Oct 6, 2015

MPT Lowers Internet, SMS Charges

The state-run telecom services provider Myanma Posts and Telecommunications (MPT) has dropped its Swe Thahar package internet and SMS charges in the face of stiff competition from the foreign telecom operators.

As of October 1, Swe Thahar internet charges were slashed from K7.5 per megabyte (MB) to K6, and MPT offered some internet packages with promotional bonus data allowance.

The cost of SMS was also reduced to K10 per message from K15, which makes MPT the cheapest SMS service provider among the three operators.

Voice call rate will stay the same at K23 per minute.

Existing customers who are on the “Base Tariff” plan will have to manually subscribe to Swe Thahar by sending SMS “SWE” or “POSTSWE” to 1332. New customers will be automatically subscribed to the plan.

“MPT continues to work to offer the best services for our customers. We listen carefully to their feedback and requests for changes. The use of data is growing as more Myanmar people use their phones to send emails, photos, and browse websites. Our new data packages and SMS pricing will provide our customers with more communications access at an affordable cost,” said Takashi Nagashima, CEO of MPT-KSGM Joint Operations.

However, telecoms executives and experts have earlier expressed concerns at the drastic lowering of prices by all the telecom operators, saying the current prices are close to unsustainably low levels where the operators will have difficulties in investing their revenues back into operation to improve service and network quality.

“The most important thing is service. Eventually, customers will choose the best service despite this price war. All telecom operators are reducing prices, if one reduces price the other takes the price down more. This will not be sustainable in the future,” U Ye Myat Thu, chairman of Computer Professionals Associations of Mandalay region, told Myanmar Business Today.

Source: Myanmar Business Today

Oct 5, 2015

Myanmar Antimony Trioxide (Sb2O3) available for export

For more information, please contact evi@myanmar-business.org

Yangon to Get First Waste-to-Energy Plant by 2017

The Yangon City Development Committee (YCDC) will build a small waste-to-energy plant worth $16.2 million in cooperation with Japan, a top official said.

Construction of the machine, which has the capacity to burn 60 tonnes of trash, will start this month, said U Aung Myint Maw, deputy director of Environment and Cleaning Department, YCDC.

The construction is expected to be finished by March 2017, he added.

The 15-acre garbage burning plant will be located in Shwepyithar township. Japan’s Ministry of Environment will contribute $8.2 million and YCDC will provide $8 million for the factory, which will be built by Japanese firm JFE Engineering

“The plant will burn waste to produce steam that drives turbines. Our garbage management system is very weak and this project will help us in collecting and cleaning garbage systematically,” U Aung Myint Maw told Myanmar Business Today.

“The plant will be able to produce 700KW of electricity – 300KV will be used for the plant while the rest will be sold to Yangon Electricity Supply Board,” he said.

However, he added that YESB still hasn’t agreed on a fixed price to buy the electricity and the department is not sure how much profit it can get from the electricity that the factory will produce.

Yangon creates about 1,600 tonnes of garbage every day – 600 tonnes is destroyed in North Dagon garbage port, 800 tonnes in Hteinpin garbage port and the rest is taken care of at smaller facilities around the city, according to Environment and Cleaning Department, YCDC.

The project is JFE Engineering’s first project for a waste-to-energy facility in Southeast Asia. To bring down development costs, the company commissioned its Indian unit to draw up the design, according to a Nikkei report.

The Yangon plant falls under an agreement through which Japan provides support to help solve Myanmar’s environmental problems in exchange for carbon credits, the report added. Tokyo will receive annual credits for 2,400 tonnes of carbon dioxide over 15 years.

Source: Myanmar Business Today

Foreign investment projected at US$12 billion

The country’s foreign investment is projected at US$12 billion for this fiscal year, Dr Aung Tun Thet, presidential economic adviser, told the Myanmar Global Investment Forum in Nay Pyi Taw.

The Myanmar Investment Commission member said: “The country has the potential for a massive inflow of foreign investment. Last fiscal year’s total foreign investment amounted to US$8.1 billion. This year will see more investment. It may reach US$12 billion. We welcome non-traditional investment. We accept investment in the media and entertainment sectors.”

Foreign investment is expected to rise if the November 8 election is completed successfully.

Dr Aung Thura, CEO of the Thura Swiss research and consulting firm, said: “The current foreign investment is just what is permitted. But businesses are still unable to start. Investment is not in cash. Investors will start businesses if there is a healthy environment after the election.”

Pyae Wa Tun, CEO of Parami Energy Group of Companies, said: “Whichever party wins the election must deal with many issues. For instance, taxes cannot be fully collected on goods imported through the borders. We must tackle such issues. Civil service reform is needed. The country needs investment in human resources if it is going to catch up with other nations. We need to develop small- and medium-sized enterprises. These issues need to be tackled whatever party comes to power.”

Source: Eleven Weekly Media

Myanmar expects 10% GDP growth for 2015: Adviser

There is an Asian country that doesn't have an active stock market or even a credit rating. Yet its economy may grow by 10 percent this year. Meet Myanmar, an unlikely growth star.

The frenetic growth in the country formerly known as Burma is in stark contrast to many large emerging market countries that are struggling to muster any economic growth, having been hobbled by the largest capital outflows in nearly three decades,

In an interview with CNBC, Aung Tun Thet, economic adviser to Myanmar's President, said gross domestic product may grow by 10 percent in the financial year through March as Myanmar revamps its infrastructure and tourist inflows pick up. The Asian Development Bank estimates that the economy grew by 7.7% in calendar 2014.

Foreign direct investments are likely to climb 25 percent from a year earlier to $10 billion, Thet said, giving a much-needed boost to the economy that remains one of the poorest countries in the region.

"We see investors coming in, not just in traditional sectors such as infrastructure but also hospitality and knowledge-based industries. We see many possibilities in the tourism sector," he said.

The numbers do need to be taken into context. The absolute size of Myanmar makes comparisons to a small base favorable and the economy has only recently started to open up, having been shuttered to the outside world under military rule.

Infrastructure remains creaky and a quarter of the population lives below the poverty line, the Asian Development Bank estimates.

The economy is also heavily dependent on the oil and gas sector. Drooping global prices are likely to pinch Myanmar, although Thet said the recent opening of a special economic zone should attract more companies in manufacturing.

The underdeveloped telecommunications sector is also growing rapidly, while construction of highways linking Myanmar to larger economies in the region should enhance connectivity.

Myanmar, which goes to polls in November, has also taken steps to develop its financial sector.

The country has held talks with lenders to begin the process of getting a credit rating that will enable foreign investors to assess the country's credit-worthiness and pave the way for a potential bond deal.

Thet added that the country was hoping to open a new stock exchange later this year, with assistance from Japan. The existing over-the-counter market only has two stocks that are traded and volumes are measly.

"We will start slow. The idea is to attract domestic savings and give them a source where they can invest,"

Source: CNBC

Myanmar expects over 4.5 million tourists in 2015

Myanmar is expected to see tourist arrivals exceeding 4.5 million this year, according to an official report out on Wednesday.

The foreign tourists visiting Myanmar as of September this year have overshot the figure of 3.08 million for the whole of 2014, Xinhua news agency cited the report by Hotels and Tourism Minister U Htay Aung.

According to ministry statistics as of August 31, Myanmar had 1,225 licensed hotels with 47,911 rooms across the country and 1,847 travel operators.

The country has set a target of attracting five million tourists in 2015.

Source: Business Standard

Sep 30, 2015

Myanmar tin-tungsten (Sn-W) concentrate available for export

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