Myanmar Update: March 11, 2020

Myanmar Update | March 11, 2010
Authors: Jack Myint and Ingyin
 
 
 
THE COUNCIL'S TAKE
 
 

Myanmar Universal Health Coverage Plan Challenged by Severe Underfunding

Myanmar is lacking funding to develop its public healthcare infrastructure, medical equipment and staff which undermines its plans for universal health coverage (UHC) by 2030. According to the Myanmar Private Hospitals Association, there is currently less than one bed available for 1,000 patients in Myanmar, while the ratio of doctors to nurses is 1:1 compared to 1:3 in neighboring ASEAN countries. A report by Fitch Solutions released on February 10 stated that poor public healthcare infrastructure will likely limit the uptake of medicines and will similarly challenge pharmaceutical companies' revenue-earning potential. According to a November 2019 publication by Eurocham Myanmar, private healthcare expenditure accounts for the majority of healthcare financing, whereas out of pocket accounts for 78 percent of total healthcare expenditure, amongst other financing agents. The Myanmar government budget 2018-2019 allocated 4.58 percent of the budget or US$793 million for the health sector. The 2019-2020 budget is estimated to be US$821 million, continuing Myanmar State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's plan to implement health reforms.

The Myanmar National Health Plan, released in 2017, detailed the components of UHC which includes population coverage, service delivery, and financial protection. Myanmar has reaffirmed its commitment to UHC, demonstrating potential to reshape the country’s healthcare sector. In 2019, Myanmar liberalized the sector by allowing private and foreign insurers in the market. However, Myanmar capital markets still need further development to support the insurance industry, according to Anil Mancham, CEO of insurance provider KBZ MS. Insurers in Myanmar are now only able to invest in fixed deposits and a limited number of government bonds, allocated monthly. Local stocks and corporate bonds are not yet available in Myanmar, and insurers are not allowed to make foreign investments. Another major challenge is that Myanmar government bonds have maximum terms of only five years, whereas life insurance policies typically have 10-year terms or more.

Myanmar Placed on Money-Laundering Watchlist

On February 21, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF)- an international financial watchdog- placed Myanmar on its watchlist to urge the country to strengthen its anti-money laundering (ML) efforts. Along with 17 other jurisdictions on the “gray list”, Myanmar will be subjected to increased monitoring by the FATF to ensure that “money laundering, terrorist financing, and proliferation financing” can be addressed strategically.

In the risk analysis report last month, FATF acknowledges the progress Myanmar has made towards anti-money laundering efforts, combating the finance of terrorism (AML/CFT), and especially the application of regulatory measures for registration and supervision of hundi operators. FATF further outlines 8 key action items that Myanmar will need to implement, beginning with a more thorough understanding of money laundering risks prone areas within the country. The rest of the actionable features include ensuring that there are sufficient resources to enable supervisory parties monitoring the Designated Non-Financial Business and Professions (DNFBPs); further ensuring that financial literacy is prevalent among law enforcement agencies; cooperating with the international community to investigate transnational ML cases; investigating and prosecuting ML after elaboration of risks; freezing/seizing and confiscating of criminal proceeds where relevant, and managing them accordingly so that their values do not fluctuate; and lastly, implementing targeted financial sanctions (TFS) related to proliferation financing.

Yet, the scrutiny that Myanmar now finds itself under has been an issue in progress. In the 2018 report by FATP,  an observation was made that relevant authorities still require a comprehensive understanding of risks associated with ML, as opposed to their relatively strong grasp on risks stemming for Terrorist Financing (TF). Topping the list of action items in the report was a recommendation to complete the National Risk Assessment and to improve upon ways to understand the consequences of assessed risks among both the private and public sectors.

Among several others, the two key risk-inducing industries are centered around drug trafficking and resource extraction. These issues appear more complex as non-state actors control majority of the terrain where narcotics are grown, and the government lacks mechanisms to enforce companies in the gem industry to disclose their beneficial information on the database of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative. Among the 121 companies (out of a total of 163) which submitted information regarding their beneficial ownership, 31 companies were insufficient in their reports.

Myanmar Project Bank Goes Live

On February 27, the government of Myanmar has launched Myanmar Project Bank, an interactive web-based portal that details major investment projects that promote the Myanmar Sustainable Development Plan (MSDP), established in 2018. To access the MSDP, please click here. The goal of MSDP is to foster an inclusive environment to ensure a transformational economic growth. To that end, Myanmar Project Bank consists of economic zones, and industrial parks to upgrades of airports and initiatives to support ecotourism.

Currently, the government has revealed 58 national development projects which cover a range of sectors including transportation, energy, urban development, and agriculture. Among them, the Yangon Central Station project tops the list with a prospective investment of US$2.1 billion.

More details about the projects can be accessed here.

Myanmar Credit Bureau Will Commence Operations in April

The first credit bureau in Myanmar is set to begin operations in April 2020, as announced by Daw Than Than Swe, director general of the Financial Institutions Supervision Department of the Central Bank of Myanmar. The ownership of the Myanmar Credit Bureau Ltd (MCBL) is split 60-40% between the Myanmar Banks Association, and Singapore’s Asia Credit Bank respectively. It has been estimated that data collection on businesses could take up to a year to establish credible intelligence for banks. Once the bureau goes into effect however, business entities with good credit “will receive loans easily, quickly, and comfortably,” said U Zaw Lin Aung, the Chairman of the MCBL.

The US-based Equifax New Zealand Services and Solutions has helped establish the information gathering aspect of the Myanmar Credit Bureau through assistance with software installation, and consultations. In time, the bureau will help alleviate the lengthy and previously challenging process of banks to retrieve relevant information about prospective borrowers, advancing risk management, and credibility.

 
 
 
IN THIS UPDATE
 
 
Regional Affairs
Western pressure pushes Myanmar towards China
Myanmar to continue labour exports despite COVID-19
India and Myanmar to further strengthen bilateral relations; 10 agreements signed in various fields
Industrial zone in Kyaukphyu SEZ to be built at $30m
China keen to invest in Dawei SEZ

National Affairs
US announces more than $59M in aid for Rohingya
Myanmar’s Military Retains Important Political Role as NLD’s Key Charter Reforms Fail to Pass
NLD hopes to regain public confidence
Stirring hatreds ahead of Myanmar elections
Is constitutional reform a journey to nowhere?
Shwe Mann dreams big in an election year
Myanmar govt faces setbacks in enforcing compliance with EITI database
Myanmar seizes drugs, equipment worth $27 million: military
What is next in The Gambia v Myanmar?
YCDC, Ministry to cooperate in measurement of air quality at 47 Yangon locations

ASEAN
U.S. postpones summit with ASEAN leaders amid coronavirus fears: sources
US to reaffirm commitment to Asean in upcoming summit: Diplomats
ASEAN nations hit by data breaches, ransomware attacks and cryptojacking last year, Interpol says

Defense & Security
Submarine owned by the navy under maintenance: army

Economics
11 Factories in Myanmar Close Due to Lack of Orders, Raw Materials
EU trade perks in the balance
Myanmar logistics firm Ever Flow River to list on March 20
Ten predictions for the Myanmar property market this year
Foreigners can start trading on YSX in March: SECM
Myanmar gets own barcode
Myanmar opening more doors to foreign investments in Yangon region

Energy
Myanmar builds a port for LNG tankers in Thilawa SEZ
Power sector tops $1 bln in Oct-Jan period
NEP Phase 1 to be finished at the end of Sept
Myanmar to increase renewable energy sources
Posco International discovers new gas field in Myanmar
Chinese State Firm, HK’s VPower to Implement Three Electricity Projects in Myanmar

Financial Services
Insurers authorised to provide bancassurance in Myanmar
Foreign insurers added more than $120M to industry in Myanmar
Foreigners cleared to trade on the YSX next month
Myanmar added to money-laundering watchlist
Myanmar Credit Bureau to commence operations in April

Food & Agriculture
Coronavirus causes slump in vegetable imports
Myanmar opium cultivation falls
Myanmar govt sets rules for contract farming
With Virus-Hit China ‘Closed for Business’, Myanmar Exporters Feel the Pinch

Health & Life Sciences
Myanmar legislator seeks to regulate e-cigarettes, water pipes
Singapore sends coronavirus test kits to Myanmar
Govt names second marine protected area in Tanintharyi
Health ministry receives US disease control, prevention missions
Number of new child cancer patients ranges between 2000-2500 per year
TB transmission in Myanmar declines by 4.8 pc annually
Myanmar's UHC push dampened by severe underfunding
Ministry to conduct demographic and health survey (2020-2021)
Govt plans cervical cancer vaccination campaign in July

ICT
State Counsellor pushes for speeding up e-Governance plans to ensure development

Infrastructure
Four-lane elevated expressway to build in the middle of roads mostly in Ygn
Upgrades for Thandwe airport runway
Locals voice approval for Yangon Elevated Expressway
Firms invited to bid for upgrade of Yangon-Mandalay expressway
Myanmar govt reveals 58 national development projects in project bank
MoC Union Minister attends signing ceremony for GMS Corridor Towns Development Project
First-ever pedestrian subway to be built in Yangon
Govt. to build US$160 M worth Thilawa-Bago road
Govt vows to compensate people displaced by Rakhine project
Mandalay to rebuild landmark Mingalar Market
Construction of Yangon expressway to start in August: ministry
China's CITIC to build Myanmar's huge Kyaukphyu Deep Seaport, first phase to cost US$1.3 bln

Manufacturing
Auto industry seeks easing of duties on car components
Trade Unions demand government check garment factory claims
Policies, standards needed for Myanmar steel production as demand rises

Travel & Tourism
Coronavirus: Manipur Closes Border With Myanmar To Curb Deadly Transmission
COVID-19 expected to cut Myanmar tourism revenue by half
Nine Chinese airlines suspend their flights to Myanmar since COVID-19 outbreak
Myanmar airline leases two planes for August expansion
Myanmar sees world’s fastest tourism growth
 
ARTICLE CLIPS
 
 
Regional Affairs

Western pressure pushes Myanmar towards China The Myanmar Times 6th Mar 2020
Fitch Solutions, a unit of the UK Fitch Group, said China looks likely to be the dominant foreign influence over the coming years with its already entrenched interests over Myanmar coupled with the possibility of news sanctions from the West due to human rights abuses. On the economic front, China has been the top investor following the tumbling of western investment after the Rakhine humanitarian crisis that shocked the world in 2017.

Myanmar to continue labour exports despite COVID-19 The Myanmar Times 4th Mar 2020
Daw Thin Thin Lwin, assistant director of the Overseas Job Agency under the Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population, said that the government will continue to send workers abroad to Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Japan, Jordan, Qatar, and even to South Korea which is now the center of the virus outbreak. As of March 4, the Myanmar government said the country had no confirmed cases of COVID-19. The Health Ministry also added that over 50 people suspected of having the virus had all tested negative.

India and Myanmar to further strengthen bilateral relations; 10 agreements signed in various fields All India Radio 27th Feb 2020
On February 27, India and Myanmar signed 10 agreements in various fields including infrastructure, energy, communication and health. The agreements were exchanged following talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Myanmar President U Win Myint in New Delhi. Both leaders discussed a wide range of bilateral issues. Reaffirming India’s ‘Act East’ and ‘Neighbourhood First’ policies and Myanmar’s non-aligned foreign policy both leaders committed to further strengthen the bilateral relations.

Industrial zone in Kyaukphyu SEZ to be built at $30m The Myanmar Times 20th Feb 2020
The Kyaukphyu Special Economic Zone (SEZ) will be developed for US$30 billion, where CITIC Consortium from China owns 51 percent of the industrial zone while the Myanmar government owns 49 percent. Development will be led by China's CITIC Consortium and a total of 42 private Myanmar companies. The SEZ is an important asset in the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor, which is part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, which spans several countries in Asia. It will also be an important connecting point for the high-speed Kunming-Muse-Mandalay-Kyaukphyu railway project.

China keen to invest in Dawei SEZ The Myanmar Times 20th Feb 2020
A state-owned Chinese firm has expressed interest to invest in the planned Dawei Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Tanintharyi Region. The Myanmar government has yet to respond to the Chinese, given that talks to develop the SEZ with Italian-Thai Development Company Ltd (ITD) as well as the Thai and Japanese governments are at advanced stages. However, analysts are not ruling out the possibility as the planning process for the Dawei SEZ is not going as planned due to lack of suitable infrastructure as well as social and environmental issues pertaining to its location. ITD is set to respond to the Myanmar government's Land Lease Agreement Draft by late March, and if both parties fail to come to a negotiation, it is likely that the project will be delegated to China.

National Affairs

US announces more than $59M in aid for Rohingya Anadolu Agency 10th Mar 2020
The U.S. announced more than $59 million in additional humanitarian assistance for Rohingya refugees and host communities in Bangladesh on Thursday. The aid will also cover internally displaced Rohingya and members of other affected communities in Myanmar, State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement.

Myanmar’s Military Retains Important Political Role as NLD’s Key Charter Reforms Fail to Pass The Irrawaddy 10th Mar 2020
The Union Parliament voted on amendments to 14 provisions of the Constitution, including proposals that sought to end the defense services’ national political leadership role, gradually reduce the military’s share of seats, and end both the commander-in-chief’s role as the supreme commander of the armed forces and his right to take power during an emergency. Only two proposals — the changes to the written term for “disabled” in Burmese — received approval from more than 75% of lawmakers.

NLD hopes to regain public confidence The Myanmar Times 6th Mar 2020
U Zaw Myint Maung, Vice Chair of the NLD party, said a survey showed that public confidence in the party had dropped to 60 percent and urged members not to bicker over the selection of election candidates.   The right man in the right place is the policy we need. Priority will be given to candidates who are determined to develop Myanmar as a federal democratic union, who believe in the NLD manifesto, and who are in harmony with the party, U Zaw Myint Maung said.

Stirring hatreds ahead of Myanmar elections The Interpreter 4th Mar 2020
With national elections looming in November, fake news and anti-Muslim hate speech inspired by militant Buddhist nationalism have the potential to incite further conflict. Myanmar’s winner-take-all electoral system incentivises parties to inflame their existing base, rather than appeal to new voters, because a party only needs a plurality of votes to win a district. Political analysts predict that Aung San Suu Kyi’s party may not win by the landslide it did in 2015. Hoping to prevent further erosion at the polls, the NLD may thus follow the opposition’s lead in playing to racial and religious identity, which would make this already turbulent election year even more troubled.

Is constitutional reform a journey to nowhere? Frontier Myanmar 4th Mar 2020
Proposals to amend the 2008 Constitution are finally being discussed in the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw and there have been heated exchanges between members of the politically dominant National League for Democracy (NLD) and unelected military MPs and lawmakers from the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP). The latter oppose the NLD’s proposals for charter reform. Debate has been so robust at times that the speaker has directed that some outbursts be expunged from the parliamentary record.

Shwe Mann dreams big in an election year Frontier Myanmar 3rd Mar 2020
In the last decade, the 72-year-old chairman of the Union Betterment Party has gone from battle-hardened Tatmadaw general, to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi ally, to the leader of one of Myanmar’s youngest political parties, which was registered with the Union Election Commission in February last year. For some, he will forever be remembered as the No.3 in a military junta that locked up thousands of pro-democracy activists and waged brutal campaigns in the ethnic borderlands. For many in the military, he is the turncoat who allied with their long-time foe, Aung San Suu Kyi, for the sake of his political career. For the Lady herself, he offered a way into Nay Pyi Taw power politics, whose hidden rules she had to learn quickly after 15 years of house arrest.

Myanmar govt faces setbacks in enforcing compliance with EITI database The Myanmar Times 3rd Mar 2020
Under the Myanmar Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), the government says it still lacks the mechanisms to force companies to disclose ownership information through a public registry, which are part of recent measures to clean up corruption in the extractive industry. The Myanmar Times notes that only five out of the 163 companies declared that they have politically exposed persons, while some with very obvious links to powerful figures, such as Kyaing International Gems Co, did not disclose their connections. Mr. Donowitz from Global Witness Myanmar warns that those responsible for maintaining these public registries “must guard carefully against the temptations of backsliding”. For example, he said the decision by the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration (DICA) to place key identifying information about corporate officers behind a paywall on its company registry “sends the wrong message both to domestic actors and the international community.”

Myanmar seizes drugs, equipment worth $27 million: military France 24 2nd Mar 2020
Myanmar soldiers swooped on several illicit drugs labs in Kutkai township of eastern Shan State to seize nearly $27 million of narcotics, chemicals and equipment, military newspaper The Myawady said Monday, the biggest bust so far this year. Myanmar's multi-billion dollar drug industry is centered in Shan State where the poppy-covered hills also hide illicit production labs. A study by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime says that Southeast Asia's crime gangs are netting more than $60 billion a year -- a conservative estimate, according to experts -- thanks to a sophisticated smuggling and money-laundering operation. Myanmar seized an estimated $374 million worth of drugs in 2019, according to figures by the anti-drugs department.

What is next in The Gambia v Myanmar? The Daily Star 25th Feb 2020
On 23 January 2020, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Gambia v. Myanmar delivered its order upholding The Gambia's request for provisional measures. On the same day, the ICJ fixed 23 July 2020 and 25 January 2021 as the respective time-limits for filing of the Memorial by The Gambia and the Counter-Memorial by Myanmar. The procedural law of the ICJ, however, will allow the parties to pursue incidental proceedings side by side in different stages of the case until the final judgment.

YCDC, Ministry to cooperate in measurement of air quality at 47 Yangon locations Eleven Media Group Co., Ltd 19th Feb 2020
Yangon City Development Committee (YCDC) will measure air quality in 47 places in Yangon, in cooperation with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation, said Daw Hlaing Maw Oo, Secretary of YCDC.  She added that the measurements of air quality by the civil societies organizations are not so long and that YCDC plans to encourage roadside vendors to use gas instead of charcoal and firewood.

ASEAN

U.S. postpones summit with ASEAN leaders amid coronavirus fears: sources Reuters 29th Feb 2020
The United States has decided to postpone a meeting with leaders of Southeast Asian countries it had planned to host on March 14 due to worries about the coronavirus outbreak, two U.S. officials familiar with the matter said on Friday. President Donald Trump had invited leaders of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to meet in Las Vegas after he did not attend a summit with the group in Bangkok in November. “As the international community works together to defeat the novel coronavirus, the United States, in consultation with ASEAN partners, has made the difficult decision to postpone the ASEAN leaders meeting,” one of the sources, a senior administration official, told Reuters. The official added that the United States values its relationships with ASEAN member nations and looks forward to future meetings.

US to reaffirm commitment to Asean in upcoming summit: Diplomats The Straits Times 25th Feb 2020
Eight Asean leaders will gather in Las Vegas on March 14 for the US-Asean summit. Diplomatic sources said that as of last Friday, the only leaders absent would be Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte and Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad. But both are expected to send representatives - in the case of the Philippines, Foreign Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin Jr - the sources said. It is yet unknown whether Myanmar would be represented by President Win Myint or State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi. Subsequently, Indonesian President Joko Widodo will travel to Washington to visit the White House.

ASEAN nations hit by data breaches, ransomware attacks and cryptojacking last year, Interpol says Illicit Trade News Network 20th Feb 2020
Southeast Asia experienced “significant” levels of cyber crime in 2019, including major data breaches, crippling ransomware attacks and a huge rise in cryptojacking, according to a new report from Interpol. In its ASEAN Cyberthreat Assessment 2020, the International law enforcement agency revealed that the region saw an increase in botnet,business email compromise (BEC) attacks, banking malware attacks crypto-ransomware and cryptojacking. The Interpol ASEAN Cybercrime Operations Desk concluded its report by vowing to enhance cyber crime intelligence for effective responses to cyber crime in the region, strengthen cooperation for joint operations against cyber crime, and develop regional capacity and capabilities to combat cyber crime.

Defense & Security

Submarine owned by the navy under maintenance: army Eleven Media Group Co., Ltd 28th Feb 2020
The submarine owned by the navy is still under maintenance and it will be seen at the navy soon, said Brig-Gen Zaw Min Tun, Secretary of Tatmadaw True News Information Team. The army will inform the public if the submarine is ready to be in service as they said before and its inauguration ceremony will be held exclusively, he said.

Economics

11 Factories in Myanmar Close Due to Lack of Orders, Raw Materials The Irrawaddy 4th Mar 2020
Thirteen factories in Yangon and Bago regions have closed or cut back staff in Myanmar since January due to factors like a lack of raw materials, no orders and no buyers, according to the Ministry of Labor’s factories inspection department. Seven factories had closed permanently, four had shut temporarily and two had reduced their workforce. Most are garment factories, with the others making shoes, steel, wood, paper and printed goods.

EU trade perks in the balance The Myanmar Times 2nd Mar 2020
On February 12, the European Union Commission pulled the plug on Cambodia’s Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP), citing “serious and systematic violations of human-rights principles,” partially withdrawing the country’s preferential access to the EU. The decision resulted in uncertainty for Myanmar’s industries, especially the garment and shoemaking sectors, as the EU imports more than 45 percent of garments made in Myanmar. If similar measures were applied to Myanmar, it could affect industries that employ over half a million workers.

Myanmar logistics firm Ever Flow River to list on March 20 The Myanmar Times 2nd Mar 2020
Ever Flow River Group Public Co (EFR) has received approval to list on the Yangon Stock Exchange (YSX) on March 20. EFR provides logistics services including shipping, air freight, warehousing, containerisation and distribution. The company plans to invest in and develop the country’s logistics infrastructure under the National Logistics Master Plan, while prioritizing the implementation of two key projects in Yangon and Mandalay.

Ten predictions for the Myanmar property market this year The Myanmar Times 28th Feb 2020
Continued reforms to the economy as well as implementation of legislation such as the Condominium Law 2016 and Condominium Rules 2017 can help support more interest in property. Colliers this week released its top 10 predictions for the property sector: office lease rates to rise; F&B to drive retail growth; shift to property management; bargain opportunities to emerge; higher industrial park demand; Industrial Zone Law to be launched; co-living space options to emerge; tenant's market in services apartment space; more affordable housing options; and demand in Kamaryut to boom.  

Foreigners can start trading on YSX in March: SECM Global New Light Of Myanmar 26th Feb 2020
The Securities and Exchange Commission of Myanmar (SECM) will allow foreigners to invest in the local equity market from March. Securities companies will monitor the daily trades of foreigners, in keeping with the rules and regulations, so that they do not exceed the limit set for each listed company. At present, shares of five listed companies — First Myanmar Investment (FMI), Myanmar Thilawa SEZ Holdings (MTSH), Myanmar Citizens Bank (MCB), First Private Bank (FPB), and TMH Telecom Public Co. Ltd — are being traded on the stock exchange.

Myanmar gets own barcode Eleven Media Group Co., Ltd 23rd Feb 2020
Myanmar Barcode Association (MBA) officially launched Myanmar’s own barcode 883, at the UMFCCI (headquarters) in Yangon on 22 February.  The UMFCCI formed the 18-member MBA by combining Myanmar Industrial Entrepreneurs Association, Myanmar Retailers Association, Myanmar Foodstuff Producers and Exporters Association. Local entrepreneurs can buy world-recognized barcode numbers for their products at the MBA in UMFCCI.

Myanmar opening more doors to foreign investments in Yangon region The Star Online 23rd Feb 2020
Myanmar's Yangon Region Investment Committee (YRIC) recently approved 16 foreign investment businesses for the region, according to the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration (DICA) on Sunday (Feb 23). A total of US$28.507mil of foreign investments from China, Seychelles and Estonia as well as 3 billion Kyats (US2mil) from one local enterprise engaged the region's manufacturing sector and other services, creating over 8,900 job opportunities for local citizens.

Energy

Myanmar builds a port for LNG tankers in Thilawa SEZ Eleven Media Group Co., Ltd 10th Mar 2020
The construction process of a port to dock LNG tankers to supply liquefied nature gas (LNG) for 350-megawatt LNG power plant in Thilawa SEZ is about 40 per cent finished, according to Ministry of Electricity and Energy. It is one of the electric power projects implemented by the ministry to fulfill the electricity requirement for 2020 summer. V-Power Co. Ltd. is building the power plant and the inspection team led by Khin Maung Win, Deputy Minister for Electricity and Energy went to check the power plant in first week of March.

Power sector tops $1 bln in Oct-Jan period Global New Light Of Myanmar 23rd Feb 2020
Foreign direct investment of over US$1.026 billion has flowed from six enterprises into the power sector in the past four months of the current fiscal year, according to statistics provided by the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration (DICA). The total investment in power is higher than in any other sector. During the October-January period, FDI of $2.089 billion, including an expansion of capital, has flowed into the country. The Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC) and the investment committees of states and regions have allowed 106 enterprises to invest in the country.

NEP Phase 1 to be finished at the end of Sept Eleven Media Group Co., Ltd 21st Feb 2020
Phase 1 of National Electrification Project (NEP) will be finalized at the end of September this year to provide electricity to 626,757 family households from 5,080 villages, said Union Minister Win Khaing for Electricity and Energy. The government received a US$310 million loan from the World Bank (WB) to implement the NEP. Myanmar has 51 state owned and private owned power stations across the country and they can produce over 5,600 megawatts of electricity. The ministry is implementing three power projects in Kanpauk, Ahlone and Mielaunggaint, according to the ministry. Over 4.9 million out of 10.8 million family households have gained access to national grip and the ministry is targeting to provide electricity to 50 per cent of entire family households in the country at the end of 2019, said Dr Tun Naing, Deputy Minister for Electricity and Energy.

Myanmar to increase renewable energy sources The Star Online 13th Feb 2020
Myanmar is trying to increase the content of renewable energy sources by tapping all available energy sources to generate electricity, said Union Minister for Electricity and Energy Win Khaing. As the country is blessed with solar energy, wind power and other renewable energy sources, a 40-megawatt solar power plant has been built in Minbu and the plant is distributing electricity through the national grid. The minister stressed the need to increase employing energy sources that have little impact on the environment.

Posco International discovers new gas field in Myanmar The Korea Herald 17th Feb 2020
Posco International said Monday that it had discovered a new offshore gas reservoir near Myanmar, raising hopes for a new cash cow for the company. According to the Korean company, it began exploratory undersea drilling on Jan. 12 for its Mahar gas project. The company drilled 2,598 meters into the seabed, more than 1,000 meters below the water, and carried out drill stem testing to discover the gas reservoir, which could yield about 38 million cubic feet of natural gas per day. The company said it plans to carry out assessment drilling there from 2021, analyze the data for two years and come up with detailed plans to develop the new gas field for commercialization. The company is also to carry out exploratory drilling for another project in Aung Myin, some 24 kilometers southeast of Mahar.

Chinese State Firm, HK’s VPower to Implement Three Electricity Projects in Myanmar The Irrawaddy 13th Feb 2020
Amid the government’s efforts to avoid power shortages across the country, a Hong Kong company has announced that its joint venture with Chinese state-owned CNTIC will invest in three power plant projects in Myanmar with a total capacity of 900 megawatts (MW) and an estimated value of over US$800 million (1.2 trillion kyats). Hong Kong-listed VPower Group International Holdings Limited, one of the largest investors in Myanmar’s electricity sector, this week said it had set up a joint venture with Chinese state-owned China National Technical Import and Export Corporation (CNTIC) to provide power in Myanmar. VPower said each company held a 50 percent share in the investment, development and operations of the planned projects.

Financial Services

Insurers authorised to provide bancassurance in Myanmar The Myanmar Times 5th Mar 2020
Prudential Myanmar Life Insurance Limited(a subsidiary of UK-based Prudential plc) and Yoma Bank signed a memorandum of understanding allowing Yoma Bank to distribute Prudential Myanmar’s savings and protection products at its branches across the country, according to a release on March 5. The announcement comes after the Insurance Business Regulatory Board (IBRB) on March 4 released three directives, including one - Directive No 2/2020 - allowing banks and microfinance institutions to operate as agents selling insurance after obtaining approval from the Central Bank of Myanmar and Microfinance Business Supervisory Committee.This practice of bancassurance is expected to help insurance providers extend the reach of their products.

Foreign insurers added more than $120M to industry in Myanmar The Myanmar Times 3rd Mar 2020
In 2019, the Ministry of Planning, Finance, and Industry granted permission to five wholly foreign life insurance companies and six joint venture life insurance and non-life insurance companies to operate in the domestic insurance market. These investors have channeled some US$120 million and K60 billion into the Myanmar insurance sector since its liberalization last year. The five wholly foreign life insurance companies - AIA, Chubb, Dai-ichi, Manulife and Prudential - invested a sum totaling $65 million. The three joint venture life insurance companies – Capital Taiyo Life, CB Life and GGI Nippon Life- invested $34 million. The three joint venture non-life insurance companies – AYA Sompo, GGI Tokio Marine and KBZ MS – put in $26 million.

Foreigners cleared to trade on the YSX next month The Myanmar Times 25th Feb 2020
The Securities and Exchange Commission of Myanmar (SECM) will permit foreigners to trade on the Yangon Stock Exchange (YSX) by March. Foreign individuals and locally-registered entities would be permitted to invest in up to 35 percent of the shares of the companies listed on the YSX. Currently, the five companies listed on the local bourse are First Myanmar Investment, Myanmar Thilawa SEZ Holdings, Myanmar Citizens Bank, First Private Bank and TMH Telecom. The YSX has a market capitalisation of over US$400 million. It was launched in December 2015 and trading started from March 2016. 

Myanmar added to money-laundering watchlist Bangkok Post 22nd Feb 2020
The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) included Myanmar on its money-laundering watchlist, urging the country at the heart of the drug-producing “Golden Triangle” to boost its efforts to seize crime proceeds. The FATF, an inter-governmental agency based in Paris, said in a statement that Myanmar had “made progress”. This included introducing legislative measures to curb money-laundering and new regulations for its cash-based remittance system. However, it lacked understanding of “money-laundering risks in key areas”. .

Myanmar Credit Bureau to commence operations in April The Myanmar Times 20th Feb 2020
The first Myanmar credit bureau will commece operations in late April. However, it will take up to one year to collect sufficient credit data on local businesses to be provided to banks. MB Investment (a consortium of local banks) owns 60% of the credit bureau while Singapore's Asia Credit Bureau Holding Company owns 40%. The Myanmar Credit Bureau signed an agreement with US-based Equifax New Zealand Services and Solutions Ltd for software installation, consultancy and support in December 2018.

Food & Agriculture

Coronavirus causes slump in vegetable imports Fresh Plaza 19th Feb 2020
In Myanmar, the impact of the coronavirus outbreak that began late last year has hit both border trade and tourism hard, and there were reports last week that the garment sector was also being affected by supply-chain disruptions.

Myanmar opium cultivation falls NORTHEAST NOW 11th Feb 2020
Declining opium cultivation in Myanmar may be leading to drop in heroin production but the market is shifting to synthetic drugs like amphetamines in the country and its neighbourhood. Poppy cultivation in Myanmar registered a 11% decline in 2019 and the acreage under the opium crop came down by 33,100 hectares (ha) over the previous year,   the Myanmar Opium Survey released this week by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) says.

Myanmar govt sets rules for contract farming The Myanmar Times 11th Feb 2020
U Ye Tint Tun, director general of the Department of Agriculture, said the rules aim to ensure that farmers benefit from deals with private companies. “We want farmers to be self-reliant,” he said. “We want to eliminate practices such as buying agrochemicals on credit and paying back the loans after harvest.”  The rules, which were drafted after discussions among several ministries, parliament and stakeholders, outline nine provisions for farmers, 10 for agricultural companies, and nine for government. 

With Virus-Hit China ‘Closed for Business’, Myanmar Exporters Feel the Pinch The Irrawaddy 11th Feb 2020
In the past two weeks, Myanmar’s trade sector has lost several hundred million dollars, with the impact mostly being felt by traders, farmers, producers and workers as the country’s largest trading partner avoids doing business amid growing concern over the spread of the deadly outbreak.

Health & Life Sciences

Myanmar legislator seeks to regulate e-cigarettes, water pipes The Myanmar Times 9th Mar 2020
Dr San Shwe Win, an MP and doctor in Ayeyarwady Region’s Yegyi township, has filed a bill seeking to regulate e-cigarettes and water pipes. His proposal aims to control the sale of vapes across the country and would require programmes to teach children about the dangers of vaping.  Five of the 10 ASEAN countries have prohibited e-cigarettes, and the remaining four have taken measures to regulate it. Myanmar is the only ASEAN member that has not taken any action against vaping, he said.

Singapore sends coronavirus test kits to Myanmar The Straits Times 4th Mar 2020
The Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said on March 4 that the Government has contributed 3,000 diagnostic tests and two polymerase chain reaction (PCR) machines to test for Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. MFA said the contribution was in response to a request from the Myanmar Ministry of Health and Sports.

Govt names second marine protected area in Tanintharyi The Myanmar Times 2nd Mar 2020
The Fisheries Department declared a second marine protected area in Tanintharyi Region to protect endangered fish species and marine habitats. The new conservation area covers the coastal waters between Kawthoung township and Kau-ye Island, the department said in a statement. Myanmar Marine Fisheries Law prohibits commercial fishing in the protected zone, and villagers living there must engage only in regulated and sustainable fishing. 

Health ministry receives US disease control, prevention missions Global New Light Of Myanmar 20th Feb 2020
The Ministry of Health and Sports convened a meeting with officials from US CDC Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regarding the surveillance and containment of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) yesterday. Permanent Secretary Dr Thar Tun Kyaw and MoHS officials met with the US CDC Program Director for its Thailand office Dr Joshua Mott (Asia Regional Influenza Program) and Country Director Dr Mitesh Desai from its Myanmar office and their teams. During the meeting, the Permanent Secretary said they have been carrying out surveillance for COVID-19 since 5 January and formed committees from the national to regional/state levels for monitoring and containment. He said they have been constantly monitoring international airports, border checkpoints and the general public. He said they successfully evacuated 59 Myanmar students from Wuhan.

Number of new child cancer patients ranges between 2000-2500 per year Eleven Media Group Co., Ltd 18th Feb 2020
The number of new child cancer patients in Myanmar is estimated to range between 2,000-2,500 per year, only one-third of whom receive medical treatment, according to Yangon Children’s Hospital. Dr. Tint Myo Hnin, Child Cancer Specialist from Yangon Children’s Hospital, said: “Due to the lack of exact data, the number of new child cancer patients in Myanmar is expected to reach between 2,000 and 2,500 per year, compared with the figures in the neighbouring countries. There are two major cancer treatment centers in Yangon and Mandalay. As a matter of fact, the two cancer centers receive around 600 child patients. All child cancer patients are not in a position to receive medical treatment.”

TB transmission in Myanmar declines by 4.8 pc annually Eleven Media Group Co., Ltd 15th Feb 2020
Despite around one-per-cent decline in the global TB transmission every year, TB transmission in Myanmar is declining by 4.8 per cent every year, according to the Ministry of Health and Sports. According to the Global TB report 2019, 338 in 100,000 populations around the globe suffer from TB and 39 in 100,000 populations die of TB. According to the WHO’s estimate, one-fourths of the global population have latent Tuberculosis infection. According to the End TB, Myanmar has set a goal of reducing the number of TB patients to less than 10 in one million population in 2035. The ministry detected and cured around 140,000 TB patients despite the estimated number of 180,000 TB patients in 2018. The ministry’s mobile TB screening teams carried out accelerated TB case findings in rural areas, remote areas, worksites and prisons etc.

Myanmar's UHC push dampened by severe underfunding Health Care Asia Magazine 12th Feb 2020
Myanmar reaffirmed its commitment for universal healthcare upon the announcement of the National Health Plan (NHP) in 2017. NHP’s objective is to increase financial protection as well as extend access to a basic health services package to the entire population. However, amidst the NHP, severe underfunding is forecast to undermine progress towards universal healthcare. Fitch notes that a number of long-standing issues that have marred the sector such as inadequate equipment and medical staff shortages will remain in place. There is currently less than one bed available for 1,000 patients in Myanmar, while the ratio of doctors to nurses is 1:1 compared to 1:3 in neighbouring frontier markets, according to data by the Myanmar Private Hospitals Association.

Ministry to conduct demographic and health survey (2020-2021) Eleven Media Group Co., Ltd 11th Feb 2020
The Ministry of Health and Sports will conduct the demographic and health survey (2020-2021) in cooperation with the ICF.  The ministry started conducting the social and health survey in 2015-2016. The 2nd basic survey will cover around 100 clusters. The survey will ask verbal questions over the cause of death. It also includes field studies, designation of survey plots, the compilation of survey questions and giving training to those who will be involved in the survey.  The ministry will select those who can speak different languages and release the survey in 2021.  The Ministry of Health and Sports conducted the survey (2015-2016) with the funds provided by the USAID and 3 MDGs and technical assistance by the ICF. 

Govt plans cervical cancer vaccination campaign in July The Myanmar Times 10th Feb 2020
The Ministry of Health and Sports plans to conduct the first nationwide vaccination campaign in July to prevent cervical cancer and human papillomavirus (HPV), a senior official said. Daw Htar Htar Lin, programme manager of the Department of Public Health’s Extended Programme on Immunisation, said the campaign will be supported by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the World Health Organization, and UNICEF. “A cervical-cancer vaccination programme will be conducted for the first time in Myanmar,” she said. “We expect that it will prevent 90 percent of cervical cancer cases in Myanmar women.” According to a 2018 report by the HPV Information Centre of Myanmar, 6472 cervical cancer cases are diagnosed annually across the country. The illness is the most common female cancer in women between 15 to 44 years of age in Myanmar.

ICT

State Counsellor pushes for speeding up e-Governance plans to ensure development Global New Light Of Myanmar 18th Feb 2020
State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, in her capacity as Patron of the e-Government Steering Committee, made a speech at the 4th e-Government Conference & ICT Exhibition held at the Myanmar International Convention Center II. In her opening remark, the State Counsellor said, “I prefer modern technologies in Myanmar version. It means I want Myanmar people to understand and apply these technologies. Technologies should be modified into Myanmar versions gradually so that even ordinary Myanmar people can become accustomed to modern technologies.“The implementation of e-Government is intended for many benefits, including easy and smooth activities at government agencies, effective functions, making right decisions, better services, appropriate responses to fulfill public needs and socioeconomic development of the people. The e-Government will also help closer cooperation between the government and the people, between the government and private firms, among state agencies, and between the government and civil service staff."

Infrastructure

Four-lane elevated expressway to build in the middle of roads mostly in Ygn Eleven Media Group Co., Ltd 10th Mar 2020
Four-lane elevated expressway will be built in the middle of roads mostly in Yangon and it will be like a long bridge in the middle of road, according to the Ministry of Construction.The expressway will be crossed Upper Pazuntaung Road, Wayzayantar Road, Thudama Road, at the junction of Khayaypin Road and Lower Mingalardon Road. The project is jointly developed by Ministry of Construction and Yangon Region government.

Upgrades for Thandwe airport runway The Myanmar Times 9th Mar 2020
The upgrade of Thandwe airport in Rakhine State (local airport to Ngapali Beach- a major tourist destination), a project listed under the Myanmar Project Bank, has commenced with work on extending the runway already taking place, said U Zaw Min, director of the Department of Civil Aviation. The US$5 million runway will enable it to handle commercial Airbus and Boeing planes after it is complete in 2021. Currently, it is only able to service ATR 72/500 and Emirate aircraft.

Locals voice approval for Yangon Elevated Expressway The Myanmar Times 5th Mar 2020
Yangon Elevated Expressway will begin construction in August. Deputy Director of the Highway Department under the Ministry of Construction has met with locals and addressed their concerns, including noise pollution and potential flooding in areas under the expressway. Compensation will be provided to those affected by construction. The winning bidder for the project will be announced in May, after which a ground-breaking ceremony will be held in July. The expressway will be put into operation by May 2025.

Firms invited to bid for upgrade of Yangon-Mandalay expressway The Myanmar Times 5th Mar 2020
The Ministry of Construction will invite Expressions of Interest from the private sector for the upgrading of the Yangon–Mandalay Expressway, U Han Zaw, Minister of Construction said. The project involves upgrading the 524 -km expressway, currently the most important transport route in Myanmar, to a international-standard expressway with proper safety and road control facilities.The project is one of the 58 national development projects listed in the Myanmar Project Bank.

Myanmar govt reveals 58 national development projects in project bank The Myanmar Times 27th Feb 2020
The government revealed 58 national development projects during the launch of its online project bank website yesterday. Announced last year, the Myanmar Project Bank is an interactive web-based platform designed to highlight investment projects in line with the implementation of the Myanmar Sustainable Development Plan (MSDP) for 2018-2030. It can be found on www.projectbank.gov.mm. The 58 infrastructure development projects include road, railway, port, airport, electricity, urban development, industrial estate development as well as agricultural development projects. The loftiest project is the Yangon Central Station, which involves an investment of more than US$2.1 billion. The project bank represents “an online one-stop-shop, where all information on projects designed to implement the MSDP can be easily accessed with a single click,” according to the website.

MoC Union Minister attends signing ceremony for GMS Corridor Towns Development Project Global New Light Of Myanmar 24th Feb 2020
The loan agreement signing ceremony for the GMS Corridor Towns Development Project was held at the meeting hall of the Ministry of Construction in Nay Pyi Taw yesterday afternoon. Union Minister U Han Zaw of the Ministry of Construction first said that the proposed project will upgrade basic infrastructure and strengthen urban management capacities to develop the towns of Mawlamyine in Mon State, and Hpa-An and Myawady in Kayin State along the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) East-West Economic Corridor (EWEC), in accord with the feasibility study reports, with the ADB’s loan US$80 million and the NEDA’s (Neighbouring Countries Economic Development Cooperation Agency) loan US$23.4 million.

First-ever pedestrian subway to be built in Yangon Mizzima Myanmar News and Insight 24th Feb 2020
A pedestrian subway costing over two billion kyats the first-ever such underpass in Yangon will be built near Agriculture Department bus stop, Pyi Road, connecting TTC high school under Yangon Education University and Junction Square Mall. This pedestrian underpass will be 77 feet in length and 10 feet in height. Yangon Legislative Assembly legislator Tin Win from Kamayut constituency (1) said that previously it was planned to build a footbridge but it could not be implemented due to various circumstances. The project is scheduled to be completed in 2020.

Govt. to build US$160 M worth Thilawa-Bago road Eleven Media Group Co., Ltd 22nd Feb 2020
Myanmar is planning to build Thanlyin (Thilawa)-Bago (Kamarse) Road connected with Asia Highway Road with the aid of JICA and ADB soon, according to Ministry of Construction. The new road will connect Thilawa industrial port to lower areas of Myanmar such as Mon and Kayin states and Taninthayi Region in a short time. Moreover local products will be sent through this new road to other countries via Thilawa industrial port in a short time. The new road will be shorter than Yangon-Bayargyi-Sittaung Road currently using now and it will also deal with traffic jams.

Govt vows to compensate people displaced by Rakhine project The Myanmar Times 18th Feb 2020
The government guaranteed compensation for people displaced by the construction of the China-funded Kyauk Phyu special economic zone in Rakhine State, a senior trade official said. Deputy Minister for Commerce U Aung Htoo said people who lost their crops and land due to the project will be compensated. “In Thilawa special economic zone (in Yangon), aside from formal compensation, they were provided with houses, and vocational training. We’ll do the same in Kyauk Phyu,” he said. “We will also give corporate social responsibility compensation apart from compensation for land and crops.” In December 2019, the Central Economic Committee of Myanmar issued an order for development of Kyauk Phyu zone on about 4300 acres. About 608 acres will be allocated for a deep-water port project, and about 2450 acres for an industrial zone. About 1250 acres will be allocated for high-end housing.

Mandalay to rebuild landmark Mingalar Market The Myanmar Times 18th Feb 2020
The Mandalay regional government will start rebuilding Mingalar Market in downtown Mandalay, which was destroyed by a fire over three years ago, a regional official said. U Zarni Aung, minister for Electricity, Energy and Construction, said the market will be built within months with a new design. The government, not the former shop owners, will pay for the reconstruction, according to U Zarni Aung, who chairs the market reconstruction committee.

Construction of Yangon expressway to start in August: ministry The Myanmar Times 17th Feb 2020
The Ministry of Construction (MOC) expects the first phase of construction of the Yangon Elevated Expressway (YEX) to commence by August, Deputy Director General U Kyi Zaw Myint said. The MOC released a final request for proposal for the development of phase 1 under a Public Private Partnership (PPP) to ten prequalified bidders on February 4. The bid submission deadline is set on April 30. The MOC will select the winning bidder by May, U Kyi Zaw Myint said during a meeting with residents in Yangon on February 16. Construction is expected to take about 3.5 years to complete.

China's CITIC to build Myanmar's huge Kyaukphyu Deep Seaport, first phase to cost US$1.3 bln The Star Online 17th Feb 2020
The planned multi-billion dollar Kyaukphyu Deep Seaport project will be developed with the contribution of 70 per cent by the China International Trust and Investment Corporation Consortium (CITIC) and 30 per cent by Myanmar, said Deputy Commerce Minister U Aung Htoo on Feb 16. According to the notification issued by Myanmar Economic Zones Central Committee dated 29 February, 2015, the project has a total area of 4289.32 acres—607.88 acres for the deep seaport project, 2446.07 acres for the industrial zone project and 1235.37 acres for the advanced housing project. A framework agreement was signed by Kyaukphyu Special Economic Zone Management Committee and the CITIC Consortium from China in Nay Pyi Taw on 8 November, 2018. The agreements pertaining to Kyaukphyu Special Economic Zone Project and Deep Sea Port Project were signed. On 18 January, 2020, both sides exchanged the MoUs.

Manufacturing

Auto industry seeks easing of duties on car components The Myanmar Times 9th Mar 2020
The local automotive industry has requested the Ministry of Planning, Finance and Industry for a reduction in duties on cars assembled in the country. The duties imposed on components for semi-knocked down (SKD) and completely knocked down (CKD) vehicles assembled in Myanmar are the same as those imposed on completely built up vehicles imported into the country. Promotion of SKD auto manufacturing can help the country move up the value chain into CKD, as noted by a senior official in the Minstry. On another issue faced by the automotive sector, the Ministry of Commerce said on March 8 that it will be allowing the renewal of vehicle import permits that are set to expire this month.

Trade Unions demand government check garment factory claims Mizzima News 4th Mar 2020
The Federation of Trade Unions and trade union activists demanded the government check the authenticity of claims from the garment industry that there was a shortage of raw materials at factories. A press release jointly issued on February 27 by Union of Myanmar Federation of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI) and Entrepreneurs Association, said it may have to lay off workers amid a temporary closure of factories in the garment industry due to the Covid 19 epidemic in China which caused production to shut down because of a shortage of raw materials.

Policies, standards needed for Myanmar steel production as demand rises The Myanmar Times 28th Feb 2020
Myanmar’s steel consumption is expected to grow by more than 60 percent to exceed 5 million tonnes by 2025, according to U Sit Taing Aung, chair of the Myanmar Steel Association. As government spending on infrastructure ramps up and foreign direct investments rise, these numbers are set to become a reality in the next five years.

Travel & Tourism

Coronavirus: Manipur Closes Border With Myanmar To Curb Deadly Transmission News Nation 10th Mar 2020
Amid coronavirusscare, the government of Manipur on Monday decided to close the international border with Myanmar which also includes gate no 1 and 2 in Moreh. “In view of possible threat of transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19), Government of Manipur hereby prohibits movement of people across the international border and accordingly orders closures of Gate No. 1 and Gate No. 2, Moreh and other crossing points along Manipur sector of Indo-Myanmar border until further orders”, the government order states.

COVID-19 expected to cut Myanmar tourism revenue by half The Myanmar Times 27th Feb 2020
U Kyi Thein, general sectary of the Myanmar Tourism Federation, said the association has conducted a survey on the impact of the coronavirus. He said the results of the Initial Impact Assessment of Coronavirus (COVID-19) on Myanmar Tourism report will be presented to the government for further action, and that revenue associated with the tourism sector could reduce by 40-50 percent or more.

Nine Chinese airlines suspend their flights to Myanmar since COVID-19 outbreak Eleven Media Group Co., Ltd 25th Feb 2020
Only six out of 15 Chinese airlines are now flying to Myanmar since the outbreak of COVID-19 virus in China, according to Department for Civil Aviation (DCA). The DCA also instructed Myanmar National Airlines (MNA) and Myanmar Airways International (MAI) to suspend their chartered services to China to prevent the 2019 Novel Coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, China.

Myanmar airline leases two planes for August expansion The Myanmar Times 21st Feb 2020
Myanmar Airways International (MAI) has leased two more Embraer E190 aircraft from a Chinese company to expand its flights in August. The airline signed the lease agreement with China Development Bank Financial Leasing Co Ltd at the Singapore Airshow last week. As the number of airlines operating in the country decreased in the past three years, more planes and flights are needed, according to the Sydney-based CAPA-Centre for Aviation, a market intelligence company for the aviation and travel industry.

Myanmar sees world’s fastest tourism growth The Nation Thailand 13th Feb 2020
Myanmar ranked highest among the world’s 20 fastest-growing travel destinations last year, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation. Myanmar Tourism Marketing, part of the Myanmar Tourism Federation, said the country enjoyed a year-on-year increase of 40.2 per cent in tourist numbers, followed by Puerto Rico at 31.2 per cent and Iran at 27.9 per cent.