Monday, September 25, 2017

UMFCCI takes over Myanmar Business Forum secretariat from IFC

The International Financial Corporation (IFC) has handed over the secretariat of the Myanmar Business Forum (MBF) to the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI), according to a press release from the IFC released on July 27. The UMFCCI will continue to take forward the mission of facilitating public-private dialogue.

Panel discussion on “Opportunities and Challenges in Electricity Sector of Yangon Region” held at the UMFCCI office in March. Photo: Facebook/ MBFPanel discussion on “Opportunities and Challenges in Electricity Sector of Yangon Region” held at the UMFCCI office in March. Photo: Facebook/ MBF

The MBF was established between the Myanmar government and the UMFCCI, with the support of the IFC and in partnership with Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) and the Japanese government.

For the last 3.5 years, the IFC, a private sector arm of the World Bank Group, has supported the MBF with technical assistance and knowledge transfer to improve the business environment in the country.

Established in February 2014, the MBF has placed an emphasis on removing entry and operational barriers for businesses. The Forum’s purpose is to help to devise a favourable business environment which can attract domestic, regional and international investment and support sustainable economic development for the country.

The organisation has provided feedback and advice on government policies which affect the private sector, as well as inputs to draft government legislations and regulations related to businesses.

With the UMFCCI taking over the secretariat, the IFC will now support the government to promote the public-private dialogue.

The IFC will provide technical assistance to the Task Force on Business and Trade Promotion headed by the Union Minister of Commerce, which is in charge of the government secretariat, coordinating dialogue with the private sector. 

“We believe that a transparent and inclusive dialogue involving both the domestic and foreign business community is crucial for an effective sustainable dialogue process,” Charles Schneider, senior private sector development specialist at the IFC, said. 

Under the MBF, 14 working groups were set up, with 51 private sector working group meetings and 31 meetings between the government and private sector. As a core part of the MBF’s functions, the working groups identify issues of common interest to raise with government. The private sector raised around 140 issues and 92 were discussed with the administration. To date, 22 issues have been resolved and several issues are making good progress, according to the IFC.  

Existing working groups include trade and logistics, hotel and tourism, taxation, land, power and garment.

U Zaw Min Win, UMFCCI president, said it is the right time for UMFCCI to manage the MBF secretariat.

“Now it is time for us to take the ownership of the private sector secretariat to promote transparent and inclusive dialogue with the government and to build a sustainable roadmap for investment climate reforms in Myanmar,” he said.