Irrawaddy Business Roundup
By Nan Lwin 15 August 2020
YANGON—Myanmar’s Health Ministry announced this that it will relax public gathering COVID-19 restriction starting Sunday as no new locally-transmitted cases of the disease have been reported for nearly a month.
During the week, two local companies announced they will team up to implement a new international trade terminal in Pathein Industrial City, Ayeyarwady Region. At the same time, the Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC) said COVID-19 won’t affect the flow of foreign investment into Myanmar and the commission is confident that the country will meet its investment target for this fiscal year.
Furthermore, MIC also said that investment by Myanmar citizens has doubled under the National League for Democracy (NLD) administration compared with the previous government. Additionally, the government said Myanmar is seeking new markets for fruit exports as the sector has been hit badly by COVID-19.
Local companies form joint venture for new international port
Two local companies have formed a joint venture to implement the Ayeyarwady International Industrial Port (AIIP) in Pathein Industry City, located on the bank of the Pathein River, four miles south of Ayeyarwady Region’s capital, Pathein.
Unison Choice Services Limited, a subsidiary of Ever Flow River Group Public Company (EFR), signed a deal with Ayeyar Hinthar Holdings Co., Ltd (AHH) on Wednesday to form a joint venture company called A Logistics Co., Ltd that will operate the AIIP, according to a press statement from EFR.
The statement said that Unison Choice Services Limited has done a feasibility study and design development for the AIIP in cooperation with AHH over the past year. The planned project will include bonded warehouses, a container yard, international port terminals and other infrastructure. It will handle international ships and ocean liners.
Pathein Industrial City is slated to cover 2,711 hectares and include industrial zones, a river port for 10,000-ton cargo ships and commercial and residential areas. The EFR statement said that Unison Choice holds 60 percent of the new company and AHH holds the remaining 40 percent.
MIC: Pandemic won’t affect flow of FDI
The MIC said the flow of foreign direct investment (FDI) into the country won’t decrease during the COVID-19 period and that it is confident the country will meet its FDI target for this fiscal year.
According to MIC records, the country received more than US$5 billion from foreign investors during the 10-month period of the current fiscal year (2019-2020). The government target for FDI for this fiscal year is US$5.8 billion. The 2019-2020 fiscal year began on Oct. 1, 2019 and ends on Sept. 30.
The MIC said it has obtained investments from a total of 219 foreign enterprises and secured more than US$110 million for special economic zones during this fiscal year.
Citizen investment has doubled
This week, the MIC also said that investments from Myanmar citizens have almost doubled in the last four years under the current government, compared with the previous government.
It said total citizen investment in March 2016 was over 11.6 trillion kyats (US$8.5 billion) but the total had increased to over 20.9 trillion kyats (US$15.3 billion) by the end of June 2020.
During the last four years, citizens invested the largest amount in the real estate sector, accounting for about 30 percent of their total investments. The total value of real estate investments by citizens over the past four years was nearly 2.6 trillion kyats (US$1.9 billion).
The second-largest investment by citizens is in the manufacturing sector, with more than 1.5 trillion kyats invested (US$1.1 billion). Moreover, citizens invested more than 1.1 trillion kyats in the transport sector.
Government seeks new market for fruit export
The Ministry of Commerce said it is seeking new markets for fruit exports as the sector has been among the hardest hit by COVID-19.
Currently, China is the major market for Myanmar’s fruit exports but producers and exporters have suffered extreme losses due to China’s COVID-19-related restrictions and new export rules.
The ministry said that officials from Myanmar embassies in foreign countries have been trying to seek new markets for fruit exports in their host countries. It said they are also conducting market research on exporting fruits such as watermelons and cucumbers to the European market.
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