New ministry, single-window system to help investors do business

21 November 2018

Myanmar is tuning up efforts to draw investments into the country. In Parliament Monday, the establishment of the new Ministry of Investment and Foreign Economic Relations was approved, paving the way for better coordination between related ministries and organisations on local and foreign investments and development projects implemented with foreign aid or loans.

The newly formed Ministry of Investment and Foreign Economic Relations has been given the mandate of raising local and foreign investments and creating opportunities for entrepreneurs. It will be helmed by U Thaung Tun, who is also chair of the Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC) and National Security Adviser.

“Reforms are needed to increase local and foreign investments and the new ministry was formed to focus on drawing more investments in the country,” said U Thaung Tun.

One of the new ministry’s responsibilities will be to make it easier for investors to invest in Myanmar through a single window system, enabling businesses to apply for and complete all the necessary procedures through a one-stop centre, or single window.

“Those who come to invest have difficulties because of the many procedures involved. For example, there is endless red tape involved in getting permits. To solve these matters, it is necessary for the ministry to implement a single window system to reduce the red tape so things will be quicker and more convenient for investors,” U Thaung Tun said.

Under the single-window system, the ministry will make the necessary decisions based on a list of standard operating procedures agreed on by all the relevant ministries. “This will facilitate everything,” U Thaung Tun added.

“Currently, we have to go to one place after another for approvals and permits for construction, land and the environment. Investors, especially foreign investors, will be confused and put off. Under the single window, investors can apply for all these permits in one place,” said U Than Myint, Minister of Commerce.

“The single window system will help to attract foreign investors. We will draw their attention to this. The private sector is also making efforts to receive more foreign investment,” said U Zaw Min Win, chair of Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

Under the current government, two new pieces of legislation related to domestic and foreign investments –Myanmar Investment Law and Myanmar Companies Law – have already been enacted and enforced in 2016 and 2017, respectively. In October, the 20-year Myanmar Investment Promotion Plan (MIPP) was also released.

The MIPP states that the main restrictions for investors in Myanmar are political risks, weak macroeconomic conditions, undeveloped regulations on the domestic front, not having full assurance on procedures for approved investments, and weak development of basic infrastructures.

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