ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Myanmar expects a more vibrant economy
FOREIGN investors are being wooed to invest more in Myanmar to take advantage of the country’s Asean membership and geographical location, which should enhance its attractiveness after the election in November.
“By the end of this year, the Asean Economic Community will be launched. That means our market will be tenfold bigger. We are also the only Asean country located between China and India, two giant economies.
“Don’t look at Myanmar as a small country. Instead, consider Myanmar as a regional hub,” said Professor Aung Tun Thet, presidential economic adviser and vice chairman of the National Economic and Social Advisory Council.
At the Euromoney Myanmar Global Investment Forum, he urged investors to look beyond the domestic market with some 50 million people to the regional market of more than 600 million people.
While saying that the Myanmar economy has opened up and reintegrated with the regional and global community in the past six years, he quashed lingering fears among foreign investors on political uncertainties, as Myanmar is hosting its first democratic election in decades.
The future political landscape will lay a more solid foundation for foreign investment, he said.
As a member of the Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC), which oversees foreign investment, he said efforts were in place to make doing business in the country easier and help Myanmar regain its position as a key economic location.
“In the past, it took two months to get a licence from MIC. Now we have reduced the duration to two days and also plan to cut it down to two hours,” he said.
As Myanmar strives to be a socially inclusive society, foreign investment is expected to benefit |the country in four areas – financing, market, technology and management – and take corporate social responsibility into serious consideration, he said.
All foreign ventures must commit to spending 1-5 per cent of profits on CSR and be members of the United Nations Global Compact, which emphasises human rights, labour rights, the environment and anti-corruption.
Aung Thun Tun Thet is proud there are more than 200 UNGC members in the country, the highest in ASEAN. The country also aims to become a global leader in the very near future in this regard.
Kobsak Pootrakool, Bangkok Bank’s executive vice president for international banking, said that despite political concerns, the outlook was bright.
“The key thing is the private sector. Let the private sector drive the economy. That will bring further development to Myanmar,” he said.
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