Foreign bank restrictions to be lifted 'soon': Central Bank


NAY PYI TAW — Central Bank deputy governor U Set Aung says that foreign lenders will soon have restrictions lifted on offering services to the Myanmar public, after an assessment of the sector’s ability to absorb new players is finished.

“We have considered how to continue to lift the restrictions step by step,” he told reporters during a Wednesday press conference. “I believe implementation will begin soon.”

A total of 13 foreign banks have been granted licences to open representative officers in Myanmar since 2015, but are not allowed to offer retail services to personal and business customers.

Asked how long it would be before these restrictions were lifted, Set Aung said that the Central Bank was “still in the process of checking the stability of the financial sector”.

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He added that regulators were also investigating other avenues for foreign banks to establish themselves in the country, including the possibility of joint-venture partnerships and equity shares in local lenders.

Central Bank to reveal foreign reserves, debt

Set Aung also said yesterday the Central Bank would soon release detailed information on its assets, including foreign currency reserves and gold, and its foreign debt.

He said the bank’s board of directors had already approved the release of the information.

“A variety of information will be made available in a booklet, including data that has hasn’t been publicly released before,” he told reporters at a press conference on May 2 to discuss the bank’s activities during the first year of the National League for Democracy government.

The Central Bank has only sporadically released information on its assets and debts in recent years, despite being a focal point of reforms under the U Thein Sein government and NLD administration.

In 2012, the former government increased the bank’s paid-up capital to K300 billion and the following year parliament passed the Central Bank of Myanmar Law, making the institution nominally independent.

By Nyan Hlaing Lynn

By Nyan Hlaing Lynn

Nyan Hlaing Lynn is a former editor at People's Age Journal and Mizzima. He writes about politics, the military, ethnic conflict and social issues and is based in Nay Pyi Taw.
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