WB says access to finance top constraint on Myanmar’s economy


World Bank Senior Vice President and Chief Economist Kaushik Basu delivers remarks at the 'Building Shared Prosperity in an Unequal World' seminar during the International Monetary Fund and World Bank Group 2014 annual meetings in Washington, DC, USA, October 8, 2014.Photo: Shawn Thew/EPA

World Bank Senior Vice President and Chief Economist Kaushik Basu delivers remarks at the 'Building Shared Prosperity in an Unequal World' seminar during the International Monetary Fund and World Bank Group 2014 annual meetings in Washington, DC, USA, October 8, 2014.Photo: Shawn Thew/EPA

The World Bank says access to finance is the top constraint for private enterprises as Myanmar’s economy undergoes market-oriented reforms.

The message was conveyed in the World Bank Group report on March 24 in its Myanmar Investment Climate Assessment report.

“Among more than 1,000 foreign and domestic non-agricultural businesses interviewed in the report, merely 1 percent of fixed-asset investment costs are financed by bank borrowing, while 92 percent of firms rely on their own funds – a percentage higher than that of any other comparable country,” the report says.

The report also points out the difficulties concerning land-use rights, power cuts, and inadequate workforce skills that are viewed as the main barriers to business operations and growth in Myanmar.

“Focusing Myanmar’s economic reforms on removing these obstacles will create a better business environment and enhance the productivity and efficiency of private enterprises allowing them to grow and flourish,” the report says.

Mr Kaushik Basu, World Bank chief economist and senior vice president, said: “Myanmar has the potential for enormous growth. To realize this potential it is essential to create space for entrepreneurship. A vibrant private sector can generate jobs, and spur growth.”

He said that creating a level-playing field for the private sector will help unleash its potential.

“Government's role is to provide an efficient regulatory system that encourages and facilitates individual creativity," he said.

The report stresses that equally important to the reform process is the consistent implementation of laws and regulations as well as raising transparency and disclosure.

The World Bank Group’s Myanmar Investment Climate Assessment is supported by the UK’s Department for International Development and has been carried out in close collaboration with Myanmar’s Ministry of National Planning and Economic Development.

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