Support is better than protection, government’s new economic policy


Union Minister of Planning and Finance Kyaw Win speaks at a meeting held at UMFCCI in Yangon on 13 June. Photo: UMFCCI

“Our government will not give favour to anyone and there will be no discrimination. We will give all Myanmar nationals equal opportunity.” Union Minister of Planning and Finance Kyaw Win said at a meeting held at Union of Myanmar Federation of Chamber of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI) on 13 June, the meeting was held for the first time with Myanmar traders and entrepreneurs and it lasted about three hours.

At the meeting, the Minister also said, “We will give support as much as we can to the extent that all businesses will be able to better perform. We will give support rather than protection to them. So I would like to say let our government give support to the businesses of Myanmar nationals,”

Myanmar Federation of Rice and Paddy general secretary Ye Min Aung said that the previous government also said the same in their tenure. But that it had not happened so he hoped the current government walks the talk this time.

“Giving support is good but the question is in which area they will give support, in technical support or financial support or marketing support or in legal infrastructure. The government needs to give support in all these four areas in practice. The previous union ministers also said that before but we were frustrated to see all their promises not materialize,” he said.

Ye Min Aung told Mizzima that he expected more success and development in the agricultural sector and he demanded the new government allow investment, foreign or domestic, bilateral or direct investment.

“The current situation in Myanmar is not suitable for a defensive game, only for an attacking game,” He said.

The current Union Minister of Planning and Finance took the position of Chairman of the newly reconstituted ‘Myanmar Investment Commission’ (MIC). He claimed that the cause of prolonged poverty in the country was the concentration of economic opportunities in the hands of a few in the previous government. The new NLD government would provide economic opportunities to all Myanmar citizens equally and would disclose their new economic policies soon to the public.

“Currently, I cannot talk about the matter as it has not yet been officially approved. This new policy will be made public this month at the earliest. In brief, the new policy will give equal opportunity to all Myanmar citizens,” the minister told the media.

This meeting was attended by businessmen from Myanmar Federation of Garment Industry, Myanmar Federation of Gems and Jewellery, Federation of Gold Traders, Myanmar Federation of Rice of Paddy, Federation of Retail Business, Federation of Travel and Tour Industry and Federation of Exporters and Importers and they discussed taxation and what they want the government to do for them.

In reply to a question asked by Mizzima, the leading gems and jewellery trader in the country Dr. Aung Kaw Win of ‘Shwe Nandaw Diamonds and precious gemstones’ said that the gem industry in Myanmar was not in decline and its future was still rosy but he would ask the government to organize workshops for the industry and let businessmen make study tours to learn about the gems and jewellery businesses in the international arena.

He also said that the gem industry in the country should shift from trading rough gemstones to finished jewellery products and the government needs to adopt a precise export and import policy in this regard for the development of the industry.

In the current transition period in Myanmar, the benefits of economic development have to be weighed with other crucial factors of internal peace, infrastructure development, and many other challenges. Yet, the question of how to balance national interest and foreign investment exists and solutions need to be found between the government and the people. Though the economic forecasts for Myanmar given by foreign financial institutions such as World Bank, Asia Development Bank and International Monetary Fund are good and future benefits to the Myanmar people from economic development look rosy, there are still many problems and issues such as inflation, foreign debt, and the development of the private sector that still need to be tackled.

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