Interview: U Maung Myint
How can the Small and Medium Industry Development Policy (SMIDP) ensure the development of local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)?
U MAUNG MYINT: The government understands the importance of private sector development as the root of national economic growth, hence the creation of the SMIDP. This policy has identified three strategic measures to obtain the principal tasks of human resources (HR) development, technology promotion and innovated spirit incubation, and increased financial assistance. These measures will be supported by three assisting pillars, specifically infrastructure development, business support from the government and the creation of a favourable taxation regime.
One task is a plan to build an SME Development Centre. This facility will host discussions between the government and international organisations which are interested in supporting Myanmar's economic development. These organisations will be able to contribute to the growth of local SMEs by sharing experience, delivering training and workshops, offering political advice and providing financial aid.
What role are industrial training centres (ITCs) expected to play in alleviating capacity restraints?
MAUNG MYINT: There are currently five ongoing ITCs and one under consideration. ITCs are being operated under the management of the Ministry of Industry (MoI), with each ITC developed by the relevant international firm. For instance, one by Germany, two by the Korean Chamber of Commerce and Industry, two by India’s HMT, and one by China. Approximately 1000 trainees can graduate annually from these five operating ITCs. These centres have been put in place to enhance the skills of our HR base. All certified trainees are directly employable to the appropriate field of technology for the industrial sector including private industry. Moreover, the skills of these certified trainees are recognised in line with four national competency standards for certification. These include semi-skilled, skilled, advanced-skilled and supervisory, according to the National Skill Standard Authority, which was set up in 2008 by the Ministry of Labour in line with Myanmar’s National Qualification Framework.
In the near future, certified trainees completing skills training at ITCs under the MoI, especially in the fields of welding and air-con mechanics, will be able to secure internationally recognised certificates.
In what way can Myanmar capitalise on its geographical position and diversify its trade partners?
MAUNG MYINT: The government’s plan to establish three special economic zones (SEZs), namely Dawei Deep Sea Port Development project, Thilawa SEZ and Kyauk Phyu SEZ is testament to how we want to leverage our geographical position. For the implementation of such SEZs, many international investors and partners are joining hands, attracting many global business partners to invest in Myanmar and planting the seeds for long-term investment in the country.
After successful completion of these SEZs, and if the institutional framework and regulations are laid down properly, Myanmar could achieve its potential as a centre for business activity in the near future.
What are the strategic priorities in the implementation of the Dawei SEZ?
MAUNG MYINT: The strategic priorities for the Dawei SEZ include an early industrial estate project and a small port project. The early industrial estate aims to have the minimum capacity of a 35,000-strong workforce along with the industrial township development to fulfil the 7-sq-km designated area. The small port project includes an approach bridge of 53.5 metres and a landing platform at a measurement of 25 x 100 metres.
At present, Japanese investors are involved in talks on the construction and implementation of the Dawei SEZ Project with the initial operator, the Italian-Thai Development Co. The completion of the Asian highway project from Dawei to Thailand is also a priority.
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