Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Burmese speaker hopes to rush passage of Foreign Investment Law

Wednesday, 08 August 2012 15:26 Mizzima News

The speaker of the Burmese Lower House of Parliament has called for the legislative body to move the new Foreign Investment Law on to the Upper House in not more than seven days.

The bill is now under discussion in the Lower House in Naypyitaw, the state-run New Light of Myanmar said on Wednesday

Speaker of the Burmese Lower House of Parliament, Shwe Mann Photo: Mizzima

Speaker Shwe Mann said the foreign investment law is crucial for the country and must be completed as rapidly as possible to allow a flood of investment to enter the country, following the lifting or easing of sanctions by Western governments.

After discussion in the Lower House, the law would be sent to the Upper House, he said, adding that it would be assumed that the law has been approved by the Parliament if no amendments were attaché by the Upper House. Endorsement would be made by the president within 15 days, unless he had reservations.

According to official statistics, total foreign investment in Burma stands at US$ 41.029 billion as of June 2012, since the country opened to such investment in late 1988.

Mizzima reported in March that the draft version of the Foreign Investment Law will no longer require foreigners to establish businesses with Burmese citizens and will grant them a five-year tax holiday.

Foreigners would be allowed to own companies 100 per cent or to set up joint ventures with local citizens or government departments with involvement of at least 35 per cent foreign capital.

Foreign investors will be permitted to lease land from both the state and private citizens with an initial lease of up to 30 years, with additional 15-year extensions.

Foreign companies would not be allowed to recruit unskilled foreign workers and local citizens must make up at least 25 per cent of the skilled workforce after five years.

The percentage of Burmese workers' must be at least 50 per cent after 10 years and 75 per cent after 15 years.

The law would prohibit nationalization of a foreigners' business during the period allowed in the contract or extended in the contract other than by giving compensation based on current prices in the market in the interest of the general public.

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