World Bank report praises Myanmar progress

The World Bank’s Doing Business 2020 report ranked Myanmar among the top 20 most-improved business environments.

The report evaluates countries based on how easy it is to do business in them. It looks at factors such as access to credit, taxation, cross-border trading and registering new businesses. Although, the report will only be published on 24 October 2019, the World Bank praised Myanmar for improvements in quality control, business registration and transparency. Many of these successes are the fruit of new initiatives from the Ministry of Commerce. One of these is the Myanmar Investment Promotion Plan (MIPP) which is designed to attract USD 200 billion in investments in the next 20 years.

MIPP reforms include a centralized property database, online company and property registration platforms and a land bank. The government plans to spend USD 8.5 billion on MIPP projects between 2021 and 2026, reported the Irrawaddy.

In 2016, the NLD government launched its ambitious Myanmar Sustainable Development Plan to develop the country socially, politically and economically. But the progress has been disappointing, with legal reforms in land rights, taxation, education, press freedom and other areas mired in red tape and corruption. Recent challenges include a United Nations call for a boycott on several Myanmar businesses, high levels of unpaid debt, and chronic tax collection issues.

However, 2019 has also seen many major economic breakthroughs. These include expanded telecom coverage, access to power and an increase in power tariffs, online business and property registration systems. If successful, a recently-approved tax amnesty may also incentivize investors to declare more taxable income and assets. With the recent progress, the Ministry of Commerce aims to be within the top 100 countries overall by next year.

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