Myanmar Monitor

Bank workers in Myanmar

Photo Credit: The Irrawaddy

Economy, Investment and Trade

Visa on arrival continues in Myanmar
(15 August 2017) Myanmar’s Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population has agreed to continue issuing visas on arrival (VOA) to foreign visitors after negotiations with the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism. According to the Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population, 101 countries are allowed to obtain E-visas and 51 countries can apply for VOA. Myanmar has plans to further expand the VOA to other countries to increase the number of tourists visiting the country and Director General of Ministry of Hotels and Tourism U Tint Thwin said the immigration department will weigh the advantages and disadvantages of extending the VOA to other countries.
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Tariff and policies preventing reliable provision of electricity
(15 August 2017) The Myanmar government is facing major challenges in keeping up with the demand for power including the heavy electricity subsidy provided for the citizens which incurs government losses of approximately US$300 million annually. Another obstacle is the lack of clear and transparent policies which are delaying new power plant projects. At the 2017 Myanmar Green Energy Summit in Yangon, Secretary of the Yangon Region Electricity Development Management Committee Aye Kyaw Kyaw said that the country needs billions in investments in order to address the demand for electricity.
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New minister says Myanmar needs predictable policies
(13 August 2017) Myanmar’s new Deputy Minister for National Planning and Finance Set Aung has urged the government to establish predictable, stable, consistent and transparent policies. Economic advisor to former President Thein Sein, Set Aung suggested a trial-and-error approach where the government should implement a reform policy and obtain feedback from the market and formulate economic policies accordingly. He then proposed stronger corporate governance rules on family-controlled conglomerates to promote transparency, competition and meritocracy. Overall, Set Aung is optimistic about Myanmar’s opportunities citing growth which stood at 7.6%, the highest among its ASEAN peers.
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MIC approves another offshore oil and gas supply base
(14 August 2015) The Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC) approved the construction of an offshore supply base on Made Island in Rakhine State after gas was discovered in the southern part of the state. Other offshore projects also received approval in the areas of the Ayeyarwaddy Region and Mon State. According to the ASEAN +3 Macroeconomics Research Office, the oil and gas sector contributes up to 23.6% of Myanmar’s total national revenue.
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Myanmar’s dilemma over its energy mix
(12 August 2017) The National League for Democracy led by Aung San Suu Kyi is facing a dilemma over Myanmar’s energy mix as it looks for the right balance between promoting growth and protecting the environment. To cater to the demand of an increasing population and potential investors, the government was considering a combination of power sources. However, with protests against dams for hydropower the government seems resigned to a greater reliance on fossil fuels, specifically clean coal technology, to ensure growing demand is met.
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Foreign & Internal Affairs

20 political parties urge Myanmar government to respond to Rakhine issue
(15 August 2017) Twenty political parties signed an open letter and agreement calling for the Myanmar government to use the nation’s counter terrorism law enacted in 2014 to stop the violence towards the Rohingya in Rakhine State. According to the spokesperson of the National Democratic Force Party U Nay Min Zaw, the government’s response towards the national security alert was slow and unsatisfactory. The letter and agreement contain eleven recommendations on how to to solve the issues in Rakhine State including raising people’s awareness about the security problems in the area and addressing the issue of terrorists.
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