Monday, July 10, 2017

Photo credit: Ben Frederick
A crane digs on a road in Chin state
Myanmar’s least developed states and regions have seen no new investment proposals despite tax in­centives having been re­leased this year in a bid to attract foreign and local businesses in those areas.
The country’s poorest areas have seen little of the billions of US dol­lars of foreign investment flowing into the country in recent years because of their lack of infrastruc­ture, high logistics costs and ongoing ethnic con­flicts.
“No proposal for other regions and states has been received by the of­fice. I think they [inves­tors] care about produc­tion and logistical costs more than tax exemp­tions,” U San Myint, Dep­uty Director General of the Directorate of Indus­try and Company Admin­istration (DICA), said.
“Yangon is the main business hub of the coun­try with cheaper logistics costs, so most proposals go to Yangon.”
In February the Myan­mar Investment Com­mission (MIC), the body that approves investment applications in Myanmar, announced that compa­nies who choose to in­vest in townships in the country’s least developed states and regions, known as Zone 1, would be eligi­ble for 7-year tax breaks.
Every township in Chin and Rakhine states, con­sidered the two least de­veloped in the country, some townships in Kachin and Dawei, site of the Special Economic Zone, is included under Zone 1.The tax breaks come as part of Myanmar’s new Investment Law which was designed to reduce contact with ministries and streamline the appli­cation process. The law granted state and regional branches of the MIC pow­er to approve selected in­vestment proposals under $5 million.
“We are planning to open branches of the MIC in Kachin State and next there will be offices be in Chin and Rakhine states. MIC’s subsidiary commit­tees for regions and states will be formed soon. Members of state and re­gional offices will need to be trained in MIC rules and regulations,” said U Than Aung Kyaw, Deputy Director General of DICA.

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