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Myanmar Business News in Brief

FDI in oil, gas sector gets over $670m in August

Foreign investment in Myanmar’s oil and natural gas sector coming from 13 foreign companies amounted to $674 million in August, according to the latest statistics of the Foreign Investment Commission. This makes the oil and gas sector the highest FDI receiving sector since the semi-civilian government took office in 2011. According to official statistics, total foreign investment in Myanmar’s oil and gas sector amounted to $14.372 billion in 115 projects as of June, accounting for 30.76 percent of the total FDI.

Parliament agrees to President’s borrowing proposal

Myanmar’s Union Assembly has approved the President’s proposal to borrow from the World Bank, South Korea and Italy to improve navigation in the Ayeyawady River, buy railway coaches and fund rural development projects, local media reported. Myanmar plans to borrow $200 million from the World Bank, $45 million from South Korea and €20 million from Italy.

Govt plans 32 dams, most JVs with Chinese firms

The government plans to build 32 hydropower projects in joint ventures with foreign companies, most of which are Chinese firms, according to a report from the Ministry of Electric Power. The government has already signed joint venture agreements with foreign companies to build four hydropower projects and memoranda of understanding for another 19, the ministry said, adding that nine other projects were on the table, local media reported. 

Permits for wine import awaiting new tax rate

Official permits for importing foreign wine have been given the green light by the Ministry of Commerce and the business will start after the Finance Ministry sets a new tax rate, minister for commerce U Win Myint said. There are 41,210 registered alcohol wholesale and retail stores in 330 townships nationwide; 73 alcohol distilleries, four beer factories and 40 wine makers. Since 2012, the commercial tax on cigarettes has been raised to 100 percent of the product value and tax on cigars, tobacco leaves, and alcoholic beverages to 50 percent of product value.

Yangon circular railway upgrade to cost $700m

The Ministry of Rail Transportation will spend more than $700 million to upgrade Yangon’s circular railroad, local media reporte. The ministry is planning to upgrade the railway next year in cooperation with the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The move covers the extension of the railway section as well as replacing coaches. The circular train’s speed will be more than doubled, from 30 to 80 miles per hour, and once the project is completed the ministry plans to start building a sky train with foreign loans.

Proposals for credit bureau to be submitted in October

Proposals for establishing a credit bureau in cooperation with foreign companies will be submitted to the central bank in October, local media reported, quoting Myanmar Bankers’ Association chairman Thein Tun. This would pave the way for the use of credit cards in the country, Thein Tun said.

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