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Tourism, manufacturing in Myanmar hardest hit by COVID-19 pandemic, MTPO says

Tourism and manufacturing exports have been hit the hardest, according to a recent report by the Myanmar Trade Promotion Organisation (MTPO).
The MTPO, under the Ministry of Commerce, recently published a survey about the COVID-19 impact on the country’s exports.
The study found that 30 percent of businesses are seriously hit while 46pc are moderately hit. Among the companies surveyed, 40pc say they are running into
problems in exporting.It added that tourism is suffering from the most severe COVID-19 impact, followed by the garment industry. Rubber export sector is also seriously affected and small-scale rubber companies were slightly hurt. Factors include a fall in market demand abroad.

Manufacturing is affected by the COVID-19 restrictions and lockdown, it said. A slowing Chinese economy will also weigh on Myanmar’s growth, it added.
The export sector has been affected severely as a result of the outbreak with declining demands, said Daw Naw Mutakapaw, director general of MTPO. She added
that solutions need to be proposed to mitigate the current hardships and to receive government aid.

The Myanmar economy has been hit by the COVID-19 pandemic which has led to slower growth and disruption to economic activities. In April, the International
Monetary Fund slashed Myanmar’s 2020 growth outlook to 1.8pc from 6.4pc As reported this month, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s government expects the fiscal deficit to widen substantially because of increased spending and falling revenues, requiring up to US$3 billion in extra borrowing by September 2021.
In a letter sent to the IMF, Finance Minister U Soe Win and Central Bank Governor U Kyaw Kyaw Maung attribute the financing gap to a series of COVID-19
economic impacts, notably a sharp decline in garment and gas exports, a rise in medical supply imports, a fall in remittance inflows by 10pc, a devastated tourism
industry and slowing FDI inflows.

Businesses want the government to reduce tax rate or suspend tax measures temporarily, according to the MTPO report. They also want the authorities to provide a
budget plan and to reduce the rental fee and electricity charges. The National League for Democracy-led government released the COVID-19 Economic Relief Plan (CERP) in late April which contains a raft of measures intended to support exporters and mitigate the economic damage.
The MTPO report findings are similar to the earlier survey by the Asia Foundation, which was released last month.

Nearly one third of companies in Myanmar have temporarily closed because of the lockdown and the vast majority of those still operating have reported lower
turnover, the Asia Foundation survey found. The key reasons for reducing operations or closing were employee safety and lack of customers.
Foreign businesses in Myanmar are feeling the heat. Around half the companies surveyed by the Myanmar Hong Kong Chamber of Commerce and Industry said
their revenues have dropped, averaging a 47pc decline, while 15pc have experienced neutral impact and 35pc have managed to increase revenue.

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Source : Myanmar Times

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