The Irrawaddy

Investment Law Rules and Regulations Released by March

State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi presents at the meeting with Burma’s business community in Naypyidaw last Saturday (Photo: J Paing / The Irrawaddy).

NAYPYIDAW — Rules and regulations for the newly enacted Myanmar Investment Law will be released in three months at the earliest and by the end of March next year at the latest, according to U Maung Maung Win, deputy minister of national planning and finance.

The law, enacted by President U Htin Kyaw last week, combines the Myanmar Citizens Investment Law and the Foreign Investment Law.

“Normally it takes at least three months to release rules and regulations following a law,” U Maung Maung Win Said.  “If there is a delay, we will finish by the end of this fiscal year, at the end of March.”

The rules and regulations are now being drawn up by the Directorate of Investment and Companies Administration (DICA) under the Ministry of National Planning and Finance and they are trying to complete them as soon as possible, the minister said.

U Aung Naing Oo, director general of DICA and secretary of the Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC) confirmed this but could not provide precise details of what they would cover.

The business community expect that the rules and regulations will include information on which industries to invest in, government incentives, and which areas the government or the MIC will be overseeing.

“The MIC will continue to handle some investment but state and divisional governments will also manage some areas,” U Aung Naing Oo said. “It will allow business people to work more easily.”

U Aung Naing Oo acknowledged that during the new government’s first six months (April to September) foreign direct investment (FDI) significantly declined compared to last year.

According to DICA figures, pledged foreign direct investment from April to September this year was US$1.4 billion while the same period of 2015 was $3 billion.

He blamed a global economic slowdown and foreign investors waiting for policy announcements.

“The next six months have the potential to see much more FDI volume,” he said. DICA is hoping that the total FDI volume for this fiscal year will reach the same amount as last year.

He added that the government had some development investment plans including: technology in the agricultural sector, new payment cards to be issued by banks, inviting the local business community to invest in health care, and new infrastructure projects.

The rules and regulations will provide greater detail on how investors can engage with these sectors, he said.

U Nyo Myint, senior managing director of KBZ Group, told the Irrawaddy that some business people are waiting for the government’s “dos and don’ts” before investing.

“It’s better for us if those rules and regulations come out as soon as possible. I expect that they will attract people to invest in Burma,” he said.

Saturday’s meeting in Naypyidaw was hosted by State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and attended by ministers, top members of Burma’s business community, and global economic development partners.

Minister of National Planning and Finance U Kyaw Win stated that agriculture, banking and finance, small and medium enterprises, health care, and infrastructure development sectors would be promoted by the government for investment.