Business Community Awaits Updates on Economic Policy

By Kyaw Hsu Mon 26 September 2016

RANGOON — A scheduled meeting between Burma’s business community and State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has been postponed following her two-week international trip to the US and the UK and reports of fatigue.

At the meeting, the business community expected to receive news from the State Counselor following the US lifting of economic sanctions on future investment and economic policy.

The State Counselor’s Office announced on Monday that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s health was stable but that “she needs to take some rest for a while.”

“We understand that her health is not well, and that’s why the meeting was postponed,” said Myat Thin Aung, chairman of the Hlaing Tharyar Industrial Zone.

The National Planning and Finance Ministry is still expected to clarify new foreign investment policy details before the end of the month, as previously scheduled.

The country’s new Investment Law was submitted to the Lower House last week and is set to be discussed in Parliament this week.

The new draft bill combines the Burma Citizens Investment law—enacted in July 2013 and governing local investment—and the Foreign Investment law—enacted in November 2012 and governing foreign investment—into one law.

Dr. Maung Maung Lay, vice chairman of the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI), told the Irrawaddy that, once her health improves, the business community expects the State Counselor to address how the country will move forward with foreign investors and the new investment law.

“Detailed investment and economic policies are important for businessmen,” he said.

The parliamentary session was scheduled to end Sept. 23 but that has been postponed until Oct 7 so that Parliament can debate and pass the investment law.

Dr. Soe Tun, vice chairman of the Myanmar Rice Federation, agreed with the need for more detailed economic policies, two months after broad economic policies were released by the Ministry of National Planning and Finance.

“We need to know which sectors the government plans to prioritize and promote in order to plan projects over the next five years,” he said.

During Daw Aung Suu Kyi’s trip abroad, she met with British Prime Minister Theresa May, US President Obama, and other international officials and dignitaries. She gave a speech at the 71st Session of the UN General Assembly in New York.