Lower house passes investment law

A draft investment law is to be debated by the Amyotha Hluttaw, after being approved by lawmakers in the Pyithu Hluttaw on September 28.

Once approved, the law will replace the Foreign Investment Law of 2012 and Myanmar Citizens Investment Law of 2013.

The draft was written by the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration with support from the International Finance Corporation. The drafting process included an extensive consultation period.

Advocates say it will level the playing field between local and foreign companies. Some blanket incentives and tax breaks open to foreign investors under the 2012 law will be removed, and replaced with tailored incentives focused on attracting investment into particular sectors or geographic regions.

The law will also streamline the investment process by reducing the types of projects that require a permit from the Myanmar Investment Commission, and contain greater emphasis on managing environmental and social impacts.

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Lawmakers are expected to approve the bill by the end of October. During a press conference with US President Barack Obama on September 14, State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said the bill would be approved “quite soon – we hope within the next few weeks”.

The amalgamated investment law is one of several steps the government is taking to attract foreign investment, including overhauling the century-old Myanmar Companies Act.

President Obama’s recent decision to lift most remaining sanctions against Myanmar is also expected to spur investment over the medium term.

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