Myanmar launches new companies law to adapt to current age

YANGON, Aug. 1 (Xinhua) — Myanmar has instituted a new companies law after amendment of its outdated Companies Act-1914 to adapt to the current age, registering an important milestone with its measures of promoting foreign investment.

The new Myanmar Companies Law-2017 comes into effect from Wednesday, enabling a company’s registration process to be done electronically now.

All companies are set to re-register within six months from August as the law comes into effect and the re-registration process is to be completed through the Myanmar Companies Online (MyCO) system.

Under the previous Myanmar Companies Act-1914, restrictions were imposed on foreign companies leading to hesitation of investors and obstacles to foreign capital flow, thus hindering economic development.

According to the new Myanmar Companies Act-2017, foreigners are permitted to own up to 35 percent of stake in local companies, which facilitates business undertakings and paves way for further cooperation between foreign investors and local businessmen.

With businesses of more than 35 percent of stake by a foreigner being classified as foreign companies, the new law tackles the obstacles and restrictions to a greater extent and attract more foreign investment.

The new Myanmar Companies Law will also bring about exemption to small companies, allowing them to set up a company with a single shareholder and a single director and such small companies no longer need to submit financial reports.

The new law also allows foreigners to engage in export/import, insurance and stock market as the MyCO system provides better corporate governance, ensuring compliance.

As another measure of promoting investment, Myanmar has also reformed its investment commission with 13 members, with Minister at the Office of the Government U Thaung Tun as chairman.

U Thaung Tun said the move, partly aiming at attracting foreign investment, will allow the companies to benefit from the new Myanmar Companies Law which has abolished the mandated system of submitting an authorized capital as well as the requirement of an article of association and a memorandum of association previously prescribed.

Vowing to be transparent, taking proactive approach and promoting responsible investment under the new management, he also pledged to work more efficiently and deal with investors more friendly, underscoring investment opportunities in Myanmar and urging foreign business organizations to take advantage of the changes and invest in the country.

Meanwhile, Myanmar has mapped out new urban development projects of Yangon region, inviting local and foreign entrepreneurs to invest in the master plan through public-private partnership.

According to statistics, the country attracted 5.7 billion U.S. dollars’ annual foreign direct investment (FDI) in the last fiscal year 2017-18 with Singapore topping the list of foreign investors during the year with 2.1 billion U.S. dollars, followed by China with 1.39 billion U.S. dollars.

The country targets to attract 3 billion U.S. dollars’ FDI during the six-month transitional period as the Myanmar government has changed its fiscal year period from original April-March to October-September beginning 2018-19.

Total foreign investment in Myanmar hit 76.028 billion U.S. dollars as of the end of March this year since late 1988 with China standing as the largest foreign investors’ line up with 19.949 billion dollars, followed by Singapore and Thailand.

Source: Xinhua

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