Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Burma’s average income could overtake Laos, Cambodia: minister

Wednesday, 25 July 2012 12:00 Mizzima News

A Burmese government minister believes that the country’s average income per person could overtake Laos and Cambodia in two to three years.

Burma's Industry Minister Soe Thane speaks at the 18th International Conference on the Future of Asia in Tokyo in May 2012. Photo: AFP

“I hope we will have higher average income per person than Laos and Cambodia by 2014-15. It is possible,” Minister of Industry Soe Thein  said in an interview with the Radio Free Asian Burmese service on Monday.

Burma now has a gross national income per capita of US$ 379, according to UN figures in 2009, the lowest in the region.

Laos has a per capita income of $1,130 while Cambodia has stands at $830, based on 2011 figures by the World Bank.

As part of economic reforms, the Parliament is discussing a foreign investment law, which reports say will spell out new tax exemptions, land-use terms, legal structures, and incentives for foreign companies. Foreign companies could increase the employement rate and also salary levels in addition to putting more money into the conomy in general.

“Our existing law [on trade] is already good. But to be able to compete with [neighboring] Asean [countries] and to protect the people, to protect our environment, we are drafting the new law,” Soe Thein told the RFA.

The minister said some 110,000 jobs had been created over the last year with a potential for one million jobs when the government enters into peace with all ethnic armed rebel groups.

“When the peace process is done, we will have more job opportunities in the [ethnic] regions [through the efforts of] international donors. Creating jobs is considered the number one criteria.”

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