The Irrawaddy Business Roundup
By Zaw Zaw Htwe 23 January 2021
Yangon—This week Myanmar received 1.5 million COVID-19 vaccine doses provided by the government of India as the very first vaccines from abroad. The government is planning to vaccinate its healthcare workers on the COVID-19 frontline and government staffs and members of parliaments by next week.
Also this week, Myanmar discussed the expansion of Japanese investments in the country and the promotion of military relations with the Japan-Myanmar Association. Meanwhile Myanmar approved four investments including a new Japanese investment in Yangon.
Myanmar inked a power purchase deal with a Thai company and Myanmar Tourism Bank has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to assist the restaurant and tourism development sectors impacted by COVID-19.
Myanmar and Japan discussed the expansion of Japanese investments
The Myanmar State Counselor Office announced that it has discussed expansion of Japanese investment in Myanmar during the upcoming second term of the civilian government led by the National League for Democracy (NLD), during a visit by Watanabe Hideo, chairman of the Japan-Myanmar Association.
Watanabe Hideo, who is also a former member of the House of Councilors of Japan, met Myanmar State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Commander-in-Chief of Defense Services Senior General Ming Aung Hlaing and other high-level officials in Napyitaw this week.
Myanmar’s military also discussed with Watanabe Hideo for the promotion of military-to-military relations between the two countries.
The Myanmar State Counselor Office said that during the frank negotiations between the State Counselor and Watanabe, there was discussion of Japan’s continued support for socio-economic development assistance, including in the education and health sectors.
Japan was the fifth-largest investor in Myanmar, with more than US $1.3 billion in investments by 37 permitted enterprises during the period from the 2016-2017 fiscal year to the 2020-2021 fiscal year.
Myanmar to buy power from Thai company
On Wednesday, the Myanmar Ministry of Electricity and Energy-controlled Electric Power Generation Enterprise signed a power purchase agreement with the TTCL Power Myanmar Company Limited, a subsidiary of Thailand’s TTCL Public Company Limited.
TTCL plans to construct a $685 million (911 billon kyats) worth of 388-megawatt liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant in Yangon’s Alone Township. The project includes construction of a natural gas pipeline, an LNG terminal and a 230-kilovolt transmission line.
The construction is expected to take more than two years with a 25-year concession.
The ministry expects that the project will power Yangon Region with a more stable supply. Currently, more than half of Myanmar’s population is connected to the national grid, the lowest proportion in ASEAN.
The World Bank said in 2019 that Myanmar needs to invest up to $2 billion annually in its electricity sector to sustain economic growth.
Investments approved in Yangon
On Wednesday, the Yangon Regional Investment Commission has approved a total of $7.803 million in investments by three investors from China and Japan and 2929 million kyats ($2.2 million) of local investment.
The Directorate of Investment and Company Administration (DICA) said that the investments are focused on the garment and foodstuff sectors.
DICA expect that the investments would create 1,762 job opportunities.
Myanmar Tourism Bank to assist COVID-19 hit-restaurants
Myanmar Tourism Bank (MTB) has signed an MoU with the Myanmar Restaurants Association (MRA) and Myanmar Tourism Human Resources Development Association (MTHRDA) for financial and other assistance.
MTB said on Thursday that the MoU is intended to assist with bank loans or other services to all restaurants that are registered as the members of MRA and have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
MTB said it will help for the expansion of restaurants of MRA. Meanwhile, it will help the development of hotel and tourism training centers which are providing human resources for the tourism sectors.