Jun 23, 2016

Myanmar Business News in Brief

Mekong countries mull single-visa system

To help boost tourism in Southeast Asia, representatives from Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and Thailand met in Bangkok to discuss using the countries’ combined strengths to make the region a single destination for tourists. The representatives discussed difficulties in obtaining multiple visas for each country, especially Vietnam, and proposed establishing a single visa program for tourists that would include each nation. In order to promote the region as a single destination, representatives said more cooperation between the countries as well as coordination of strengths would be needed, the Vietnam News Service reports.

India looks for inter-governmental pulse trade

Amid a sharp rise in the price of pulses in India, the Indian government is looking to round out its supply by importing from Myanmar and African countries. In May, the prices of pulses in India increased by 33.63 percent, the Press Times of India reports. The government is looking to import 150,000 tonnes of pulses to help supply the market and reduce inflation. Representatives from the Indian government have been dispatched to Myanmar and the African nations to establish government to government trade agreements.

Myanmar to export anti-venom

Pending approval from the World Health Organization, state-owned Myanmar Pharmaceutical Factory will export snake anti-venom to neighbouring countries. Xinhua reports that the company produced about 80,000 doses of liquid and freeze-dried anti-venom for cobras and vipers during the 2015-16 fiscal year with hopes of reducing the number of snake bite fatalities, which sits around 10,000 annually in Myanmar.

China reneges on tunnel project

Financial assistance, pledged by China to the Irrawady Irrigation Department, to build a tunnel across the Irrawady River never come to fruition which puts hundreds of thousands at risk of flooding if the levy were to break, the Irrawady reports. Without the pledged assistance, the irrigation department is now roughly $4.6 million in debt. The department’s assistant director said Chinese officials cited a policy for not funding ongoing or completed projects as a reason to cease funding.

Singapore leads in Thilawa SEZ investment

With more than $298 million invested in the Thilawa Special Economic Zone, Singapore holds a $60 million lead over Japan as the top investor of the zone. The two financial powerhouses hold major leads over other invested countries such as Hong Kong, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, Panama, China and others by approximately $200 million. Thilawa SEZ is jointly owns between Myanmar with a 51 percent stake and Japan at 49 percent.

Workshop aims to increase tiger protections

A workshop bringing together non-governmental organizations, government officials and local communities and business leaders in Myeik sought to raise awareness of the declining number of tigers in Myanmar, sponsored by Fauna and Flora International and the Myanmar Forest Department. The large cats are on the brink of extinction due to loss of habitat, hunting and illegal wildlife trade. Some estimates place the population of tigers left in the wild around 3,200.

Budget emphasises economic growth

An amended budget for the 2016-17 fiscal year was presented by Myanmar President U Htin Kyaw in Naypyitaw last week which emphasised a focus on improving education, health and social welfare. The president said development projects would focus on rural development, electrification, reducing poverty and other infrastructure development projects, Reuters reports.

Telecom company OCK sets up shop in Myanmar

Malaysia-based Telecom provider OCK has established a subsidiary company in Myanmar to develop business relations in areas of tower facilities, utilities and communication networks for mobile and broadband operators, StarBizWeek reports. The company has partnered with Norway-based telecom provider Telenor to construct 920 towers throughout Myanmar which it will own and lease space on.

Source: Myanmar Business Today