WITH MAJOR infrastructure and logistics initiatives being pushed, on top of being home to seven million people, foreign investors should not hesitate to invest in Yangon, officials told the Yangon Investment Forum 2019 on Friday.
Thaung Tun, chairman of the Myanmar Investment Commission and Union minister for investment and foreign economic relations, said Myanmar’s commercial hub Yangon remains attractive as the nation’s premier investment location, ensuring a level playing field for all investors.
“Yangon has been the primary driver of our growth, accounting for 24 per cent of the country’s GDP [gross domestic product] and growing at an average of 9.2 per cent annually,” he said.
“The city is expected to grow to over 10 million people by 2030. It has the country’s largest concentration of young and well-educated population.”
He expects Yangon to become a major trade and logistics hub in Asean, as it has Myanmar’s largest air, rail and sea ports, which together serve as the primary ingress point for its imports, accounting for 85 per cent of the nation’s trade.
Traffic through Yangon’s ports continues to rise with a total of 2,267 vessels calling at the Yangon Port in the last fiscal year, increasing 13 per cent over the past four years.
Yangon is also home to the Thilawa Special Economic Zone and 29 industrial zones.
“Myanmar’s investment landscape has undergone tremendous reforms in recent years, despite headwinds at home and abroad,” he said.
In order to ensure Myanmar maintains a favourable and friendly investment climate, the nation must lower the barriers to doing business as well as to eliminate challenges investors face when seeking to enter the market, he warned.
“We are pushing ahead with the establishment of a single-window system for investment facilitation,” he said.
“We have created MyCo, a new company registry platform, allowing companies to easily register online. We have digitalised much of the investment application process.”
Last year, the new Myanmar Investment Promotion Plan was launched to attract responsible quality investments. The government will ensure developing the private sector by supporting young entrepreneurs and empowering women.
“Their voices must be heard alongside more established players,” he said.
“We will continue to listen closely to the business community in order to better understand their needs and act accordingly.”
State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi said in a video address working together with the private sector would ensure a sustainable business environment.
“I am a strong believer in the power of collaboration to achieve Myanmar’s development goals,” she said.
She encouraged investors to consider public-private-partnership mechanisms, which could attract quality investors. She considered Yangon the “heart of enterprising Myanmar”.
Myanmar is currently developing the Project Bank, which will eventually serve as a one-stop digital information centre for strategic infrastructure projects. Upon completion, key information relating to the projects will be transparently disseminated.
“Once the development of the online database system is complete, access to key information will be available at the click of a button,” she said.
“This will enhance not only transparency but also predictability with respect to project identification and prioritisation, and will contribute towards creating a more secure investment enabling environment.”
Suu Kyi sees trade and investment as the two major drivers of Myanmar’s economic growth. She foresees a substantial increase in investment inflows into the manufacturing sector, as it accounted for 31 per cent of total investments and contributed to 24 per cent of GDP in fiscal year 2018.
“For those who are thinking of investing in Myanmar, we warmly invite you to come and invest here [Yangon], Asia’s final frontier economy,” she said.