Myanmar Government Blocks Project near Sacred Pagoda

Myanmar Government Blocks Project near Sacred PagodaIn a sharp turnaround, the Myanmar government has blocked a plan already underway by international developers to redevelop 22 acres of former military land near Yangon’s spectacular Shwedagon Pagoda, one of Buddhism’s most sacred structures and Myanmar’s most revered temple, into a mixed-use residential-shopping complex. Although Yangon has a relatively strong preservation movement, concerns have…

Myanmar’s Military Still Hold the Purse Strings

Myanmar’s Military Still Hold the Purse StringsThe release of the official list of Myanmar’s 1,000 top taxpayers for 2013-2014 shows the wealthiest are still overwhelmingly tied to the old guard of military cronyism and elite government corruption. Many are on the US government’s blacklist. The list, released by the Internal Revenue Department (IRD) of the Ministry of Finance in December, is…

Yangon Lights Up

Yangon Lights UpOn the industrial outskirts of Yangon, a rusted chimney exhales wisps of white smoke as a three-decade-old gas-fired power station chunters on. Just meters away on the same compound in Thaketa Township, a low mumble, but nothing in the way of visible emissions, is coming from a row of 16 boxed-up gas-fueled engines—Austrian-produced Jenbacher machines…

Myanmar’s Anti-Money Laundering Drive

Myanmar’s  Anti-Money Laundering DriveMyanmar looks set to get a new law to counter money laundering soon, but the country still faces numerous challenges in curbing financial crimes. Last Thursday the Upper House passed an Anti-Money Laundering Bill, which will next go to the Union Parliament, where Myanmar’s Lower House and Upper House sit in joint session. Once the…

Myanmar’s Suspended Big Dam May Restart

Myanmar's controversial Myitsone Dam hydroelectric project, suspended last year by President Thein Sein in the first signal that the new democratically elected government was willing to listen to public protest, may well start up again after Thein Sein leaves office. The Chinese backer of the project on Myanmar's Irrawaddy River says more than half the…

Burma Profits from Thai Rice Subsidy Scheme

Thai traders are flocking to Burma to buy up cheap rice with the aim of selling it to a Thai government rice-buying scheme that is supposed to support Thai farmers, the Myanmar Rice Merchants Federation says. "For a long time, Thailand did not buy any rice from Myanmar… But at the beginning of this year,…

Myanmar and Intellectual Property Rights

Strengthening the protection of intellectual property rights in Burma, also known as Myanmar, has the potential to act as a catalyst for economic growth, spurring foreign direct investment and in the long run helping the country reap rewards in terms of greater domestic innovation and increased technology diffusion. While Myanmar would do well to ensure…

As Burma Opens, Critical NGOs look in

Although Burma is still far from being open and transparent on many issues of business and financing, one consequence of the Thein Sein-led reforms is that the outside world is looking in more closely and critically. In the past few weeks alone, Burma's business dealings have come under close scrutiny from several international organizations, even…

Turning On Myanmar’s Lights

Myanmar, thanks to the polish of political reforms, has taken on a golden sheen in the eyes of investors and analysts. The realities on the ground are sobering however, not least for electricity. Factory owners in Yangon have begun the year with daily power cuts which may worsen as the dry season drags on. Supply…

Burmese Gov’t Warns Public about Dodgy Investments

As Burma increasingly turns into an investment free-for-all, Burmese officials are warning that domestic companies with foreign ties have been advertising themselves as investment banks despite the fact that they have no licenses and their activities are illegal. Maung Maung Thein, the deputy minister of Finance and Revenue, didn’t name the companies he was referring…
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