Business Roundup

The Irrawaddy Business Roundup

By Nan Lwin 22 August 2020

YANGON—Myanmar has reported 19 transmissions of COVID-19 in Rakhine State within a week after more than a month without any domestic transmissions. Elsewhere this week the Ministry of Commerce banned the export of diamonds, ivory and endangered animals. The Central Statistical Organization (CSO) also reported a six-month decline in inflation as consumer demand fell.

The Internal Revenue Department (IRD) has ordered companies to clarify the income sources of shareholders to improve transparency. And Myanmar Chemical and Machinery Company Limited (MCM) also says it will invest in an oil refinery at Dawei Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in southern Myanmar.

Export bans

The Ministry of Commerce announced on Monday a list of goods banned from export, according to the Export and Import Law.

Diamonds, crude oil, ivory, elephants, horses, endangered animals, arms and ammunition and antiques are on the list. The goods cannot leave the country by land, sea or air.

MCM proposes Dawei refinery

MCM submitted a proposal to build an oil refinery in Dawei SEZ, according to the zone’s management committee.

It said MCM plans to construct the “Eight MMTA Refinery” at the Tanintharyi Region site.

According to the government’s Directorate of Investment and Company Administration (DICA), the company has two directors who are citizens of Myanmar. It said the government granted the company approval to implement a 100-megawatt liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in Kyaukphyu, Rakhine State. The company also sells oil and gas exploration equipment to the Ministry of Electricity and Energy.

The Dawei SEZ is reportedly set to be Southeast Asia’s largest industrial complex. Myanmar has finalized negotiating and agreed concessions for the construction of the initial phase of the SEZ.

Inflation declines along with consumer demand

The latest CSO report said inflation in the country declined by 1.16 percent during the first half of 2020. It said inflation was 9.06 percent in January but declined to 7.91 percent in June.

Inflation has fallen with fuel prices, the US dollar exchange rate and consumers demand due to COVID-19. The prices of rice and meat have slightly increased during the period, according to the CSO.

The price of pawsan rice, the most popular rice in the country, has risen by more than 10 percent per bag in the wholesale market, the CSO reported.

Companies to verify shareholder income

The IRD has announced that companies will need to verify the income sources of its shareholders. It said companies have until the end of September to report.

The IRD said companies’ shareholders will have to complete documents and they will then receive a verification certificate within five days. Shareholders found to have unpaid taxes will have to pay the IRD.

IRD said the move aims to improve the transparency of business income and to encourage employers to pay their taxes voluntarily.

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