Tue 30 Nov 2010
Filed under: Business / Trade
AMONG the many victorious candidates for the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) in the November 7 election were a handful of high-profile businessmen.
Analysts say their presence could increase the likelihood that the party will bring about much-needed economic reforms – and that those reforms are implemented properly.
Among the well-known businessmen who will enter the Pyithu Hluttaw is U Htay Myint, president of the Myanmar Fisheries Federation and head of Yuzana Company, who won the seat of Myeik, while both U Win Myint, head of the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI), and Dr Khin Shwe from Zaykabar Construction, will feature in the Amyotha Hluttaw.
A handful of businessmen were also victorious for the USDP in region and state hluttaws.
UMFCCI secretary Dr Maung Mg Lay said these representatives would be able to provide valuable input when economic laws are drafted.
“As they themselves are businessman, they can listen to what the business sector is saying and then make useful suggestions, either to enact regulation or get rid of useless regulation,” he said.
He said he was confident the new government would be able to quickly improve the business sector and the UMFCCI would lobby for changes it considered necessary for the business community.
“Our federation has a duty to push the interests of traders and businesspeople,” he said.
“There will be suggestions from businesspeople who are both in the hluttaws and outside of the hluttaws over what kind of economic reforms are needed. There’s also the party’s policy on what they will do about the economy to consider,” he said. “It is difficult to see widespread reforms within the next five years but I hope they can implement some measures, particularly to make it easier for small and medium-sized enterprises.”
“At the moment, some businessmen are calling for a 10 percent reduction in tax on export income,” he added.
According to the USDP’s policy broadcast on state media, the party supports the emergence of a market-oriented system; the right of the state, regional organisations, cooperatives and enterprises to participate in the business sector; the development of small and medium enterprises; and the prevention of monopolies and market speculation.
“If there is political will then it shouldn’t be difficult to reform the economy. Whatever happens, I’m expecting at least some improvement,” U Khin Maung Nyo said.
Among those elected to the Pyithu Hluttaw is U Ko Gyi, who easily won the seat of Aungmyaythazan in Mandalay Region for the USDP.
The 63-year-old businessman has worked for various trade organisations over the past three decades and currently serves as vice chairman of the Mandalay Region Chambers of Commerce and Industry, chairman of the Mandalay Region Oil Dealers Association, and executive committee member of the UMFCCI.
He said he would focus first on issues affecting Mandalay Region, where he said an important task was ensuring farmers are able to get a decent price for their goods.
“That’s essential for improving incomes,” he told The Myanmar Times last week. “If the economic situation improves I think we will see a shift towards more industrialisation.”
He said he expected the number of light and medium industries to increase and increasingly raw products will be value-added in local factories.
He said the party would attempt to increase job opportunities and incomes, as well as ensure commodity prices remain stable.
“Job opportunities with sufficient incomes will emerge when the economy develops. I think it will improve slowly, step by step. It won’t happen straight away. This is just the start.”
– Translated by Thiri Min Htun