ASIA NEWS NETWORK
WE KNOW ASIA BETTER
Myanmar honing investment laws to ensure a level playing field for all, minister says
Publication Date : 07-10-2013
Myanmar is drafting several laws and regulations to create a more level playing field and more favourable investment climate.
Set Aung, deputy minister of national planning and economic development and vice governor of the Myanmar Central Bank, told the recent Myanmar Global Investment Forum in Nay Pyi Daw that the foreign investment law was amended last week. Rules and regulations have come out. The foreign investment law has become much more transparent and predictable.
Recently, the Myanmar citizen investment law came out, but rules and regulations for the law have yet to come out. However, they should come out soon.
The Myanmar citizen investment law and foreign investment law try to ensure a level playing field for foreign investment, domestic investment and public investment.
"The level playing field and the favourable investment climate - these are focuses that the Myanmar government has, particularly to improve the investment sector in the country. The foreign investment law and Myanmar citizen investment law particularly on the investment side also have another law related to investment called the Special Economic Zone Law.
"We used to have the Special Economic Zone Law and Dawei Special Economic Zone Law, which was enacted in January 2011 before the new government took over, but at that time, these two laws were found unattractive in inducing foreign and domestic investment to come to a special economic zone.
"That's why we revised the special economic zone law very rigorously - 80 per cent of the content of the law has already been revised. The new special economic zone (SEZ) law is going to be coming out very soon," he said.
The new SEZ law has been approved by parliament and is due to be approved soon by the parliament and then will be enacted.
"If foreign investors want to invest in any other place besides the SEZ areas, they are will come under the foreign investment law. They will have to get an investment licence from the Myanmar Investment Commission.
"If a foreign investor coming to any of the SEZs to make an investment as a tenant or investor, they are going to be embedded under the SEZ law and then they have to get a licence directly from the one stop service centre established in each SEZ.
"That's how we try to create a favourable investment climate and then we also ensure that the level playing fields for domestic investors and foreign investors are not really separable. They can be complimentary together in the SEZ."
For the domestic investment side, Myanmar has drafted the Small and Medium Size Promotion Law, which will be approved by parliament very soon.
The new central bank law is making the central bank much more autonomous from the Finance Ministry but there are a lot of areas where both have to work together. While the new central bank law has been passed, the rules and regulations for it are being drafted and will be issued very soon.
"We are also drafting a financial institution law. With the view to having much better development in the financial industry, we are also planning to have foreign financial institutions enter the country in various forms.
"The law is going to deal with any financial institution whether a Myanmar local financial institution or a foreign financial institution. There is going to be a lot of stipulations - how to control them, how to supervise them and how to make them operate effectively in the country."
Myanmar has also drawn up procedures and guidelines related to the licensing of the new foreign-domestic financial institutions. But it is still in the process of discussing what role foreign financial groups would be allowed to play. This was a policy matter, he said.