Business

New Investment Law Rules to be Announced in March

By Kyaw Hsu Mon 6 February 2017

RANGOON — Burma’s Directorate of Investment and Company Administration (DICA) will announce new regulations for the national investment law in early March, in time for the start of the 2016-2017 fiscal year, according do a senior DICA official.

The current Foreign Investment Law and Citizen Investment Law—known together as the Myanmar Investment Law—were enacted in October by President U Htin Kyaw. The law created incentives for investors to get involved in certain business sectors that the government had targeted for development.

“We have established a timeline for finishing up the bylaws,” the DICA official said. “And we expect that more outside investors will come once these rules are approved.”

DICA, which operates under the Ministry of National Planning and Finance, is responsible for drawing up many of the basic rules and regulations that will dictate how the investment law functions. The ministry expects these regulations will be completed in late February.

“We will be finishing at the end of this month,” the DICA official said. “Then we will announce the rules to the public as soon as early March.”

The business community anticipates that the new regulations will include information on which industries to invest in, on the amount of government incentives, and on how the government will provide oversight.

The government has accepted suggestions on the new rules and regulations from the private sector, according to Dr. Maung Maung Lay, vice chairman of the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI).

“The bylaws are important for attracting investment,” said Dr. Maung Maung Lay. “Many foreign business delegations have come here to UMFCCI, and they’ve asked us about the situation with power supplies, water, land, and transportation development. That’s why we need the bylaws at the same time that we work on infrastructure development.”

Dr. Maung Maung Lay said that Burma is working to attract more foreign investors by offering incentives. The government must also cut some of the red tape that applies to foreign investors, he said, if it hopes to become competitive with other nations in Southeast Asia.

“We will have to look at how other countries are making themselves attractive to foreign direct investment,” he said. “We need to do more of that.”

Finance minister U Kyaw Win announced in 2016 that the government would promote the agriculture, banking, small-business, health care, and infrastructure sectors when seeking outside investment.

The Myanmar Investment Commission, a government-appointed body, expected about US$6 billion to enter the country through foreign investment in the 2016-17 fiscal year. DICA estimates that it approved $3.52 billion in foreign direct investment between April and December 2016.

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