Thursday, August 17, 2017

MIC expands amid reforms

The Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC) has been reorganised with three new members, according to a news release by the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration (DICA) on June 14.

DICA Director General U Aung Naing Oo has remained as MIC secretary following the reshuffle. Aung Khant / The Myanmar TimesDICA Director General U Aung Naing Oo has remained as MIC secretary following the reshuffle. Aung Khant / The Myanmar Times

The MIC is a government-appointed body which is responsible for verifying and approving investment proposals and regularly issues notifications about sector-specific developments.

The previous appointments to the body were made on June 7, 2016, with 11 members in total.

The new arrangement sees an increase to 13 members.

Union Minister for the Ministry of Planning and Finance U Kyaw Win remains as the chair while Union Minister for the Ministry of Commerce U Than Mytint serves as vice chair, together with 11 other members. DICA Director General U Aung Naing Oo has also kept his position as secretary.

The reshuffle has one member removed from the new formation.

The three new members include the deputy minister for the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation U Hla Kyaw, permanent secretary of the Ministry of Electricity and Energy U Win Htein and permanent secretary of the Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population U Myo Aung.

The new MIC was formed on June 6, 2017, according to the statement.

The new appointments also came at a time when the body has changed its mandates as well as scope of responsibilities.

With the new investment law in place, region and state investment commissions will now be able to approve investment proposals of up to US$5 million without having to seek permission from the MIC.

Exceptions, including strategic investments, capital intensive investments, investments with possible environmental impacts and those sectors categorised by the government as in need of scrutiny, will need to ask the MIC for approval.

The MIC now has the mandate to reject investment proposals from investors which it deems irresponsible.

Under the new investment legislation and additional rules implemented in April, the body is empowered to exclude investors who have abused human rights in any jurisdiction, according to the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ).

The government held an investment forum at Nay Pyi Taw on June 6-7. International investors and businesses in attendance discussed a whole range of matters, such as domestic agriculture reforms, power supply and visas for foreigners to work or stay in the country.

In addition, they also enquired about land purchases by foreigners.

U Kyaw Win said that the government would focus on facilitating investment approval processes and providing support to small and medium enterprises (SME) in order to boost the country’s economic development.

He also took the opportunity to compare Myanmar’s economy to a plane on a runway, ready to take off in 2017.

“Myanmar is like a plane running on the runway in 2016, but it is ready to take off in 2017,” he told an audience of Myanmar and international businesses during the forum.

Translation by Zaw Nyunt