The Irrawaddy

Developers Ask Govt to Help Spur Construction Sector

YANGON — The Myanmar Construction Entrepreneurs Association (MCEA) has called for government intervention to help the construction industry, said the association’s vice chairman, U Shein Win.

The association met in Mandalay on Friday to address the challenges facing the construction industry and submitted a list of proposals to the government through Mandalay Region Chief Minister U Zaw Myint Maung.

“The construction industry is one of the major sources of tax revenue for the country. If this industry collapses, the country would have no way to develop,” said U Shein Win.

The association offered six proposals, including a reduction in the tax rate on property transactions from 30 percent to 5 percent for two years, bank loans for construction projects with repayment periods of three to 10 years, and a reduction of the interest rate on bank loans from 13 percent to 9 percent.

It also called on the government to provide home mortgages with 15- to 20-year terms.

The construction industry requires long-term investment and has had to rely mainly on bank loans because business has been slow for the past few years, said developer U Maung Weik.

But the Central Bank of Myanmar has restricted loan repayment periods to three years, which has put most developers on the brink of collapse.

In 2016 the government introduced a 30 percent tax rate on property transactions based on the price of the property, a move that developers said has increased tax evasion and proved a challenge for the construction industry.

“If the tax is not at a proper rate, people don’t want to pay it. This is usually followed by bribery, and the government also loses tax revenue,” said U Myo Myint, chairman of the Young Developers Association.

U Zaw Myint Maung reportedly accepted the association’s proposals and promised to share them with State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. The chief minister reportedly also urged developers to lobby lawmakers for government assistance for the construction industry.

U Shein Win said the association was set to meet with regional authorities in Yangon and Naypyitaw.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.