Wednesday, 30 April 2014

90 per cent of IPO subscribers to receive Thilawa SEZ project shares

More than 90 percent of the initial public offering subscribers on Thilawa Special Economic Zone (SEZ) project will be entitled to their subscriptions, SEZ management committee chairman Sett Aung said on April 25.

“Regarding share purchasing right, if a person propose to buy 1000 shares, he will be allowed to buy only 510, meaning that people who want more will be entitled to more shares but not the amount they propose. The people who subscribe one share (US$ 10.4 per share) to 500 shares (US$ 5208) will get the amount they ask. More than 90 per cent will be able to buy their desired amount but to the remaining 9 per cent, shares will be allotted in proportion,” Sett Aung said.

New Light of Myanmar (29 Apr 2014 - Tuesday)

The Mirror Daily (29 Apr 2014 - Tuesday)

Myanma Alinn Daily (29 Apr 2014 - Tuesday)

Foreign investment up by US$ 2 billion in first three months of 2014

Myanmar’s foreign direct investment increases by US$2 billion, of which $300 million goes to commodity production sector, in the first three months of this year.

At the last year’s ending, foreign investment amounted to more than $44 billion. It rose to Bt$46 billion for this year’s first quarters, ending March 31.

Investment funds have been channeled to the energy, oil and gas exploration and production, commodity production, mining, hotel and tourism, transportation and telecommunications, housing, livestock and fishery, agriculture and construction sectors.
From January to March, transportation and telecoms sees $1.1 billion in investment.

One of Asia’s Final Frontiers Poised for Growth

Long hindered by political and economic sanctions, Myanmar has emerged as one of the remaining frontier markets in Southeast Asia. Since the 2012 elections, the Thein Sein Administration has taken great strides to unlock the country’s economic and tourism potential. The result has led to a highly competitive market in just two years.

Eight local carriers serve Myanmar’s domestic market and three more—Apex, FMI and Saga—all plan to launch operations this year. A ninth carrier, Myanmar Airways International, operates scheduled international service to Southeast Asian destinations.

SMEs survey to be released in May

Findings of an extensive survey on small- and medium enterprises (SMEs) in 25 townships across the country will be published next month, according to the executive of Myanmar commerce chamber.

The survey covers investing, operating and financing conditions of more than 3,000 SMEs with a projection for future, said Aung Khin Myint, executive member of the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI).

“In coming month, we will publish a report on the survey of SMEs. Review of the information obtained both at the time of taking survey and at later time will be compiled and presented. Detailed report will be published together with (the OECD and the UN ESCAP),” he said.

JICA study to look at Bagan heritage

YANGON, 29 April 2014: Myanmar Ministry of Hotels and Tourism and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) will complete a pre-feasibility study on tourism development in Bagan, the country’s top heritage destination.

The JICA team will look at technical cooperation, how to improve tourist infrastructure, build human resources development and conserve heritage, the New Light of Myanmar reported.

Bagan is home to thousands of ancient pagodas and is shortlisted to join UNESCO’s World Heritage list.

Financially-strapped railway sector put out to tender

Four enterprises and lands held under the financially ailing railway industry were put out to tender in order to improve operations and cooperation with private sector involvement, according to the Ministry of Rail Transportation.

Officials said tenders were sent out on April 23, and they include the taxi enterprise into Yangon Railway Station, 1.04 acres of ministry land near Insein railway station and its football field, and land in Lanmataw, Mayangone and North Dagon townships.

According to a press release from the Ministry of Rail Transportation, a car park enterprise permit of one-year duration will be given out, while the land will be leased from 15 to 30 years.

Thai businessmen eye investment in Myanmar

BANGKOK, 29 April 2014, (NNT) - Kasikorn Bank Public Company Limited has revealed that many Thai businessmen have expressed interest in investing in Myanmar.

The bank’s Managing Director, Theetanant Srihong, noted that the majority of these business operators are looking at forming joint ventures with the country’s private sector, effectively bypassing the nation’s legal complications and issues of high public utility cost.

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Yatanarpon Teleport looks for foreign partners

The majority state-owned Yatanarpon Teleport is in discussion with four foreign companies to establish a public - private partnership in the telecommunication sector.

Among the companies that have shown interest, True Move from Thailand and Axiata from Malaysia are reported to be favourites.

“We haven’t chosen anyone yet. We are now trying to establish Yatanarpon Teleport as a public company,” said an official from Yatanarpon Teleport.

Thai investment in Myanmar slowing

Thai investment in Myanmar is likely to lag behind other countries, from second highest for accumulated value in Myanmar’s direct investment to eighth this year if it keeps investing at the current pace.

Despite the steadily increasing clip of Thailand's foreign direct investment (FDI), the growth is considered relatively low compared with that of neighbouring countries, particularly in the past two years, says Thai Ambassador to Myanmar Pisanu Suvanajata.

He said Thailand remained quite slow with its outbound investment, especially by small and medium-sized ventures, as most FDI came from large firms.

Mergui Islands show growing potential for marine tourism

The development of marine tourism, namely diving, charter and private yacht cruises in Myanmar’s southern Mergui archipelago has huge potential, despite bureaucratic challenges.

The Asia Pacific Superyacht Conference and boat show was held in Singapore between April 8 and 11, where industry specialists discussed future trends of developing marine tourism and private yachting in Myanmar.

“Tourism development is the fastest growing industry in Myanmar. If done correctly there is huge potential for turning the islands into a popular yachting destination,” said John Farrell, a consultant from Myanmar Yacht Services.

Power, construction sectors expect boon

Myanmar's efforts to remove barriers to foreign direct investment (FDI), starting at its three special economic zones (SEZs), is expected to widen opportunities for the power and construction sectors.

Speaking at a Kasikornbank seminar in Thailand yesterday titled "Opportunities and Challenges towards the Emerging Economy", Charles Schneider, the International Finance Corporation's resident representative in Myanmar, said the government in cooperation with the World Bank was removing many barriers to FDI, such streamlining customs documentation. The government is also drafting a new investment law, which will be important in attracting FDI in the long term.

New Light of Myanmar (28 Apr 2014 - Monday)

The Mirror Daily (28 Apr 2014 - Monday)

Myanma Alinn Daily (28 Apr 2014 - Monday)

Monday, 28 April 2014

Asia Express should pay Ks 2.6 billion owed to Yangon: MP

Asia Express needs to pay a revenue of more than Ks 2.6 billion owed to Yangon City Development Committee (YCDC), said MP Dr. Nyo Nyo Thin, No.2 Bahan Constituency during Yangon regional parliament session held on April 24.

She made the comments while urging the Yangon Region government to cooperate with the parliament to implement the rule of law.

Pearl Condo was constructed under a mutual agreement between YCDC and Asia Express in 1999. In the agreement, Asia Express owned condo apartments in Buildings A, B, C and D and the YCDC had the ownership of Buildings E and F. The Asia Express did not only sell its apartments but also those 100 in Building E without the knowledge of the YCDC. The company earned more than Ks 3 billion from the unauthorised sale and it was obliged to pay more than Ks 2.6 billion to the YCDC, the MP said.

Army-owned Conglomerates Slowly Loosening Grip on Economy: Report

RANGOON — The Burma Army is in the process of a carefully planned retreat from its monopolistic hold over the economy, but while the revenues of its commercial conglomerates fell the military has retained the same government budget figure in real terms, an International Crisis Group (ICG) report said this week.

In its report “Myanmar’s Military Back to the Barracks” ICG sets out an analysis of the reasons for military’s move to cede political and economic control over Burma as part of its long-planned democratic transition, which started in 2011 when President Thein Sein’s nominally civilian government took office and will lead to supposedly free and fair elections in 2015.

IRD launches special taxation office

The Internal Revenue Department (IRD) has launched a taxation office on April 1 to improve tax services for large businesses and corporations.

Experienced tax officers have been hired to provide high quality services at the newly opened Large Taxation Office, which will work together with the taxpayers to provide accurate information on filing taxes.

The office will focus on large income businesses working in energy, construction, airlines and communication sectors. They classify large businesses under the rules and regulations of the IRD such as company’s capital, total income, and taxes from previous years.

Investors from Thailand need to shed outdated perceptions of Myanmar, says ambassador Pisanu

MYANMAR is a land of opportunity, but Thai investors who come here in search of a piece of the action should change their perceptions of the country, Pisanu Suvanajata, Thai ambassador to Myanmar, has suggested.

He considers perception to be a key barrier to investing in Myanmar, and points out that Thai investors still misunderstand the country, holding on to old memories of drug trafficking, ethnic disputes and extreme poverty.

In fact, this land of 53.3 million people has rapidly changed both its economic and political landscapes via a series of reform initiatives, he said, adding that such progress was sending out a good signal for those considering doing business in Myanmar.

Thilawa SEZ shares oversubscribed

The initial public offering of Thilawa Special Economic Zone has seen more than double the IPO subscriptions than 2.145 million shares available, said a company spokesperson at the April 25 press conference in Yangon.

The company recently arranged the IPO to raise US$ 21 million to fund the first phase of Thilawa SEZ, a sprawling industrial complex located about 20 km south of Yangon.

More than 17,000 intended subscribers offered to buy a total of more than 4 million shares, at the cost of Ks 10,000 (US$10) per share. Since only 2.145 million shares are available, the 1.8 million over-subscriptions subscribers would be refunded, said the company official.

Myanmar's major SEZ project set to go into partial operation in mid-2015

YANGON, April 26 (Xinhua) -- Myanmar will see commercial production of Class A project of its high-profile Thilawa Special Economic Zone (SEZ), located just 25 km from Yangon, commence in mid-2015, official media reported Saturday.

The earthwork for the Class A Project has been completed and construction of water and power facilities are underway, said the New Light of Myanmar, quoting U Win Aung, chairman of Myanmar Thilawa SEZ Holdings Public Ltd. (MTSH).

The Thilawa project, the most advanced of several foreign investment-driven SEZ projects in the country, is expected to help create about 40,000 jobs for local residents, said U Win Aung.

Kanbawza Bank pays Ks 22 billion in advance tax

Kanbawza Bank Ltd, the largest private bank in Myanmar, has paid Ks 22 billion (US $ 22 million) in advance tax for the fiscal year 2014-15, according to its chairperson Aung Ko Win.

The bank topped the list of income-tax paying companies in 2012-13 after paying Ks 10 billion (US$ 10 million) for income tax that year. The list of top tax payers in 2013-14 has not come out yet.

“We paid income tax of more than Ks 10 billion in 2012-13 and Ks 17 billion (US$ 17 million) in 2013-14. We also paid Ks 22 billion in advance tax for 2014-15,” Aung Ko Win told journalists at the ceremony of conferring honorary certificates to top tax payers.

Myanmar to carry out maintenance work on two major rivers

Myanmar government will carry out maintenance work on two major rivers -- Ayeyawaddy and Chindwin in the country, aiming at improving navigation on the two rivers, official media reported Thursday.

The government will spend 12 billion Kyats (12.5 million US dollars) on removing sandbank and maintenance of riverbeds and waterways of the two rivers with preventive measures against erosion of the rivers, the Ministry of Transport was quoted by the New Light of Myanmar as saying.

Of the 12 billion Kyats' budget, 127 million Kyats will be allocated to the maintenance of Twantay Canal, which is vital for transportation by waterways to and from Yangon and the Ayeyawaddy delta region in the southwest.

Foreign investment up US$2 bn from January

Foreign direct investment to Myanmar for the 2013-2014 fiscal year, ending March 31, has reached US$ 4.1 billion, with an increase of US$ 1.9 billion in the first three months of 2014.

Most of the investment has gone into transportation and telecommunication industries, according to the Ministry of National Planning and Economic Development.

According to the Directorate of Investment and Companies Administration (DICA) the total amount of foreign investment since Myanmar opened its markets in 1989 has reached US$ 46 billion.

Boom times for Myanmar

A robust economy is the main attraction for foreign direct investment (FDI) in Asean and elsewhere in Asia, particularly in Myanmar, where recent economic liberalisation has boosted investment substantially, say international analysts.

The Institute of Security and International Studies projects the Southeast Asian economy is likely to experience 3-5% annual growth into the next decade, director Thitinan Pongsudhirak told the Norway-Asia Business Summit yesterday. The three-day event ending today has been organised by the Thai-Norwegian Chamber of Commerce.

Joseph Zveglich, assistant chief economist at the Asian Development Bank, said the ADB forecasts overall Asian gross domestic (GDP) growth of 6.2% this year and 6.4% next year on the back of the economic recovery in the US, Europe and Japan.

Myanmar to submit for EITI membership

The Myanmar government is applying for membership of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) and will submit its application in the first week of May.

EITI is a global coalition of governments, companies and civil society working together to improve openness and accountable management of revenues from natural resources.

“In first week of May we will submit our application to the EITI International Secretariat. Reforming can be done when they give their comments. Later the EITI Board will decide whether Myanmar is recognised as a member or not,” said Min Zar Ni Lin, from the Myanmar EITI Cooperation Office.

Myanmar, Japan to cooperate on tourist development in Bagan

Myanmar Ministry of Hotels and Tourism and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) will cooperate in conducting a pre-feasibility study for a project for establishment of the pilot model for tourism development in Bagan, an ancient city in Mandalay region, official daily reported Friday.

The pre-feasibility study include a technical cooperation project for improvement of tourist infrastructure, human resources development and heritage and environmental conservation, the New Light of Myanmar said.

On April 10, the ministry and JICA signed a record of discussion for the project that aims to further develop the tourist industry in Myanmar through technical cooperation between Myanmar and Japan.

Telenor and Ooredoo to support Wiki Zero

Myanmar Wiki developers and the staff from Telenor are discussing to provide free mobile access to Wikipedia, the free online encyclopaedia.

The project is called Wiki Zero and competitors Ooredoo have also pledged their support. Organisers plan to train freelance developers to provide articles in Myanmar for free.

“Telenor asked for 50 articles to in initiate. Their recommendations are systematic. Ooredoo requested for 100,000 articles before their sim-card on sale. We can give 100,000 articles they want though I’m afraid this would end up a perfunctory effort,” said Mayar, a developer for Myanmar Wiki.

Myanmar to sign energy contracts in May

Myanmar says it will sign production sharing contracts for onshore energy exploration next month.

NAYPYITAW, Myanmar, April 24 (UPI) -- Production sharing contracts for energy companies tasked with exploring Myanmar's onshore reserves should be signed in May, a planning official said Thursday.

More than a dozen blocks for onshore development were awarded to international energy companies during an October auction. Khin Khin Aye, director of energy planning at the Myanmar Ministry of Energy, said the government was working according to normal procedures.

New Light of Myanmar (27 Apr 2014 - Sunday)

The Mirror Daily (27 Apr 2014 - Sunday)

Myanma Alinn Daily (27 Apr 2014 - Sunday)

New Light of Myanmar (26 Apr 2014 - Saturday)

The Mirror Daily (26 Apr 2014 - Saturday)

Myanma Alinn Daily (26 Apr 2014 - Saturday)

Saturday, 26 April 2014

New Light of Myanmar (25 Apr 2014 - Friday)

The Mirror Daily (25 Apr 2014 - Friday)

Myanma Alinn Daily (25 Apr 2014 - Friday)

New Light of Myanmar (24 Apr 2014 - Thursday)

The Mirror Daily (24 Apr 2014 - Thursday)

Myanma Alinn Daily (24 Apr 2014 - Thursday)

New Light of Myanmar (23 Apr 2014 - Wednesday)

The Mirror Daily (23 Apr 2014 - Wednesday)

Myanma Alinn Daily (23 Apr 2014 - Wednesday)

Local and Foreign Partnerships Key to Business Expansion in Myanmar

Business partnerships through merger and acquisition, joint-ventures or strategic alliances will be a driver for business expansion in Myanmar going forward into 2015, says Managing Partner of KPMG in Myanmar Yasuhide Fujii.

“Opportunities in Myanmar are increasing for businesses, but so is competition. Looking forward, some local firms may feel the pinch as international companies move in on their turf,” notes Fujii.

Foreign hotels to be completed by mid-year

Foreign hotel projects currently under construction will be inaugurated by mid year according to the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism.

Most of the projects, including international hotel chains, are located in Yangon, according to Director General Aung Zaw Win.

“Novotel Hotel will be opened in the mid year. Others such as Center Point and Shangrila will soon follow too,” Aung Zaw Win said.

Mitsubishi Corporation Enters Elevator Business in Myanmar

Tokyo, Apr 22, 2014 - (JCN Newswire) - Mitsubishi Corporation (MC) has entered into an agreement with First Myanmar Investment Co., Ltd (FMI) and Yoma Strategic Investments Ltd. (YSI)* for the purpose of establishing a joint venture company, MC Elevator (Myanmar) Ltd (MC Elevator), to provide, inter alia, technical services and solutions, installation, testing and commissioning and import and supply of elevators, escalators and related products in Myanmar. FMI and YSI are part of the enlarged group of one of Myanmar's leading corporations, Serge Pun & Associates (Myanmar) Limited (SPA). The new company, MC Elevator, is scheduled to start operations this summer, pending completion of set-up procedures required in Myanmar. MC will hold 60% of shares, while FMI and YSI will each hold 20%.

Burma’s emerging rich

As Burma’s economy steadily grows, a higher percentage of Rangoon’s population are finding themselves with more cash to spend.

Imported products from Thailand and Hong Kong can be seen on display in downtown shopping malls – something that would have been impossible two years ago as foreign goods were banned under the military junta.

Big international brands are now moving in to take advantage of the world’s last frontier markets: soft-drink giant Coca-Cola opened a factory in Burma in June 2013; VISA and MasterCard now operate inside the country; and Japanese companies Mitsubishi Corp and Sumitomo are expanding their presence in Rangoon.

Right local partner key for Thai SMEs looking to Myanmar

Thai small and medium-sized enterprises looking to establish a footprint in Myanmar should find the right local distribution partners, and their products should not be dependent on the country's currently underdeveloped infrastructure, according to experts in doing business there.

Speaking at the second session of the "Thailand-Myanmar Trade Investment Relations in the Age of AEC" seminar, Michael Lim, chairman of Today Group Myanmar - a leading marketing communications and media business network - said enterprises should understand Myanmar people's behaviour before selling their products in the market.

Govt Tender for Upgrade of Domestic Airports Expected in October

RANGOON — The Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) said it will issue a tender in the last quarter of this year inviting local and foreign companies to upgrade 39 underdeveloped domestic airports in Burma.

In November last year, DCA called on companies to register their interest and proposals for improving 30 of Burma’s 69 domestic airports. The process, which was completed in January, was not a formal bidding process but served to inform the government agency of the interest and plans of potential airport developers.

Myanmar Airways remodels

YANGON, 22 April 2014: Myanmar Airways says it will buy six ATR 72-600 turboprop aircraft to replace older aircraft.

The airline’s managing director, Than Tun, told local media that Myanmar Airways is negotiating with ATR in France to purchase the aircraft that will be used on domestic routes.

“We are also talking to ATR about setting up a spare parts factory for ATR aircraft in Myanmar,” he said.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

New Light of Myanmar (22 Apr 2014 - Tuesday)

The Mirror Daily (22 Apr 2014 - Tuesday)

Myanma Alinn Daily (22 Apr 2014 - Tuesday)

The Mirror Daily (21 Apr 2014 - Monday)

The Mirror Daily (20 Apr 2014 - Sunday)

The Mirror Daily (19 Apr 2014 - Saturday)

The Mirror Daily (18 Apr 2014 - Friday)

The Mirror Daily (17 Apr 2014 - Thursday)

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Keys To Myanmar by DLA Piper

Burma’s poultry potential

Than Win can kill, pluck and disembowel a chicken in less than three minutes. He does it at least a hundred times a day, seven days a week and makes around 300,000 kyats a month. While sipping green tea in a blood-stained singlet and longyi at a roadside teashop opposite Burma’s largest poultry market, known simply as the “Chicken and Duck Market” in Rangoon’s Mingalar Taungnyunt Township, Than Win explained that his shift begins at midnight.

He and a small team travel by truck to collect about 1,300 chickens from some 50 different homes in Pegu Division and Rangoon’s northernmost townships of Taikkyi and Hmawbi.

Myanma Alinn Daily (16 Apr 2014 - Wednesday)

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Myanma Alinn Daily (15 Apr 2014 - Tuesday)

New Light of Myanmar (14 Apr 2014 - Monday)

Myanma Alinn Daily (14 Apr 2014 - Monday)

New Light of Myanmar (13 Apr 2014 - Sunday)

Myanma Alinn Daily (13 Apr 2014 - Sunday)

New Light of Myanmar (12 Apr 2014 - Saturday)

Myanma Alinn Daily (12 Apr 2014 - Saturday)

New Light of Myanmar (11 Apr 2014 - Friday)

The Mirror Daily (11 Apr 2014 - Friday)

Myanma Alinn Daily (11 Apr 2014 - Friday)

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Myanmar, BBC to work for broadcast media reform

YANGON, April 8 (Xinhua) -- Myanmar's Information Ministry will closely work with British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) for broadcast media reform, state media reported Tuesday.

The two parties will work for overcoming unforeseen challenges of broadcast media reform in Myanmar, Minister of Information U Aung Kyi was quoted by the New Light of Myanmar as saying.

Myanmar Manufacturing Summit in May, Outlines Blueprint to Making Myanmar the Next Manufacturing Hub

Myanmar’s Ministry of Industry is supporting and endorsing CMT’s first Myanmar Manufacturing Summit scheduled on 26-27 May 2014, in Yangon. This event attracts top-notch manufacturers from across the FMCG, automotive, garment, industrial, packaging, pharmaceuticals industry players plus key officials from DICA, MIC & various Ministries.

An influx of FDI especially in manufacturing sectors, growing consumer base & low cost workforce has drawn investors seeking to establish a foothold in Myanmar. To prepare manufacturers for the challenges & potential in this frontier market, this premier event, to debut next month, aptly deliberates on ‘Transforming Myanmar into the next manufacturing powerhouse!’

Myanmar Telecom: Telenor And Ooredoo Will Need To Overcome Land Disputes, Electricity Shortage And Other Hurdles

After finally being awarded telecom licenses, Myanmar’s foreign investors Telenor and Ooredoo are racing ahead to implement mobile services with the Burmese government’s help. But speed bumps still exist when it comes land acquisition and the reputation of the two.

“Both companies survived a last-ditch effort by parliament to railroad both companies into contracts with domestic firms,” Christian Lewis, an Asia researcher with the Eurasia Group, an economic and political risk consultancy, told International Business Times. Lewis added that the hurdle was largely due to the parliament being overworked and disorganized rather than any political will.

New Light of Myanmar (10 Apr 2014 - Thursday)

The Mirror Daily (10 Apr 2014 - Thursday)

Myanma Alinn Daily (10 Apr 2014 - Thursday)

New Light of Myanmar (9 Apr 2014 - Wednesday)

The Mirror Daily (9 Apr 2014 - Wednesday)

Myanma Alinn Daily (9 Apr 2014 - Wednesday)

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Myanmar tourists book trips to Thailand over water festival

Myanmar tourists this year seem more interest in visiting Kanchanaburi in Thailand over the Thingyan new year and water festival, according to local tour operators.

“More than 40 people have booked for a Kanchanaburi tour during Thingyan, Myanmar’s New Year holidays. Special transportation to Kanchanburi is being arranged for local tourists while they are visiting Dawei area,” said Htein Win, an agent from Dawei Tourism.

Myanmar's Tourism Boom Endangers Fragile Ecosystems

The country has opened its doors to tourism and all that goes with it: hotel construction, pollution, waste—and perhaps ecosystem loss.

The morning sun shoots rays over the tops of the steep hills surrounding Inle Lake that pierce the mist rising from the waters. Egrets and coots glint white in the sky overhead and glide off into the deep green marsh.

Silhouetted against the newly risen sun are fishermen in their wide-brimmed, conical hats. They paddle by twisting a leg around their oar and balancing on the end of elegant, hand-carved pirogues, creating a picture postcard of Myanmar, also known as Burma.

Myanmar to focus on prawn breeding for the US market

YANGON-Myanmar is to start emphasising on prawn breeding for exports to the United State, according to Myanmar Prawn Breeding and Dealers Association.

Myanmar’s marine products were showcased Boston’s Seafood Show held in Massachusetts from March 16 to 18.

At the show, Myanmar entrepreneurs observed the high-demand of the US prawn market.
“The U.S. buys the prawns paying a good price and the prawn’s market is very huge. 

Although the market has boomed for many years, we are going to start the first priority of prawn breeding in order to export to the U.S. because our production of prawns are being on the decline now,” said Dr. Kyaw Tun Myint, Chairman of Myanmar Prawn Breeding and Dealers Association.

MYANMAR OPENS ONLINE DIGITAL LIBRARY FOR EDUCATION AND RESEARCH

With the support of Ministry of Education, the ‘eLibrary Myanmar’ project will for the first time provide local academics and students online access to a comprehensive and multidisciplinary collection of scholarly resources.

The project is funded by the Open Society Foundations’Higher Education Support programme and is implemented by EIFL, an international not-for-profit organisation working with libraries around the world to enable sustainable access to digital information.

Burmese academics and students will have direct access to a comprehensive range of high quality digital resources, including journals, books and reference materials.

Gov’t revenue rises to Ks 3.42 trillion in 2013-14

The government's total revenue rose to Ks 3.42 trillion (US$ 3.42 billion) over the recently completed 2013-14 fiscal year.

It has increased by Ks 710 billion (US$ 0.7 billion), compared to Ks 2.71 trillion (US$ 2.71 billion) in 2012-13. The Internal Revenue Department said they will announce the top 1,000 tax payers for the last fiscal year.

The government awarded honorary certificates to top 50 citizen tax payers and top 50 commercial tax payers for the last fiscal year. 

Myanmar's economy to grow 7.8 pct in next 2 years: ADB

YANGON, April 7 (Xinhua) -- Myanmar's economic growth is expected to pick up to an annual rate of 7.8 percent for the next two fiscal years (2014-15 and 2015-16), according to the press release of Asia Development Bank available here Monday.

The country's economic growth for the fiscal year 2013-14 which ended in March is estimated at 7.5 percent, the release quoted ADB 's latest Asian Development Outlook as saying.

A recent ADB study noted that the country could reach upper middle-income status by 2030 if it overcomes development challenges, but currently about 25 percent of the population live below the national poverty line.

Investors wait on new laws granting land tenure

Build, operate and transfer (BOT) agreements grant foreign companies the chance to rent land from the government for a maximum of 70 years but do not include land ownership.

A new condominium law is currently being drafted in parliament and many foreign investors are waiting for clearer regulations before investing in Myanmar’s housing market.

“The problem is, there is no chance to own the land under BOT and thus the land tenure rights are missing,” said Myint Swe, the retired deputy director of the Department of Human Settlement and Housing Development.

Ooredoo finds 'huge complexities' in permit process

Ooredoo Myanmar is just starting to understand the country’s complex land-use permitting process, and at the same time the central and local authorizes are being completely swamped with requests from not only Ooredoo, but Telenor and the incumbent as well.

“The challenge the government is just realizing for the first time is the sheer number of requests for [land-use] permits, because it’s not just us,” said Ooredoo Myanmar CEO Ross Cormack said. “Our noble competitors down the road are doing the same thing. And the existing operator is looking to expand, so suddenly all the authorities are completely deluged with requests.”

Economists warn of looming debt and inflation

Economists forecast that Myanmar will face possible long term debts along with high inflation in the next three years due to an annual budget deficit.

Soe Thein, a retired deputy director from the budget department, was speaking during a state budget seminar, where he warned economists of the rising inflation. 

“In coming years, about Ks 3 trillion will be shortfall. There wouldn’t be a problem if the deficit was not more than five percent of the GDP. Of course, the GDP could be up and down. However, the continuous deficit will cause more debts well as the inflation rate could be rising,” said Soe Thein.

Ayala Land goes to Myanmar, Vietnam in expansion binge

The property arm of the Ayala group is shifting its focus to develop overseas markets, particularly in ASEAN neighbors Myanmar and Vietnam, a company official told reporters Monday.

Ayala Land Inc. is expanding its residential developments and its retail business to both countries, newly appointed president and CEO Bernard Vincent "Bobby" O. Dy said in a briefing following a stockholders' meeting in Makati City.

Contract based on mutual interest to be awarded for Yangon-Mandalay Express

The deal based on mutual interest will be the basis for awarding the contract for Yangon-Mandalay Express operated under Ministry of Rail Transport, according Myanmar Railways.

Local business people, firms and companies have reportedly been invited to tender for No (5) upstream express and No (6) downstream express linking Yangon and Mandalay to operate the basic system designed for mutual interest. In doing so, the duration for the license is three years and the contract would be renewed once a year.

ComBank to start Myanmar operations soon: Chairman

Commercial Bank PLC (Combank), Sri Lanka’s largest private sector bank yesterday expressed optimism of their foray into the fast emerging Southeast Asian nation, Myanmar before the third quarter of this year.

“We will open a representative office there before the third quarter of this year,” confided the bank’s Chairman Dinesh Weerakkody.

Myanmar Business Forum to be formed for private sector improvement

Plans are underway to form Myanmar Business Forum designed to improve on the private economic sector, according to the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

The MBF Secretariat has already been organised and its working groups will soon be activated.

Once fully functional, the MBF will draft and enforce rules and regulations aimed at problem solving. It plans to convene face-to-face meetings twice a year.

ReadyPlanet targets Myanmar for Web services

ReadyPlanet, a large Thai readymade Web-service provider, aims to grow 50 per cent this year by expanding in emerging services and markets, especially Myanmar.
CEO Songyot Kanthamanon said last week that the company will launch two services this year - Baidu's online ads and Facebook's ads - while increasing services for its readymade website to help its customers design responsive websites.

The company will take its readymade website to Myanmar, where the online business is expected to grow rapidly. It is forming a team to oversee ReadyMyanmar.com.

Twelve prospective sites for Kyaukpyu deep-sea harbour

Twelve most appropriate areas for the construction of Kyaukpyu deep-sea harbour have been located, a committee of Kyaukpyu Special Economic Zone said in its report.

The harbour in Kyaukpyu Special Economic Zone, once complete, is expected to be the best deep-sea port in Southeast Asia.

The government officials, the members of Economy Zone Tender Invitation and Scrutiny Committee (BEAC) and the consultant company on project development zone met in the last week of March.

From isolation to 3G data at warp speed

Ooredoo is spending $1 billion in Myanmar this year to roll out almost 1,000 3G base stations to cover 30% to 40% of the population of the country, where just 1% have access to the internet and a SIM card still costs $140.

Ross Cormack, CEO of Ooredoo Myanmar, tells Telecom Asia group editor Joseph Waring about his excitement working in the newest emerging market, the huge pent-up demand for mobile and the significant challenges faced.

Ks 140 million insurance claim paid for Gandamar Wholesale Centre fire

Union of Myanmar Economic Holdings Limited has received about Ks 140 million from Aung Thisa Oo Insurance Company for the fire damage at its Gandamar Wholesale Centre, witnessed in the ceremony for paid insurance claim held at Central Hotel on April 4.

“We have the appraisers to ensure the claim in accord with the real market price. No much disparity. We receive much of the percentage we asked, we got more than 90 percent (of claimed value). The initial price is Ks 6 billion and the depreciation is about Ks 3.9 billion. Therefore, in receiving insurance payment, there is 10 percent reduction,” said Min Naing, Director for Myawaddy Trading Limited under UMEHL.

Telecom giants dominate Myanmar

YANGON - Telecom giants from Norway and Qatar, two countries with few historical bonds to Myanmar, are poised to play pivotal roles in the impoverished nation's economic development.

On Jan 30, Norway's Telenor Group and Qatar's Ooredoo Group signed the final licences to build and operate 2G and 3G mobile phone services in the country after they beat 89 other contestants for the 15-year concessions granted in June.

Both firms are majority state-owned in their respective countries.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

New Light of Myanmar (8 Apr 2014 - Tuesday)

The Mirror Daily (8 Apr 2014 - Tuesday)

Myanma Alinn Daily (8 Apr 2014 - Tuesday)

New Light of Myanmar (7 Apr 2014 - Monday)

The Mirror Daily (7 Apr 2014 - Monday)

Myanma Alinn Daily (7 Apr 2014 - Monday)

New Light of Myanmar (6 Apr 2014 - Sunday)

The Mirror Daily (6 Apr 2014 - Sunday)

Myanma Alinn Daily (6 Apr 2014 - Sunday)

New Light of Myanmar (5 Apr 2014 - Saturday)

The Mirror Daily (5 Apr 2014 - Saturday)

Myanma Alinn Daily (5 Apr 2014 - Saturday)

Myanmar exports 700,000 tonnes of rice to China

Myanmar has exported at least seven hundred tonnes of rice and rice products to China during the 2013-14 fiscal year, according to the Myanmar Rice and Paddy Association (MRPA).

Of the 700,000 tonnes of rice and rice products, 552,462 tonnes was rice, 113,986 tonnes was broken rice and 30,928 tonnes was sticky rice. All crossed the Muse border crossing into China. 

“Last fiscal year, Myanmar exported 1.4 million tonnes rice. Two weeks before ending this fiscal year, more than one million has been exported,” said Win Myint, the union minister for commerce.

Small businesses hit hardest by electricity hikes

YANGON - Local business owners have complained that new electricity hikes will have a negative impact on consumers, and that the new prices will hinder smaller businesses.
Some business owners also criticised the increase of power shortages in many industrial areas, claiming that the new prices have not created a more stable supply. 


“The government should provide the electricity regularly if the electricity fees are to be hiked. But the electricity is now cut off about one hour regularly. That’s why we are now running our businesses using generators,” said Kyaw Thiha, Managing Director of International Trading Limited.

GDP growth prospects strong in the short term

Surging credit growth in the banking sector, rising investments and continued economic reform last year resulted in economic growth to the tune of 7.5 percent gross domestic product (GDP) for the 2013 fiscal year, according to the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

In its annual “Asian Development Outlook” report, the ADB highlighted a 59.5pc increase in capital goods imports to US$5.8 billion last year, as well as resurgence for the agriculture sector, after being hit by flooding the year before.

Friday, 4 April 2014

Shell, Total among offshore block winners

The Ministry of Energy on March 28 announced the winners of the highly anticipated tender to explore gas and oil in 20 offshore blocks, a list that includes several global firms including Royal Dutch Shell, US-based ConocoPhillips and France’s Total.

The Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE) invited tenders for 30 offshore blocks in April, attracting interest from a total of 75 international oil and gas firms, but after the ministry released a pre-qualified list of 61 companies last July, only 30 produced proposals.

Golden “Land”: Protecting investments in Myanmar from disputes

Foreign legal consultants John Lichtfield and Kyaw Zin Htet report that Myanmar is fast emerging as a destination for foreign companies. Issues remain, however, over land ownership. Globalaw looks at how foreign businesses can obtain land rights.

As Southeast Asia has blossomed into a region attractive for investment, coveted land resources have become scarcer and disputes over land more common. Even with its vast size, Myanmar is no exception to this rule, as the nation struggles with effective land registration and titling issues. In 2012/13, Myanmar's economy grew by 6.3 per cent but land disputes remain a legal issue that developers are having to contend with. There is a huge farming community that have settled on this land for decades, land that foreign businesses will need to build infrastructure and establish operations.

Indian demand sends bean prices upward

Growing demand for locally produced beans from India has increased the price of some beans 11 percent over the past month, experts said.

U Myat Soe, central executive committee member of the Myanmar Pulses, Beans and Sesame Seeds Merchants’ Association, said that India is now taking more than 70 percent of Myanmar’s total production of beans amid fears that possible droughts through the rainy season could stunt production there.

“The demand from India is high and also the local demand is high, so bean prices are up,” he said, adding that India’s bean production has remained low.

Why CSR is the right tool to break into Myanmar markets

As companies move to enter Myanmar following its emergence from decades of international isolation, there is a growing consensus about the benefits of leveraging corporate social responsibility (CSR) as a component of market entry.

The thinking is that entering Myanmar with a strong CSR campaign helps companies meet key local stakeholders in the public and private sectors, build infrastructure and collect insights about the business environment and mindset of the local people. Add to this the fact that Myanmar's support needs are huge, and the concept of CSR as a market entry tool makes good sense.

New Light of Myanmar (4 Apr 2014 - Friday)

The Mirror Daily (4 Apr 2014 - Friday)

Myanma Alinn Daily (4 Apr 2014 - Friday)

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Joint venture deals no easy task in Myanmar, say experts

The process of collecting monthly accounting data, creating clear business units and traceable asset ownership are lengthy and complex – and a must for joint venture deals with international partnerships, experts said at a KPMG business forum on March 25.

The forum, titled “Creating Positive Business Partnerships”, focused on how local Myanmar companies can look at restructuring accounts, company business units and operating systems to pave the way for joint ventures with international investors.

U Win Aung, chair of the UMFCCI, said in his opening remarks that Myanmar was entering a “new era of economic development” and that the rapid progress in the country is “new Myanmar blooming into its full potential”.

MySQAR: Myanmar's First Social Network

MySQUAR’s vision is to connect all Burmese nationals with an accessible social platform. To create a space where Burmese nationals can meet, connect and share with no boundaries or limitations.

This is the vision behind the rapidly growing Burmese-language social media platformMySQUAR. Founded last year by Rita Nguyen, usage has skyrocketed in past months.

Timber trade reeks of corruption

Nearly three-quarters of Myanmar’s timber trade is illegal, according to government figures analysed by the Environmental Investigation Agency [EIA] and released in a report on March 26, only days before the country-wide ban on log exporting came into effect.

Contrary to the official government line that timber smuggling is only endemic in rebel-held zones, the EIA report said that at least 20 percent of this illegal trade is occurring in government-controlled areas.

Official export figures from the Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forestry for 2000-13 account for only 28pc of all recorded international trade in Myanmar logs – suggesting that 72pc of log shipments were illicit, the group said in its report.

IMF urges Myanmar to focus on reserve savings

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is urging the Central Bank of Myanmar to focus on increasing reserve money rather than currency exchange.

In a recent report, the IMF sees Myanmar’s balance of payments as stabilising but financial management still seems weak which could create more inflation.

External income will be increased within three to nine months with more foreign investment entering the country and this could boost the nation’s reserve money.

British Intl School set to open in Yangon

A new international school, teaching to UK standards, will open its doors to students in August, the British School Foundation (BSF) announced last week.

The British International School, located on Yangon-Insein Road near Inya Lake, will accept 100 to 150 students in its first year and is aimed primarily at the children of the large number of expatriates who have recently entered the country as it pursues its political and economic reforms.

IFC to help privatise Yangon electricity

A new power generation project will be jointly implemented by the International Finance Cooperation (IFC) and Yangon City Electricity Supply Board (YESB).

The IFC, which is the private sector branch of the World Bank, aims to help to transform YESB into a corporation and is conducting a survey on electricity consumption, power charges and supply system.

“Thanks to this project, we can distribute electricity to regions which lack power at a reasonable price, as well as lower power losses. Currently, power loss in Yangon is about 27 percent. The running of cooperation will take few years,” said Tun Gywe, deputy chief engineer of YESB.

The shipping news

In a step toward facilitating regional trade and cutting down on lengthy and expensive logistical processes, shipping firms have come up with a plan to allow goods containers crossing posts on the Thai border to continue through to their destination without having to be emptied and repacked onto domestic vessels, officials said.

“From the end of April, container goods should be able to pass through Myawaddy without being transferred to a Thai container,” said U Aung Khin Myint, chair of Myanmar International Freight Forwarders’ Association (MIFFA), adding that the plan had to go through both governments first but has been well received thus far.

4 million cubic meters of sand exported to Singapore

DAWEI - Myawaddy Trading Ltd and Kyaw Kyaw Phyo Company, together with Singapore-based firms, are exporting sand from Myanmar’s southern coastal regions.

Local representatives say more than four million cubic-meters of sand have been exported to Singapore since 2011.

Kyaw Hsan, regional minister for transport and communications, confirmed that Myawaddy Trading Limited — which is part of the military-owned Myanmar Economic Holding Ltd. — signed an agreement with a Singapore firm to export sand from Myeik and Kawthaung areas.

Making connections: Telenor goes online

On March 8, a quiet revolution happened. The Norwegian telecommunications company Telenor became the first private company in Myanmar's history to establish an international Internet link from the country.

The new Telenor connection is the first time that government-backed Myanmar Post and Telecommunications monopoly on the Internet has been broken.

When reached for comment, Telenor responded by email saying, "We can confirm that we are leasing capacity out of Myanmar to run performance tests on our network and IT systems."

Thilawa land to be sold out by May

Land plots from the Thilawa Special Economic Zone will be sold out by May, according to the Thilawa SEZ Public Company.

The company has already received 70 percent of proposals for the setting up of businesses in the SEZ which is due to open in 2015 outside of Yangon.

“Project must be submitted. We had bad experience before. Like plots were bought, kept and sold again at a higher price. Now a detailed project proposal must be submitted,” said Win Aung, chairperson of the Thilawa SEZ Public Company.

India’s TATA International making a splash

BULLISH. That is how TATA International country manager Sunil Seth describes his attitude to doing business in what can often be seen as a challenging environment.

A business optimist, Mr Seth has been with the India-based global conglomerate for 30 years.

“In India it is an inspirational company to work for,” he said from the Myanmar headquarters in Hlaing Township. “When I graduated from [mechanical] engineering I was recruited on campus.”

Foreign investment creates over 150,000 jobs

Foreign investment in Myanmar has created more than 150,000 job opportunities for citizens, according to the Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC).

The MIC grants permissions for the rental of government-owned land but also facilitates private ownership. They have also been helping lift economic restrictions like the transferring of foreign currency.

New Pepsi bottling plant opens

Pepsi-co and LOTTE-MGS Beverage Co announced last week that for the first time since 1997, Pepsi is being produced and bottled inside Myanmar. According to a joint-statement, the newly opened factory is only the first of many the soft-drink giant plans to open in the near future.

While the group’s factory is only producing bottled Pepsi at the moment, plans are in motion to produce aluminum cans in the coming months. A joint-statement released by the two companies describes the plant as “a key pillar in each company’s long-term commitment to the consumers, customers and communities of Myanmar”.

Mitsubishi Electric to Establish Yangon Branch Office in Myanmar

Mitsubishi Electric Corporation (TOKYO:6503) announced today that its Singapore-based subsidiary, Mitsubishi Electric Asia Pte Ltd, will establish a branch office in Yangon, Myanmar. The Yangon Branch Office, which will commence operations on April 25, will coordinate Mitsubishi Electric's efforts to expand business in Myanmar by conducting market research, collecting information and providing support for infrastructure projects and local distributors.

The office, headed by General Manager Kohji Maruyama, will be located at Unit No. 05-04 (Level-5), Union Business Centre, Nat Mauk Road, Bo Cho Quarter, Bahan Township, Yangon.

CSOs sound alarm over EU investment treaty

A “ONE-WAY street” is how 78 Myanmar civil society organisations have condemned the ongoing negotiations for an EU investor protection treaty that would provide scope for investor-state international arbitration.

The group of CSOs published the open letter to the European Union trade minister on March 21, alleging that the investor-state dispute settlement system being negotiated will favour the interests of investors over the interests of the nation.

“[Investor-state-disputes are] a one way system. It only gives foreign investors the options to sue at these private courts. Communities or governments cannot sue investors when their environment or human rights are violated at the same private courts,” the letter read.

Pan Pacific arrives in Myanmar capital

New Parkroyal Nay Pyi Taw opens with 90 rooms, with 90 more to follow

Pan Pacific Hotels Group has entered Myanmar’s capital for the first time, with the launch of a new Parkroyal hotel in Naypyidaw.

Set among landscaped gardens, the Parkroyal Nay Pyi Taw opens with 90 rooms, with a further 90 expected to be operational by the end of the year. Hotel facilities include a restaurant, spa, gym, swimming pool and meeting space.

Illegal trade sees billions of dollars lost

Continued poor law enforcement at the borders and an overall lack of resolve in tackling illicit industries has resulted in rampant smuggling that could account for annual losses of up to half a trillion dollars, the equivalent of 20 times Myanmar’s estimated total trade volume, officials said.

Despite recent efforts by the government to crack down on illegal trading, government officials and businesspeople claim that the country is unable to deal with chronic illicit activity at the borders as customs officials are in short supply and tend to falter to complex border practices and bribery.

Myanmar bands to make a splash

Beloved Myanmar rock bands Empire and Iron Cross will take the stage at Thingyan water festival celebrations this year in Yangon.

The water festival, known as Songkran in Thailand, is the highlight of the Myanmar New Year holiday, which runs from April 12 to 21.

Iron Cross lead singer Chit San Maung will perform at the Htoo Co-sponsored Pyay Road pavilion, as he did last year, DVB reported on Tuesday. The lead man said the band has organised guest acts to join them on stage for the special show.

PTTEP’s gas project begins to show growth

Thailand-based PTT Public Company Limited (PTTEP) last week announced that its Zawtika project in the Gulf of Martaban has started producing natural gas and feeding into the domestic supply.

According to a release, state-owned PTTEP have been delivering 50 million standard cubic feet of natural gas per day (MMSCFD) since March 14 to Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise with the intention of doubling that amount come April in order to meet Myanmar’s growing energy demand.

Myanmar Close, But Not Quite Ready, for Prime Time

Energy majors from Norway's Statoil to BG Group are among the first to get the chance to explore frontier prospects off the coast of Myanmar. Global Witness says that, while the country has made important reforms to draw in investors, the sell off will be a test of the government's resolve.

Myanmar awarded dozens of offshore blocks from an auction that began nearly a year ago. A series of political reforms that began with general elections in 2010 have brought in major international investors and the oil and gas sector now makes up about $13 billion, or around 40 percent, of its total foreign investment.

Inflation Expected to Rise as Burma’s Economy Grows

RANGOON — While observers are positive about the economic outlook as Burma enters a new fiscal year, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) both predict rising inflation, pushing the cost of living up for the country’s mostly poor population.

The ADB on Tuesday released its annual Asian Development Outlook report, estimating that Burma’s gross domestic product grew by 7.5 percent in 2013-14 and predicting higher growth of 7.8 percent both this year and next.

New Light of Myanmar (3 Apr 2014 - Thursday)

The Mirror Daily (3 Apr 2014 - Thursday)

Myanma Alinn Daily (3 Apr 2014 - Thursday)

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Myanmar, EU work to enhance economic,trade links

Myanmar and the European Union (EU) are working for reinforcement of economic links, including promoting of trade and investment.

EU Commissioner for Trade Karel De Gucht, who visited Myanmar recently for the first time, topped the discussions with President U Thein Sein on increasing Myanmar's export to the EU, promoting trade link and socio-economic development.

The two leaders also discussed signing trade agreement, offering technical assistance to Myanmar for upgrading its export according to EU standard and encouraging more EU entrepreneurs to invest in the Southeast Asian nation.

Repeated power outages hit Yangon

YANGON - The city has encountered frequent power outages just days before April 1 when the government's electricity fee raise becomes effective.

Deputy Chief Engineer Tun Kwel for Yangon City Electricity Supply Board said the outages were due to weaker points of the national power line which encountered faults due to the summer heat.

“Power plants which are built with private investments in Yangon Region are now operating to meet the electricity demand of the region which will soon receive a 24-hour electricity supply as power generators provided by Thailand are running now,” said Tun Kwel.

Telenor contracts Ericsson for Myanmar network

Swedish vendor to provide RAN equipment, managed services for new network in Myanmar.

Ericsson on Monday announced that it has brokered a five-year managed services deal with Telenor in Myanmar and will also supply the telco with some of the RAN equipment for its mobile infrastructure in the country.

Telenor is building out a 2G and 3G network in Myanmar using equipment from various suppliers. It signed a deal with Ericsson for radio access network (RAN) equipment for "a significant portion" of that network late last year, the Swedish vendor said.

Myanmar-Thai film seminar showcases production techniques

A joint Myanmar-Thai seminar on the film industry titled “A Bright Future” was held at the Chatrium Hotel in Yangon on March 29.

The seminar is part of the Thai Film Festival Yangon 2014 which is being organised by Thai company Kantana JK, in cooperation with Myanmar Media 7 from March 28 to 30.

“These kinds of seminars are good. Thai companies intend to distribute their films. Companies from Myanmar side want help from them. Now there is an understanding to distribute qualified Myanmar films through their companies,” said one attendant.

Instant e-libraries for Myanmar universities

Universities in Myanmar have been given e-libraries with hundreds of thousands of digital books and academic journals to help them catch up after decades of isolation under military rule.

The University of Yangon and University of Mandalay have switched on these instant library collections, which represent another sign of how the country - also known as Burma - is opening up to outside influences.

Students and staff can search databases and download books and articles onto computers in the library. The next aim is to give students access in their own rooms and using their own laptops.

A murky future for Myanmar’s private print media

Since the government gave the green light to 16 private daily newspapers on April 1, 2013, many are finding the harsh realities of Myanmar’s publishing market too hard to cope.

Despite initial optimism, only seven of the new papers are currently in circulation and the remaining face the possibility of suspension and shutdown.

“It is just like a boat race. Our paddle has broken now while rowing,” said Thauk Kyar, chief editor of The Golden New Land, which was among four dailies that started publishing in April last year.

Myanmar: Developing Southeast Asian Nation On A Tear

While the catchphrase for finding opportunity was once, “Go West, young man,” I suggest the new catchphrase for developing markets investors should now be, “Follow Coca-Cola.” If you’re among the intrepid investors heeding my advice, Myanmar should be on your radar screen.

Myanmar—still known as Burma by many—is developing rapidly. Its 2013 GDP growth was an impressive 6.8% and its unemployment rate, a low 5.2%.

Telenor chooses Ericsson as network supplier

Norwegian-based Telenor has chosen Ericsson as their network distribution supplier on five-year contract to provide communication services to Myanmar.

Ericsson will accordingly provide required equipment and accessories for Telenor’s mobile communication networks, as well as related management services.

The agreement was reached last year for Ericsson to provide Telenor’s Radio Access Network (RAN) for the internal network. Telenor expects to have more than 90 percent of the country population covered by their network.

Myanmar Suspends Timber Exports

HANOI, April 1 (Bernama) -- The Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forestry said Myanmar will suspend timber exports beginning April 1 to ensure sustainable utilisation of forest reserves and enhance environmental protection and biodiversity.

The country only exports finished or semi-finished wood products in order to develop manufacturing technology and create business opportunities for locals, , Vietnam News Agency (VNA) quoted the ministry as saying.

Record number of round-the-world cruises visit Myanmar

Eleven round-the-world cruise ships visited Myanmar during the first three months of 2014, more than the total of all last year, according to the Myanmar Ports Authority.

Eight cruises with over 4,000 passengers visited the country in 2013, the highest number in ten years. Another 19 cruise ships plan to visit Myanmar this year.

“Starting in February, 2014, there were six cruises and in March, five. The number of cruises is more than 2013 which is the recorded year of most cruise-entrance,” said an official from Myanmar Port Authority.

Indian company to conduct mining work in west Myanmar state

YANGON, April 1 (Xinhua) -- An Indian company is offering to conduct mining work in two townships of Falam and Tunzang in Myanmar's Chin State, official media reported Tuesday.

The Karam Chang Thapar (KCT) company is likely to carry out such mineral exploration work as on gold, chromites, nickel and limestone, said the New Light of Myanmar.

There are nine townships in Chin except one that can produce chromite, nickel, iron, copper, aluminum, limestone, coal, oil and marble.

New Light of Myanmar (2 Apr 2014 - Wednesday)

The Mirror Daily (2 Apr 2014 - Wednesday)

Myanma Alinn Daily (2 Apr 2014 - Wednesday)

Rail ministry to start e-tickets on circular train

YANGON - The Ministry of Rail Transportation has announced a tender to implement an electronic ticket system aimed to facilitate commuters travelling on Yangon’s circular railway on March 29.

The electronic circular train permit can be used like the i-pay card that was previously used on buses, according to railway officials.

“Why we plan to use e-ticket is that there are an increasing number of circular train passengers. For that it will be more convenient. We are also upgrading our rail systems to reach international standards,” said an official from Yangon Central Railway Station.

Myanmar Tourism’s ‘Crown Jewel’ Feels Strains of Growth

With several dozen A4-sized paintings weighed down with stones on the cobbled forecourt of the ShweguGyi pagoda, artist U Aung Aung offers visitors to the shrine an affordable souvenir of their visit—a commissioned painting of the temple for a fee of 10,000 kyat or less.

He and brother U SoeLwin run an impromptu gallery and art shop outside one of the bigger temples making up Bagan’s panoply of around 2,500 mostly red- and brown-bricked pagodas—a renowned tourist draw pulling in around 200,000 visitors in 2013, up from 160,000 the year before.

Companies show strong interest in Yangon's waste service

Local and foreign companies expressed a strong interest in residential waste management service for Yangon City, according to Yangon City Development Committee.

Khin Win, a senior official from YCDC said the city's waste collection and removal service currently under the control of the committee has been put out to tender from local and foreign companies for privatisation as it's making loss.

He said a number of companies have showed their interests to operate in the services though the exact number of companies preparing for the tender cannot be revealed yet.

‘Lost World’ of Mergui Archipelago endangered by ‘Next Phuket’ ambitions

Where the Indian Ocean rolls toward Myanmar’s southwestern coast, a lacework of 800 islands rises, fringed with shimmering beaches of no footprints.

Here hornbills break a primaeval silence as they flutter through soaring jungle canopy. Pythons slumber on the gnarled roots of eerie mangrove forests. Only rarely will you spot the people who live here: the Moken, shy, peaceful nomads of the sea.

The Mergui archipelago has been called the “Lost World”, but outsiders have found it — first fishermen, poachers and loggers, and now developers and high-end tourists. The people losing this world are the Moken, who have lived off the land and the sea for centuries.

Exporters rush to ship timber as deadline looms

The state-owned Myanmar Timber Enterprise has announced a March 31 deadline for the export of all raw timber being shipped from various ports and jetties around Yangon.

Export companies rushed to load heavy logs onto waiting ships and barges from various jetties on the Yangon river after the government has banned the export of raw timber as of April 2014.

“There are six jetties in two ports on Thilawa side while there are 20 in Yangon ports. Out of a total of 26 jetties, the ships landed at 16 jetties are loading the export wood,” an official from Myanmar Port Authority said.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Myanmar Imposes Export Ban To Stop Its Timber From Foreign Exploitation, Goal Is To Establish Domestic Wood-Processing Industry

Myanmar is a classic case of a country rich in natural resources but poor in income. Timber, along with oil and gems, sit at the center of this all-too-common syndrome: Some of the highest-quality wood is sold at ultra-low prices that benefit importing nations like China and Thailand, not Myanmar.

But on Tuesday Myanmar's government is putting an end to its timber exports in the first step of a project to establish a domestic wood-processing industry that will dramatically boost revenue from sales of finished wood products, hike tax receipts and benefit Burmese people.

Top oil firms selected for 20 offshore blocks

The Ministry of Energy announced a final list of top oil companies selected for exploring oil and gas at Myanmar's 20 offshore blocks on Wednesday (March 26).

Global oil companies such as Shell, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Total E&P, BG, Woodside Energy and Oil India are among the selected firms.

For those 20 offshore blocks, of which 10 are in deep-sea waters, the government invited tenders last year. The short list of initially selected companies was last July.

Ericsson named a network supplier and managed services provider for Telenor in Myanmar

STOCKHOLM, Sweden, Mar 31, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE via COMTEX) -- -- Multi-vendor implementation and managed services to support Telenor's nationwide network rollout

-- Frame agreement for Ericsson to supply equipment for Telenor's mobile network

-- Ericsson to deploy a combination of 2G and 3G equipment, future proof for upgrade requirements

-- Telenor's network will provide coverage to 90 percent of Myanmar's population in five years

PTTEP Zawtika gas project to increase production

The Zawtika Gas Project will increase production to 100 million cubic feet per day from the current 50 million starting from April 1.

The source came from Thailand’s PTT Exploration and Production (PTTEP) which is currently operating the Zawtika Gas Project in joint venture with the government.

“Zawtika gas project is the largest offshore block among the foreign projects of the PTTEP. The gas produced from the project will be exported to the Thailand and will be used for local consumption,” said Tevin Vongvanich, President and CEO of PTTEP.

Seeking tech fixes for aid projects, Myanmar hold first hackathon

Low phone penetration and spotty Internet access have held back Myanmar, previously called Burma, but foreign investment and aid could unlock its fledgling tech sector.

It's a Saturday afternoon and Ye Lin Aung has been holed up in an office all night. He and a group of friends have been working through the night on a mobile app that would help farmers to protect their crops.

They are competing in Myanmar's first-ever hackathon, a 48-hour contest to create tech-based solutions for some of the country's pressing development challenges.

Myanmar to launch CHDB branch offices in major cities

NAY PYI TAW—Myanmar will launch 12 Construction and Housing Development (CHD) Bank branches in major cities during the coming fiscal year (2014-2015), officials said on Wednesday (March 26) at the opening ceremony for the CHD Bank’s branch office in the nation’s capital.

The CHD bank will take out long-term personal loans for buying houses, condos and apartments. The bank said that loans are also available for local construction firms and land owners who do not have enough funds to build their own houses.

Myanmar: Temples for the tempting

I am leaving behind the tropical steam and manageable mayhem of Myanmar's former capital Yangon, a city of five million people and zero motorbikes thanks to a Government ban in 2003.

Bikes are allowed at the next stop on my tour, but horse and cart are just as likely.

Bagan is a 42sq km plain dotted with more than 2000 millenia-old temples, ringed by mountains and adjacent to the mighty Irrawaddy River. In a poor country that is rapidly opening up to tourism, Bagan is enthusiastically being billed as Myanmar's answer to the Angkor temples of Cambodia.

Ministry announces offshore oil and gas tenders

The Ministry of Energy announced sixty-one winning bidders for 30 offshore oil and gas exploration blocks, according to the latest Myanmar offshore blocks bidding round held on March 26.

“The tender for 30 oil and gas blocks and 19 deepwater and 11 shallow water exploration blocks is aimed at enabling local companies to get the investment opportunities via a joint venture system,” said Pe Zin Tun, director-general of the Ministry of Energy.

Ooredoo Myanmar: On the challenges of 3G network rollout

Ooredoo Myanmar was named the winner of one of two telecommunications licences for Myanmar in June 2013. In October of the same year, Ross Cormack was appointed as CEO. Keeping up with Ooredoo’s latest developments, Telecom Review Asia Pacific spoke to Cormack about his appointment as well as his company’s plan to rollout 3G services in both urban and rural areas.

UAB plans to cooperate with US Banks

United America Bank is planning to join the Myanmar banking system with banks in the United States, according to UAB’s chief operating officer.

“Currently we are working together with a total of 65 banks from 22 countries,” said Thant Zin, the chief operating officer.

Why don't Myanmar log trade figures add up? Corruption, says NGO

BANGKOK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Global imports of timber from Myanmar between 2000 and 2013 were three and a half times as large as the quantity it officially exported, proof of serious ‘criminality and corruption’ in the country’s timber sector, according to a UK-based watchdog that analysed the numbers.

Official figures published earlier this month showed that Myanmar exported 6.5 million cubic metres of timber from its forests between 2000 and 2013.

In the same period, countries around the world imported 22.8 million cubic metres of logs from Myanmar.

Ministry announces tenders for fishing plots

A total of more than 900 fishing plots and 150 ponds in Yangon Region will be put out to tender in April, according to the Ministry of Livestock, Fisheries and Rural Development.

The bid for fishing plots of land in Kungyangon Township will announced and chosen starting from April 9, according to Thant Zin from the Fisheries Department.

“Fishing plots of land and ponds in the entire Yangon Region will be bid for by privates. The winner will be given a year permit. Regarding the upgrading of the ponds, we are collaborating for it with local fish-pond firms,” said Thant Zin, from the Fisheries Department.

Chevron Acquires Shallow Water Acreage Offshore Myanmar

SAN RAMON, Calif., Mar 27, 2014 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Chevron Corporation CVX +0.35%today announced its Myanmar subsidiary, Unocal Myanmar Offshore Co., Ltd., has been granted exploration rights in a block located offshore Myanmar, in the Rakhine basin.

Block A5, which spans more than 2.6 million acres (10,600 sq. km), is located approximately 125 miles (200 km) northwest of Yangon. Unocal Myanmar Offshore Co., Ltd. will be the operator of the block with a 99 percent interest. Royal Marine Engineering (RME), a Myanmar-based company, will hold the remaining interest in the block.

Thai-Run Gas Field to Help Meet Burma’s Power Needs

RANGOON — A portion of gas from an offshore field that was recently brought online by Thailand’s state-run energy firm PTT Exploration and Production will go toward use in Rangoon and Mon State, Tin Nilar Soe, a PTTEP communications officer, told The Irrawaddy on Friday.

The Zawtika gas field in the Gulf of Martaban began producing earlier this month, and its production is distributed for delivery after first passing through a receiving station run by Burma’s state-run Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE) in Kanbauk, Tenasserim Division. From there, some of the gas will be used to fuel a power plant in neighboring Mon State, while other product will be piped onward to Rangoon, where it will also be used for power generation in the commercial capital.

World Bank group member to help boost tourism in Myanmar

YANGON, March 28 (Xinhua) -- International Financial Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, will lend 80 million U.S.dollars to subsidiaries of Shangri-La Asia Limited to improve travel infrastructure and boost tourism sector of Myanmar.

IFC's investment will be used to complete the renovation on the Traders Hotel here, owned by Shangri-La, and also increase its capacity from 270 to 485 rooms, a press release of IFC said on Friday.

The investment will also be used to complete construction of the Shangri-La Residences Yangon, a 240-apartment building.

SEC needs to be set up asap—Japan Exchange Group

Myanmar’s Securities Exchange Commission should be formed as soon as possible to prevent fraud or inappropriate selling of shares, the Japan Exchange Group (JEG) has urged the authorities.

“The Myanmar government should form the SEC as soon as possible to promote the quality of the Security Exchange Law,” a spokesperson from JEG said.

Last July, the law came into force. It says that the SEC must be formed in order to set rules and regulations. In addition, public companies must have the SEC’s approval to sell shares under the law’s requirements and also have to show their financial statements.

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