Business Roundup

The Irrawaddy Business Roundup

By Zaw Zaw Htwe 26 December 2020

This week, Myanmar has looked to lift COVID-19 bans to boost its economic recovery and the health ministry has urged people to comply with preventative measures while returning to normal life.

Meanwhile, construction is due to start on three major infrastructure projects in joint ventures with South Korea, Singapore and Thailand.

The Directorate of Investment and Company Administration (DICA) also announced that it unregistered about 1,000 firms for failing to submit annual returns.

The Singaporean firm RMHS has threatened a lawsuit against military-backed Myanma Economic Holding Limited (MEHL) for lacking transparency and accountability in profits and for failing to comply with the Tobacco Products Law.

Myanmar has also approved investments in Yangon and Ayeyarwady regions and Rakhine and Kayah states.

Myanmar to start large joint projects

The Ministry of Investment and Foreign Economic Relations said it will start three major infrastructure projects in Yangon Region with participation from South Korea, Singapore and Thailand.

Construction started on the Korea-Myanmar Industrial Complex, the first economic collaboration of its kind between the two governments, in Yangon’s Hlegu Township on Dec. 24.

The ministry said work will start soon on the AMATA Smart Eco-City, a joint project with Thailand and on the Myanmar-Singapore Industrial Park.

Investment minister U Thaung Tun told the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry on Sunday that Myanmar has secured 98 percent of its foreign direct investment target for this year despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said the Myanmar Investment Commission is also reviewing investment proposals and will soon issue permits.

Agriculture, electricity production and industry in Myanmar have the potential to attract foreign and domestic investment despite the pandemic, U Thaung Tun said.

1,000 companies lose registration

This week DICA said it removed 1,000 firms from its company registration list for failing to make annual returns.

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

The companies failed to report their annual returns despite being offered a suspension.

Singaporean firm threatens military-backed firm

On Wednesday, the Singaporean firm RMHS said it will sue its joint-venture partner, MEHL, for failing to comply with the 2016 Tobacco Product Law and for lacking transparency and accountability in the joint venture.

The firm said RMHS and MEHL have been joint-venture partners since 1993 with the Virginia Tobacco Company Limited, which was established for manufacturing and distributing cigarettes under a trademark.

RMHS told The Irrawaddy that MHHL is refusing to be independently audited. A company representative said the firm was unsatisfied with its partner’s oppressive practices towards small stakeholders and foreign investors.

Myanmar approves investments 

Myanmar had approved investments in Rakhine and Kayah states and Ayeyarwady and Yangon regions, according to DICA.

On Wednesday, the Ayeyarwady Regional Investment Committee approved a clothing manufacturing investment and Rakhine Investment Committee approved an investment on Dec. 22.

On Dec. 17, the investment committee in Kayah State approved an investment focusing on planting and distributing orchids and other plants.

The Yangon Regional Investment Commission approved a nearly US$700,000 (933 million kyats) Chinese industrial investment, creating 30 jobs.

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