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More has to be done to formalise business sector in Kachin: officials

There are only 19 large companies and just 1707 registered small and medium-sized businesses in Kachin State observing the stipulations of the Myanmar Investment Law 2016 , a government official said.

Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Investment and Foreign Economic Relations U Aung Naing Oo revealed this during Kachin Economic Forum held in Myitkyina, Kachin State on November 15.

“According to the Myanmar Investment Commission and Kachin Investment Commission, of the total investments in the country made by local businesses, just 0.22 percent came from businesses in Kachin. As a percentage of GDP, this is too low,” said U Aung Naing Oo.

As of October 2018 there were only 1074 registered companies in the state, or about six companies for every 10,000 people. In the SME sector there were only 3496 small and 211 medium-sized businesses registered in the state.

“Kachin State’s GDP is only 2pc of the country and the figure is too low. But this is not true on the ground as much of Kachin State’s business and trade are being done unofficially and does not show up in the government’s data,” said U Aung Naing Oo.

Currently, the registration fee for a company is K150,000 and a company can be established with initial capital of just one kyat. Company registration forms can be filled online and even if done at the Company Registration Office no extra fees have to be paid, he said.

The reason there are many unofficial businesses in Kachin State is because local people do not understand the benefits and nature of companies yet and many are operating businesses according to traditional practices, said U Hkyet Hting Nan, a member of the Kachin Ethnics Businesspeople Association.

“Ethnic people operate businesses informally for agriculture and weaving. They don’t know how to found a company. There are also business people who don’t know how to cooperate with government bodies or operate a proper company structure yet. A lot more education will have to done to change things,” U Hkyet Hting Nan said.

Ethnic business people should cooperate and upgrade to reduce the amount of informal business, said Kachin Ethnics Businesspeople Association patron U Lahpai Hkun Sa.

“If we want the state to develop, we need to have qualification to help the state develop. Kachin is left behind compared to other states and regions. Many Kachin people don’t know what things such as banks and regulations are . There have been cases of people losing land because they don’t know about ensuring proper land ownership. So we need to find a solution and change to help the state develop,” said U Lahpai Hkun Sa.

Kachin trade has potential to grow as it borders China’s Yunnan Province, which has a population of 48 million, in the north, and eight states in north eastern India with a total population of about 46 million in the west.

“Kachin should look beyond domestic consumption and expand its production of goods and services to outside the state as well as overseas and the first step should be regularising and formalising the business sector,” said U Aung Naing Oo. – Translated

Source : Myanmar Times

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