Based on responses from the city’s business community, the survey says that Mandalay and its surrounding states and regions have better transportation links with major trading partners China, India and Thailand than its main rival, Yangon.
The survey, which asked local companies how the city could develop and what challenges they faced, was conducted last month by the Japan International Cooperation Agency, the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry and Myanmar Market Research and Development Company. It covered 75pc of small and medium businesses and 25pc of large businesses, U Arker Soe, research director at MMRD, told The Myanmar Times.
“We made this survey to develop business in Mandalay. We intended to create more opportunities between the government and entrepreneurs,” he said. According to the survey, Mandalay Region is the second-biggest urban area and the third-largest population centre in the country, with about 2.2 million people.
The bad news is that the grant of licences and permits to run a business is time-consuming, the roads are bad, port services inadequate, the
development of the industrial zone is weak, land prices are too high and infrastructure is lacking. Government support is still required, and the electricity supply needs work.
On the other hand the trading environment is competitive, allowing 56pc of the companies surveyed to increase sales between 2013 and 2014, though only 41pc of companies increased profits. About 90pc of businesses faced higher manufacturing costs as the price of raw materials rose.
Even though the K3600 daily minimum wage was the same in Mandalay as in Yangon, skilled workers among the 180,000-strong population of workers were still being tempted overseas by higher pay, said the survey, advocating training to improve skills and assess worker performance.
“Mandalay has good prospects to develop business, but its economy now is weak. More than 400 projects are being implemented in Yangon, more than 40 in Bago and 20 in Rakhine. But there are only 19 projects in Mandalay,” said U Aung Naing Oo, director general of the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration.
The survey predicted that Mandalay’s hotel and tourism sector would thrive, the trading and manufacturing sectors could improve according to market demand, the agricultural sector could benefit from improved techniques, and construction and related businesses could also prosper.
Source: Myanmar Times