NAY PYI TAW –Union Minister for Investment and Foreign Economic Relations U Thaung Tun today participated in a video conference attended by over 400 participants, including representatives from 15 Foreign Chambers of Commerce, to discuss actions taken by the government to mitigate COVID-19’s impact on Myanmar’s economy, and implementation of the COVID-19 Comprehensive Economic Relief Plan (CERP).
The Minister expressed thanks to Myanmar’s foreign investor community for their ongoing commitment to Myanmar amidst the current crisis while highlighting the need for stronger partnerships noting “…we must celebrate when common ground can be found, but also that a diversity of views does not weaken this partnership. Indeed, through open dialogue such as this, our partnership is strengthened”.
Deputy Minister for Planning, Finance and Industry U Set Aung provided a detailed account of the CERP Action Plans and called for stronger coordination, efficient implementation, and comprehensive monitoring. The Deputy Minister also noted the need to boost consumption, and that the targeted use of cash transfers would have a multiplier effect within the domestic economy in this regard.
The Minister noted that, despite positive 2021 growth forecasts, Myanmar’s economy had not escaped unscathed, with garments, textiles, tourism and MSMEs having absorbed both supply and demand shocks. The Minister drew attention to initiatives aimed at easing financial pressures faced by firms and families, including the COVID-19 Fund, and complementary initiatives such as the European Union-funded ‘Myan Ku’ cash transfer programme.
The Minister called upon garment sector employers to ensure that workplaces were safe and secure and that the rights of workers were respected as per Myanmar law and ILO Core Labour Standards and guided by the principle of freedom of association. The Minister noted with particular appreciation several major brands present in Myanmar who had heeded this call.
Deputy Minister for Investment and Foreign Economic Relations U Bharat Singh expressed optimism that, despite COVID-19’s dark shadow, FDI approvals had exceeded US$4.1 billion in the fiscal year-to-date, placing MIFER’s US$5.8 billion FDI target in reach.
Mr Chris Hughes, AustCham Myanmar Chairperson, speaking on behalf of the 15 foreign chambers present at the event noted “we were delighted to hear directly from the Ministers regarding the current situation and the concrete actions being taken to support the business community as we prepare for the rebound. We are encouraged by the commitment to further reform and the steps being taken to expedite investment processes. The foreign business community looks forward to partnering with the Government to deliver the responsible investment needed to help Myanmar realize its sustainable development plans.”—MNA