Myanmar Investment Commission to Reform in June

By Kyaw Hsu Mon 1 June 2016

RANGOON —The Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC) will be reformed this month in line with the Myanmar Investment Law, said Than Aung Kyaw, deputy director general of the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration (DICA).

“Each MIC term is only three years, so it’s time for new members to be appointed,” he said.

The commission, which is responsible for assessing and approving large-scale investments and is headed by Union-level government officials, initially consisted of at least nine members who dealt largely with processing foreign investment.

When Burma shifted to a quasi-civilian government in 2011, the government signed into effect the 2012 Foreign Investment Law—replacing the 1988 Foreign Investment Law and changing the MIC into a 16-member committee to review economic proposals.

“The President’s Office is in charge of appointing the chairman and members of the MIC, so we will have to wait [to see who is appointed], ” Than Aung Kyaw said.

Since Burma’s National League for Democracy-led government swept to power in a landslide election in November, the business community has urged that the MIC be reformed.

Maung Maung Lay, vice chairman of the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI), told The Irrawaddy that the reformed MIC should include experts who could create a smooth investment process for foreign investors.

“The rules and regulations for foreign investors should be similar to those of other countries,” said Maung Maung Lay, adding, “There is still too much red tape to navigate. If you can provide basic, better infrastructure, foreign investors will definitely look here.”

Khin Shwe, chairman of Zay Kabar Group of Companies, told The Irrawaddy in February that the commission has been unable to handle foreign investment comparable to some of Burma’s neighboring countries. The country needed “a commission that could do better,” he said.

The MIC played a key role in making small amendments to the Foreign Investment and Citizens Investment laws. A draft law which would merge the two and include new references to responsible business is currently on its fifth version, but has not yet been submitted to Parliament.