RANGOON — Business leaders have welcomed the National League for Democracy’s (NLD) thumping victory in the Sunday election, saying the opposition is well poised to drive economic growth when it forms the next government in March.
Industry insiders say that the change of government is certain to lead to the easing of remaining sanctions, along with a spike in foreign investment and economic development assistance.
“I believe this change will lead us toward a better future,” said Sai Sam Tun, the chairman of beverage firm Loi Hein Co. Ltd.
Local business leaders say they believe that the steady rise in foreign investment pledges over recent years are the tip of the iceberg, and many other international investors have been waiting for the outcome of Sunday’s poll before committing to the country.
“Foreign investors will come with the belief that Burma has changed,” said Thein Tun, chairman of the Tun Foundation Bank and the MGS Group of Companies. “The international community welcomes this change. I also believe that, once the election has officially concluded, we will see an increase in FDI and that the US will soon lift its sanctions.”
The business community has expressed hope that the NLD’s enormous reserve of political capital will allow the next government to take a tougher stance against corruption while pushing complex economic and administrative reforms through a sprawling and antiquated bureaucracy.
“Many laws that were enacted more than 50 years ago still need to be amended to help to boost economic reform, ease some of the unnecessary restrictions on businessmen and to fight corruption inside government ministries,” said Myat Thin Aung, chairman of the Hlaing Tharyar Industrial Zone, told The Irrawaddy. “After these laws are approved, we will see many foreign investors come, but we will still need better infrastructure.”
The next government faces a substantial economic reform agenda, with amendments to the foreign investment, mining, and condominium laws remaining before the Union Parliament despite extensive consultations and revisions, along with a sweeping update to the 100-year-old Companies Act.