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Myanmar   Spending a lot, returning not so much

WTO slams state-owned businesses in Myanmar

MyanmarThe losses of state-owned businesses amount to 5 percent of the Myanmar's gross domestic product as they spend 75 percent of the government's budget, according to the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

The WTO held a workshop on its first trade policy review in Kandawgyi Palace Hotel in Yangon on January 23.

READ MORE Chinese state companies seek business link with Myanmar

It is suggesting that the government tries to reform loss-making businesses by reviewing weak financial systems, technology, its market approach and the lack of skilled labour.

Min Min, deputy director-general of the directorate of trade at the Ministry of Commerce, said: "We are now reviewing some problems in the process of the handover of state-owned businesses to the private sector under the previous government. Now the government would not allocate a budget for its businesses. It would either disburse loans to them or run them as joint ventures. We are changing our policies."

WTO members have urged Myanmar to privatise state-owned businesses and increase transparency.

The WTO welcomes green lights for foreign telecom operators, investment in the transport sector, overseas investment permits for hotels and efforts to draw up a master plan by the Central Bank of Myanmar.

The global body is urging Myanmar to increase competitiveness in service delivery by ensuring greater transparency in foreign investment regulations and creating a healthy business environment.

The Myanmar government has decided to accept the WTO's review on trade policy. Fact-finding studies have been carried out by the WTO since mid-2012 and its review was released last March.




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