European investors’ confidence in Burma has tumbled, survey shows
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European investors’ confidence in Burma has tumbled, survey shows

THE number of European businesses losing confidence in Burma (Myanmar) has increased, a recent survey revealed, amid their concerns over how the current democratically-elected government manages the economy compared to the previous junta administration.

A recent survey from the European Chamber of Commerce in Myanmar (EuroCham) a majority of firms, 81 percent, unhappy with the country’s business environment, compared with 76pc in 2017 and 67pc in 2016, according to the Myanmar Times.

The firms that believed the business environment has worsened over the last 12 months increased by near half (45 percent), a jump from 30 percent in 2017 and 18 percent in 2016.

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Only 37 percent of the companies reported profits from their businesses in the country, a decline from41 percent in 2017 and 50 percent in 2016.

Burma’s economic nationalism, which is seen not attractive for foreign investments, had a negative impact on 48 percent of the respondents.

The decline in confidence among European businesses in Burma shows a concerning trend for the National League of Democracy led by state chancellor Aung San Suu Kyi.

2018-09-13T021406Z_382740994_RC1511D5BB40_RTRMADP_3_WEF-VIETNAM-SUUKYI

Burmese State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi speaks at the World Economic Forum on ASEAN at the National Convention Center in Hanoi, Vietnam Sept 13, 2018. Source: Reuters

Co-chair of EuroCham’s legal group, Nishant Choudhary, noted that the business environment needed much improvement to attract investors despite recent law reforms in the banking sector.

In the East of Doing Business rankings, Burma stood at 171 out of 190 countries, which shows that the country needed to make major improvements.

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“Despite the recent regulatory developments, implementation has not been to the fullest intent of the legislature.

Often the laws are applied differently by ministries and departments and there is a lack of uniformity,” he was quoted as saying.

Last month, Suu Kyi implored foreign investors to take a punt on her country, amid international criticisms for her handling of the crisis involving her country’s Rohingya minority.

This comes as the World Bank predicts a seven percent growth of Burma’s economy next year and despite a tangle of investment laws, flailing currency and widespread conflicts and corruption tainting the country’s reputation ever since Suu Kyi’s civilian government took over Junta rule in 2016.