Business Roundup

The Irrawaddy Business Round-up

By Zaw Zaw Htwe 16 May 2020

A number of essential businesses in Myanmars major cities are being allowed to reopen as some COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.

But those leaving their homes without a face mask face prosecution.

In Yangon, it was announced that more than 6,000 workers lost their jobs during April as coronavirus continues to hammer the economy.

But the Yangon regional government approved three foreign investments to create thousands of jobs

Meanwhile, more than 800 companies were removed from the company registration lists for failing to submit annual returns.

Myanmars central bank also reinstated its original banking hours after overcrowding became a problem during reduced opening times.

As demand slumps, the fishing industry has ceased operations a month before the season was due to end.

6,355 jobs lost during April

The Confederation of Trade Unions of Myanmar (CTUM) said 6,355 jobs were axed in Yangon from February to April.

By the end of April, 47 factories in Yangon have either closed or reduced their workforce because of coronavirus.

Ko Soe Thet Paing Oo of the CTUM told The Irrawaddy that 13 factories had closed and 32 downsized due to the supply shortages. Two factories were abandoned by fleeing owners who had not paid their employees.

Ten other factories had sacked staff in May but the job loss figures were not yet available, the organization said. The CTUM said most of the factories made clothing, shoes and bags and were mostly owned by investors from mainland China, South Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan although some were owned by citizens of Myanmar.

President U Win Myint said on International WorkersDay that sacked workers who were registered with the governments social safety net will be entitled to free public health care for one year after losing their jobs.

The labor ministry said it would provide social security compensation to those losing their jobs.

Thai and Chinese investments approved in Yangon

On May 13, the Yangon Regional Investment Committee, chaired by chief minister U Phyo Min Thein, has approved three investment packages from Thailand and China.

The three garment investments will involve sorting, packaging and exporting goods and sales within Myanmar.

The Directorate of Investment and Company Administration (DICA) said US$8.29 million (11.7 billion kyats) in investment would create around 1,880 jobs.

810 companies lose registration

This week DICA announced that it had removed 810 firms from its company registration list for failing to make annual returns.

Under the 2017 Myanmar Companies Law, all registered companies are instructed to submit annual returns to DICA through the Myanmar Companies Online (MyCO) electronic registration system.

According to DICA, the companies were registered between 2008 and 2018.

Fishing abandoned as demand slumps

This week, Myanmars fishing industry stopped operations a month early as demand has fallen, said the Myanmar Fisheries Federation (MFF).

The fishing season lasts from September to May with June to August designated as the breeding season.

We can catch a lot of fish but the market is weak due to COVID-19,” said U Win Kyaing, the MFF general secretary. COVID-19 means there is no shipping to export fish and Myanmar has insufficient refrigeration.

Banking hours reinstated to avoid overcrowding

On May 12, the Central Bank of Myanmar (CBM) has reinstated banking hours after overcrowding occurred during reduced banking hours.

The central bank had temporarily limited hours from 10am to 2pm in response to coronavirus.

But crowding has been a problem because of reduced banking times and because many private banks remain closed.

The CBM announced on May 11 that banks can reopen on their original banking hours from 9:30am to 3pm after a decision by the Central Committee on Prevention, Control and Treatment on COVID-19 which said crowded banks could allow coronavirus to spread.

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