Westerners Still Shy to Put in Investment: Official

Soe Zeya Tun/Reuters


But in order to make the most of these opportunities, Myanmar now needs to focus on developing its economy and rebuilding its financial, legal and physical infrastructure in a way that promotes inclusive growth for the majority of its citizens.

As a low number of Western investors have come forward to submit tenders for public works projects, the government has been left with only a few countries to choose from, a government official said.

Even though there are tender invitations open to both local and foreign investors for some projects, only a few Western countries have shown interest, Dr Wah Wah Maung, deputy director at the Foreign Relations Department under Ministry of National Planning and Economic Development, said. Most of the tender biddings come from ASEAN countries, she added.

Although Vietnam was in the Least Developed Countries list even two decades ago, the country is starting to invest overseas as its financial clout rises, Dr Wah Wah Maung said.

“Vietnam has invested in a major property in Myanmar in Yankin township. Many Vietnamese investors frequently come to DICA (Directorate of Investment and Company Administration) and we always explains the investment process.”

The deputy director said Myanmar needs to diversify its foreign investor base to prop up economic growth, adding that investors would only come if the country has stability and skilled workers, as they need to invest huge amount of money.

“Coca-Cola is a US-based company but they entered from Singapore. As they come from Singapore, we eased some restriction because Singapore is one of the ASEAN member countries,” said U Aung Naing Oo, director general of DICA.

Only few economically developed countries have submitted tenders for government projects, and most of them are investing in natural resources exploitation, he added.

U Zeyar Aung, chairman of Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC), in his recent report to the parliament stated that there are 522 companies investing in Myanmar, with investments valued at $39 billion.

Currently, EU member countries including Britain, France, Netherland and Sweden are investing in Myanmar. Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong and India are the major regional investors.

Source: Myanmar Business Today