Friday, February 21, 2020

Week in Review: Myanmar

Feb 29. 2016
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By Myanmar Eleven

Dubai to Yangon flights
 
Emirates announced a daily service from Dubai to Yangon and Hanoi, starting on August 3. 
Emirates’ first air service to Myanmar supports the country’s tourism master plan to target 7.5 million tourist arrivals by 2020, the airline said. 
This new route will strengthen Emirates’ network of destinations in Southeast Asia, offer a new flight option to passengers travelling between Hanoi and Yangon, and open up new connections for Myanmese and Vietnamese travellers to access Emirates’ global network.
 
Trade and tourism fair
The Vietnam-Myanmar Trade Service and Tourism Fair will be held in Yangon from April 1 to 4 to offer Vietnamese enterprises a good opportunity to explore investment and trade opportunities in the growing market, according to Viet Nam News.
Hosted by the Ho Chi Minh City Investment and Trade Promotion Centre (ITPC), it will have 120 booths, providing information on trade, services and tourism in HCM City, and separate exhibition areas for hi-tech agriculture and building materials.
Municipal officials and businesses will conduct a market survey in Yangon and Mandalay cities from March 31 to April 5.
ITPC director Pham Thiet Hoa said although the low-end consumption segment comprised the major part of the Myanmar market, the middle and high-end segments were being expanded thanks to the country’s efforts to open up the market.
Many Vietnamese brands, such as Vissan food, Sa Giang rice products, Trung Nguyen coffee and Vinamilk milk and juice, as well as Dien Quang light bulbs and Dai Dong Tien plastic goods, have successfully made inroads into Myanmar’s market.
Vietnam exported goods worth more than US$378.5 million (Bt13.5 billion) to Myanmar in 2015. 
 
Myanma Awba gets US$10 IFC loan
The International Finance Corporation has pledged a US$10 million loan to Myanma Awba for the construction of a $25 million agro-chemicals formulation plant.
Myanma Awba also aims to enhance its packaging and warehouse capacity, seed production, working capital and microfinance operations.
Awba’s approximately 1,000-strong sales and marketing team are all trained agronomists with technical expertise, which helped the company establish its market leadership, IFC said. With the loan, Awba engaged IFC for a corporate governance assessment. 
 
Climate change measures needed 
An MP from the Union Solidarity and Development Party submitted a proposal to the Lower House urging the union government to take precautionary measures against global climate change and the potential impact of El Nino.
MP Maung Thin stressed the need to take preventative measures and preparations against the effects of El Nino this year. Those measures include the systematic use of drinking and irrigation water, monitoring of the agricultural and livestock sectors, emergency food storage, the adoption of new agricultural systems compatible with dry weather, the extension of water supply systems, the prevention of diseases caused by high temperatures and fire safety measures.
 
Forces clearing conflict zones
Government forces have cleared the areas where the Shan State Army (SSA) and the Taang National Liberation Army ethnic armed groups have been exchanging fire in Namhsan and Kyaukme townships in northern Shan State. The fighting forced a total of 3,657 people to flee the areas and take shelter in refugee camps.
Government peace negotiators, led by Minister Aung Min, also met with a SSA delegation led by Yawd Serk in Chiang Mai. The recent skirmishes were discussed, along with the fact that the SSA is not yet a signatory in the national ceasefire agreement.
 
Govt told to stop selling spree 
National League for Democracy MP Khin San Hlaing proposed an end to the government’s sale, hire and transfer of state-owned land, industries and enterprises before it leaves office.
The MP said the government’s task in the remaining month should be focused on power transfer. However, some ministries and regional governments are rapidly managing early permissions for projects, the forced eviction of squatters and the production of mineral resources without seeking the correct approval, he said.
The permission to allow a private company to use a plot near Yangon General Hospital was cited as an example.
 
Democracy lessons 
Newly elected politicians and military appointees are both being required to take classes on focusing on democracy and political institutions, The Guardian newspaper reported on Friday. The five-day training class includes lessons on effective communication strategies as well as the balance of power in Myanmar’s new government that will be formed next month. 
“I would like to see a parliament that is respected by the world,” the newspaper quotes Aung San Suu Kyi, leader of the dominant National League for Democracy, as saying as the course began.
 
More political prisoners 
The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners said in its latest report that the number of political activists facing charges rose to 399 in January, after the arrests of 7 political activists.
The number of prisoners of conscience in prisons across the country is 86. Thirty-two political activists faced new charges between January 22 and 31, some of whom were sued under Section 18 for illegal protests. 
 
Mine clearers await permission 
Domestic and foreign mine clearance organisations are awaiting the green light from Myanmar’s authorities to clear landmines in 45 townships across the country, mostly in Kachin, Kayah, Kayin, Shan and Mon states and Tanintharyi and Bago regions. 
About five million people are in danger from landmines, according to the Myanmar Landmine Clearance Initiative. 
More than 60 experts from home and abroad drew a draft landmine clearance plan over six months.
Personnel are now ready to start work but are waiting for government and military approval, according to the Myanmar Peace Centre.
 

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