Foreign investors may soon apply online

Foreigners seeking to invest in Myanmar will soon be able to apply online, according to the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration (DICA). The planned digital portal aims to help investors stuck outside the country due to pandemic lockdowns, DICA director general U Thant Sin Lwin told the Myanmar Times.

Online applications would also streamline a notoriously cumbersome bureaucracy. Previously, investors would have to apply in person at the DICA office, merely one step in a cumbersome process that foreign firms often hire local consultants to navigate on their behalf. Indeed, it will be merely the latest in a series of steps by the government in general to modernize Myanmar’s business infrastructure. In 2018, DICA switched to an online company registry (Myanmar Companies Online, or MyCo), which currently has around 68,000 registrants. In May of this year, DICA also culled more than 800 companies from MyCo for failing to renew their registrations, and put around 11,000 on suspension pending their returns. (Most of those companies were derelicts, set up by parent firms to comply with certain now-outdated rules.)

Work in the foreign investment space appears to be working. Despite the global economic downturn and Myanmar’s own pandemic lockdown, FDI for the 2019-2020 fiscal year reached USD 5.7 billion, according to the Myanmar Investment Commission — just short of its USD 5.8 billion target.

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