within the pe­riod.

In­vest­ment plan Launched on Oc­to­ber 8 by the MIC, the MIPP, which cov­ers the pe­riod be­tween 2016 and 2036, out­lines five strate­gies to ac­tively pro­mote in­vest­ments in the lo­cal econ­omy. Th­ese in­clude new poli­cies and reg­u­la­tions, in­sti­tu­tional de­vel­op­ment, in­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ment and lever­ag­ing on lo­cal busi­ness sys­tems, in­dus­tries and hu­man re­sources.

The MIPP re­places the FDI Pro­mo­tion Plan drafted in 2014, as it is nec­es­sary to align the coun­try’s in­vest­ment poli­cies with its lat­est leg­is­la­tion. This in­cludes the new In­vest­ment Law, Com­pa­nies Law and Spe­cial Eco­nomic Zone Law.

The MIPP will in­te­grate and sup­port both lo­cal in­vest­ments and FDI with the aim of pro­mot­ing re­spon­si­ble in­vest­ments, sus­tain­able growth and en­sur­ing more equal­ity.

U Than Aung Kyaw added that it is also the aim for there to be con­tin­u­ous de­vel­op­ment in ba­sic eco­nomic ne­ces­si­ties such as hu­man re­sources, in­dus­trial-re­lated busi­nesses, in­fra­struc­ture and or­gan­i­sa­tions to pro­mote in­vest­ment and a trans­par­ent in­vest­ment sys­tem.

The MIPP will also pri­ori­tise ex­port busi­nesses, do­mes­tic im­port-sub­sti­tu­tion busi­nesses as well as busi­nesses in­volved in nat­u­ral re­sources.

To make the in­vest­ment pro­mo­tion process smoother, dis­cus­sions re­lated to in­vest­ment laws and pro­ce­dures will be held reg­u­larly and ef­forts will be made to en­act poli­cies which will at­tract FDI as well as make the in­vest­ment process eas­ier.

An In­vest­ment Pro­mo­tion Com­mit­tee, to be be led by MIC chair U Thaung Tun and which in­cludes mem­bers who are deputy min­is­ters from rel­e­vant de­part­ments, will be formed.

“At this stage, we’ll dis­cuss mat­ters such as in­vi­ta­tions for re­spon­si­ble in­vest­ments and mak­ing the process of ap­ply­ing for a per­mit and im­ple­ment­ing in­vest­ments eas­ier,” said U Than Aung Kyaw.

Task forces will be formed to sup­port is­sues re­lat­ing to the law, in­vest­ment ex­hi­bi­tions both lo­cally and abroad, em­ploy­ing skilled work­ers, pro­tect­ing in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty for for­eign in­vestors and fi­nance and bank­ing mat­ters.

More­over, is­sues such as the build­ing of ex­port-fo­cused busi­nesses, im­prov­ing the lo­cal mar­ket by con­nect­ing with for­eign coun­tries and rais­ing agri­cul­tural in­comes will be ad­dressed.

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