Myanmar Business NewsBurma business news
Burma is recovering, but is still'super challenging' for the economy: Survey, SE Asia News & Top Stories
The YANGON (AFP) plc - Familiar businesses, poor visibility and gloomy financial grids in the junta-led nation are continuing to make business in Myanmar "super challenging", a new survey of the country's best businesses said on Monday (26 March). Myanmar's economic is still ruled by militarist corporations and an élite of cronies - a 50 year heritage of armed forces government that ended in 2011.
However, some businesses are trying to undergo reforms when mentalities are changing, the "Pwint Thit Sa" ("Blossoming") survey has found. When Myanmar opened, overseas investment flowed into the new fronttier markets with a surge of confidence and high hopes. However, there have been disappointing lags in the tightening of legislation to comply with global norms - especially in the West.
In Myanmar, the survey, the most challenging of its kind, rated 182 Myanmar publicly, privately and publicly traded corporations according to 74 different standards, ranging from audit practice and ethical considerations to whether the organization has a website at all. "They are the leaders in the area for some companies," says Vicky Bowman, co-author and principal of the Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business.
"However, for most of the businesses we look at, they obviously still have a long way to go before they catch up with their Thai, Malay or Singapore colleagues." The tycoon Serge Pun's First Myanmar Investment retained first place with 91 percent, while Tay Za's Htoo Group, which is active in the financial, building and aviation industry, among others, achieved only 5 percent.
It conceded that "a record of nepotism and bribery still surpasses Myanmar", with certain segments such as the jet and coal industry performing much poorer than others. "She added that the present administration has reinstated the practices of the former army regime to encourage "tycoons" to give for purposes such as "peace" and more recently the North Rakhine state.
During the Rakhine crises, in which some 700,000 Rohingya Muslims in what the UN marks call "ethnic cleansing" have shaken the Western face of the nation, there is a genuine risk that there will be a resurgence of incrimination. Under a new corporate law, due to come into force in August, Burma's corporate environment will change for good, superseding Burma's 1914 corporate law and enabling non-German businesses to acquire up to 35 percent of Myanmar's shares.
"It' certainly is a great challenge to do business here, but here too you have to consider the contexts and adapt your business models to the context," says Yever CEO and co-author Nicolas Delange.