The Nation



IFC agrees to help Myanmar improve investment policy

The International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank Group, has signed a memorandum of understanding with Myanmar's Ministry of National Planning and Economic Development to support the IFC's efforts to improve the country's investment policy and regulation framework.

This will make it easier to do business in Myanmar and help stimulate domestic private-sector growth and attract sustainable foreign investment, the IFC says.

The corporation says it will work with the ministry on a new investment law and regulations to improve protection for both foreign and domestic investors and streamline investment-approval procedures to promote a business-enabling environment. By combining the two existing separate laws for local and foreign investors, the new law aims to create a level playing field for all businesses.

"The cooperation with IFC will help accelerate our continued efforts to create a more business-friendly environment for both domestic and foreign investors," said Aung Naing Oo, director-general of the ministry's Directorate of Investment and Company Administration. "We will be able to enhance our own investment policy and business regulations through this cooperation and hope to learn from international best practices."

The IFC says it will also help Myanmar implement investment-climate reforms in top-priority areas, including promoting a public-private dialogue platform to facilitate the reform process.

"Together with the World Bank, IFC is supporting the government's economic reforms aimed at strengthening the private sector as a key driver for economic growth and employment in Myanmar," said Vikram Kumar, IFC resident representative for Myanmar.

"Improving Myanmar's investment policy and strengthening the regulatory framework will encourage private-sector investment and increased competition within Myanmar as the country becomes more integrated with Asean and the rest of the world."

The IFC is supporting the government's market-oriented reforms by providing advisory services and investment to strengthen the private sector. It is hoped that this will create investment opportunities and jobs that will benefit the population and lead to greater shared prosperity.

The IFC is also working with the government and the financial sector to improve access to finance for small and medium-sized enterprises and to increase financial inclusion through microfinance. Efforts are also under way to assist with private-sector involvement in infrastructure, with an initial focus on the power and telecommunications sectors.

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