Following is the video message of State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to the 29th Annual General Meeting of the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI) yesterday.
20 December 2020
First of all, I would like to extend my warm greetings for the good health and well-being of all esteemed guests present on this occasion.
Today we are holding the 29th annual meeting of the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI).
As you all know, the private sector is the main engine of growth of the State economy. First of all, I really appreciate UMFCCI for providing leadership in the private sector and for your active cooperation and collaboration for State and the people.
I would like to acknowledge the significant contributions made by UMFCCI to the efforts made by the State for the development of Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises; for Myanmar economic enterprises to penetrate not only local markets but also into international markets; for the progress of the digital economy, eradication of corruption, and many other tasks.
I also acknowledge that besides participating in the protection, control and treatment activities during the COVID-19 crisis, UMFCCI, together with other allied organizations, has given aid to charity work like food supply and donation, keeping commodity prices under control, and ensuring the continuous supply commodities, in respective sectors. These actions have provided much support for the people. I would like to urge you to keep up this good tradition and strive for enhanced public private partnership (PPP) in all endeavours of the State in the future.
Despite the challenges of COVID-19, our country still has good prospects for our economy and economic development. Asia, where our country is located, is a region known for the fastest economic growth. Although, developed western countries are usually referred to as economically developed countries, economic developments are emerging in the Asian region as well. As one of the countries in Asia, progress has been taking place in Myanmar also.
If we take a look at the progress made so far, we can see that this progress is due to labour-intensive economic enterprises producing garments and cotton textiles and export-oriented enterprises. Since production costs have risen in other countries in the region, investors have started seeking better locations for producing their goods. Because of the strategic location of our country as well as being one of the economically developing countries in Asia, due to these good characteristics, our country is bound to be among the locations chosen for investment. However, on our part, it is important to create favourable conditions for investments to flow in.
That is why the Union Government has made strenuous efforts for the creation of a good investment climate characterized by transparency, simplicity, predictability and competitiveness capable of attracting FDI – foreign direct investment; this is to ensure that these investments are not only responsible but of high quality and would be supportive of sustainable development. As a good outcome of the efforts thus made, according to 2020 Ease of Doing Business Report of the World Bank Group, Myanmar’s ranking, which stood at 171 last year, now stands at 165, which has placed Myanmar among the twenty most developing countries.
Since the foreign direct investment influx in this fiscal year fetches nearly 5.7 billion in US dollars, according to the Myanmar Investment Promotion Plan (MIPP), nearly 98 percent of the expected outcome has been achieved. In the present, more investments have come in from our regional partners Japan, Thailand, South Korea and Singapore while foreign investments from US and European countries are also coming in.
Establishing stronger post-COVID public-private sector collaboration
During this pandemic period that has imposed challenges and hardships, we need to build stronger public-private sector collaboration. This pandemic has changed our ways of trading and goods production. So in the post-COVID period, priority must be given to taking necessary measures to build the kind of economic environment conducive to economic growth we have dreamed of.
Developing the Micro, Small and Medium size Enterprises under the leadership of women entrepreneurs
I believe that creating an environment conducive to the businesses of the women entrepreneurs will soon come to the forefront in the post-COVID period.
I would like to emphasize the fact that in honour of 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence Campaign, necessary support should be given to founding and expanding the micro, small and medium size enterprises for women. I am very much encouraged that the Myanmar Women Entrepreneurs Network has been extending aid and support in the present.
According to the second Myanmar Investment Policy Review issued by the Ministry of Investment and Foreign Economic Relations of Myanmar, Myanmar has made progress in high momentum since its ranking has reached up to 70 from the former position of 170, scaling up the starting a business index among the feasibility indexes in undertaking the World Bank projects within four years.
I would like to draw your attention to the fact that in Myanmar Economic Recovery and Reform Plan (MERRP), which is well under way, gender equality and women’s crucial role in participating in the implementation of action plans of the state economic reforms will be highlighted.
Digital transformation and Regional Economic Comprehensive Partnership (RCEP)
COVID-19 has thrown light on the significance of the digital system and the need for digital transformation to be launched with increased momentum. In carrying out our transformation towards a digital system, effective preparations and our capabilities will surely become one of the factors which will determine the extent of our country’s ability to sustain our success.
The Union Government is already collaborating with the private economic enterprises for building the Digital Platform System in order to launch a faster digital transformation so that according to the demand-supply chain, the goods and services may be traded, loaned or exchanged between the government and the people, between the government and the enterprises and between enterprises through the utilization of digital technology.
While most of the regional countries have advanced towards digital economies, the majority of our micro, small and medium size enterprises have been left far behind. So I would like to urge you to utilize digital technology and expand your businesses so as to reach international markets.
I really hope our micro, small and medium size enterprises will be able to make use of 21st century digital technology to penetrate international markets with collaboration and effective support. We promise the Union Government will make efforts for helping the private businesses out in overcoming difficulties in marketing.
On 15 November, Myanmar signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Trade Agreement. This Agreement covering over 30 percent of the world population and 30 percent of the world economy and 29 percent of world trade is often referred to as the World’s Biggest Trading Bloc. According to the present geopolitical conditions and the international trading conditions, while the Superpower countries are in trade tensions, plans have been laid down for safeguarding the self -interests. So it is important to re-boost the rules-based international trade system. Given the present situation of the world economy, Myanmar, a country with modest economic potential, finds it hard to stand isolated in international economic relations. However, I strongly believe that as a member of RCEP, we will be able to strengthen the private sector, which is the driving force of the state economy. I would like to request you to cooperate and collaborate closely and harmoniously between the government and the private sector so that we could bring the privileges outlined in the Agreement to the benefits of our people.
Once again, I would stress that the government and the private sector join hands for the sake of our people’s socio-economic development. If we can establish such a strong and profound collaboration, we will be able to create new job opportunities and new economic opportunities and pave way to the sustainable development and prosperity for our people.
For reaching this goal, I would like to request UMFCCI to continue your programmes such as sharing the knowledge and skills and connecting the markets and providing financial sources for the private sector.
In conclusion, I wish UMFCCI and partner organizations blessings of good health, to lay down practical and effective programmes in this annual meeting for the sake of our country and our people, and a great success in the programmes to be implemented in the future.
A happy and prosperous new year 2021 to you all.
(Translated by Dr Zaw Tun)