Myanmar business climate has improved, says World Bank

Suu Kyi asks business leaders to take advantage of the easing of the UN sanctions.

Myanmar government launches thin economic policy
Picture for representation Reuters

The business climate in Myanmar has improved, the World Bank has said in a report. The southeast Asian nation, which witnessed a transition to full democracy earlier this year, made improvements in the ease of doing business index owing mainly to reform in the regulatory environment, the Bank said.

Reforms in Myanmar, whose economic growth was stymied under a prolonged rule by the military junta, reduced regulatory complexity and helped improve country's credit information system, making it easier for domestic businesses, the "Doing Business 2017" rerecord said.

Myanmar was given an overall ranking of 170 out of 190 economies assessed for ease of doing business. Aspects like starting businesses, dealing with permits, getting utility connections, registration of property, availability of credit and the tax regime were assessed for the report.

The report, however, says trading across borders still remained difficult, weighed down by higher costs and time delays due to congested ports.

"The thing about rankings is that other countries are improving at the same time [as Myanmar], so in a way it's a race," senior World Bank official Charles Schneider said, according to the Radio Free Asia.

"Myanmar made improvements; other countries also made improvements ... So even with the reforms that were recorded this year, Myanmar did go up one rank because other countries also are improving," he said in the capital Naypyidaw.

"I think an important part of the equation is to think about how much you can reform compared to others," he added.

Earlier this week, State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi said Myanmar's economic growth in the last six months after the new government took power was sluggish.

"We openly admit that the economy has not developed as rapidly as we'd expected... The government wants to see economic growth," the democracy campaigner who marshaled her country's return to elected rule, said.

Suu Kyi also asked business leaders to take advantage of the easing of the United Nations sanctions, Myanmar Times reported.