Ups and downs
The Burmese kyat was selling on Friday at 1014 to the US dollar, while buying at 1007. The price of gold stands at 640,000 kyat per tical. Fuel prices remain constant: petrol 820 kyat; diesel 950 kyat; octane 950 kyat per litre.
Burma- China border trade fair planned for December
The 14th Burma- China Border Trade Fair – which has been ongoing since 1997 after both countries signed an agreement on border region management and cooperation – will be held this year on 11- 12 December at Muse in northern Shan State. More than 240 trading booths will reportedly be showcased at the fair.
MREA to introduce wind power plants
Myanmar Renewable Energy Association has indicated that it will introduce wind power plants Burma. Assessments are being carried out across 27 locations in Rangoon, Irrawaddy, Arakan and Chin States.
Agencies must protect migrant workers: MOEAF
The Myanmar Overseas Employment Agencies Federation (MOEAF) said it will take action against employment agencies that do not assist in resolving issues and problems faced by the migrant workers they contract out. Secretary Kyaw Htin Kyaw said Burmese workers often face labour and human rights abuses, and should contact the MOEAF office if their agency does not address their problems.
Ration alert at refugee camps
The World Food Program (WFP) says it has averted major and immediate cuts to refugee rations across Burma. Speaking to DVB on Thursday, the UN-affiliated organisation said that enough supplies are available to provide full monthly rations until the end of January, but 20 percent cuts would be implemented if the WFP fails to raise an additional US$8 million by then. Some two hundred thousand displaced people in Shan, Kachin and Arakan States depend on WFP rations.
YSEB to list as public company
The Yangoon State Electricity Board (YSEB) announced plans last week to list as a public company in order to increase operational efficiency. However, in its announcement YSEB said that Rangoon’s city government will maintain a 51 percent stake in the entity while selling the remaining 49 percent to the public. YSEB also has stated that in choosing future joint venture partners, local companies will be preferred over foreign firms.
Singaporean firm wins Hanthawaddy airport deal
Singaporean firm Yongnam Holdings Ltd (YNH) was awarded the US$1.4 billion contract to develop Burma’s Hanthawaddy International Airport, 50km north of Rangoon. YNH is a cluster group consisting of firms including Changi Airport Planners and Engineers, and Japanese JGC Corp.
Colgate buys out Laser toothpaste
American conglomerate Colgate-Palmolive has bought out Burmese toothpaste brand Laser. Colgate is thought to have purchased the rights to produce and distribute products by local firm Shwe Ayar Nadi for US$100 million, which if correct, would make the deal one of the largest investments by an American company since trade sanctions were lifted last year.
UNCTAD to aid Burma emerge from LDC status
The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) will provide technical assistance to help Burma emerge out of its current status as a “Least Developed Country.” UNCTAD indicated that it would help Burma implement plans to boost gross national income, economic vulnerability and the country’s human assets index.
Inland Water Transport to build new ships as competition heats up
State-owned Inland Water Transport (IWT) plans to build 37 new passenger boats to compete with faster ships operated by rival private companies. IWT has lost market share to private rivals because it’s still using slow-moving ships built during the colonial era. IWT has been operating at a loss for decades, relying on government subsidies to keep prices low for passengers. However, now IWT is coming under pressure to transition into a more profit-oriented company.
World Bank urges land, labour reform in Burma
The World Bank has called for reforms in the sectors of land and skilled workers, as well as the upgrade of electricity, as prime motivators in attracting investment and financial aid to Burma. The World Bank reportedly conducted field trips to businesses in Rangoon, Mandalay, Monywa, Taunggyi and Pegu last summer and held meetings with more than 1,000 businesspeople as part of its survey.
British barrister re-opens Burma office after 12 years
UK-based law firm Lucy Wayne & Associates has opened its doors again 12 years after it pulled out of the country due to international sanctions imposed on foreign businesses. The firm has announced it will initially cater to Burma’s energy sector, especially electricity and petroleum.