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Myanmar: Southeast Asia’s “Last Frontier” for Investment
- written by: David DuByne
Following the recent reforms in Myanmar that have caused the United States and other countries to ease sanctions against its military regime, businesses around the world are taking a new look at opportunities in that market. Taiwan is no exception. Recently a private Myanmar trade delegation visited Taiwan courting investors, and in May this year the Taiwan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) issued a 36-page, Chinese-language Investment Guide to Myanmar.
In July this writer attended, at the invitation of two Taiwanese business owners, a Myanmar Investment Conference sponsored by the MOEA’s Department of Investment Services in conjunction with the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA) and the Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC). The purpose of the conference was to showcase investment opportunities in what was termed the “Last Frontier Market in Southeast Asia.”
A quick glance at a map of Asia shows the central location of Myanmar (also known as Burma) as a crossroad between China, India, Bangladesh, and Thailand, giving it a strategic potential for shipping. As a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), it should also benefit from the increasing regional economic integration that ASEAN is fostering. Another attraction of Myanmar’s infant market is the huge investment the country will need to build its economy. Both U.S. and Taiwanese companies should be able to find space in certain sectors of what is already becoming a crowded foreign investment destination.
Of the 31 countries with investments in Myanmar, China leads with US$14 billion or 34.5% of the total, followed by Thailand with $9.6 billion, Hong Kong with $6.3 billion, South Korea with $2.9 billion, Britain with $2.7 billion, and Singapore with $1.8 billion. The few small Taiwanese firms there are manufacturing consumer products such as diapers, mobile phones, and foodstuffs. Among U.S. firms, Chevron has a stake in oil exploration, and Coca-Cola and Pepsi are on sale again after a period of 59 years in which U.S. trade sanctions kept them out of the market.
“Myanmar is ready for any foreign partnership, joint venture, or investment,” says U Tin Ko Win, deputy director general of the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration (DICA). To entice Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), the MIC has been offering incentives such as a five-year corporate tax holiday and an increase in the length of the normal land lease from 35 years to 50 years with two additional 15-year extensions. Myanmar’s parliament passed a new FDI law on September 7, the last day of the lower house’s session, and in the final version of the bill dropped a controversial clause of requiring a US$5 million minimum investment. The parliament also increased the maximum shareholding of foreign parties to 50%, up from the previous 49%, in sectors including manufacturing, farming, hotels, and fisheries. Many would-be investors worry, however, that a 50/50 shareholding means potential deadlock.
Under the new law, 13 vaguely defined additional sectors are also open to foreign investment, but only if the foreign partner’s holding is less than 50%. As of early October, the specific sectors had not yet been announced. There were also unconfirmed reports that Myanmar was considering allowing foreign investment of up 100% in some high-tech sectors
Some local business interests in Myanmar “worry that opening the country too aggressively would let foreign firms dominate the economy,” says Kristy Hsu, program coordinator at the Chung-Hua Institution for Economic Research who attended a Myanmar Global Investment Forum in Yangon in September. “The fear is that 90% of Myanmar’s business sector is comprised of SMEs and they feel the new bill puts them at a competitive disadvantage from the start. Most SMEs in the country want fresh capital through a JV partnership, not direct competition from 100% foreign-owned entities. They also want the same tax incentives that are offered to foreign firms.”
Hsu also noted that “local unions are beginning co-ops in order to garner heavier bargaining power, and to include themselves in pivotal roles in price, wage, and investment issues. Strikes and land disputes are heating up as land prices increase throughout the country, but the government arbitration committee has continued a hands-off approach unless a dispute involves thousands of workers.”
Another FDI inducement was removal of a “Hostile Buy-Out” clause that allowed a Myanmar joint-venture partner to forcefully buy out the other side if they had enough capital, whether agreed to or not by the counterpart. In addition, rules and regulations have been relaxed, and it is now supposed to be possible to complete the entire incorporation process in a day, though that does not seem to be realized in practice. A new session of parliament begins this month, and more changes in the law may be forthcoming.
Despite the new opportunities, there is agreement that foreign companies will find Myanmar a difficult place to do well in. “The market is small and the pool is full – everyone is already in,” said Taiwanese businessman Roger Yin, general manager of Good-Men Associates, interviewed while attending the investment conference in Myanmar in July. “The only way to compete is to have a high-tech advantage in materials or techniques that will take a few years to copy. When I started in China 20-plus years ago, there weren’t too many foreign businesses there, so you could experiment and start slowly. But precisely the opposite is true in Myanmar. Everyone is here and they only want big investments. The climate is not right for what I’m doing at this time. It’s cheaper to manufacture in China, and the infrastructure is in place there, unlike Myanmar.”
On the other hand, explains Albert Fan of TAITRA’s Market Research Department, a keynote speaker at the July conference, Taiwan may enjoy some special advantages in dealing with Myanmar. One is the fact that many people in Myanmar are able to communicate in Chinese due to the country’s longstanding trade ties with China. Another is the legacy of the presence of former Kuomintang troops in the mountain regions of Myanmar, where they fled across the border at the end of the civil war with the Chinese Communists. For years, the Taiwan government subsidized the education in Taiwan universities of the offspring of these soldiers – known as Myanmar-born Kuomintang (MBK). After graduation, many of them returned to Myanmar. “If you must have a Myanmar JV partner,” says Fan, “the safest approach is to partner with a Taiwan-educated MBK business family.”
U.S. companies might also benefit from choosing an MBK entity to partner with, especially in fields in which the MBK businesses are strongest – canning and dehydrating equipment, as well as other machinery for the food and beverage industry. Overall, however, the most productive sectors are those related to natural resources: oil and gas, mining, and timber.
The first challenge in trying to assess the business climate is the lack of trustworthy data, with different private and government sources releasing different figures. Although no comprehensive nationwide census has been taken since 1931, the current estimated population is about 50 million. Import figures are grossly underestimated since so much smuggling takes place from Thailand, China, Malaysia, and India. The International Monetary Fund forecasts Myanmar’s 2013 GDP growth at 7.7%.
Another negative is that the administration is widely perceived as non-transparent, corrupt, and highly inefficient. Over 60% of the FY2010-11 national budget was allocated to state-owned enterprises, most of which operate at a deficit.
TAITRA’s Fan notes some other drawbacks. “As the rural population is too small, spread out, and impoverished to purchase anything, most investors, including Taiwanese businessmen, focus only on major cities like Yangon, Mandalay, and Naypyidaw,” he says. Additionally, in the absence of a formal stock market, domestic investment goes mainly into land, “creating sky-high prices that deter the development of manufacturing facilities and warehouses.”
Kristy Hsu notes that “property prices in the city of Yangon are higher than Bangkok and some places in Tokyo,” and that while the official exchange rate is 6 kyat to the dollar, “on the street that same dollar will get you 860 kyat.”
In 2010-11, the transfer of state assets, especially real estate, to military families under the guise of a privatization policy further widened the gap between the economic elite and the general public. Generals control vast tracts of land and therefore hold the key to the development process, says Fan. “These generals can use their power for or against reforms.” Under a controversial 2010 amnesty agreement, the military was given a clean slate for any crimes committed before 2010.
Potential transport hub
If U.S. sanctions are fully lifted, economic stability should be assured, as Myanmar is well situated to be a regional transport hub. For China and India, a stable Myanmar would be a strategic asset providing deepwater port access to the Indian Ocean and enabling circumvention of the Malacca Straits by using overland rail routes through Yunnan Province in western China. The rail connections from the Chinese side are in place, but key portions of track within Myanmar remain in the planning stages.
Existing railways are old and rudimentary, using narrow gauge, and haven’t been repaired in decades. The train trip from Mandalay to Myitkyina, which is 530 miles, takes 24-30 hours, but the same distance can be covered by car in 17 hours. Highways are unpaved, and even streets in major cities are a patchwork of semi-pavement. Transportation costs are high and energy shortages are common, especially from January to April when hydroelectric reservoirs are at low water. To further complicate matters, ethnic armies control all the roadways throughout the Shan and Kayah States. “Bribery and road-use taxes imposed every hundred kilometers or so through different ethnic army-controlled areas make it cheaper to deliver by air,” says Kristy Hsu.
What will look more attractive to potential investors are the low wage rates. Factory workers earn US$50-100 per month, a truck driver $150, and salespeople $80-160. Social Security Benefits require the employer to contribute 2.5% of the insured wage and the employee 1.5%. Most workers come from remote rural areas, so that room and board must also be included in labor costs. Those over the age of 40 can speak English as they received schooling during the period of British rule, while the English ability of younger workers is described as hit or miss, but generally higher in the cities. The population consists of many different ethnicities, with different management techniques needed for each group.
The capital of the country is now Naypyidaw, so that companies setting up in Yangon (formerly known as Rangoon), the largest city and commercial center, may encounter delays in paperwork running into days or weeks while documents are sent back and forth. Construction has begun on a new industrial park for foreign investors within the Thilawa Special Economic Zone, which includes the deep-sea port of Thilawa 25 kilometers south Yangon.
Politically, “Myanmar recognizes the People's Republic of China, accepts the One China Policy, and does not maintain any representation in Taiwan,” including non-official representation, notes Kristy Hsu. With even TAITRA barred from opening an office in Myanmar, connections are maintained through wholly private entities. Hsu says that some Taiwanese businessmen have set up a desk at the Yangon Golf Club to serve as a channel to provide business information and answer inquiries and business. In addition, she says she receives at least 12 calls a day in Taipei from Taiwanese companies, mostly asking about the investment law changes.
“Foreign firm are highly sought-after as partners as they can bring new technology and fresh capital,” says U Ken Tun, CEO of Myanmar’s Parami Energy Group. “Foreign firms should come in and identify an opportunity, then find a person who shares the same vision,” he suggests. “Access to the oil and gas industry is limited to a profit-sharing joint venture arrangement with a local company owning the exploration concession. The same is true for mining, since mineral reserves are controlled by the Ministry of Mines and the best spots have been awarded to private local companies. One advantage is that with a well-known business entity as a partner, you could circumvent some of the bureaucratic challenges – that’s local firepower. The partner can also contribute essential assets in the form of connections, land holdings, and property.” But prospective investors need to be aware that many leading business figures are former members of the military regime that the U.S Treasury Departments has placed on its Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) list of individuals targeted for “Frozen Asset” sanctions. Dealings with them could pose long-term risks to a company’s finances and reputation.
Some of the key opportunities for investment are likely to be in such areas of infrastructure development as power plants, industrial parks, airports, and telecommunications, as well as in mining, oil and gas exploration and production, forestry and timber development, agriculture, and hotels and other tourism facilities. In manufacturing, major sectors identified as in need of investment are cement, building materials, and spare parts for agricultural machinery and automobiles. There is also a need for imported hospital equipment, even second-hand.
— David DuByne is an American businessman currently resident in Taiwan. He has been studying the feasibility of the Myanmar market for an algae biodiesel production system.
The Wait for Myanmar's New Foreign Investment Law is Over
Published: 9 November 2012
Investors waiting for the finalization of the new Myanmar foreign investment law should gear up their strategies for investing in Myanmar as the law was finally approved and signed by Myanmar’s president Thein Sein on 2 November 2012.
The final bill contained 10 key changes proposed by Mr Thein Sein, including the removal of caps on foreign ownership of joint ventures. Under the new law, joint venture partners can determine for themselves the ratio of ownership. The proposed minimum investment of $5m was also removed. The changes made by the president addressed the concerns of pro-business reformers, including the leading voice of private sector in Myanmar, UMFCCI, that the bill was too protectionist and would deter foreign investors. Some key highlights of the new law:
As per the old law, foreigners can still own 100 percent of businesses without the need for a local partner. But restrictions apply in some areas.
The ratio of ownership between joint venture partners can be determined between the partners.
Myanmar Investment Commission has the discretionary power to allow foreign investors into the restricted sectors (such as fisheries and agriculture).
Foreign investors can lease land from the government or from authorized private owners for up to 50 years, depending on the type and size of the investment, and the deal can be extended twice, for 10 years each time.
Foreign firms may be entitled to a tax holiday for the first five years of operation and other forms of tax relief may be available depending on the investment, if deemed in the national interest.
Foreign manufacturing companies may be entitled to tax relief of up to 50 percent on profits made from exports. Tax exemption or relief can be granted providing it is reinvested in the business within one year.
Advantique is having the Myanmar Private Sector Investment Summit (MPSIS) on 28-29 January 2013 in Yangon that provides insights on investing and doing business in Myanmar and the latest legislations in Myanmar. For more information, please email:
or call: +65 6243 3778 for more details.
Myanmar’s Foreign Investment Law Goes Back to the Parliament
Published: 10 October 2012
Myanmar’s president U Thein Sein has delayed the highly anticipated new foreign investment bill. He had sent back the law to the parliament, asking for amendments. U Thein Sein is pushing to give overseas investors greater flexibility in their share holdings in joint ventures with local businesses in certain sectors.
The latest version passed by parliament restricted foreign ownership to 50% in some politically sensitive industries, causing wide criticism from local business communities.
In unrestricted sectors, foreign investors are required to hold at least a 35% share in joint venture with local partners.
“The president does not want a specific ratio for joint venture arrangements in unrestricted sectors, he wants it to be worked out between the foreign investor and local investor”, said U Zaw Htay, a director in the president’s office in an interview with The Wall Street Journal.
U Zaw Htay also said that the president wants the language used in the draft legislation related to four of the eleven restricted sectors to be amended, so that there is clarity on which industries foreign investors should play a greater part and which industries local business should be more active.
The four sectors are Production and Services, Agriculture, Livestock and Fishing.
The Myanmar’s parliament is in recess now and will reconvene on the third week of October.
Advantique is having the Myanmar Private Sector Investment Summit (MPSIS) on 28-29 January 2013 in Yangon that provides insights on investing and doing business in Myanmar and the latest legislations in Myanmar. For more information, please click here or email
for more details.
One-on-One interview with U Aye Lwin, the Joint Secretary General of UMFCCI on Foreign Investments in Myanmar and the New Foreign Investment Law.
Published 12 September 2012
Advantique Group Pte Ltd had the honour to meet with U Aye Lwin, the Joint Secretary General of UMFCCI , Secretary General of Myanmar Geosciences Society (MGS) and Chairman of Dagon Seikken Industry Development Management Committee in a one-on-one interview about foreign investment in Myanmar. The Republic of the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce & Industry (UMFCCI) has been established since 1919 and acts as a bridge between the private and public sector in Myanmar. The influential association encourages the local business community to network and communicate with foreign investors.
Below are the details of the interview:
1 In your opinion, will the draft foreign investment law approved by the Myanmar parliament be effective to attract foreign investment?
It is good for investors that the minimum contribution of 5million USD is now scrapped and that foreigners can have up to 50% shareholding, instead of the previously proposed 49%.
In some infrastructure projects that require a high level of capital, shareholding of foreigners can be 100%. All investment proposals will need to be evaluated on case by case basis.
After the law is passed in October, more detailed rules and procedures will need to be made for a proper implementation of the law.
2. What do you think is lacking in the law or what do you hope to see included in the law?
We have proposed to also remove a minimum 35% shareholding required of foreign investors. This is because in some cases, local Myanmar businesses may only need 10% foreign investor shareholding for their joint ventures. We would like the new investment law to be flexible and give more incentives for foreigners to encourage them to invest in Myanmar.
3. Do you think foreign investment will benefit local businesses especially the private sector?
Foreign investors can help to increase the technology know-how and knowledge of SMEs when they invest in Myanmar. Currently some Myanmar companies are not as developed as neighbouring countries and face a myriad of challenges including outdated technology. Change is inevitable if we want to be able to compete in the global marketplace.
4. What is the general sentiment of local businesses towards foreign investment?
There is a fear that Myanmar businesses will lose out to foreign competitors if they enter the market in Myanmar. However, in order to progress, we will need to change our mind set and communicate more openly with foreign investors. Myanmar businesses need to cooperate together and be prepared to work with foreign investors. This is necessary if we want to progress and be as advanced as our ASEAN neighbours. We have the "late-comer" advantage as we can learn from advanced countries on how we can progress. Foreign investors on the other hand should also take a long term view to invest sustainably in Myanmar, to develop value-added industries, and not just invest in Myanmar only to extract its rich resources.
5. What do you think are the sectors that require bigger contributions from foreign investors?
Many sectors require bigger contributions from foreign investors. Sectors include: infrastructure, resource-based industries (timber/minerals/oil & gas), technology & markets, finished goods, labour intensive industries like garment, electronics as well as education & logistics. Most importantly, we welcome foreign investors to look long term and develop value-added industries in Myanmar.
6. What do you think is the ideal way to formulate joint-ventures or win-win relationships between Myanmar companies and foreign investors?
Trust is crucial in joint ventures. There must be open communication, trust , transparency & accountability in joint venture agreements between Myanmar companies and foreign investors.
7. A lot of foreign investors are adopting the wait-and-see approach with regards to investing in Myanmar as they are waiting for the finalisation of the investment law, what is your advice for them?
In business, time is money. There are plenty of opportunities but time and tide wait for no man. If you wait too long, the opportunity may be lost to others.
8. What are some top wishes of the private sector with regards to economic reform in Myanmar?
There will also be a Myanmar citizen investment law coming up soon, which will also give local businesses more benefits. While the law can help to give local businesses some benefits, they will also need to be prepared to change their mind sets and welcome new opportunities foreign investors can bring.
One of the wishes of the private sector is for the government to look into resolving the issue of inflated land costs due to speculation. In Myanmar, foreigners can lease the land from the private sector. However as a result, the cost is much inflated. Land cost is higher than that of ASEAN countries. It's our hope the government can alleviate this issue. Another issue is the current weak infrastructure (lack of good quality roads and electricity). It is hoped that foreign investments in infrastructure can help to overcome this challenge. With good infrastructure, the private sector can move much faster and progress.
9. Do you have any concluding remarks or message for the investors?
Myanmar with its population strength of 60 million, strategic geographic location, rich resources and hardworking people who can mostly speak English present great potential for investors who would like to invest in its market. Plenty of opportunities exist in sectors from timber, fishery, education, logistics, manufacturing, and many more.
But like the saying goes, the early bird catches the worm. Hence investors should not take too long to wait and see but come to Myanmar to survey the market.
(Source: Advantique Group Pte Ltd)
- The End -
The above was the transcript of our interview with U Aye Lwin, the Joint Secretary General of UMFCCI, Secretary General of Myanmar Geosciences Society(MGS) and Chairman of Dagon Seikken Industry Development Management Committee.
Advantique Group is having the Myanmar Private Sector Investment Summit (MPSIS) on 28-29 January 2013 in Yangon which provides insights about investing and doing business in Myanmar and the latest legislations in Myanmar. For more information, please click here or email
for more details.
New Myanmar Investment Law Passed in Parliament, Now Pending President’s Approval
Published: 8 September 2012
After months of debates and amendments, Myanmar’s parliament has finally passed the new foreign direct investment law on the last day of the lower house session (7 Sep).
The final version of the bill dropped the controversial clause of requiring US$5million minimum investment.
It also increases the maximum shareholding of foreign parties to 50 percent from the proposed 49 percent in certain sensitive sectors, including manufacturing, farming, agriculture and fisheries.
There were unconfirmed reports that in some high technology sectors where Myanmar is deficient, foreign investment could be up to 100%.
Another progressive aspect of the new Myanmar investment law allows foreign investors to lease land for an initial period of 50 years with an option to renew, compared to 35 years under old rules.
The draft law appears to be a middle ground between a draft offered by a camp led by President Thein Sein which is pushing for rapid change, and a version offered by conservative legislators and a fraction of big local businesses who have worried that opening the country too aggressively would let foreign firms dominate the economy.
It is now up to the president to sign the legislation into law, or pass it back to lawmakers if he is still unhappy with the proposals. The next session for parliament starts in the third week of October.
Foreign companies wanting to invest in Myanmar are awaiting for new Myanmar investment laws to be drafted. According to U Tin Ko Win, deputy director general from the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration: “Myanmar is ready for any foreign partnership, joint venture or investment”.
The new Myanmar investment laws are now been debated in the Upper House of Parliament and if all goes through, observers will call for the bill to be law sometime before late August. The latest version of the for investment bill contain some changes to the draft that was circulated earlier in the year. Though it was not clear if this was the final version to be put to parliament. There may be further change after the parliamentary discussion.
One article states that new Myanmar investment laws will grant foreign companies a 5 year tax holiday from when their operations start on a commercial scale, and that period can be extended if there is some benefit to the country according to reports in the media. Some provisions include: allowing foreigners to own 100% of companies only for enterprises that involve high-tech industries beyond the reach of domestic investors or set up joint ventures with local citizens or government departments with involvement of at least 35% of foreign capital. Foreign investors will be allowed to lease land from the state and private citizens with an initial lease of up to 50 years with additional two 10-year extensions, depending on the nature of the business and the size of the investment. The new bill would also let authorities grant longer leases exceptionally to foreign investors wanting to operate in underdeveloped, remote areas. Foreign companies would not be allowed to recruit unskilled foreign workers and local citizens must make up at least 25 percent of the skilled workforce after 5 years. The law would prohibit nationalisation of a foreigners’ business during the period allowed in the contract or extended in the contract other than by giving compensation based on current prices in the market in the interest of the general public. Foreign investors will need to wait for the discussions in parliament to be finalised to get a clearer understanding of the new investment bill.
As big as France and Britain combined, resource rich Myanmar sits strategically between India, China and Southeast Asia with ports on the Indian Ocean and Andaman Sea, all of which have made it a great potential for investors.(Source:Mizzima July 16 2012 & Reuters August 10 2012)
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According to Xinhua July 24, Myanmar's foreign trade reached nearly 5 billion U.S. dollars in the first three months (April-June) of the 2012-13. Of the foreign trade, over one billion dollars were gained through border trade, the Ministry of Commerce was quoted by the Weekly Eleven as saying.
Of the total trade volume, exports amounted to 2.37 billion dollars, while imports amounted to 2.41 billion dollars.Natural gas topped the country's exports with nearly 800 million U.S. dollars, followed by agricultural produce , gem, forest and marine products. Meanwhile, fuel stood first in its imports, followed by raw textile products, machinery and spare parts, palm oil, motor vehicles, iron and steel, plastic products, pharmaceutical products and food and beverage.
In the fiscal year 2011-12, Myanmar's foreign trade reached 18. 15 billion U.S. dollars, of which the export took 9.09 billion dollars, while the import accounted for 9.053 billion U.S. dollars.(Source : Xinhua July 24)
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Poised to become a Middle Income Nation by 2030 if Reforms Stay On Track
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) said in a report released on 20 August that Myanmar could expand its economy by 7 percent to 8 percent per year while per capita income could triple over the next 18 years to become a middle income nation by 2030 if reforms stay on track.
Analyzing the opportunities and challenges facing Myanmar after decades of isolation, the report "Myanmar in Transition" is ADB's first major assessment of the country since it began political and economic reforms in 2011. It noted that Myanmar is showing good potential for growth and could become one of the next "rising stars" in Asia.
Stephen Groff, ADB's vice president for East Asia, Southeast Asia and the Pacific, said that Myanmar has to strive for strong and inclusive growth, which is imperative for poverty alleviation and improved living standards.Key development agendas for Myanmar which has the lowest per capita GDP among Asian countries also include maintaining macroeconomic stability, improving infrastructure and human capital and mobilizing resources for investment, he said.
Stephen Groff said “with its abundant natural resources and labor force, strategic location close to China and India and the ASEAN bloc, Myanmar is perfectly positioned to prosper from Asia's dynamic economic growth.” (Source: ADB August 20)
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Accoding to Myanmar Posts and Telecommunication (MPT) , Myanmar’s Telecommunications will soon be privatised, ending 60 years of the sector being state-owned.
The principal of the telecommunications and postal training centre, U Kyaw Soe said that MPT will implement the reform process in conjunction with four private operators on a step-by-step basis. MPT will be dismantled and reformed as Myanmar Telecom. Myanmar Telecom will operate without funding from the government and will instead generate its own finances with domestic and international organisations expecting to provide loans, technical support and technology. Yatanarpon Teleport will be merged into a new company called Yatanarpon Telecom. Two other operators, which could potentially be foreign firms, will also compete in the market.
“The Department of Posts and Telecommunications will be coordinated by the Ministry of Communications, Posts and Telegraphs, which will tax operators,” U Kyaw Soe said. He added that the four operators will be able to offer mobile connections, land-line telephones, a public switchboard telephone network, information technology and internet services.An official from MPT said: “A telecoms corporation will be established by the end of the year and the rules and regulations for operators will be announced. Once this process is complete, MPT will call for international tenders. The selected operators should be up and running by 2013.”
Myanmar Investment Commission and the Myanmar Socio-Economic Advisory will participate in the tender process. Atelecommunication consultancy group formed by President U Thein Sein and private tender consultant groups will assess every bid in terms of human resources and financing.An official from MPT said: “The existing telecom sector in Myanmar is a centralised operating system, which means the public relies on a single operator. We are trying to establish a customer-focused telecommunications system that offers a choice of operators.”.
State-owned newspapers reported on August 27 that U Thein Tun, Minister for Communications, Posts and Telegraphs said on August 25: “The public will be able to choose their preferred operator from the four competing in the telecom market.”
MPT is seeking to upgrade user density from 75 to 80 percent by 2016. In 2013 a process will begin to increase the number of users to a targeted 39.5 million by 2016. Between 2013 and 2014 the target is an increase of 10 million users, while between 2014 and 2015 the target is 14 million and for 2015 to 2016 it is 15.5 million. The MPT announcement stated that only three million people own their own landline or mobile in Myanmar – a density of 5.6percent. An official from MPT said a law to privatise telecommunications is required and will be promulgated by the end of the year. (Source: Myanmar Times, September 3 - 9, 2012)
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