Foreign exchange licences to be revoked

The Central Bank of Myanmar has announced that it would revoke its Foreign Exchange Acceptor and Holder Licences on October 19 (Monday).

Win Thaw, deputy director general, announced that dollarisation, the high demand for dollars and the kyat’s depreciation might harm the exchange rate further.

The bank said government bodies, private organisations and companies must use the kyat for all payments to prevent instability.

Govt land running low for housing

The Yangon Region government is facing a shortage of vacant state-owned land to develop housing, according to the Human Settlement and Housing Development Department.

The regional government is trying to meet the growing housing demand as migrants flock to Yangon to find work.

Clothes most pawned items

According to pawnbrokers, most of the items being pawned are clothes due to economic hard times.

“Most of the items that come our way are clothes. Most people come in the morning when they are going to the market and have no cash to buy groceries for the rest of the day. There are also many who pawn golden accessories,” said Moe Kyaw, a pawnbroker in Hlaingthaya Township.

Construction bank needs insurance to make loans

The Construction and Housing Development Bank (CHDB) cannot give loans to private developers unless there is a solid insurance policy, says Win Zaw, its managing director.

The bank is operating with Ks100 billion (US$78 million) in capital and currently offers loans of up to eight years for apartments built by the Department of Human Settlement and Housing Development.

Myanmar-India border trade pauses

Heavy rain has created a number of transportation difficulties around the Myanmar-India border, bringing trade between the two countries to a temporary halt, according to the Border Trade Department.

“The roads have been heavily damaged since October 9. This season’s main export is areca nuts. The main import is motorcycles. The Kalay-Tamu road is ruined. The trade flow will fall,” said an official at the Tamu border gate.

Continuous heavy rain has flooded bridges along the road, and traits are expected to take two weeks.

Crony economy behind Yangon flyovers forces people to walk

Facing worsening traffic congestion due to construction around the city, many of Yangon’s commuters have chosen to walk from place to place rather than sit in taxis or buses.

 “I have to go from Thingyangyun Township to Tamwe Township. There is heavy traffic around Kyaikasan Road. I often get off the bus around here and walk to work,” said an employee of a company based in Thingyangyun Township.

Taxi drivers have begun refusing to enter congested areas or charge passengers more to enter them.

Foreign firms offer liability insurance

Myanmar Insurance Business Supervision Committee has allowed three foreign companies to offer liability insurance in Thilawa Special Economic Zone for the first time.

An official from Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Insurance said: “Liability insurance means the insurer takes responsibility for losses suffered by an insured purchaser. It means insurance companies will accept liability.”

Only life, fire and all-purpose vehicle insurance have been available from foreign insurers until now.

EU fish and beans deal signed

Under the European Union-Myanmar Trade Development Programme (TDP), marine products, beans and pulses can be exported to Europe.

The launching ceremony of the TDP took place in Nay Pyi Taw on October 6, attended by Union Commerce Minister Win Myint, EU ambassador Roland Kobia and international entrepreneurs.

The TDP will be implemented with the technical assistance of the GIZ or German Corporation for International Cooperation, a company that specialises in international development.

Economists brace for seismic AEC effect

Economists predict that when the Asean Economic Community (AEC) comes into fruition next year, the free flow of capital and the foreign currency markets will be affected.

Dr Maung Aung, adviser to the Ministry of Commerce, said: “It is true that when the AEC opens after December 31, large amounts of capital flowing freely into the country will impact the dollar market here but I believe the big one – capital – will still be restricted as some things can be delayed until 2018.”

Government unveils housing ambitions

According to the construction minister, Soe Tint, the current fiscal year will see around 30,000 more apartments built in Yangon Region.

A meeting held in Nay Pyi Taw announced that 11,160 low-cost, 6,830 medium-cost, 4,380 high-cost apartments as well as 5,160 public-rental flats and 1,830 staff apartments would be built.

In order to meet the ever-rising demand for rental property in Yangon, around 1,800 rental apartments are currently under construction.