The military regime is set to drop meaningful structural reforms from an economic recovery plan initiated by the former National League for Democracy government, and is instead promising to slash red tape in a bid to shore up collapsing business confidence.
Some factory owners have been accused of exploiting and failing to protect their employees during the latest COVID-19 outbreak, and with unions lying low since the coup, workers are unable to seek redress.
The World Bank has warned in a new report that Myanmar faces severe economic losses and a doubling of poverty as a result of the combined impact of the coup and COVID-19, with the military regime unable to govern effectively.
Myanmar’s five million microfinance borrowers will resume repayments on May 15, but many are now jobless or on reduced incomes because of COVID-19 and the health of the US$1.3 billion sector is unclear.
The government has unveiled a range of measures aimed at shielding the economy from the impact of COVID-19 but the package is relatively conservative and more may be needed to sustain struggling businesses.
The Kayin State Border Guard Force has come under intense pressure from the Tatmadaw over its extensive, controversial business interests and there’s concern the ultimatum could trigger fresh hostilities in one of the country’s most war-torn areas.