U Thaung Tun Investment Myanmar Rakhine

Keynote Address by H.E. U Thaung Tun, Union Minister for Investment and Foreign Economic Relations at the Rakhine State Investment Fair

On 22 February 2019, H.E. U Thaung Tun, Union Minister of Investment and Foreign Economic Relations, and Chairperson of Myanmar Investment Commission, delivered the keynote address at the inaugural Rakhine State Investment Fair 2019.

The full transcript of his address follows.

Rakhine State Investment Fair 2019

22 February 2019

Thandwe, Myanmar

Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It gives me immense pleasure to welcome you to this Rakhine State Investment Forum.

The Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC) and the Rakhine State Government have organised this event as we believe that it will contribute to ensure a prosperous, peaceful and inclusive future for Rakhine.

I would like to congratulate the Chief Minister of Rakhine State, U Nyi Pu and his team for the successful organization of this Investment Fair.

My deep appreciation also goes to the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), to the Japan External Trade Organization, and to the many local companies for joining hands in organising this event.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who have travelled from near and far to be with us here in beautiful Ngapali.

Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

In Myanmar diversity is a source of strength.

Myanmar has such great potential precisely because we are such a diverse country — consisting of peoples and communities, with distinct languages, cultures and traditions.

Investment can build upon this diversity — bringing new ideas, new technologies, new ways of doing business — helping communities connect, beyond boundaries, through borders, and across continents.

With investment — the world opens up to us, and we open up to the world.

This is just one of the many reasons why we welcome foreign investment in Myanmar and is the reason why we welcome foreign investment into Rakhine.

But we do not sail into uncharted waters. We have a guide. In 2018 this government launched the Myanmar Sustainable Development Plan describing a next wave of reforms, designed to steer our country’s continued transition, along a common pathway, toward the emergence of a prosperous, peaceful, democratic federal Union.

Our MSDP consists of 3 pillars, 5 goals, 28 strategies and no less than 251 action plans – all firmly aligned with the global sustainable development agenda.

In line with both the MSDP and our new Investment Promotion Plan, we recognise that government has a critical role to play in creating a more favourable, predictable and friendly investment climate.

Doing so will help to stimulate foreign and domestic investment, while ensuring a level playing field for all investors.

Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

The MIC, which I am proud to lead, has been actively promoting responsible, sustainable, and mutually beneficial investment — that is, investment which does not prioritise short term returns at the expense of future generations.

The MIC, as Myanmar’s investment regulator, facilitator and promoter, will continue to promote such a business-friendly and mutually beneficial investment environment.

We will welcome investment that does not cause harm to the natural environment, and which serves the interests of our people. We will welcome investments which bring benefits to all stakeholders, including workers and host communities.

The MIC has also recently been placing special emphasis on increasing investment channelled into our States and Regions. It is true that, at an aggregate level, living standards throughout Myanmar have improved significantly. However, it is also true that inequality is prevalent in some areas.

We regard investment as being an important means to reduce inequality and promote more balanced growth throughout the country.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As mentioned in the State Counsellor’s keynote address earlier this morning, this government has made a number of important reforms aimed at creating a more attractive, investor-friendly environment. She said, and I quote:

“We have opened up our country to the world. We are constantly adjusting our policies, rules and regulations to be in line with international best practices and to make the investment climate more favorable, predictable, facilitative and friendly. In short, we want to establish a welcoming economic environment for all.”

End of quotation.

These reforms that we refer to have been initiated which include the promulgation of the new Myanmar Investment Law, a new set of Myanmar Investment Rules, and the new Myanmar Companies Law.

Since April 2017, as part of these sweeping reforms, Investment Committees have been established in all States and Regions of our country.

Notably, MyCo, our new online company registration system now allows companies to be easily incorporated via a user-friendly online platform.

These reforms help to increase efficiency, making it easier to do business, boosting investor confidence, and contributing to a more vibrant and dynamic, inclusive economy.

But challenges remain. But we will strive to overcome them.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has forecast that Myanmar will require around 120 billion in investment by 2030 to close the infrastructure gap.

It is for this reason that the government has developed the Project Bank – a rolling databank consisting of major, transformative projects that will assist investors in identifying potential investment projects in a more strategic, transparent and open manner.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Rakhine State is uniquely positioned for many reasons.

It is rich in natural resources, particularly oil and gas, and its strategic location makes it an ideal gateway for trade and commerce between China and India and the rest of South East Asia.

Rakhine is uniquely positioned to support the emergence of economic and industrial zones.

With its captivating range of pristine beaches and cultural heritage sites, Rakhine is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered.

I am pleased to see that initiatives such as “My Beautiful Rakhine Photo Contest”, which is displayed outside the hall here, having received over 2,500 entries, are helping to showcase Rakhine’s beautiful beaches, lush farmlands and rich archaeological sites — helping to further the promotion of Rakhine’s tourism potential.

Throughout this Investment Fair, through business networking opportunities, presentations that are made, and dialogues with experts in various fields, we expect to see progress in Rakhine.

Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Now is the time to invest in Rakhine State. By investing in this State, you will be joining us on a journey to build a prosperous and inclusive Rakhine better able thrive on its own diversity.

They say that you can’t get people to believe in your dream until you believe in it yourself. Well, ladies and gentlemen, I believe in Rakhine State. I believe in the dream of a prosperous, peaceful, diverse and economically vibrant Rakhine State.

There is a common saying that goes “ Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”

To investors I say welcome to Rakhine.

We are all here because we have a clear-eyed vision of what we want and where we are headed, but nobody will put these dreams into reality until we do.

Let us turn those dreams into reality.

I thank you for your attention.

Thank you.

Source: Ministry of Investment and Foreign Economic Relations

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