By Nyein Nyein
Entrepreneurs have requested the Central Bank of Myanmar (CBM) to control the economic impact from the decline in the dollar exchange rate and the rise in interest rates due to COVID-19, said U Aye Win, Secretary-General of the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI).
Myanmar’s economic sector has been adversely affected by COVID-19 and currently, the tourism sector and fruit exporters to China are facing dramatic difficulties, he added.
“Local entrepreneurs, especially exporters and local growers, have requested CBM to find ways and means to respond to the rise in interest rate and the dip in exchange rate,” said U Aye Win.
“In wake of COVID-19, it is important that the CBM respond quickly to help entrepreneurs overcome the difficulties and issues they have been facing lately. The CBM is responsible not only for stabilizing the entire financial sector, but also contributing to the development of Myanmar’s economic sector,” according to entrepreneurs.
The dollar exchange rate has dipped below K1,500 per dollar in the local currency market since 25 December, 2019. Due to COVID-19, the exchange rate reached K1,380 per dollar on 6 March.
In addition, the interest rate offered by banks has also reached a maximum of 16 per cent from the minimum 13 per cent.
Therefore, the UMFCCI plans to collate the requests and demands of entrepreneurs and submit them to the government for a solution.
In connection with the economic impact of COVID-19 and its consequences, a meeting was held between the government, employers, and employees, comprising members of the International Trade Association and the Economic Association, on 5 March at the UMFCCI. At the meeting, the participants discussed finding solutions for current difficulties and issues by meeting frequently.
“At present, garment factory entrepreneurs are worried about the lack of supply of raw materials till April because of COVID-19. If the coronavirus outbreak is not brought under control, we need to prepare for the consequences of any lack of supply of raw materials in May, June, and July,” said Daw Khine Khine Nwe, Joint Secretary-General of the UMFCCI.
The difficulties and issues caused by COVID-19 have now reached a national level, and so, employers, laborers, and the government should jointly seek ways to mitigate any negative fallout, said U Maung Maung, chairman of the Confederation of Trade Unions Myanmar (CTUM). (Translated by Hay Mar)