Politics, sanctions undermine Myanmar investment message

[NEW YORK] The rapid economic transformation of Myanmar, less than two years after transitioning from military control and opening itself to the world, is not without its rough patches, the nation's top economic minister said on Wednesday.

At the same time, George Soros, one of the earliest investors in Myanmar's economy and even more so its social reform, said he was troubled by the slowdown in reforms ahead of next year's elections. Still, he believes multinational companies must be involved in one of Southeast Asia's last untapped areas.

Soe Thane, Myanmar's Coordinating Minister for Economic Development, oversees roughly 11 different economic ministries. The former commander of the Myanmar Navy likened the reform process to driving on a potholed street.

Describing a complicated web of land ownership rules and regulations, he expressed hope it would be fixed in the next year. "I think we will have a comprehensive umbrella law on land policy and land use within six months to a year," Mr Soe Thane told Reuters on the sidelines of a Myanmar investment conference. "And after that, we have to go for water reform. It's a big issue for agriculture, forestry, industrial development."

http://www.businesstimes.com.sg/premium/world/politics-sanctions-undermine-myanmar-investment-message-20140926

Mr Soe Thane: I think we'll have a comprehensive umbrella law on land policy and land use in 6-12 months. After that, we have to go for water reform. It's a big issue for agriculture, forestry, industrial development. - SPH FILE PHOTO

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