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Myanmar Government Prioritizes Economic Recovery as Pandemic Infection…


Source: Myanmar Government Prioritizes Economic Recovery as Pandemic Infection…

Discovered on: 2021-12-08 06:34:29

Myanmar Government Prioritizes Economic Recovery as Pandemic Infections Decline Amid Return

Myanmar Government Prioritizes Economic Recovery as Pandemic Infections Decline Amid Return of National Stability Ahead of Preparations for Multi-Party National Elections 2021-12-08 07:34:25

NAY PYI TAW, MM, Dec 7, 2021 – (ACN Newswire) – The Myanmar Government said today that it has largely restored national stability after recent civil unrest and is now focused on increasing vaccination rates to reduce COVID-19 infections and attracting local and foreign investments to jump-start economic growth and job creation.

The Ministry of Information (MOI) and Ministry of Investment and Foreign Economic Relations (MIFER) said in a joint statement that with the restoration of stability, economic recovery was now a top priority as the Government prepares for multi-party elections to be held by August 2023.

The Union Election Commission has reviewed weaknesses, fraud and malpractices in the 8 November 2020 elections. It has held 3 consultations with political parties between February and November 2021. A fourth consultation will be held this month to discuss the Proportional Representation System. To update data and to prevent voter fraud, joint inspection teams led by the Commission have started audit of membership, funding, premises, business dealings and election expenses of all political parties.

Preparations for elections are taking place amid a significant rise in domestic applications for investments. Upon approval, domestic investments are expected to increase by over 50% in 2021-2022 (November to October) compared to 2020-2021. The Government is aware of concerns among foreign investors and is addressing issues of business travel, health and safety of staff, and apparent pressure from some quarters of the international community.

The two Ministers, on behalf of the Myanmar Government, announced that:

i) Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2020-2021 is likely to contract by single digit – less dire than forecasts of some international economists. The single-digit contraction is due to the combined impact of the pandemic and civil unrest. Myanmar Government expects recovery to positive GDP growth in 2021-2022.

The economic recovery is due to the combination of lower rates of pandemic infection amid increased vaccination rates, return to national stability, and increasing investment commitments, especially domestic investments.

ii) The Health Ministry is assessing new COVID-19 variants such as Omicron before announcing business travel protocols including vaccinated travel lanes.

iii) MIFER expects domestic investments (Myanmar Citizens Investments, or MCI) to increase by over 50% in 2021-2022 compared to 2020-2021. MCI will rise further in 2022-2023, based on applications received. To increase Foreign Direct Investments (FDI), MIFER is actively engaging the international business community. It is also addressing issues related to investments in certain sectors such as port development and telecommunications.

iv) The so-called ‘National Unity Government (NUG) Bond’ is deemed illegal as it has not been registered with relevant authorities. Myanmar nationals involved in funds transfer to transact it will be considered to have broken the law. Based on monitoring by Myanmar financial authorities, there is little local interest in this so-called bond, which appears to be a possible channel for terrorist financing from external sources.

National Security Situation

Civil disturbances earlier this year appear to be related to the 1 February 2021 Proclamation to declare a State of Emergency. The Proclamation followed failure to settle the issue of voter fraud list related to the 2020 elections, and subsequent postponement of Parliament sessions. On 2 February 2021 the State Administration Council (SAC) was formed.

Providing an update of civil unrest, MOI said that since the 1 February 2021, civil disobedience and terrorism activities carried out by the outlawed People’s Defensive Force (PDF) had led to:

– 198 administrative officials from various Government and State agencies being killed and 148 other injured; the deaths of at least 12 Buddhist monks;

– Damage or destruction of 397 roads and bridges, 565 Government offices, 409 telecommunications towers and 444 schools or colleges; and

– Damage to branches or offices of 26 state-owned banks and 41 private banks, amongst others.

However, civil unrest has declined significantly since early November 2021 as indicated by the resumption of most schools and normal commercial activity. Nonetheless, security forces remain on the alert.

International Collaboration on Enforcement Against Crime and Terrorism

To prevent rising cross-border cybercrime and terrorism, Myanmar Government has increased collaboration with police and public security officials from the international community.

A Myanmar delegation led by Deputy Minister for Home Affairs Lt-General Than Hlaing participated in the INTERPOL General Assembly held in Istanbul, Turkey, from 23 to 25 November 2021. The delegation held discussions with Mr Kim Jong Yang, President of INTERPOL’s Executive Committee, and Mr Jurgen Stock, INTERPOL’s Secretary General, as well as senior police or public security officials from China, Russia, India, Vietnam, and the United Arab Emirates.

“Despite earlier civil disturbances, the situation in Myanmar has clearly stabilized recently. This is due to efficient law enforcement and the collective wish of most Myanmar citizens to return to normal social and economic life. They are tired of the destruction of lives and property, and of other disruptions. Myanmar Government is committed to holding multi-party elections by August 2023. National stability is a pre-requisite for this important political event,” said Minister of Information Mr Maung Maung Ohn.

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