Myanmar business survey sheds light on the constraints businesses face

Old and new buldings are seen over the skyline of Yangon with a view of Yangon river in the background. Photo: Romeo Gacad/AFP

A report which provides an overview of businesses in Myanmar and sheds light on the constraints they face, was launched yesterday by the Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Planning and Finance, H.E U Maung Maung Win and the UNDP Assistant Administrator and Director of the Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific, Haoliang Xu.

The Myanmar Business Survey was jointly conducted by the Central Statistics Organisation and the United Nations Development Programme. Almost 15,000 businesses across the country, representative of more than 126,000 businesses of the manufacturing, trade and services sectors were surveyed in 2015, making it the most comprehensive survey of private businesses to date.

The Myanmar Business Survey found that the private sector of Myanmar is still characterized by low levels of diversification, low levels of productivity, and dominated by small businesses with less than 10 workers. The survey revealed that measured as number of enterprises per 1,000 persons, Myanmar has an average of 2.46. In comparison, the average for Least Developed Countries in Asia-Pacific is 9.0 or about 3 times more than Myanmar. The survey also found that Yangon and Mandalay account for a third of all enterprises in the country, and on average only 17 per cent of enterprises are 0-4 years old.

“Good data and statistics are indispensable for informed decision-making by all actors in society,” said H.E. U Maung Maung Win, Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Planning and Finance. “Surveys are an important way for us to understand better the situation on the ground, and to learn how it can be improved. We conducted the Myanmar Business Survey because we want to understand better the opportunities and challenges faced by the private businesses of Myanmar.”

Private businesses have and will continue to be a key driver of Myanmar’s future economic growth.

“The survey findings will help policy makers to understand the constraints that Small and Medium Enterprises are facing, and improve the way in which these constraints are addressed,” said Haoliang Xu, UNDP Assistant Administrator and Director of the Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific, during the launch of the report.

In addition to providing rich data on the characteristics of businesses in Myanmar, the survey also provides data on workers, and on more complex economic indicators like value added or labour productivity.

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