Myanmar approves $3.7 bn foreign investment in four months

Aung Naing Oo, director general at the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration and secretary of Myanmar Investment Commission,at a recent press conference in Yangon


MYANMAR continues to maintain its potential to increase foreign direct investment in fiscal 2017 starting April 1 by approving nearly US$3.7 billion (Bt123 billion) over four months, according to an investment boss.

Aung Naing Oo, director-general of the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration and secretary of the Myanmar Investment Commission, told a recent press conference that the nation has so far allowed 112 foreign companies to do business in Myanmar according to Myanmar Investment Law as well as allowed $189.6 million in FDI in the Thilawa Special Economic Zone. 

The MIC meeting on Monday approved $184.3 million investment by 19 foreign businesses. 

“Twelve of them are from industry while the other businesses include livestock and fisheries, housing development, electricity, hotels and tourism, and services,” he said.

Those foreign investments would create over 11,000 job opportunities for local people. 

The meeting alone could approve seven local businesses, which would open 1,000 jobs in the country.

According to the official, Myanmar has signed investment treaties with 12 countries, most of which aim at promoting and protecting bilateral investments. 

They are China, India, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines, Kuwait, Israel, Japan, South Korea, Indonesia and the United States.

Myanmar could sign an investment protection agreement with Hong Kong very soon, as all the processes have finished. 

Discussions with the European Union for the same purpose have ended successfully after five rounds of negotiations. 

“The Upper House already approved the EU-Myanmar investment protection agreement. Now we are waiting for the Lower House’s approval. 

“If things go as planned, we hope to finish all the necessary processes later this year and the agreement may be signed in early 2018,” he said.

The agreements were aimed at minimising the potential risks of investing in Myanmar and vice versa. 

The pacts would serve as legal documents to fully protect the rights of investors in both countries so that they have no worries about their investments.

Singaporean investors came to the MIC office on Tuesday to discuss bilateral investment promotion and protection for the first time. Ten representatives from both nations participated in the two-day talks. 

“The discussions were fruitful. As they (Singaporeans) are eager to come to an agreement as soon as possible, I hope we can sign the pact by the end of this year,” he said.

At the briefing, he also revealed Myanmar’s bid to improve its ranking in the World Bank’s Doing Business report. 

A Union-level committee led by Vice President Myint Swe is making efforts to uplift the nation’s image in the international community, he said.

He said 10 core areas would be prioritised to enjoy higher rankings in the years to come, including starting a business, protecting minority rights, resolving insolvency, improving access to electricity, paying taxes and trading across borders.