Exports fall by US$72m

Myanmar's foreign trade volume surpassed US$25 billion this fiscal year despite its exports being US$72 million short of the last fiscal year's amount, according to the Ministry of Commerce.

The total trade volume of more than US$25.17 billion included exports of US$10.1 billion and imports of US$15.06 billion made from April 1, 2014 to February 27.

Japan donates airport equipment

Airport safety and security equipment donated by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has been installed in Bagan-Nyaung U airport, according to the Ministry of Transport. 

In an effort to improve airport safety and security, Japan donated the equipment to the civil aviation department. 

Both governments agreed to the handover of equipment in 2013. 

560 mines discovered, coal output expected to rise

560 new mines have been discovered since May, 2013, according to the National Energy Policy and the National Energy Management Committee.

According to the Ministry of Mine, the country now has 540 million tonnes of coal deposits and more mines are expected to be found in the future.

The coal production is likely to increase by 5 million tonne in the future.

Foreign investment just under US$7 billion this fiscal year

Foreign investment in Myanmar reached just under US$7 billion in the 2014-2015 fiscal year. This amount exceeds the foreign investment volume in the 2013-2014 fiscal year, according to Directorate of Investment and Company Administration (DICA).

From April 2014 to the end of January 2015, foreign investment in Myanmar amounted to over US$6.955 billion. The total foreign investment volume in the 2013-2014 fiscal year was $4.107 billion.

Tours to Myeik islands 'still costly'

Trips to Myeik Archipelago are too costly and also in need of infrastructure, according to local tour agencies.

"The plane ticket to Myeik is around US$200. There are no ferryboats to the isles and travellers need to spend more on hiring private boats. So the transportation charges alone cost about US$500. Together with accommodation fees, the cost goes up to US$800," said Noun Noun Han, general secretary of the Union of Myanmar Travel Association.

Price hikes in southern Shan keep local tourists away

Despite the increase in foreign tourism in Taunggyi, Inle, Kalaw and other destinations in southern Shan State, price hikes have kept many local visitors away from these places, according to sources in the travel and tourism sector.

“Hotels in Inle are expensive. Those in Kalaw are more expensive. So we cannot offer packages to all classes of people, [especially] local people]. It costs at least over US$100 to visit Taunggyi,” said a representative of Caravan Myanmar Tour Co.

Comments invited on new investment law

The public is invited to offer input on a draft of the revised Myanmar Investment Law, which has been uploaded to the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration (DICA) website.

DICA is updating the current law with the assistance of the International Finance Corporation. The draft has been written in English for international readers, and a Myanmar version will soon be available.

Myanmar’s irresponsible borrowing

Myanmar borrowed about US$9.6 billion from 19 international financial institutions up to the end of 2013.

Myanmar was $5 billion in debt before 1988, when General Ne Win came to power, and $3 billion in debt from 1988 to 2011. Under the new government, Myanmar has borrowed nearly $1 billion. Thus, Myanmar’s debt has reached $9.6 billion. About $4 billion, or 42 per cent of these loans, came from the People’s Republic of China.

Myanmar becomes a major producer of heroin: TNI

The Transnational Institute's recent report says Myanmar has become a major producer of heroin and amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) and drug injection has been blamed for the spread of HIV/ AIDS.

According to the report, drug production and consumption trends have changed over the years. Myanmar, currently the second largest producer of raw opium after Afghanistan in the world, is now facing several serious drug-related challenges.

Plan to collect Vat for industries operating on CMP system

The Yangon region government plans to collect value added tax (Vat) instead of double taxation for the industries operating on CMP (cutting, making and packing) system, said Zaw Aye Maung, minister of the Rakhine Ethnic Affairs and Labour for Yangon region.