The FINANCIAL — IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, on June 19 signed a memorandum of understanding with Myanmar’s Ministry of Commerce outlining the support IFC will provide to improve the country’s investment climate through policy and regulatory reforms. These reforms will make it easier to do business in Myanmar and will help stimulate private sector growth and attract sustainable foreign investment.
As part of the efforts of the World Bank Group’s Trade and Competitiveness Global Practice Group, IFC will work with the country’s Trade and Business Promotion Task Force, chaired by Minister of Commerce U Win Myint, to develop and implement a reform action plan, with an initial emphasis on the ‘ease of doing business’ indicators outlined in the World Bank Group’s most recent Doing Business Report. Myanmar is ranked 177th out of 183 economies in that report, showing considerable scope for improving business regulations, especially those required to start a business, get credit, and enforce contracts, according to IFC.
“Ninety percent of Myanmar’s economy is private sector driven, so only when there is private development, can the economy and country benefit”, said U Toe Aung Myint, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Commerce. “As the responsible ministry for private sector development, the Ministry of Commerce is pleased to sign this memorandum of understanding with IFC because of its strong experience and expertise in the field of private sector development, and to support our efforts to promote trade, business and investment.”
In partnership with Australia, Japan and the United Kingdom, IFC will work closely with the task force, which was created in 2014 to lead the government’s reform efforts and support the operations of the Myanmar Business Forum (MBF). The forum comprises six sectoral working groups from the private sector that meet regularly to prioritize issues to raise with the government. The MBF will hold regular plenary meetings to publicly discuss these issues with the highest levels of government.
“The reform process requires consistent implementation of laws and regulations alongside a strong public-private dialogue platform,” said Vikram Kumar, IFC Resident Representative for Myanmar. “The support provided by IFC and the World Bank Group’s Trade and Competitiveness Global Practice Group to the government and the MBF will ensure that reforms bring changes on the ground, which will help cultivate the confidence of investors and further Myanmar’s integration into ASEAN as well as global markets.”
IFC is supporting the Myanmar government’s market-oriented reforms by providing advisory services and investment to strengthen the private sector. This will create more investment opportunities and jobs that will benefit the population and lead to greater shared prosperity. IFC is also working with the government and the financial sector to improve access to finance for small and medium enterprises and to increase financial inclusion through microfinance. Efforts are also underway to boost private sector involvement in infrastructure, with an initial focus on the power and telecommunications sectors.