Myanmar’s capacity, productivity still at the bottom of ASEAN, economists say

Despite its potential growth, Myanmar is still at the bottom of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in terms of capacity and productivity, economists say.

“The government is responsible for microeconomic reforms, and it must develop more. The citizens also need to change a lot, to adapt to the new environment. Nowadays, we have very low productivity per person in every sector, including knowledge-based and manufacturing sectors. We are below Laos for competitiveness. On the other hand, microeconomic reforms are necessary. We have a lot of shortcomings but we need to try to overcome them,” said Tin Win Aung, chairman of the MCC Group of Companies.

“Let’s talk about SMEs. If you look at Germany, most of their businesses are small- and medium-sized enterprises. Their SME sector stands at the top of Europe. They do not have many workers but they produce value-added, world-class products. Most of their products come from SMEs. Their labour productivity is very high. We need to take it into consideration,” he said.

According to the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI), Myanmar’s economy has a lot of potential but needs to implement proper business policies. If the government sets the right policies, Myanmar’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will be more than US$ 200 billion (Ks 194.79 trillion) by 2030. However, there are challenges ahead: implementing the policies, the gap between the rich and poor, the need for skilled workers, and political challenges.

“The World Bank’s study is good. According to the WB, Myanmar has shown 6.7 [percent] economic growth this year. They estimate that Myanmar’s GDP will be 6.8 next year. That is a positive sign for us. Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) has also reached to US$ 43 billion. The GDP is more than US$ 54 billion. All statistics come from international organisations,” Tin Win Aung said.

“Inflation is still a challenge for Myanmar’s growth. It is between 5.9 and 8.9. I don’t know about the unemployment rate, but it is about four percent, according to statistics,” he continued.

In this case, “unemployment” means “those who cannot find a job despite their eagerness to work”. The capacity of those who are working is low, sources say.

“We need a lot of vocational training in Myanmar. The employment rate and workers’ capacity will be higher if they are well-trained, as in foreign countries,” said economist Myo Nyunt.

Source: ELEVEN Myanmar

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