Burma

Private Investments Worth $54M for Chin State

By Nan Lwin 18 March 2019

YANGON—The Chin State government signed four memorandums of understanding (MoUs) with private companies for projects totaling more than $54 million at an investment fair held at the weekend in Yangon, which aimed to stir up foreign investment interest in one of the poorest states of Myanmar.

Among the four companies, the biggest project signed for was with Norway Power Co. Ltd. for a power project worth $50 million which will be the first foreign investment in the Chin State.

According the director of the State’s Directorate of Investment and Company Administration (DICA) U Min Zaw Oo, the government also signed MoUs with local companies for an agricultural goods production project worth $1 million with Chin Taung Yadanar Co., an urban housing project worth 3 billion kyats (nearly $2 million) with the Khumi Institute and a hotel project worth 2.4 billion kyats (nearly $1.6 million) with KL Amazing Co. Ltd.

“These projects are listed among the priority projects [and will] enjoy income tax exemptions for seven years,” U Min Zaw Oo told The Irrawaddy.

The two-day fair was backed by the Ministry of Investment and Foreign Economic Relations who partnered with UK Aid and private businesses as part of the government’s efforts to counteract a significant decline in foreign direct investment in Myanmar.

Situated in western Myanmar along the border with Bangladesh and India, Chin State has a mountainous terrain that has hindered infrastructure development. Major parts of the state lack basic infrastructure and electricity. Chin State’s Chief Minister Salai Lian Luai said the government priority sectors are hotels and tourism, agriculture, mining, infrastructure and hydropower and energy.

Vice President U Myint Swe and Union Minister for Investment and Foreign Economic Relations U Thaung Tun attended the fair’s opening ceremony on Saturday.

Vice President U Myint Swe said that as Chin State lies on a strategic economic corridor between India and Myanmar, and as bilateral trade increases, more firm opportunities would arise. Opportunities to investment in transport, communication and basic infrastructure projects were also promoted at the fair.

The fair highlighted infrastructure and urban development projects in Hakha, Falam, Tedim, Paletwa and Mindat townships; agriculture, organic farming and traditional weaving projects in Falam, Hakha, Kanpetlet, Mindat and Paletwa townships; tourism projects at Khonumsum National Park, Rih Lake, Kimo Wildlife Sanctuary, Seinmu National Park and the Khuado Festival; and hydro and wind power projects in Manipur, on the Lay Myo River and in Bawinu in Tedim Township.

According to State-run newspapers, the government plans to open Chin State’s first major airport, Surbung Airport in 2020 in Falam Township which is a major town near Myanmar’s western border with the Indian state of Mizoram, with the view to improving the tourism sector in the state.

According to DICA, 800 investors attended the fair and among them were 130 foreigners from the US, Canada, China, India, Australia, France, Germany, Norway, Belgium, Israel and ASEAN countries including Brunei and Vietnam. Among the countries which currently have investment projects in Myanmar, China and Thailand attendees were the highest.

Chin State was also feature in the first Invest Myanmar Summit in Naypyitaw in January, which showcased 38 tax-exempt projects around Myanmar, including 10 in the tourism industry and 28 in the energy sector.

The Chin State Investment Fair is part of the government’s Myanmar Investment Promotion Plan (MIPP) launched last year. Foreign investment has tumbled over the past two years and the government hopes that through MIPP, more than $200 billion in can be drummed up over the next 20 years through responsible and quality foreign business investments.

In February, the government hosted the Rakhine State Investment Fair in the beach resort town of Ngapali, which showcased six priority projects. At the fair, 28 expressions of interest (EOIs) for projects worth $4.9 billion were signed by both local and foreign investors for hotel and tourism projects.

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