The Irrawaddy

1 of 24 State-owned Factories Operating at a Loss Starts to Yield Profits

NAYPYITAW — The National League for Democracy (NLD)-led government has made one of 24 state-owned factories operating at a loss profitable, said Union Industry Minister U Khin Maung Cho.

A textile factory in Myingyan Township of Mandalay Region has started to yield profits after 18 months of overhaul and partnership with a private company, said the minister.

“We had to innovate in order to improve product quality and design for customer satisfaction. The process took around a year and a half,” said the minister.

However, the minister did not disclose the detailed profits and losses of the factory.

The parliamentary Investment and Industrial Development Committee has formed two teams comprised of officials from the Planning and Finance Ministry, Ministry of Industry and representatives of the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI) to inspect these state-owned factories to assess their financials.

“We have invited expression of interest from businesspeople to operate these factories. We’ll discuss with interested parties and privatize some, turn some into joint ventures, and terminate some as necessary,” said U Aung Kyaw Kyaw Oo, who is a member of the parliamentary committee.

The Ministry of Industry has partnered with private companies to operate 12 of 24 of the factories operating at a loss. The rest are currently suspended, said minister U Khin Maung Cho.

Steel plants in Mandalay Region’s Myingyan and Shan State’s Pangpet, paper mills in Irrawaddy Region’s Thabaung Township, and heavy industry in Bago Region’s Thagara are among the biggest factories to be inspected, said Myingyan Township lawmaker U Paw Khaing, who is also the secretary of the parliamentary committee.

“Those factories were not able to produce products beneficial to the country. The product portfolio just didn’t fit the needs of the country,” said minister U Khin Maung Cho.

“We the new government will try to manufacture practical products for the country. And we are cooperating [with the private sector] to acquire technology,” said U Khin Maung Cho.

The minister also wants to re-operate the suspended Myingyan Steel Plant, and is waiting for the approval of the parliament.

“The steel plant is ready [for resumption]. It is a massive investment, and we don’t want to waste it. We will run it again to make up for losses. We have hired international experts, and they have recommended [resumption],” said the minister.

According to the minister, his ministry will also cooperate with Japan’s Hitachi Co for power generation from tidal waves, which is the latest in energy technology, in Mon State’s Thaton Industrial Zone.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.