Myanma Economic Development: Past, Present and Future

A huge petrochemical facility in Kyaukphyu: Initial Gas Station. Photo: Phoe Khwar
A huge petrochemical facility in Kyaukphyu: Initial Gas Station. Photo: Phoe Khwar

(Continued from previous article appeared on the issue of 11 January)
Industrial Revolution changed the Northern Hemisphere countries such as Europe and United States, East Asian country Japan into rich countries, while the countries in the Southern Hemisphere remained poor.
When the industrial revolution was happening, railroads were a huge importance to the local economies, supplying them with immense loads of cargo. The industrial revolution hugely impacted the north because they were an industrial region. It did not affect the South much because they relied on slavery.
Second amazing economic change had taken place in 1970 with rapid communication technology across the world in the age of globalization with the shift of industries to cheap labor countries, multiplying with more industrial countries on this planet.
G – 7 (The Group of Seven) is a group consisting of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. These countries, with the seven largest advanced economies in the world, have been expanded into G – 20, and more countries are likely to join in a near future.
Evidences showed that the outward looking economic policy in conjunction with strong economic integration with larger economic community being adopted by China, Poland, and Mexico in the 1980s have developed rapidly. Therefore, our country has set in the full implementation of outward looking economic policy, and now opening up to the world in stages.

Time to take part actively
Each and every citizen has the duty and responsibility in taking part actively for the development of the country in anticipation of progress for the posterity. On the part of the state, necessary laws and basic infrastructure have been implemented, and that regular meetings in addressing the difficulties are in progress headed by Vice Presidents.
Moreover, Ministry of Investment and Foreign Economic Relations was newly established with focus on market oriented economic system and outward looking economic policy, which is in fact to be implemented by the public in the private sector with capable strength of human resources.
According to Notification 48/2018 of Office of the President, Republic of the Union of Myanmar on 21 June 2018 Myanmar Companies Law takes effect in accordance with the Myanmar Companies Law section 1(b) on 1 August 2018, allowing (35) per cent of investment from foreign companies, resulting with more advantages to Myanmar side. More foreign investors are expected to come in.
More SMEs are to be registered with momentum with proper functioning so as to win trust with international partners, and that the latest economic opportunities must be accessible to the public so that they could take part in the development endeavors.

The Challenges
Facing many difficulties, the new government during the initial two years period had to solve such as that of flooding in the country, that of the world trade war triggering the hikes of dollar, that of northern Rakhine issues, that of the fake news, that of the international pressures, and that of maintaining GSP privileges.
It is necessary to keep up the implementation of peace process and to keep the stability of the nation.
Success of the Myanma economic development depends on the reform of the state and that the tasks are to be dealt by the business community and the people. The main economic sectors such as the agriculture sector, the industrial sector, and the service sector have many untapped resources. The existing problems such as that of lack in investment, technical knowhow, and foreign market access had been resolved to a certain extent.

Prospect of agriculture sector
Having abundant of land resources, we could go ahead with cropping intensity for multiple crops using dams and reservoirs with plenty of space for improvement in Asian region.
Despite the foreign investment in the country is still thin, we could expect more as the state has opened up. Contract farming on the basis mutual interest of the farmers could be considered for market access towards China and India.
The cultivation of the high yield crops is on the plan, and therefore, a strong market competition is likely to take place. Animal breeding industry on fish, prawn, chicken, pig, and cow could be elevated through foreign investment and technical knowhow. We have potential in producing food.

Potential in industrial sector
As a result of economic and investment reform, the export oriented industry is sure to prosper in the near future. Building of industrial sector is a way of rapid development as it involved the supply of raw materials, creating large job opportunities for workers, market distribution of produced goods.
These huge enterprises need to produce merchandise intended for foreign countries, the establishment of industries connected with world production land routes, and the construction of deep sea ports. Therefore, Yangon and its environment are most likely to become an industrial sphere, and that Mawlamyine, Dawei, Pathein, and Kyaukphyu are also poised to become industrial cities.

Potential of Service Industry
Trade, transport, communication, hotel and tourism, education, and health in the service industry sector have potential for development. When the export oriented industry sector developed, the trade value would be elevated, and at the same time, the finished good, the semi-finished gods, and other accessories could be exported.
As the connected roads with the neighboring countries have been completed, the border trade would be in the upswing, and also the transit trade, the re-export trade, and the re-import trade would be in the up-tempo status.
At a time when the ASEAN Economic Community has been activated, the businesses in trade, transportation of goods, communications, wholesale and retail trades, banking services would be flourishing. Thanks to the visa exemption facilities and the border entry and exit permissions, all the related services would be functioning well.
Opportunities stand out for the economic development of Myanmar with the completion of the South Asian Road starting from Vietnam in connectivity with the roads to India, linking the projects of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), leading westwards from Asia to Europe.
These are the future economic potentials in general concept and perspective; however, one factor is certain that the market oriented economic system and the outward looking economic policy is sure in its making, with the possibility that Myanmar becoming the central hub of Asian economy.

Let us united
Today, in responding the challenges and for the continuous economic development of the country, the people under the directive of the state must work hard in unity. Especially, the five national objectives of the (71) Anniversary of Independence Day must be taken up seriously by the people in building modern developed and peaceful nation.
As the economy is the basic building block of a nation, the new economic opportunities being offered by the state must be utilize as practical purpose by the business people and the public as earliest as possible.
By taking the lessons of the past, constant observation is to be made in the economic reform process for the benefit of the people. All the citizens must equipped themselves with fine capabilities in their tasks and uplift the economy of the nation.
In conclusion, based on the chronicle of Myanma economy and the world market, the author of this article firmly believed that the clear cut market oriented economic system and the outward looking economic policy being adopted by the state would surely pushed up the Myanma economy with strength, power and might.

Translated by UMT (Ahlon)

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