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Myanmar extends financial support measures for local businesses

The Ministry of Planning, Finance, and Industry on September 7 issued Notification 3/2020, which extends existing support measures granted due to COVID-19 until December.

In accordance with a decision at the coordination meeting of the National-Level Central Committee on Prevention, Control and Treatment of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) held on August 26, the MOPFI said it will continue to relax some regulations and extend financial support measures to businesses until year end amidst the COVID-19 crisis.

This includes the extension of tax reliefs to prioritised sectors from September 30 to December 31. The MOPFI had under Notification 1/2020 extended the corporate income tax and commercial tax payment deadlines for cut, make, pack (CMP) businesses, hotel and tourism firms and small and medium-sized enterprises until September 30 without incurring any penalty.

It also exempted exporters from a 2 percent withholding tax on exported goods until September 20 to allow companies to manage their cash flows.

Under Notification 3/2020, income tax payments for the second to fourth quarters of the financial year have been extended to December 31. Monthly commercial taxes from March to November can also be paid by December 31.

U Naung Naung Han, chair of Union of Myanmar Travel Association, welcomed the relief measures, saying the relaxation of tax obligations would be good for businesses. He also urged the government to consider more ways to relief the financial burden for struggling firms.

Since April, local businesses in selected sectors have been able to apply for a 12-month soft loan from the government at an interest rate of 1pc. However, many were unable to qualify for the funds due to incomplete documentation and other reasons.

The move comes amid a second wave of COVID-19 transmissions in Myanmar and rising concerns from local businesses, particularly smaller firms.

“We have yet to receive government funds to continue operating from the first wave of the virus. Now, the second wave is taking place and things could be worse if it is not brought under control,” said U Min Thu, secretary of the Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises Association in Yangon.

He added that “restaurants and other food and beverage businesses that run with municipal licenses have suspended their dine-in operations and most have no idea when to resume business.”

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Source : Myanmar Times

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