Myanmar Monitor

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Photo Credit: The Irrawaddy

Economy, Investment and Trade

Myanmar Government to discuss minimum wage in late December
(6 December 2017) The Myanmar government will meet representatives of employers and employees in hopes of bridging the wide gap between the two groups’ competing proposals for a new minimum wage. According to a survey by the Confederation of Trade Unions of Myanmar (CTUM), the average daily expenses of an individual is around US$4.88. Employees have proposed a new rate of approximate US$4.11 (5,600 Kyat) for eight hours of work per day, while employers proposed approximately US$2.96 (4000 Kyat). The Minimum Wage Law was enacted in March 2013 and the minimum wage has remained at US$2.66 (3600 Kyat) since then.
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New enactment for Myanmar companies expect surge in trading
(10 December 2017) The enactment of the new Myanmar Companies Law will bring about change for local companies listed or about to list in the Yangon Stock Exchange (YSX). Foreign investors are now permitted to take up to a 35 percent stake in local companies. With more foreign participation, trading volumes on YSX are expected to rise. U Tun Tun, a Senior Financial Officer and Executive Director at YSX mentioned that the emergence of this law will result in more foreign direct investments into Myanmar.
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Myanmar’s digital economy of interest to US firms
(11 December 2017) The US-ASEAN Business Council (USABC) led a business mission to Myanmar which included a meeting with the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI) to strengthen trade and investments in the country. As of October this year, the US had invested US$128 million. U Maung Maung Lay, Vice President of UMFCCI, said that there’s a good chance for American firms to penetrate Myanmar and he would welcome these companies because “they are reliable and accountable”.
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Myanmar to approve the opening of five new banks for targeted lending
(7 December 2017) The Central Bank of Myanmar (CBM) will approve the forming of five sector-specific banks including the Myanmar Tourism Bank, Mineral Development Bank, Glory Farmer Development Bank, Mandalay Farmer Development Bank and Shwe Nann Saw Bank. U San Thein, financial sector development expert at the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) said that by establishing specialised banks that focus on lending to each specific sector they will be able to offer opportunities to many more start-ups and businesses, giving them a chance to expand. Currently, 24 commercial banks and five specialised banks have received approval to operate in Myanmar.
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Myanmar Companies Law to be delayed
(13 December 2017) Implementation of the long-awaited Companies Law will be postponed until August 2018. One of the major issues of implementing the new law is that higher foreign participation would give local businesses access to a larger capital pool. U Aung Naing Oo, head of Directorate of Investment and Company Administration said the authorities may not be ready to implement the new rules until as late as August 2018, after bylaws were prepared and a company registry vital to enforcing the law was completed. The new law was initiated by the Myanmar former military government in 2014, removing outdated rules on share transfers and offering greater protection to shareholders by establishing guidelines on how company is run and governed.
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