UMFCCI annual meeting tame compared to last year

The Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI) held its annual meeting last week without the public opposition by some of its members to financial results that took place in 2013.

U Khin Hlaing, president of Zawtika International company, last year submitted seven pages of questions focusing on the organisation’s financial report and also urged a closer look at the rules and regulations of the organisation during the open-door meeting.

He had pledged to do the same this year, claiming he would hold a press conference after the annual meeting to reflect his concerns. However, a chance discussion with UMFCCI chair U Win Aung led to subsequent meetings where U Khin Hlaing said his concerns were adequately addressed.

U Khin Hlaing said he met with U Win Aung and the UMFCCI’s chief auditor, with all three going through the organisation’s complete financial data.

“I am now satistified with the finances,” he said. “I won’t protest against the results in the annual meeting as [U Win Aung] cleared up my concerns before the meeting.”

However, U Khin Hlaing added that he would like to see stronger rules and regulations governing UMFCCI, and pledged to keep up pressure on the central executive members to hold to its commitment to transparency.

“I will be pushing UMFCCI to operate as a fair and qualified business organisation,” he said.

U Win Aung could not be immediately reached for further comment.

UMFCCI was founded in 1919, and claims to be Myanmar’s preeminent private-sector business organsation, with 28,639 members, of which 10,230 are considered active.

U Wing Aung did not address U Khin Hlaing’s points during his speech at the annual meeting, but said the country’s and private sector development is an ongoing process.

“Human resource development and generating new laws and [working with] old laws is part of UMFCCI’s ongoing activities,” he said. “UMFCCI works not only for the sake of local businesses, but also for foreign businesses entering into Myanmar. It serves as a bridge of the booming economy and more foreign investment.”

Commerce minister U Win Myint said at the annual meeting that Myanmar must work hard to develop a market economy, improving the quality of its exports as well as the quantity, while importing goods at a sustainable level.

Trade statistics so far this year show a widening gap, with imports increasing at a quicker pace than exports.

U Win Myint said the ASEAN Economic Community provides an opportunity to reach a market of 600 million people.


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