The 29th Annual General Meeting of the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI) was held at the Mingalar Hall of the UMFCCI yesterday afternoon via videoconferencing.
State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi sent her video message to the meeting.
During the meeting, UMFCCI President U Zaw Min Win said that the speech of the State Counsellor is very important for the future and the development of the private sector as a whole.
The UMFCCI President said that public-private cooperation needs to be strengthened between the government and the private sector with mutual trust and respect.
The UMFCCI President reiterated what the State Counsellor said, by saying that digital communication is very important during the COVID-19 pandemic in order to keep the system running smoothly.
The UMFCCI President said that Myanmar’s signing of the RCEP will enhance the private sector, which is the main driver of the country’s economy. He added that all stakeholders must work together to ensure that the people enjoy the rights given by the RCEP. The UMFCCI President said that the government has set up a committee to remedy the economic impacts caused by the COVID-19, and spent nearly Kyat 3,000 billion, which is about 4 per cent of the GDP, for the plan. He added that some businesses are able to survive because of government’s assistance such as easing economic procedures, reducing bank interest rates and tax cuts.
The UMFCCI President concluded his speech by saying that his federation and the business community welcomed the government’s plans to implement the CERP and MERRP to remedy the economic impacts.
After that, Union Minister for Investment and Foreign Economic Relations U Thaung Tun, in his capacity as a Patron of the UMFCCI, delivered a speech. He said that the government is providing loans at low interest rates to the businesses affected by the COVID-19 crisis. To date, more than K166 billion have been loaned to 6,333 businesses.
Union Minister U Thaung Tun said that although the COVID-19 pandemic has challenged all the nations, Myanmar received about US$ 5.7 billion in foreign investment in the 2019-2020 financial year. He continued that there is great potential for domestic and foreign investments in agriculture, electricity and industrial zones in Myanmar in the upcoming financial year.
Construction of Korea-Myanmar Industrial Complex (KMIC) will begin on 24 December, and AMATA Smart and Eco City will be implemented by cooperating with Thailand. Moreover, Myanmar and Singapore will continue implementing the Myanmar Singapore Industrial Park, according to Union Minister U Thaung Tun.
Myanmar has signed the 15-nation Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), said Union Minister U Thaung Tun, who added that the RCEP is the world’s largest trade agreement, representing more than 30 per cent of the world’s population and 29 per cent of world trade volume.
He said that by cooperating with the signatory nations, Myanmar will achieve benefits in the long run.
A statement of the World Bank said that although the COVID-19 pandemic has severely affected the economy in many nations, Myanmar is able to maintain a good position compared to other nations, and Myanmar’s economy will gradually recover in 2021, according to the Union Minister. A report of the ADB also said that Myanmar’s economic growth rate is only 1.8 per cent this year, but will reach 6 per cent in 2021.
Then Union Minister for Commerce Dr Than Myint, in his capacity as a Patron of the UMFCCI, delivered a speech. He said that the government is making great efforts to develop Myanmar’s economy in various ways. The government holds meetings with business organizations including the UMFCCI, and takes into account the suggestions of the business organizations. The government is doing what should be done in a timely manner. He continued that the government, local organizations and business persons need to work together in order for domestic products to compete in local and foreign markets.
For the development of the private sector, the Ministry of Commerce is a focal ministry and the ministry is cooperating with UMFCCI, which represents the private sector, said Union Minister Dr Than Myint, who added that difficulties and challenges of the private sector are being continuously discussed and coordinated with other relevant ministries.
Regarding the “Ease of Doing Business” rankings, Union Minister Dr Than Myint said that Myanmar has achieved good results in cooperation with the private sector, and the aim was not only to improve the rankings but also to really make it easier to do business.
The Union Minister said that his Ministry is working to issue an e-commerce guideline as soon as possible.
He said that in order to encourage the flow of goods and to stabilize commodity prices during the COVID-19 crisis, his ministry is coordinating with business organizations including UMFCCI.
Because of the cooperation of the UMFCCI and its associated organizations, the distribution of basic food to the needy people could be carried out smoothly, according to Union Minister Dr Than Myint.
He said that the Ministry of Commerce has been providing online services since 2004. In order to make it easier for traders to do businesses, his ministry has made arrangements, so by using the “Registration of importers and exporters with Tradenet 2.0 system”, business persons can register as importers and exporters via online and they can also apply for export licenses and import licenses online.
Yangon Region Chief Minister U Phyo Min Thein said that it is a time for Myanmar to overcome the economic difficulties and challenges caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic.
In the endeavor to overcome the challenges, success will be achieved only with the cooperation among the government, the private sector and the general public, said the Yangon Region Chief Minister, who added that his regional government was able to effectively cooperate with the UMFCCI during the COVID-19 crisis.
The virtual meeting was participated by Union Ministers, the Yangon Region Chief Minister, Deputy Ministers, the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker of Yangon Region Parliament, Yangon Region Ministers, ambassadors, economic diplomats, local and foreign business organizations, business persons, officials from the UMFCCI and its associated organizations, and guests.
During the first-year term (2019-2020) of the new Executive Committee of the UMFCCI, it could successfully implement its tasks despite the COVID-19 crisis. In February 2020, the UMFCCI could formulate the “Strategic Action Plan” and “12 Business Agendas”. —MNA (Translated by Maung Maung Swe)