Myanmar, 3 other GMS countries to get assistance from ADB-Australia fund of $10.5 million for private sector development

 Photo shows a group of rural woman peeling betel nut. The Asian Development Bank and  Government of Australia pledge to provide  combined assistance of $10.5 million to promote private sector development in four Greater  Mekong Subregion (GMS) counties including Myanmar. —Photo Provided/ADB Myanmar
Photo shows a group of rural woman peeling betel nut. The Asian Development Bank and Government of Australia pledge to provide combined assistance of $10.5 million to promote private sector development in four Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) counties including Myanmar. —Photo Provided/ADB Myanmar

Yangon, 9 Dec— The Asian Development Bank is looking to equally distribute a private sector development fund of $10.5 million to four Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) countries including Myanmar, Peter Brimble, ADB’s principal country specialist in Myanmar, said Tuesday.
The ADB announced last week that its technical assistance grant of $500,000 and co-financing of $10-million from the Australian government will support the Mekong Business Initiative for private sector development in four GMS countries, which also include Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.
Myanmar is expected to see new opportunities with the start-up of the ASEAN Economic Community in 2015, but its private sector “is facing a number of challenges to improve productivity and competitiveness”, said Winfried Wicklein, ADB’s country director in Myanmar.
Myanmar has more than 120,000 small-and-medium enterprises that make up over 90 percent of all businesses and nearly 80 percent of employment. The government is therefore placing more emphasis on development of SMEs, which are pivotal to ensuring inclusive economic growth in the country.
In its press release, the ADB stressed the need for a strong and fair regulatory environment for SMEs in the four GMS countries, noting that they often struggle to obtain access to finance and other support services.
Countries that show reform progress can more rapidly utilize available funds, Brimble told the Global New Light of Myanmar, adding that funds are for business environment reforms rather than specific companies.
“We will support business associations to advocate for SME-friendly policies and programs,” he said.
The ADB-Australia’s Mekong Business Initiative, which is set to run from this December to November of 2017, aims to ensure an increase in the number of new private companies registered in the four countries and a rise in the number of SMEs that export.
The initiative in Myanmar will be coordinated from the ADB Resident Mission, in close cooperation with relevant government agencies and private sector business associations, said the ADB. GNLM

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