By Aye Thidar Kyaw
ABOUT US$133 million of foreign direct investment was earned in Myanmar by the end of May in the 2012-13 financial year, Myanmar Investment Commission officials said during a press conference in Nay Pyi Taw last week.
Officials added that they hoped significant new investments would be made in the coming months, during the press conference on July 1.
Myanmar received about $40 billion in FDI when the country opened up to outside investment in 1988 until 2012, with China being the largest investor.
“We are expecting other countries to make new investments soon, especially Japan,” said U Aung Naing Oo, deputy director general of MIC.
Investment from China, including Hong Kong, amounted to about $19.3 billion, according to the Central Statistical Organisation’s website.
“We receive five to 10 Japanese business delegations at MIC every week,” he said, adding that French and American delegations were also due to visit in July.
The $133 million in FDI contracted this fiscal year accounts for nine projects in manufacturing and oil and gas, and were made by companies from Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and the United Kingdom, he said.
MIC chairman and Minister for Industry U Soe Thein said Myanmar welcomes foreign companies to help strengthen the country’s economy.
“We invite them to help develop our country and we must cooperate with them if we don’t have enough capital and technology,” he said. “However, we will only accept quality investment and investors who want to work within our laws,” he added.
U Soe Thein said domestic industrialists were suffering because they lack factories with up-to-date technology or access to capital, adding that many have ceased production.
He said the government and ministries plan to provide loans to industrialists to prepare them for Myanmar’s full integration into the ASEAN Free Trade Area in 2015, when domestic companies will compete with regional competitors.
“This is a problem we must inevitably face when the doors to the country’s economy open,” he said.
MIC told The Myanmar Times earlier this year that it was predicting about $4 billion of new FDI to be announced during this financial year but the bulk of that investment has failed to materialise. Many investors appear to be on the sidelines to see whether the amended Foreign Investment Law is passed, U Aung Naing Oo said.
Photo Credit: Google Images