Vice President U Myint Swe, Chairman of the Private Sector Development Committee (PSDC) and businesspersons held the 23rd regular meeting at the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI) office in Yangon yesterday morning.
The Vice President explained that some losses were incurred by farmers and businessmen who were exporting fruits to People’s Republic of China due to the closure of Kyin San Kyawt Gate. The Ministry of Commerce responsible for private sector development led a group of officials to meet with Chinese embassy officials; they also conducted a meeting with relevant ministries to coordinate and resolve the matter. On the following day the Kyin San Kyawt Gate was temporarily re-opened easing damages and losses to a certain extent.
In his address to the meeting the Vice President said PSDC was formed on 24 October 2016 with 20 members to effectively carry out the tasks of private sector development framework.
Five work committees were formed to coordinate with relevant union ministries and state/region governments in resolving difficulties encountered by the businesses. Starting from 2016 December regular meetings were held with businesses and this was the 23rd meeting.
Responses to suggestions and submissions on difficulties faced by businesses up to the 22nd meeting were sent back to relevant businesses through UMFCCI.
In addition to matters that were resolved, there were some that need time to resolve fully. For example, in the 22nd meeting, 13 difficulties and suggestions were made. Of those, one was about the matter of notification 1/2018 issued by Central Committee of Consumer Protection about usage instruction of products to be included in Myanmar language or Myanmar and other languages within six months of the issuance of notification. As businesses had difficulties in meeting the six month deadline the matter was raised with the Ministry of Commerce and the Ministry of Health and Sports for extension of the deadline.
In this matter, officials from the five work committees arranged for public-private dialogues among private businesses and relevant ministries to resolve the matter and thus a certain period of time would be required said the Vice President.
The trade sector plays an important role in the development of a country’s economy. Private and public sectors were cooperating towards increasing annual trade volume and conducted trade in excess of US$ 18.3 billion during the April to September 2018 six months period. According to figures up to end December of fiscal year 2018-2019, the trade volume reached US$ 8.117 billion and this was US$ 0.449 billion more than the same period last year. Private sector participation in trade was US$ 7.094 billion or 87 percent and this was an increase. However import was more than export and thus export also needed to be increased to achieve trade balance.
Illegal imports through the border were threatening the existence of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and PSDC has formed illegal trade control and prevention groups in nine regions and states and during September to December 2018, 266 arrests of an estimated Ks 5.9 billion worth of illegal imports were made. Starting a Business section is an important and vital in increasing the ranking of Ease of Doing Business and starting from 1 August 2018, an online company registration system was started. As payment of registration fee was also through Online Payment, it was an important accomplishment of the e-government system that the Government was implementing. Looking at the latest situation of establishing and re-registering companies, a total of 32,917 companies were re-registered and 8,514 new companies were established during the period 1 August to end December. One outstanding matter was that from 2017 August to December only 3,758 new companies were formed while during the August-December period of 2018, 8,514 new companies were registered under the new system of Myanmar Companies Online (MyCo) electronic registry system. This was more than double in new registrations and thus showed the ease and smoothness of starting a business.
Investment Forums were held in Kayah State, Mandalay Region and Ayeyawady Region during 2018 to highlight investment opportunities and attract investments. Local and foreign investors were able to meet directly with officials from states and regions and opportunities to raise investment were obtained. Investment Forums have been arranged to be held in Rakhine and Chin State in February and March 2019 respectively.
Associations and entities participating in today’s meeting were urged to discuss openly the difficulties they were facing with the relevant Union Ministers, Deputy Ministers and officials who were in attendance, said the Vice President.
Next, PSDC Vice Chairman and Union Minister for Commerce Dr. Than Myint explained about works conducted for private sector development.
Afterwards Union Minister for Planning and Finance U Soe Win explained about the status of drawing up and implementing Myanmar Sustainable Development Plan (MSDP) and works conducted for development of banking and insurance works.
This was followed by Union Minister for Investment and Foreign Economic Relations U Thaung Tun who explained about the ministry’s work on increasing local and foreign investments.
Yangon Region Chief Minister U Phyo Min Thein then explained about works conducted and future works in Yangon Region for private sector development.
Later Improving the Ease of Doing Business Ranking Group leader Deputy Minister for Commerce U Aung Htoo explained about future work processes to increase Ease of Doing Business Ranking.
UMFCCI President U Zaw Min Win also explained about conducting public-private discussions, increasing export sector and status of sector wise works.
Officials from Chin State Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Myanmar Livestock Federation, Myanmar Oil Millers Association and UMFCCI then discussed about sector wise difficulties faced and made suggestions.
The Vice President, Union Ministers and officials responded to suggestions made and questions raised by the private sector business entrepreneurs.
It is learnt that the following officials also attended the meeting: Vice-Chairman of PSDC and Union Minister for Commerce Dr. Than Myint, Union Minister for Planning and Finance U Soe Win, Union Minister for Investment and Foreign Economic Relations U Thaung Tun, Yangon Region Chief Minister U Phyo Min Thein, Deputy Minister for Commerce U Aung Htoo, Deputy Minister for Education U Win Maw Tun, Deputy Minister for Planning and Finance U Maung Maung Win, Yangon Region minister for development affairs U Maung Maung Soe, UMFCCI President, Vice Presidents and members, Permanent Secretaries, Directors General, officials from Chin State Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Myanmar Livestock Federation and Myanmar Oil Millers Association.
The meeting came to a close after some closing remarks by the Vice President. — MNA (Translated by Zaw Min)