23 June 2016
On 9 June 2016, the President's Office announced the new members of the re-constituted Myanmar Investment Commission (the "MIC"). The three year appointment term of the former members of the MIC, which is responsible for approving both local and foreign investments in Myanmar, had ended in March 2016, leading to a break in the approval process for investments.
The appointees to the newly re-constituted MIC, which now has 11 members (previously 13), include the Planning and Finance Minister, who will serve as chairman, and the Commerce Minister as vice chairman. The other appointees are an ex-official from the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration, an appointee from the Securities and Exchange Commission, the joint secretary general of the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry, and the permanent secretaries from the Ministry of Planning and Finance, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment Conservation, and the Ministry of Commerce.
Although the new appointees to the MIC have been generally well-received, there is some concern that there is insufficient private sector representation. Nonetheless, their appointment is a welcome development for investors, as the MIC faces its first task of dealing with the backlog of more than 100 investment proposals, for both foreign and local projects that have been held up since April 2016.
It is expected that the MIC will continue its role in supporting the enactment of the proposed Myanmar Investment Law which is intended to combine the Foreign Investment Law and the Myanmar Citizens Investment Law. If passed, the Myanmar Investment Law, which was prepared with the assistance of the International Finance Corporation, is expected to lead to the transformation of the MIC (which is currently under the President's Office) into an independent body. The proposed Myanmar Investment Law will also result in the removal of some foreign investment restrictions, and is expected to strengthen the government's powers to protect human rights and the environment.