Myanmar is set to streamline the company registration process
for foreign investors, a Myanmar government official has
Myanmars Company Registration Office (CRO) director
general U Aye Ko told IFLR applications for foreign
business permits would now be completed within three weeks. The
process previously took up to one year.
The move has been made in a bid to create a so-called
one-stop shop application service for potential foreign
investors ahead of the release of Myanmars new foreign
investment law. It is effective immediately.
Would-be investors need now only attain approval from, and
negotiate terms and conditions with the regulatory ministry
relevant to their industry. That ministry will then approach
the Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC), the national agency
charged with issuing business permits.
If an investment is approved, the MIC will then issue a
foreign company permit within that same week, following
conclusion of the agencys weekly meeting. Such permits
will need to be renewed after three years.
A senior official at the Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC)
said efforts were also under way to further streamline
application processes by making all associated ministry
documentation available online. This project would be completed
within six months, he said.
It will ensure potential foreign investors no longer
need to make the journey back and forth from Nay Pyi Taw, where
the main government entities are based, to get investment
approval, he said.
Market participants say the move has been prompted by their
increasingly vocal objections to the awkward company formation
processes previously in place in the country.
In an article published last month in the Myanmar Times, local
accountant U Min Sein said the government would struggle to
benefit from the increased attention it was receiving from the
international investment community, if it did not catch up with
other countries in terms of company licensing procedures.
Everybody who has gone through this process knows how
complicated and costly it is, he complained. They
have to complete a lot of forms. A single trip to Nay Pyi Taw
will not do it.
It is time to consider helping foreign and local
investors form companies effortlessly and swiftly, he
While another market participant said last week that the
introduction of a one-stop shop service was long overdue.
There is nothing very radical about the idea of a
service whereby the regulator processes all the paperwork for
you, and obtains all the necessary permits and licences for
foreign companies, he said.
Other countries have been offering one-stop shop
services with English-speaking staff from each of the
respective Ministries that need to be dealt with for some
The Burmese need to compete against these countries
and they need to do it quick, he said.
The MIC senior official said the government was working to
relax its laws based on models previously followed by
Vietnamese, Indian and Thai governments but stressed balance
He added that for the time the best opportunities for
would-be foreign investors would be within Myanmars six
Special Economic Zones. These will operate under a more liberal
SEZ law and offer tax exemptions for different sectors. They
are undergoing construction in Dawei in Tanintharyi Region,
Thilawa Port in Yangon, Mawlamyine in Mon State, Myawaddy and
Hpa-an in Kayin State, Kyaukphyu in Rakine State and Pyin Oo
Lwin in Mandalay region.
Myanmar presidential economic advisor Set Aung revealed to
IFLR last week how these zones will act as a
laboratory for further reform of the countrys regulatory
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