Business Roundup

The Irrawaddy Business Roundup

By Zaw Zaw Htwe 9 January 2021

Yangon – Myanmar expects to start providing COVID-19 vaccines in February and is seeking public donations to help fund the process. Amid COVID-19 restrictions, many shops, restaurants and teashops have reopened to allow their businesses to survive.

Also this week the Japanese firm Kirin announced it will continue denying profits to its partner in a joint venture with a firm linked to Myanmar’s military.

The Ministry of Investment and Foreign Economic Relations has also announced investments approved in October and November.

The Central Bank of Myanmar this week issued remittance licenses to two companies in Myanmar and a small enterprise said it will start exporting roselle tea to the US.

Kirin continues profit denial

On Thursday, Japanese beverage giant Kirin announced it will continue denying profits to the military-owned Myanma Economic Holdings Public Company (MEHL) after a probe into the company ended inconclusively.

Last year, Kirin hired Deloitte Tohmatsu Financial Advisory to conduct an independent review of the financial and governance structures of MEHL after it faced international condemnation for its military ties amid accusations of genocide against the Rohingya in Rakhine State.

The review aimed to determine the destination of profits from joint ventures Myanmar Brewery Limited and Mandalay Brewery Limited.

However, the probe on MEHL ended inconclusively as access to information was denied, Kirin said.

In response to pressure from human rights groups, the company in November stopped paying profits from Myanmar Brewery and Mandalay Brewery to Kirin, MEHL and other shareholders.

Foreign investment approved

The investment ministry this week said it approved nearly US$200 million (265 billion kyats) in foreign investment in October and November last year.

It said $117 million (155 billion kyats) was approved in October and more than $82 million (109 billion kyats) in November.

More than 69.8 billion kyats ($53 million) of domestic investment was approved in October and November.

The foreign investment was focused on industry, agriculture, fisheries and service sectors and the domestic investments targeted housing development, industry, hotels and tourism, agriculture, animal husbandry and other sectors, the ministry said.

It said the investment created 9,031 jobs.

The ministry on Dec. 30 also approved $138 million (183 billion kyats) and 109 billion kyats ($82 million) in five new investments and for the expansion of four existing projects.

Two more remittance firms get licenses

On Tuesday, the Central Bank of Myanmar granted remittance licenses to Myanmar-based City Express Myanmar and Money King, allowing them to handle the flow of money across Myanmar’s borders.

The central bank is issuing remittance licenses to discourage illegal border transfers.

In November, it issued remittance licenses to about six other companies.

Firm launches US tea party

The Nara Green Tea Company said it will start exporting roselle herbal tea to the USA this month after receiving its first orders.

The company said it received positive feedback after sending samples to the US.

More than 1,000 boxes of roselle herbal tea (with each box containing 25 teabags) are being sent to more than 150 US shops.

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