Union Minister U Thaung Tun delivers Keynote Address on Investment and Economic Reform Priorities

Union Minister U Thaung Tun participates in the “Elections 2020: Key Issues for Business” webinar on 16 October 2020. Photo: MNA

NAY PYI TAW –U Thaung Tun, Union Minister for Investment and Foreign Economic Relations delivered a keynote address during a Friday afternoon “Elections 2020: Key Issues for Business” webinar, co-organized by AustCham Myanmar, in collaboration with EuroCham Myanmar.
Attended by over 300 representatives from Myanmar’s domestic and international private sector, together with development partners, media and civil society, the Union Minister provided participants with an overview of what the future may hold for business and the economy as the country heads toward elections. The Union Minister also provided an overview of measures taken by the government to mitigate the economic impacts of COVID-19, guided by the ‘Together as One’ COVID-19 Economic Relief Plan (CERP), which seeks to leave no one behind.
The Union Minister paid particular attention several large-scale government fiscal stimulus measures and social assistance programmes, including the LIFT Fund’s partnership with the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement, providing cash transfers to over 175,000 pensioners and close to 250,000 pregnant women and children, and the European Union-funded ‘Myan Ku’ Fund providing over 5.4 billion Kyat in cash support payments to over 70,000 garment and footwear factory workers.
“In sum, we calculate that the government has thus far mobilized over 4 trillion Kyat in fiscal stimulus measures – now topping 3.4% of Gross Domestic Product. Despite constrained capacities and limited resources, this figure is in keeping with emerging market and developing economy averages – and is set to increase.”
The Union Minister went on to note several advances Myanmar has made despite challenges faced by COVID-19, including this year’s launch of a new online Yangon Building Permit System, and the recent transition to an online tax payment system. The Union Minister proceeded to highlight the new Myanmar Economic Recovery and Reform Plan (MERRP) currently under development, describing how this and other initiatives will further strengthen Myanmar’s investment enabling environment over the coming year.
“We will continue taking bold steps to ensure that our investors can secure an even greater number of permits and approvals online, via single-digital-windows. And this is just a small indication of what we have planned. Even as we speak, my team is conducting workshops considering these and other ambitious initiatives, and I look forward to providing further details in due course.”
The Union Minister was joined by an expert panel consisting of Dr Sean Turnell, Economist, Ms Michelle Grady, Country Head of Woodside Energy, Ms Rebecca Mohr, Group General Counsel of City Holdings, Mr Ben Koo, Head of Yoma Financial Services of Yoma Strategic Holdings, Mr Alex Nyi Nyi Aung, Head of Communications & External Affairs of Unilever Myanmar, and Mr Thomas Kean, Editor-in-Chief of Frontier Myanmar.

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