Foreign investment depends on 2015 poll outcome, report says

Myanmar’s economic development will depend on the outcome of the 2015 general election, in the short term, according to “Report: Myanmar 2015’’ released by the Oxford Business Group.

A series of political and economic reforms have led to the lifting of most international sanctions since 2012. While it may take many years of intensive foreign investment and rapid growth to catch up to other Southeast Asian countries, Myanmar has exceptional potential for a country in its income range.

Agriculture, fishing and forestry are the country’s largest sector, contributing 30.5% to Myanmar’s GDP in FY2012/13. Manufacturing is the second-largest sector, accounting for 19.9% of GDP in FY2012/12, followed by retail and wholesale trade with 19%, transport and communication with 13.3%, and mining with 6.1%, the report says.

The report highlighted that since a historic reform process began in 2010, foreign investment has been pouring in, driving annual growth to more than 8%, according to IMF estimates. There are good reasons to believe the economy will continue to enjoy exceptionally strong growth in the future. In the short term, much will depend on the outcome of the 2015 general election.

“As a matter of fact, Oxford Business Group’s report is totally right. The reason is a free and fair election can bring about the economic development as well as the massive inflow of foreign investments into the country. And the international community would certainly monitor the current government’s efforts to handover the country’s power to the next government by holding a free and fair election. That’s to say, economic development of a country depends on the political condition of that country. This report may come out based on the emergence of a fairly-elected government,” said lower house MP Min Thu.

The emergence of a good government with a better political system can contribute a lot to the economic development of the country. Currently, the country sees political instabilities.

“As all we know how the country’s political situation is. Since the current government took office, people from all walks of life have been expressing their desires through a series of protests. The authority needs to deal with these issues through negotiation known as democratic culture. Here both sides need to do likewise. The democratic culture means compromise, negotiation and avoiding extremism. The crucial point is that the government would have to handle it in a peaceful and gentle manner, averting the violence acts. Only then, would the emergence of such conditions help the country create a good political pace, thereby contributing to a favorable economic environment for investors,” Min Thu added.

This fiscal year still sees a massive influx of foreign investments into the country. The country’s total foreign investment has reached US$7 billion before the end of this fiscal year, surpassing last year’s figures, according to the directorate of investment and company administration.

China, Thailand, Hong Kong, and Singapore are the top investors in Myanmar followed by the United Kingdom and Korea. Investments from Malaysia, Vietnam, France, Japan, India, the Netherlands, US, Indonesia, Australia, Russia are also on the rise.

According to Myanmar Investment Commission, 37 foreign countries have invested US$53.170 billion since January 31, 2015.