Myanmar Monitor

World Bank

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Economy, Investment and Trade

Business and investment prospects to improve
(13 September 2017) According to U Maung Maung Win, Myanmar’s Deputy Minister of Planning and Finance, inflation pressures are expected to ease and private and public investments in infrastructure services and non-commodity sectors such as light manufacturing and hospitality are forecast to grow. The ministry has set an economic growth rate target of 7 percent for the current fiscal year, and is targeting a total foreign direct investment (FDI) of US$11 billion per year within the next 13 years. Legislations such as the Myanmar Companies Act and the Foreign Direct Investment Promotion Plan (FDIPP) will create a more favourable business environment for foreign investors.
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Banks seek for regulatory roadmap to provide clarity
(13 September 2017) Local banks in Myanmar are calling for a regulatory roadmap to provide better clarification on the progress and timing of upcoming regulations. Azeem Azimuddin, CFO of Ayeyarwady Bank commented that while regulations are necessary, their timing is crucial. In the past regulations were implemented at the wrong time and billions of kyat were pulled out of circulation at a time when businesses needed the funds to expand to meet the growing demands. Hal Bosher, CEO of Yoma Bank, says that Myanmar needs more financial inclusion, that is providing more access to funds for people to borrow.
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24 state-owned factories under consideration for privatisation or termination
(6 September 2017) Myanmar’s Lower House Investment and Industrial Development Committee are assessing the viability of 24 loss-making state-owned factories. Committee member U Aung Kyaw Kyaw Oo said that the state is working to attract interested parties to work towards privatisation or joint ventures, and terminate the factories deemed necessary. Privatisation and closure of state-owned factories will require the approval of the government’s economic committee led by State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.
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Central Bank issues OK Dollar license, raises questions on standards
(5 September 2017) The Central Bank of Myanmar has issued a Mobile Financial Services (MFS) licence to OK Dollar. OK Dollar, launched in 2016, is held by Internet Wallet Limited, and is the third non-bank financial institution licensed by the Central Bank, according to deputy director general in the Central Bank’s Financial Institutions Regulation and Anti-Money Laundering Department, Daw May Toe Win. The license raised some controversy as OK Dollar’s terms and conditions of service did not meet the standards set by the MFS regulation.

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Foreign & Internal Affairs

ARSA declares temporary ceasefire
(10 September 2017) The Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) declared a month-long unilateral ceasefire, starting on 10 September, to enable aid groups to help ease a humanitarian crisis in northwest Myanmar. The military’s counter-attack on ARSA in the northwestern Rakhine state has displaced 30,000 non-Muslim civilians, while a further 300,000 self-identified Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh. The United Nations has had to suspend activities in the region following government accusations that its agency had supported the insurgents, but the ceasefire may allow humanitarian aid to reach out to the displaced persons, some who have been left without food since mid-July.
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Myanmar government to fence remaining border with Bangladesh
(8 September 2017) Myanmar is looking to fence the remaining 40 miles of the 170-mile border with Bangladesh, according to U Zaw Htay, spokesperson of the President’s Office. There is currently no budget allocated for the fencing, but a high-level meeting among members of the National Defense and Security Council was held to discuss a speedy budget allowance for the process, the urgent repair and construction of fences along the Myanmar-Bangladesh border, and increasing security troops in areas where the existing border fence has been compromised.
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