“We are considering delegating power to the state and regional governments, and allowing them to approve certain projects, though the details are not yet fixed,” he said.
“We want to do this for two reasons – one is to delegate power from the MIC to the state and regional governments, and the second is that if we delegate power, they will become more able to develop their economies by themselves.”
However, in order for this to happen, some amendments need to be made to the existing Foreign Investment Law and Myanmar Citizens Law, which don’t currently allow states and regional governments to make investment approvals.
“It is our target to do this before the election, or as soon as possible, so we are trying to expedite the process,” he said.
He also told The Myanmar Times that the MIC hopes to pass two pieces of legislation in the ongoing parliamentary session. The first is the new Myanmar Investment Law, which will combine the Foreign Investment Law and the Myanmar Citizens Investment Law. The second is a revision of the Myanmar Companies Act.
U Aung Naing Oo said that DICA has submitted the combination law to the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw after amending the draft legislation, following public feedback earlier this year.
“They have been sent to the Union Attorney General’s Office and are still in the pipeline, but we are hoping to have [them] approved as soon as possible,” said U Aung Naing Oo.
The Foreign Investment Law was enacted in 2012 and the Citizens Investment Law passed in 2013. The draft Myanmar Investment Law has seven sections, including the Myanmar Investment Commission, admission of investment, treatment of investors, investment incentives, and also dispute prevention and resolution.
The new foreign investment law is expected to reduce some restrictions on foreign investors, and support an increase in foreign investments, he said. The law has been drafted with the help of the International Finance Corporation (IFC).
“It’s about time that the two laws are merged into one, and the new law can attract foreign investors. However, it’s important to ensure that equal taxes are levied on foreign investments. With equal opportunities, exemptions should be awarded equally too,” said U Myat Thin Aung, chair of Hlaing Tharyar Industrial Zone’s Management Committee.
According to U Aung Naing Oo, the target for foreign direct investment this financial year is US$6 billion. The target for the last financial year was initially $4 billion, but pledged investment reached more than $8 billion. He said that 34 foreign companies had pledged investment worth more than $2.3 billion between April 1 and the end of May 2015.
Last year the MIC began a transition to independence from the Ministry of National Planning and Economic Development, as Myanmar targeted higher levels of foreign direct investment.
Under the foreign investment law of 2012, the MIC is the gatekeeper for licensing prospective investors. It is the primary task of this investment administrative agency to ensure that foreign investment benefits the people of Myanmar.
Source: Myanmar Times