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Census to provide first picture of population in 3 decades

The country's first census in three decades is set for March and April next year, when all households nationwide will be visited in just 12 days, the government announced on Sunday.

The census will be performed from March 30 to April 10, using 100,000 primary school teachers as census-takers. They will each be paid 3,000 kyat (about Bt 95) per day for their efforts, Immigration and Population Minister Khin Yee said.

Myanmar's last national census was taken in 1983. The government estimates the current population at 60.98 million, based on approximate reproduction rates, Khin Yee told a press conference.

Myanmar, which was under military rule between 1962 to 2010, has some 135 different ethnic groups, according to government classifications.

The main groups include the Chin, Karen, Karenni, Kachin, Mon, Rakhine and Shan, which have state territories named after them. An estimated 70 per cent of the population is believed to be Burman, the largest ethnic group in the country.

The 2014 census is deemed an important step in preparation for the next general election, in 2015. - DPA

Foreign investors get go-ahead in power, garment sectors

Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC) has given several firms the go-ahead for 100-per-cent foreign investment in power production and garment manufacturing.

Singapore-based power companies UPP Holdings and UPP Greentech have been given the green light to produce and sell electricity as wholly-foreign-owned businesses at Ywama Power Station in Yangon Region.

Two garment factories, one from Hong Kong and the other from the UK, were also approved as hundred-percent foreign investments to engage in cutting, making and packing (CMP) clothes.

Thailand-based North Star Manufacturing Co Ltd was allowed to form a joint venture with a local partner and to set up a garment factory with CMP system at Hlaing Tharyar Industrial Zone (5) in Yangon Region.

The total amount of foreign investment in Myanmar reached over US$43 billion at the end of August, with China being the largest investor in the country followed by Thailand and Hong Kong. Major portions of the foreign investments are in oil and gas, energy and mining sectors.

Electricity shortages 'discouraging overseas investment'

Power shortages and frequent blackouts have hampered Japanese investors' productivity in Myanmar, says the chief of the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO). "Although Japanese businesspeople are looking for opportunities in Myanmar, electricity shortage is stopping investment in the production sector," said executive managing director Masaki Takaha. "Using generators greatly increases costs," he added.

The lack of productivity has had a detrimental affect on employment and job creation, said Takaha, speaking at the recent Myanmar Global Investment Forum held in Nay Pyi Taw. Although labour costs are cheap and workers are honest in Myanmar, the main hindrance to factory construction here was electricity shortages, he revealed.

- Eleven Media


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