Vice President U Myint Swe addresses 21st regular meeting with Myanmar entrepreneurs

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Vice President U Myint Swe, Chairman of the Private Sector Development Committee (PSDC) addressed the 21st regular meeting between PSDC and Myanmar entrepreneurs held at the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chamber of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI) headquarters in Yangon yesterday morning.

Also present at the meeting were Vice-Chairman of PSDC
and Union Minister for Commerce Dr. Than Myint, Deputy Ministers U Aung Htoo, U Win Maw Tun and U Maung Maung Win, Yangon Region Government ministers, UMFCCI President, Vice Presidents and members, Permanent Secretaries, Directors-General, officials from the Myanmar Garment Manufacturers Association, the Myanmar Federation of Mining Association and Yangon Region Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

In his speech the Vice President said that the regular monthly meetings with private entrepreneurs had been held since 2016 December and had been resolving difficulties faced by the entrepreneurs. Up to October 2018, 20 such meetings have been held and today’s meeting was the 21st, said the Vice President.

As of the 20th meeting there had been 297 submissions on difficulties and suggestions and all responses were sent to the relevant businesses through the UMFCCI.

Among those responses, some required time to resolve and officials from the five work committees conducted Public-Private dialogues between private business persons and relevant ministerial departments to resolve the matters in stages. The trade sector plays an important role in the development of a country’s economy. Private and public sectors were cooperating hand-in-hand for the annual trade volume to increase and had achieved a trade volume of US$ 33.53 billion for fiscal year 2017-2018.

During the Mini Budget period of 2018 April to September the trade volume was more than US$ 18.3 billion which was more than US$ 4.6 billion over the targeted US$ 13.7 billion. It was also US$ 2 billion more than the same period last year. Of this, private sector trade was US$ 15.5 billion or 85% of the total. However, import was more than export so there was a trade deficit. All need to strive towards increasing export and conduct import substitution so that there is no deficit.

In addition to this, illegal imports through the border were threatening the existence of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and the Government has formed illegal trade control and prevention groups in nine regions and states where arrests have been made.

On 31 October 2018 the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index for 2019 was published and Myanmar remains at 171 but more marks were received. The Index said China, India and Afghanistan were best reformers and their reform processes should be imitated. It was learnt that there were progresses in Myanmar’s performance but some relaxations made by ministries will be put on record only in the following year. Therefore, to achieve progress in the coming years private sector was urged to work hand in hand to implement sector wise Action Plans and to achieve short term and long term aims.

“Everyone knew that every country is drawing up plans to
invite foreign investment systematically to obtain the investment and technologies required to develop the country. Myanmar is also acquiring the international
investment experience from JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) and had recently drawn up and published the Myanmar Investment Promotion
Plan,” said U Myint Swe.

The Myanmar Investment Promotion Plan effectively connects local and foreign investors and implements the country’s sector wise projects. Furthermore local and foreign investments need to be systematically invited and effectively coordinated for region wise development projects implemented by state/ region governments.
“That was why Myanmar Investment Promotion Plan needs to be implemented successfully and at the same time the Myanmar Sustainable Development Plan (MSDP) also has to be implemented. In order to do this, private sector businesses were urged to cooperate with Union ministries and state/ region governments”, said the Vice President. As relevant Union ministries, Deputy Ministers and officials were in attendance, groups and associations participating in this meeting were urged to openly discuss about the difficulties they are facing,” said the
Vice President.

Next, PSDC Vice-Chairman Union Minister Dr. Than Myint explained about the aims and processes for private sector development.

Afterwards Improving the Ease of Doing Business Ranking
Group leader Deputy Minister for Commerce U Aung Htoo explained about particulars of Ease of Doing Business 2019 Report and future work processes.

This was followed by Myanmar Trade Promotion Organization Director General U Aung Soe explaining about works conducted to raise Ease of Doing
Business ranking and plans to post the Myanmar Doing Business website. UMFCCI President U Zaw Min Win then explained about the government and private jointly organizing meetings for private sector development, increasing export and sector wise works conducted. Later Myanmar Garment Manufacturers Association Secretary General Daw Khine Khine Nwe, Myanmar Federation of Mining Association Vice Chairman U Aye Lwin and Yangon Region Chamber of Commerce and Industry Vice President U Ohn Saing discussed, explained and suggested on sector wise difficulties faced.

Next, the Vice President, Union Minister and officials gave
comments and instructions to ensure proper coordination among the various departments, organizations and work groups. The meeting came to a close after the Vice President had delivered a concluding speech.