Parliament Approves Formation of New Investment Ministry

By The Irrawaddy 19 November 2018

YANGON — Myanmar’s Union Parliament on Monday approved the formation of a new ministry to boost local and international investment and to make that investment socially and environmentally responsible.

President U Win Myint last week proposed the formation of a new Union-level Ministry of Investment and Foreign Economic Relations to Parliament for approval.

More than seven lawmakers discussed the request on Thursday, with the majority of lawmakers supporting the formation.

Myanmar Attorney General Tun Tun Oo told Parliament on Monday that the new ministry will be a merger between the Foreign Economic Relations Department and the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration (DICA) – both of which are currently under the Ministry of Planning and Finance.

He assured that the formation of the new ministry would provide swifter investment-related information to local and international investors, real-time collaboration with relevant departments and dispute resolution among investors.

 “This will help increase the country’s rank on the ease of doing business index,” he said.

Currently, Myanmar is ranked 171 on the index, according to the World Bank.

The plan comes at a time when Myanmar’s economy is slowing and many international investors are turning away because of the Rohingya crisis. Some 700,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled to neighboring Bangladesh since a military crackdown in northern Rakhine State late last year. The government, led by Nobel laureate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, has come under heavy international criticism for remaining largely silent on the issue.

In a message read by the parliamentary speaker, U Win Myint said the government needed the new ministry “to make use of outside assistance from the United Nations and other international organizations in accordance with the country’s policies and to effectively collaborate with the UN and others international organizations.”

The message did not mention who would head the new ministry. But sources in Naypyitaw say U Thaung Tun, who chairs the government’s Directorate of Investment and Company Administration (DICA), which manages the registration of both local and foreign companies, is tipped for the post.

U Thaung Tun is the currently national security advisor and government office minister.