Friday, 30 May 2014

Japan aid widens Myanmar factories vs farms divide

THILAWA, MYANMAR — Tin Hsan and her husband lived modestly in the outskirts of Myanmar's commercial capital Yangon, growing rice and betel leaves on their 22 acres and peddling vegetables, but they got by, until they were forced to move to make way for Thilawa, a showcase industrial zone being built with Japanese aid.

The expansive factory park is part of plans to develop the Yangon region and its crumbling, pre-World War II infrastructure as Myanmar rushes to shift from subsistence farming to export manufacturing following sweeping political and economic reforms that ended outright rule by the military.

Treasures of Upper Myanmar

In northern Mandalay, just where the city becomes countryside, you’ll find Rupar Mandalar Resort, a grand compound constructed of teak wood and planted with flowers, shrubs and trees cared for by a team of gardeners.

There’s even a lizard that lives in the flowers by the entrance to the spa.

It wasn’t always this way. When Daw Win Win Tin, the hotel’s front office manager, started her career back in 1981, her salary was only K8 per day at the government-owned Mandalay Hotel and the service there, as at most other local hotels, was indifferent – even rude by today’s standards.

In the 33 years between those days and now, Daw Win Win Tin has helped transform Mandalay’s hospitality industry, driven to meet the demands of a steadily increasing stream of international visitors.

Myanmar approves Thanlwin river Hydropower Project

The Myanmar Minister of Electric Power has granted approval to local company Asia World and China's Hanergy Group Holding Ltd. to develop a 1,400 MW hydropower plant along the Thanlwin River.

The Upper Thanlwin (also seen as "Kunlong") hydroelectric project would be a joint venture allowing the companies to operate the plant for up to 40 years under a build-operate-transfer plan, with all but about 10% of its output being sold to China.

Living well in Myanmar: eat local, eat right

In this column I’ve frequently written on the importance of diet and exercise in a long and healthy life. To prevent disease and disability, a primary care doctor has no therapy as potent as a healthy lifestyle. What you eat and how much you move your body impacts all aspects of your health, from cardiovascular function to cancer to psychological sharpness.

The five fundamental aspects of a healthy lifestyle are: 1) eating vegetables, beans, nuts, fish and olive oil, 2) not smoking, 3) exercising 90 minutes per week, 4) not becoming overweight and 5) drinking a glass of alcohol every day.

In Yangon we might add carrying a flashlight at night so you don’t fall through a hole in the sidewalk.

Japan is looking at fixing Myanmar railways from 2016

YANGON - Standing proudly in the city centre of Yangon, the magnificent art deco building of Yangon Central rail station seems to defy time. The building looks well maintained despite receiving flows of commuter and intra-regional travellers. While many of Myanmar’s historical rail stations were recently renovated with a fresh coat of painting, the country’s railways stand in reality in a sorrow state. The dilapidated rail system has barely seen a single kyat of investment since WWII, after the British left the country.

Trade deficit mounts to US$633 mln this fiscal year

Although Myanmar trade reached nearly US$2 billion within one month from the beginning of the current fiscal year, the trade deficit has already topped US$633 million.

The statistics of National Planning and Economic Department Ministry says over US$542 million came from exports but more than US$1.1 billion has been spent on imports, resulting in the current shortfall.

Myanmar has had a trade deficit since the 2012-13 fiscal year even though it has increased foreign trade and opened its economy to foreign investment and industry.

MPDD Seminar on “Myanmar: Economic Policy for Systemic Transition”

The seminar will place the Framework for Economic and Social Reforms (FESR), which was recently adopted by the Government of Myanmar as a single development framework for the country, within the wider context of systemic shift that is taking place in Myanmar. The seminar will attempt to explore some of the opportunities as well as the difficulties faced by policymakers in Myanmar as they navigate the unfamiliar and somewhat unpredictable terrain of a systemic transition. The hallmark of such an endeavour is to focus on the key characteristics of country specific transition, to stand apart from traditional and rather narrow approaches to macroeconomic policy on the one hand and to social and institutional development on the other.

Citizen investment increases by 60%

Investment by Myanmar businesses has increased by 60 percent to almost Ks 4.5 trillion (US$ 4.5 billion) in the 2013-14 fiscal year, according to the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration.

The total local investment was recorded at Ks 4.5 trillion at the end of March, an increase from Ks 2.8 trillion (US$ 2.8 billion) last year.

Manufacturing represents the largest portion of local investment, followed by the construction sector, hotels and tourism.

What I learned setting up a startup incubator in Myanmar – and what you need to know about the country itself

Phil is the CEO of Pollenizer, a startup factory in Asia-Pacific that also works to design incubators and entrepreneurial ecosystems for big companies. Ideabox, Myanmar’s Ooredoo-powered incubator, opened its doors to applicants on May 12.

My first encounter with Myanmar happened around a board table at Indosat HQ in Jakarta, Indonesia. If I am honest, I probably couldn’t have told you where Myanmar was on a map when that meeting began. As I watched the briefing slides flip through, I wondered if it was possible to do what we were about to attempt. Fewer than one percent of the population on the internet; fewer than five percent with a mobile phone; a few computer associations – that was about it for the newly-opened country’s tech scene. 

Myanmar Business Forum to discuss key sectors

Infrastructure development is one of several key sectors to be discussed at the upcoming Myanmar Business Forum (MBF) in July this year, according to a press release.

The forum will also focus on other sectors such as agriculture, fishery, forestry and breeding, natural resources, banking and finance, hotels and tourism, manufacturing, trade and investment, servicing and infrastructure development.

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) will provide technical assistance for the MBF through the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI).

Duo targets Myanmar solar

Laos-based rural renewables specialist Sunlabob has finalised a partnership agreement with energy company Relitec for solar PV projects in Myanmar.

Relitec, which is based in Myanmar’s former capital Yangon, has already tackled on and off-grid solar schemes in the country and will bring valuable local knowledge to the table.

“This partnership is an important step for both Sunlabob and Relitec to provide high-quality renewable energy solutions to Myanmar, a country greatly in need of reliable, affordable energy,” said Sunlabob chief executive Andy Schroeter.

Myanmar exports peak US$ 490 million in two months

Myanmar has earned US$ 490 million from the export of industrial products, including natural gas, in the last two months according to the Ministry of Commerce.

Myanmar exports agricultural products, fish and seafood products, oil and natural gas, animal products and minerals. In 2013-2014 fiscal year, over US$3 billion was earned from natural gas exports alone, which remains the country’s highest earning export.

Ecotourism pricy in Myanmar

YANGON, 26 May 2014: Tourism experts say due to poor infrastructure and a shortage of suitable transport, ecotourism tours in Myanmar are more expensive than similar tours sold in neighbouring countries or to Myanmar’s beach resorts.

Eco-tourism trips to Phoe Kyar Elephant Camp, Natmataung, and the Myeik Archipelago are considerably more expensive than holidays at Ngwe Saung Beach and Chaungtha Beach booked at three to four-star resorts.

The main problem, according to experts is the lack of quality transport. There is a shortage of economical tour buses forcing visitors to hire cars and drivers.

Gov’t invites tenders to build flyover and bridge

The Yangon regional government has invited tenders to construct the Myaynigone flyover and Ngamoeyeik Bridge connecting Dawbon and Thingangyun townships, according to a government announcement.

Interested companies have to pay a deposit fee of Ks 1 billion (over US$1 million) for each tender. The bridges will be prioritised projects this financial year.

The Myaynigone flyover will be 2,132 feet in length and 47 feet in width. Ngamoeyeik has 984 feet in length and 40 feet in width. The road has to be 28 feet in width and each pavement has six feet in width.

Myanmar project pushed

MANILA WATER Company, Inc. expects to complete the feasibility study for its non-revenue water project in Myanmar within the year, the Ayala-led utility’s top official said last week.

The development falls under the memorandum of agreement signed by the joint venture of Manila Water and Mitsubishi Corp. with the Yangon City Development Committee last March.

“The first phase is really undertaking a feasibility study. We’ve already started and we’re on track for the first phase,” Manila Water President and Chief Executive Officer Gerardo C. Ablaza, Jr. said in an interview at the sidelines of the World Economic Forum on East Asia in Makati City. “It’s a six-month study. We have finished about two months so I think we’ll be doing four months more.”

New Light of Myanmar (30 May 2014 - Friday)

The Mirror Daily (30 May 2014 - Friday)

Myanma Alinn Daily (30 May 2014 - Friday)

New Light of Myanmar (29 May 2014 - Thursday)

The Mirror Daily (29 May 2014 - Thursday)

Myanma Alinn Daily (29 May 2014 - Thursday)

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

More foreign companies to invest in Myanmar

According to the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration (DICA), more foreign companies have been allowed to invest in Myanmar.

A meeting of the Myanmar Investment Commission has revealed that companies from China, Korea, Japan, Hong Kong and Malaysia have been permitted to operate businesses in Myanmar. 

The Japan-based Komatsu Manufacturing Co. Ltd., has a permit in manufacturing electronic generators and will establish their business in Pyigyidagun Township, Mandalay Region.
Korean and Chinese companies have been allowed to run garment factories in Intagaw Industry Zone, Bago Region. 

Myanmar taps TTM pipeline

BANGKOK, 27 May 2014: Greater Mekong Subregion countries view the annual TTM in Thailand as a vial opportunity to tap the Thailand gateway.

Myanmar’s Shooting Star Travels and Tours sales and marketing manager, Hla Nhinn Wai, told TTR Weekly by email that TTM gives them a cost-effective channel to meet buyers who are already bringing tours to Thailand and want to extend to an emerging destination like Myanmar.

“We appreciate that TTM gives us a packed appointment schedule with international buyers who are already interested in the region.”

Price of green grams still on the rise

The price of green gram, one of Myanmar’s most popular pulse, has been increasing since April due to a decrease in cultivation and less supply.

Many farmers have moved to cultivating mung beans that fetches a much higher export price due to increasing demand from China, and India’s decreasing bean production.

“Currently, bean prices fluctuate in the market. Last Friday, the price increased up to US$ 800. Yesterday, it went back to US$ 780. It mainly depends on the weather in India,” said Min Ko Oo, secretary of the Myanmar beans, pulses, and sesame merchants association.

Reforms in Myanmar: Making The Next Asian Miracle

Myanmar’s reforms are lifting the economic outlook for one of Asia’s economic laggards as indicators show prospects for an economic boom.

For decades, Myanmar was the regional basket case as irrational policies, isolationism and domestic conflict wrought havoc on the economy and society. At independence in 1948, the outlook seemed bright. The country had one of the best education systems in the region, it was integrated with world markets through the port of Rangoon, and possessed ample natural resources and a sufficiently well-functioning administrative system. All of these advantages were spoiled during decades of authoritarian rule. Resources degenerated over decades of stagnation — particularly through declining quality of education and infrastructure — leading to falling productivity.

Myanmar faces trade deficit of over US$ 800 mln

Myanmar faces a trade deficit of over US$ 800 million, with imports highly exceeding exports between April and May this year.

According to statistics from the Ministry of Commerce and Trade, foreign income from exports amounted to US$ 893 million while the country spent US$ 1.7 billion on imports.

Myanmar’s export structure relies on a few primary products such as natural gas, teak, agriculture and fishery products.

The country faced the similar situation last year in which the trade value during the period April 1 to March 31 reached nearly US$ 25 billion. Exports exceeded US$ 11 billion while imports were more than US$ 13 billion.

New Light of Myanmar (28 May 2014 - Wednesday)

The Mirror Daily (28 May 2014 - Wednesday)

Myanma Alinn Daily (28 May 2014 - Wednesday)

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Investing in Myanmar: Balancing risk and reward (Part 2)

Although quite involved and not inexpensive, the process of investment in Myanmar can be very rewarding

In Part 1 of this article, we reviewed the Myanmar investment considerations of a U.S. investor as they are impacted by U.S. legislation and practice. This article continues the analysis by examining the “on-the-ground” investment considerations in Myanmar, including its Foreign Direct Investment Law of 2012 (FDI) and Foreign Direct Investment Rules of January 2013 (FIR), banking issues, and other aspects of investment.

Investing in Myanmar: Balancing risk and reward (Part 1)

With the relaxation of legal impediments to doing business in Myanmar, the investor should consider the prevailing risks… and how to overcome them

Conventional wisdom suggests that investments in emerging markets can provide rich returns, compensating for the heightened legal, regulatory, political and cultural risk assumed. Going one step further, it is possible that investment in a true frontier market, such as Myanmar, can offer the opportunity for even greater rewards… provided that the investor understands the local landscape and learns how to minimize the related risks.

Mills construction for parboiled rice near completion

The construction of mills is 90 per cent complete for the production of nearly 300,000 tons of parboiled rice per year, said Ye Min Aung, board director of Myanmar Agribusiness Public Corporation.

“The mill construction is complete for 90 per cent and will house ten imported steam-rice machines. They have the production capacity ranging from 200,000 to 300,000 tons of parboiled rice. The production at full capacity can reach 300,000 tons. In order to ensure full capacity production, investment and markets will be arranged for operators,” Ye Min Aung said.

The mills locate in Wakema, Kyonpyaw, Pyay, Zigon and Pyapon. One mill in Mawgyun has started its operation, said Thaung Win of Myanmar Rice Millers Association.

Myanmar Is Looking To Have A Second Concert And Feature Artists Such As 2NE1 And More

Following the success of the first K-Pop concert in Myanmar, fans may get the opportunity to experience the energy of their favorite idol groups once again.

Thanks to the work of Myanmar's Pee Paw Entertainment and Korea's DM Company which brought major success for the first concert, Myanmar wants to hold another K-Pop concert in the near future and are currently in talks of coordinating one soon.

Bo Bo Entertainment is currently attempting to organize another concert event with notable K-Pop acts.

Investment proposals of 45 companies in Thilawa SEZ

A total of 45 companies from 11 countries have outlined their investment proposals for Thilawa Special Economic Zone, a major industrial complex located on the outskirts of Yangon.

“These companies already sent us letters of confirmation to invest in Thilawa SEZ. They are from various countries. One is a US company. Others are from Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Japan. The only one from the US is a beverage firm. From Europe, there is a Swedish company. Most firms are from Japan and Hong Kong. We can approve their investment plans since all are well-known companies,” said Sett Aung, deputy minister for national planning and economic development.

Millions of Myanmar students to benefit from project: World Bank

YANGON, May 23 (Xinhua) -- About 8.2 million students of Myanmar will benefit from better-financed schools and more than 100,000 poor students will receive direct financial through the Decentralizing Funding to Schools Project, a press release issued by the World Bank said Friday.

The project is the first World Bank engagement on education in Myanmar, the release said.

The project financed by a 80 million U.S.dollars credit from the International Development Association (IDA) and 20 million U.S. dollars from the Government of Australia through the Myanmar Partnership Multi-Donor Trust Fund, will improve and expand the Myanmar Government's School Grants Program and Student Stipends Program, it said.

Bagan tourism strategy draws on Japanese report

The government has drawn up a strategy on strengthening tourism in Bagan based on a Japanese report keying on boosting development in the region, according to the Ministry of Hotel and Tourism (MHT).

On the heels of the joint contract between Japan International Cooperation Agency and the Myanmar government – an agreement aimed at enhancing development in the Bagan region -- organisations from Japan began studying the area’s tourism potential in April, 2014.

The Japan government compiled a report that was meant to supply the road map that would allow the MHT to strengthen the Bagan tourism sector.

Myanmar: Investors beware

While businesses are eager for the first bite of South-east Asia’s destination du jour, barriers to entry are high.

Myanmar has become one of the region’s most coveted destinations over the past few years since international sanctions against the country were lifted in response to political reforms.

International air arrivals through Yangon International Airport reached a historic high of 550,654 in 2012, only for the figure to be topped within the first five months of last year, according to research by C9 Hotelworks, which has also seen rocketing hotel occupancy.

Budget earmarked for tax software

The government has allocated this year’s budget for developing income tax collection software, according to Min Htut, director general of Internal Revenue Department.

“Our current system is to collect tax at the office. We are trying to change this system to individualise the online filing of income tax return. Now we are developing the online system in which large taxpayers can calculate their taxable income for themselves. Later we will extend the system to cover other taxpayers,” said Min Htut.

“The 2014-15 state budget has been set aside for developing the tax collection software. And bidders will be invited for sofeware development meeting international standard. Once developed, the software would be installed. IT experts would be hired to run the operations. The size of (tax collection) workforce is slated to expandby one third.”

Myanmar’s Lagging Public Infrastructure

Commerce may be booming, but the pace of transport infrastructure upgrades is decidedly mixed.

Myanmar’s railway system is perhaps the last historical relic that anyone is lining up to save. While the moldy facades of colonial buildings are receiving makeovers with bright new coats of paint, any change that comes to this dilapidated rail system will likely be as slow as the train cars that jostle people and freight up and down its ancient rails.

In clear contrast to the gold-rush euphoria seen in other sectors, foreign investment will be unlikely to fix the railways until after 2020. With Myanmar opening up to Western investment in 2011, a widening chasm has already begun to separate the pace of growth in banking, telecommunications and construction from that of public transportation and infrastructure. It’s a clear sign of the road ahead: booming commerce juxtaposed against precarious and often risky public infrastructure.

Burma Faces Foreign Investment Competition From Cambodia, Laos

Burma, Cambodia and Laos are the potential “hidden markets” of Southeast Asia for investment opportunities, a business study said, but they could end up competing against one another.

Burma and Cambodia are both developing tourism and textile manufacturing industries which could see competition for foreign investment.

In Burma’s case, “it’s very important that the government is able to maintain its reform momentum” in order to achieve the “vast economic potential,” said the study by Business Monitor International (BMI) which identified textiles, tourism and financial services among promising areas for investors.

World Bank to provide US$100 mln for education

The World Bank Group has pledged US$ 100 million in aid to boost Myanmar's education sector.

It will help to improve and expand the Myanmar’s Government School Grants Program and Student Stipends Program, according to a press release from the World Bank on May 20.

About 8.2 million students in Myanmar will benefit from better-financed schools and more than 100,000 poor students will receive financial support to attend classes, said the release.

Ex-Norway Ambassador to Burma Becomes Telenor Executive

Katja Nordgaard, Norway’s ambassador to Burma from 2010 to 2013, has been appointed as Executive Vice President at Telenor Group, a Norwegian firm that was awarded a license to build a telecom network in Burma last year.

During her tenure as ambassador, Nordgaard oversaw the normalization of relations with Burma’s reformist government and helped secure deals between the government and Norwegian firms, including for the company that that she will now be joining.

Telenor said in a press release Friday that Nordgaard, who currently holds the position of Norwegian Ambassador to Thailand and Cambodia, will join the multinational company in August this year as head of the firm’s Corporate Affairs unit. Here she will “maximize the existing capabilities of these essential areas, and to further strengthen our communication and interaction with key stakeholders, including governments and the public.”

Gov’t to build low-cost housing in rural areas

The government is planning to build more than 1400 low-cost housing, spending more than Ks 4.4 billion (nearly US$ 4.4 million), for poor rural families this year.

A report by the Ministry of Livestock, Breeding and Rural Development says that low-cost housing will be built in 14 states and regions, including around the capital Nay Pyi Taw, and villages in six self administered zones.

Tourism boom boosts Yangon hotels

The hotel market in Yangon is set to continue its record growth in 2014, following a 46% year-on-year rise in international visitor arrivals in 2013, according to the latest report from international consulting firm JLL.

In its report, the company sees huge opportunities for investors in the market as occupancy rates for upscale and luxury segments increased from 45.8% in 2009 to a record 80% in 2013.

The strong demand for international standard accommodation, which is predominantly driven by visitors from Thailand, Japan, China and Korea, is currently outpacing supply with less than a third of Yangon’s 9163 rooms considered to meet international standards.

Gov’t sells Ks 2.1 trillion in treasury notes

The government has sold more than Ks 2.1 trillion worth treasury notes as of February this year, according to the Ministry of National Planning and Economic Development.

The Central Bank of Myanmar (CBM) sold Ks 559 billion worth of three-year treasury notes and Ks 1.6 trillion worth of five-year treasury notes between April 2013 to Feb 2014.

Of the three-year notes, Ks 455 billion was purchased by the private sector and Ks 104 billion was purchased by public sector.

Myanmar Hotel market set for another record year in 2014

Latest report from JLL show huge opportunity for Hotel investors as tourism continues to boom

SINGAPORE -- The hotel market in Yangon is set to continue its record growth in 2014, following a 46 percent y-o-y increase in international visitor arrivals in 2013, according to the latest report from JLL. The Yangon Hotel Market Update. highlights the huge opportunity present to investors and operators looking at the market as occupancy for the upscale and luxury segments increased from 45.8 percent in 2009 to a record 80 percent in 2013.

Myanmar-China border trade tops US$268 million

Myanmar-China border trade has reached US$268 million between April 1 and May 15, since the start of the current fiscal year.

The Muse border point is the main transaction hub earning US$231 million, followed by Chinshwehal which earned US$24 million, Kanpitetee US$7 million, and Lweljel US$5 million, according to the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs.

Presently, there are 14 border camps running trade with China, Thailand, India and Bangladesh.

Myanmar dream

AFTER the second world war, many Asian countries had to undergo a series of nation-building exercises. Almost all of them were torn apart by war: buildings destroyed and lives extinguished. It took strength, courage and creativity to restore these nations to their former glory and, most importantly, rebuild them better than they were before. Citizens came together for a common cause, to once again have a place to call home.

After years of isolation, Myanmar has re-engaged with the international community. A new civilian government came to power and quickly rolled out a series of reforms. International communities have taken an active role in rebuilding Myanmar. I have also seen armies of expats returning to Myanmar, eager to restore their country to greatness.

US$ 19 million to be spent on rural development

Nearly US$ 19 million USD is planned to be spent on rural development in six self-administered zones in the current fiscal year, according to Ministry of Livestock, Fisheries and Rural Development.

“We will transfer the planned budget for rural development in those regions. After that, under their instruction, tenders will be invited and continue. Staffs for rural development are there in accordance with the townships. They check and report whether there is progress in work,” said Assistant Director Hla Myo Aung from the Department of Rural Development.

New Light of Myanmar (27 May 2014 - Tuesday)

The Mirror Daily (27 May 2014 - Tuesday)

Myanma Alinn Daily (27 May 2014 - Tuesday)

New Light of Myanmar (26 May 2014 - Monday)

The Mirror Daily (26 May 2014 - Monday)

Myanma Alinn Daily (26 May 2014 - Monday)

New Light of Myanmar (25 May 2014 - Sunday)

The Mirror Daily (25 May 2014 - Sunday)

Myanma Alinn Daily (25 May 2014 - Sunday)

Manulife returns to Myanmar after 70-year hiatus

TORONTO — Manulife Financial Corp., Canada's largest life insurer, is entering Myanmar for the first time since the outbreak of the Second World War, as it targets the region's expanding middle class.

The company, which already operates in 11 Asian markets including Thailand and Shanghai, opened a representative office in Yangon, Myanmar's largest city. The firm plans to sell life insurance products to the country of 65 million people.

Manulife entered Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, in 1903 and left the country in 1942, a casualty of the war.

Friday, 23 May 2014

No takeover at Cooperative Bank

Cooperative Bank (CB) has quashed the rumour that its founder Khin Muang Aye has sold his stake in the bank.

The bank held a press conference on Tuesday, as some customers have withdrawn money from the bank.

“The rumour is completely nonsense. Nobody has secretly acquired our bank and we have carried out our normal operations,” said Pe Myint, the administrative director of the CB.

Some websites reported that Ai Htun, the former owner of Asia Wealth Bank and currently head of Shwe Taung Group, secretly acquired the bank from Khin Maung Aye.

Myanmar’s islands are Asia’s hottest new destination - but they’re still deserted

THE thing about Myanmar’s Myeik (Mergui) Archipelago is there are no tourists.

Written off by the British, then sealed off by Myanmar for almost half a century, the Myeik Archipelago is finally open to foreigners - but only those on selected tour groups.

Keen to escape the daily grind, I’ve joined an Intrepid Travel group on a sleek new catamaran sailing through this lost world for five days.

As the southern Myanmar city of Kawthaung slips out of view, the drone of civilisation is replaced by the sound of trade winds stirring leaves and puny waves lapping deserted white-sand beaches. Occasionally, I see signs of other people - the distant lamps of a squid fishing boat or some sea gypsies from Myanmar’s ethnic Moken group paddling wooden canoes.

Yangon airport's upgrade approved

The government has given the greenlight to upgrade Yangon International Airport, to boost its annual capacity from 2.7 million passengers to 6 million.

According to the Department for Civil Aviation, the government's economic committee chaired by President Thein Sein recently approved the upgrade of Yangon International Airport. The economic committee is chaired by President Thein Sein and comprises ministers of 15 ministries.

"We have received the economic committee’s approval for the upgrade. As we have finalised details of the upgrade with a pre-selected contractor, the upgrade will soon begin," said Tin Naing Tun, Director General of the Department for Civil Aviation.

Myanmar stock exchange plan stalls

A Japanese plan to help open a stock exchange in Myanmar in October 2015 is stalled due to difficulty recruiting suitable staff and finding companies with potential to list on the market.

Japanese securities company Daiwa Securities Co pioneered an attempt to develop a stock market in Myanmar by leading its affiliate Daiwa Institute of Research to sign a memorandum with the Myanmar government in 1993.

In three years, the institute founded a joint securities company with a Myanmar state-run bank there.

Myanmar Airways to sign agreement with Boeing

Myanmar Airways will this month finalise the contract with Boeing over the decoration of its 10 new aircraft.

The state-owned airline is working with the US aircraft maker in finalising the details of the aircraft, said a source from the company.

The source noted that the new aircraft would be decorated accordingly on Myanmar Airways’ requirements.

Myanmar Airways and GE Capital Aviation Services signed the leasing contract for the 10 new aircraft in Singapore on February 11. It was in line with the airline’s goal to become the national flag carrier, with the operations in more international routes. It is currently serving all major domestic destinations from its main base at Yangon International Airport. The leasing contract has won the government’s approval.

Commencement of Sales of Thilawa Industrial Park Development in Myanmar

Tokyo, May 19, 2014 (JCN Newswire via COMTEX) -- A consortium made up of Mitsubishi Corporation, Marubeni Corporation and Sumitomo Corporation ("the three companies") joined forces with Myanmar Thilawa SEZ Holding Public Limited on January 11, 2014 to established Myanmar Japan Thilawa Development Ltd., ("MJTD"). MJTD has been developing the 396 hectare "Class A Area" of the Thilawa Special Economic Zone in Myanmar, which is scheduled to open in the middle of 2015.

The three companies, as Japanese marketing agents of MJTD, will start the sale of leasehold rights for the Class A Area (50 years + 25 years as optional) in stages from May 19, 2014. Any of the three companies may be contacted for details on these lots, such as the available lot size, rent and other conditions.

Experts propose idle land tax to thwart speculation

The government is urged to levy taxes on idle land to curtail property speculation which has fuelled property prices in the past years.

“If tax is collected on vacant and idle land, this will encourage the development of the land (for commercial use). Then, few will keep the land idle for a long time. It will be helpful for the country’s development,” said Myint Swe, retired deputy director general of the Department of Human Settlement and Housing Development.

A retired official, who asked for anonymity, noted that rich people in Yangon tend to invest money in land without any development project in hand. So far, there has been no measure to control it.

Trade on the rise along Myanmar's busy borders

Thailand will remain the second largest trading partner of Myanmar for the foreseeable future as cheaper goods from top-ranked China continue to make inroads into Asean’s last frontier economy.

Trade between Myanmar and Thailand was worth $5.57 billion, about 22% of all international trade worth $24.86 billion, during the fiscal year that ended in March 2014, according to the Ministry of Commerce in Myanmar.

Myanmar has a huge trade surplus with Thailand because oil and gas account for a large share of its $4.2 billion in exports, while imports from Thailand into Myanmar were worth $1.36 billion.

Govt allows 707 foreign firms to operate in Myanmar

Foreign firms are flooding into Myanmar, and according to the Directorate of Investment and Companies Administration, through the end of April 2014, there are 707 foreign companies that have been allowed to operate in the country. Approximately 116 of those are being run by firms based in Singapore.

Foreign countries which have invested in Myanmar include: China, Thailand, Hong Kong, Singapore, United Kingdom, South Korea, Malaysia, Vietnam, France, Japan, India, Netherland, the United States, Indonesia, the Philippines, Australia, Russia, Austria, Panama, the United Arabs Emirates, Canada, Germany, Sweden and Denmark.

Myanmar Banker: We Can Learn a Lot From Indonesia

Jakarta. Business leaders from across Asia will be at the World Economic Forum on East Asia in Manila later this week to discuss investment opportunities in the region.

Myanmar, a nation of almost 60 million people, is welcoming foreign investment as it is trying to transform itself into an economy that can compete with the rest of Southeast Asia after decades of military rule.

Aung Ko Win, chairman of Kanbawza Bank Limited in Myanmar, responded via e-mail to questions from the Jakarta Globe about the future of Myanmar and investment opportunities in the country. He said that Myanmar can learn from Indonesia’s experience and there are many issues that need to be addressed even as Myanmar has undergone a rapid economic transformation in the past few years. Its potential lies with its young population and low labor expenses.

Four roads planned for Thilawa SEZ

Four roads connecting the Thilawa special economic zone (SEZ) are planned for construction, including the Thanlyin-Thilawa main and lower road, the Pardagyi-Thilawa road and the Thanlyin-Seikkan road.

Thaketa Bridge, located on the Pazundaung-Dawbon road on the way to Thilawa, will also be rebuilt.

Factbox: Myanmar's oil sector attracts investment

(Reuters) - The opening up of Myanmar's economy after decades of isolation has led to a jump in oil demand, attracting local and foreign investors to build oil storage tanks and a terminal to meet rising consumption.

Here are some details on the country's oil sector.

Postage stamp business to be privatised: Finance Ministry

The nation’s postage stamps, which earn Ks 5 billion (US$5 million) revenue per year and is distributed for eight years of general consumption, will be privatised soon, according to the Finance Ministry.

After receiving the official approval of the Attorney-General’s Office, the postage stamp business will be transferred to private enterprises, according to Min Htut, Director General of the Internal Revenue Department (IRD).

Ditching clunkers, car imports drive Myanmar oil demand

(Reuters) - Myanmar businessman Lay has doubled the number of cars he owns to six in just three years, as reforms in Southeast Asia's poorest country unleash a wave of consumer spending.

The opening up of the economy, with a loosening of military rule ending decades of isolation, has meant a surge in ownership of second-hand Japanese cars that are replacing rusting, reconditioned British-era vehicles and boosting demand and imports of fuel.

Oil demand may have soared by as much as a quarter in the last financial year to March, giving oil traders a new market at a time when Asia is awash with fuel supplies due to a jump in refining capacity and cooling demand in top buyers China and India.

Yangon’s property tax to be amended

The Yangon Regional Government is planning to modify its property tax according to ownership, according to official sources.

Experts say that Yangon’s skyrocketing property prices can only be controlled if the property tax can be updated and enforced so the government can receive more tax from the rich as a result.

The Internal Revenue Department will not be responsible for collecting the tax when the update is completed. The regional and state governments will be responsible for it.

UNICEF defends Myanmar office costs amid soaring prices

Yangon (AFP) - The United Nations children's agency defended its Myanmar office rental as "competitive" Wednesday, following a report that it was paying up to $90,000 a month amid surging prices in the commercial hub Yangon.

In a statement responding to the Irrawaddy news website's report that it was paying the sum to a former junta general, UNICEF said rents in Yangon were "extremely high" but did not reveal what it was paying.

"We believe that the rent we have negotiated is well under market rates. It is more than we want to pay, but a good deal nonetheless and the best we were able to find," said Myanmar representative Bertrand Bainvel in the statement.

China, Myanmar vow to further enhance practical cooperation

NAY PYI TAW, May 16 (Xinhua) -- Myanmar President U Thein Sein met with visitingsenior Chinese legislator Yan Junqi here on Friday, with both sides expressing their wishesto further enhance practical cooperation in a range of sectors.

Yan is vice-chairwomen of the Standing Committee of the Chinese National People'sCongress.

Commenting on the two countries' relations, U Thein Sein said the Myanmar-China"paukphaw" (fraternal) friendship has experienced a long history but is still full of vigor.

Despite the export permit to EU, Myanmar’s fishery outputs decline

Although Myanmar has received export permit to the European Union under the Generalized System of Preferences, it still sees low foreign earnings due to the declining supplies from the fishery industry.

The EU permit was granted a year ago but the fishery exports have not increased.

“We cannot take advantage of the chance we are given. Foreign income falls because we can’t export the goods. The main problem is the decline of fish as raw material. We cannot do anything because raw material is very limited. Foreign income is falling as we cannot get raw material in spite of GSP. It is expected to keep falling,” said Han Htun, executive vice-chairman for Myanmar Fishery Federation.

Myanmar seeks foreign partners for jet fuel distribution

(Reuters) - State-owned Myanma Petroleum Products Enterprise is inviting foreign companies to form a joint-venture to improve the distribution of jet fuel around the country, a senior Myanmar government official said on Sunday.

"We've invited letters of expression of interest from interested experienced foreign partners to jointly operate jet fuel distribution in our country," a senior Energy Ministry official told Reuters.

A notice of invitation was published in newspapers on Sunday.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Myanmar collects Ks 100 billion in property sale tax

The government has received about Ks 100 billion per year in tax revenue from real estate sales, according to Ministry of Finance and Revenue.

"The government imposes revenue and income taxes on real estate sales. Annual tax revenue from them is around Ks 100 billion," said Myo Htut, director general of Internal Revenue Department.

The union government is working together with regional and state governments to collect more real estate taxes as the revenue was still low.

Burma's investment rush is leaving the poor majority behind

Fewer than 30% of people in Burma have access to electricity, and investment is vital. But the danger is this will come at the expense of the poor

U Mya Hlaing sits on a bamboo floor in his rural home an hour down the river from Yangon, explaining how in a short time, he expects to lose it in the name of development. His fields of paddy rice, along with those of his village and neighbours, have been designated as a special economic zone. They will be bulldozed to make way for the flagship development project of the Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA) in co-operation with the Myanmar government and Japanese and Myanmar companies. Electronics and garments factories will replace his homestead.

Rents in Yuzana Garden rising due to speculators

Apartment rental fees in Yuzana Garden City are on the rise due to property speculation by agents and brokers, residents say.

Rental prices soared by half of the original price within just two or three months, because of two main factors. One is Yangon City Development Committee’s ongoing implementation of the water distribution program, and the other is widely believed to be speculators – brokers and agents looking to make quick money.

“What’s happening is that rent prices are very high in the city, and people want to move in here [Yuzana Garden City located in Dagon Seikkan Township] instead,” said a resident named Thida.

Malayan Flour Mills still keen on Myanmar

KUALA LUMPUR: Malayan Flour Mills Bhd (MFM) is still keen to go into Myanmar in a move to improve profit margins despite a year-long delay to its plans thus far, due to uncertainties in the investment scene there.

Its managing director Teh Wee Chye said the group prefers to set up shop in a processing zone which is expected to be set up soon in Myanmar, instead of going in "alone".

"Unfortunately, infrastructure (development) is very challenging in Myanmar, first you have to get the land, then you have to do infrastructure, so we're waiting for the processing zone to set up, then it would be easier, otherwise electricity cost would be very high," he told a press conference after the company's AGM here yesterday.

Thilawa SEZ to allow construction of factories this month

The Thilawa Special Economic Zone is to commence the construction of factories by this month, according to Win Aung, chairperson of Myanmar Thilawa SEZ Holdings.

"Factories construction will be allowed late this month. The aim is to prevent the resale of plots bought in the zone. We sell plots to buyers according to their proposals and plans. We prefer environmental friendly businesses," said Win Aung.

Companies, mostly from Japan, Hong Kong and the EU, have proposed to build their factories for garment and food products in the zone.

Myanmar Faces Challenges Developing its Upstream Assets

Following the award of a much anticipated tender for offshore petroleum exploration blocks in Myanmar at the end of March, successful oil and gas companies are now preparing themselves to handle challenges expected to arise from exploring in unchartered waters in the Bay of Bengal and in the Andaman Sea.

Myanmar’s Ministry of Energy awarded 20 of the 30 oil and gas blocks – comprising 19 deepwater and 11 shallow water blocks – that were available under the country’s Offshore Bidding Round - 2013 March 26.

Global interest in tapping Myanmar’s hydrocarbons resources, especially gas – which has been estimated by BP Statistics Review of the World to contain 7.8 trillion cubic feet in 2012 – had been intense.

Myanmar’s exports drop by US$170 mln

Myanmar's export value has dropped by US$ 170 million compared to the same period last year, according to the Ministry of Commerce and Trade.

The country's total exports reached just US$ 564.22 million between April 1 and May 9.

The export of industrial goods topped among various categories of other export products such as agricultural goods, marine products, animal products, timber and metals.

Industrial goods, which include natural gas and garments, represented US$ 291 million out of the total export figure of US$ 560 million.

Myanmar Gets US$2 Billion In Foreign Investment In First Four Months

YANGON, May 15 (Bernama) -- Myanmar received US$2.21 billion in foreign investment in the first four months led by the transport and communication sector, Xinhua news agency reported citing local media.

The transport and communication sector attracted US$1.34 billion in investment followed by manufacturing sector at US$426.8 million, real estate at US$267.8 million, hotel and tourism at US$56.9 million and mining US$28.69 million.

US renews limited sanctions on Burma

US President Barack Obama renewed limited investment sanctions on Burma on Thursday, signing the ongoing “National Emergency” situation on the country for at least one more year.

The move prohibits US businesses and individuals from investing in Burma or doing business with military, government officials and any others associated with repression of the democracy movement since the mid-1990s.

In a statement issued by the White House, Obama noted the significant progress the Burmese government has made in certain areas, but cited ongoing conflict and human rights abuses in ethnic minority areas, particularly Arakan State, as reasons for the renewal of sanctions, as well as the continued role of the military in Burma’s political and economic activities.

Myanmar forms tourism committee

YANGON, 15 May 2014: A national-level committee on tourism development will be set up to build competitiveness to prepare for the advent of the ASEAN Economic Community in 2015.

According to local media reports, the committee will concentrate on building a branding campaign and other marketing strategies.

The committee will have two vice-president, ministers for the home affairs, foreign affairs, cooperatives, communication and information technology, transport, environmental conservation and forestry, immigration and population, culture, finance, national planning and economic development, rail transportation and hotels and tourism, the region/state chief ministers and officials from Myanmar Tourism Federation and the Republic of the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI).

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Myanmar to adopt Mobile Banking System

Most local banks are not capable of providing mobile banking services although Myanmar Cenral Bank has authorized for such services.

“At present, there are only a few banks proposed to offer the service. Some application forms need to be reapplied in order to complete data requirements. Mobile banking is not a new banking procedure. It is just an additional service,” said an official of Myanmar Central Bank.

Myanmar needs more labour skills

Despite an influx of foreign investment and large resource base, Myanmar's exponential growth in gross domestic product (GDP) could be held back by inadequate basic infrastructure and a lack of skilled workers, says a Yangon-based business and market entry adviser.

Jean-Pierre Verbiest, an economic and finance expert at West Indochina, said Myanmar is still in the early stages of developing its independent power producer policy framework and creating energy regulators.

According to the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and Asian Development Bank, the problem could improve in two to three years, he told the CLSA Asean Forum 2014.

Bangkok Airways Increases Flights to Burmese Capital

Bangkok Airways, a Thai carrier, has temporarily increased the number of flights on its Bangkok-Naypyidaw route to meet demand ahead of the annual summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), to be held in the Burmese capital later this month.

New Light of Myanmar (14 May 2014 - Wednesday)

The Mirror Daily (14 May 2014 - Wednesday)

Myanma Alinn Daily (14 May 2014 - Wednesday)

New Light of Myanmar (13 May 2014 - Tuesday)

The Mirror Daily (13 May 2014 - Tuesday)

Myanma Alinn Daily (13 May 2014 - Tuesday)

Myanmar-China border trade amounts more than US$ 3.8 billion

Myanmar-China border trade has yielded more than US$ 3.8 billion, of which Muse border trade camp sees the majority of transactions at $3.6 billion.

The trade value is about the same as that of the previous year. Exports from last April to March total more than $2.4 billion and imports are at $1.3 billion.

Cross-border trade at Muse amounted to $3.6 billion, followed by Loigyae border camp ($75 million), Chin Shwe Haw border camp ($247 million) and Kanpiketi border camp ($29 million).

The Ministry of Economic and Commerce has legalised cross-border trade. Presently Myanmar operates trade camps with neighbouring countries in Muse, Loigyae, Chin Shwe Haw, Kanpiketi, Techilek, Myawady, Kawthaung, Myeik, Nabule, Htikhi, Mawtaung, Sittwe, Maungkaw, Tamu and Riv.

Myanmar to outsource airports

YANGON, 9 May 2014: Department of Civil Aviation says it will issue a tender in the last quarter of this year to invite local and foreign companies to invest in 39 underdeveloped domestic airports.

The Irrawaddy oneline newspaper first reported on the proposed tenders, in November, last year, saying the DCA had called on companies to register their interest and proposals to rebuild and improve 30 of Myanmar’s 69 domestic airports.

The process, which was completed last January, was not a formal bidding process, but served to inform the government agency of the interest and plans of potential airport developers.

Myanmar’s economic development hinges on equal rights: Suu Kyi

National League for Democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi calls for the compliance of equal rights as an essential condition for Myanmar’s sustainable economic development.

Suu Kyi was speaking on May 10 at a public gathering on 2008 Constitution Reform held in Maubin Township, Ayeyawady Region.
In view of the socio-economic disparity, equal rights would help to ensure the equal sharing of development progress, she said, noting certain groups seem to have more benefits from the prosperity than the others.

Malaysia-Myanmar Bilateral Trade & Investment Consistently Increasing, Says Envoy

NAY PYI TAW (Myanmar), May 9 (Bernama) -- Malaysia-Myanmar bilateral trade and investment are consistently increasing, with growing interest from the Malaysian private sector keen to come in to explore opportunities in this country.

Malaysian Ambassador to Myanmar Datuk Dr Ahmad Faisal Muhamad said currently Malaysia was the seventh largest investor in Myanmar.

"We are working to further strengthen our economic relations with the opening up of the Myanmar economy. We hope in the near future our trade and investment levels would increase," he told Bernama.

Monday, 12 May 2014

Yangon to invite bids for a new overpass soon

Yangon's authorities will soon activate the bids for construction of Myaynigone Overpass, according to Yangon Region government.

The overpass construction has been planned as a special project of the regional government to be carried out in the fiscal year 2014-15, aiming to reduce the heavy traffic congestion at the Myaynigone junction in San Chaung Township.

Currently the authorities are conducting a survey about the traffic flow at the junction as a preparation.

Wireless towers in Myanmar an investment opportunity

Tower companies are playing a key role in the rollout of foreign-built wireless networks in Myanmar.

As Norway’s Telenor and Qatar’s Ooredoo rush to roll out wireless networks in the country with the lowest mobile penetration in Asia, tower companies are a key part of the plan – and drawing investment in their own right.

Instead of building towers itself, Telenor has inked deals with Singapore-based Apollo, as well as a joint venture between India-based Quippo Telecom Infrastructure and Golden Towers, a company linked to Dubai-based private equity firm Alcazar Capital. Qatar’s Ooredoo, the other foreign operator in Myanmar, has a similar arrangement with Jamaica-based Digicel.

Foreign investment in Myanmar flows to the production with piecework system

The amount of investment from Hong Kong within three years has increased by more than US$ 589 million while the majority of funds flow to the production operated under the piecework system.

Within three years under the new government’s term from the fiscal years 2010-11, 2011-12, 2012-13, Hong Kong investment rose from more than $ 5.9 billion in the fiscal year 2010-11 to more than US$ 6.5 billion in the fiscal year 2012-13, a net rise of $589 million, according to the Directorate of Investment and Companies Administration.

The investment money flows into the majority of production firms operated on piecework system as Myanmar Investment Commission permitted these firms as per investment proposals from Hong Kong.

Semen Indonesia Enters Myanmar Market

Jakarta. Semen Indonesia, the country’s largest cement maker, has agreed to buy a minority stake in a cement company based in Myanmar this year.

The move is seen as part of the company’s efforts to expand its reach in the region ahead of the Asean Economic Community, which is scheduled to be implemented next year.

“At the moment we can only enter [Myanmar’s economy] with minority control, so we will start with a 30 percent ownership,” said Semen president director Dwi Soetjipto in Jakarta.

The deal is valued at roughly $30 million, Dwi added. He declined to name the company involved in the deal, but mentioned it has an annual production capacity of up to 1.5 million metric tons of cement.

Over 1000 hotels in Myanmar with 20 new additions

Twenty hotels have been granted investment licences in April, bringing the total number of hotels in the whole of Myanmar to over 1,000.

The Ministry of Hotels and Tourism said in March that there were total of 960 hotels in Myanmar. The number of rooms has also increased to 37,482 with the addition of 21 new hotels.

The hotels are being constructed by local businesspeople and will be built in regions with particular tourist attractions.

Mandalay Region leads with over 300 hotels and the construction of hotels is also soaring in Yangon and Shan State, according to the ministry.

Myanmar poised to have ‘60 million citizens come online almost overnight’

Rita Nguyen delivered an electrifying keynote speech on the opportunities awaiting technology companies that expand into Myanmar to close the conference session for Startup Asia Singapore Day 1. Her wide-ranging presentation delivered insights gleaned from her work as co-founder and CEO of Squar.Asia, a social media and gaming company making strong headway in Myanmar. As Nguyen explained, the fact that Myanmar has become a much-buzzed about new market for internet companies was near-unthinkable just three years ago. With laws and regulations severely restricting online autonomy, and by extension entrepreneurship, many companies assumed that the nation was off limits. That started to change after the military junta, which had been controlling the country, was dissolved in 2011. Now far less fettered, Myanmar citizens are free to explore the internet and join what Nguyen calls the “global conversation”. 

SMEs face more foreign competition for funding

Local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are facing tough times with limited access to funding and may be taken advantage of by foreign partners, said an official of the national trade chamber.

Myint Zaw, joint secretary of the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI), suggested local SMEs shun foreign partnership.

“It’s better for local SMEs to stand alone, as those from other countries are making an entry,” he said.

Zhulian Corp To Enter Myanmar Market By Q3 Of 2014

GEORGE TOWN, May 7 (Bernama) -- Zhulian Corporation Bhd, a multi-level marketing firm, will enter the Myanmar market by the third quarter of 2014 as part of the group's overseas market expansion.

Group managing director Teoh Meng Keat said Myanmar is touted as the new frontier market amongst emerging countries in terms of the consumer segment and has appointed a local master agent to oversee the business there.

He said due to local laws limiting company ownership, the group will export its products directly to the master agent, who will then sell it to locals.

Companies face hefty fines for failing to file taxes: IRD’s Aung Myo Oo

The Internal Revenue Department (IRD) on Tuesday gave a stern warning that companies in Myanmar must file their taxes by June 30, otherwise they stand to face a heavy fine that could be up to 150 times the size of their actual tax bill.

“Trying to dodge tax could be a risky task. If they don’t follow the rules and procedures, a heavy fine will be imposed,” said Aung Myo Oo, the head of the Seikkan Township IRD.

Philippines, Myanmar to hold air talks

MANILA, Philippines – Officials from the Philippines and Myanmar are set to discuss air agreements in Yangon on May 19 as part of the efforts to boost tourism, the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) said.

Philippine Airlines Inc. (PAL) and Cebu Pacific have both expressed interest in mounting direct flights to Myanmar.

Transportation Undersecretary Jose Perpetuo Lotilla stressed the importance of an air pact with Myanmar with next year’s Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) integration.

‘No encouraging development’ in fishery sector policy, says official

When compared to its neighbouring countries, the fishery breeding sector in Myanmar is largely incompetent and cannot compete in the global market, says an official with the Myanmar Fishery Products Processors and Exporters Association (MFPPEA) at a public meeting on Tuesday.

According to the latest information, during fiscal year 2013-2014, the export value in the fishery sector decreased by US$ 116 million more than that in the previous year’s period.

“When we reviewed the fishery sector during the three-year period, there is no encouraging development,” stated Htun Aye, the chairperson of MFPPEA.

Extinction stalks Myanmar's forests

BAGO, Myanmar, May 7, 2014 (AFP) - Ashen earth strewn with the limbs of once-mighty trees is all that is left of the fearsome forest in central Myanmar that Wa Tote remembers from her youth.

"We would only dare enter in a big group. The forest was deep and had many wild animals. Now we cannot even find a tree's shadow to shelter under when we are tired," the 72-year-old told AFP.

At one point tigers were so common in the area that their bones were traded cheaply. Now they have vanished into memory.

New Light of Myanmar (12 May 2014 - Monday)

The Mirror Daily (12 May 2014 - Monday)

Myanma Alinn Daily (12 May 2014 - Monday)

New Light of Myanmar (11 May 2014 - Sunday)

The Mirror Daily (11 May 2014 - Sunday)

Myanma Alinn Daily (11 May 2014 - Sunday)

New Light of Myanmar (10 May 2014 - Saturday)

The Mirror Daily (10 May 2014 - Saturday)

Myanma Alinn Daily (10 May 2014 - Saturday)

New Light of Myanmar (9 May 2014 - Friday)

The Mirror Daily (9 May 2014 - Friday)

Myanma Alinn Daily (9 May 2014 - Friday)

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Ooredoo partners with Rocket Internet for online services

The Ooredoo Company announced it will link up with Rocket Internet to operate e-commerce, online and digital services in Myanmar and Asia.

Ross Cormack, the CEO of Ooredoo Myanmar said, “E-commerce has a great potential in Myanmar along with increasing numbers of smart phone usage. People will shop commodities and services online with their smart phones. Giving services for e-commerce is enriching people’s lives technologically. We expect this joint venture with Rocket Internet would become the leader in e-commerce sector.”

More hotels arrive to Myanmar

YANGON - Some 2,000 new rooms are due to be rapidly filled by tourists this year as Myanmar expects to hit the 3-million international travellers mark. Most of the projects for 2014 are located within Greater Yangon and they include deluxe and first class properties from international chains, explained recently to media Aung Zaw Win, Director General at the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism. “Novotel Hotel will be opened in the mid year. Others such as Center Point and Shangrila will soon follow too,” Aung Zaw Win said.

Govt to launch Trade Development Council to energize exports

The government announced it will form the Myanmar Trade Development Council in 2015 in a bid to promote exports, according to a report from the International Trade Center (ITC).

At present, the German International Cooperation Agency led by the Development of Export Department under the Ministry of Commerce, is providing cash assistance for the National Level of Trade Development Strategy that is being drawn up by experts from the International Trade Center, together with local private societies. 

The five-year, long-term national strategy will involve four phases, including the Pre Engagement Phase, Inception Phase as well as Design Phase and Implementation Management Phase.

Corruption the biggest concern for Myanmar businesses - survey

(Reuters) - Corruption is the top concern for businesses in Myanmar, which is undergoing liberal reforms after the end of military rule, according to a UN-led survey released on Tuesday.

Five decades of military rule left Myanmar mired in poverty and plagued by corruption, but a quasi-civilian government that took power in 2011 has enacted sweeping political and economic reforms aimed at attracting foreign investment and cleaning up the economy.

However, the survey suggests the reforms have thus far had only a limited impact on corruption.

Timber smuggling continues despite higher fees

Transport fees for trucks smuggling Tamalan timber to China have reached Ks 10 million according to truck drivers on the Mandalay-Muse route.

“Trucks with 10 or 12 wheels attached with iron bodied container are used.

When the Chinese buyers come, they pay Ks 9 million and an oil barrel,” said one truck driver on the Mandalay-Muse road.

The smuggling only stops on days when government officials make a seizure, according to the driver who refused to be named. Drivers can earn Ks 300 million (US$ 300,000) within three months smuggling timber.

Gov’t grants housing contracts to friendly companies

The government will grant a contract to build the Pyinmapin Housing Project to First Myanmar Investment Ltd (FMI), without any tender process.

The government and FMI will own a 30/70 percent respective stake in the project, which will include 1600 flats for middle-income families and around 1100 for lower-income families.

Sources close to the project say that the FMI was to be given the project since the end of last year without announcing a tender, as per usual for government contracts. Even upper-levels of government approved it.

Myanmar Enters A Critical Transition

In the run-up to next year’s elections in Myanmar, the country finds itself at a crucial transition. While there is general consensus that the current reforms have set in motion a political liberalization process that would be nearly impossible to reverse, it must also be said that the popular narrative – much of it stemming from outsiders who have the country’s best intensions in mind – has gotten a bit ahead of the facts on the ground. The country’s political transition is very much an ongoing process, and the democratic future many foreigners expect to flourish for Myanmar in the period immediately up to and after the 2015 elections, may well come up short of expectations.

Foreign banks will bring positive impacts: CBM’s vice chair

Local banks have nothing to fear from foreign banks operating in the country, according to the chairperson for the Central Bank of Myanmar.

Sett Aung, the vice chairman for the CBM, gave assurances that foreign banks will be operating within limitations and would not jeopardize any business of the local banks.

“There is nothing to be confirmed because it is in initiated status. It is in dialogue. It couldn’t be said which banks [will be permitted to operate] or when they will be allowed to run,” Sett Aung said.

Indonesia, Myanmar discuss production forest development

Indonesian Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan met with his counterpart from Myanmar U Win Tun here on Monday to discuss Indonesia’s experience in developing production forests.

“Myanmar wants to learn about the land concession system and ways to transform forest areas into a production forest from Indonesia. During Minister U Win Tuns stay in Indonesia, I will accompany him to view the forest business that was started by state-owned forestry company PT Perhutani,” Zulkifli said after meeting with U Win Tun.

New Light of Myanmar (8 May 2014 - Thursday)

The Mirror Daily (8 May 2014 - Thursday)

Myanma Alinn Daily (8 May 2014 - Thursday)

Gov’t seeks to expand tourism in Kayah State

The government will implement a three year plan to develop tourism in Kayah State as part of its National Export Strategy starting in 2015.

A delegation led by Matthias Knappe from the International Trade Centre (ITC), and two analysts from the Centre for Promotion of Imports from Developing Countries (CBI), came to Myanmar in April to discuss tourism development.

During the visit, they met with the Deputy Minister for Hotels and Tourism to explain their plan and ongoing programmes. They also met with an official from the small and medium enterprise department to discuss increasing the production of handicrafts and artisanal work.

Allen & Overy expands into Myanmar

Allen & Overy (A&O) has become the first magic circle firm to enter into Myanmar, with the launch of an office in Yangon.

A&O’s Yangon office provides international legal services and will not practise Myanmar law. The new office is managed by Bangkok managing partner Simon Makinson and currently has two associates and two support staff.

It is understood that the firm has had lawyers based on the ground to service clients for some time following jurisdictional reform that opened up the legal market in 2012.

Projects to enhance Myanmar’s trade competence

The Ministry of Commerce has disclosed three projects being implemented with international assistance to improve on the country’s trade sector.

The ministry has been operating three trade-related projects designed for the least developing countries. The projects are namely – Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF), National Export Strategy (NES) and National Trade Facilitation Implementation Plan (NTFIP).

With the financial support of Germany Society for International Cooperation (GIZ), the NES has been jointly mapped out with the International Trade Centre (ITC).

Burma: Open for business

Since Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, invited overseas investment into the country, international brands are eager to get a foothold. Maida Pineda reports

I headed to Myanmar for the first time in June 2012. But unlike my visit to other Asian countries, this one required special preparation. Before departing for Yangon (the country’s biggest city and commercial centre), I was advised to bring pristine US dollars as there were no ATMs or foreign banks. Only flawless, unblemished, fold-free US notes were acceptable for exchanging for local currency.

Japan to assist Myanmar setting up Yangon Stock Exchange

Japanese Ministry of Finance's research team, Tokyo Stock Exchange and Myanmar's Ministry of Finance will together draft rules and regulations for Yangon Stock Exchange, said Dr Maung Maung Thein, deputy minister for finance.

He added that Japanese Ministry of Finance will also help to draw the regulations for Stock Exchange Commission (SEC).

"We have prepared step by step to establish the SEC. Its rules and regulations are laid down by the Japanese Ministry of Finance. For Yangon Stock Exchange, the research team of Japanese Ministry of Finance, Tokyo Stock Exchange and we will together draw rules and regulations," said Dr Maung Maung Thein.

Norway looks to Thai gateway to Myanmar

Norway aims to turn Thailand, its seventh-biggest trading partner in Asia, into a gateway for its businesses and investments in Myanmar, according to top Norwegian officials.

Last week, the Nordic country launched its fifth annual "Norway-Asia Business Summit" in Bangkok, which was followed by a similar event in Yangon, as both Thailand and Myanmar are key members of the Asean Economic Community (AEC), which will be fully activated in 2015.

The Bangkok event - which started last Saturday and finished on Tuesday - was attended by 150 Norwegian businesspeople and officials, with an emphasis on the big picture of Asia, challenges and a glimpse into the future, focusing on the food and energy sectors.

Housing rental for civil servants to increase nationwide

Civil servant and public housings in States and Regions administered by the Department of Human Settlement and House Development will see an increase in rental charges starting April, the Department says.

“Some housing were built in the time of Myanmar Socialist Program Party and some in the time of State Law and Order Restoration Council. The rental fee we have collected since then is too little in the present age. Civil servants’ housing and public housing are not in harmony with the city features because of poor maintenance and old age. We are obliged to get fund for maintenance. When we think about the suitable way of making budget, we turn up to plan rental raise at a suitable rate. With the vision of using the budget every year to repair and renovate the housings so that they will look good to the city features, we proposed and submitted through many desks and steps,” said deputy chief director for the Department of Human Settlement and Housing Development Khin Sein.

Foreigners firms prepare for Myanmar

Foreign lenders are expected to receive requests for proposals on new banking licences from the Central Bank of Myanmar as early as this month, the South-East Asian nation’s latest step towards a more open and competitve financial market.

New banking licenses, expected as early as this year, will allow foreign firms to expand beyond the representative offices many now operate. Myanmar has been opening up its markets to foreign companies since the US and European Union started lifting economic sanctions in the past few years.

The country granted telecom licences to Norway’s Telenor and Qatar’s Ooredoo earlier this year. Several foreign brands, such as Coca-Cola, General Electric, Unilever and Visa, have been introduced, or reintroduced, of late to consumers.

‘It Should Benefit the People of Myanmar’

After being forced off their land, displaced residents continue to request a meeting with the Japanese backers of the Thilawa Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Rangoon Division. A Japanese lawmaker, Michihiro Ishibashi, recently visited the relocation site where dozens of families are now living after being kicked out of their homes for Phase 1 of the SEZ development. The Democratic Party of Japan lawmaker is director of a committee in the Japanese legislature that discusses official development assistance to foreign countries, including Burma. He spoke with The Irrawaddy about his impressions of the Thilawa SEZ.

Myanmar, Norway initiate cooperation in environmental conservation

Myanmar and Norway have sought cooperation in environmental conservation sector as part of their bilateral cooperation, initiating a letter of intent on the move in its latest development.

The Letter of Intent between Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forestry of Myanmar and Ministry of Climate and Environment of Norway covers undertakings on preservation of biodiversity and forests in Myanmar, water resources preservation and water resources administration in Sittoung and Bago river basins, development of world-famous tourist site of Inlay Lake in Shan state and betterment of social economy of ethnic minorities residing around the lake.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

China’s New Economic Priorities Offer ‘Exit Strategy’ on Myitsone Dam

New financial constraints imposed by Beijing to deal with China’s bloated economy could lead to the controversial Myitsone hydroelectric dam project in northern Burma being quietly abandoned.

The Naypyidaw government has been under pressure from China Power Investment Corporation (CPI) to lift a suspension of construction imposed in 2011 by President Thein Sein, but new Chinese financial priorities could deal the dam a death blow, analysts suggest.

“Until recently China Development Bank and to a lesser extent China Export Import Bank were the best friends the emerging markets ever had,” said London’s Financial Times.

China remains as Myanmar’s top trading partner

China continues to rank as the top trading partner with more than US$ 7 billion worth of transactions in the previous fiscal year, according to the Ministry of Economic and Commerce.

In the fiscal year 2013-2014, the country’s international trade amounts to $ 24.86 billion, of which the biggest volume is attributed to China-Myanmar trading.

The country’s second trade partner is Thailand with the trading value of $ 5.5 billion.

Myanmar’s exports to China amount to $ 2.9 billion and its imports is more than US$ 4 billion.

Web presence a key indicator of corporate transparency: Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business

In countries where corporate governance rules are well defined, businesses are expected to adhere to a minimal standard of transparency about their activities. But in Burma, where companies are now in contact with global markets, and are attracting foreign partners after decades of mismanagement and isolation, such standards are few and far between.

In an attempt to remedy this, the Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business (MCRB) launched the Transparency in Myanmar Enterprises (Pwint Thit Sa) project last month, which rates Burma’s largest companies for their openness on efforts to promote “anti-corruption, organizational transparency, and human rights, health, safety and the environment.”

MIC approves five new businesses

Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC) has recently given the green light for five business ventures, including 2 foreign investment projects.

The authorities gave the green light at a scheduled meeting in Nay Pyi Taw on April 26.

Two foreign companies_ a clothing firm from Hong Kong and a Korean garment factory_ were allowed to start their respective operations in Mingaladon and South Dagon townships, Yangon.

Myanmar gets more support from world financial institutions

YANGON, May 1 (Xinhua) -- Myanmar has obtained a total of 55 million U.S. dollars in financial support from the World Bank (WB), Australia and the United Kingdom in April for the modernization of its public financial management system.

The 55 million dollars include a 30-million-U.S.-dollar credit from the International Development Association (IDA) approved by the WB, 8.5 million dollars from the Australian government and 16. 5 million dollars from the United Kingdom's Department for International Development (UKAID).

The project is aimed at improving the efficiency and accountability of the country's public service delivery and accounting and reporting of budget execution through more strategic planning and budgeting process and more credible budget management system.

Official seize more than 1,000 tonnes of illegal wood across Myanmar

More than a thousand tonnes of teak, hardwood and other timbers were seized during a week-long search across States and Regions of Myanmar, including Naypyitaw and the majority from Sagaing Region, according to the Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forestry (MOECAF).

Among the illegal wood products confiscated between April 29 and May 4, two pieces of ivory and 34 viss of pangolin from Sagaing Region were also discovered.

The seizure included 105 tonnes of illegal teak, 637 tonnes of hardwood and 335 tonnnes of other timber (1,078 tonnes in total), while 10 engines, eight circular saws, four motor boats, 49 vehicles and 101 culprits were arrested.

Barun Roy: Myanmar logs its progress

The dark memories of Cyclone Nargis, which devastated theIrrawaddy Delta in 2008 and killed some 138,000 people, must be still haunting Myanmar's new reformist government as it redeemed its promise to ban the export of raw timber, mainly teak, with effect from April 1, 2014. Though teak forests are in the north and the delta is in the south, supposed to be protected by mangroves, they are part of the same ecosystem. Any change anywhere is bound to affect the entire system and intensify the dangers of many more Nargis-type natural calamities. From that point of view, the enforcement of the log ban is a very wise and much-awaited decision.

MIC clears construction of two five-star hotels in Nyaungshwe

The Myanmar Investment commission has given the go-ahead to the privately-owned Myat Min Company for the construction of two five-star hotels in Nyaungshwe, Taunggyi district of southern Shan State.

The permit was granted by the MIC in a meeting held on April 26.

The construction site for the hotel encompasses an 11-acre land plot in Mongthauk village tract, Nyaungshwe Township, while an international-standard hotel is also to be built on just over nine acres of land in Thaleoo village tract, Nyaungshwe Township.

Myanmar simplifies visa rule for foreign journos

Myanmar has simplified entry visa procedures for foreign journalists seeking to cover the upcoming ASEAN Summit in the country later this month, the information ministry said Thursday.

Under the new scheme, the one-month multiple entry visa rule for foreign reporters has been simplified. Visas can be extended twice, Xinhua reported.

Journalists were advised to re-apply for a new visa after three months at the Myanmar embassies which issued their first visa.

Gas sector tops Myanmar’s export earnings with over $3B

The gas sector has topped Myanmar’s export earnings with over US$3.2B this financial year, according to the ministry of commerce.

Myanmar’s export sector is classified into six categories — farm products, marine products, industrial finished products (including exportation of natural gas), animal products, forest products and mineral products.

Export earnings of rice, broken rice, beams and pulses, corn, perennial crops, rubber, castor oil, cashew nut, mango, water melon, onion, garlic, turmeric and ginger has amounted to over $2 billion in its entirety.

Myanmar returnees bet on frontier economy’s future

YANGON, Myanmar — Former Google executive Nay Aung was philosophic as a crisis brewed at the Yangon headquarters of his Oway online travel services company.

“I’m still struggling,” the tanned, muscular 34-year-old said as he apologized for interruptions during a recent meeting in his sparsely furnished office. “What I have, 60 percent is what I want. 40 percent, I just have to cope with it. It is what it is,” he said.

Like China, which relied heavily on overseas Chinese in Hong Kong and elsewhere to finance its own industrial boom, Myanmar has high hopes its diaspora will help rebuild its economy and lift millions out of poverty.

New Light of Myanmar (7 May 2014 - Wednesday)

The Mirror Daily (7 May 2014 - Wednesday)

Myanma Alinn Daily (7 May 2014 - Wednesday)

New Light of Myanmar (6 May 2014 - Tuesday)

The Mirror Daily (6 May 2014 - Tuesday)

Myanma Alinn Daily (6 May 2014 - Tuesday)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...