Myanmar Update: October 18, 2018

Myanmar Update | October 18, 2018
Authors: Riley Smith, Jack Myint, Monica Chritton
 
LOOKING AHEAD
 
 

October 30-31: Mission to the 36th ASEAN Ministers on Energy Meeting (AMEM)
Register here for the US-ASEAN Business Council’s Business Mission to the 36th ASEAN Ministers on Energy Meeting (AMEM) in Singapore. The mission will take place on Tuesday, October 30 - Wednesday, October 31, and will consist of bilateral meetings with ASEAN Energy Ministers and relevant AMEM Dialogue Partners. Though the early bird deadline for registration passed on October 16, the Council is still accepting registrations. For more information, please contact Riley Smith (rsmith@usasean.org).

December 4-6: 2018 Business Mission to the 18th ASEAN Telecommunications and Information Technology Ministers Meeting
We are now registering senior level executives for our Business Mission to the 18th ASEAN Telecommunications and Information Technology Ministers Meeting (TELMIN) taking place on Tuesday, December 4 - Thursday, December 6 in Ubud, Indonesia. For more information, please contact Mario Masaya (mmasaya@usasean.org).

December 11-13: 2018 Business Mission to Myanmar
Please save the date for the Council's 2018 Business Mission to Myanmar, which will take place in Yangon and Nay Pyi Taw from December 11-13. Official invitation and registration details will follow soon. If you have any questions, please contact Jack Myint at jmyint@usasean.org.

 
THE COUNCIL'S TAKE
 
 

Myanmar Government Aims to Update Intellectual Property Laws in Effort to Improve Business Environment

Myanmar’s Hluttaw (Assembly of the Union) is drafting new regulations regarding intellectual property (IP) rights, copyright law, industrial law, patents and trademarks that will be discussed for enactment next month. Currently, intellectual property rights in the country rely on laws passed in the early 1900s. The effort to update the IP laws signals Myanmar’s commitment to creating a business environment that fosters innovation and creativity and support to information and technology businesses. IP protections remain a primary challenge to the survival of Myanmar’s startups and overall ability to keep up with the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Stronger and more comprehensive IP protections also provide a more attractive environment for foreign investors and brands to enter into the market.

As part of the broader effort to improve IP rights in the country, Myanmar has taken several actions to develop a better business environment. The Deputy Director General of the Intellectual Property Department under the Ministry of Education stated that the government has been working to train civil servants about IP matters and to build public awareness of the importance of intellectual property in the country’s economic development. The government also plans to set up an Intellectual Property Department under the Ministry of Education to oversee IP issues. These IP initiatives follow other legislation designed to support economic development, including the Investment Law 2016 and Companies Law in 2017, which had also been updated from century-old laws (for more information, see our Updates here and here).

Trilateral Talks Begin in Nay Pyi Taw in Effort to Galvanize Stalled National Peace Process

On October 15, 10 ethnic groups, military (Tatmadaw) leaders and government officials began a five-day meeting in Nay Pyi Taw, with the aim of resolving issues that have thus far stalled the peace process. The meeting marks three years since the signing of the National Ceasefire Agreement (NCA). Frontier Myanmar reports that this will be the first time State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and Senior General Min Aung Hlaing will meet with all 10 NCA signatories to seek consensus on key issues holding up the peace process.

Main issues of discussion among the three groups include the topic of state and regional constitutions and the “non-secession” clause in the peace pact. According to the Myanmar Times, State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi called for cooperation in reaching the dream of a democratic federal union. Senior General Min Aung Hlaing stated that “non-secession” is necessary to the federal union and a guarantee of peace.

Legislation to Regulate Multi-Level Marketing Firms Following September Ban

Myanmar’s Ministry of Commerce is drafting legislation to regulate multi-level marketing (MLM) firms. In September, the Ministry of Commerce took initial action by issuing notification (46/2018). The notification placed an immediate ban on MLMs from operating in the country, according to the Myanmar Times. The Ministry of Commerce issued the ban under the Essential Supplies and Services Law, as there is currently no law regulating MLMs. According to the Myanmar Times, the law will place restrictions on the number of levels of agents a company can have.

The Government initiated its investigation into MLM businesses in 2017, with the Department of Trade and Customs, the Internal Revenue Department, the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration and the Department of Food and Drug Administration leading the probe. Prior to the 2017 investigation, regulation of MLM businesses fell under the 1950 Emergency Provisions Act.

Increased regulation of MLMs can help create a system in which issues related to taxation, foreign currency and consumer protection are more adequately addressed. While regulation of MLMs is a part of an effort to protect consumers, there must also be efforts to stress consumer education and awareness as more players enter the market.

 
 
IN THIS UPDATE
 
 
Regional Affairs
ASEAN expects Rohingya repatriations to begin soon, says Singapore FM
Aung San Suu Kyi’s actions ‘regrettable’ but she will keep peace prize: Nobel chief
Myanmar's neighbours urge accountability for Rohingya violence

National Affairs
With Temporary ID Cards in Hand, Seven Repatriated Rohingya Refugees Back in Rakhine
Myanmar appoints new deputy ministers, Nay Pyi Taw council member
Govt sets date for high-level talks to restart peace process
Legal and criminal experts to study Rakhine probe findings
Two Military-Appointed Cabinet Ministers Look Set To Be Replaced
Government Building More ‘Model Villages’ to House Rohingya Returnees
Mandalay toughens campaign to get rid of illegal settlers
EXCLUSIVE-EU considers trade sanctions on Myanmar over Rohingya crisis
Canada MPs vote to strip Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi of honorary citizenship

Economics
Myanmar launches investment promotion plan amid toughening conditions
Myanmar urged to hike taxes to cut income gap
Laws to protect intellectual property, encourage business in the works
Myanmar’s Ambitious 20-Year Plan to Attract Foreign Investment
Higher US interest rates, oil prices crimping economy
Yangon to build innovation centre with Seedstars

Energy
Country’s first solar power plant to start operations in Magwe
Domestic airlines will not raise airfares yet despite rising fuel prices
Sembcorp starts commercial operation of 225-MW Myanmar power plant
MP calls for a shutdown of loss-making fuel filling stations
Local fuel prices increase by over 19% in four months
Greenback appreciation costs fuel oil entrepreneurs: Association
MPE to distribute 2 million gallons of gasoline at Ks3,800 per gallon in October

Food & Agriculture
Govt to spend more on health, education; but funds for agri lacking
Myanmar Launches First Inquiry into Agricultural Chemicals and Their Effects
Biodiversity and conservation of protected areas by-law to reach parliament this year
Sales of imported spirits banned in Yangon
Yangon government looks for qualified breeders to team up with crocodile farm
Dolphin-enabled livelihood on the Ayeyarwady

Health & Life Sciences
Nets, darts and vaccines mobilised to fight rabies
Govt to Supply Rural Communities With Antivenom to Reach Farmers
59% of deaths in Myanmar related to smoking, tobacco consumption
Depression sufferers lack safety net
Health alliance urges govt to raise tobacco tax
Legislation in the works to regulate multi-level marketing
Urban areas see growing number of elderly populations
HIV-associated TB deaths exceed 4,000

ICT
New digital tax collection system to launch next year
Strict regulations enforced for rooftop internet tower installations

Infrastructure
Improvements still needed to boost property, construction sectors
Japanese Firm Picked to Draft Transportation Plan for New Yangon City
China agrees to continue Kyaukpyu project based on results
Myanmar to inspect all 235 dams after spillway collapse in August
Govt, JICA sign agreement worth 6,033 million yen to implement Mandalay port project

Manufacturing
Manufacturing growth, banking reform key to economic expansion: AMRO

Travel & Tourism
Myanmar to upgrade forest reserve mountain as eco-tourism site
Inspection Report to Recommend Canceling Controversial Hotel Project at Inle Lake
Marred by General, Myanmar's Famed Dome-Shaped Pagoda to be Restored to Former Glory 
Myanmar to develop tourism through new border gate
 
ARTICLE CLIPS
 
 
Regional Affairs

ASEAN expects Rohingya repatriations to begin soon, says Singapore FM Frontier Myanmar 10th Oct 2018
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations wants the repatriation of refugees to Myanmar to be the next “key milestone” towards resolving the Rohingya crisis, Singapore Foreign Minister Mr Vivian Balakrishnan said yesterday, media reported.

Aung San Suu Kyi’s actions ‘regrettable’ but she will keep peace prize: Nobel chief Reuters 3rd Oct 2018
Some of the actions Aung San Suu Kyi has taken as Myanmar’s civilian leader are “regrettable” but her Nobel Peace Prize will not be withdrawn, the head of the Nobel Foundation told Reuters in an interview in Stockholm. Lars Heikensten, speaking days before the awarding of this year’s peace prize, said it made no sense to withdraw awards in reaction to things that happened after they were given, as judges would constantly have to discuss laureates’ merits.

Myanmar's neighbours urge accountability for Rohingya violence Al Jazeera News 2nd Oct 2018
Southeast Asian foreign ministers have urged Myanmar to give a full mandate to an inquiry commission to hold accountable those responsible for the violence in Rakhine State, according to Singapore's top diplomat.

National Affairs

With Temporary ID Cards in Hand, Seven Repatriated Rohingya Refugees Back in Rakhine The Wire 17th Oct 2018
Early this month, India had loaded seven Rohingya refugees onto a bus to be taken to the Myanmar border to be deported and repatriated, despite international hue and cry and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees office in India warning of the “risk of being prematurely returned”. According to a report in the Indian Express, the seven are officially back at home in Rakhine state in Myanmar, after being escorted in handcuffs by immigration officials for four days.

Myanmar appoints new deputy ministers, Nay Pyi Taw council member Mizzima 17th Oct 2018
The Myanmar government has appointed three new deputy ministers and one Nay Pyi Taw Council member to reinforce its cabinet, according to an order of the President's Office late Monday.

Govt sets date for high-level talks to restart peace process The Myanmar Times 10th Oct 2018
The meeting of State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Services Senior General Min Aung Hlaing with leaders of the 10 groups will be held in Mandalay’s Kyaukpadaung township on October 15, the State Counsellor’s Office said.

Legal and criminal experts to study Rakhine probe findings The Myanmar Times 9th Oct 2018
U Aung Tun Thet, one of the commission’s four members, said yesterday the group would comprise local and foreign experts. “The commission is collecting evidence and will conduct more visits to gather data,” he said.

Two Military-Appointed Cabinet Ministers Look Set To Be Replaced The Irrawaddy 9th Oct 2018
Following unconfirmed reports on social media and from some local news organizations that two military-appointed Cabinet posts are to be reshuffled, speculation has focused on the ministers of Defense and Home Affairs, who are near or above the age of 60, the legal retirement age for civil servants in Myanmar.

Government Building More ‘Model Villages’ to House Rohingya Returnees The Irrawaddy 4th Oct 2018
To house Rohingya refugees expected to return from Bangladesh, the Myanmar government this month began building 12 additional “model villages” in strife-ridden northern Rakhine’s Maungdaw Township.

Mandalay toughens campaign to get rid of illegal settlers The Myanmar Times 3rd Oct 2018
Law enforcement officials have demolished shanties used by drug sellers. Mandalay residents noted that since the crackdown on squatters, there has been a decrease in crime in the city. 

EXCLUSIVE-EU considers trade sanctions on Myanmar over Rohingya crisis Reuters 3rd Oct 2018
The European Union is considering trade sanctions on Myanmar over the Rohingya crisis, potentially stripping the country of tariff-free access to the world's largest trading bloc, three EU officials said. The sanctions, under discussion at the European Commission, would include Myanmar's lucrative textile industry and potentially put at risk thousands of jobs there but would not come into effect immediately, giving the EU leverage to stop what the West says is ethnic cleansing of Muslim Rohingya.

Canada MPs vote to strip Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi of honorary citizenship Independent 29th Sep 2018
Canadian legislators have voted unanimously to strip Myanmar civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi of her honorary citizenship – granted over a decade ago – in response to alleged atrocities committed against the Rohingya minority in her country.

Economics

Myanmar launches investment promotion plan amid toughening conditions The Myanmar Times 10th Oct 2018
The Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC) on October 8 launched its Myanmar Investment Promotion Plan (MIPP) for the time frame between 2016-17 and 2035-36. The plan outlines five strategies to actively promote investments in the local economy, including new policies and regulations, institutional development, infrastructure development and leveraging on local business systems, industries and human resources.

Myanmar urged to hike taxes to cut income gap The Nation 10th Oct 2018
Myanmanr's hope for narrowing its inequality gap cannot be realised if the government fails to spend more on key sectors such as education, health and social protection, according to a global index released by Oxfam International yesterday. Myanmar ranks very close to the bottom in both global and regional indexes in “The Commitment to Reducing Inequality Index (CRII) 2018” report.

Laws to protect intellectual property, encourage business in the works The Myanmar Times 9th Oct 2018
Businesses in Myanmar still rely on outdated colonial-era laws enacted by the British more than one hundred years ago to protect intellectual property (IP) rights. The encourage growth, draft laws are being formulated in the Hluttaw to update the country’s regulations covering IP rights, copy right law, industrial law, patents and trademarks for enactment. To date, the country has relied on the Registration Act (1909) and Myanmar Copyright Act (1914) to resolve issues concerning IP.

Myanmar’s Ambitious 20-Year Plan to Attract Foreign Investment The Irrawaddy 9th Oct 2018
In an effort to counteract the significant decline in foreign direct investment (FDI) over the last two fiscal years, the government’s Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC) has launched a major investment promotion plan which aims to attract more than $200 billion through responsible and quality business over the next 20 years.

Higher US interest rates, oil prices crimping economy The Myanmar Times 8th Oct 2018
Higher US interest rates and global oil prices are putting pressure on Myanmar’s economy. The US Federal Reserve Bank has raised interest rates three times so far this year. The latest increase of a quarter percentage point in the benchmark federal funds rate, lifting it to a range of 2 to 2.25 percent, came in September. Emerging markets are expected to be hardest hit from capital outflows as investors who had been looking overseas for higher returns pull their money back to the US.

Yangon to build innovation centre with Seedstars The Myanmar Times 3rd Oct 2018
Following the regional government’s decision last year to go ahead with the project, a tender to build the centre was called in January this year. Swiss-based incubator Seedstars was selected from the six local and foreign companies. 

Energy

Country’s first solar power plant to start operations in Magwe The Myanmar Times 15th Oct 2018
The country’s first solar power plant will start operating in November, U Maung Maung Kyaw, chief engineer of the Electric Supply Enterprise, said. The power plant, in Minbu township, Magwe Region, is expected to produce 40 megawatts initially but will produce 170MW once fully operational, according to U Maung Maung Kyaw.

Domestic airlines will not raise airfares yet despite rising fuel prices The Myanmar Times 15th Oct 2018
Despite rising global oil prices, domestic airlines have no plans yet to raise airfares to compensate for higher jet fuel costs. They said this will help encourage domestic air travel while the number of foreign travelers within the country is still low.

Sembcorp starts commercial operation of 225-MW Myanmar power plant The Business Times 10th Oct 2018
Sembcorp Industries on Wednesday announced that its 225-megawatt gas-fired Sembcorp Myingyan Independent Power Plant (IPP) in Mandalay, Myanmar, has successfully commenced full commercial operation following its first phase operation in May this year.

MP calls for a shutdown of loss-making fuel filling stations Eleven Myanmar 4th Oct 2018
The government should grant fuel oil permits to local and foreign entrepreneurs after a shutdown of loss-making fuel filling stations, said Regional MP Hla Htay representing Mingala Taungnyunt Township in the session of Yangon region parliament on October 3.

Local fuel prices increase by over 19% in four monthsEleven Myanmar 2nd Oct 2018
Local fuel prices have increased by over 19 percent over the past four months due to dollar appreciation, according to filling stations.

Greenback appreciation costs fuel oil entrepreneurs: Association Eleven Myanmar 29th Sep 2018
Local fuel oil entrepreneurs are suffering losses as they have to sell fuel oil at reduced prices, according to a press conference at the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry on September 28. Rising fuel oil prices are linked to the greenback appreciation and an increase in oil prices in the global market. Fuel oil price in the domestic market has increased by 17 per cent within four consecutive months. There is widespread criticism over the skyrocketing fuel oil prices.

MPE to distribute 2 million gallons of gasoline at Ks3,800 per gallon in October Eleven Myanmar 29th Sep 2018
Myanmar Petrochemical Enterprise (MPE) will distribute two million gallons of petrol at a price of Ks3,800 per gallon in October, according to sources from the Ministry of Electricity and Energy.

Food & Agriculture

Govt to spend more on health, education; but funds for agri lacking The Myanmar Times 12th Oct 2018
The Union Budget Law for 2018-2019 which includes the government’s income and expenditure estimates has been approved by the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw. Those estimates include K19.9 trillion and K24.7 trillion, respectively, for income and expenditure during the period, resulting in a fiscal deficit of K4777 billion, according to budget estimates released by the government.

Myanmar Launches First Inquiry into Agricultural Chemicals and Their Effects The Irrawaddy 11th Oct 2018
The Upper House of Parliament’s agriculture committee has launched its very first parliamentary inquiry into chemicals used in agriculture and their effects on the health and quality of life of farmers, workers and consumers across the country, according to the committee chair.

Biodiversity and conservation of protected areas by-law to reach parliament this year Eleven Myanmar 10th Oct 2018
Efforts are being made to submit the by-law for biodiversity and conservation of protected areas to Union Parliament before the end of this year. "We will try to submit the draft by-law to the Union Parliament before the end of 2018. After today's meeting results, we will seek legal advice from the Attorney General's Office. Then, we will submit the by-law to the parliament," said Kyaw Kyaw Lwin, deputy director general of the Forest Department.

Sales of imported spirits banned in Yangon Coconuts 5th Oct 2018
Liquor stores in Yangon Region are forbidden from selling imported spirits, several government departments announced last weekend. On Sept. 29 and 30, the regional General Administration Department, Food and Drug Administration, Internal Revenue Department, Department of Consumer Affairs, and Department of Trade held meetings with local retailers, informing them of the new prohibition. The prohibition even applies to those with FL-12 licenses, which were first issued to retailers in 1996 to permit sales of foreign liquor.

Yangon government looks for qualified breeders to team up with crocodile farm The Myanmar Times 5th Oct 2018
The Yangon regional government is considering allowing qualified crocodile breeders to enter into business with Thaketa Crocodile Farm, a government official said. “We will not approve those who want to breed crocodiles for fun. We’ll inspect the facilities and infrastructure of those who want to open playgrounds and mini-zoos and only permit those who show they are able to take good care of the crocodiles,” said U Myo Min Hlaing, head of the farm, which is under the Department of Fisheries in Yangon Region.

Dolphin-enabled livelihood on the Ayeyarwady The ASEAN Post 3rd Oct 2018
On a stretch of the Ayeyarwady river, also known as the Irrawaddy river, near Myanmar’s Mandalay, fishermen from six villages work hand-in-fin with 26 Irrawaddy dolphins in a unique collaboration. Taught to do so since childhood, the fishermen cooperatively fish the river with the assistance of the dolphins. The tradition, origin unknown, is said to have been in practice since the 1860s.

Health & Life Sciences

Nets, darts and vaccines mobilised to fight rabies Frontier Myanmar 17th Oct 2018
To mark World Rabies Day on September 28, Myanmar unveiled a national action plan to counter an insidious, preventable disease that is 100 percent fatal.

Govt to Supply Rural Communities With Antivenom to Reach Farmers The Irrawaddy 16th Oct 2018
Snake antivenom will be supplied to more than 1,700 rural health care centers starting next year, the Ministry of Health and Sports has announced. The ministry said it would buy the medicine from the state-owned Burma Pharmaceutical Industry (BPI), under the management of the Ministry of Industry, at a price well below the cost of production.

59% of deaths in Myanmar related to smoking, tobacco consumption Eleven Myanmar 11th Oct 2018
In Myanmar 59 percent of people who die results from diseases related to smoking and consumption of tobacco products, said Union Minister for Health and Sports Dr Myint Htwe.

Depression sufferers lack safety net Frontier Myanmar 10th Oct 2018
Figures from the Myanmar Mental Health Society show that the number of patients diagnosed with depression rose sharply from 130 in 2012 to 331 in 2015, before dropping to 301 last year. Depression is one of the most common mental health illnesses in Myanmar, affecting people at all levels of society, and is often a contributing factor in suicides.

Health alliance urges govt to raise tobacco tax The Myanmar Times 10th Oct 2018
‘’Increased tobacco taxation doesn’t get the public into trouble. We want to reduce the burden and impact of morbidity and mortality caused by tobacco use,” Dr. Thein Swe, vice president of the foundation, told a media briefing.  Myanmar’s Tax Law specifies that a pack of 20 cigarettes, which sells for K901 (US$.58) or more, will pay a tax of K16 per cigarette. The alliance called on the government to raise the price of cigarettes between 35 and 70 percent and to have one tax rate for all cigarettes, instead of dividing them into four classes. .

Legislation in the works to regulate multi-level marketing The Myanmar Times 10th Oct 2018
Following the government’s prohibition of multi-level marketing via a notification dated September 18, consumer rights advocates and other experts have come out to say more must be done to educate the public about the drawbacks of the system. The notification from the Ministry of Commerce says those found operating MLM-type businesses will face legal action under the Essential Supplies and Services Law. The law states that if found guilty, the person will face imprisonment between six months and three years and shall also be liable for a fine not exceeding K500,000.

Urban areas see growing number of elderly populations Eleven Myanmar 2nd Oct 2018
The number of senior citizens aged 85 and above who are entitled to social pension has reached 140,000. The government will designate the age of senior citizens who will be entitled to the social pension scheme at 85 starting 2018-2019 fiscal year. With the aim of ensuring the income security of older persons, the government introduced the social pension scheme for the senior citizens aged 90 and above, in 2017-2018 FY. At that time, the number of senior citizens entitled to the social pension reached 43,439.

HIV-associated TB deaths exceed 4,000 Eleven Myanmar 1st Oct 2018
More than 4,000 out of around 32,000 people died of Tuberculosis (TB) are HIV-associated deaths, according to the National TB Eradication Program. Dr. Sithu Aung from the National TB Eradication Program said: “The 361 in 100,000 populations are new TB patients and 47 in 100,000 populations die of TB. Last year, we gave treatments to 131,775 TB patients nationwide. The medical treatment success rate is more than 80 per cent. Myanmar is still on the list of the countries with the highest TB outbreak rates due to the lack of regular medicine taking, the outbreaks of drug-resistant TB, the infection of HIV-associated TB, malnourishment and diabetics.

ICT

New digital tax collection system to launch next year The Myanmar Times 11th Oct 2018
The government will make existing tax laws clearer and start using technology to enable taxpayers to pay their taxes more conveniently.  The tax collection system will be changed from the current paper-based system to a digital system, said U Min Htut, director general of Internal Revenue Department under the Ministry of Planning and Finance, which collects 80 percent of the country’s taxes.

Strict regulations enforced for rooftop internet tower installations Global New Light Of Myanmar 5th Oct 2018
Rooftop internet towers are installed only under the permission of Directorate of Telecommunications, said Yangon mayor U Maung Maung Soe. He was responding to a question raised by Mayangon Township Hluttaw representative U Yan Shin at the 15th-day meeting of the seventh regular session of Second Yangon Region Hluttaw on 3 October. The question asked which department permits the installation of telephone lines, internet lines and internet towers of MPT, Ooredoo, Telenor and Mytel, the average weights and which organisation inspets the buildings and the towers.

Infrastructure

Improvements still needed to boost property, construction sectors The Myanmar Times 17th Oct 2018
Stakeholders in the property and construction sector say there is still a need for a body or organisation to oversee, implement and enforce the regulations under Condominium Law 2016 and Condominium Rules 2017. The lack makes the legislation less effective presently those in the business say.

Japanese Firm Picked to Draft Transportation Plan for New Yangon City The Irrawaddy 10th Oct 2018
A Japanese company has been chosen as the transport planner and traffic impact assessment consultant for a massive new city development slated for the west bank of the Yangon River.

China agrees to continue Kyaukpyu project based on results Eleven Myanmar 5th Oct 2018
The first phase of Kyaukpyu deep seaport project will be implemented with US$1.3 billion investment and China agreed to continue the project based on economic gains, said Dr Than Myint, Union Minister for Commerce and Chairman of Central Committee of Special Economic Zone.

Myanmar to inspect all 235 dams after spillway collapse in August Channel NewsAsia 4th Oct 2018
Myanmar has set up a special task force to inspect all 235 dams in the country, after a spillway collapse in August flooded as many as 85 villages.

Govt, JICA sign agreement worth 6,033 million yen to implement Mandalay port project Eleven Myanmar 4th Oct 2018
The Directorate of Water Resources and Improvement of River Systems and Japan International Cooperation Agency signed an agreement worth 6,033 million yen in grant aid for a Mandalay port construction project on Wednesday.

Manufacturing

Manufacturing growth, banking reform key to economic expansion: AMRO The Myanmar Times 9th Oct 2018
The Myanmar economy is forecast to grow by 7.4 percent in 2018-19 compared to 6.8pc in 2017-18, backed by growth in the garment manufacturing sector and a rebound in exports, according to the ASEAN+3 Macroeconomic Research Office (AMRO), based on visits to Myanmar in May last year and data available up to June 29.

Travel & Tourism

Myanmar to upgrade forest reserve mountain as eco-tourism site Khmer Times 15th Oct 2018
Myanmar is planning to upgrade a mountain in the area of forest reserve in Banmauk, northwestern Sagaing region, as an eco-tourism site to attract more international visitors, the official Global New Light of Myanmar reported yesterday. The upgrading of Zalon Mountain lying 19.2 km northwest of Banmauk is part of the efforts of the Forest Department to boost the country’s smokeless industry by extending the new tourist destination with proper services, the departmental officials said.

Inspection Report to Recommend Canceling Controversial Hotel Project at Inle Lake The Irrawaddy 10th Oct 2018
Authorities have conducted a field inspection at the location of a proposed hotel project at Shan State’s Inle Lake by Myanmar Naing Group Co. Ltd. owned by U Tun Naing Shwe, son of former Snr-Gen Than Shwe, after locals voiced their opposition to it. A group of government officials, including representatives of the Shan State government and concerned ministries, launched the inspection on Oct. 3, and is now writing a report to be submitted to the President’s Office, said U Thein Zaw Moe, lawmaker of Yawnghwe Township in the Shan State parliament.

Marred by General, Myanmar's Famed Dome-Shaped Pagoda to be Restored to Former Glory  The Irrawaddy 2nd Oct 2018
Sagaing is planning to repaint the famed Kaunghmudaw Pagoda white, a dome-shaped stupa once marred by a former military leader with gold paint, as the pagoda trustee committee in the upcountry town received the green light from the regional government.

Myanmar to develop tourism through new border gate Khmer Times 2nd Oct 2018
Myanmar Vice President U Henry Van Thio has stressed developing tourism through newly opened international border gate – Reekhorda which links India’s Zokhawthar in Mizoram State. Reekhorda border checkpoint in Myanmar’s northwestern Chin state, along with Tamu’s in Sagaing region which connects India’s Moreh, was simultaneously opened on August 22 to facilitate travel on both sides.